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Information used to be expensive. There were three elements to its cost:
Production is the last cost standing. Acquisition and distribution are now free.
By hook or crook you can get anything you want – scholarly articles, movies, songs – with a few clicks. Put mildly, it’s very controversial.
I took advantage of several internships in college. It’s disgusting really. Gave me a lot of grief.
Mostly I was paid, but on a couple occasions I wasn’t. Not in cash anyway. Perks like trips / food were the cash equivalent those days, and that was fine by me.
So I don’t want to debate indentured servitude or “Modern-day slavery” or the humanity of it all. I think college kids are anxious to gain experience and if they’ll do it for free, why fight capitalism?
I’m talking about something else entirely:
If you don’t feed the interns, don’t let them hunt for food.
Job security is all about providing value. Let’s examine:
But here’s where it gets interesting.
A valuable employee is scary. He is dangerous. A valuable employee has leverage. Things like relationships and trade secrets become toxic information if a competitor convinces a valuable employee to part ways. And employers don’t want that.
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I used to take a lot of photos. It started in high school with my first point-and-shoot. I’d set up at the end of my desk and record lectures in AP History. Then I’d go to orchestra and capture peace signs and smiles. Everything about it seemed so thrilling. I was documenting life and counting on photo albums to show me the meaning of it all.
Fast forward a few years and I got a job with Red Bull. My alleged duties were to plan events for the collegiate market and extend the brand goodness to impressionable twentysomethings. But all I really did was take photos. By this time I had a Rebel T2i, so my precious moments were upgraded to high definition.
Advertising has changed a lot since the era of Sterling Cooper. Back then the math [and logic] worked out that ads were the primary revenue driver of all successful enterprises, so if sales were good then execs assumed billboards must have been kicking ass.
Nowadays, however, word-of-mouth (WOM) trumps all copy, graphic, and engagement tricks advertisers might have up their sleeves. Today’s consumer rejects traditional marketing tactics and opts instead for a more genuine display of product- or service-goodness.
I work at a tech startup but my only real talent is music. Prior to college graduation and getting a “real job,” I spent a few years brushing shoulders with some really big players in the music industry.
With all that now behind me, I present my first parallel:
Musician is to Startup as Record Label is to Venture Capital
Musicians typically have a one-track mind. They want to sing. Or write. Or perform. But they aren’t marketing experts. They don’t typically have distribution. Actually they never* have distribution. Often times they don’t even have enough cash to record in a studio. And that’s where a management company or record label comes along. They provide resources for the musician, and the musician pays them back with creative input and 25% to life.
“It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Remember 3rd grade when someone asked a stupid question? They prefaced with “this might be a stupid question…” and the teacher replied, “Oh silly, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. There are only stupid people.”
Well she didn’t say the last part.
Growing up I was always reminded how I’m no better than someone else.
Probably because I constantly told my mom “I’m better than so-and-so.”
Well I have news (err, opinions): we are all either above, below, or equal to each other. While humans may have been created equally, we certainly do not end up that way.
Ryan > Osama Bin Laden
Ryan < Jesus
Ryan = Kevin (younger brother)
So the dichotomy of human value exists. We can choose to ignore it, or we can proactively seek and destroy any problems that arise. I choose the latter. Continue reading
There’s something to be said about throwing caution to the wind.
I’ve embarked upon a myriad of cravings after simply having an idea and then amplifying the energy behind it.
The outcomes of such decisions are varied; they range from debt, sorrow, stale friendships, weight loss, weight gain, bad grades, killer presentations, and beyond.
Yet, in spite of my general inability to “think things through,” I’m convinced there’s a positive connotation associated with this action > inaction mentality. Continue reading