So here goes folks: my favorite music of the year. There’s a ton of fantastic stuff in here. I hope you enjoy.
Top 10 Albums of 2009
MPP is an album in every sense of the word. It is not for the faint of heart, and it is not for every occasion. But give it a listen from start to finish and prepare to have your mind blown. Animal Collective is one of the few bands pushing music forward in fantastically new and interesting ways.
This was my go-to album of the year. Whether a dinner party, afternoon cocktails or any other cause for celebration, you can be sure you’d hear Phoenix. A great poppy record from an incredibly fun band.
A chill sexy listen the whole way through. This was one of three albums I played endlessly while I worked, read or just chilled this past year.
Raekwon gave us a throwback record this year, reminding me again why I will always love hip-hop. I could almost sense the Wu Tang Clan back in action. A great hip-hop record in every way. If only there were more like this.
A gorgeous record that pulls you in and pushes you off at the same time. Love the female edge to this band. I’m eager to see where they go from here.
Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimist brought two of my favorite songs of the year in Two Weeks and While We Wait For The Others and a cozy, warm record the whole way through.
A surprising, textured album that I can’t pin down other than to simply say: great.
Karen O and crew at the top of their game. Let’s hope they last.
Another great record from Sweden. Miike Snow churns out hits that make you want to groove.
I listened to this album as much as any this year. It reminds me of the beach and sandalwood…and I love it for that.
Top 10* Tracks of 2009
* I made it 11 so I could get my boy J in here. While it’s hard to objectively call it the best track of the year, it certainly spoke to me personally as a die-hard New Yorker more than any other. "I'ma up at Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca.“
Having been involved with a number of businesses that are reliant on concentrated and powerful suppliers, I can tell you that it’s never fun.
Chris Dixon has a great post on this topic yesterday as it relates to the video business and dealing with the Hollywood supply chain, which was ultimately Joost’s undoing.
This point applies more broadly to all markets with concentrated supply. Suppliers will hold up distributors every chance they get and almost always struggle to embrace today’s necessary digital ubiquity, fearing erosion of their business rather than recognizing the power of massive distribution. And they will always make your life difficult.
To be clear, this does not mean that the Joost/Hollywood example is ultimately instructive and successful businesses cannot be built in markets with concentrated and strong suppliers. They absolutely can. They are just fundamentally tethered to and limited by that supply.
Examples of businesses I’ve been involved with in this vein include Ticketmaster in ticketing and Interval in travel. Everyone is familiar with Ticketmaster, but Interval is a fantastically successful timeshare membership and exchange business.
Interval is a very instructive example as its business is made up of two parts:
1. The first requires them to secure deals with timeshare developers that allows them to acquire members to their program.
2. The second is an exchange for members that allows them to exchange their allotted time with other members, thereby increasing the flexibility and value of the owned inventory for the vacationer. So for example, if you own a week in Miami in December you can trade it for a week in Beaver Creek in December.
Interval’s marketplace business is beautiful and drives pure margin. But it is limited by the supply contracts it has with timeshare developers. It is not a truly open marketplace.
On the other hand, open marketplace businesses have scale potential that is only limited by the size of the market in which they play. And the web is perfectly suited for these kinds of businesses.
Examples include , BountyJobs, ServiceMagic, HomeAway, StubHub (& SeatWave in Europe), Match and of course . They all operate independent of these supply constraints, and are better off for it. As long as there are technicians, recruiters, home contractors, home inventory, tickets outstanding, single people and folks that use the phone respectively, these businesses can play.
Newer business models are taking advantage of these dynamics as well, like Kickstarter in fund-raising.
Some of these businesses are P2P like Skype & Match, others are B2C like ServiceMagic and HomeAway and others are B2B like OnForce and BountyJobs. Markets and supply in these businesses differ – for Match it’s people, StubHub tickets, ServiceMagic contractors and OnForce techs. Some charge on one side of the transaction and others like Match charge participants on both.
All of these factors need to be considered when evaluating these businesses. But the basic principle is the same – no one person or entity can hold you over a barrel. And when you get a lot of folks participating, watch out. Growth tends to be explosive.
The trick with marketplaces is getting them started, and there are a number of ways to help grease the skids in different marketplace concepts. That’s fodder for another post, but one key thing to remember is who your supply *really* is.
In most marketplaces, supply is the end-user or provider of services rather than the purchaser of services. Remembering this and building around it will go a long way towards ensuring success.
I have long been compelled by marketplace businesses and continue to be so. If you’ve got one or are building one, I’m keen to hear about it.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Good Bye! The Reappointment Of Bernanke Is Too Much To Bear
Ouch. NNT drops the proverbial hammer on Ben Bernanke.
Our Spark portfolio company, Aviary.com, is looking for someone to help lead up their design and UX efforts.
Aviary is a pioneering provider of web-based design applications. It is also a growing, grassroots community that is charting a new way for creators to create, design and monetize their work.
The Director Of Design & User Experience position provides a unique opportunity to help rethink the way design tools and their associated interface should work. It’s hard to imagine a more interesting challenge for a designer than that of redesigning the tools they use every day and making them more valuable and useful to the broader population.
More details on the job can be found here. If you’re interested, please send an email to .
Oh Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. It’s amazing that someone who has done such an otherwise terrific job crafting and managing his brand has done such a poor one in the wake of this recent scandal.
With news now leaking out about another potential affair (and we all knew this was coming), it’s only a matter of time – perhaps hours – before Tiger has no choice but to come forward. But when he does so now, he will simply look the fool.
The natural tendency when one gets called out on something they did wrong is to deny, to run the other way. But it is exactly the opposite reaction that is required. Those that fess up and take ownership of their mistake can overcome the public scrutiny. Those that don’t will be dogged by it forever.
Recent examples of those that have done the right thing in the face of scandals include David Letterman as a celebrity and Mark Pincus as an entrepreneur.
There are countless examples on the other side – Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are just two that come to mind in the sports world. But the list goes on…
When the going got tough, Tiger hid. By saying nothing, everyone already assumed he was guilty. And now he’s not just guilty, but he also wasn’t man enough to own up to it.
Thankfully he still has a wicked drive and a devastating short game. Because that’s all he’s got right now.
The lesson for all of us – in life, business, whatever – is when you make a mistake, own up to it. Else it will most likely own you.