In January 2020, I wrote this new song with the working title ‘Confusion.’ Obviously, I had no idea how the year would play out and this song would turn out to be very relevant. I guess you could call it my “2020 song.”
Today, I’m excited to officially release the song to the world. Some have said it sounds a bit R.E.M.ish
Over the past 30 years, I have been a founder, co-founder or management team member for 6 startups. Over the course of that time, I have made (or the team) so many mistakes, it would be impossible to count. What’s worse, is that I’ve repeated some of these mistakes because I didn’t properly track decisions and outcomes.
My new Founder’s Toolkit helps with just that and more. It’s a group of 6 tools that will help founders tactically maneuver the rough landscape of startups. It took many years of trial and error to collect these tools and to determine these are the right tools. I hope that you or founder you know can benefit!
I’m a huge fan of the bass guitar. I think it’s the most underrated instrument in modern music. If you took the bass out of 90% of the rock songs between 1972 – 2000, those songs would be completely different.
Bass was my second instrument and started playing at 15 years old. My first bass was a red Hondo. Haven’t seen one since then. I think I either sold it or gave it to my friend Pete Scales and then “upgraded” to a Peavey Patriot 🤣!
This is my one and only bass now.
It’s an Ibanez SDGR and I found it at a pawn shop here in West Dundee, IL a few years back. It has an active pickup that sounds great direct into my DAW. Someday soon I’ll pick up a Fender P-Bass or Jazz.
My love for the bass started with the band Rush in 1981. As I dug deep into their music, I realized Geddy Lee played both bass and keys – and piano is my first instrument. So naturally, I started emulating what he did and learned a bunch of Rush songs on bass and keys. The pinnacle of bass/keys combo is of course the song “Tom Sawyer.”
Today, as I write songs, I try and bring in bass parts as soon as possible since the song really starts to make sense to me with the low-end definition. Sometimes, I’ll even start with a bass line, then add drums and go from there. Those songs tend to be more interesting (IMO). My song Nowhere Fast is an example of that.
Writing has been a double-edged sword my entire life. I enjoy the thought of writing. I enjoy reading or listening to something I wrote when it hits the mark. Usually it doesn’t, thus the other side of the sword. It’s that judgmental side of creating, ‘this might suck’ that stops us.
This week I took in a lot of feedback from two sources about the creation process:
Seth Godin – The Practice An incredibly deep look at the habits and process of creating something. Songs, books, content, whatever. Two key takeaways: 1) you need a daily practice, even if its 10 minutes and 2) you need to understand why you are creating and who it’s for.
Interview with Jerry Seinfeld Tim Ferris and Jerry talk in depth about his writing process over the span of 50 years. It’s crazy simple, but not easy.
If you are creating something, anything, hit reply and tell me about it!
Entering the last month of 2020. Whew. Let’s hope 2021 is a complete turnaround.
Here’s some cool stuff I found last week:
Interview of Daniel Eck on the Tim Ferris podcast. Most of the interview is Daniel talking about his growth as CEO at Spotify. Interesting to hear how he tackled the massive changes a company goes through from startup to going public. Being Swedish seems to be an advantage.
If you are into crypto trading, I stumbled upon a way to earn some free cypto on Coinbase. I’m not a financial advisor, but $50 in free Stellar Lumens is not too shabby for answering a few questions.
Queen’s Gambit is extremely bingeable (is this a word?) on Netflix. I learned chess as a kid and this series got me back in the game. Really, really good – even if you don’t play (or like) chess.
Back in the early days of Gigable, we worked to release and market our mobile app and ticket platform. The app was officially released on July 1, 2016.
To introduce the app to our initial audience, we got a booth at Ribfest in Naperville, IL. This fest is the largest of its kind in the suburbs of Chicago during the summer. There is a big focus on live music which is why we wanted to introduce our app at this event. We also had a big showcase planned for August 19 at Wentz Concert Hall in downtown Naperville. What better way to promote a live show, than to talk to people at an outdoor music fest in the weeks leading up to the show!? (more about this lesson in Vol. 2)
We got our banner printed, along with a few thousand promo cards. Then we spent 4 days meeting and talking to about 1000 people about Gigable and the emerging artists we feature. The conversations were very positive and we had a good response from music fans regarding our concept. We ended up getting about 100+ people load the app.
All this is going well, except we didn’t configure a great solution to measure app usage. In hindsight, we should have had a plan to use Mixpanel or GA to get in-depth analytics on usage. Not just usage, but stickiness. How often to people come back and use the app on a weekly basis? Are they saving shows or favoring songs? Unfortunately, we don’t know. As of September 7, 2016, we still don’t really know.
The big lesson: Setup methods to measure “viability”! It’s great to say that you are launching our MVP and getting the product out there. That is a great accomplishment and you look really smart. But, is it truly viable? What’s the threshold? What’s the benchmark? It doesn’t have to be a perfect measure, but directionally, you should be confident to invest more money into the product and marketing post launch. It’s really easy, I mean super-easy to dump thousands of dollars marketing anything. But does it stick? Is the brand message getting through? How will you know?
These are the questions you will have planned for prior to launch.
Starting in Movember, 2020 I’ll be hosting a series of virtual private concerts. These are Zoom-powered and crowd participation is encouraged! Livestreaming is ok, but with this format we (the band) can directly interact with you – almost like a real show.
First show is 11/5/20 at 8pm CST. Tickets are $10 for the series of three shows and can be purchased here. Can’t wait to actually see you!
My computer kept stopping with a “system overload” error as I was trying to record the acoustic guitar part. My Macbook Pro is old but mighty (for a while longer I hope!). I changed some parameters and finished the track. Then, listened back. Horrible. “This sucks, @#$%! it” and I closed Logic (recording software).
Then I sat there and thought of all the advice I give my kids… “It’s supposed to be hard, that’s how you learn” “It’s always darkest before dawn” – and lots of other supposed wisdom. So, I shook my head and re-opened the song. “I’m going to dive deeper and find this damn song” – An hour later I found it. The perfect vibe for the song – something that has eluded me for years. I may have had a little breakthrough.
So, here it is – the unreleased song of the month: “Let Me In”