“Intelligence, academic performance, and prestigious schools don’t correlate well with fulfillment, or even with outstanding accomplishment. The traits that do make a difference are poorly understood, and can’t be taught in a classroom, no matter what the tuition: the ability to understand and inspire people; to read situations and discern the underlying patterns; to build trusting relationships; to recognize and correct one’s shortcomings; to imagine alternate futures.”—What the science of human nature can teach us : The New Yorker
Running across a demo of a song you love is a bit of a crapshoot. While they’re occasionally fascinating, other times — many, many other times — the demo is a slightly painful reminder of just how much work happens in between writing a song and releasing it on a record.
This one? As far as I’m concerned, SVE could have just dropped this one on the album: all that you really need is her songwriting and her voice, and everything around that seems to fall into place.
Gorgeous sunday morning goodness.
Jan 23, 201130 notes
Jan 23, 2011280 notes
Perhaps a bit overexposed this week :)
Jan 22, 20113 notes
Jan 22, 201124 notes
Local Natives, World News
Jan 20, 20113 notes
Drake, Let’s Call It Off (feat. Peter Bjorn & John)
Jan 17, 20113 notes
Tritons, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Rolling Stones cover)
Jan 14, 20111 note
La Femme, Sur La Planche
Jan 13, 20112 notes
Lykke Li, I Follow Rivers
Jan 12, 20113 notes
Angus & Julia Stone, Draw Your Swords
Jan 11, 20119 notes
Jan 11, 201137 notes
What I need today.
Jan 10, 20111 note
Bell X1, Flame (Chicken Lips version)
Jan 8, 2011
Death, Taxes & Competition
In the current low capital required, frenzied early-stage funding environment, one thing you can be sure of if you enter an interesting space is that there will be competition. And oftentimes, the competitors product will look eerily similar to your own.
Just a few recent examples that pop to mind are Foursquare & Gowalla in the LBS space, Instagram and PicPlz in the mobile photo-sharing space and GroupMe, FastSociety, Beluga, Kik and others in the group messaging space.
A few things to think about when faced with competition:
1. Market validation. Having competitors typically means there’s something there. Take that as a sign of confidence that you’re going after a real opportunity.
2. Every great company needs a foil. Coke & Pepsi, Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley, Walmart & Target – I could go on and on. Having a foil keeps you focused, sharp and on your toes.
3. Be paranoid, but not obsessed. Having a foil can also engender obsessive behavior. While a healthy amount of paranoia and competitive fire is fundamentally important, obsession is defocusing and dangerous. Guard the line carefully.
4. Product, product, product. Put as much of your energy as possible towards building an amazing product that users love. The best products usually win in the end.
6. Quality of user base is as important as quantity.Make sure you focus on who your early users are rather than simply how many of them you have. Real, high quality, engaged users form the bedrock of great web services. You can scratch, claw and buy your way to a lot of early traffic, but if it isn’t organic and/or experience-driven, it likely won’t stick.
One additional point that has been gnawing at me: we tend to describe our businesses as the ‘X killer’ (i.e. Google killer) or the 'X for Y’ (i.e. Twitter for Y, Facebook for Y). It certainly makes sense to frame the opportunity around who you’re going after or how you plan to disrupt a market in terms that are relatable. But when you find yourself doing so, make sure the X you’re trying to kill or emulate is a big, meaningful X rather than a smallish success. This way, besting the inevitable competition has the potential to yield a tremendous result.
Jan 7, 20116 notes
Lauryn Hill, The Makings Of You (live Curtis Mayfield cover)
Still in a Lauryn kind of mood today.
Jan 7, 20114 notes
Nas, If I Ruled The World
Saw Miss Lauryn Hill last night. A confusing, yet brilliant performance…nobody can quite do it like Lauryn can. I hope that, ready or not, here she comes back. Here’s a twofer with Nas, one of the great hip-hop tracks of all time.
Jan 6, 20117 notes
Billy Stewart, Cross My Heart
The original smooth.
Jan 5, 2011
First track on Kills mixtape from JJ that is just flooded with gems. Download here.
Jan 4, 20113 notes
Ending The Conversation Is As Important As Starting It
When folks are interviewing for a job or looking for an investment, they tend to put their best foot forward. But seeing as you can only have one job at a time or take investment from one syndicate at a time, odds are that the vast majority of those conversations will not end in a new job or an investment made.
We touch more people in the process of looking for work or capital by a factor of 10 or 20 or sometimes even much more than who we end up working with. This is as true for investors as it is for entrepreneurs, given the number of investment opportunities evaluated for every one completed. So while there is only one match at the end of the day, your relationship capital is actually more of a function of everyone else you meet in the process.
When ending those conversations, remember that the close is as important if not more so than the opening. Whether you got the offer you wanted or didn’t, whether you received the valuation you wanted or not, whether you made the investment or not, a thoughtful, honest, courteous and prompt reply – positive or negative – will do wonders for your reputation.
Life is long, and reputation and relationships are paramount. So whether you’re on the giving or receiving end, it is crucial to try and end any employment or investment conversation with as much dignity and class as you start it with. It may actually serve your desired ends of great employment or investment partners over the long-term even more than getting that current job or investment you so desperately want in the short one.
Jan 4, 20118 notes
#Interviews #Investment Discussions
My Favorite Music of 2010
Firmly in the category of better late than never, below are my top music picks for 2010. If only I had consistent Internet reception in Nicaragua, these would have come much sooner. But who’s complaining?
As in the past, my criteria for this list is pretty simple – what I listened to most this past year. So here goes:
As my friends can attest to, I played this album nonstop since before it came out. Not hip-hop, not pop, Kanye is carving out a new musical category that is entirely goodness. A masterpiece from the brilliant and ever confusing Mr. West.
I saw LCD live back to back nights in 2010. And I danced my face off both times. I haven’t done that since high school. Enough said.
The chillest album of the year IMHO.
A beautiful electronic sound that I couldn’t get enough of.
I think I like Big Boi’s solo output even better than his Outkast gems. A proper hip-hop record.
My favorite indie rock gem of the year.
A late entry, but I was fixed on her sultry smooth voice from the moment I started listening.
Didn’t like this album as much as the first, but really enjoyed it nonetheless. This is VW Showing their range.
The most aggressive album of the bunch…I love the energy.
An album as much as any other on this list, Arcade Fire continues to show why they are consistently one of the best *bands* out there.
Honorable mention to , , , , , , and for stellar albums last year.