“Nobody fucking cares about your fucking art.”

I saw Hugh MacLeod at a SXSW Interactive panel. He said “Nobody fucking cares about your fucking art.”


you’ve got to:
– have killer work ethic
– get up early
– start a newsletter
– love your customers
– work like hell
– marketing is practice
– negotiation/selling is practice

SXSWi 2010 Sketches and Notes


What did I learn at SXSW Interactive this year? I’ve had a few weeks to think about it, so here are my sketches and notes with some post-conference thoughts and conclusions.

There are lots of great videos at SXSW’s YouTube channel, but the long-tail goldmine is the podcasts of the interactive sessions which are slow to be posted, but which could occupy the entire year catching up on all the great stuff I missed.


To see my sketches and notes by session… Continue reading “SXSWi 2010 Sketches and Notes”

Sketches From TEDx Austin

McCombs sponsored the live feed of Austin’s first TEDx event and I’m a bit of a TED nut — frequently cueing up a TED talk during lunch or while I bounce the baby — so when I was offered a spot through work I was thrilled. Here below is the info from the TEDxAustin speaker’s page, along with my sketches and a few notes.

To use any of these images, just click the pic to goto Flickr where you’ll find multiple sizes and the embed code to make it easy.


To see my sketches of all the presenters… Continue reading “Sketches From TEDx Austin”

News: Mon Jan 25

Roundup of quotes from interesting articles.

It’s about recognizing that the music itself can enhance the value of everything else, whether it’s shows, access or merchandise, and that letting fans share music can help increase the market and create more fans willing to buy compelling offerings. It’s about recognizing that even when the music is shared freely, there are business models that work wonders, without copyright or licensing issues even coming into play.

The Future Of Music Business Models (And Those Who Are Already There)

The first “leveling” came with ProTools. Then came non-label distribution. Now social media has emerged and…

We now arrive at a place where musicians/artists are comparable to chefs. All chefs, within reason, have access to the same ingredients…

Being an “artist” today means coming to terms with this leveling. How will you put your ingredients together in a manner that creates attraction and retention. These ingredients go beyond the musical notes, obviously, and relate to all facets of your work: your relationship with your market, your “brand,” etc.

What I think I’m most looking forward to, beyond the emergence of music/art that never would have emerged prior to this Leveling, is the lack of excuses that will exist… Since forever the artists’ fingers have wagged at: the label, the distributor, the publicist, the radio person, the web designer, the booking agent, the management … pretty much everyone but themselves.

The future belongs to those like Thomas Keller, David Chang, Ferran Adrià, Chris Bianco. Artists who use the ingredients that are available to everyone else, but combine them – in an alchemical manner – to create something truly remarkable and unique.

So…no excuses, right?

Coin a Phrase: The Leveling

George, of 9 Giant Steps also thinks VRM is where it’s at:

My hope is that content holders will make it even easier for their customers to engage with their content… VRM is that “Customers are born free and independent of vendors.” Another is, “Customers can assert their own terms of engagement and service.” It would behoove all of us on the supply-side to remember these things.

Tom Asacker warns against outdated concepts of branding:

So what’s next?  Certainly not “branding;” at least not in the conventional sense.  The notion that a marketplace offering is a static, transactional thing that needs the right injection of cosmetics and communication to bring it to life is flawed thinking in today’s environment…

Ours is an era of purpose and action.  What’s next are ideas and creative execution.

Branding Is A Dangerous Concept

"Ignore Everybody" (except Hugh MacLeod)

Hugh MacLeod’s book on being creative and successful is full of frank advice. He never mentions a family but it feels like, having run the marathon of 26 years or so of adulthood trying to make it, and having made it, Hugh is scratching his fatherly itch to pass on what he’s learned.

He’s a cool, cussin’, self-appointed, tell-it-like-it-is dad to all the creative types out there who’ve  got a dream and want to quit their day job knowing that they’ll soon get discovered if they do. But with tough-love, MacLeod delivers the hard but clear advice: don’t quit your art, but don’t quit your day job either. “Getting discovered” isn’t a realistic plan.

I’m lucky to have had a “cast-a-cold-eye” mom who has always supported my art but never minced words about my needing a day job, a backup plan, so I recognize MacLeod’s advice as the tough love that I, thankfully, got. I wasn’t always thankful, but at 37, with a wife and a two-month-old baby and a great day-job, I sure am glad I had someone hammering me in my early, optimistic 20’s, about what else I was going to do but believe in my dream of being a rock-star.

When I arrived in Austin 15 years ago from DC to be the next Guthrie, Dylan, or at least Townes Van Zandt, I met most of my close, lasting friends at the Cactus Cafe’s open mic night. We were bound together by the same talent and dreams.

Many of those friends didn’t have a parent nagging them not to put all their eggs in one basket, and almost all of them have tried to make a living as a musician at one point or another. And they’ve all suffered the dream-crushing burnout that follows. Most are still in the game, but have had to come around to plan B later, when it’s much harder to start a new career or just find a good day-job.

So thank you mom, and thank you Hugh for taking the unpopular position with the wide-eyed dreamers that their dreams are not all they need. We need to hear that, though I’m not sure it’s possible till we’ve tasted enough of reality’s blows.

The book is broken up into 37 rules. Here are seven that stuck with this musician:

1. Ignore everybody.
3. Put the hours in.
7. Keep your day job.
9. Every body has their own pri vate Mount Eve rest they were put on this earth to climb.
22. Nobody cares. Do it for your self.
35. Savor obs cu rity while it lasts.
36. Start blog ging.

Somewhere along the way I modified my dream to what I call the “Willie Nelson model” which boils down to one principle: never quit doing your thing.

Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us

Derek Sivers told me to watch this, so I did. You should too.

My notes from the talk: Most sounds is accidental and unpleasant.

Four major ways it affects us:

  1. Psychological – breathing, heartrate, brainwaves
    12 cycles per minute is soothing – waves, sleepers breathing
  2. Psychological – music, birdsong, make you feel
    “Music is the most powerful sound there is.”
  3. Cognitive – can’t listen to two things at once.
    You are 1/3 as productivity in shared, noisy spaces.
    Inappropriate retail sounds decreases sales 28%.
  4. Behavior

Uses Soundflow to analyze (down-arrow) and create (up-arrow).


BrandSound Guidelines


BrandSound Guidelines

  • Brand voice
  • Brand music
  • Sonic logo
  • Advertising sound
  • Branded audio
  • Telephone sound
  • Soundscapes
  • Product sound

The four golden rules for commercial sound. Make it…

  1. Congruent (facing same direction or reduce impact up to 86%)
  2. Appropriate
  3. Valuable (give people something not just bombard them)
  4. Test and test again

Read Julian Treasure’s blog.

Social Media Panel With Tim Walker

Tim Walker invited Natanya Anderson and myself to join him on a social media panel at the Association for University Business and Economic Research conference held at the Driskoll Hotel. Here is the full audio and a few pics. I posted a few more at Flickr, and I recorded the audio: Tim Walker’s Social Media Panel.mp3

Social Media Panel
Tim Walker, Natanya Anderson, and Jason Molin at the Driskill
Social Media Panel
Our blurry audience

Tim asked me to speak to “INSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES — some practical pointers about how social media plays out in a university / institutional setting” and here is the outline I prepared.


  • We started a year after we discussed starting, waiting for right people, prototype
  • I started with those that got it, wanted to do it, were already. Still looking for the eagerly engaged.
  • My sell was based on current communications failures, newsletters and site overburdened
  • Pitched as: make it easier on your audience and yourselves, communicate more efficiently


  • Our newsletters are too much, basically SPAM
  • Our site (and Web team) are overburdened with ‘bulletin board” info (and little strategy, audience focus)
  • Even our school news blog can’t publish everybody’s local news…you need a direct publishing method


  • Our newsletters are more weekly headlines
  • Our audience can ‘follow’ us in a variety of ways
  • They can comment on the blog and respond to our Twitter or FB accounts
  • Our Web stewards have control over local news

Social Media Panel

Why Blog?

I'm being Googled

Eighty percent of success is showing up. – Woody Allen

Seth Godin says:

Blogging is free. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it. What matters is the meta-cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say. How do you explain yourself…How do you force yourself to describe, in three paragraphs, why you did something. How do you respond out loud.

If you’re good at it, some people are going to read it. If you’re not good at it, and you stick with it, you’ll get good at it…basically you’re doing it for yourself to force yourself to become part of the conversation, even if it’s just that big. And that posture change changes an enormous amount.

Now here’s what Tom Peters says about “The Brand Called You” and “Brand You Survival Kit

What you want is a steady diet of more interesting, more challenging, more provocative projects….Think about great gigs. – Seth Godin

Who is searching for you? They meet you somewhere… they’re interested, perhaps want to work with you… can they find you? What do they search for? What do they find? Who has defined you? Does it represent you? Make sure you do that.

A static site is ok for your product, your brochure, but the Web has progressed, people want to see what you’re doing now, your activity, your expertise. Google rewards relevance, recency, and referrals, so be relevant, be recent, and be cool so that you’ll want to share yourself and so will everyone else.

What to do.

  1. Start a blog. Start making a dynamic Web-presence for yourself, your organization, team, church, book group, photography, art, cause, hobby. Blogger is simple, all one page. WordPress a is powerful little CMS, easy, and user-friendly. Start telling a story. At the very least, fill our your Google profile.
  2. Join a network. It doesn’t matter if it’s a list-serve, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Comment on a blog you read, share your videos on YouTube or pictures on Flickr, but find your people, engage, converse, help, define a community. At the very least set up a Google alert for something and monitor it. Fill out your Google profile.
  3. Figure out who you are, what’s unique and valuable about you, and participate in the world by representing yourself, finding your people, contributing, sharing, and leading. This is how you get the good gigs.