The Boy is Back in Town
Good news everyone!
I have returned from Argentina and have been back in the U.S. for a little over a week now. During that time I have done some major changes. While there are many more to come, I assure you that the changes I have made are just as positive as the changes I will make in the future.
My blog now has it’s own domain. That’s right folks! I have a .com site. CEOofRockBlog.com is now up and ready to go.
Not only that, but I have been at work trying to rearrange the layout of my site so that it will be more professional, easier to read, and better equipped to find out what you, the readers, are interested in.
It’s Always Sunny in the Rich Man’s World
I also have plans for continuing to give out free content and using this blog as a platform for bringing in some money. Not yet enough to put a down payment on a Lexus, but definitely enough to pay for musical instruction, instruments, and other things that allow me to become the CEO of my own life.
I confess to you that a problem I have had with blogging is that even though I write about business I have had a phobia of making money on my blog. I guess I was afraid of what people would think. Stupid huh?
If I am telling people to take charge of their lives, especially their financial ones, I would be a hypocrite not to do so with something that I have. No longer. From now on, I will make sure that the links people would click on anyway from my blog will result in some sort of kickback.
Takin’ Care of Business
Before I do, I will establish that with the ceoofrockblog, any affiliate link will be either something highly recommended to me by paying customers, used by myself personally, highly relevant and useful, etc. A product will have to meet at least 1 out of those three to even have a chance of making it onto my blog.
Also, if anyone wishes to have me recommend something of theirs, I have to check it out for myself on their dime. Once I do, I will make the fairest and accurate review that I can regardless of what I may receive. In other words, you can pay me and I could absolutely slam your product, or you can send it to me and I will give it a glowing review should it be something that can help people who read my blog. Even If I received no payment! Payment only prioritizes whether or not I review something should my schedule be full, and in no way will prevent your product from being slammed if it sucks.
Lastly, I will disclose at the bottom of each post on my newer site whether or not something was an affiliate link. I will also say whether or not I have used it or why I am writing about it in every post that has one.
Walkin’ in Memphis Nashville
On a recent note, I have driven over 600 miles and crossed 2 state lines to end up in Nashville, Tennessee. This is where the Mike Curb College of Music and Business is located, as a part of Belmont University. The next 4 days will determine whether or not I will get in. I will also see whether I will stay the course with Business Marketing or switch majors to Music Business. Finally, I will also see whether my mailing address will be a Tennessee listing or a Texas listing. That’s right, If I don’t get into Belmont, I will continue my stay in Texas. The weather is better (except for this week), the girls are pretty (aren’t they everywhere?), and I will have closer proximity to the upcoming SXSW in March of this year in Austin.
So check out the site, subscribe, and tell me how you like it. I emphasize subscribe because I am not a coding pro, and I don’t know how the switchover handled subscribers. Keep rocking on!
Since my blog started, I have kept track of interesting quotes I have found on my journey, marking them down as I go along. Some of them were from world famous game changers, and others were from anonymous comments made online. Some were made centuries ago, and some were made more recently. I narrowed them down to about ten, which you can read below. Here they are in no particular order.
The Best Success Quotes I found in the last year
1. “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do.” – Ben Franklin
2. “If you don’t know it by now, being a dick doesn’t make you seem like a rock star, it makes you seem like a dick.” – Jesse Cannon, Musformation
3. “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward
4. “Some people get an education without going to college; the rest get it after they get out.” -Mark Twain
5. “Hollywood is like high school, but with money.” – Tom Hanks
6. “The more you “let people in” to see the inner workings of your business, the more likely they are to buy from you”-Erica Douglass
7. “Big Ideas are little ideas that no one killed too soon.” – Seth Godin
8. “Forget all the frustration, the tricks, and the worry. Just focus on becoming good. Really damn good.” – Cal Newport
9. “Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.” -Lily Tomlin
10. “I’m not a big believer in long-term planning and far-off goals. In fact, I generally set 3-month and 6-month dreamlines [goals]. The variables change too much and in-the-future distance becomes an excuse for postponing action” – Timothy Ferriss
Is there an 11th quote out there? Please let me know in the comments what quote you have found that contributed to your journey.
There is a quote from a well known fashion blog that said “If you have to say it, you ain’t it”. This was referring to clothing on which flattering words were written, like “hot stuff”, or “supermodel”. My hope is that by the end of this post you may laugh occasionally when you see 35 year old women wearing these types of shirts and pants (usually sweatpants) in the supermarket.
My goal, however, is that you understand a concept from Cal Newport’s Studyhacks blog called Countersignalling.
Cal’s post was originally about whether or not to do a large laundry list of things so that the sheer amount of accomplishments on the list will impress people enough to get you into a great college. He decided in his lectures that he would preach a different view.
The Brag Stops Here
To do this, he turned to a study done in 2002 by economists Nick Feltovich and Rick Harbaugh, along with statistician Ted To. These researchers found out that that smartest kids in class don’t raise their hands as much as the average.
They used a field of social science called signalling theory to find out why. Signalling theory basically means that both people and animals take certain actions or say certain things constantly to convey that they have a higher value. Examples include peacocks with lots of feathers, Two-thousand dollar suits, and professors who insist on being referred to as “Dr” First Name.
People signal using things like this because people assume that getting these things are difficult, and since they are difficult for the average, then this must mean that those that have them are above average.
What kills the signalling strategies of so many is the side channel, or “the word on the street”. If the word on the street runs counter to the signalling of a person, that person not esteemed as highly. Such people may be called “posers”, “wanksters”, wanna-be’s, or be accused of “fronting”.
Back to the classroom. The top students are already known as being the top because their accomplishments are being evangelized by others throughout the hallways and among teachers.
The students in the middle have to signal that they have value by raising their hand frequently to answer questions. Correct answers imply that they are smart, brave, and of higher value than those who are on the bottom (who neither raise their hand, nor have word of mouth on their side)
Therefore, the best students who have the word on the street, notoriety, or whatever you want to call it, on their side demonstrate high value nonverbally, because “only a student who is truly confident about his skills can afford to avoid constantly trying to show them off.”
That, my friend, is countersignaling. The situation of having other people evangelizing your high status to the point where you rarely, if at all, need to do it yourself.
The short version of this post: “actions speak louder than words”, and “the strong actions in the right place speak louder than the weak actions in the wrong place”
You can read the full article here, or by following the link up above.
Stuff for you to take out of this
This should show you that the main goal is not to do a lot of things on your own that signal that your greatness. Your goal is to get the side channel (other people) to say great things about you.
Authenticity comes from having a strong side channel. Good examples are The Dave Matthews Band, or John Mayer.
If you continue to signal incessantly, you might come across as unlikable, even if you have a high amount of success with your music. I jokingly call this the Kanye West effect. He’s good, but the amount of times he feels the need to remind us verbally is way more than needed. To be fair to Señor West, he is not the only one who does this but is simply the most recognizable one right now.
The good news is that instead of needing to promote yourself with a long list of accomplishments, you can cut that list down to maybe one-fourth it’s size. The great, yet sometimes uncomfortable news, is that you must become the type of person that everyone else brags about, and that takes work.
Thanks once again to Cal, I can show you three paraphrased things to keep in mind to make the transition less uncomfortable:
1. Don’t send mediocre signals. An easy way to represent yourself as a medium ability candidate (be it for a gig, business endorsements, new fans, or a record deal) is to shout out a long list of achievements none of which are all that difficult to achieve;
“my album is out!” Buy it because it exists!
playing songs that are technically proficient but very very long
using lines like “we are taking the world by storm”…I’m pretty sure you’re not.
None of these signals convey a particular impressive trait, and the list as a whole makes you seem like someone desperate to differentiate yourself from the low ability candidates. The top people don’t have this worry.
2. Send a small number of strong signals. People are already overloaded with information as it is. Help the reviewer follow a high ability story line by having one or two activities that are really impressive — that is, required an desirable trait, like high creativity or deep values, and not just persistence. Seeing a small number of excellent things, and no low-value bragging, will convey a strong sense of confident ability.
3. Prime the side channel. In the formal model, you have no control over the side channel. In the real world, you do. Be interesting. Make people like you. Actually convey the traits that you want the channel to communicate. If you’re a hip hop group, for example, this means you should actually be thought provoking, energetic, witty people that can really tell the audience how it is. Fan’s take notice of this, and potential partners who have their hand on the pulse of the market will find it difficult to ignore you.
Sometimes, doing less can say more. Always good news in a world that constantly demands more out of you.
If you can think of artists that do low value bragging or are great at using the side channel, tell them to me in the comments.
Breaking the Wall
This is part 2 of a series of songwriting posts designed to personally break me out of songwriting hell. Part 1 explains what that hell is and why I want out. The link to Part 1 is here.
The beginning of getting out
About a week ago, I got myself to a cafe located in the local town I was in, and sat down facing a wall to have no distractions. After an hour and a half, I came up with many different patterns in my songwriting that may be contributing to my continual negativity during the songwriting process. So far, here are the 16 that I have found:
- Always writing at night-time
- Doing lyrics first then music second
- Using Garageband or my guitar as main instruments
- Being tempted to create a full band on Garageband before I even have 20 seconds of music
- Writing on days I have not had decent exercise
- Writing songs soon after having consumed high-carb, high-fat/sugary foods.
- On days where circumstances or mood are particularly bad, I often use songwriting to vent it. Doing this repeatedly has caused me to be either reluctant to pick up an guitar, or to feel down on the rare occasions I do use it to write songs.
- Writing in English
- Always writing alone.
- My lyrics continue to have negative, answerless questions.
- I tend to dress the same way when writing songs every time – Jeans, Sneakers, T-Shirt, etc.
- Never under the influence of any stimulant during songwriting. (Maybe coffee or tea can help?!)
- Drawing on past experience rather than visualizing a future.
- Not rewriting more than once.
- Not changing the volume of my song at any point.
- Not meditating on what I want to convey beforehand.
Are any of these issues for you?
What I am noticing is that maybe I am not the only one who gets drawn into a negative funk when writing. It is very well possible that even the greatest of artists have had to dive down into mental mud in order to pull out something that will make them a living.
I subscribe to the view that it doesn’t have to be that way. By looking at the above 16 things, what possible solutions can you come up with in your head to create a different, better songwriting environment for yourself? Comments will help fellow readers and myself.
Flash is like fireworks. It gets people’s attention with its bright light and its loud bang. It remains in the public consciousness for a little while and then disappears only to be forgotten. People talk about it out of surprise, awe, or disgust, but only for awhile.
One-hit wonders are flashes. A guy kissing another guy on the American music awards is a flash. Getting a vice presidential nomination when you are governor of Alaska is a flash.
Constants, unlike flashes, may not grab you immediately. But when you start to pay attention, you grab onto them, not letting go until they cease to become constant.
Creating great music and performing it well all the time is constant. The google home page is constant. The leader who does what she says she is going to do is constant.
There is one evident weakness with being constant. When building a brand, constancy is repeatedly overlooked by others, and it sometimes requires a small, deliberate bit of flashiness to raise awareness of it.
Think about the flash and constancy going on in your actions. How much is devoted to each?
Maybe you can think of some examples where people are using the two well or very poorly over the long term.
Let me know by commenting.