Don’t Wait — Do It Now

It may be a trite statement, and yes maybe overused, however how many of us are living from this mindset? In the wake of things like the Vegas concert massacre earlier this month — or losing another beloved rocker (Tom Petty), I was reflecting on how fleeting life really is. The best way to honor those whose lives may have been cut short is to live each day fully, fully present, in the moment. To express yourself with those you care about, let them know how you feel. To do the things that matter the most to you now, today — because the harsh truth is that someday may not exist! What if you just acted on a thought or an idea when it came to you, or called someone when they came to mind? Your life would be lived more fully in the moment, and your velocity and results would surely increase. Try it!

I love what Steve Chandler says in his terrific new book “Right Now: Mastering the Beauty of the Present Moment”, (more…)

Bumper Cars — Be Safe & Sane in Parking Lots

Over the past couple of decades, cars have grown larger and parking lot stalls seem to have shrunk; or at least that’s the way it seems. While out running errands today, I wound up in three very small and overcrowded parking lots that don’t seem to have been designed for the times — and that just adds to challenges posed by oversized vehicles and inexperienced, impatient or frazzled drivers. I slowed my own pace to bear witness.

It was amazing to me how fast cars were zipping around and through cars trying to get in and out of stalls, how there was little to no patience, and how inconsiderate people were about how they parked within the stalls (not considering whether the car next to them would have room to open their car doors). They just didn’t seem to pay attention or maybe they just don’t care. Driver courtesy went out the window. Everyone was in a hurry, and I saw Suburbans and large, oversized SUVs and trucks parked in compact spaces — and of course since they didn’t fit, an extra space was taken away. It’s amazing there weren’t more accidents involving the cars themselves and pedestrians.

From research I’ve done, it seems something like 20-25% of all accidents happen in parking lots. And over 50% of injuries resulting from backing-up accidents happen when a vehicle backs into a pedestrian in a parking lot.

Here are some things to consider that can allow you to keep yourself, your car and others around you safe and sane: (more…)

What You Need to Know About Corporate Politics

Working in the corporate arena, as an employee or consultant, chances are you’ve experienced politics from time to time, and chances are you’ve not always come up with the winning hand in every situation.

I’ve made some observations in this context over the years from when I was a corporate executive, and since as a consultant working within large corporations. Having been on both sides of the fence, here are some lessons I’ve learned that you may find helpful: (more…)

Reflections on 9-11 — Finding the Gratitude

It was sixteen years ago today; that terrible day that “will live in infamy” for our generation. There’s no doubt it was one of the darkest days most of us have ever experienced during our lifetime. And yet, on reflection, some good things did come from it — for me personally, and for us as a society.

I was one of the producers working on a big Michael Jackson two-night anniversary concert that he did the couple of nights prior to 9-11 at Madison Square Garden in NYC. And I was slated to fly out of Newark to SFO on 9-11 (on Flight 93). (more…)

The Importance of Having a Solid Support Structure In Your Life

None of us gets through life alone — and it’s important to pause and reflect periodically on the importance of having people in our lives who really honor and support us in life through thick and thin, whether that’s a whole tribe of individuals, just a few — or even just one. Whether family, friends, colleagues, advisors or some combination of all of these. That becomes increasingly so apparent to me as the years go by. And I’ve been seeing evidence of the importance of having a support structure all around me lately — in my own life and in the lives of others. It may be helpful to share some examples to illustrate this with more clarity. (more…)

In Conversation with Jim Messina, Musician, Songwriter, Singer, Guitarist, Recording Engineer and Record Producer

I recently interviewed Jim Messina on All Access Radio and what a terrific conversation we had! Jim’s legacy spans five decades, three acclaimed rock groups, a vibrant solo career and an array of producing and engineering credits. He’s one of those guys who can do it all.  We spent the time reflecting on his dynamic career, collaborations and his current tour. (more…)

In Conversation with Shep Gordon — Supermensch

I had the pleasure of interviewing “supermensch” and artist manager extraordinaire Shep Gordon a short while ago on All Access Radio.  Shep’s been a real inspiration throughout my career, and it’s been fascinating to follow his journey over the years — and a real pleasure to a catch up with him for our fireside chat on my podcast.

Shep is truly a visionary Hollywood manager, agent and producer responsible for building some of the biggest careers in entertainment. He’s worked with many incredible artists over the years — including Alice Cooper, whom he continues to manage today after nearly 50 years (!). He’s also the subject of the acclaimed Mike Myers-produced documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.”

What I enjoyed most about our conversation was learning more about how he approaches life – how he manages the challenges, successes, failures – the ups and downs in life and career. (more…)

Gathering of the Tribe: A Reunion of the Visionaries Who Launched the Digital Music Revolution

Last week I was honored to join an invite-only gathering of my peers at the City Vineyard in NYC (owned and run by one of my colleagues, Michael Dorf and one of the hosts of this reunion event).

The gathering was meant to honor us crazy visionaries who saw the future of the convergence of music and tech over 20 years ago…and who lived in a crystal ball waiting for the world to catch up with our visions for what would be possible. In my case the future started at the beginning of 1988 when I was part of a small team who birthed the music and entertainment focus at Apple. (more…)

Taking Care of Business (cash flows & taxes)

City-columnDo you ever notice how one day can flow into the next, as can the weeks/months/years if you’re not careful? If we’re not mindful, we can get into the drift and ‘check out’ as a slave to a routine and habits we’ve created that may at one time have worked for us but no longer do. As responsible adults who seek to go beyond ‘getting by’ and instead ‘thriving’ in our lives, it makes sense to stop and re-assess what’s working for us and what isn’t periodically. This applies to our own personal health and well being, and that of our business as well. I’ve been running my small business for nearly two decades now.

There are plenty of joys in running your own business — and I can tell you without a doubt that the most challenging aspect of it, in my experience, is managing cash flows and working capital. What do you do when clients make commitments (or suggest that they intend to), but either don’t come through as you had planned or are delayed (sometimes for extended periods)? (more…)

The True Meaning of Freedom (at least for me)

For many of us here in the US, we’re celebrating our country’s Independence Day this week (on the 4th). A lot of people gloss over the real meaning of the day…how many lost their lives to ensure we have the many freedoms most in this country take for granted, but which are responsible for us being a global leader. I think it’s worth taking a few minutes to pause and reflect on that as we’re spending time with family and friends this week.

That’s an external orientation. There’s an internal view as well, and that is we’re halfway through the year. It’s a great chance to pause and take stock of whether your year is on track, and whether you’re making progress towards the key goals you outlined at the beginning of the year. (more…)

A Conversation with Ken Kragen, Legendary Organizer of “We Are the World”

City-columnAmong 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…)

Thought Leadership as a Differentiator

City-columnFirst 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…)

Beatles Fans Rejoice — Plenty of Reasons to Celebrate!

beatles-fans-2Many 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…)

Serendipity at Airports and on Flights

Boing 747 London - BangkokThose 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…)

Observations from the set of “The Voice”

the-voice-setUnless 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…)

Get Out of Your Own Way — Allow Things to Flow Easier

letting-go-balloonsHave 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…)

Slow Down to Speed Up

450px-slow_down_sign_reed_college_portland_oregon_2013Many 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…)

The Power of Collaboration

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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…)

Embracing Serendipity: Seizing Opportunities as they Arise

forest-path-238887_960_720Have 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…)