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I’ve been walking through the valley of the living dead, rubbing elbows with those unhappy mortals on trains and trams and meeting rooms and offices that are on the same journey… In the words of Jaz Coleman “I have seen tomorrow, I have seen the world to come, I have seen tomorrow, hear the pandemonium”

I have reached the next station of this journey. Watch this space… It’s going to get interesting soon…

PS: this photo is a hint 😉

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Every time I think life can’t give me any pleasant surprises someone comes and proves me wrong… from a band that I’ve worked with finally getting a break to a very good friend doing something incredible on the other side of the world (And something I don’t think I’d have the balls to do if it was up to me)… inspiration is all around.

So what does it take to move us from being bored and boring into being inspired and inspiring?

Take Jessica Watson, the 16 year old girl that’s sailing solo around the world and getting told: “You’re too young”. “It’s too dangerous” and “are you insane?”… by a bunch of boring and uninspired “journalists” that only care about pushing opinion, the unfortunate prevalent opinion of the past few decades that doing something dangerous is a no-no…

Compare that with the following industries in the past 10 years, Technology, Media and Finance… lots of safe bets, few real risks and a lot of greed and rushing to make a quick buck… a true inability to innovate beyond models set forth 70 years ago… which has led us to the current state of affairs, and the woefully inadequate solutions that have taken personal responsibility and innovation out of the market.

Be inspiring, take a risk, kick ass and take names, whatever you do, don’t let people slow you down with cries of “too hard”, “too risky” or “we do things differently”…

Yeah, I’m not, sometimes I stop and ponder how things didn’t turn out the way I planned and of course, the answer isn’t surprising, I didn’t make them happen.

I fondly remember my teenage years, full of dreams of making it big with my band (As big as you could in the Metal/Hardcore scenes back then) and starting my own company. I was full of hope, I was full of drive and I was full of dreams.

Of course, things have a way of going off course and one thing leads to another and poof, it’s all gone in a flash… my band disintegrated from the weight of its own talent (And so did band #2 and band #3) while “lesser talented” bands made it big, I turned my back against the dream of making it big as a musician and focused on the dream of being a technologist and eventually own my own company and making it big.

I struggled through college, my teachers all said that I was well above average, a brilliant thinker, but a lousy student that just worked hard enough to get by, you could see my heart wasn’t in it, but I managed to graduate with a decent GPA, but the fact that I wasn’t playing live anymore and I had become estranged from my musician friends wasn’t helping (Yeah, being the musician in college will make you not fit anywhere, and that in turn will make you quite a misanthrope, a very sociable misanthrope though)

So I look back and I see that I achieved neither of my lifelong dreams, despite having done much with my life, traveled, enjoyed the highs of love and the pits of loss, the comfort of family and friends and the thrill of strangers… yet…

It’s fairly simple really, the key to success is squarely in your head, if you’ve got talent and drive alone isn’t enough to guarantee you success, you need to have faith, you need to pick yourself up every time you’re down and you need to take an enormous risk… I know for example my aversion to risk is in fact the main reason why I haven’t achieved the success that I seek (BTW, money/fame are not success, nor even a measure of success, but I don’t want to get dragged down into that argument).

But risk aversion alone is not the answer, then you realize a second element of success, it comes from leading and influencing others. Many times people have written about success, framing it from the angle of the lone man out fighting against the odds, the truth is, successful people build successful networks and from those successful networks find opportunities for success.

So, successful people take risks and build networks… looks like a lot of work right?

Well, it is, and that’s why talent and drive are also required, but the third missing element is faith, you can have blind faith, that’s never going to be enough, you really need to have your heart into it, love what you do, enjoy the struggle because you love the results. For the past 25 years we haven’t encouraged people to follow their hearts, we have encouraged them to fit in at any costs and we’re paying dearly for it. We’ve encouraged safe careers and copycats, we haven’t encouraged pioneering and risk-taking… our current global financial situation is directly related to not having taken the risks of educating consumers with money, savings and investing but instead building ponzi schemes that were copied over and over the world. No pioneering economics, no pioneering arts, just more and more copying.

So why am I not the man I used to be? Well, for the past 15 years I’ve been doing what I’m good at, not necessarily what I enjoy doing, it has hurt me and those around me, very simple… if you’re not happy, everybody around you won’t have a chance to be truly happy either, this time around I’m chasing my dreams with a ton of knowledge gained from failing to attain them (Or failing to value them when I did attain them), changing my philosophy to bring more success, like exercise, it’s hard work at the beginning, boring and tedious in the middle and very rewarding in the long term, this time around, I have enough faith in myself, a great network of friends, much knowledge gained and the desire to make it happen… and the patience too!

The whole debate sparked by Lilly Allen’s stance against people pirating her music has been so far, hilarious…

From some random people posting at the BBC’s website one gets the idea that they believe they are fighting an evil monster called music industry, but their habits speak the actual truth… they just want something for nothing. I wonder if one were to walk to their house and say, take their couch because they have another they’d feel the same way about those “multimillionaire” artists (Where? Or has MTV actually convinced people that the majority of artists have swimming pools filled with money).

I believe the music industry needs reform and a lot of restructuring, I have been affected by the industry downturn directly, no sales equals no funding for engineers and producers, there’s obvious opportunities for improving distribution and compensation, but those aren’t going to exist if music loses its remunerative angle. And yeah, concerts and live shows can make a band a fair amount of money, just not enough to live on it as a single source of income.

So sure, it sounds nice on paper, you get the entitlement, you get the rush and the thrill of fighting the man (And of course argue about it while having coffee at starbucks) but in reality, you’re not going to the shows, you’re not buying merchandise and most importantly, you’re not supporting the artist… proof of that are all the mid-tier independent bands that are struggling nowadays.

Just remember that the next time you jump on your digital high horse to pass judgement on the industry.