Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eat Bitterness With Relentless Training

"I wanted to create a way to meet people through music." That's why Shawn Fanning created Napster. Not to make money. Not to get girls. Not to reinvent the industry. Not to piss off the record labels. But to help people connect. Talk about good intentions. And that's exactly why Napster worked. That's why there were eighty million registered users at its peak. Music isn't just the healing force of the universe, it's life's binding agent. It's not just for listening, it's for leveraging. And if today's brands were smart, they would take advantage of Shawn's equation. They would build something that allowed people to share their humanity. People first, parts second. Your product doesn't have to be about music, per se, but it does have to be about bringing people together through something like music. Otherwise it's just another website.

"Work is where you go to find out who your true self really is." We can read all the psychology books on the shelf. Do all the personal reflection exercises in the world. Go to therapy every week. Meditate for hours a day. Even journal until the ink runs out. But the best way to figure out who the hell we are is to do real work with real people for real money on a regular basis. Otherwise we're just winking in the dark. Feedback may be overrated, but it's still necessary.

"Eat bitterness with relentless training." Fascinating article about the next Tiger Woods. He's only eight years old, but he's on the path to greatness. Why? Because he feasts from a small plate, and stacks them as high as possible. Yes, that's the polar opposite of our indecisive, buffet-style culture. But frankly, I think we've grown tired of all these godforsaken choices. Enough with the variety. Let's just pick something, stick with it and learn to be okay with the result. Better to make a choice and get on with our lives comfortably, than be plagued by doubt wondering about what could have been a marginally better option.

"Anything that gets in the way of my focus to create gets cut out of my life." Prolificacy is a function of portability. Building multiple, mobile creative environments that allow you to snap into work mode at a moment's notice. My personal favorite is the sound recorder on my phone. At night, I lay down parts of songs I'm working on––a verse here, a chorus there––and during the day, I sing to myself on the subway or during my lunch break. This keeps the material fresh in my mind, even if I can't access my primary instrument, even if I'm miles away from my main songwriting station. Inspired by John Zorn's sixtieth birthday.