Two Ryan Adams tickets for tonight's show (http://www.last.fm/event/303487) fell into my lap this morning so if you're in D.C. and free tonight, let me know if you want to go. Leave a comment or email, IM, txt, or call me.
Given my recent trip to Chicago and shooting the breeze with Pedro about potential new business ideas, this NYT article on Max Levchin, founder of PayPal, only got me more energized about the prospects of starting my own web company.
I want to create something and work tirelessly to make it successful so here are the reasons why the article struck a chord (emphasis added):
It's not inherently all about the money (of course that's a great and mandatory outcome and it's a reason driving everyone but it's not the only or primary reason)
"They are happy to be wealthy, of course, but many of these baby-faced technology tycoons often seem indifferent to the buying power of their money, at least at this stage of their lives. Instead, nearly all of them have chosen to throw themselves back into a start-up, not so much because they want a spectacular new home or a personal jet — though many of them do — but because they are in a competition with themselves and one another."
Business time becomes personal time when you're passionate about the work that you're doing, and this blending of your two worlds isn't necessarily a bad thing. This relates to Mihaly Csikszenthmihalyi research on the idea of flow (see my an old 2005 post mentioning this concept).
"I enjoy sitting on nice beaches and hanging out with my girlfriend and playing with my dog, but that's three hours a day," Mr. Levchin said. "What about the remaining 18 hours I'm awake?"
Sounding like Richard Florida discussing the creative class, it's about your talent, not your school or family background:
"In other parts of the country, things like a great estate are the symbols people most respect," Mr. Sutton said. "But here, the greatest status symbol is a person's ability," he added, to "still bring out hot new companies" and show that you are "working on the hot new technologies."
Wrote this via email since I can't post via Typepad when I'm at Murky so formatting and links may not look right. It actually did work earlier this morning but now it crapped out again.
Was a busy week, including work trip to Chicago but got to hang out with Patrick, Justin, and Pedro. Had a great time catching up over a good meal at the recently opened restaurant A Mano but as Pedro said, anytime the bartender has to waste three whiskeys because she fumbled the order you know there's trouble. I'll chalk it up to opening week jitters but back to the business at hand...
Thanks to Fred for first exploring this topic (of visually representing your musical tastes based on frequency and date) a few weeks back and for his recent post about LastGraph, an application that visually graphs your music listening habits (via Last.fm's API) in an informative and cool design. I believe the original concept for this came from Lee Byron at Carnegie Mellon:
I posted about combining LivePlasma's visualiziation tool and Last.fm's music listening data back in late 2005 after seeing LivePlasma's app on C|Net's websites as an alternative to tag clouds that could show related articles and keywords's data can be displayed in visually appealing, data-rich way, now it's time to combine this analysis with variables like:
release of artists' new albums
concerts you attended
personal and work events
web and music searching
I admit that there's a lot of personal, potentially private information intertwined with this next level of analysis but I'm not suggesting that the results be on your blog and indexed by Google unless you those details to be publically available. What's important is the ability to know how your music listening habits are influenced by events in your life, for your own personal curiosity of course and also for understanding how society at large discovers and listens to music based on moods and other factors.
You want to save the music industry, get to this next level of analysis, plotting the Last.fm graph above with life events and you'll have quite valuable knowledge on how to succeed in the digital age.
The hyperbole about "fast" is almost laughable if not for the reality of most people's "high-speed" connections in the United States being truly laughable. Remember how far behind the United States is to the rest of the world in overall broadband penetration (yes we have larger geographic areas to cover but it's more than that) and even the paltry broadband connections that do we have are pitiful compared to the bandwidth of Europe's or Asia's internet connections.
I'm not saying that all of the blame rests on the shoulders of the U.S. telco companies but as monopolistic players with no real incentives to innovate or compete on prices, they carry a large amount of the burden. Don't get me started on Net Neutrality or ask me about those 'Cable Brings Choice' TV and print ads that I see here in D.C.
Best of all, don't even think about criticizing them either because AT&T recently updated its terms of Service (TOS) to indicate it could cut off your internet connection if your opinion or commentary "tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." This language has since been changed, due to the public outrage first generated on the blogosphere, but it's another reason I have no love lost for the telcos.
And I had to laugh, as Battelle also noted when Mark come on stage, that he was wearing the now ubiquitous Adidas sandals/slides. Those sandals are like Steve Jobs' jeans, no belt, and black turtleneck attire, Zuckerberg is always wearing those sandals (and usually a North face fleece too) whenever you see him.
A few important takeaways on The Economist’s recent special report on innovation. Worth reading for anyone interested in economic development, global competitiveness, and entrepreneurial activity in the world. And for the Friedman ‘the world is flat’ crowd and Richard Florida’s ‘creative class’ disciples, there’s something here for you too (emphasis added).
The debate between idea creation and execution isn't as important as you think, more critical is the filtering process between ideas and execution
Failure is good but fast failures are key (the U.S. has an advantage here, e.g. the ease of declaring bankruptcy and starting a new business endeavor without any baggage)
Radical innovation and disruptive innovation are different and the two are often conflated
User-driven Innovation: Listening to only your best (high value, etc.) customers can skew your innovations towards the niche and erode your market share with the mighty middle. Kenneth Morse of MIT's Entrepreneurship Center advocates firms should keep closer watch on new and dissatisfied users, who are much more likely to be source of disruptive ideas.
Richard Lyons of NBER and Goldman Sachs argues that “commoditisation often occurs even faster in services than in physical products because innovations are easier to copy, patents can provide less protection, upfront costs are lower, & product cycles are shorter
For businesses that use open, networked innovation, it matters less where ideas are invented and more about extracting value from ideas wherever they come from.
[This seems to fly in the face of Michael Porter’s work on innovation clusters and Richard Florida's new book/research that location does matter (listed to his keynote from the Human Capital Institute conference last April, podcast here, where his new data shows that it's still job satisfaction, job challenge and responsibility, and relationships with coworkers BUT that it's also about your community's openness to new ideas and people.]
Sergey Brin insists that “Silicon Valley doesn't have better ideas and isn't smarter than the rest of the world' buthas an edge in filtering ideas and executing them(there's that filtering idea between innovative idea creation and the execution of those creative ideas, no. 1 above). Or put another way, domineering bosses and governments can only drive innovation so far because 'creative people like to challenge constraints and authority.'
So what does all of this mean? Or why are these takeaways worth mentioning?
I studied International Political Economy in school and combined with having worked in economic development for the city of Colorado Springs, I like to read and study about economic development, innovation, competitiveness, and globalization for the long-term, macro reasons.
At a more personal level, I want to know how where the economy and business world is going in the next five to ten years and how this will affect entrepreneurs: given the changes we’re seeing above, how can new companies or business models develop that harness the knowledge and implications of these insights above?
And just so you or I can make a buck (which there’s nothing wrong with) but also so society in general can enjoy an expanding economic pie. Improving our own lot can, should, and does improve the lot of others.
Stars played an amazing show tonight at 9:30. They were extremely energetic and you could tell by the back and forth between the lead singers (Torquil Campbell talks about it in this The Onion A.V. Club interview) that they really love doing this. Passion is hard to fake and it brings out the best in everyone and tonight was an amazing show.
It was good pop music, with a good mix of slow and fast songs, and it gives you reason to believe that good music, despite most of the crap on the radio and on TV, is still being made-- it's just that you may have to go to Canada (or Montreal specifically) to hear it.
The highlight for me was 'My Favourite Book,' which I've blogged or Twittered about before. In fact, I would have bought the ticket just to hear them play that one song.
NPR recorded the show tonight so make sure to check their website nowin a couple weeks for the show.
UPDATE (10/21/07): Wrote the post last night on my mobile so added, photo, links, and formatting. I also added the quote below (from that same Onion interview) because it sums up what good music should accomplish (emphasis added):
The message is always the same from us: We want you to forget about this band. We want you to remember the songs and remember your own life, and remember your own potential for beauty. We don't care if you know who we are, we don't care if you think we're cool, and we don't care if you even own our records. We just want to, for a moment, make you aware that four chords and some beats can alter your perception of life and can make you think that life is a very strange, very beautiful thing, and that your life is somehow special. That'll always be the goal with this band. We don't have any solutions. We're not very powerful, exciting, unusual people. We're just trying to make powerful, unusual, exciting music, and make people feel that that music is a part of their lives. That's all we really care about.
Don't worry, I'm not crazy or the only one engaged in this conversation about the future of advertising, seems that Microsoft is also trying to provoke this same discussion via this humorous video below:
MMAs in McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn: where else could an awards show like that go down?
Art gallery and performance art open house in Brooklyn loft- $10 cover for open bar (which meant cheap beer), techno music thumping , guy juggling flaming torches, women doing vertical ballet via hanging columns of cloth, an art gallery with nice artwork that most didn't pay any attention too (we particularly liked the masking-tape boat), a huge snake for people to wrap themselves up in, and tons of hipsters everywhere trying so hard
Walking through Chinatown to catch the bus back to DC and seeing a woman holding her infant over the gutter of the street for a makeshift bathroom
Seeing (what I'm told) is the always huge line at Shake Shack in Union Square Park
MoMa (too brief walkthrough, need another two or three hours there): the Picasso room; the new photography 2007 exhibit- Tanyth Berkeley (exquisite, soul-piercing portraits) and Berni Searle (bright, abstract designs); a series of stark, unadorned black and white photographs of early Colorado Springs (circa 1950s)