Growth Ideas

#SXSW via #meerkat and @mazzeo

So I couldn’t get down to Austin, TX this week to partake in South-by-Southwest. I was pretty bummed, but I think maybe I may have caught some of the best conversations despite being in Chicago.

Last week, I saw a post on Product Hunt for Meerkat.  Meerkat is a live video streaming app, mobile-to-mobile. It uses your Twitter login and when you start a stream, a tweet is sent with a link to the live feed.

So, I happened upon a few key players streaming from SXSW like Gary Vaynerchuk, Sarah Evans and someone I’ve been looking to meet, Matt Mazzeo.

Via Meerkat, I caught Matt’s daily “lowercase office hours” in the lobby of a hotel where he does quick interviews/discussions with founders and other influencers during SXSW.

Today’s session was pretty great and he even did a quick discussion with the Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis’ agent.  Very cool impromptu conversation about a movie in the works for Mikhail Gorbachev.

Here’s a quick recap of the startups he put on his “hang”.  Hopefully I’ve captured the correct elevator pitch for each of these:

Homerun – Killer stories about sports players built on their stats – Great stuff curated by interesting people – Worldwide travel rewards program

Snowshoe – Plastic ID that uses smartphone screen for recognition

Humin – Contacts stored in a more human way

Clinton Foundation – not a startup but a mention, none-the-less.

Looking forward to more great stuff from @mazzeo on @meerkat!

Growth Self-Help

How To Boost Your Productivity With This Simple Routine

Being self-employed is hard. Sure, there is no boss, but then again no one is giving you tasks.  You have to take it all on and prioritize and make sure the right stuff is getting done.

It gets very stressful and I’ve struggled with minor (and no-so minor) bouts of anxiety.

I’ve done a bunch of research and tested various types of meditation.  Many creatively ambitious people including; Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Tim Ferris and many others have discovered a secret.

This is it – and it’s pretty simple.

Two, 20-minute mediation sessions each day.  One in the morning and one in the late afternoon.

The morning session will clear your mind from all the noise and “to-do’s” that are on the list and give you the focus to start knocking them out.  The afternoon session will refill your mental and emotional gas tank and you will feel refreshed for the second part of your day.

Try it for one week and see the results.

If 20 minutes is to long, start with 5 or 10.

Just sit in a chair, close your eyes and picture a flame.  Focus on the flame and take deep breaths. Open your throat and breath through your nose. I like to hum which also helps my focus and vocal cords (I’m a singer).

You will likely have many thoughts running through your mind (like this is boring).  Just set all thoughts aside and focus on the flame.

The benefits are astounding.

Focus and energy are the firepower needed to be productive in any field, job, creative outlet, etc.

Let me know how it goes!

Growth Music

The Master Of Vocal Therapy

Mark BaxterMark Baxter is a hero.  He has been working with vocalists for 25 years and helping them create great performances and more importantly, saving their voices.

Mark has worked with thousands of singers at all levels.  He’s worked with Johnny Resnick (Goo Goo Dolls) Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) Gary Cherone (Extreme) Scott Weiland (Velvet Revolver) and many more.

I had some vocal issues pop up when singing with the Van Dammes and I contacted Mark to find out what was going on.  We went through a few sessions and figured out what was happening.  After a few sessions, he gave me some exercises to workout the vocal cords prior to singing and they have worked like a charm.  I even did a few gigs with inflamed vocal cords due to allergies and survived!

Kudos to Mark and his commitment to singers everywhere.  Check out his YouTube channel for a ton of helpful exercises and vocal therapy information.

Growth Stuff

Create For Yourself

Most songwriters, artists and creators in general usually think in terms of creating a product for external consumption. I know I do.

However, it’s a good practice to create things for yourself.  This means creating something that is out of your comfort zone that no one would ever see.  Create something that uses skills outside your expertise. This builds the creative muscle and will most likely give you more ideas for your primary creative endeavors.

Todd Henry, author of “The Accidental Creative” calls it Unnecessary Creation.  Allow yourself to dig deep into something that you never plan on showing anyone.

You will be surprised at the results.