In the words of M. Shelley when falsehood can look so much like truth who can assure themselves of certain happiness
My humble response to one of my favorite writers, Too much, we define our lives by the wrong things truth instead of fact… fight for the sake of fighting and not for the right reasons, assuming there might be any in the first place… and regret failures we never defined as goals in the first place.
Throughout my career success was defined in what was accomplished, not what I accomplished. To me, it’s always been driven by something other than just my contribution. Sure, I have a handful of stories where I will occasionally present myself as the driving force for something positive, but mostly it was someone else who provided the heavy lifting and all I did was just frame it right.
It seems I am always priveledged to work with really special teams. Great people with great talents, expansive ideas, fantastic personalities who push me and allow me to push them to achieve in our corners of the world what seemed like great things. Occassionally, I was rewarded with accolades like magazine recognitions, gold and platinum records, panel and speaking positions, sometimes I bonus or maybe a raise and promotion. Those were never my goals and selling myself and my abilities, experience and own contributions has always been extremely difficult. Do I know my ‘shit’? Yes. Absolutely. I know in my heart of hearts I helped develop some unique and highly effective techniques and was a big part of some extremely successful launches and campaigns.
I would never trivalize my time spent in the entertainment industry. I worked with some amazing artists and record labels, was part of some amazing tours and festivals, partnered with some amazing groups like Kristen Brooke Hopeline and H.E.A.R. and others over the years and was hired by Sony, Warner, EMI, Universal, Roadrunner and the likes of AT&T, Jagrmiester, Minor League Baseball. I heard from fans, from programmers, from artists and from all kinds of other stakeholders, kids who where impacted intimately by what I was involved with, even remotely, about how I was making a difference. In many ways, the people I was involved with and I really were doing great things and in my creativity when I had the time to utilize it and my management skills when I had the opportunity to flex them I played an important role in it.
Making a difference is important. For one’s self and for the world around. I cherished what I did during the beginning of my career. I was convinced like how I grew up impacted positively by music and the engine of the industry that drove it, the community that surrounded it and the positive support of my family and teachers what I was doing for music was the same. By helping my friends in bands, my friends at labels and agencies, my friends at not-for-profits or sponsoring companies who worked with us, I was indirectly giving another generation of kids the same kinds of positive experiences. I came off as self-less in some ways because it wasn’t about me, but I enjoyed the challenge of the jobs themselves, the oportunites to learn, grow and experience, the ability to impact and to endear myself to a community I aspired to further understand because my curiousity was as much in human nature as it was in music, marketing and technology.
If you would have asked me ten years ago if my career would have led me to working in technology for social justice I do not know I would have believed you. The idea of defining my career trajectory in such a way would have never crossed my mind. I wasn’t self-absorbed or oblivious to the world around, I just didn’t know how to get involved in a way that fit who I was. It took time for me to get understand that I loved music by my skills were really in marketing and though I loved marketing my evolving skills were in product innovation and was interested in project I was going to have to learn project management and so on. It also took me a long time to understand what I wanted to influence was social preferences, to manipulate the course of dialogue. I was a part of reframing of music from chart positions to movements, or devices to experiences, or even websites to conversations, for example.
The idea that the impact was greater than the individual user to the way the culmination of users not just interacted but rather reacted to the experience. And, so I landed in a place that previously had exeptionally little to directly influence me but for a long time seemed to impact me, social justice, and the modern ‘rights’ movement. Tonight I was part of the ‘launch’ of our new products. It was the dream of our founder to accelerate the pace of change by leveraging the relationships that exist as the cornerstone of our lives, our friends and families. They rarely know how to support us, save for the off chance we’ve shown them how. His dream was to provide simple tools for doing as such that were more about the relationship than ideology. Thus was born the company I work for.
When I first joined it was under a tremendous amount of intrigue not just in the technological aspect which was inspiring based on my product management background, but in the other parts of what it would mean to be a part of everything. Sure, helping evolve a click-to-call too into a potential social experience is pretty intense and helping develop the distribution of other educational tools was huge. But tonight, seeing it all, was something more. It was personal. It showed me fully and truly and new version of the faces of the people I can help impact.
Once again, as I’ve always had, I have a fantastic team around me. They are all way more accomplished at what they can do than what they would ever be able to give themselves credit for. As per usual, some are overacomplished, some under, some not sure where their going to fit in but they all have wonderfully amazing talents that have almost nothing to do with the title they hold.
But, that’s not the best part. These are people that live and breathe what they are doing. Not the day-in and day-out of their jobs which very few people will ever be able to appreciate, but they live and breathe the ‘product.’ Their lives are directly affected by what is happening and that is the driving force in their success. I saw the impact my work is having on them first hand, for the first time, in a sublimely impactful way as I finally saw people around me who were like me, outsiders, looking in, believing in and supporting and doing something for, doing something more.
When I worked in for-profit we always spoke about working toward the stakeholders and working for the consumers. The funny thing is the stakeholders in the music industry are musicians and businessmen and the vast majority of the industry is neither and they sell to tweens through twenty-somethings and again the vast majority has little actual exposure to it. It’s no wonder there’s such a seemingly vast disconnect.
So, if that’s the case, what in the hell am I doing what I’m doing? And, yet, here I am, doing it. Because, in some ways I am the target audience. I am who is going to move the needle, or, rather, my fantastic team will be the ones to, as always, because we, together will find a way to overcome what started out as being undefined which once was seemed impossible till it was capabile and then successful and resulting in me being all if it weren’t for everyone else from my founders vision to my programers capibilities to my ops and hr team’s beliefs i wouldn’t be here in the first place writing… so, here we are, and here I am to say thank you to all of them for once again giving me a chance… we wouldn’t be on the news, we wouldn’t be in the papers, we wouldn’t be breaking the internet if it weren’t for ya’ll in the first place. I’m just another dude. Just another friend. Just another person who happens to have a couple of good ideas at the right time and in the right place.
Right now, I’m struggling at being just another dude… for another about 1500 words why…