Five Points – 47

Sears – 

Sears filed for bankruptcy on Monday.  Founded after the Civil War, the original Sears, Roebuck & Company developed a catalog business that sold the latest dresses, toys, build-it-yourself houses and even tombstones. The company was, in many ways, an early version of Amazon.

This is an interesting article on the history of shopping in the modern era, with 4 distinct stanzas –

I found this perspective very interesting as well: How the Sears Catalog Undermined White Supremacy in the Jim Crow South –

Paper Airplanes –

They are just a lot of fun to make and fly!!  And super easy…well, most designs are.  I recently found this database of designs and have tried a few.  Perfect to have on hand as the holidays approach.

Vote – 

Everything you need to vote:


If you are planning on voting in this election in Tennessee here are some things you should know:

– This is a close race, your vote will make a difference…no matter what side you choose to support

– Uber and Lyft are both offering free rides to the polls.

– ID Requirements: You DO need an ID, but the ID CAN be expired.

– Voting Leave From Work

Tennessee law requires employers to provide employees with a reasonable amount of paid time off to vote up to three (3) hours. To be eligible, an employee:

must not have three (3) or more hours before their shift begins or after their shift ends in which to vote while polls are open, and request the paid voting leave by twelve o’clock (12:00) noon on the day prior to the vote or election.


So, you’re committed to vote!  A few things to remember:

– asking other people who are not involved in the campaigns of those people running for office is a good way to learn how to vote.  It can be as easy as asking folks in a text message, email, or on social media, “What do the candidates that are running stand for and how will it affect me as a citizen”? It is important to note here that when asking this question, that one let the person whom is being asked know that you are simply curious and interested in being informed.  Politics can be an incredibly heated subject, so letting them know that you are just trying to learn can be a good way of allowing them to be honest with you, without feeling treatened because of their view.  Now, once they explain their perspective, it is critical not to judge them for their views, that you honor your promise to just be collecting information. Once you have done your surveys and collected the information, you can develop your own perspective and vote accordingly.

– voting is anonymous.  That means that your friends and family and neighbors and everyone else will not know who you voted for unless you tell them.  In that spirit, it is totally ok to decline to talk about politics and who you voted for.

– Discussing politics often times gets folks really engaged and passionate…and upset!  Part of this comes as a result of feeling as though the person we are talking to just doesn’t understand our perspective and worse, that by voting for someone other than whom I might be voting for, that the person I’m speaking with is ‘against ME’ or ‘on the other side’.  It is important to remember that this doesn’t have to be true and it takes patience and acceptance to remain objective in this scenario, but it is totally worth it.

John Wesley offered some good advice in 1774 that a great reminder:

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

Pondering In The Face Of Hardship – 

It was nearly 15 years ago and I’d recently been laid off from a job. I’d taken a temp position and found myself working in an environment I really did not want to be in: serving frozen nutty bars at the entrance to the Mummy ride at Universal City theme park.  One could see it all over my face and I acted like it…and that’s when an older fellow whom also temped for the same company (so he could go on auditions during the day) came over to me with a piece of guidance I’ll never forget:  “Find the love, Aaron.  No, you probably do not want to be here, but all those folks that have come from far and wide to be here at the theme park, especially the children, deserve better than you are giving them.  So, my suggestion is to embrace what you’re unhappy about and find the love, so you can turn around your outlook.”  I did immediately and it worked.

I recently found this bit from the final passages of Billie Jean King’s memoir about embracing hardship and finding the love in the little things espcially apropos.


But more important now, I must think in terms of very specific goals and realities. Of course, I can just say I want to win all three — the singles, doubles, and mixed. Easy to say and easy to want, but so difficult to execute. How can I do it? More than anything else, I must love everything that is part and parcel of the total Wimbledon scene. I must love hitting that little white ball; love every strain of running and bending those tired knees; love every bead of sweat; love every cloud or every ray of sun in the sky; love every moment of tension, waiting in the locker room; love the lack of total rest every night, the hunger pains during the day, taking a bath in my favorite tub, buying lollies for the ball boys, looking at the ivy and the trees and the flower arrangements, driving through Roehampton on the way to the courts every morning, practicing on the outside court with your stomach in your throat before the match; love watching people queue, knowing some of them have waited twenty years to experience one day at the Wimbledon; love playing on the Fourth of July, talking with Mrs. Twyman, having a rubdown, hearing the women talk (or not talk), and feeling the tension in the air, running up to the tea room through the crowds; love feeling and absorbing the tradition of almost one hundred years.

In essence, I have to possess enough passion and love to withstand all the odds. No matter how tough, no matter what kind of outside pressure, no matter how many bad breaks along the way, I must keep my sights on the final goal, to win, win, win — and with more love and passion than the world has ever witnessed in any performance. A total, giving performance: give more when you think you have nothing left. Through the desire the inspiration will be present. Love, passion, attitude, ability, intensity — the only way, a street with no curves or cul-de-sacs. I must let my inner self be out front and free. Love always.


The take away: amor fati

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Five Points – 46

Wolves – 

Anyone that has caught a glimpse of my Instagram knows I love my dog.  I have always loved dogs and truly believe them to be man’s best friend.

And I am also captivated by wolves.  I find them to be so powerful and majestic and independent.  If spirit animals are a thing, the wolf is definitely mine.

Here’s a little wolf love for the week:

What would you do if you pulled over to take a call and saw this enormous canus lupus specimen checking you out?

This fascinating mini documentary (4 1/2 minutes) is about how wolves change rivers, as studied when they were reintroduced to Yellowstone.

What I’m Watching –

I continue to consume films and documentaries about the music business and some of its luminary figures.

Quincy was out of sight.  I had chills at the closing credits and ended up at my desk for an all nighter with inspiration.  The sound track, as you can imagine, contains tons that I’m sure you’ll be familiar with.

His arranging, composing, producing, and performing was done alongside and for Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Lesley Gore, Jennifer Holliday, Barbra Streisand, Barry White and many more. He has 79 Grammy nominations and 27 wins. He has seven Oscar nominations and received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. He also has received four Emmy nominations, winning one.  His influence on music in the last 50 years can not be understated.

It was great to learn more about his story, man.

What I’m Listening To – 

Sinnerman – Nina Simone –

Quote I’m Pondering – 

“I don’t like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not ‘hike!’ Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”

― John Muir

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Five Points – 45

Hurricane Flo Update  –

My family’s river house made it out in relatively good shape, all things considered.

Dad made it down to the land on Monday and by Tuesday at the crack, had the boys working.  All of the sheetrock, flooring, cabinets, and furniture on the first floor had to be removed, but that is about is about it.  There was no foundation damage and we were able to get things out and dry before the mold set it, so we are grateful.

It shouldn’t be long before we are ready for another oyster roast.

Thank you again to everyone that has helped and sent messages.  It means a lot.

Team Captains – 

I was thinking a lot about captains and teams and how they work together this week as our employee count continues to grow.  Two staff that work for Exploration, one girl and one guy, each recently raised their hands with the desire to lead their specific departments.  And I could not have been more enthusiastic.  With competent and committed leaders, I am able to focus on other facets of the company.

What I learned though, is that much like a team sport, captains and leaders choose themselves.  I may have my own ideas about who should lead, but without the belief from the rest of the group, a leader is a puppet, often resented, and ineffectual.  I’ve resolved to believing that one can pick the players to build a team, but captainship is self selecting.

Leaders self select by leading from the front (they show how to do something by actually doing it, not talking about it).  They are humble, have patience, and are kind.  Their work is excellent and they are more than willing to admit where they may have made a mistake.  Their equals look to them for guidance and they are always keen to learn.  They routinely look for new work, even and especially when it is not their responsibility.

I’m so grateful such solid leaders choose to work with me.

Good Questions –

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ~ Voltaire

I found this collection of questions by Patrick Collison to be quite thought provoking.  Some of them are relative to business and software, but there are a few far out ones in there that’ll have you scratching the ol’ noggin.

NASA Celebrates it’s 60th Birthday – 

I watched this short clip in awe a few times this week.  Carl Sagan always delights.

We were hunters and gathers.
The frontier was everywhere.
We were bounded only by the earth and ocean and sky.
The open road still softly calls.
Our little terraqueous globe as the mad house of those hundred thousand million worlds.
We, who can not put our own planetary home in order.
Riven with rivalries and hatreds.
Are… we… to venture out into space?

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Five Points – 44

Hurricane Flo & Mangkhut Update  –

Most importantly, all friends and family affected by the hurricanes Florence and Mangkhut are safe.  No one is seriously hurt.  That is good.

Mangkhut did not affected those connected to me all that bad.  Power and communications went down for several hours in most places, but was restored in short order.  Some folks lost power for several days.  But all in all, things were not disturbed all that much for my friends and family in the Philippines.

Florence wrecked havoc to South Eastern North Carolina.  A lot of friends and family suffered significant property damage, the total of which are yet to be known.  They’ll be a lot of work to be done.  A lot of patience and a lot of work.

We have not been able to visit our home as of yet, but we believe much of the first floor was submerged.  The river is steadily receding, so the plan is for family to visit at the top of next week.  For reference, the road is at about 8-10′

Plogging – 

I think this is so damn cool – Plogging: picking up bits of trash while running…or jogging .

I’ve never understood how someone that visits nature because of it’s beauty would consider leaving rubbish about…  It doesn’t take much to pick a few pieces up along the way and the earth thank’s you.  So do the other folks that visit.

I’m in to it!

Shazam –

Apple acquired Shazam this week.

But folks often wonder, how does Shazam work?

There is a lot here, but it’s well worth the read.

This is the original thesis from founder, Avery Li-Chun Wang –

And this is an incredible writeup about the same, a little later down the line –


Reading these reminds me of the value in writing down ideas.  Fleshing them out.  Just getting the idea on paper.  What are the parts? How do they work together?  Where are the pitfalls?  Does someone want this thing?  A solid byproduct of writing is the need to organize the idea in my head in order for words to appear in the correct order…and they often times still miss the mark.  However, I find it much easier to realize my idea is dumb as a bag of hammers when reading it, over just letting it bounce around my brain.


In the spirit of neat ideas and proofs of concept being written down, this one turned out to be a good one –

What I’m Listening To – 

The Thunder Rolls – Garth Brooks [COVER] – . This is a pretty good cover and I’ve played it a few times this week.  It’s been raining pretty solid all week, here in Fernvale, TN.  Seems like the summer is breaking and cool weather is on the way.

Garth Brooks does not allow his music to be posted on YouTube, but folks can cover anything because of a compulsory license affecting the composition (the written song – notes, lyrics, melody, tempo of a song).

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

Exploration Weekly – MMA Approved by the House of Representatives / SiriusXM Buys Pandora / Apple Music Converts 2.5 Times Faster Than Spotify

Five Points – 43

Life –

I recently watched several episodes of Life, narrated by David Attenborough, by the BBC on Netflix.  The cinematography and his narration make for a spell binding experience.

Cabling at Woodstock Festival 1969 – 

Sex News –

The robot sex trade is about to get hot!  The infamous “Teledildonics Patent” that prevented the development of any sort of internet controlled sex devices climaxed a couple weeks ago.  One may expect the motion of the ocean to evolve in strange ways in the not so distant future. Here’s the full story –

And in other sex related news, a little human nature captured neatly via web traffic reports from pornhub before, during, and after the false missile alert in Hawaii this year.

What I’m Listening To – 

The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel –

Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole –

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

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Five Points – 42

Hurricane Florence –

I grew up in Raleigh, NC and my father’s people are from down east, as we say.  More specifically, Burgaw – Pender County.  This little town sits about 30 mins due north from Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington on the North East Cape Fear River.  After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington I spent a few years in the on a small elbow of land, hugged on two sides by that lumbering river.  My father and I designed it and with the help of Tyler Ward and Charlie Ross and Ross Harrell and Timmy and Harry Pfaff and lots of hands from the rugby boys, friends from far away, and tons of family, I built a house – Dragon Fly.

In this photo the river is riding at about 2″ above sea level.  That is normal.

As a result of Hurricane Florence, the river is predicted to crest tonight at 25.2 feet.

For clarity, the bottom of the house proper is at 21′, so she’ll not be completely under water, but we expect a solid hit.  We’ve not received any photos or updates about the property as of this writing.

It makes me feel strange and like a part of me is hurting to know that house might be in trouble.  Building it was a much needed catharsis during a dark time in my life and I’ve had wonderful parties and family reunions and bbq’s and oyster roasts and it has been a repeated vacation rental for many families since I moved to California.

I do appreciate everyone reaching out and sending love.  It means a lot.

Hoʻoponopono – 

(a) “To put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up make orderly or neat, administer, superintend, supervise, manage, edit, work carefully or neatly; to make ready, as canoemen preparing to catch a wave.”

(b) “Mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right (hoʻoponopono) through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.

I’ve recently discovered this Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.  It is super simple and the antidote to arguments.

It’s cool because you can initiate the practice any time things are starting to go or are already sideways in a discussion.  These are the steps, which require saying the following with a measure of intention.

1) I’m sorry
2) Please forgive me
3) Thank you
4) I love you

It truly is magic to see how a disagreement dissolves upon saying and embodying these words.

Pabi Chulo – 

I recently shared a laugh and a beer with my friend, Pabi Chulo, in Copenhagen, Denmark on my recent trip to Scandinavia.

We laughed about how we are enjoying more and more of being away from the city as we get older…perhaps taking on a pinch of curmudgeonness, but we insured each other that that was ok.

Pabi’s art is captivating.  Often, unsettling.  Always, complex and meaningful and refined.  You can reach out to him directly or to the galleries around the world to purchase a piece for your own collection.

What I’m Listening To – 

Anthem by Emancipator –

No lyrics.  I really like the violin.  And the album name – “Soon it will be cold enough”

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

Exploration Weekly – EU Approves New Copyright Reforms / MMA Anticipates Changes in Congress / Apple Music Streaming Market Share Up 3%

Five Points – 41

Shepard Tone –

Anxious when watching Dunkirk?  You’re not alone and there is a specific reason why – the Shepard Tone.

A Shepard Tone creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.  The tone is a sound that comprises multiple sine waves separated by an octave and layered on top of each other.  And it can cause anxiety and panic attacks.

Here is a Shepard Tone generator –

And this is a 3 minute video explaining how Hans Zimmer has used the special sound to make the movie’s he scored so intense.

Norbert’s Gambit – 

Norbert’s Gambit is the process of using Canadian Loonies and/or US Dollars to purchase a stock that is listed on both a US and Canadian Stock Exchange, such that the stock can then be sold, all in an effort to avoid expensive banking fees.

With the movement of money across borders in mind, I must mention  They take this process a step further, by removing the need to purchase a stock and one’s funds are placed in escrow, effectively in the cloud, until withdrawn at a later date.  I’ve found the service to be seamless and they have excellent customer service.

The real kicker is the cost.  TransferWise costs between .3-.6% vs. 3-4% via a traditional bank.

Merino Wool –

Most folks may know that wool is somewhat of a miracle fabric.


Fiber Absorbency – Wool is a hygroscopic fiber; it takes up moisture in vapor form. Tiny pores in the epicuticle make the fiber semi-permeable, allowing vapor to pass through to the heart of the fiber. Wool can easily absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp or clammy.

Durability and Resilience – Each wool fiber is a molecular coil spring making the fiber remarkably elastic. Nature has folded the chemical polypeptide chains back upon themselves in such a way that they act like a coiled spring which elongates when it is extended and retracts when it is released. This molecular crimp, along with the 3-dimensional fiber, allows wool fibers to be stretched up to 50% when wet and 30% when dry, and still bounce back to their original shape when stress is released.

Dyeing –  Wool absorbs many different dyes deeply, uniformly and directly without the use of combining chemicals. Wool is an amphoteric, which means it reacts with both acids and bases; thus it accepts both acid and basic dyestuffs. Dyes penetrate into the inner medulla core of the fiber where a chemical reaction occurs making the color change permanent except under extreme and prolonged fading conditions.

Flame Retardant – Because wool contains moisture in each fiber, it resists flame without chemical treatment. Instead of burning freely when touched by flame, wool chars and stops burning when it is removed from the source of fire. Wool is self-extinguishing. It will not support combustion; this is why wool blankets are recommended for use in extinguishing small fires.


But it can be bulky and itchy sometimes :/

And when the fibers are viewed under a microscope you can easily see why.

What I’m Listening To – 

Lannka At Scorpios Mykonos –

This is what I might describe as Tribal House or more broadly, ambient electronic house.

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

Exploration Weekly – YT Calls Out EU Copyright Directive / UK Music Exports Total £408.4M in 2017 / Spotify Inks Deals in Indonesia and Thailand

Five Points – 40

Pulpit Rock aka Preikestolen-

Last week was spent taking a much needed vacation, where I found myself in a van down by the river…in Norway.

Pulpit Rock was one of the most amazing places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit in my life.  The 1.5 hour hike up was second only to the summit. Grateful for the good company, too.

iPhone Grey Scale – 

I’m always looking for hacks on how to relegate phone usage to only that which is necessary and have found switching to grey scale to be a productive exercise.  A great shortcut via Lifehacker, “To easily toggle between color and grayscale, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Color Filters. Now, you just press the home button three times to enable grayscale. Triple-click again to go back to color.”

What I’m Listening To – 

When Your Minds Made Up – Once – Glen Hansard + Marketa Irglova –

I watched this film (Once) a few days ago, as I am consuming music films these days, and it was raw and beautiful.  Here’s the trailer – – It is a tale of music and love and heartbreak and forgiveness…and it doesn’t end like you might expect.  Delightfully so.

Quote I’m Pondering – 

If you always do what you always did, then you’ll always get what you always got. ~ unknown

In my effort to be the best version of myself, I am giving this quote and more over, the spirit of it, much consideration and appropriate action these days.  Maybe it’s living in my forties (41 next month)…maybe it’s just wanting to do differently.  In any case, I am getting different results out of life as a function of behaving differently.  I’ll be doing more of that.

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 – Spotify Releases Podcasts / YT Merges Artist Channel Subscriptions / Court Rules No New Copyright for Remastered Recordings

Five Points – 39

The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work –

Zapier is a software company that integrates and automates apps that you may use in your personal and business life.  An example of this automation is to have a photo that you post to Instagram be automatically saved in your Dropbox or to create a new contact in Salesforce when a webform is filled out by a potential customer.  They have tons of connections that can be made really easily.

Zapier is and has always been run 100% remotely.  Followers of this newsletter may know that I am a fan of remote working environments for a lot of reasons – staff are happier and more productive, I’d prefer to offer full benefits instead of a physical office, ability to work from anywhere, ability to set one’s own hours…the list goes on and on..

Whether you currently work in or run a remote team, or you hope to work in or run a remote team in the future, this book will have nuggets of wisdom that you can apply to your current situation.

  1. How to Run a Remote Team
  2. How to Build Culture in a Remote Team
  3. How to Hire a Remote Team
  4. How Successful Remote Teams Evaluate Employees: A Look inside Automattic, GitHub, and Help Scout
  5. How to End Internal Emails and Communicate Effectively in a Remote Team
  6. How to Build Strong Relationships in a Remote Team
  7. How to Run a Remote Team Meeting
  8. How to Run a Company Retreat for a Remote Team
  9. This is What a Remote Office Looks Like
  10. How to Work Faster in a Remote Team
  11. How to Find Your Optimal Work Environment and Boost Productivity
  12. How to Work in Different Timezones
  13. How to Avoid Burnout in a Remote Team
  14. A Special Thanks To Those Who Share: The Best Blog Posts, Articles and Resources on Remote Work

Ghost – is still being hosted on WordPress, but my company’s site and news archive are hosted using the Ghost platform.  We’d suffered from WordPress instability too many times and I decided to switch platforms a few years ago.  The change has proven to be a good one.  Coupled with CloudFlare for extremely fast global site delivery, has remained stable, fast, and optimized for a variety of metrics.  Ghost is great for a simple site that may have a blog.

They’ve just released a Ghost 2.0, which now includes a more robust text editor and the ability to embed a many types of dynamic content.

Dogs: Speed & Agility – 

Add speed and agility to the long list of why dogs are simply the greatest!

Check out Tex win the 2015 Masters Agility Contest.  His foot work through the slalom though… –

or better yet…

Check out Kirk, a female border collie watch herself win the 2017 Purina Pro Challenge –

What I’m Listening To – 

Gipsy Kings – Escucha Me

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.


Five Points – 38

Disclosure –

Several times over the past week disclosure was a topic of focus.  It reminded me of an adage I learned as a real estate broker over 15 years ago, and one I still adhere to:

With regard to disclosure:  If there is any doubt, there is no doubt (that the information should be disclosed).

Staying true to this model has proven over and over to be a good idea.

Cheetah – 

The planet’s fastest land animal in all his glory…102km/h

Colorized History – 

I have long standing fascination with flying airplanes, and of course, North Carolina as well.  It is hard for me to imagine the wonder witnessing this event would have caused.  Circa ~ 1902

What I’m Listening To – 

A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin @ The Kennedy Center

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 – Citi Report Posts Inaccuracies / IMPALA Worried Over Sony’s EMI Deals / Spotify Launches Music Credits on iOS