Five Points – 34

Opportunity Zones  –

I’ve mentioned my enjoyment and gained knowledge from Fred Wilson‘s blog multiple times here on Five Points and he has yet again shared a kernel that you may find valuable.

As part of the December 2017 Trump tax cut, an unlikely group of billionaires and politicians quietly inserted a generous and complicated new tax break designed to lure big dollars into struggling areas known as Opportunity Zones, or O-zones.  About 8,700 O-zones nationwide, ranging from run-down inner cities to dusty rural hamlets,  have already been designated. But investors who want to take advantage of the new O-zone tax scheme can’t plow money into these areas directly. Instead, they must do so through qualified opportunity funds, or O-funds. These funds will have remarkable freedom to invest in just about anything—from real estate to tech start-ups—so long as it’s located in an O-zone and isn’t a business Congress considers a vice. (No casinos, liquor stores or massage parlors.)

Here’s how it works. Investors who sell assets have 180 days to plow their taxable capital gains into an approved opportunity fund, which must hold 90% of its assets in Opportunity Zone projects. To put money to work fast, the law requires that the funds invest all of their cash within some specified time frame. (The Treasury Department is still deciding on that and other crucial details.) Tax on the original reinvested gain isn’t due until 2026, and the taxable gain is cut by 15%. Meanwhile the new opportunity investment grows tax-free, like a Roth IRA, provided it’s held for at least ten years. (If it’s sold earlier, it can be rolled into another opportunity fund and remain tax-free.

For a census tract to qualify as an O-zone, it must have a poverty rate of 20% or higher or a median household income that is less than 80% of the surrounding area. Governors are allowed to designate 25% of their states’ eligible tracts as O-zones. In all, about 8,700 areas, ranging from rusty industrial towns to dusty rural hamlets, have been approved.

Unlike previous development incentives such as Enterprise Zones and New Market Tax credits, which capped tax benefits and placed restrictions on the industries and regions you could invest in, the O-zone law is broad and scalable. Vice businesses (liquor stores, casinos, massage parlors) are barred. And while venture capitalists, private-equity shops and banks will be essential for launching opportunity funds, those firms can’t simply locate in an O-zone and grow tax-free. Other than that, the investment options and those who can invest are broad.

Here’s a map of O-zones in the United States.
Forbes has a long piece on how these rules came to be and how they work.

If this is interesting to you and are keen to discuss in more depth, please do contact me.  I have privately shared this with several capable investors and am considering organizing a fund for investment in O-zones surrounding Nashville, TN.



The Biographer’s Lover –

Friends doing awesome stuff alert!!!

Ruby Murray just let the world know her second book is available for pre-order.

Why has no one heard of Edna Cranmer?

When a young writer is hired to put together the life of an unknown artist from Geelong, of all places, she thinks it will be just another quick commission paid for by a rich, grieving family obsessed with their own past.

But Edna Cranmer was not a privileged housewife with a paintbrush. Edna’s work spans decades. Her soaring images of red dirt, close interiors and distant jungles have the potential to change the way the nation views itself.

Edna could have been an official war artist. Did she choose to hide herself away? Or were there people who didn’t want her to be famous? As the biographer is pulled into Edna’s life, she is confronted with the fact that how she tells Edna’s past will affect her own future.

This elegant and engrossing novel explores how we value and celebrate art and artists’ lives. The Biographer’s Lover reminds us that all memory is an act of curation.

***

Do yourself a favor…or treat someone you care about to a special gift…

It’s available for pre-order now: https://www.blackincbooks.com.au/books/biographers-lover

Ruby is an incredible wordsmith and even better person.


7’s Rugby World Cup – San Francisco, CA

Friends doing awesome stuff alert!!!

Super proud of Dallen Stanford for being selected to announce the 7’s Rugby World Cup this weekend in San Francisco, CA.  He is prolific in rich commentary and educational information about the game and players, one-liners to have you big belly roll laughing, and access to the game’s brightest stars.

His role as commentator is second only to his career as player, having represented the United States for many years on the international stage.

Most importantly, he’s one of the best friends a guy could ask for.


Prefabricated Homes – 

My friend Isaac Roth sent along a link to what I find to be a simple, but beautiful prefabricated house.

https://vipp.com/en/vipp-shelter


Exploration – Control Your Data.  Collect Your Money.

​My primary job is as the CEO of Exploration.  We help media companies compile the data needed to get paid.

Our weekly newsletter is one of the most widely read in the music business.

Exploration Weekly – Apple Music Touts US Subscribers / Spotify Reveals Pitching Feature / UnitedMasters Launches Data-Driven Distribution Service

Five Points – 33

Pull Ups  –

Exercise has to be convenient for me or it doesn’t happen.  So, before I grab a shower in the morning and before bed, I do some push ups and pull ups.  I also do air squats and a nice bit of stretching all over.  The only equipment I need is the bar and I put it up in the little hall way on the way to bathroom.

2 of these @ $13.20 = $26.40

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Mueller-Streamline-1-in-Galvanized-Malleable-Iron-Floor-Flange-511-605HN/100178435

8 of these @ $.46 = $3.68

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Crown-Bolt-5-16-in-x-3-in-External-Hex-Hex-Head-Lag-Screw-87446/205026617

1 one these @ $25.45

https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-in-x-10-ft-Galvanized-Steel-Pipe-565-1200HC/100576427

Total Cost = $55.53

It took about and hour to measure the width of the hall, visit home depot to grab the parts and have them cut and rethread the pipe.  It took about another hour to put it up.  It costs less than a month at the gym, will last forever, and gets loads more use.


Don’t Shave A Long Haired Dog – 

hat tip to Oren Schaedel for the post


What I’m listening to –

Neil Young – Old Man – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An2a1_Do_fc   — I like this version as it was one of the the first times he’d played the song publicly.  In some ways, I feel I am living this song right now.

Darius Rucker – Wagon Wheel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvKyBcCDOB4 — The references to NC make me smile.

John Denver – Take Me Home – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrEljMfXYo — I grew up listening to this music.  The entirety of his voice, lyrics, and nostalgia make for a lovely trip down memory lane.


Please write me a letter <3

I just love to write letters and put them in the post.  Usually they are plain white cards in a white envelope.  I include a business card if its for work.  My purchase of choice when visiting a museum these days is note cards from their gift shop so that I might send art through the air to a friend far away.

I think it is pure magic that for $.50 you can put a letter in a box from anywhere and it will be arrive anywhere a remarkably short time later.  Everyone seems to really like getting real mail from someone they’ve met.

It would really be awesome to at some undetermined time in the future, have walked to the mailbox in the light rain a little outside Nashville, Tennessee to see your thoughts on paper.  William will be there and I’ll look up and smile.  Maybe it will be a tale of an adventure or an idea that brings you joy or just a sketch.  Maybe you passed it to a courrier in Berlin or Buenos Aires or just maybe Los Angeles.  Maybe it will have some art.

Keen to try it?  To a friend or family member colleague across town or across this Earth?  Maybe to send me one??

If it’s no trouble..

7389 Hunting Camp Rd.
Fairview, TN 37062

I know the recipient sure would be grateful.


Exploration – Control Your Data.  Collect Your Money.

​My primary job is as the CEO of Exploration.  We help media companies compile the data needed to get paid.

Exploration Weekly – DOJ Terminates Outdated Consent Decrees / Apple Expected to Surpass Spotify / Streams Up 41.6% in First Half of 2018

Five Points – 32

Samantha & Hamburger – 

I’d caught a cold as the seasons changed.  With each change, new opportunities to learn present themselves.  This is where I learned about mice.

My neighbor noticed I’d left in several days and came round to check on me.  I answered the door with a smile and half a hairdo, grateful to see another. I explained that I’d caught ill and was just managing to work a bit and sleep.  The air outside was crisp.

I didn’t tell her that with it finally beginning to warm up, that mice had made themselves known.  Tons of them.  Scurrying about.  Brazenly hopping to and fro.  Seeing me and then continuing on with their affairs.  My traps worked once, capturing but one lone scout while the rest of the brood would forever steer clear.  Poison achieved the same result, but I had the constant fear William might find the peanut butter flavor toxic treats as easily as the mice.  I quickly removed it all after a few days.  So how…this is beginning to be a real problem.

The door knocked.

My neighbor extends her hand, “Here’s some nice bread.  You’ll feel better if you eat it.  And you call me.  You call me if you’re down ill.  I’ll bring you some food.” and walked back to her truck.  “Hope you get to feeling better!” and drove out of sight.

It made me feel good.  She’s an older lady.. real nice and knows all the things around Hunting Camp Rd.  That’s how she knew I hadn’t left in a few days.  One way in and one way out.  She’s lived there since she was a girl…maybe 70 some years I’ll say.

House as kind dark in the late afternoon and I put the bread on the counter.  Pleased with the thought of a sandwich when I conjured the energy.  And I went to sleep.

I woke up around dawn.  I felt ok.  Maybe starting to feel better for the first day in many.  Did my normal routine and standing in a daze as the coffee pot began to brew, noticed the sheer destruction of my good bread.  A complete pillaging of my leavened loaf.

How dare they!?

I got right in the car and drove straight to the animal shelter.  I’ll have those two female cats.  One was tortoise shell and thin and curious and incredibly athletic – Samantha.  One was black and fat and sullen and judgy – Hamburger.

Home they went.  Samantha was clawing her way out of the cardboard car carrier before we got out of the parking lot.  Hamburger just screamed.

I wondered what William might think of our new house guests.

Once in the house, the cats scattered.  They hid for 3 days.  William didn’t care.  I wondered if I was further losing my mind.

Then I could hear the occasional sprint, jump, silence.  Then it turned out that Samantha and Hamburger were murderous savages.  Then everyone was really on edge.  Then there weren’t any more mice.  Then everything calmed down and the cats began exploring everything in and around the house and they try to say Hi to William and he still doesn’t care.  And now everyone lives in harmony.

Samantha runs like a maniac constantly and sleeps in a location yet to be determined.

Hamburger sits in and around the same chair all day and judges and generally hates everything.

Then there were 4.


Shockwave –

https://i.imgur.com/Mafrn2s.jpg


Rhumb Line – 

A friend and I were plotting an exciting but treacherous voyage where the topic of a rhumb line came up.  tl;dr a rhumb line is not the path the blockade runners used to smuggle rum into miami.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhumb_line

A rhumb line can be contrasted with a great circle, which is the path of shortest distance between two points on the surface of a sphere. On a great circle, the bearing to the destination point does not remain constant. If one were to drive a car along a great circle one would hold the steering wheel fixed, but to follow a rhumb line one would have to turn the wheel, turning it more sharply as the poles are approached. In other words, a great circle is locally “straight” with zero geodesic curvature, whereas a rhumb line has non-zero geodesic curvature.

Meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude provide special cases of the rhumb line, where their angles of intersection are respectively 0° and 90°. On a north–south passage the rhumb line course coincides with a great circle, as it does on an east–west passage along the equator.

On a Mercator projection map, any rhumb line is a straight line; a rhumb line can be drawn on such a map between any two points on Earth without going off the edge of the map. But theoretically a loxodrome can extend beyond the right edge of the map, where it then continues at the left edge with the same slope (assuming that the map covers exactly 360 degrees of longitude).


What I’m listening to –

Ray LaMontagne – Trouble

https://youtu.be/k3pltmw6cmI


What I’m Reading – 

Ask HN: What are the biggest challenges preventing startups from hiring remote?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17021655

Book:  Remote – Office Not Required

https://basecamp.com/books/remote

Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson explore the “work from home” phenomenon and show precisely how a remote work setup can be accomplished in Remote.

The Industrial Revolution’s “under one roof” model of conducting work is steadily declining as technology creates virtual workspaces that allow employees to provide their vital contribution without physically clustering together. Today, the new paradigm is “move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace.”

Remote work increases the talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens the real estate footprint, and improves the ability to conduct business across multiple time zones, to name just a few advantages. As Fried and Hansson explain the challenges and unexpected benefits of this phenomenon, they show why–with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo–more businesses will want to promote this model of getting things done.


Exploration – Control Your Data.  Collect Your Money.

​My primary job is as the CEO of Exploration.  We help media companies compile the data needed to get paid.

Exploration Weekly – Senate Judiciary Committee Passes MMA / EU Copyright Directive Rejected Thursday / Tencent Filing IPO This Week

Five Points – 30

Where The Wild Things Are Secret Forest Camp – 

I had only two contingencies in purchasing my house outside Nashville 1) ability to get internet 2) proven demand for airbnb guests to stay

The first one was easy..I just ordered internet to be connected.

The second one was satisfied by my creating a fake ad on airbnb.com, using photos I found on Pinterest, and writing up a clever description of what I envisioned – while using my actual address.  I used airbnb’s dynamic pricing, which will change as per demand on the site, allowing me to understand what rent it may command.

Within 3 days I had several solid inquiries…a couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary and wanting to get out of town for the weekend…a couple traveling from Chicago to Atlanta to visit their son at college and needing to break up the trip…and a couple moving from St. Louis to Nashville and needing a spot to crash for the 6 week gap between their previous house closing and the the new place (and my day rate $100 was ok with them)…regretfully, I had to decline them all, as I had no airbnb setup, but I certainly proved my theory.  I then removed the ad..or rather, “snoozed” it.

Next I had to go out and get an Airstream.  Get power and water to it.  Establish a sewer.  Repair all of the systems.  Build a deck.  Decorate it. And buy some of those little soaps.

Happy to report she’s now available for guests.  Tonight, the first strangers will stay.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/21641468

​If friends and family are keen to stay in the camper, as opposed to the house, just let me know the dates and I’ll block out it for you.  I would only ask for $20 to pay for it to be cleaned and turned over on your departure.


Spoons –

I started carving spoons a couple months ago and I’m really enjoying the process.  One thing I really like about making this particular art is that a piece can be finished in a couple hours.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgAj-j2jxSj/​


A Matter Of Perspective – 

My dear friend Calli Beck just launched a kickstarter – Matter Of Perspective: Modern Views of Mountains // She wants to use robots to create visually stunning backlit wall hangings from steel, acrylic, and wood.

She’s already over half way to funding her project.  Please consider supporting her effort.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632796944/matter-of-perspective-modern-views-of-mountains


Quote I’m Thinking About –

In your day-to-day negotiations with clients and colleagues fight for the kings and queens and bishops but throw away the pawns. A habit of graceful surrender on trivial issues will make you difficult to resist on those rare occasions when you must stand and fight on a major issue.

David Ogilvy​


What I’m Reading – 

RAND – Autonomous Vehicle Technology – A Guide For Policy Makers

For the past hundred years, innovation within the automotive sector has created safer, cleaner, and more affordable vehicles, but progress has been incremental. The industry now appears close to substantial change, engendered by autonomous, or “self-driving,” vehicle technologies. This technology offers the possibility of significant benefits to social welfare — saving lives; reducing crashes, congestion, fuel consumption, and pollution; increasing mobility for the disabled; and ultimately improving land use. This report is intended as a guide for state and federal policymakers on the many issues that this technology raises.

After surveying the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, RAND researchers determined that the benefits of the technology likely outweigh the disadvantages. However, many of the benefits will accrue to parties other than the technology’s purchasers. These positive externalities may justify some form of subsidy. The report also explores policy issues, communications, regulation and standards, and liability issues raised by the technology; and concludes with some tentative guidance for policymakers, guided largely by the principle that the technology should be allowed and perhaps encouraged when it is superior to an average human driver.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR443-2.html


Exploration – Control Your Data.  Collect Your Money.

​My primary job is as the CEO of Exploration.  We help media companies compile the data needed to get paid.

I wrote the YouTube Guide For The Music Business (20 min read) over a year ago.  It is the authoritative resource on the subject that exists, gets read about 50+ times a day from all over the world, and was used at two universities for curriculum in the United States this past year.  I’m proud of this.  I went on to write about 60 more chapters covering nearly every facet of the music business.  I had trouble finding the large blocks of time needed to edit them..and I’m not such a good editor anyhow…so I hired 3 brilliant Belmont students, 2 of whom have recently graduated and 1 that is still attending, to help me compile and polish the remainder of work.  So far, these are published for free on our website and a new one is published each week:

All the credit to Mamie Davis, Jacob Wunderlich, Luke Evans, and my business partner, Rene Merideth, for writing, editing, and helping me publish these guides.

Five Points – 29

Podcast Converter – 

Part of my job as the CEO of Exploration is to identify media to administer (e.g. manage the copyrights, resolve inevitable ownership conflicts, and account / pay royalties).  Until recently, our clients consisted exclusively of music publishers, record labels, and TV/Film companies.

But I’m always on the hunt for new verticals…

I got to thinking…there must be a gazillion hours of analog media on reels in the basement of Yankee Stadium…all of the world class commentary and banter, the chirps and one liners, the news that broke during the games of the greatest team…I wonder if there were any way I could digitize them to allow for distribution and ultimately monetization on YouTube or another platform.  Is there a large enough market for that stuff to make it worth while?  Is the licensing sorted out, I rhetorically asked myself.  I told myself to maybe think of another idea…seemed to be a bit too much gristle around it to really make money and a difference.

Then my mind skip traced to another idea..somewhat connected to finding bodies of work that are going un-monetized and have mass appeal – PODCASTS!!!

So, I built a free tool that turns an audio only podcast MP3 into an audio/video MP4 for distribution on YouTube and Facebook.  You just cut/paste the address of the audio from iTunes/Skitcher/SoundCloud and drag/drop an image to create a static video.  The rendering and distribution all takes place in the cloud, which is a good – it takes somewhere on the order of 4 to 10 times the length of time to render audio to video on a laptop, depending on the power of one’s machine then to upload it may double the time again…try doing this for your entire podcast library…better go get a sandwich.

I quietly made this available to a few professional podcasters about a year ago and word of mouth has powered the app’s growth ever since.  We’ve only just now added logging on the back end to be able to monitor the amount of video being produced…but I estimate the total to be in the multi-10k hours at this point.

If you or someone you know is producing podcasts, you may consider this tool for distribution on YouTube and Facebook.  It’s free.

https://convert.exploration.io

 


Belt –

One hack that I recently learned is that a belt with a composite buckle doesn’t need to be removed at airport security.

A bit of experimenting led me to the Propper Tactical Duty Belt ($10).  It’s designed for Law Enforcement/Military, so its super strong and built to carry stuff on it.  It’s also pretty innocuous.  And perhaps most important, it’s infinitely adjustable…the buffet better watch out!

https://www.amazon.com/Propper-Tactical-Duty-36-38-Black/dp/B004XW1YK6/


Battery Charger – 

This battery charger is a beast.  It’s a quite heavy, but it’ll charge my phone 8 times with one recharge.  It’ll also charge my MacBook.  I’ve travelled for a week and never plugged into the wall.

https://www.amazon.com/RAVPower-Portable-Qualcomm-20100mAh-Nintendo/dp/B019IFIJW8

I found this charger via Matt Mullenweg’s (founder of WordPress and others) annual What’s In My Bag post last year.  Here’s this year’s – https://ma.tt/2017/05/whats-in-my-bag-2017/


In and Of Itself –

I had to work in New York City this past week and was lucky enough to see In and Off Itself at the Daryl Roth theatre.  It’s a small theatre, off broadway magic show.  And it is completely wonderful.  Definitely check it out if you find yourself in the City.  Many thanks, Miles Feinberg, for the ticket and good company!

http://inandofitselfshow.com/


What I’m Reading and Re-reading – 

Paul Graham’s Essay‘s are required reading for anyone building a startup.  He was built what became Yahoo Stores and then, more importantly, Y Combinator, the preeminent startup incubator in the world.  Learning and applying the guidance generously shared via these articles is like getting a solid head start in a hard race.  I reread a few of his essay’s this week while on the road.

Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule
Do Things That Don’t Scale
How To Make Wealth


Exploration – Control Your Data.  Collect Your Money.

​My primary job is as the CEO of Exploration.  We help media companies compile the data needed to get paid.

Exploration Weekly – Investors Respond to Spotify’s Direct Licensing Deals / NMPA Discusses DOJ Consent Decrees / Net Neutrality Officially Ends

Five Points – 28

Tim Ferriss – 

There hasn’t been an author/creator to have a larger impact on my life than Tim Ferriss.

I first found him via his first book – The Four Hour Work Week – https://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307465357/ . — where I learned how to use outsourcing and systems to free me up for more work or other things I enjoyed.

I then was afforded the opportunity to review both The Four Hour Body (https://www.amazon.com/Hour-Body-Uncommon-Incredible-Superhuman/dp/030746363X/) and The Four Hour Chef (https://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Chef-Cooking-Learning-Anything/dp/0547884591/) prior to their public release.

I’ve maintained my weight and lost some when I felt it to be important via The Slow Carb Diet (https://tim.blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/)

  • Don’t eat things that are white or can be white…and replace them with a legume
  • eat the same thing over and over again
  • Don’t drink calories
  • Go crazy and eat what ever I want once a week
I’ve really enjoyed the multitude of characters interviewed on his podcast – https://tim.blog/podcast/.  A few that stick out:

I just appreciate his approach to living and designing his life.  And I’m grateful for his generosity in sharing the methods and tricks that have made it possible.


What I’m Reading –

Mary Meeker – Kleiner Perkins – Internet Trends Report 2018 – https://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/internet-trends-report-2018-99574140

For folks working on and around the internetz, much of this information might not be surprising…I’m still amazed


What I’m Watching – 

Watch a Mesmerizing Flyover of New York in 12K – https://www.engadget.com/2018/05/18/new-york-city-12k-flyover/


Quote I’m Pondering –

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. ~ Hanlon’s Razor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor)

I would add “…and ignorance and incompetence” to the end.  Most folks just don’t know…they aren’t trying to hurt me…and as such, my reaction to them should have this simple fact in mind.


What I’m Watching – 

Game 4 of the NBA Finals in a few minutes!!!  Go Golden State!!!

Five Points – 27

Happiness Check List – 

I have suffered from depression for the entirety of my known life. When I was younger it caused pretty significant fall out, as I didn’t have facility to deal with it.  My only recourse was time…some amount of time would elapse and I would feel better.  This made a lot of things (jobs, relationships, sustained progress, etc.) difficult.

As adulthood began and I became consciously aware of my ‘self’ …and importantly, that I might be able to mitigate feeling poorly, I prepared a list of things that I knew would make me feel better.  It’s noteworthy that I prepared this list when I felt good, too.  As anyone with depression can attest, when in the pit of sorrow, it is often very difficult to come up with even the simplest of ideas on how to course correct.  As such, this list affords me a guide of things I know will make me feel better without having to think about it.

Important – These are things that have worked for me.  Everyone is different and you should consult a professional if you question any of these ideas.

This is a link to google doc that can be anonymously downloaded/printed – https://goo.gl/vEPURi 

  • Listen to music – I love reggae, jazz, and ambient electronic (somafm.com)

  • Meaningful engagement with friends and family – I like to ask questions and let them tell me stories.  Light stuff, but intentional and meaningful.

  • Water – 1+ liter  At least a full glass as soon as I wake up and as often as I think about it during the day.  You can’t overdo this. Pee should be clear.

  • Sleep – 7+ hours.  Get into bed early and wake up when my body wants to wake up.  No alarm clock. I do my very best to stay away from prescription sleep aids – only Sleepy Time Tea and Melatonin.  F.lux to get rid of blue light from computer screen and “night time” mode on the phone for the same reason, if you have the phone in the bedroom at all.

  • Turn the phone off from before dinner to after breakfast.

  • Wash – Take a long shower and scrub everything more than usual.

  • Green food / smoothie – Big!  With peanut butter and protein if its available.  The infusion nutrients will contribute to my feeling better

  • Meditation – I like to focus on my breath in the shower in the morning for 3-5 minutes.  Folks often talk about how the goal is to get the mind ‘quiet’..But, I like to think about it another way.  Regretfully, I do not remember where I heard this idea, but it’s a been a good one for me. For me meditation is not about getting the mind quiet.  It’s about the ability to return to a thing without judgement of having been distracted by something else. The practice for me to is to focus on my breath…the air coming in and out of my body.  And when my mind invariably wanders into space monkey orange ladder bucket land…I smile, acknowledge that I drifted off from my focus, and then return my mind to my breath. This is a practice about returning my focus to something after being distracted, without judgement.  So, when I’m moving through the world outside the security of my meditation spot, and some muppet cuts me off in traffic or says something inappropriate to me…those hours of practice of returning to to a thing after having been distracted by something else are really valuable.

  • Small victory – Cleaning a closet or a cabinet or even a shelf does the trick.  A project that can be done in less than a hour…cleaning is often great, as I can see the progress with my eyes.

  • Help someone – strangers are the best.  Helping with groceries or just opening a door.

  • Free Flow Write – Writing forces me to collect my thoughts.  Privately in my journal or publicly on my blog.

  • Writing 3 things I am grateful for.  Just 3.

  • Say sorry and/or forgive – In an letter that is mailed or not.  On a call to the person or to another person as a proxy. The proxy one is very interesting, as it has proven to be just as effective.

  • Group exercise – Getting a sweat where I can talk to other humans. Basketball/hiking/touch rugby/group fitness class at the gym.  Two important facets 1) group: work out with other people 2) sweat: work out hard. No mall walking.

  • Yoga – close to meditation, given the breath work and mind focus, but adding a physical component.

  • Read fiction – Fiction allows my brain to travel to another place.  Non-fiction tends to make me add things to my work todo list.

  • Hug my dog – He doesn’t care at all about problems and is always eager to show me love.

  • Guard myself from takers – Energy vampires can wait 48 hours until I’m up again.  When I am wounded, sick, and/or vulnerable I’m not interested in interacting with them. I also do not owe them an explanation.

  • Do not ingest depressants – Never drink or smoke to get happy.  Only to get happier.

  • Create art – I love to paint, sculpt, and build stuff (usually with electronics or wood).

  • Send a handwritten letter – There is something magical about writing a thank you or note to let someone know you are thinking of them and then putting that physical record in the post.

  • Hire help – Call for backup to get my house in order – laundry, cleaning, cooking.

  • Intentionally smile and breathe deep – It is very self fulfilling practice.

  • Say good morning to strangers – It’s nice and they almost always say it back.  When they don’t I have a reason to laugh AT them for being so fussy

  • Ask friends for help –  Yeah, they want to know when you need them.  I’m not bothering them. That’s what friends are for.

  • Sex – Lovingly with a partner.  Leave the verbal degradation and BDSM out.  If alone, without p0rn.

  • Reread The Four Agreements – 1) Be impeccable with your word 2) Don’t take things personally 3) Don’t make assumptions 4) Always do your best

  • Return to the Up folder – When my crazy isn’t acting up I like to save interesting and inspiring tidbits from around the web (articles, posts, videos, pictures).  I save them to my ‘Up’ folder. When I’m in the pit of sorrow I have it right there to help.

  • A counselor – Seeing a professional that is paid to give me objective advice.  I dated around a bit to find a fellow that I found rapport with. When dealing with a major challenge (loss of a loved one, etc.) I saw him twice a week…when everything was on the up and up, I went 6 months between visits.  I just think its good measure.

  • Disney Movies – The hero’s journey is often told, but is engineered on so many facets to make one feel good.  From the musical score to the color shading of the characters – these movies are medicine.

  • Suicide Support – There are good people out there that want to help.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) Veterans press 1 to reach specialized support.
    Online Chat: http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx
    Crisis Text Line: Text “START” to 741-741
    Youth-Specific services (voice/text/chat/email) from the Boys’ Town National Hotline: http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/ways-to-get-help.aspx
    Spanish: 1-800-SUICIDA

    I was asked to speak about this list for a FRED Talk in January 2014

This is a link to google doc that can be anonymously downloaded/printed – https://goo.gl/vEPURi

 


Travel Bag – 

I’m a sucker for a cool travel bag.  Part of what I loved about playing rugby was all the amazing kit.

I found my latest travel bag about a year ago and it’s completely awesome.  I’ve gone on multi-week trips with only this bag and it has performed beautifully.  It’s got loads of room inside, has lots of compartments and zipper pockets for organizing gear/paperwork/laptop, and sits low on my back (I’m tall).

5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

https://www.511tactical.com/rush-72-backpack.html


Snakes + First Aid +++ Sharpie – 

I’m a good clip from the nearest hospital and I’ve seen a few of our slithern friends lately, so I went to Amazon for a snake bite kit.  I found a few products that seemed reasonable – suction apparatus, tourniquet, alcohol swabs…and then went to the trusty reviews – found this – THESE ARE DANGEROUS FOR SNAKEBITES! Only effective for removing botfly larvae…Reviewed by a snakebite specialist https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RSQET9EMO7CL3/

The long and short of it is that these kits are useless.  And to buy a Sharpie.

What is very valuable and should be standard issue in any first aid/survival kit is a Sharpie. To write down on your thigh the time, circle the bite/injury to notate swelling, description of injury, any allergies, phone number of next to kin, and anything else a doctor may need in the event you’re unconscious.  This is gold.


Birds and Bird Hunting –

This article in The Atlantic is a fascinating read on the burgeoning economy that has been created by Bird Scooters to get them charged.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/charging-electric-scooters-is-a-cutthroat-business/560747/

But there is an element of the article that made me turn my head sideways and frown.

If you click through on the Twitter post to watch the video, you’ll hear a fellow singing Hotel California.  I’ll be the first to tell you, this is not his best performance.  But I know him.  In fact, I know him well – his name is Dale Rogers and this was recorded in front of my old house in Venice Beach, California.  And I have recorded Dale’s albums and represent him so as to get him paid.  Now, this song was written by Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and they deserve attribution and payment for any monies generated as a result of their creative work being covered…by Dale or anyone else….in addition to Dale as the artist.

But twitter does not pay royalties to composers or artists.  This isn’t right, as twitter certainly enjoys traffic as a result of music on their platform, on which they sell advertising.   I could have blocked the video.  But I do not believe that is the way forward.  I wish I could have just put some ads on it so a peanut could have been rightfully collected.

If there are any birds our there twittering about and need to know a bit about how to manage music rights at scale, I know a guy..


What I’m Listening To – 

This Is America – Childish Gambino – https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY
Pray For Me – The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar – https://youtu.be/XR7Ev14vUh8

5 Points – 26

5 Points – 26 – 

I’ve published my 5 Points newsletter installation for 6 months.  My initial goal was to commit to the effort for 10 weeks…and when I met that with relative ease, I just kept going.

So, why am I even doing this?  I’ve been asked this question a number of times.  A few reasons…

  • When I decided to move from Los Angeles to Nashville, I was really worried about being alone in a new city and being separated from a lot of my best friends.  I rely on them so much.  I thought this could be a way to stay connected in a pretty low touch way.  To say the move has had its challenges is an understatement, and I’m not complaining, but getting the occasional note from a friend gives me incredible strength to persevere.  Thank you.
  • I have lots of different interests and enjoy learning about all kinds of things and have lots of ideas…and I feel that if I don’t get them out of my head that they run in the background, kind of like old crummy anti-virus software, clogging up my ability to come up with new ideas and see things differently.
  • Sometimes I come across resources I find valuable and that make my life easier.  I get a lot joy from learning that someone else’s life has been enriched from a tool I turned them on to.
  • Some day, you’ll get the last one of these from me, as a result of my demise.  This is a curated record, the only record, of some of my thoughts.  I am convinced that humans 500 years from now will be so thankful I wrote all this stuff down.
  • I think it’s neat to write.  I struggled as a kid to learn to read…in part because of a myriad of learning disabilities…so I’ve had to really work hard at it to figure it out.  Very differently than, say, math or athletics or spoken communication…part of that working at it has been and still is, writing.
  • The network of folks that read this has proven most valuable to my professional pursuits.  I regularly receive questions and referrals that have resulted in non-trival additions to how I make a living.

So, I’m going to keep at it for now.  I really appreciate your joining me.


I’m speaking at the AIMP Indie Music Publishing Summit – 

I’m stoked to have been asked to speak at the Association of Independent Music Publishers event in New York City on June 12th.

https://aimpsummit2018.sched.com/event/ExfI/digital-tools-of-the-trade

My panel will feature resources music publishers can leverage to grow and better maintain their businesses.

***

I’ll likely be in the city for a few days to bookend the event, so please do get in touch if you’re keen hook up.


Containers – 

I was riding from SOMA to Oakland yesterday with Peretz (https://www.linkedin.com/in/peretzpartensky/) and he pipes up from the back seat of our Uber pool (he gave me the front and he wedged in beside two nice ladies we didn’t know in the back) “Do you know where the first shipping container cranes ever built are?”…like that’s a run of the mill question…I took a crack with Brooklyn and then suggested Long Beach…then he pointed past my ear toward these 3 small black cranes in the near distance…Oakland.  That’s where they are.  The first ones.

Went on to share a lot about containers, as a result of tuning into the Containers Podcast (https://soundcloud.com/containersfmg) – Containers is an 8-part audio documentary about how global trade has transformed the economy and ourselves.


What I’m Listening To –

One of the joys of living in Nashville has been the plethora of truly world class music, everywhere.

So, last week my friends Anna and Jared Cattoor (https://www.facebook.com/twocitiesoneworld/) were in town for a show at the coffee shop down the street, and a couple of the Wooten Brothers played backup for them.  Really…they  just jumped in to play back up for a crowd of 15 at a coffee shop???

Anna and Jared killed it and the show was mind blowing…they weren’t thinking about it or reading the music to play…it was just happening and proliferating out of their being and it was awesome.  I don’t play music, enviously, but I like to compare this sort of phenomenon to athletes playing at the highest level.

Afterward I looked into some of the things Roy Wooten had been involved with …and talk about a rabbit hole.  Also known as Future Man, he won Grammy’s with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones..invented and often plays the drumitar, which resembles a piano but plays notes not found in the traditional western music scales. This instrument is based on the periodic table of elements[3] and the golden ratio..and likes to dress up like a pirate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Man


Kindness – 

I recently listened to some of the lectures and read the book (https://www.amazon.com/12-Rules-Life-Antidote-Chaos/dp/0345816021) of Jordan Peterson .  He’s a focking idiot.  It may sound like his ideas are worthy of consideration at first glance, because he’s smart and presents them confidently.  But make no mistake, what he’s chirping is vitriol and radioactive.  And when the message is distilled away from the packaging…sounds right out stupid.

Among other things he pontificates is that kindness is over rated.  This is bullsh!t.

I can share with you with absolute confidence that this is patently false.  Being kind and agreeable is without question one of the greatest tools I employ to living a happy life.  The world has an uncanny ability to mimic the shape you present it with..when I smile, others smile back unprovoked.  When I help someone out, others rush over to lend a hand when I need when I haven’t asked.  When I pay it forward, somehow, incredulously, the universe conspires to afford me with the most beautiful and special good fortunes.  I give a lot of credit to these facts as a direct result of being kind.

I saw this sign in the coffee shop this morning and it made me smile 🙂 and it worked

Five Points – 25

GenuisScan  – 

Someone recently told me via their iPhone that they would get the a countersigned contract back to me next week because they were on the road.  Then I made a frown face.

It would seem to reason that in the business of getting contracts signed, countersigned, and returned such that a deal is memorialized…that one would go to the end of the earth to do just that.  That collecting all the signatures…signing on the line that is dotted…is the thing!  That is the hard part.

If you do any work that involves the signing of contracts or the need to scan something, you may consider Genius Scan.  The app allows for the taking of a photo of some thing (paper) with your phone, turns it into a PDF, and formats it all to quickly zap it off in an email.  And it costs exactly nothing.  Its free.

https://www.thegrizzlylabs.com/genius-scan/


Too clever by half – 

I found this article incredibly enlightening.

http://epsilontheory.com/too-clever-by-half/

It personifies two characters present during change – the coyote and the raccoon.  One is too smart for its own good and will ultimately die.  The other is a bandit, has no shame, and unfortunately, will persevere.  It also highlights the meta-game…the game about the game…that is crucial to understand, if one wants to win.  The topic of the article is the blockchain and cryptocurrency, however I extrapolated the lesson to be more about life in general.  There are a lot of moving parts here and I think it’s well worth a look.  15 min read.


World Record Badminton Volley – 108 hits in the 2013 World Championship – 

Holy &*#$ the poise of these guys.  And the fact it was match point as well – https://youtu.be/aFGLXYcKD2M


What I’m Watching –

Dear Basketball by Kobe Bryant – https://www.go90.com/videos/261MflWkD3N

This animated short (5 mins) by Kobe Bryant was captivating.  I believe the sentiment is shared by anyone saying goodbye to something they truly love after having given it their all.  I know I felt some of these things when I finally hung up my rugby boots.  It won an Oscar this year for good reason.

Intercourse by Jonatan Etzler (NSFW) – https://vimeo.com/268661843

This is a short film about a pretty strange twist in the sexual relationship of a couple.  It was a Vimeo staff pick last week and has been featured on a few different outlets.  It pushes a few buttons and made a few people I discussed it with uncomfortable and others’ turned on, so they reported. Swedish with English subtitles. Mature content.

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey – https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Stop-Believin-Everymans-Journey/dp/B00BNESEQ4

Do you need to watch a documentary that’ll make you feel good?  Love 80’s rock – Journey!!!  Watch this.  It’s really pretty awesome.  The film follows the real life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from YouTube to become the front man for iconic American rock band Journey.


1,000 True Fans – 

I found myself heading back to this iconic article this past week.  Penned by Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review.  It’s become famous in its own right, as it’s dang good advice.

To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans. …

http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

Five Points – 24

I am speaking at Music Biz 2018 in Nashville next week – 

This conference may be considered one of the most important music business conferences of the year, this particular stanza being the 60th.

Successfully Managing Your Releases: Best Practices and Obligations for the Independent Label or Artist

Successfully releasing your music as an independent label or artist is often times coupled with a unique set of challenges and obligations. This presentation’s aim is to highlight and discuss these obligations, while focusing on the implementation of “best practices” to ensure your music is released legally, and your projects run smoothly.

Items include choosing the right distributor, registering your original compositions with the PRO’s and Streaming Services, registering your master recordings with Sound Exchange, getting a publishing administrator, YouTube Registration and Collections, and acquiring an accounting team assembled to handle the distribution of your earnings, to name a few of the topics.

https://musicbiz2018.sched.com/event/DxU8/successfully-managing-your-releases-best-practices-and-obligations-for-the-independent-label-or-artist

Please come say hi after this panel or drop me a line if you’ll be at the conference to connect at another time.  A sneaky, adult beverage may be in order.


Selling Your House For More Than It’s Worth – 

I found an interesting article recently that was a bit of a “Buyer’s Beware” message, explaining that features often listed in homes for sale may not be worth it, if purchased a la carte.

https://www.realestate.com/articles/finance/design-features-that-increase-home-value

And then a neighbor began to ask for advice from me, a younger person, on what they might do to bring their home up to snuff to maximize value, as they prepare to sell.  So, here!  Consider these ideas.

Here’s a sampling of ideas that may pronounce the value of real estate you’re selling.  Of course, if you’re in the market to buy, you may push back when negotiating price, relative to items you know you can (and will probably enjoy) find at the flea market.

Design Feature Sold For (Percentage More Than Home Value)
1. Solar panels 40 percent
2. Craftsman 34 percent
3. Coffered ceiling 29 percent
4. Claw-foot tub 29 percent
5. Mid-century 28 percent
6. In-law 28 percent
7. Landscape/path/outdoor/deck lighting 26 percent
8. Exposed beam or ceiling 26 percent
9. Farmhouse sink 26 percent
10. Wainscot 26 percent

Larry Harvey – 1948 – 2018 – 

https://journal.burningman.org/2018/04/news/official-announcements/in-memoriam-larry-harvey-1948-2018/

What the man built changed the course of my life.  The friends I’ve made and lessons I’ve learned as a result of that gathering in the dust has forever enriched how I view and move through my days.

Individually, I can thank Doug Campbell (http://projectfresh.com/) for inviting me along to my first Burn.  We met in the Mexico City airport in 2010, I on my way home to LA from Buenos Aires after a round of footie and he on the opposite route on a vision quest.  We made fast friends and said goodbye, as you do.  But we stayed in touch, which is a bit more rare in the transient nature of back packers sharing a laugh at a lay-over airport.  Doug returned home several months later and invited me, as promised, to Mind Share LA, a monthly TED-esk event that he curated.  I began to volunteer on my second visit and he generously invited me to the rest of his crew, mostly whom were burners – a group of people that I admire and rely on and have become my family and that I miss dearly at present.  That next burn he invited me to join him to camp with the Phage (our camp name).  And the rest is history, as they say.  I still call Doug one of my best friends and we always laugh so big at the hijinx and realizations and acts of muppethood we’ve committed since we last made time to hang out.  One ritual he’s been awesome at is scheduling at least a FaceTime session in the future during the current hang, to give us something to look forward to.

While Burning Man is most certainly the biggest party on earth, it is so much more. For the uninitiated:

https://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/

The 10 Principles of Burning Man

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Gifting
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.
Join the conversation in the 10 Principles blog series.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Thank you, Larry.


Make your web surfing faster and more private –

Cloudflare.com just launched an important option to default settings you may employ to browse the web.

https://blog.cloudflare.com/announcing-1111/

From their site:

DNS: Internet’s Directory

Nearly everything on the Internet starts with a DNS (Domain Name Service) request. DNS is the Internet’s directory. Click on a link, open an app, send an email and the first thing your device does is ask the directory: Where can I find this?

Unfortunately, by default, DNS is usually slow and insecure. Your ISP, and anyone else listening in on the Internet, can see every site you visit and every app you use — even if their content is encrypted. Creepily, some DNS providers sell data about your Internet activity or use it target you with ads.

We think that’s gross. If you do too, now there’s an alternative: 1.1.1.1

https://1.1.1.1/

Privacy First: Guaranteed.We will never sell your data or use it to target ads. Period.

We will never log your IP address (the way other companies identify you). And we’re not just saying that. We’ve retained KPMG to audit our systems annually to ensure that we’re doing what we say.

Frankly, we don’t want to know what you do on the Internet—it’s none of our business—and we’ve taken the technical steps to ensure we can’t.

Faster than anything else. 28% faster, in fact.

We’ve built 1.1.1.1 to be the Internet’s fastest DNS directory. Don’t take our word for it. The independent DNS monitor DNSPerf ranks 1.1.1.1 the fastest DNS service in the world.

Since nearly everything you do on the Internet starts with a DNS request, choosing the fastest DNS directory across all your devices will accelerate almost everything you do online.

Go here (https://1.1.1.1/) to learn how to change the settings on your computer of phone to have a faster, more private experience.


What’s on the radio – 

Band of Horses – No One’s Gonna Love You – https://youtu.be/cuZo7pLnL7c

Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek – https://youtu.be/UYIAfiVGluk

These two songs are special to me, lately.  Ask me in person.