Talking with Uber Drivers

driver-and-dashboardYou know how when we used to take cabs and you’d never make eye contact with the driver let alone have a conversation with them. I’m not sure what’s changed in the transition to Uber, but I’ve noticed that in virtually every ride I’ve taken via Uber, I find myself having fascinating conversations with the drivers. Maybe it’s just me, but the ones I’ve had rides with inevitably have surprisingly interesting stories and backgrounds. It’s easy enough to hide behind your smartphone and detach, but I’ve come to enjoy engaging with my driver more often than not.  (more…)

Add Accountability to Adopt New (Improved!) Habits

habitsThis is a time of year when many decide to shift habits with the best of intentions, but unfortunately good intentions alone won’t do the job. Ingrained habits need more than a nudge to bust through in favor of replacing them with those that will support us with where we want to go. One powerful tool that will help you go the distance is accountability. The acronym SMART comes to mind — Specific, Measurable, Action, Relevant, and Time-based; and all that is true. A way to manage all of that is by creating a simple accountability matrix that you review and track daily; it only takes a few minutes. (more…)

A Conversation with Beth Harrington, Producer, Director, Writer

beth-harringtonI met Beth Harrington at the Portland Creative conference last year where we were both honored to be speakers, and we clicked immediately. I knew she would make a great guest for my podcast, and last week I had the pleasure of interviewing her on All Access Radio.

Beth is an independent producer, director, writer, singer, and guitarist. Her love for American history, music and culture has led to a series of award-winning and critically acclaimed films including her most recent film, The Winding Stream, The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music. (more…)

Resolutions — Time for a Different Approach?

new-year_resolutions_listEach year at this time many of us sit down to make a list of resolutions for the new year. And then that list gets filed somewhere, not to be re-visited, and we go about our lives throughout the year mostly status quo. By February the gym returns to its normal flow of truly committed fitness mavens vs those who are merely well intentioned. The thing is, resolutions require new habits to be adopted; taken on with commitment and consistency. And that takes a little rigor and grit, especially during the first 30 days — after which science shows the new habit has taken hold. So this year, what can you do to ensure that by the end of the year your intentions are in alignment with your results? (more…)

Wrapping up the Year

tieing-ribbon-boxEach year about this time, as we wind down the year and get ready for the next one, many start to think in terms of goals and resolutions for the New Year. What you’d like to have happen next year that didn’t happen this year. And that’s fine, but I’d like to offer a few thoughts to consider. (more…)

A New Lens On “When One Door Closes”

Hand_showing_lens_demonstrationWe’ve all heard the phrase “when one door closes, another opens” — but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Certain doors close on us with respect to jobs, relationships and opportunities — and they’re meant to close and stay closed because they weren’t right for us (even if we didn’t see it at the time). (more…)

Athena of BlissQuest Shares Her Vision for Creatives – No Longer Needing to Sacrifice Their Passions!

athenaLast week’s guest on All Access Radio was Athena, CEO and Founder of BlissQuest Publishing, and author of Pillars of Dawn and Murder of Crows. As you know, I work with creative people who have big visions and Athena’s vision is certainly no exception. At the cornerstone is her company BlissQuest, which she founded after receiving multiple market-based rejections from traditional publishers for her book, Murder of Crows. By self-publishing she gained more control over her work, and more royalties in her pocket, and she hasn’t looked back since. Fair trade is her passion and a large focus of BlissQuest –which is a publishing house in concept and will be the first ever anywhere to offer healthcare benefits and retirement planning to artists and writers — including a 50/50 royalty split. (more…)

Harvest Summit 2016

Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the Harvest Summit — an outstanding intimate invite-only event (its first year) — held at a private estate in Sonoma County. The event was the brainchild of Jessica Kilcullen, whose husband John Kilcullen used to run Billboard Magazine (where we first connected), and it was designed to bring together innovative thought leaders in a variety of fields from tech, entertainment, sustainability, food and wine, and a host of forward-thinking authors and visionaries. The goal was to foster inspiring conversations about trends and issues shaping our future — by those who are leading the charge (all of us present). Examples of some of the intimate conversations included:

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Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit 2016

vanity fair new establishment summitLast month I had the privilege of attending a fantastic relatively intimate invite-only event. The third annual Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit was held in San Francisco. This event brought together some of the most successful and influential philanthropists, thought leaders from technology, politics, business, media and the arts for truly inspiring conversations about trends and issues shaping our future. Examples of some of the intimate conversations include:  (more…)

An Intimate Chat with Greg Kihn

greg kin croppedNBC has described Greg Kihn as Rock’s True Renaissance Man” and I could not agree more. With a career that spans the dawn of punk and Indie rock, to the disco of the 70’s, to the glory days of MTV, you may know him best for his worldwide #1 hits “Jeopardy” and “The Break-up Song”, and for those of you local to the SF Bay Area, you likely tuned in to DJ Greg every morning on KFOX Radio during his 18 years with the station. He’s also a published author of four novels, the most recent being Painted Black, a mystery/thriller about the death of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

I interviewed Greg recently on All Access Radio to discuss his career, his life philosophy and what he’s up to these days. I’ve been a colleague, collaborator and supporter of Greg’s for many years so it was great to have him in the hot seat for a change to catch up, and to be able to share with you insights from someone I think is one of the greatest success stories in music — a true renaissance artist. (more…)

The Launch of Amazon Music Unlimited

amazon musicThis past week saw the launch of Amazon’s foray into an unlimited music streaming service to rival Apple Music and Spotify — it’s called “Amazon Music Unlimited” (AMU). It’s designed to add more value to Echo users offering “tens of millions of songs and thousands of hand-curated playlists and personalized stations” according to Amazon. It’s effectively an upgrade from Amazon’s Prime Music offering. Prime is now the basic service, Unlimited is the full one. This is a really strategic move for Amazon (more…)

Thinking of Steve (Jobs) — Five Years On

steve jobsMany people in my world are aware that in addition to my years as an Apple employee (music & entertainment), I was also very fortunate to have been able to call Steve Jobs a personal mentor. The things we discussed and the insights he shared with me over time are an indelible part of my DNA.

Steve often crosses my mind, but even more so last week as we hit the 5 year anniversary mark of his passing. I can hardly believe it’s been that long! So I thought it would be fitting to share a few of the lessons and insights I cherish the most: (more…)

Coping with Demands When on the Road

email inboxThese days many of us spend a good portion of our time on the road — whether for business travel or personal time away. It can be a real challenge to deal with demands from others when you’re away from the office. But it’s important to manage your time and priorities as much as possible — and to set healthy boundaries.

For myself, when I’m at a multi-day training or just taking a couple of days of business meetings in another city, for example, I do my best to ensure my clients know that I’ll be away and slower to respond during that time period. (more…)

How to Prioritize What is Important…And Get it Done!

note doneWe are all juggling so much, and we each have the same 24 hours each day. One of the ways we suffer is that we have so much on our plates that we can easily get overwhelmed, and we forget that we have control over how to structure our days around the most important things that we need/want to make happen in our lives. It comes down to prioritizing our day ahead of time (ideally the day or night before) — so that we make progress on just the three or four things that are most important to us. When we accomplish those tasks we feel great.

Then there are the things that we need to make happen but that we don’t want to do or that don’t light us up. Those are tasks we tend to procrastinate around and push off for another day/week/month/year.

I recommend the following approach… (more…)

The Serenity of Surrender

serenity free flowingAs I write this, today marks the 15th anniversary of 9-11; a day that is especially important to me, not only in terms of honoring those who were lost — but also in gratitude for avoiding being one of the victims myself. A near-miss because I was booked as a passenger on United flight 93 that morning headed to SF from Newark; one of the planes that was directly impacted among the flights that were taken over by terrorists on that awful day. Trusting my intuition and surrendering to that little voice in my head saved my life. (more…)

4 Ways to Align Yourself With What Really Matters

Are you focusing on what really matters in your life? Or are you just going through the motions jumping from one distraction to the next and being tossed around like a row boat in rough seas? If you want to experience a life well-lived, then it’s probably a good idea to pause and reflect on how aligned you are with the things that carry the most meaning for you on a regular basis — ideally once a week, minimum.

Here are a few suggestions you may want to try on for size: (more…)

Re-ignite Your Passion!

A topic has been brewing in my mind over the past couple of weeks that I wanted to touch on today; and that is the power of enthusiasm, energy and vitality. I think what sparked it was going to a couple of concerts during the past couple of weeks — Rick Springfield and Earth, Wind & Fire — both of whom have been performing for over 45 years each (and the lead members all in their mid-to-late sixties). Same thing when I saw Herb Alpert and Lani Hall play a show last Fall (he was 80 at the time).

None of these guys has to work or tour any more. But all of them exuded passion, vibrancy, energy and vitality. They love what they’re doing, they get high on the interaction with their audiences, and clearly they’re still having a great time performing and entertaining. It’s inspiring and infectious to watch…

But you don’t have to be an artist to experience the same level of energy and enthusiasm; you can cultivate it for yourself. And when you do, it creates an upward spiral that fuels you, makes you feel alive and is contagious; others want to be around you and engage/collaborate with you in whatever ways make sense. It comes down to your attitude about yourself and about your life. If you want to feel this energy boost (and experience all of these benefits), here are some things you can do to encourage it: (more…)

Taylor Swift and Other Top Artists Stand United Against DMCA & YouTube

taylor swift 2In the past couple of months things have been getting more heated as a coalition of over 180 top musicians have aligned to complain about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The 1998 law governs the way big internet companies can use material uploaded by their users. As technology has progressed over the past two decades, the artists’ stance is that their royalties have been diminishing relative to the many new devices and services that have sprung up in that timeframe. And in tandem as they’re making their voices heard about concerns suggesting that the DMCA is broken in today’s terms, they’re taking aim squarely at YouTube as a primary example of how this structure no longer works for artists (if it ever did). (more…)

Life Gets Easier When You Operate in the Zone

Many of us run our lives off “To Do” lists — and have issues managing time, priorities, and eliminating distractions. We’re all over the place and our attention and mood is scattered, stressed and we’re inefficient. It doesn’t have to be that way! We can increase our productivity and save our sanity when we operate ‘in the zone’ more of the time. When you are in the zone, you are focused, firing on all cylinders, getting things done, accomplishing your goals, meeting expectations of yourself and others, all while staying in a calm, neutral place emotionally. You feel good because you’re taking care of what you need to and are honoring your commitments to yourself and others; you’re doing what you said you were going to do. There’s no greater sense of satisfaction than that! I know that’s been my experience.

Here are a few tips for getting in the zone: (more…)

Becoming the Person You Want to Be is Simple but It’s Not Easy

triggersI had the rare privilege of spending time with Marshall Goldsmith a couple of months ago courtesy of my mentor Alan Weiss at an event that Alan hosts annually called the Million Dollar Consulting Convention. Marshall was the Keynote speaker at Alan’s event this year, and is in high demand as one of the most successful executive coaches on the planet. He’s the author of many terrific and insightful books like What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, and he was delightful and very generous in his time with us. Marshall was kind enough to provide us all with copies of his latest book Triggers: Creating Behavior that Lasts & Becoming the Person You Want to Be”.

I read a lot of books on self-improvement and personal growth, and Triggers offers fresh insights that I haven’t come across elsewhere to this point. (more…)