July 2014

* kiss kiss

"Sham: an imitation that is meant to deceive; counterfeit."


In both music and entrepreneurship you need powers of persuasion. You need to get people excited about what you're doing so that they can give you money to keep doing it. You need to rap.

The original meaning of the word rap was talking. But it was more than that. It was your ability to talk smoothly, to talk yourself out of trouble, to use talking to get your way. It was a smart way of talking, a way of talking that impressed other people. Rapping was selling. That's why rappers are such good entrepreneurs.

When rap started, there was no institutional support for the genre. So rappers learned salesmanship. Rap culture was about proving you were better that the rest. It was about distinguishing yourself and your originality above the crowd.

Startups need to do that. Just like rappers, they need to convince people that they are better and bolder than the rest. That they can rise to any challenge and circumstances. Entrepreneurs can learn from rappers that stepping up to the mic with confidence can go a long way.

Entrepreneurs can also learn from rockers to make an emotional connection to their audience through body language and stories. As I've written before, you can learn techniques that will strengthen the effectiveness of your communication.

But most importantly, rockers teach entrepreneurs the importance of finding your unique voice and expressing it. As an artist, you have to differentiate yourself from others. Doing well in business requires the same thing. To stand out, you need to put yourself on the line and express yourself with confidence and passion.
(Ruth Blatt, What Rockers Can Teach Entrepreneurs)


"Do you subscribe to the theory that meticulously cultivating a personal brand image will make you a great leader? Take politicians for example: What happens when the person you vote into office doesn't live up to the claims you bought into during the campaign? You and the other voters feel alienated and betrayed. Great leaders--ones who motivate people to do great things--say substantive things, are genuine, and are not afraid to give their unvarnished opinion."
(BY WILL YAKOWICZ, Personal Branding is a Sham)

Rick Rubin


One thing he likes to do is to have walking meetings on the beach. "It's a remarkably different meeting," he said. "The walking meetings tend to be much, much more productive than meetings sitting in an office."

"The more time you spend being quiet and looking in, your intuition grows and you trust it more," he said. "Messages come if you're looking for them. Through meditation I developed the skill to know what to ask for. It's like a knowing."

This abstract "knowing" that Rubin is referring to is well documented in academic research on meditation. "Meditation creates a state of equilibrium, of peace, of calm, of openness that really allows an opportunity to be both an open canvas but also a calm and neutral canvas," told me Vered Hankin, Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, who conducts clinical research on meditation. "It is a jumping point for knowing." By quieting the chatter in the mind, "every once in a while you have a moment of connection, a moment of insight, a moment of the real feeling like it comes from some other part of you that you might not be accessing if you weren't in that connected space," she said.

Rubin recognizes that ego can make it hard for successful people to do good work. When artists become successful, they are less likely to hear the truth. "The same thing happens with people who run successful companies," Rubin said. "They have a lot of people around them telling them how great everything is and it's not conducive to work being better. If everyone around you tells you everything you do is great, if there's no editorial information, it leaves you a little lost."

How to give feedback without making people defensive is one of the biggest leadership challenges.

(Ruth Blatt, How Super Producer Rick Rubin Gets People To Do Their Best Work)

Paul Stanley

"It's a pretty safe statement to say that most entertainers have self worth issues and image issues, inferiority issues." That's KISS's Paul Stanley, talking to me about his new memoir, Face the Music: A Life Exposed. " Let's face it, getting up on a stage or getting up in front of people is not a normal thing to do ," he continued. "You do it because you're seeking approval on a mass scale when you don't get it on a small scale. So if you're not going to address that as you become successful then the clock is ticking because of all the possible poisons that will enter into your life. Unless you can look elsewhere to remedy whatever the problems are, you're a fatality waiting to happen, if not in terms of your life then certainly in terms of your career."

First was the realization that the flip side of success is the inevitable precipice you reach. Here is how Stanley describes it in his book: "I was being pulled up the big hill, knowing we were going to reach the top at any moment and then plunge down the other side, falling, screaming, with no control whatsoever. I could feel the momentum, the process of being pulled up the hill. I could tell we had reached a point of no return. All I could do was hold on real tight."

But the inevitable fall wasn't Stanley's real problem. The real problem was that he had nothing to hold on to, no loved ones to ground him. The relationships he did have were, for the most part, toxic.

"Success breeds sycophantic relationships," he said. "Success breeds leeches. Success breeds people who tell you what you want to hear. And success breeds people who will cripple you either through chemicals or through alcohol or through deceit." At the peak of KISS's success, Stanley was surrounded by yes-men and casualties of drugs and, worse, ego.

He realized that these people were not giving him the kind of love and attention he really needed.

(Paul Stanley From KISS On What You Really Need To Stay Successful)