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For The Good Life

Golf 2020

Really into golf this year. The pandemic has injected a renewed interest in the game. Most courses I’ve played have been packed and I see a lot of young players.

John M & Me at Randall Oaks Golf Club

A few years back, it seemed the sport was dying. Who knows, this could save the industry?

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For The Good Life

Us

There are good humans
There are bad humans
White, black, brown, tan, orange, whatever color
There are people with irrational beliefs based on some tragedy from years past
There are people with mental issues and chemical imbalances
There are politicians

There are soul-less people and there are amazing generous people
Politics can’t solve every issue.

Your vote can solve some public issues
Your heart can solve the real issues.

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For The Good Life

The Monster of all Tradeoffs

I hesitated to write about this publicly. I’m not one to publish my opinions about current events, political issues or fake news. Usually, I stick to music and after reading this you might agree.

What’s happened since January is a once-in-a-generation event. It’s so monumental, we probably won’t be able to get proper perspective for another year or so. When the news was announced that there was an “executive order” to close down most of America, I had an extremely bad feeling. I didn’t fear the virus at all, frankly. I feared having to start from zero again – for the 3rd time (dot-com bubble, financial crisis).

I’ve been working with a software startup for about a year now. We are just starting to see some light at the end of the launch tunnel. Now, the light is very dim. Our staffing division was chopped in half, pretty much overnight. My wife was put on furlough and needs to collect unemployment. There is a chance (hopefully small) that our income goes to $0 in June.

My son who went through fire trying to get a winning season at his high school had an excellent chance at his final baseball season. Now – it’s history and we’ll never know. Four years of preparation, elbow surgery, thousands of dollars for travel baseball and hundreds of games. Even though we enjoyed those times (other than the broken elbow), the hope was leading up to this final season of his senior year in high school. He has paid a large toll to “save lives” and I’m sure he hasn’t fully grasped that yet.

I get it, we need to distance and slow the curve, but I think we went too far. People’s businesses and perhaps their futures have been burned to the ground by an executive order. No vote. Just a bunch of “smart” people telling our politicians what to do. Did we save lives? Yes, for sure. However, the mortality rate for humans is still at 100%.

I believe we could have taken precautions without destroying the economy, families and our government. This bailout is 3x the size of 2009, but it’s worse because we’ve derailed several industries that were perfectly fine. We’ve artificially created a depression that might take another decade to recover – who really knows.

People are so scared of this virus, that there is an enormous amount of irrational behavior going on. Behaviors that may never change. My grandma used to sweep the front porch every day until the day she died. She did that out of habit from the effects of the dust bowl in 1930. 60 years later. People will probably wear masks for decades. Some people will be afraid to shake hands forever.

By taking such drastic measures to slow the spread, certain types of people will be changed forever. Was that all absolutely necessary? No one I know has (or had) the virus. Of all my family, friends and neighbors, I’ve heard of one person who got it – and he’s recovered. Lockdown, mission accomplished? What happens when it starts spreading again next Fall?

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For The Good Music

Time Stand Still

Absolutely epic. This was one of my favorite Rush songs of that era. This group has captured the essence of this song in such a beautiful rendition – without drums.

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For The Good

Must Listen: Noah Kagan Podcast

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For The Good

May The Fourth Be With You

I woke up thinking about how all water in the ocean is being held down by gravity and how it’s a true miracle we just don’t go shooting off the planet into space.

Life is good.  I appreciate everything and everyone around me.  The more positive I become, the more positive situations occur. The more gratitude and generosity I show, the more goodness comes back to me.

We all know this to be true, but yet act selfishly way too often.

The human condition is quite ironic at times.

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For The Good Music New Music

Why Radio Is Still Relevant (Part I)

…And it will be for a long time to come.

Three reasons: 1)Free 2)Curated 3)Simple

I just read Macklemore’s post on his meteoritic rise to international superstar.  One year ago, he and his team were an underground rapper/band playing any venue possible to an audience of 10-100 people. After his first single, “Thrift Shop” going #1 on iTunes for 3 weeks, he received a few phone calls – to say the least.

LA Reid came out to see one of his shows in Minnesota and offered him a deal.  He politely refused, however, Macklemore’s manager got an idea. The idea was to approach their distributor (subsidiary of Warner Bros) to shop their single(s) to radio and pay a commission back to the distributor.  This is a story unto itself – possibly changing the music business forever. At first the distributor refused, but after some negotiation they struck a deal.  Thrift Shop was a monster hit on radio, which blew up worldwide.  Macklemore followed up with two more singles that were just as big, “Same Love” even bigger.

The internet provides access to billions of people, but there’s very little curation and focused attention. It’s an extremely long tail with millions of curators. There’s no such thing as passive listening – even Pandora requires self-curation.

Why Radio Still Matters in 2020

Radio provides focused exposure that the Internet can’t.  The reason is the car radio.  It takes no effort to listen to the radio in the car. Even Pandora and Sirius have limited listenership due to the (underrated) digital divide. You need to pay a subscription and/or have high-speed Internet in your car. I’m all about innovation, but radio still provides higher quality sound (look it up). Radio is super simple tech.  Two buttons that you can use while still driving.

Macklemore’s songs went to #1 on iTunes, but that was only 78,000 albums sold after a month.  iTunes was the ultimate test market for Macklemore and radio provided the multiplier. Sales went into the millions after radio.

Radio is the 10x Multiplier

Think about it, as big as Macklemore is now, why couldn’t he breakthrough his modest underground following?  I think it’s because his network of influencers can only reach so far. Having your (great) songs blasted on thousands of radio stations, tens of thousands of times per day is going to gain new influencers – thus dumping gas on the forest fire.  Everyone in Macklemore’s camp knew – there was a ceiling in the underground world.

YouTube probably has the same impact as radio, however it still requires someone to 1) find the video, 2) press play and 3) watch something on a device.  All of which is not free, curated or simple.

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For The Good

4th Annual Rock The Heart Benefit

Fox Valley Heart FundToday is the 4th annual Rock The Heart benefit, which is organized by the Fox Valley Heart Foundation. It’s an awesome event that has been held each year at Ballydoyle’s Aurora.

The Fund focuses on increasing awareness and education through community outreach programs and public workshops related to cardiovascular risk reduction topics.

It has been my privilege to perform each year with whatever band I’m in at the time.  This year, Lincoln Don’t Lie will be performing from 7-8:30pm and we plan on being extra rowdy tonight!!

One of my startup companies, MileFork has donated a boatload of decals (thanks Mark!).

Rock The Heart Decals