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Spotify in 2018

I bought a lot of CD’s when I was a teenager. I frequently made use of the Columbia House style deals where you could order 10 CD’s for free while paying for just 1 and then canceling after a few obligatory months. The 90’s were a beautiful time for music-on-media and I adored the books and books of CD sleeves that I’d collected in a short time span. I loved displaying all the CD cases on a wood rack in my bedroom and then dorm room. One of my friends made a wall hanging of his collected CD booklets and I thought it was the greatest thing in the world.

My college didn’t get high-speed internet until my Junior year, but once it did we were rapid adopters of Napster. The campus (at least those of us who collected music) changed almost overnight. Gone were the random runs to Best Buy, Circuit City, the mall or even Wal-Mart to pick up a new album and all night downloading sessions of mp3’s on Napster quickly replaced those adventures.

My friends and I felt like we were on the precipice of something new… for the first time music was “freely” available at our fingertips and just required enough bandwidth and patience to find what you were looking for at any particular moment. We would have conversations about the future of music and how that future would include music at our fingertips via our bulky desktop PC Clone computers, ZIP drives, and 3.5-inch floppies. Little did we know we were just a few years from the iPod and ultimately the iPhone and the promise of that vision was just a decade or so away. Little did we realize we wouldn’t have to carry a desktop tower halfway across campus to get our playlists going at the Fraternity house.

Even in 2010, it seemed like something as audacious as Spotify was futuristic. I’m an early adopter. I bought way too much music on the iTunes Store, via Rhapsody, have a Pandora account going back to 2004… I was ready for on-demand streaming of any song or album I wanted. At least I thought so.

Just checked the receipts… I’ve been a paying member of Spotify since July 2011 (shortly after this post was published evidently… and Klout?? Ha! Forgot about that abomination):

To join Spotify, you’ll need an invite (the first batch are being dished out by online influence tracker Klout). You can skip this tedious step, though, using that old fashioned universal lubricant – money. Sign up for either the monthly Premium or Unlimited plans and you can walk straight in the door. Premium, priced at $5 per month, gives you as much ad-free music as you like. Unlimited ($10) adds offline storage of tracks and lets you use the Spotify client on your mobile device (the Spotify iPhone app is now available in the U.S App Store).

Source: Spotify Launches in the U.S at Last | WIRED

Little did I realize how much the paradox of choice would really impact my passion for music. There was a time I had to think deliberately about whether I wanted to spend that $12-15 on a Thelonious Monk or Wilco or U2 album or if I wanted to try out another genre. Now, that’s just a literal tap of my finger. It has taken me almost 7 years to wrap my head around that paradigm of choice and my music intake has suffered as a result.

I wrapped myself up in the cozy arms of “Dad Rock” and Bowie and The Beatles as I approach 40. I listen less to new artists and I have no idea what is even happening at the Grammy’s anymore. There was a time when I’d pour over the Billboard rankings or Rolling Stone reviews to determine what my next CD purchase would be. Now, I just click play on my Spotify playlist for the day and am made comfortably numb by Pink Floyd or Ryan Adams without much thought as to what I’m missing.

Maybe that’s one of the side effects of getting old. You stop wondering what else is out there and you relish in the sounds that rocked your 20-year-old head. You celebrate the bridges and riffs of “You Never Give Me Your Money” and stop trying to stay on top of the latest Kendrick Lamar album or what might be happening with post-rock.

The 30’s are a time to grow into your jeans and start becoming comfortable with yourself, right?

Screw that. I’m using Spotify to listen to what else is out there as I grow into my 40’s. It’s time.

Here’s to the next ten years of whatever delivery mechanism we make for music we love and music that challenges us.

“Worlds colliding, Jerry!”

This is interesting… Dropbox and Google Drive have always been competitors (in my mind and usage), but it seems like Dropbox is taking on the “internet scale storage system” that Dave Winer mentioned on Twitter… more like competition with Evernote?

Dropbox users will be able to create, open, edit, save, and share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly from Dropbox. And when you’re working in Dropbox, you’ll be able to save Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to your Dropbox account.

Source: Working with Google Cloud to bring all your work together | | Dropbox Blog

How to use Evernote

We all need another brain to remember things and even remind us later. Evernote basically accomplishes that for me.

I’ve been a fan and user of Evernote for (over?) 10 years now. Here’s a nifty guide for using the app in ways that even I found valuable:

You’re just getting started with Evernote, and you’re asked to create your first note. What do you do with it? Make a shopping list? Write a poem? Plan your life? A blank page offers endless possibilities. Here are some cool ideas you can use to make that first note—and all the notes to follow—matter.

Source: 38 Things You Should Save in Evernote

AI Assistants and Important Meetings


That’s a worry I’ve heard before. Whether you’re a job seeker meeting a recruiter, an account manager calling a customer, or a novice getting coffee with an industry veteran, handing off communications to an assistant might give you pause. You might worry that you’ll blow the opportunity, come off impersonal or worse, arrogant.

via How to use an AI assistant for important meetings –

I’ve been using Amy as my personal assistant to schedule meetings and add things to my calendar for a little over a year now. Amy is an “artificial intelligence powered assistant” that you act with as you would a person. The advantage is that Amy does all of the time-consuming email back-and-forths that come along with scheduling meetings.

There are a number of companies coming out with similar AI powered assistants, but has been my preference (I do test out others to keep up with things).

I schedule lots of meetings with clients, potential clients, boards, and colleagues (and podcasts), so anything that frees up my time while coming across with the same genuineness and kindness that I normally try to convey via email is a winner.

Over the past year, I’ve learned a good deal about how to deal with Amy as well as how to introduce or include Amy into an email thread with people who have no clue what AI is or why this personal assistant is not a real human being. I’m sure that will continue, but as a culture we are on an upward slope of awareness about AI (whether that’s because of interactions with Alexa and Siri or news stories) and the concept of having a personal assistant that is powered by AI won’t be such a novelty in a few short years.

I’ve not had anyone comment about my pretentiousness of having a personal assistant or tell me that they were annoyed or inconvenienced by the experience of working with Amy. So maybe we’re getting over our preconceptions about the role of personal assistants in a post-Siri world.

For now, I’m continually using Amy to power meetings and enjoy the experience of doing so!

Can Non-Profits Benefit from LinkedIn?


One of my favorite clients had this question on our weekly call this morning.

I excitedly said “YES!” which feels a little odd. Going back through my blog archives here, you’ll see lots of instances over the last 10 years where I’ve written that LinkedIn “sucks” is “terrible” and “should not be used.”

However, LinkedIn can be a fabulous tool for groups and nonprofits looking to make an impact within a certain influencer group. I offered a couple of different thoughts on how to do that in our call this morning, but the highlights are that you should be posting updates and your posts should be “mobile-first” (short, narrative, and text). Secondly, use their native video feature to share QUICK and focused updates via mobile video, especially if you’re doing outreach or looking to connect with parties in your community.

There’s a great list of other ideas here from Social Media Examiner that I found while doing some research:

Keep it short. No one wants to read walls of text. Also, on LinkedIn mobile, a See More link appears on text updates longer than five lines. On the desktop version, your post is cut off after only three lines. With these limits in mind, if you use a storytelling approach, put a compelling hook in the first line to encourage people to read the whole post.

via How to Improve Your LinkedIn Engagement : Social Media Examiner

Iris Hospital Alert App

Once installed, Iris automatically detects you in a hospital. After remaining there for 10 minutes, Iris reaches out to confirm if you’re okay or not via a push notification. If everything’s okay, perfect, just hit the the button to confirm and Iris will go into the background again. If you’re not ok and Iris doesn’t get a confirmation from you, the emergency contacts you chose upon sign up will be informed via text message. Iris will also present your personal health card on the lock screen of your iPhone so ER staff can access your important health and personal data including your name, health status, spoken language, daily medication, and more. ER staff is also be provided your emergency contact”s information and will be able to reach out themselves if they haven’t heard from your contacts already.

via Say hello to Iris, your modern day emergency alert – Iris App – Medium

I love apps like this that utilize the most seemingly mundane features of our constant carry smartphones to achieve good.