December 31, 2012
What a great year (again) for new music and indie-rock! I've enjoyed dozens of full length albums in a world of iTunes singles. My method of discovering new music centers on CMJ's Charts, Pitchfork, my local record shop (Freakbeat) and serendipity. I buy the CD (yeah, usually the CD, if possible from my local store), then listen to it in my car and if I like it, via my Apple devices.
To me, a great album is glued together by at least a half dozen great songs and a cohernet sound. So, without any more windup, here are my ten favorite albums of the 2012:
1. Purity Ring, "Shrines" - This Canadian duo delivers a downtempo, trip-hopian record that evokes Portishead, Massive Attack and Metric. The production is innovative and the record has song after song to get in your head and make your ear buds happy.
2. Jack White, "Blunderbuss" - The best songwriting of the year IMHO. White combines the best of his White Stripes style with his evolving sense of humor and willingness to bend the Delta Blues to his liking.
3. fun., "Some Nights" - This is the cool-band-that-blew-up this year, rocketing to the top of the charts and making the leap from indie to pop sensation. When you combine Queen like vocal layers with Green Day like enthusiasm, you have an infectious sound. The title track, along with We Are Young, will go down as the anthems of 2012.
4. Ty Segall, "Twins" - This is my favorite hard indie record of the year, just beating out Metz and The Men. Ty fronted Orange County based Epsilon before branching off to his solo efforts. Think Nirvana's sound from Bleach combined with a male fronted Runaways and you've got it.
5. Passion Pit, "Gossomer" - If you mix four Berklee School of Music graduates with a dollup of MGMT's sensiblity, you've got Passion Pit. They have greatly improved with this sophomore release and their hit "Talk A Walk" is one of my favorite singles of the year.
6. THEESatisfaction, "awE naturalE" - This Seattle hip hop duo is one of Sub Pop's recent forays into alternative beat culture. They have the eloquence of the Fugees, yet a band like sound, much like the Roots. Great album to relax, dance or nod your head too.
7. Django Django (self-titled) - This London based quartet brought energy and vitality to bedroom-produced-pop with their debut album. If you love Franz Ferdinand or Kaiser Chiefs, you'll love this band too. After a half dozen infectious electro-brit-pop songs, the band settles into an instrumental-electronica section to end the record on a high note.
8. Grizzly Bear, "Shields" - In this album, the band matures into a songwriting force to be reckoned with. Likely, their tours with Radiohead influenced their work, adding structure to their shimmer. Each track adds to the choral rock energy of the album, delivering a consistent indie-rock delight.
9. Big Pink, "Future This" - This UK duo delivers two of my favorite things: Anthem & Electro rock. Their hit "Superman" will lift you off the ground, and likely be your psyche-up song for your next big challenge or performance in life.
10. Alt-J, "An Awesome Wave" - Taken from a Mac command, this band's name stands for "Slow Change." They combine what I like about Fleet Foxes with what I love about My Morning Jacket: Shimmer tones and vocal swirls. The track "Fitzpleasure" will hook you on the band, so give it a listen and prepare to buy their album.Tweet
December 20, 2012
For my entire life, I've heard this one: Time is money! However, most of the people who say this haven't yet figured out how to fully sell out their time. That means that for them, time could potentially be money, but in the end...it's just time.
This misguided view causes us to be impatient, utilitarian in our relationships and stern this those who don't operate at our pace or 'waste our time' on calls or in meetings. Again, the assumption we errantly take in this approach is that our time is fully committed for cash, and others barge in for it, taking points off the board.
A few weeks ago a sage business person I know offered a counter-perspective that really hit home with me. Money is time. It takes time to make it, and while money can be found, made or borrowed - time cannot. Every day, you look in the mirror and realize that you are getting older, slower and more likely out of step with up and coming generations. At some point your body or mind will start to slip, and unlike the flu, you will never get better.
I know that's morbid, but it's also pretty realistic. If it took you a year to save $10,000, then spending it in the wrong place costs you a precious year of your life to replace. If you haven't noticed, it's harder in 2012 to make up lost money than it was in 2005, and might get even more difficult in the future.
For me, here's my takeaway: Money is a precious resource I've sacraficed time for. Time away from my loved ones. Time I'll never get back. Money is a reflection of it, not what it bears. I will be judicious in how I spend or invest it. I will look for passive income streams where ever I can, so that I can stretch time instead of gringing it out with active income that requires my present capabilities. I will teach others to think of money that way also, be they individuals or companies. (As a startup founder, it's clear that if you run out of money, you don't have any more time to find traction, it's literally your life-cycle.)
The next time I eyeball that $500 gadget or a fancy car, I'll look at my watch and calculate how much time it will ultimately cost me. And that may change my mind.Tweet
December 12, 2012
Why do we use social media, be it personally or professionaly? To be heard.
This was my takeaway from the recent Edison Research survey, which indicated that 25% of Facebook users visit the network five times or more a day. And when they visit, they pay more attention to interactions with their posts than the content others are putting up.
This is a remarkable insight for insightful marketers, entrepreneurs and businesses. When we first start using social media, we likely reconnect with old friends and curiousity drives our usage. Then, after the new wears off, we begin to use these platforms to express ourself or be a maven.
This jives with Dan Zarella's findings at Hubspot, where he indicates that the top reasons we share content are to be "in the know" or to "warn/recommend" to our friends. Again, it's all about expression. The psychic currency, then, is for their posts to in turn be liked, shared, commented on, etc.
So here's the takeaway: If you want to connect with media, influeners, prospects or your customers, don't interrupt them with a cold call or spam them with a press release or "what's up?" email. Give them what they want: Attention. Create lists (Twitter) or preferred feed (Get Notifications/FB) for those you want to build a relationship with. When they post content that should be shared, share it or comment. Be additive, though, because it's all about authenticity.
They will reciprocate by paying more attention to you, and who knows, your hat tip could lead to opporutnities to interact. In a world where your calls don't get returned and your emails are never opened, the hat tip may be the only way to become signal, instead of noise.
Watch: Video clip from one of my keynotes on "How To Win Business Using Social Media."Tweet
December 05, 2012
Sometimes, it's a computer on a desk. Others, it's your iPhone by the bedpost. Any device will deliver your email, a constant string of welcome and unwelcome chatter. And your curiosity kills you, just like a kid watching the post man stuff the mail box. You can't help but check it over and over again all the day long.
And right before you go to bed, just before you brush your teeth or tuck in the kids, you steal a glance at your Inbox. You just can't help yourself. In most cases, the chatter is innocuous. In the rarest of cases, something needs your attention before the next morning. And I mean, rare.
But then there's the monthly or quarterly sleep killer that never fails to show up: An email that pisses you off. Maybe someone has been sipping and sending, being curt when they should be kind. You read the note, wonder, "why would he say that to me!?" and either tap back a salvo or trudge off to bed to mutter to yourself. You rehearse how you are going to tell her off tomorrow.
It sneaks into your sleep psyche too, sometimes your dreams. You complain to your partner or friends at the gym the next day, getting worked up about a stupid email you read at 10:30 last night. Then you go off on the culprit the next day, who often sheepishly replies, "jeez, I didn't mean any thing by it!" Does this read familiar to you?
Email is a horrible way to express your intentions, so of all media to eat before bedtime, it's the worst one for your soul.
Lately, I've been passing by my laptop on the way to bed. It's not there. I don't drag the iPad to bed, I read out of my Kindle instead. And I'm sleeping better too. Nothing's gone wrong, either, so turns out, it was a waste of time. The next morning, over a cup of coffee, last night's email never reads that badly.
For more, check out this video, from one of my keynotes.Tweet