Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) - Metal & Innovation

The shredders at Metal Injection have done it again, bringing you the finest metal content to feast upon. They have undertaken their largest production to date by attending and covering the 2010 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Anaheim California.

NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), commonly called NAMM in reference to the organization's popular NAMM trade shows, is the not-for-profit association that unifies, leads and strengthens the $17 billion global music products industry. Our association—and our trade shows—serve as a hub for people wanting to seek out the newest innovations in musical products, recording technology, sound and lighting—everything you need to enhance and grow your business, presentation or event! Founded more than a century ago, NAMM proudly represents a worldwide community of people who are passionate about what they do and provides them with the tools, learning and business environment they need to do it.

Obviously, my posts have been sparse the last few weeks due to my commitment to studying for the GMAT, but in an effort to still deliver you the finest material for your reading and viewing pleasure I plan on bastardizing a few of Metal Injection's webisodes documenting this fine event. NAMM not only sounds cool, it embodies of few of the things I am passionate about; music and the innovation and entrepreneurship that fuel the music industry. Whether it is creating new products or new ways to fuel your brand this event gives the lowly commoner an all access look into the real music industry vice the bubblegum pop antics displayed on MTV when they actually decide to play music. So enjoy my recycled post and hopefully I can begin dedicating a bit more time to post again shortly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Great Cover Of A Great Song

BadskiBlog has been a little too serious lately and has definitely been lacking a healthy dose of METAL!! So to quench your salivating thrashetites I have posted a video by the great live bandShadows Fall who have a new and much improved album out called Retribution. Shadows Fall cover a classic by the Prince of Darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne. Enjoy this rendition of Bark at the Moon. I love the dreadlock wolf man.....classic!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Privacy On The Internet & The Classic Facebook Scenario

“Well Mr. Smith, we really enjoyed this interview. We would like to offer you the position, but first can you please explain these Facebook photos??” Does this really happen? I mean I guess I cannot discredit the impressive amount of idiots there are out there who have managed to find their way into this situation or worse, but I must say that don’t know anyone. And to be honest I don’t know of too many people who would care if their photos were shown. I came across a great post by Ben Casnocha on the death of privacy on the internet and the synthesis of all your persona's on the web.

It is important to pay attention to who expresses outrage at privacy scandals on popular web sites. When Facebook announced its new privacy settings in December the usual suspects (EFF and other Silicon Valley geeks) issued condemnations.

Did any mainstream user under age 30 give a shit?

Young people care the least about privacy. Or, if we're not proactively anti-privacy, we have at least stopped clutching to the illusion that real privacy is still possible:

I wrote a post last month that dealt with some of these same issues. In my post entitled Generation Y's Impact on the Military
the topic of secrecy was discussed. A snippet of that post is below.

"I think that Gen Y'ers more comfortable packaging themselves as one identity as opposed to a work person, an at home person, etc. They want to be respected for their ideas and contributions, not just for the appearance they present and for their ability to walk the line and live the status quo. Part of that process starts with the liberating practice of sharing information and experiences, and not necessarily just with those you know personally. Not everyone gets it, even in Generation Y. I know I still get comments and questions from friends about my blog all the time wondering why I put the time and effort in. But those who do get it are willing to bypass privacy for they feel that they don't have anything to hide and much to gain!"

Ben also discusses his take on the classic Facebook scenario I discussed earlier and I love his optimistic outlook not only on the chances of this scenario happening, but on the severity of the outcome if it in fact does happen.

All this notwithstanding being told countless times to reign in transparency and cover your private life...or else. Every college senior gets the "be afraid of Facebook, be very afraid" talk from career advisers who trot out examples of drunk photos costing students their jobs. This is overblown. For one, a would-be employer is seeking authenticity and honesty. If they're so stupid as to expect not a single somewhat embarrassing photo from years 12 - 21, you probably wouldn't want to work with them. In fact, a raw Facebook profile might just be the breath of fresh air that the hiring person is looking for after reviewing a hundred whitewashed uber-polished resumes.

I couldn’t agree more. I have never met Ben but I feel as though I have an identical outlook on this topic. I have drinks with friends all the time. I enjoy talking and getting together over food and a few tasty barley pops. Most people I have encountered on this earth enjoy it as well, and those who don't enjoy the drinking aspect do not frown heavily upon those who do. To assume that ever interviewer's gag reflex kicks in when they see a picture of a candidate having drinks is simply not realistic. If the person does have that reaction, you probably wouldn't enjoy their place of employment.

Any horror stories out there or different takes on the death of internet privacy in America's youth?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Nation In Fat Kid Denial: Health Care, Obesity, And Obama's Task Force

Today President Obama signed a memorandum establishing a new federal task force tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity. I have, admittedly, been absent of the health care debate that has been the rage in Washington over the last few months. What I have noticed however, is the complete lack of acknowledgement of one of the most significant causes of our rising health care costs. I have heard that competition will bring costs down, that a paperless records system is the answer, that beating up on the evil insurance companies is the cause of our troubles, but not once have I heard a prominent political figure state that we as a nation have a weight problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research has shown that as weight increases to reach the levels referred to as "overweight" and "obesity," the risks for the following conditions also increases:

· Coronary heart disease
· Type 2 diabetes
· Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
· Hypertension (high blood pressure)
· Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
· Stroke
· Liver and Gallbladder disease
· Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
· Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
· Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

Interestingly enough the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research has also shown that the leading causes of death in the United States are:

· Heart disease: 631,636
· Cancer: 559,888
· Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
· Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
· Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
· Diabetes: 72,449
· Alzheimer's disease: 72,432
· Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
· Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
· Septicemia: 34,234

Any coincidence that they share many of the same titles? I just found those statistics in 31.6 seconds with two Google searches. Are we really going to ignore these statistics completely when talking about health care?

That is why I was so happy to read this article today regarding the formation of the children’s obesity task force. Although I think this should have been accomplished prior to tackling health care, the fact it is getting any attention at all is great. My wife has a strong interest in this challenging issue. She was a PE and Health teacher and is now a personal trainer. She was literally amazed at how many kids were overweight in her first year teaching. Yet every year school district after school district cuts funding for both PE and Health. With the statistics listed above it is blatantly obvious that weight is an issue in this country, and if people are handicapped by obesity at a very young age it makes it all the more difficult to break the behaviors as you get older. Unfortunately in many ways it is a parental lottery on whether or not a kid has a chance at dodging the obesity bullet. Luckily for me my parents instilled in me the importance of an active lifestyle. There are many other kids who don't have that support, or worse are the recipients of bad influence.
The task force, according to the memorandum, will have 90 days to craft a plan encouraging "optimal coordination" between the federal government and both the private and non-profit sectors, according to Obama.

Several Cabinet members, including the secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services, will serve on the task force. Its work will complement an aggressive public relations effort led by first lady Michelle Obama to raise public awareness of the issue.
Childhood obesity is "one of the most urgent health issues that we face in this country," the president said at the White House.

"We think that this has enormous promise in improving the health of our children, in giving support to parents to make the kinds of healthy choices that oftentimes are very difficult."

The results of the task force remain to be seen, and I am always skeptical of “new” government programs. However, the more attention paid to this issue the better. We have been avoiding the problem as a country for a while which is bad enough, but the problem is getting worse which makes dealing with the issue all the more critical.
The memo notes that almost one-third of American children are overweight or obese -- a rate that has tripled among adolescents and more than doubled in younger children since 1980.

About one-third of Americans born in the year 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lifetime, according to the memo.

"We've seen the surge in obesity in this country is nothing short of a public health crisis, and it's threatening our children, it's threatening our families, and more importantly it's threatening the future of this nation," she said. "Higher rates of obesity are directly linked, as you've heard, to higher rates of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer and diabetes."

I am hopeful that the task force can come up with something substantial to tackle this mounting challenge. Perhaps some greater insight into what we are actually putting into our bodies would be good, although knowledge doesn't always stimulate prudent choices (cigarettes anyone?). Maybe legislating more stringent food additive laws and disclosure requirements would be a better use of time than playing congressional football with a polarizing issue like health care?

Monday, February 8, 2010

War Blogging?! A Glimpse Into Our Deployed Soldiers Lives

Imagine you are amidst a mortar attack. Shrapnel is flying all around you, your heart is beating out of your chest, all hell is breaking loose. How do you react? Blog about it?!? No that really wasn't the first thing that came to my mind either. But that is what the Air Force is doing as we speak. Obviously that example is a little dramatic but the military is deploying a couple military journalists into the field to vlog and blog their adventures to the world.

International Security Assistance Force Joint Command officials announced a new Web site Feb. 1 to support a public affairs project titled "30 Days Through Afghanistan."

The Web-based project kicks off Feb. 8 and aims to bring the people, the mission and the experiences of ISAF's 44 participating nations to a worldwide audience through the eyes of Tech. Sgts. Nathan Gallahan and Kenneth Raimondi.

You can read the full article here or check out the 30 Days Through Afghanistan website and watch a video here. This concept is really interesting I will be on the look out for content as it arises. I think that there is a dire need for the nation as a whole to better understand the nature of the military and what our soldiers go through during a time of war. How can we truly vote for elected leaders, who hold critical war stances, if we don’t even understand what their decisions mean for the 1% of our population who actually has to serve? Not to mention how those decisions effect the countless family and friends of our service members. Part of the problem is a general lack of understanding about the business of war fighting, but another part of the problem is a culture of secrecy by the government and our military around the nature of war. A close control of critical information is obviously warranted, however the general public has relatively little exposure to what a day in the life of a military member is really like overseas. How do I know? Because I am in the military and I have relatively little knowledge and media showing me what my forthcoming deployment will be like…..and I have first hand people to talk to. I think some of this secrecy might be attributed to our nation's history of wavering public support for conflict and the impact that has on our politicians reelections. Regardless most of our nation’s views on military life in a wartime situation are based more on Full Metal Jacket and Stripes than actual media and information making its way back to the states .

"The goal is to create a 30-day online conversation with people across the world," said Sergeant Gallahan. "We hope to raise an understanding of Afghanistan and the ISAF mission."

I think a project like this one is one to be paid attention to as it is not only relevant to military members and their families, but to everyone who benefits from the sacrifices of our troops.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Entrepreneurship And The Future Of The Music Industry

As you can tell by the sparing nature of my posts, I have been true to my warning that I will be posting less frequently during my GMAT preparation. However, hopefully I am also staying true to my promise that I will continue to post valuable content whenever possible. I came across a great clip on the importance of entrepreneurship within the music industry. The speaker is Ken Lopez, Clinical Professor of Music Industry at the USC Thorton School of Music. Ken provides some great insights on what it will take for those in the industry to be successful, whether they be musicians, producers, record label execs, etc.

What I really like is that Ken doesn't try to cling to the past like many in the industry. Ken not only embraces the new realities of the industry, but he is focused on teaching his students to exploit those realities. I get the sense that Ken understands what many in my generation understand and what many others in the industry fail to put into practice. He understands that the music itself may not be the deliverable that makes money anymore. He doesn't say it in so many words but I interpret him as saying that the music is your way of branding yourself, or your band, or your label. The way to make money is through entrepreneurial new ways of delivering value to the fan.

I have had a few discussions with my geographically dislocated band mates about how we would go about making a Mask of Sanity reunion successful. Many of our discussions involve thinking of new ways to monetize things the fans find valuable. Although it is about the music, technology and social norms have made the fans less willing to pay for the value that music holds. We have discussed the possibilities of giving away all the music for free, asking for a recommended donation with half going to charity, letting the customer choose what to pay for the music, etc. The idea is to get your music to as many people as possible. Anything to build the brand that is the band. Once that b(r)and is established and that community of like-minded people is created the potential to make money on other products is much greater. The ideas can range from the standard DVD release to wackier ideas like fans contributing to the actual music, but the point remains that the traditional concept of selling the music is likely dead, especially for smaller acts.

Check out Ken Lopez's video HERE!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vote For "Leveraging the Vet Effect" In The Pepsi Refresh Project

Lots has been going on since I last posted. A ski trip, some hockey, a lot of GMAT studying, and more. However, I am most excited about an opportunity I was blessed to take part in last night. I am pleased to announce that I am currently involved in another nonprofit start up. My formal role going forward remains unclear but I am excited and happy to help in whatever way I am needed.

The venture I have signed onto is called Leveraging the Vet Effect, and although it is in its infancy I am very optimistic for what the future holds. The goals of the soon to be company are simple: 1. Educate our nation to view veterans as a valuable asset 2. Educate employers and academic administrators regarding the “Vet Effect” 3. Educate veterans in preparation for a successful civilian life. Not only is it a cause that is near to me personally, it is a cause that we all have a stake in as the well being of our military members affects all of us.

Although the details of how this national campaign will be unveiled are in the extreme beginning stages, there are a few things in the works that are really exciting. First is that the Leveraging the Vet Effect venture will be affiliated with MyVetwork in some way. MyVetwork is an online community serving all members of the U.S. military — whether active duty, veteran or retired, and regardless of age or conflict — as well as their spouses, families and supporters. It was founded in 2008 by a group led by John R. Campbell, a decorated veteran Marine officer. I had the pleasure of meeting John last night and he is actively involved in getting Leveraging the Vet Effect off of the ground.

MyVetwork has submitted the Leveraging the Vet Effect project under the name "Refresh Every Vet" in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi is currently giving away $1,300,000 every month to fund great ideas. Pepsi is accepting 1000 entries every month from people, businesses, and nonprofits with ideas that will have a positive impact. These ideas are then voted on by users which determines who wins the grant money. The grant sizes include $5k, $25k, $50k, and $250k categories. Leveraging the Vet Effect is currently sitting in 12th place overall in the $250k category.

This is where you come in! You may vote once a day the 1st through the 15th. Please vote and more importantly get this going viral! If you take five minutes and post it on your facebook or twitter or whatever vehicle floats your boat you can help an extremely worthy cause. Thanks and look for more updates on my Leveraging the Vet Effect journey.