Shawn Coleman is a musician-turned-lobbyist. Among many issues, Shawn has been very involved in the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, and he’s particularly interested in removing the stigma from it. People don’t think twice about buying a beer or a shot at a local bar, but there is still a lingering “ick” factor around marijuana. Never one to wait for someone else to act, Shawn has tackled the issue head on by helping launch Classically Cannabis, a concert series that shows that cannabis consumers are not all Deadheads, but supporters of high culture too. (Get it?)
Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate (say that three times fast!) is an award-winning composer whose work is deeply influenced by his Chickasaw heritage, so much so that the Washington Post said “Tate’s connection to nature and the human experience was quite apparent in this piece…rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism.”
And let me tell you, they’re right. I’ve known Jerod for over 25 years but had never really listened to much of his music until preparing for this interview. My short review: good shit!
We excerpt a few works in this episode:
Yo Le Ne – a work Jerod described to me as “a traditional Chickasaw tune injected with 5000 lbs of steroids”
I was pumped to interview Katie for two reasons. First, this is my first interview with someone I did not already know. Second, I personally got a lot out of her book Improvisation for the Spirit. When I first contacted her I had no idea how diverse her career is. Writing is just a tiny piece of all the things she has going on.
It’s also the first time I’ve interviewed a performer, which scratches my creative itch. I hope to have a lot more people in the creative industries in future episodes.
Links to some of the things we discussed:
StandOut – a personality test. Katie was surprised to find she’s a Pioneer and Provider. (I’m a Creator and an Innovator.) I hope to talk more about StandOut in a future episode.
Wendy Lea just celebrated her 60th birthday, and she’s living proof that age is just a number. She’s been building successful businesses, large and small, throughout her career and I don’t expect that to change. Wendy has had some enormous financial successes in her life, but some pretty terrible setbacks as well. It goes with the territory. As Wendy says, “Begin again” is a lifelong theme.
What are you rebounding from? How are you beginning again?
Today on SRW we talk with Joel Comm, a writer, speaker and serial entrepreneur who launched his first web site all the way back in 1995 (coincidentally, the same year I joined Match.com. Oy.). Joel has had a lot of successes and a few misfires along the way. So many, in fact, that we weren’t even able to get through all of them and we’ll need to have him back on the show at some point just to get through the rest of his resume.
Below are links to some of the sites and people mentioned in this episode. You can also find Joel on Twitter @JoelComm and on Facebook here.
Also, we didn’t have time to talk about it in the interview, but earlier this year Joel created a parody of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” Check out the video below.
PS After the interview Joel and I had coffee at the local Starbucks and talked about career, relationships etc. I’m sort of in a career crossing point myself and trying to figure out what I want to do next. One question he asked was: “in a year from now, what would you like to look back on and be glad you did?”
I’m still ruminating on that, but in the meantime I’ll throw it out to you. What would you like to look back on in 2014?
On this episode we talk with Andrew Hyde, man about town and the world. Growing up in rural Oregon, Andrew never dreamed he’d be where he is now. He’s done a lot in the last ten years or so. Below are links to some of the things mentioned in the episode.
The opening music is the track “Olodum” (which also is the group’s name) on Bahia Black’s Ritual Beating System. Below is a video of Olodum performing with multi-instrumentalist Sadao Watanabe on saxophone.
I first got interested in Brazilian bateria because I was a major band geek in high school and college, especially drum lines because that I was a snare drummer. Check out the video below of Blast!, a Broadway show that really showcases what’s possible. Not as much swing as you find in Brazil, but man do I get off on this stuff.
Today in Semi-Random Walks we talk with John Fischer, founder and CEO of StickerGiant. Among many talents, John has a knack for PR. You don’t want to miss his explanation of this incident that got him arrested by the Secret Service.
When I got to their offices John was in the middle of an IT crisis, so I hung out for 15 minutes and took a few pictures. They have a non-nonsense office space, which we discuss in the interview. Also something one notices right off the bat when visiting StickerGiant is, people there are genuinely friendly. There’s an energy to both the company and the surrounding town of Hygiene that subtly encourages you to whistle while you work. Listen in as John tells us how StickerGiant has built a great company culture.
Check out some photos of StickerGiant’s offices below.
John Fischer (left) in problem solving mode with StickerGiant’s infrastructure team.
I was really psyched to interview the actor and radio personality David H. Lawrence XVII. That’s right: the 17th! Listen to the podcast to find out that came to pass. (Make sure you browse his Wikipedia page too.)
And check out all these film and TV credits! What’s even cooler is he didn’t even pursue acting professionally until he was in his forties. And when he did, he didn’t just show up in Hollywood. He had a systematic plan that practically guaranteed success.
You’ll also hear about his Rehearsal mobile app. Why he created it, how we built it, and what he did to boost sales over 4000% after struggling initially. And I just realized he also teaches voiceover. We didn’t even get to that in the interview.
My all time favorite Ronald Shannon Jackson recording is the album Strange Meeting from Power Tools, which unfortunately appears to be out of print. (I used to own both vinyl and CD versions of it, but a few years ago I donated most of my recordings to the library. Now I’m pissed because those are probably collector items now.)
Below is a video of the group playing live in Germany (if you’ve only got a couple minutes, skip ahead to about 3:30 where they start to shred). You might also like this Fresh Air review of some posthumously released material of Jackson’s.
(This is not the SRW episode. Scroll down a little further for that)
This is Semi-Random Walks #3. David looks fierce, no?
I was reading today’s First Round Capital post about The Case for Why Marketing Should Have Its Own Engineers. It’s a great post that talks about how there is often a tension between the needs of marketing and engineering. Given how deeply ingrained marketing technologies have become, there is a huge need for programmers, designers and hackers of all types to mount a first-class marketing strategy, and in the case study above they advocate (correctly in my view) that companies have a separate engineering team devoted specifically to marketing projects. That got me thinking…
Young companies that have some level of success inevitably experience “growing pains.” Sometimes (okay, always) part of the pain is in scaling the core engineering product. Think of the many Fail Whales Twitter put up when they frequently exceeded capacity a few years ago.
But there are tons of other important-but-not-urgent engineering tasks that need to happen as well. Unfortunately, companies are often either shortsighted about prioritizing these tasks, or they ignore them all together until it needs a fire drill.
Here are some of the tasks that come to mind:
Integrating an email signup form on your web site
Syncing email signups between your database and an external email services provider
Setting up SalesForce or some other lead management system… and getting people to actually use it
Integrating said lead management system with your internal systems
Capturing and charting key business metrics so everyone knows the “state of the business” at all times
Analyzing how various strategies interact with each other (e.g. to what degree do our current SEO efforts lead to more sales?)
Setting up and training users on a customer support system
Extracting data from the core to make it useful to other business users, or even end customers (e.g. analysis of Tweet data, which is why Twitter bought Gnip)
Building sample applications on your API to demonstrate its capabilities
Integrating Facebook Like and Tweet links to various content streams
I just thought these up in 10 minutes. Given time I’m sure I could think of at least a hundred.
That’s where you come in.
I’m creating a list of these kinds of growing pains that are important, but shouldn’t necessarily consume core engineering resources. What are some of the growing pains you’ve experienced? What’s something you dropped the ball on and it later came back to bite you?
I confess I have an ulterior motive. I’m pondering the creation of a services firm that focuses on “growing pains” type problems as it core competency. I’m not sure it’s a true market need, or what kind of messaging would succinctly communicate these pain points. I welcome any thoughts you have on both non-core engineering tasks and how to communicate it from a marketing perspective.
Welcome to the first episode of Semi Random Walks. In this one you get to hear me wrestle with GarageBand, explain what this podcast is about, and most importantly meet hedge fund manager Brad Hart. He looks kind of fierce in that photo, huh?
Make sure check out that link. Brad’s done a lot of cool stuff (like Skittykits) that I of course completely forgot to ask him about. Tweet him some follow-up questions at @bradhartnyc.
This is my very first recorded interview. Ever. Give me your feedback below, or you can always dump some emo on me at @derekscruggs.