Among his many other achievements, Ken Kragen is the legendary organizer behind “We are the World”, with an illustrious career that transcends the music and entertainment industries where he has managed several notable entertainers including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Olivia Newton-John, The Bee Gees and Burt Reynolds. Ken was a recent guest on my podcast show, All Access Radio, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite parts of our talk. (more…)
First of all, what is a thought leader and why does it matter in the business world?
A thought leader often refers to an individual (or sometimes a firm) that is recognized as an authority in their unique business niche and whose expertise is often highly valued and sought out within that business niche.
The reason this matters is that it’s important from a branding and repute standpoint to be stand out as a credible industry expert with rich knowledge and curated opinions of value on select topics to contribute. This allows us as entrepreneurs to stand out, differentiate ourselves in an otherwise crowded marketplace, and to be sought after as experts and authorities with value to offer clients, the media, and our peers. You don’t typically call yourself a thought leader; it’s an acknowledgement that others grant you. Bottom line: someone who rises above the din and is probably worth listening to. (more…)
Many people in my world know that the Beatles are far and away my favorite group of all time; in fact, I’m known as a “Beatle-ologist” given my vast knowledge of far too much trivia having to do with the band. Like so many others, they inspired me to pursue my career in music from a very young age (I can recall being very deliberate about that choice as early as when I was 8 years old as a direct result of the Beatles).
The Beatles have never really gone away (well their music hasn’t anyway), and to that end Beatle fans have a couple of reasons to celebrate of late including the following: (more…)
June 5, 2017,
No matter who the titans are at your industry’s luminary events, you need to be there.
Jim Messina reflects on his dynamic career, collaborations and 2017 tour.
Jim’s legacy of musical prowess spans five decades, three acclaimed rock super groups, a vibrant solo career, and a dizzying array of game changing producing and engineering credits, including Lee Michaels and Kenny Loggins. (more…)
Those of us who fly often have learned that it pays to stay observant and opportunistic when you’re on flights and in airports. Most people are in their own little world — focused on their laptops, Kindles or iPads, or immersed in their smartphones. I enjoy looking around and experiencing what’s going on around me — you never know who you may bump into. (more…)
May 22, 2017,
The smartest VR and AI startups are already targeting this market — besides being good business, it presents an opportunity to actually improve people’s lives.
Shep Gordon is the visionary Hollywood manager, agent and producer responsible for building some of the biggest careers in entertainment, and has been named one of the “100 most influential people” by Rolling Stone magazine. The subject of the acclaimed Mike Myers-produced documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, Shep came to Los Angeles in 1968 and landed in the heart of rock and roll, instantly (and by sheer coincidence) falling in with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and, a short time later, Alice Cooper, whom he continues to manage today. (more…)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years (or just don’t watch network TV), you’ve probably heard about or watched the wildly popular TV show, “The Voice” on NBC; where aspiring singers compete for a recording contract with the help of four successful artists as coaches. Having been an A&R exec at EMI Music in my past, my role was to scout, sign and develop artists for the label — so I’m intimately familiar with the process that these aspiring artists are going through in an attempt to become a star in the music industry For awhile, we had “American Idol” and “The Voice” on air at the same time — but since Idol wound down, “The Voice” has reigned supreme in this category. The current celeb coaches are Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine.
Recently I was invited to take a tour of the set and watch a taping of the show as a member of the studio audience. I’ll admit right upfront that I’m a bit jaded as I’m in the industry, and it wasn’t my first taping of a show; whereas nearly everyone else participating was a tourist where this was a first time event and a really big deal for them.
Having been a talent producer as well for decades, honestly I couldn’t stop myself from wearing my ‘behind the scenes’ glasses. (more…)
Ken Kragen Shares His Best Tips on Career and Cause Marketing
A graduate of Harvard Business School Ken Kragen’s illustrious career transcends the music and entertainment industries where he has spent many successful years and managed some of the world’s most important entertainers, including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Trisha Yearwood, Olivia Newton John, The Bee Gees, Burt Reynolds, The Smothers Brothers and many others. (more…)
Have you ever noticed how we can make things more difficult than they need to be? Either by overthinking something, making it more complicated than it needs to be, getting worked up in a way that doesn’t serve us, or otherwise being fixed on things having to be a certain way in our lives? That’s how we sabotage the good things that want to come our way. We can actually stop our good from getting to us because we don’t allow it in when it shows up on our front doorstep! Conversely, when we take time to ‘pause’ and reflect on a situation (and what we most want to have happen), when we trust our hearts over our heads to make the choice that will serve us best, and trust that the Universe is doing its best to deliver us what we say we want — things can flow to us more readily and with much less struggle and strife. (more…)
Many of us move, work and live at breakneck speeds, often to our detriment. We create or participate in accidents, we make mistakes, we create stress in ourselves and others, we create tension and illness in our bodies, and we simply don’t do our best work in that state. It’s true that my favorite business magazine ironically is “Fast Company”, but I’m also a fan of the Slow Food movement which started over 30 years ago now.
The truth is we do have enough time and we can get everything done (more…)
Americans are still working too hard and too long. The average American puts in 258 more hours per year than the average European.
April 10, 2017,
Like musicians, entrepreneurs can embrace the power they have to connect with a wider world.
One of my mentors, Alan Weiss, is about to come out with a terrific new book called “Lifestorming” co-authored with Marshall Goldsmith who is himself one of the most sought after executive coaches on the planet. This veteran author duo have collectively published nearly 100 books on human behavior. Neither needs the other, but they opted to come together to create something of value to their shared audience. This collaboration between two very successful juggernauts in the business world should produce a pretty powerful result given what each of them has achieved on his own. We’ll find out when the book comes out on May 1st!
I’ve always been a big believer in the power of collaboration — to harness and leverage the gifts of two (or more) talented individuals to create an outcome that’s even more valuable and impactful than if each was crafting something on their own.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney are another great example of this; there would have been no Beatles (or arguably they wouldn’t have been nearly as successful) if those two hadn’t come together — pun intended. (more…)
April 3, 2017,
Despite meteoric growth, one industry has been curiously left out of most VR/AI discussions: music.
Have you ever stopped to notice how things are always working in our favor? It may be time to start doing so. A chance encounter turns into the creation of a new friend or collaborator, a flight delay turns into creating a client, and a flash of intuition can even save our life by avoiding an accident or some other mishap. Maybe you’ve experienced some of this for yourself, and almost certainly you’ve heard of others who have.
In my own case, a dramatic example is that I avoided getting on Flight 93 on 9-11 (the one that crashed over PA) simply because I had a very strong intuition that led me to abort my trip to NYC to participate in producing a big Michael Jackson event — and I’d been booked on that flight to return home afterwards. (more…)
Steve Jobs believed that the people you choose to surround yourself with affect the whole ecosystem of your business.
Earlier this month the annual Pollstar Live event took place in LA; if you’re not familiar with it, this is the largest gathering of concert industry professionals in the world. It’s a chance for colleagues to come together and exchange best practices, get current on the latest goings-on and network with each other. I’ve been co-producing the annual Awards Show that caps it off for over 15 years. The Keynote at Pollstar Live is typically one of the highlights of the whole event and this year was no exception. It was Shep Gordon (aka “SuperMensch”) and his longest client, Alice Cooper, coming together to share stories about their 48 years of working together. (more…)
February 20, 2017,
In every interaction, you want to add reciprocal value so you’re working toward a mutually beneficial proposition.