11/11/2013 10:02 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Be Like a Samurai (or KISS): Always Wear a Mask Into Battle (Tips From The Rock n' Roll CEO No. 16)

I consider business a form of warfare.

Not the kind where people die, of course. But that doesn't mean the stakes aren't high: fortunes are made and lost on this battlefield. And so it's crucial to go forth with purpose and -- this is huge --to separate the person you are at home from the person you are on the field of business.

I believe in routine and ritual -- it's how I prepare myself daily. Why did the samurai wear elaborate costumes? Well, certainly for battle and protection, but also as ritual to distinguish themselves. A mask or uniform says something about you to the world. It announced that you are serious and different from the pack.

Take a band like KISS. Their look? Immediate, striking, intimidating and totally unforgettable. They even looked like samurai -- samurai from outer space and access to a stocked makeup counter, but still. I mean, look:


Of course, a uniform doesn't have to be as out there as that. Look at the Beatles -- their 'looks' were milder, but don't think a lot of thought didn't go into it (John and Paul were too smart to not consider their image). The suits and bowl cuts juxtaposition and later the hippie pastoral aesthetic. Whatever the look, it instantly communicated a vibe and what they were into at the time. Or (final example) the Clash, onstage and dressed in first-rate punk garb sending out shockwaves that state clearly and emphatically that what they're doing is important and has purpose.

And what if you decide on NO uniform? Well, a rock star on stage dressed the same way he does at home leaves people shrugging their shoulders and confused or just flat out not engaged. However, the 'no look' look could be a look in itself (see the casual slackerdom of indie heroes Pavement, or the sensible, off-the-rack image of Warren Buffett).

As for me, I lean towards the flamboyant. I wake up every morning and ask myself whether I'm going to be Jared Gutstadt, entrepreneur, husband, and dad, or JINGLE JARED.

Who's Jingle Jared? He's an extroverted CEO and musician leading a fast-growing creative-intensive company. Jingle Jared wears loud hats, has long, crazy hair, and sells the culture of Jingle Punks 24/7.

Most days I make a conscious decision to be Jingle Jared, a jingle warrior who believes in and pushes the culture we have built within our walls. It's a decision to get up and be, well, me or rather, a version of me I want to present to the world. Hopefully it communicates a sense of passion -- and passion about your work inspires people around you to want to be in some way a part of your world. Whether in sales, music, or any kind of business, this is a good thing!

When I'm with my family, or on the weekend, I try to be low key. I would imagine that Gene Simmons doesn't wear his get-up at home (actually knowing him, he probably does). The point is, the mask, the uniform, and the face we put on in battle needs to be different from the one at home. Each have their own time, and purpose.

So get in the zone, prepare yourself mentally, and put on your samurai mask. Find your purpose in business and crush it.

Jared Gutstadt is the co-founder and co-CEO of Jingle Punks, a global licensing and commercial music production company based in New York. Follow him at @jinglejared and follow Jingle Punks at @jinglepunks, and on Facebook.