Where To Get News

Where To Get News

1/23/17: If you want to know what’s really going on, beware social media and the 24-hour news cycle. Move away from news bites and start digesting longform sustenance from well-informed reporters.

I have come to believe that it is impossible for anyone who is regularly on social media to have a balanced and accurate understanding of what is happening in the world. To follow a minute-by-minute cycle of news is to be constantly threatened by illusion. So I’m not just staying off Twitter, I’m cutting back on the news sites in my RSS feed, and deleting browser bookmarks to newspapers. Instead, I am turning more of my attention to monthly magazines, quarterly journals, and books. I’m trying to get a somewhat longer view of things — trying to start thinking about issues one when some of the basic facts about them have been sorted out. Taking the short view has burned me far too many times; I’m going to try to prevent that from happening ever again (even if I will sometimes fail). And if once in a while I end up fighting a battle in a war that has already ended … I can live with that. – Alan Jacobs


8/11/16: I frequently get stuck in a rut visiting the same news sources. So I’m trying to create a list of authoritative sites for cycling through and seeing beyond my progressive bias. As one Redditor put it,

There’s no such thing as unbiased news. What you can do is check several different reputable sources regularly and cross-check what they say.

Where do you get your news? Leave a comment below of your favorite sources. Here are a few points of reference I’m gathering as resources for gleaning what’s really going on.

This chart is an interesting indicator of trust by political affiliation. The clear first place winner is the Wall Street Journal, with the BBC and Google News tied for second.

Trusted news sources

December News

December News

I-heart-u guyA few nice things happened this month. First, we ran out of songbooks for the first time at our 12/7 Sundaysong Singalong. Time to make more!

Then I got to play UT Night at the Trail of Lights and walk it for the first time (with my wife and 5 yr old girl). What a wonderful evening.

But the big news for me was all the help y’all gave me by taking my survey and helping me get unstuck on some strategy questions that were hanging me up.

Read the Survey Says! post to see how everyone responded. Here are the conclusions I gathered:

  1. Play outdoor shows and house concerts. Post them to YouTube.
  2. Focus on original material with a mix of covers thrown in, folk/rock, singalong, reggae, kids, and ambient.
  3. Keep shows simple most of the time – solo acoustic or with guitar player – but make sure and put on bigger band shows occasionally.
  4. I’m Jason Molin and I go by J. I should emphasize J and be findable both ways.
  5. I should use jmolin.com as a musician.
  6. I should use a mix of old and new funding models.
  7. Keep the music coming.

Thanks for keeping me focussed!
;- j

Survey Says! (Fans Help Me Decide)

Survey Says! (Fans Help Me Decide)

J's Music Strategy SurveyEarlier this month I put together a survey of seven music strategy questions that I keep getting hung up on (seen, linked on the right).

Here are the questions and results. I’ve bolded and ordered the top answers adding my basic conclusions below, saving further thoughts till the end.

1. What kind of material should I focus on playing?

  • 94% – My original songs
  • 36% – Folk/rock covers
  • 33% – Sunday morning singalong songs
  • 17% – Reggae and dub numbers
  • 19% – Kid’s songs
  • 14% – Meditative, ambient music
  • 6% – Love songs, wedding band covers

Conclusions: People like the other covers sprinkled in but the clear majority want me to sing my stuff.

2. Which venues suit me best?

  • 68% – Outdoor shows, parks
  • 62% – House concerts, backyard parties
  • 46% – Coffee shops
  • 32% – YouTube videos
  • 14% – Churches
  • 8% – Bars, clubs
  • 5% – Live streaming online

Conclusions: Keep doing outdoor shows! Do house concerts and parties more regularly. More YouTube videos.  (I don’t want to do coffee shops. I’ve done them and will depart from the crowd on this one.)  Consider a church collaboration.

3. What configurations suit me best?

  • 51% – Solo acoustic (no microphones, no amps)
  • 46% With one other player (like guitar, keys, or drums)
  • 37% – Solo electric (with mic, amp, loops and effects)
  • 37% – With a big band (add horn section)
  • 34% – With a band (guitar, bass, drums, etc.)

Conclusions: No standout configuration winners or losers. Solo acoustic and with another player seem to win, but people would like to see all of these. Reminds me that I can play with a stripped down setup most of the time but to make sure and put on a bigger show a few times a year.

4. As a musician, what should I go as?

  • 49% – Jason Molin
  • 31% – J Molin
  • 20% – Everyday J

Conclusions: Jason Molin is the winner but 1/3 of my audience thinks of me as J. Keep using Jason Molin as the official listing, but J as the usual nickname.

5. I’m redesigning and planning a relaunch of my site. What web address should I use? I own these.

  • 35% – jasonmolin.com
  • 35% – jmolin.com
  • 24% – jasonmolin.net (current)
  • 5% –  channelj.me
  • 0% – channelj.org

Conclusions: Hmmm… jasonmolin.com and jmolin.com are virtually tied. jmolin is shorter, so that could break the tie. But jasonmolin.net and .com got 60% to jmolin 34% (more in keeping with the question above). I’m really on the fence here.

I think there is a way to choose all the above here, since I can advertise jmolin.com and redirect it and jasonmolin.net to the jasonmolin.com.

6. Which model for recouping costs would you be most likely to support?

  • 69% – All the above, a blended balance of all
  • 11% – Kickstarter-like Crowd Funding: get pledges for albums or projects annually in exchange for stuff and access
  • 9% -Traditional Commercial: sell CDs, merch, charge for shows
  • 6% – Fan Club Patrons: fans/patrons get stuff (letters, CDs, posters, invites, swag) and special access for ongoing support
  • 6% – Public Radio: occasionally ask for member support in exchange for swag; find partners/sponsors

Conclusion: Use all the above. Work to give people all these options so that people can support in their various ways.

7. Any other comments?

  • No more shitty gigs! Hey!
  • Love the survey! (Several people said this.)
  • Your park get-togethers are awesome but should also function as a platform to publicize your other gigs. A dot com domain is always preferable.
  • Your music makes me happy!
  • Use your drawings as album covers and use it in merch as well.
  • Keep the music coming!
  • I think any band configuration would be great. I personally would like to see a big band! Maybe also a different guest vocalist to duet with you from time to time.
  • I really feel you should play whatever you like wherever you like.
  • Don’t let your music die, continue and follow your dreams dude.
  • So I think if you’re gonna be famous (and you should definitely be famous) it would be clearest to go with J. Plus it’s kinda bold to be one letter.
  • I really appreciated your music in outdoor intimate settings.
  • It is so wonderful to see you continuing to grow through your musical love.

Conclusions: I love all of you for taking the time to encourage me and help me out. Some great advice and inspiration here. Message received: I’m not stoppin!!!


 

HurdlerSo there are the results, and here are my thoughts, beyond the simple conclusions I listed above.

First of all, I learned a lot about myself before the first response because defining my struggles and coming to terms with viable options did much of the mental and emotional work to answer these questions for myself. It took a while to figure out what decisions were hanging me up, and also which options I wanted people to help me choose between. Once I did I’d reckoned with much of what was getting me stuck.

Second, as I got the first responses I realized I had to take the survey myself, answer the questions for myself, and reckon with how much power I was going to share with my fans on these decisions, especially if they chose differently than me. The act of asking and perhaps delegating my decisions to the group got me to realize which ways I didn’t want to go (even if people told me to).

Thirdly, the responses were both helpful and inspiring. A high percentage of people I emailed responded, many with thoughtful and encouraging comments. As with my Kickstarter campaign a few years ago, it was a thrill to see how many people will help me when asked, and a pleasant surprise to see who I heard from. Note to self: people want to help, BUT YOU HAVE TO ASK!

In the end the result is to move on, jump the hurdles, make more music, and don’t get hung up on these things anymore. This means:

  1. Play outdoor shows and house concerts. Post them to YouTube.
  2. Focus on original material with a mix of covers thrown in, folk/rock, singalong, reggae, kids, and ambient.
  3. Keep shows simple most of the time – solo acoustic or with guitar player – but put on a band show biannually and big band show annually.
  4. I’m Jason Molin and I go by J. I should emphasize J and be findable both ways.
  5. I should migrate everything to jmolin.com and redirect everything else there.
  6. I should use a mix of old and new funding models.
  7. Keep the music coming!

This was a tremendously helpful and encouraging exercise. Now I need to move past these questions. There’s a lot of work do to putting on shows in more spaces and varied setups, and migrating and relaunching my site. Thank you all for the help and support!!!

42 Is The Answer

Anais and I on our bday bike/walk. Taken by Maile.

What’s the question? Well, it could be:

  • How old are you now? or
  • When will your life come together? or
  • When will you be happy?

I could answer all of these with, “42.”

(I haven’t read it, but I’m aware of 42’s significance from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which the supercomputer Deep Thought spends 7.5 million years to compute the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. The answer is… 42. See for yourself on Google, or YouTube.)

This is a great bday because it is a wonderful time in my life. Maile, Anais and I have such fun. I love my job. And my music vision is stronger and clearer than ever.

The thrashing around that started at 40 seems to have subsided. The result of the tally is that I have everything I need,  so much love and joy, I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people and meaningful projects. What else could I ask for?

Well, ambition is as wide-eyed as ever as I turn my attention to a refined approach to music that relies less on the distinctiveness of  my talent and more on my art as a healing service for the fracturing world.

Between gorgeous gigs and Sundaysong singalongs I offer connection and reconnection to nature, beauty, people, and peace. (Gorgeous gigs are in beautiful spaces, outside when the whether is right. Sundaysong singalongs are like a folksong church, without the church.)

Thanks, peace, and love to my family, friends and fans for giving me so much. I hope for 42 years more for the chance to repay you.

The Secret To A Happy Family: Try

As a geek dad this caught my eye: Agile programming for your family?! Make your family a self-managing team.

Feiler’s 3-plank Agile family manifesto

  • Adapt all the time
    • stay flexible
    • don’t listen only to ‘experts’
    • hook up with new ideas
    • be open minded
    • let the best ideas win
    • weekly family meeting, 20 mins. ask
      • What worked well?
      • What didn’t work well?
      • What can we all agree on to work on this week?
  • Empower children
    • stop ordering your children around
    • enlist them in their own upbringing
    • they come up with punishments and rewards
    • plan their own goals
    • set weekly schedules
    • evaluate themselves
    • succeed and fail on their own terms
    • less what they do wrong, more on what they do right
    • give them the tools to make themselves happy
  • Tell your story
    • as bedrock context for adaptability
    • preserve the core
    • define mission, core values, family mission statement
    • tell story of family, where we came from
    • difficult situations overcome
    • family strengths and successes
    • retell the positive and overcoming negative stories
    • make a family manifesto

Happiness is not something we find, it’s something we make. Greatness is not a circumstance, it’s a choice. What’s the secret to a happy family? Try.