Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why I'm a WWE fan

Its Wrestlemania season everybody. It’s the most exciting time of the year for +WWE fans. When I people find out that I'm a wrestling fan I get hit with the usual questions and responses. Responses such as; Why?, You know it's fake right?, and Really? I’m a fan because I love being able to watch people who are passionate about what they’re doing, and have sacrificed so much in their lives, getting to live their dreams in front of a national audience. That’s the reason why reality shows like American Idol and The Voice are so popular. I’m a fan because I’ve learned a lot in the areas of marketing, branding, and promoting by watching them over the years. In fact I believe that’s one of the reasons that outside of music, I’ve always wanted to get into marketing and promoting as well. These are a few of the reasons why I'm a fan, and below I will cover three main areas why the WWE is one of my top five favorite companies and why I’m a fan. When it's all said and done I believe you'll understand why.

 I can relate with their journey:

As a musician, that dreams of being able to do music full time, my journey isn't so different from the journey of say +Stone Cold Steven Austin. When you listen to their stories of how they got to where they are, it often starts out many years ago with them struggling. They'll reminisce about performing in front of crowds of 10 people, and if they're lucky 50 people. Sometimes as they travel to these places to perform they would end up having to pay to perform. The gas to get there and back would cost them $80 and they would get paid $40/50 for that night’s work.

During my time as a musician I’ve had the pleasure of getting to perform in fronts of hundreds and even thousands of people before. But I have also experienced thosemoments of having 10-20 people in the crowd. We’ve traveled hours away from home for a show with the only payment being the experience, but the experience alone was worth it because we love what we do.

Entrepreneurial Spirit and a Willingness to risk it all:

Vince McMahon, WWE’s owner and chairman of the board, love him or hate him, is an entrepreneur through and through, and he is not afraid to risk everything for an idea that he believes in. From the first Wrestlemania to their newly launched WWE Network, the WWE and Vince McMahon have stayed at the forefront of technology, often pioneering into new formats i.e. PPV and over the top streaming with live content, and rolled the dice on big ideas that if they didn’t work out would mark the end of the WWE. It’s widely noted that had the first Wrestlemaniabeen a failure there would be no WWE here today, or at the very least not as we know it today.

It’s this spirit, boldness, and willingness that musicians must embrace as well.  The ones that grasp this are the ones that find the career/life that they dreamed of on the other side.

Taken failure head on:

Along with that entrepreneurial spirit comes the inevitable failure, and this is something that Vince and the WWE have embraced as well. The XFL is one of the most highly published failures of all time. Vince McMahon with all his boldness and brashness thought that he could take on and compete with the mighty NFL. Needless to say that experiment failed after only one season. They did bring some innovations to the game, and those innovations are currently being used by the NFL today.

As artists we can’t be afraid of failure either. We must embrace it as well. Every song isn’t going to be a hit, and we won’t be able to please everybody with the music we put out. But we have to be willing to embrace those risky ideas. It’s those risky ideas that quite possibly could bring us our greatest success.

And that’s why I’m a fan!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

TED Speaker Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

In Steve Job's commencement speech, How to Live Before You Die, at Stanford he focused on three main points; connecting the dots, love and lost, and death.  I had read transcriptions of this speech before, but I never got to hear the full thing. Well let me just say that it is definitely worth listening to. There are a lot of great points in there about life and finding that thing that you love to do, or as I like to call it, living your dream. Anybody that knows me knows that this is an area that I'm incredibly passionate about. I'm always doing what I can to encourage people to go for it, including myself. So, listening to this speech truly hit home for me.

Connecting the dots

In this section of his speech Steve said two things that resonated with me. He said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future," and "believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference." This has certainly been true in my life. There's no way that I could've peered into the future, back when I was living at home in Detroit and taking classes at Wayne State University, and knew that one day I would live in Lincoln, Ca and that it would be the best move for me to make for my life, musically and beyond. But that's exactly what happened.

Love and lost

This is where he talked about the time that he got fired from Apple, the company that he created, and then got brought back to lead the company to its greatest success yet. I can't even fathom that. I would be UPSET if something like that happened to me and the company I created. The cool thing about Steve is that he got fired from one amazing company, and went and started another amazing company. A little movie studio named Pixar. Maybe you've heard of it?! The quote that I love from this one is, "your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do." I feel you Steve, and I'm working on it!


"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"

That's an exceptionally poignant question right there Steve. All I can say about it right now is that I'm working to get myself to that point.

This was a truly on point speech, I highly recommend that you give it a listen, its inspired me, and I hope that it'll do the same for you. I'll let Steve finish up this post for me.

"There is no reason not to follow your heart."