Paying Attention: The big news in tech (besides the coming Alibaba IPO) is the sudden, out-of-nowhere deal that involves Apple (flush with cash) buying the headphone/streaming music company Beats (a venture of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine). Dre and Iovine will do very, very well in the transaction–not that they weren’t doing well already–but as always with big deals, there’s a back story and it’s a doozy. Beats came out of a partnership/JV with Monster Cable. Dre and Iovine had a vision that the Monster ownership/management did not and they have expanded the Beats brand into areas that no one could have forecasted. Good for them. And not so good for Monster. Monster Cable is nowhere to be found in the current deal structure and the way Monster Cable’s founders lost their way in a deal that involved their technology and brand name is one that should be required reading for any modern B-School student. When I first read the story on Gizmodo last year, it was so incredible that I sent links to every one of my friends who were in startups. Remember: good or bad deals ALWAYS start with the deal itself and you don’t have to be a Wharton grad to know who was paying attention at the negotiating table and who was not. Sam Biddle wrote the story and he did a magnificent job–it is great reporting in every dimension. Nothing has changed about the importance of the story and, if anything, it’s even more important now than before, because the end game/exit strategy for Beats is now obvious and publicly apparent. Here is the back story on Beats and Monster Cable. It is a classic modern business tale that you would do well to read because there are many lessons to be learned.