5 Questions with @Dogboyinc…Ramble

The search for a dog trainer plagued me and Rocknroll_ELLE for several months. First there was the “alleged” Dog Whisperer of the neighbourhood who is studying to be a zoologist who failed to show up or cancel last-minute several times. We would run into him and he would act like we went on a few dates and it went bad. Seriously. Next we went to a puppy class where we learned “your pet doesn’t work for beef jerky, it works for love” and apparently if that doesn’t work use a choking collar. I used the American Kennel Club for references and found one I liked but she was getting married and occupied with that.

Finally our neighbour insisted we use Dog Boy Inc. His logo is pretty awesome and I was glad that someone  I knew had used him before and low and behold we had a winner. Robert Haussman, aka Dog Boy, has trained Elle to even roll over and play dead aka “bang bang.” I think it’s an absolute necessity of any urban dog owner to get some kind of training for their dog and so happy I found a really excellent one!

1. What questions should a pet owner ask about a potential dog trainer?
The thing to be aware of when hiring a dog trainer is that training is a fairly unregulated field.

A. Ask if they have any certification. The certification council for profession dog trainers has a pretty good track record and has an online database of trainers for dog owners who are in the market.

B. I would also ask what their method of training is and be sure it is humane in nature and doesn’t revolve primarily around dominance, or shocking and choking your dog. Although leadership is a key element to a healthy relationship with your dog, many trainers mistaken this for the need to use force to force the dog to submit which is nonsense and has a tendency to do more harm then good.

C. Last I would ask for referrals. Be specific, if you have an aggressive pit bull than ask for a referral of someone with an aggressive bit bull who they have worked with.

2. In your opinion is training a dog necessary for urban dogs? All dogs?

I think training your dog is the ultimate way to spoil you dog. It is responsible pet ownership to be sure your dog knows what is expected of him and what is appropriate behavior in the humane environment that he shares with you. You can’t punish him for rules he doesn’t know he has broken. So yes absolutely!

3. A couple of weeks ago a delivery man who was mauled by 3 pitbulls in Brooklyn. There were signs posted saying ‘beware of the dog’ but he did not speak English. One of the dogs died in the mayhem and the other two were ceased and await action. Do you think those Pitbulls are trainable to be aggressive but not immediately attack a person who is in their space?

That’s tough to say. More than anything it is a responsibility issue for the owner. If you have dogs for the purpose of protection (which I am not a fan of in the first place) there should be preventive steps in place to ensure the safety of the community you live in. You wouldn’t leave a loaded gun out on the coffee table during a dinner party, someone could get hurt or worse. Pit bulls get a very bad reputation because of owners like this. These particular dogs we’re likely trained to be aggressive and poorly trained at that. I think it boils down to stupidity. And it is unlikely that the dogs will be able to be trained to be selective about who is and is not allowed on the property. This is an issue I take to heart since I love the bread and so many are put down each year because of stupid humans.

4.  In your experience, who needs the training more the humans or the canines?

Humans! Lol. Dogs are fairly predictable, humans are always a wild card…

5. A lot of new dog owners face the challenge of training their dogs but strangers want to pet their dog and throw off the behaviour. What are some tips for to avoid the awkward neighbor from rewarding your dog with affection while you are training your dog?

Try and involve them! Tell them you are in training and you can really use their help. They will either joyfully participate or recoil in horror. If someone is particularly uncooperative tell them your puppy is sick and highly contagious…lol.


5 Questions with @Dashgo…Ramble

If you know what KTBSBPA means, then just imagine the chaos of actually being on the management side for Backstreet Boys and all the insane people you’d come into contact wanting any piece of BSB they could get. I met @Dashgo founder, Ben Patterson while he was still dealing with all things BSB running the digital department for famed management company, The Firm. Since then we’ve both been through a few other evolutions but we always remain digital.

LocationSanta Monica, CA (you could confuse it today 9/28 as the surface of the sun. Seriously, the official thermometer broke in LA yesterday)
Vocation: President of Digital Content Distribution and Marketing firm DashGo
Sign: no, but I’d be up for taking a class.

1) What has been the biggest evolution in the digital market since you started your digital distribution & marketing business, DashGo in 2004?

I’d argue there are two. For content creators and owners, there is more access than ever. For fans there are fewer filters than ever. It is simultaneously easier for artists to make music available to anyone who wants it and harder than ever for anyone to take the time to discover it and embrace it. Lots and lots of music is just the next or previous track on Pandora. Ok actually there are three changes – music is more than ever background entertainment. People expect it to be there while they do other things. They don’t stop doing those things to listen to music. I bet you are listening to something right now. So for DashGo, I try to think about ways to put music, and make money for music, in and around those other things. Instead of fighting as a needle in a haystack, build a stack of needles. Which is also the title of my (not-real, but would entertain an offer though Chris Anderson will probably rip me off) business strategy book: A Stack of Needles.

2) You recently helped Weezer launch their album Hurley taking over YouTube. When so many traditional record label staff view digital as a great killer of the industry, how does it feel to be able to point to the chart success of the album on bothiTunes and Amazon as a direct result of your digital marketing?

Can’t complain. But I will – it remains a hugely challenging market. I understand we beat sales forecasts, but album unit sales are declining rapidly. We as a society and musicians as a community aren’t doing enough to demand credit for their work and to protect it. I’m not a navy crusading against pirates, I just find it odd that most digital music focused news, Twitter feeds ant the like champion DIY approach and at the same time are incredibly bullish on sites like Mulve or Grooveshark or whatever allows folks to download music for free. How can a fan use that service to “discover” an artist? They just deliver the exact thing someone already knew they wanted, for free, with ad money going to the middleman / host and nothing to the artist. DashGo monetizes our entire catalog on YouTube. Go watch a video of the song there or one a fan made using it as the soundtrack or make your own. At least the band gets paid. And there is more creative collaboration. Or sign up for Rhapsody or MOG or Thumbplay or any of the half-dozen services that are dirt cheap and stream to your mobile device. Meanwhile inFrance, the government is offering people under 25 double their dollars (euros) in digital music purchases made this year to support both French digital businesses and French music and to encourage legal access to music. I wish we would find more ways to demonstrate how superior (and frankly cost-effective) legal digital music services actually are and support them more. I try to do my part by entertaining just about any digital licensing offer we receive.

3) What are the biggest traps that an artist can fall into when it comes to their digital profile?

Not understanding the medium. Don’t expect a bunch of Twitter followers if you infrequently write uninteresting posts. Also, spreading yourself too thin. You may not need a Twitter profile. Maybe an artist is great at making videos. Invest that Twitter time in reinforcing a YouTube channel. I argued last month that an artist doesn’t need their own website, just a domain name. That can point to whatever is your best method of communicating at any given time – maybe a full site, maybe a Facebook page. Signing up on every brand new DIY site is a waste of time. Pick the ones you can manage best and or offer the biggest reach and invest time there, Remember that songs still have to be written, performances perfected and food eaten.

4) Twitter can sometimes be a nightmare to follow ‘live’ events. How is your new product Twinterview going to resolve it?

Twinterview is great. It allows users to solicit questions, contest entries, anything that can be typed and links to to both a fan and artists’ Twitter and Facebook accounts. Then the artist can choose which questions to answer and they and questions are released simultaneously on the fan and artist accounts, with links back to a central transcript for friends and followers to experience the entire event. Weezer used it as a unique interview platform and Dr. Dog used it to solicit and schedule their summer tour dates. Their biggest fans were the first to know about the tour and they helped make it.

5) When there are so many new digital tools and outlets available, what is the deciding factor for embracing a tool with one of your artists?

Does it allow us to reach an audience and does it provide a unique or better way of doing it? Our marketing has to fit the medium, and our content needs to fit the platform.

5 Questions with Tracey_Kessler…Ramble

I was fortunate enough to chat with Tracey at a book launch last year for Kristin Harmel. She definitely knew how to make Chubby Checker laugh and I knew we would be friends. A year later my new artist friend is on the brink of leaving the Isle of Manhattan. She was also kind enough to let me use images of her amazing work for this post. Thank you Madam Artist!

Location: New York but soon to be San Francisco (again)
Vocation:  Artist
Sign: Gemini
Website: traceykessler.com

1. Where can people find your artwork?

On my website but I am looking for gallery representation!  Emerging artist that needs to be discovered after 20 years of painting.

2. What advice could you give on how to buy art for those who would like to dabble but feel it might be beyond their understanding?

Buy what you love and what moves you.  Go with your gut instinct.  If you have a weak gut, I would consider researching dealer’s, curators, academic professors in the colleges and pay attention to what is happening in the art markets. Todd Levin, Kenny Schachter, Marion Callis are a few to follow beside the big names of Larry Gagosian, Mary Boone or Jeffrey Dietch.   There are many talented artist not discovered so pay attention to group shows, juried shows and pop-up shows around town.  A great film that is inspiring is called Herb & Dorothy about Herb & Dorothy Vogel, a postal worker and librarian who filled their 1-br NYC apt with art they loved and amassed a world re-known art collection.

3. You’ve lived and worked as an artist in SF and NY. What is the difference in the art scenes in these cities?

Well,  I had an interior design business in the Bay Area and have focused more on my art in New York. Obviously, New York is the center of the art world but the Bay area has produced some incredible artists and has some notable galleries.  And well the difference is that big body of water called the Pacific and those Redwoods are just to die for!  Making art in the Bay Area is just peaceful while making it in New York, well, need I say more 🙂

4. How has being on social media enhanced your career?

The Last Moments

I’ve gotten to know many more artists, curators, dealers and gallery owners.  Also, the chatter, banter and seeing other’s work in mid-process between artists is quite fun.  The art critic for the New York magazine, Jerry Saltz has quite a lively Facebook wall that can get pretty rowdy.  It’s a good place to go to at 2 a.m. if you are on dead-line and want so have some random art speak to shake up your evening without leaving the house.

5. As a longtime dog lover, what are some tips you have for keeping a dog happy in an urban setting?

Aww, come on Colleen, you want my insider deal for your little Elle.  Does she need a doggie play date with the Sam man?!  He is kept happy with his assortment of Greenies, Moo Cow and Bear.  The studio visits help too as he thinks people are just coming to see him.  The ego on this pup is something else.

Note: Of course I do!

p.s. Art Lovers Do Something Good Right Now!

5 Questions with @jessalbert…Ramble

It was in Santa Monica a few years ago I first hung out with the dynamic ‘ginger’ that is Jesse Albert. He is smart, focused and cuts right through the spindoctor spiel to find out how to make deals happen. This is a noble quality in business and in life.

Location: Hollywood
Vocation: Producer/Consultant All Media Platforms
Sign: Libra

1)  In the last year you left a talent agency to embrace your digital entrepreneur? What are some of the lessons you learned and what are the advantages of working for yourself?

Yes, I did leave ICM where I was a new media and branded entertainment agent.  At the risk of sounding like the bitter ex-employee, the biggest realization for me was that talent agencies are not the place for new media or branded entertainment practitioners.  As an industry we went thru an exploration of talent agencies getting involved in new media around 2001-2002 and it didn’t work then either and while there is more opportunity now, I don’t think agencies are committed enough to supporting either medium in a way where they can have a meaningful impact.  I get that it’s sexy for a talent agency to represent a large brand, but most agencies tend not to have the necessary strategic capability or patience to understand and provide uniquely tangible benefits to brands.  There’s simply not enough revenue from digital in the deals to warrant the necessary expenditure by agencies to cover the new media space.  Never mind the constant and ongoing perception that digital media is cannibalizing traditional media.

Talent agencies have a core expertise that they do very, very well and if 97% of entertainment revenues are derived from traditional media then that seems like the obvious place for a talent agency to concentrate their efforts.  On a personal level however, I’ve been working in digital media since the mid ’90’s. I’m not interested in being in an environment where I feel like I’m pushing the boulder up the mountain every day just to get people to understand what I do.

Back in 1998 everyone was likening the internet to the wild wild west and here we are today and I often hear that phrase repeated.  The reality is that we’re now in a state of perpetual beta which is a great opportunity and a fun place to be.  I think that we’re at a cross roads in how consumers consume their media and creators and distributors monetize it. Working outside of an agency, I love being free to engage in the exploratory process, looking at and testing new financial models, developing or producing a variety of types of content and expanding upon distribution formulas to incorporate a more global footprint.

Given my new-found freedom, I get to do whatever I want and whatever interests me which is fantastic.

I love strategically connecting businesses and/or teaching them how to interact with one another. I’m starting to like more of what I’m seeing in the high end “web” content space. I’ve found a couple of properties recently that appeal to me which I’ve been able to help develop and sell and to explore different financial models that include foreign distribution, home entertainment, television licenses and of course web advertising and/or brand sponsorship.  Some of the work being done on the web is more akin to filmmaking with the only difference being the overall financial investment and how distribution is windowed.  I think that audiences, a vast number of whom are now consuming content online, are hungering for types of content that they’re not finding in traditional media.

I’ve also been an early evangelist of transmedia or cross-platform development. I think it has huge ramifications both strategically and financially for Hollywood and it’s something that I’ve become passionate about over the last several years, especially as I’ve been fortunate to work with and represent many of the thought leaders in the space such as Starlight Runner in NY and Hoodlum out of Australia.  I’ve been able to take those relationships and expand upon them both in entertainment, but also explore the concepts in branded entertainment and even advertising. Randomly, that interest has also led to being tangentially involved in some very early stage research in developing strategies for usage of digital technologies in new theme parks, and how to extend an IP, mythos or experience into new platforms both within and without the park.

2)   You tweeted about scaring Movie Studios with digital tactics that involve the word “free.” How do you think traditional companies evolve past seeing free as a bad word?

That’s a probably a question better suited for Matt Mason who wrote The Pirate’s Dilemma (Available for free download  which I highly recommend).  There’s a lot of dialogue happening right now about free, IP theft, and net neutrality. And sadly I think most of the entities with a vested interest be they studios or unions are taking an antiquated approach. I did mention some ideas to a studio division that will remain nameless, how they might take advantage of what’s happening.  Needless to say, I was pretty much greeted with blank stares.

I love some of the stuff that Gavin McGarry at Jumpwire is doing with peer-to-peer for instance where you can measure interest and geo target it to such a high degree that you could anticipate and stock retail according to corollaries in online traffic.  And by looking at what’s being downloaded via P2P of “your” content, you can start to anticipate audience interest and buying intent not just by-product, but also again by location.  Rather than fear what’s happening, let’s turn the tables and use this information to better focus our efforts.

3) In the last couple of years Comic-Con has attracted more Hollywood Big Names. What was your impression of events this year and what was your personal highlight?

This year was a personal low light actually.  I used to love walking the floor,reading the books andmeeting the creators, but now the floor, the parties and events feel very overrun by Hollywood and certainly some of the attitudes that I was happy to escape from. I also found a lot of the show programming to have nothing to do with comic books.

4)  You are very vocal about social issues. What is the most important issue people should be aware of that will affect them but in general seem to be paying very little attention to?

Where does one begin, lol!  I tend to be quite outspoken and maybe having kids reinforces the need to be so.  I blog, tweet, donate and write letters to editors about everything, but right now, the role of corporate money in politics is becoming of paramount importance because the voice of the people has been lost in almost every issue from net neutrality, to our environment, to pretty much every regulatory effort to protect the rights and needs of you and I. Or perhaps it’s the negative influence of Rupert Murdoch.  Pick one.

5)  As a father your kids are growing up with a digital profile from birth. How do you guide them when it comes to Internet and what have you learned from watching them use it?

My eldest son Sean is 7.  I’ve been very hands off in terms of influencing what he can and can not do.  I love watching the discovery process thru his eyes and so try not to guide him too much in any direction.  I gave he and his younger brother Brendan (4) a used iMac very early on and have allowed them to discover on their own starting with playing games to rudimentary surfing and a lot of search by Sean as he learns to spell. My eldest will now see a commercial when they’re watching Clone Wars and go to his computer to enter the URL, or he goes to Google or Amazon to look up light sabers or robots or toys.  He’s amazed that the computer knows what he wants all the time!  So he’s becoming more savvy and identifying the power of the internet if not necessarily understanding the actual process.  It’s fascinating to watch.  I’m not terribly worried at this point given the type of interactions they’re having on the computer.  At worst, there may be a lack of privacy with regard to ad networks and cookies, but they have no credit cards or real personally identifying information that can be abused.

When they start to venture into other forms of social media and network destinations, or have phones or cameras I’ll have to worry and start being more hands on and protective.  For now it’s really fascinating to watch how children learn and teach themselves.

5 Questions with @jonaswoost…Ramble

El Capitan

I knew it was @jonaswoost as soon as I entered re-run, the back theater of re-bar in D.U.M.B.O., the setting for the second N.Y. meeting of the Open Music Media. His sandy blonde (not ginger!) hair, height, cool pointy black shoes and demeanor gave him away as European. That and I had looked up photos of him on the net.

We would drink, discuss and arrange to meet for the first ever in-person recorded interview for the 5 Questions series. Jonas asked me after our interview if I had meant not to or had just forgotten to ask him about his previous position as Head of Music at LastFm.com for the past four years. It was intentional. You can read more of a bio about Jonas on his blog. (Disclosure: part of my role at Sony included being the global marketing account manager for LastFm.com.)

Location: Vancouver
Vocation: I work in an area Where Music Meets & Overlaps with Technology
Sign: Pieces
Blog: jonaswoost.com
Co-Founder of Open Music Media

1. Could you explain why you co-founded Open Music Media?
Dave Haynes and I saw a gap about people in the music and technology how they get together and exchange thoughts. We were attending the well-known conferences over the last few years (MIDEM, SXSW, etc.) is there to represent companies. The agenda is often set by from the person or company that paid for them to be at that event.

We wanted to gather in a non-political way without any agendas to talk about digital music and media. We decided to get people together in London for a roundtable setting as opposed to a panel, for an hour, always after work in a pub so people can have a drink and it makes it social. We started doing that successfully and after a year people from other countries & cities approached us to adapt the idea, the name. It’s not a commercial enterprise, it’s really the name and the concept. We ask for it to be in a non-commercial setting. We don’t want to have sponsors involved. We don’t want people to charge entry fees you cannot charge for entry.

2. How do you explain the guest panelists who come to explain their service or product, which then gets dissected by the group? Is that to help the guest or spark the conversation? The first OMM I attended we very quickly got away from the guest’s product.

The guest is leading the conversation. We set one topic for the evening. The guest introduces the topic by talking about their idea for five to ten minutes. I feel the best sessions that we had quickly moved away from that specific example and discussed the overall issue.

The first one we had in London we had Anthony Volodkin . He was talking for 5 to 10 minutes about The Hype Machine and what it does, how it works, and what kind of relationship they have with artists and labels. From that, we were very quickly discussing music blogs in general and how they do or don’t help the music industry in general. He did a great job by moderating almost, what could be called a roundtable discussion. There were about 35 people. For me, personally, that is the ideal situation.

If the speaker has a lot to say, it might end up to be a conversation to be just about the product or the project. For example when we had Joi Ito the CEO of Creative Commons , there were so many questions in the audience which was 65 people. There were a lot of questions and answers. It was an interactive night as opposed to just Joi Ito explaining something.

3. Even though we live so much of our lives digitally, you still found the need to have this socialization gathering. Do you think digital interactions will ever replace the socialization process?

No. So we’re recording this talk here in New York. I’m here in New York for no specific reason. I’m not here to sell something or buy something. I’m here to socialize. I just moved to North America and I wanted to make sure that the people I like, that I respect that they are aware of the fact I’m in North America now. This is the whole purpose of my trip.

This is a fairly expense enterprise if you compare it to sending a bunch of emails. However the outcome and the results are not even in the same league. Email doesn’t mean that much these days because there are so many of them, then add all the tweets and the newsletters we read and texts we read on screens. There’s an inflation of that so it is easy to forget those things.

Human interaction is a lot more than words. It’s about body language and introduce yourself. Do you shake hands or hug? All these things add together to add to your relationship which email can over provide words which is a fraction of human interaction.

5. What is the angle of your former radio show and what does your blog name “heutepopmorgen” mean in English?

It was a new location station in Hamburg. They needed to build some time. They needed to fill air. They needed some content. I decided to produce one two-hour show. It sounded awful, I didn’t know what I was doing. It wasn’t live, I had to record it at home and I didn’t have the right equipment.

I produced one and someone must’ve liked it because they asked me to do it on a regular basis. The name means Today’s Pop Tomorrow. I wanted to make it sound interesting but I wanted to play pop music that should be more popular. It had some lyrics and a good melody that you could get as an outsider and was still niche music. I played a lot of electronica.

I did it for five years and then I decided to move to Vancouver. It forced me to listen to a lot of new music which you don’t do when you work in the music industry. I felt I reached a point I didn’t know what was next. The whole exercise was about setting new challenges, learning new things and meeting new people. That’s also why I stopped working for LastFm.com, not because I didn’t enjoy it anymore- I was obviously comfortable and needed a new challenge.

As part of that I stopped all the things that I did before and I wanted to have a new start. The blog is called heutepop. I don’t know what the evolution will be.

BONUS JONAS!!!!  (Ok, JoBro fans don’t get upset Jonas is pronounced like Yo-nas, he is German.) Since the interview was in person I asked a few extra questions.

Let’s talk about your personal style. Today you’re wearing a Captain Neo t-shirt (which he quizzed me to make sure I knew it was a Michael Jackson show/character. Next time a harder question Jonas!)

When it comes to creative stuff – music, movies or fashion, I don’t like to go for the very left field or obscure just for the sack of it. Some people like to do that. They like to watch 1980’s Kung Fu movies, not because they enjoy them, but they want to be seen as someone who enjoys them. That’s not really my style.

I like to wear things that are accessible and are comfortable. At the same time I don’t want to be uniform.

You were traveling around quite a bit. What were some of the unexpected lessons you learned on the road? And what was the point of the journey?

The point of my journey before hand, was not the point at the end. It was a big surprise to me.

We (Jonas and his girlfriend) went to South America for five months, four months in North America. Before the trip the point was to take some time off, see some stuff, spend some time at the beach. While we were on the trip, I realized the trip wasn’t about any of that stuff but in a selfish way was about me. All the do-nothing changed me.

I realized after a few months, going outside of your daily routine. I’d had a routine living in London for eight years with it’s daily anxieties and your daily bullshit that you have to deal with and you are suddenly totally out of that. What did we have to do? We got up in the morning had breakfast, look at stuff and have dinner and then we went to bed.

It’s like a defrag of the brain. All the crap that built up goes away. It takes a while. It was about three months into the trip that it all went away. You start fresh. It kind of dumbs you down a bit. It was hard for me to get back into doing things like this interview. If we tried to do this right at the end of the trip I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I wasn’t really thinking about anything because we couldn’t even find any good books down there.

I came back and felt refreshed and really motivated. I seriously felt I could look at things differently and renew things that you always want to renew about your life like work life balance.

Thank you Jonas! I really enjoyed our chat.

5 Questions with @vcravid…Ramble

Keepin' it fresh

The first time I met @vcravid she was part of Courtney Holt’s ‘new media’ department at Interscope. She was bold, funny and got right to the point. She was my kind of people. I was so glad we got closer when I moved out to LA. Ravid carved out what the digital space means to hip-hop marketing today.

Location: City of Angels
Vocation: Making Things Happen
Sign: Cancer

1) As a digital music wunderkind, what do you think are the essential when you are creating a digital marketing strategy for an artist?

I’m a big fan of concept. Identifying your point of view and whom your selling to and then being consistent in delivering that message through community. This means online (social networks), in your community (on the road) and within the music community (artists and industry influencers). Each one of these “communities” will create a vehicle for your music to be heard. If you are missing one, then you are unlikely to make it in the long run…

Specifically to digital, I don’t think that every artist should use every digital platform… if you don’t naturally gravitate towards and like a platform (twitter, blogs, live video streams), you may cause more harm by alienating your audience. Once again, consistency is key-find that way to that you do feel comfortable communicating and do that, and only that consistently.

2) Back in the Day your vocal pipes got you a start in the music industry. Why did you focus change to the business side and would you ever consider singing guest vocals on tracks?

I took an internship at a major label at 19 years old with the intent to learn about the business and meet people who could help my singing/songwriting career. Back than a major label would make you or break you and I saw some artists whom I believed to be talented not make it because one executive could control their path.. Being the control freak that I am, I couldn’t let that happen to me, so I decided to become that executive that would do whatever I could to MAKE YOU.

I always think about going back to writing, I miss that creative outlet, and if someone wanted me to get on a track, I would consider it. I love being a part of the creative process and even though I wasn’t in the A&R dept, I always made sure that my opinion was heard about the music we released – good or bad.

3) What are some of the most off-the-wall requests you’ve had from artists?

I had to really think about this one. I think that after such a long time in this industry, things no longer seem that off the wall. You get used to it as the normal every day crazy. I did find myself present for a bunch of ridiculous, movie like situations.

4) What projects were your most fun and memorable to carry out?

You can find me club body hard & lean

I was the first ever “urban” focused digital marketer at a label… this was back when digital was New Media, and we would get skipped over in the marketing meeting. But, I was blessed to work with an artist that was willing to try just about anything I suggested. He (50 Cent) also happened to be the biggest artist out at the time which only made the results that much bigger.. we built a model together… that was exciting.

I’ve always had fun no matter what, because I love music and really did care about a lot of my artists. Most recently, I loved working with Soulja Boy. I don’t think many expect that to be one of my most memorable projects, but he made me remember how I used to feel about music when I was a teenager. He is so smart, had so many ideas and was full of energy… he was just so happy to be here and I fed off of that energy. He obviously understood digital as a means to connect with his audience and we were able to use non-traditional means (at the time) like Youtube and mobile to break his records.

5) How has consulting allowed your creative juices to recharge?

I worked at the same label for 9 years.. You tend to get sucked into your environment and you sometimes forget why you wanted to do this in the first place… I now get to see things from a completely different angle and I get to choose to work with projects that inspire and people who drive me.

Currently, I’m concentrating on integrated marketing projects for brands that are looking to use music as a means to reach their audience. Creating that big idea that you get to implement on multiple platforms that touch all 3 cmmunities that I mentioned above.

5 Questions with @iancrogers…Ramble

The second week I was at Yahoo! I was sent to a meeting full of intensely smart people who were deciding things about the future of music and which ways to move forward. Two of those people were Karin Gilford and Ian Rogers who fell into the scary-crazy-smart category and really showed me that moving across the country to work at Yahoo! would elevate my knowledge.

There are some people you meet in this life that you admire without restraint. They are not flawless or claim to be, but they even inspire the most burnt out person to whom hope is a just a four letter word. Ian is one of those people. @iancr makes you think, makes you want to do your best and pushes you past that even when you think you are done. He will hear his employees out even if he doesn’t agree with them and find solutions. I beat him at Wii bowling and he even lost gracefully. (Sorry Ian, I have to make people see you are human.) These days he moves music digitally forward at TOPSPIN.

Location: Santa Monica, CA
Vocation: Decentralizer
Sign: Virgo
Blog: Fistfulayen

1)   How has your perspective of launching an artist using digital tools changed since you added the role of co-manager of Get Busy Committee?

There have been a lot of lessons in this; it’s been invaluable.  The two major lessons which come to mind now are:

1) Content is more valuable than promotion.  Not to say money spent on PR and promotion isn’t worth it, but the most important thing is to keep creating.  New sound and imagery is paramount.

2) Know and target an audience before you start.  Attention is moving from mass media to niches, but building your own niche from scratch takes a lot of time and energy.  If possible/appropriate, target an existing niche and see if you can get the folks within that niche to lift you up higher, faster.

2) You are one of the busiest people on the planet, aside from being the CEO of Topspin, Husband, Father of two and co-managing GBC –yet you always return emails within a day. What are your time management secrets?

Well, considering my inbox has 3890 *unread* messages (forget about un-replied-to) in it that’s unfortunately not true.  I’m pretty underwater from a time perspective and the unfortunate fact is I can’t actually do everything I need to.  My entire team is in the same boat.  Plus, we’re a startup so I don’t have the luxury of hiring an assistant or all the staff it would take to support acting on every opportunity that comes our way.

I think this is the case for everyone today.  There’s no shortage of input.  You could spend all day replying to emails, reading Twitter and Facebook, and at the end of the day not have anything to show for your time.  For all of us, prioritization and filtering is important. Some people choose not to participate in things like Twitter and Facebook to cut down on these distractions.  I’m convinced in the future an ability to prioritize and focus, an ability to use these tools for what they’re good for and not be distracted by them, will be characteristics which lead to success.

I have LOTS of room for improvement but here are a few of the things I do to try to remain productive:

I make lists.  In the spirit of GTD (Getting Things Done, the book, the technique) I put what needs doing onto a list when it comes into my head so I can process serially.  If I’m at my computer I record them in a program called Things, and I assign them to projects or tasks and put deadlines on them.  If I’m not, I just write them in my notebook and process them later.

I try to keep my blackberry and computer out of meetings, and not look at my computer when I’m on the phone.  I know my limitations, and if I’m talking to you while I’m staring at my computer, I’m only half listening, if that.  If I’m going to take the time for a meeting I want to focus, know what I am really getting of value out of the meeting, get it, and move on.  If I’m not getting or giving anything of value, the meeting just shouldn’t be happening.

I try to process email only twice a day, instead of looking at it all day long.  Unfortunately that isn’t enough time to get through every message, which is why so many go unread.  But I think it’s more important to spend a couple hours a day going through “the list” than it is to reply to every email.  I’d rather have unread messages than an overflowing to-do list.  Unfortunately at the moment I have both! But I’ll burn the to-do list down faster than the inbox.

I try to use all the tools available to do what they’re good at.  Skype and Google Voice have changed the way I communicate.  I route all calls to my cell and if not answered there they bounce to Skype.  If I don’t answer there they go to Google Voice which transcribes the text and emails the message to me.  Whenever possible I do meetings via Skype video instead of driving across town, flying across the country, or just having a phone meeting where you can’t get any body language as input to the conversation.  I’ll use Twitter to get answers to hard questions, Facebook to keep in touch with business colleagues who have changing email address and to schedule events, WordPress to communicate with large groups of people, LinkedIn to post jobs.  And I’ve used all of the above to schedule meetups so you can get some scale out of your own time and meet lots of people who you don’t have time to meet with during the course of the work week.

Anyway, I’m no expert here.  I don’t sleep enough, don’t see my kids enough, haven’t been skateboarding nearly enough, etc.  But on balance I do alright, maybe the above will be useful for someone.  I’m also open to suggestions!

Grrlgenius note: I feel even more lucky that Ian made time to answer these questions – and, only hours after I sent them.

3) Did appearing on the cover of Billboard so early on in your TOPSPIN career add an extra layer of pressure to succeed?

Yes, it did.  To be honest, it was too early for that much exposure, but how could we say no to something like that?  It was great coverage, and I’m very thankful for it.  It’s been a lot to live up to but we’ve been working our asses off to do it every day over the two years since!

4) The female numbers continue to decline for women pursuing careers in technology while your daughter Zoe is earning a degree at M.I.T. What advice do you have for women on why they should pursue a career in such a male-dominated field?
Two daughters and a wife — I’m surrounded by smart, analytical women so sometimes I forget the field *isn’t* dominated by women.  But we’ve struggled to hire women at Topspin, we’re a male-dominated shop with only two women on our engineering team (Maria and Ana, but we have women in the company in business development, legal, finance, QA, and pro services) but not for lack of trying to hire female engineers, there are simply far less female resumes when you post a programming position.

Zoe attended a great UC program called COSMOS , which was established to take kids with an aptitude for math and science and nurture it before they decided it was “uncool”.  They mentioned they see this in girls particularly, that often they show skills in math and science early but by the end of high school they’ve lost interest. I highly recommend anyone (female, male, or in-between) who has a glimmer of skills here early stick with it and just keep going.  I didn’t know anything about Computer Science when I enrolled in the degree program in 1991.  I think some people think “Oh I don’t know anything about algebra, I’m not going to take that class” so they take an English class because, well, I already know how to read. You have to remember that LEARNING is what those classes are about.  Go in humble and ready to learn and you’ll do just fine.  Ask questions when you don’t know.  You’ll be surprised what you learn.

5) Why is information transparency a good thing and where do you draw the line at what to reveal?

Sharing is caring!  😉  Seriously, I’m convinced The Beatles were right — you get what you give. There have been so many times I’ve wondered if I should share what I was feeling, only to find there were other people out there who feel the way I feel, or who have feedback which could change the way I feel.

I generally only try to share things I think will be of value to at least *someone*. Not that it needs to be high value, but at least mildly entertaining or informative, etc.

People talk about “all the noise” out there online but those folks are really missing the point in my humble opinion.  TV, radio, and billboards are noise because they intrude where you have no choice.  If I’m reading a blog or a tweet it’s because I *want* to.  I control who is on my list.  Betray my trust and it’s one click for me to cut you out of my attention entirely.

Remember, the most awesome value of the Internet age have been people-powered, from Ebay to Amazon reviews to Yelp — even Google’s search results beat the competition because they were able to derive human intention through the links of the Web.  Information sharing + filtering and attention management is legitimate value creation.