The Business of Jimmy Buffett
Mr. Buffett came into the national imagination in the 1970s, just in time to become a counterpoint to what would end up being called the Yuppie generation. What if you didn’t work that hard?, he dared to ask. What if your ambition was not for success or money but for the in-betweens: the vacations, the frozen cocktail and joint in the evening? His emphasis was on the essentially Buffettian notion that we’d all spend our lives on the beach splayed out on a towel, our lips caked with salt, if we could. “I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t spend a week on the beach,” he said. In his songs, Mr. Buffett imagined himself as a pirate, always plundering toward treasure. The treasure wasn’t wealth, though; the treasure was a destination; it was the ville in Margaritaville.
If Jimmy Buffett was a Jimmy Buffett kind of guy, these thoughts would have been incidental, thought up in a hammock then lost to memory the way the best boozy thoughts always are. But he’d taken a business class when he was in college studying journalism, and it stuck with him. The class covered supply and demand and goods and services. From the stage, looking out over the growing number of people wearing parrot headgear, he realized there was demand. He had supply. He could find the goods and services.
From “Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle,” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner for the New York Times; Photo of Buffett from the 1970s by Gems/Redferns
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