Archive for May, 2006

Songs for Summer – “…and Neglect My Logic Twice Daily”

May 28 2006 Published by under Media

For years and years Atmosphere has been one of my favourite groups.

Too many memories attached to too many of their songs – both amazingly great and painfully sad – for me not to introduce you to them. Over the years those close to me have had certain Atmosphere songs burned into their memories thanks to my playing of their songs incessantly.

The lead singer, Slug, is a rock-star. Their success can be attributed to a number of things – relentless touring, development of a fanatical fan base, being unbelievably authentic, and writing lyrics that rattle around your head long after the music stops playing.

I saw them perform about 4 years ago in a small basement club in Toronto. Unreal. It was one of those concert experiences that ruin future concerts because they just can’t measure up.

Their EP released in 2002 is one of my favourite albums of all time. It is a definite must have for anyone who enjoys music. Trust me on this – I put all of the little credibility that I have on the line with this recommendation.

There are a lot of great songs on the album. “The Woman With The Tattooed Hands” is incredible but this one may be my favourite song of all time. Give it a listen and check out the album.

“Don’t Ever Fucking Question That”

[I've added playtagger to this site, so just push the blue "play" button beside the link to listen right from the browser]

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Scooters and Influence

May 27 2006 Published by under General

The other day I received a hilarious email from a reader thanking me for the brand new scooter.

Now, this site may be increasing its cool quotient but I haven’t reached that higher-level of coolness where I give away scooters to readers.

Here’s the story.
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Wisdom of Others – 7 Life Lessons

May 26 2006 Published by under General,Startup Strategy

I’ve known Ken for just under a year and he’s quickly becoming a very good friend. Not a week goes by where we don’t share a hilarious laugh, a great conversation, and a ridiculous thought. It’s a great mix. And I’m sure the friendship will only get stronger. I asked Ken to share a bit of advice and I was blown away with what he shared. Thank you for sharing this with me, and now, with everyone. Purposefully saved for last, here’s Ken’s thoughts on “life lessons”:

1) Most importantly, I’ve learned that “Life is short”… sometimes much too short.

A dear friend died the day after her 37th birthday. My eulogy highlighted how her personal priorities made her death somewhat easier to cope with. She *always* allocated time for herself, her significant other and her family. She worked hard, but didn’t let work rule her life. Money was always budgeted to allow her both to vacation, and to save for “the future”. She spoke of this “balance” many times before she died, and her wisdom allowed her to enjoy the life that she did live to its fullest.

I can’t quote her source, but when I was putting in some crazy hours consulting and traveling she reminded me “no one has ever wished on their deathbed that they’d spent more time at the office”.

2) Recognize that there are things you control, things that you can influence, and things that are beyond your control and influence. Success is a relative term, and means different things to different people. Ensure that whatever your measures of success are, they are within your control. It’s amazing how some people judge themselves and others based on things that they have no control over.

Personal success is within your control. Business success is not. Assure yourself of having a successful life by allocating time to the things you can win / control

3) I learned that among the things that make a successful business the most underrated item is “luck”! In business, sometimes great people fail, and sometimes idiots succeed. Ensure that you don’t judge a person based on events that were beyond their control.

4) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! They are your best opportunities for learning. However, ensure that you do learn from them, as people have little patience for those that repeat their mistakes.

5) Don’t be afraid to question the status quo when it doesn’t appear to make sense. I’ve uncovered many misallocated resources by asking the question “why?” and ensuring that the response is adequate and appropriate.

6) There are two types of companies… the quick and the dead. A quick decision is usually better than the perfect decision made slowly. I remember two analogies I repeatedly used with a management team I was part of in the 90’s.

- A car has stalled on the railway tracks. The passengers spent so much time debating whether it was more efficient to exit on the driver’s or passenger’s side that they were killed by the next freight train.

- Rather than standing still agonizing and calculating if the best direction to travel for a long journey is compass heading 274.4 degrees or 261.3 degrees, lets just start moving “west”, and refine our course as we go.

We can spend too much time planning our course, when we should take action. The corollary is that even when we do start immediately, quite often our destination changes well before we arrive.

7) Integrity is one of your most valuable assets. No one can take it from you, but it amazes me how cheaply some people trade it away.

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A Lesson On New Media From Howard Stern (Or, How Not To Make $500 Million From Ad Sense)

May 25 2006 Published by under General

Howard gets it.

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The King Of All Media has understood what’s up for a lot longer than most. And now – now that the technology is in place and his audience is savvy enough, he’s cashing in on his vision.

How?

By implementing down-geeked new media strategies.

We can learn a lot from him.

Fans want deep. Howard goes deep. Two channels that air around-the-clock Howard-universe content. I mean, he’s created an entire news organization to deliver news on all things Howard. That’s deep.

Howard embraces, and leverages, a Howard online community – referencing and acknowledging the discussions taking place there on an almost daily basis.

He offers his audience the chance of becoming stars within their universe – investing time to create characters and personalities that add future value to the show (as well as helping some fullfill their dreams).

User generated content’s a very new media thing, correct? Well, to the delight of his listeners, Howard’s been capitalizing on that for ages.

Sometimes he’ll mash up a few new media ideas – user generated content, micro chunking, going deep, etc. etc. – to produce something special (The winning entry is well worth the view).

Oh, did I mention his television channel?

He’s on a role and making a tonne of money.

He’s been practicing new media strategies since long before you were talking about them, trying to earn a cup of coffee through ad sense.

Sure he hasn’t embraced the truest forms of new media. But, if anything, that’s a testament to his patience and understanding of his fans – if he aimed for that he’d be faaaar too geeky for his core audience and would shatter his following, distroying his long-term value. He’s down-geeked new media strategies, keeping them within the promise of what the majority can embrace.

[note: if you believe that there's a "truest form of new media" please close the browser, turn off the computer, go out and experience life]

Here’s the biggest two lessons we can all learn from Howard – whether we’re involved with new media or not. Ready for them?

(1) He’s authentic and honest. Beyond belief. And the loyalty that this generates is incredible. Both from his listeners and his costars. (Actually, part of his success comes by making his listeners his costars – much like many successful bloggers).

(2) He understands that his audience is everything.

Fiiiiire! Hiiiiii Fred.

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Wisdom of Others – Delayed Gratification

May 24 2006 Published by under General,Startup Strategy

When I first started reading blogs I’d eagerly follow links from blog to blog like a trail of breadcrumbs. Each link held the promise of a great new blog. I still remember the day I first came across A VC. I was blown away with the content and spent hours digging through the archives. I loved the quality of the insightful commentary - both the venture capital discussion and the music recommendations.

A VC quickly became my favourite blog and the first one I checked every day. Years later it still is. I suspect the same is true for many of you.

When Fred started this post with “I don’t know Fraser…” I laughed. I found it hilarious that, thanks to his blog, I felt like I knew Fred so well, and yet he literally knew nothing about me. I also found it very cool.

Fred’s obviously a very impressive guy and is doing some great things in venture capital. Just starting out, I often follow Anthony’s wisdom and leverage Fred’s writing to learn a great deal. Here’s some advice from Fred on what he wished he knew after working for two years:

“I wish I knew that it was going to be another 10 years before I’d make any money in venture capital. Venture capital is a long term business, the gains take forever to come your way. Only the patient or the stupid stick it out.  Not sure which of those I am.”

I continue to enjoy A VC and hopefully Fred will continue to share his thoughts through it. Fred still doesn’t know me, but hopefully, through this blog, he’ll start to. Anyone who is a daily part of my life should.

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