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Walk greeting, stop greeting.

A small A/B test in 1:1 interactions.

Test 1: Say hi to a person while you walk past them.

Test 2: Say hi to a person, but stop before you do (even if it’s just for a moment).

Reflection: What difference did it make to you? To the other person? In what contexts can you change interactions by choosing one or the other greeting?


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The Market vs. Self-Perception

The market doesn’t care how you feel about it.

That thing.

You know, that idea that you think is so great.

But, the market can tell you if you’re right at this moment about whether the market cares.

An example from songwriting: You might think you have a hit song. But how do you know? Release it. Does it spread on it’s own? Does it resonate? If it takes off, then it’s a “hit” song. It doesn’t mean it’s any good, but it does mean it’s a hit.

What about that great business idea? Has anyone offered money for that product or service? A great example here is one that Ramit Sethi tells. He and his team spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a course that teaches people how to find the best healthcare plan for their situation. It was a wonderful course that could save people money and help them navigate the murky waters of finding a good healthcare plan. The problem was that although it sounded like a good course, in final testing they found out that no one cared enough to actually to pay for a course on that topic.

Questions for self-review:

  1. What service/product that I offer is the one that people keep asking for more of?
  2. What is something that I think is a great idea/service/product, but the market doesn’t seem to care.
  3. What is an idea/service/product you have that the market would accept more if you could tell its story better so that it actually understood the value?
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Systems, Goals, Intention and Effort

I’ve heard many people argue about systems vs. goals. But maybe it’s both/and.

Perhaps you set a goal. But to get to that goal you have to use systems.

Or you develop a system of operation and eventually you then hit milestones that others might perceive as goals.

Or maybe there’s something else entirely like “doing what’s indicated.” I really like the way in which Brian Clark talks about practicing this with his company. The basics are to look at the current situation, determine a good next course of action, adjust, and repeat.

This brings to mind a method developed by the military. It is called the OODA loop: observe, orient, decide, act. You can read more about it here and see a fancy diagram.

For our musicians, we can display it like this:

||:  Observe –> Orient –> Decide –> Act :||

The common strength in all methods of operation is that there is a showing of intention. And then you put effort behind that intention. This intention plus work seems to be the bedrock of every approach.


Add into this an ability to pay attention, be flexible, adjust course, and do the work. Sounds like a recipe for traction. Let’s do what we can to make sure we’re going down a path worth taking!

And now, some graphics to go with this. :)

BIRU-WP-20160824T123907GMT-0500.jpg BIRU-WP-20160823T210833GMT-0500.jpg BIRU-WP-20160823T210946GMT-0500.jpg BIRU-WP-20160823T211011GMT-0500.jpg

PS – If you’re still reading, it occurred to me that the “doing what’s indicated” vs. “goals” analogy is similar to the views of the future as open or closed. Some thoughts about that here.Views of the Future

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Care and Pay Attention

I’m realizing that most important work I do (and the most valued work) requires a couple simple things:

  1. Care
  2. Paying Attention

Care: Care about my clients, the work, how I go about the work, care enough to learn and grow.

Pay Attention: Notice things, dig deeper, be aware of what is happening in the moment.

Simple, but not easy.

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Grado SR225e

NOTE: This is a current, in progress review of the Grado Prestige Series Model SR225e Headphones. I’ll be updating it periodically and will document it as I go.

Check out Grado Labs here.



They’re made in Brooklyn! In the same place where Joseph Grado opened the factory in 1955.

They have a retro feeling that’s really cool. The grill gives you a glimpse of the components inside. The headband is really thin, with barely any padding. I’m curious to see if they’ll feel light over time or if I’ll want to find myself adding some padding. The cord is the thickest cord I’ve seen on headphones. It’s about the width of a mic or instrument cable and feels solid.

These headphones fit different than any other headphones I’ve worn. For my head, they are right in between on-ear and over-ear design. They have foam ear pads that feel different than the usual pseudo-leather ear pads you might find. Not good or bad, just different.

First listen
I turned to some audiobooks, some recent music on a playlist and then some reference tracks. The first word that comes to mind is “Open.” It sounds open. And technically, it is literally an open back design. But the audio sounds open as well. I can’t think of a better word to describe that aspect.

They are clear and crisp, and there is great separation in the instruments. And music sounds great at low volume too. It seems to me that the timbre of brass instruments and electric guitars especially shines. Maybe it’s simply that the headphones translate nuance well.

I gave my wife a listen and her first word was “Crisp!”

Sharing again (2/26/16)
When I let my parents have a listen, my dad remarked about the clarity and presence. My mom said they were wonderful.

Out and about
I took them out for a walk and listened to an audiobook as I walked through the neighborhood. The open back design made it great for keeping awareness of my surroundings.

I also want to point out that the cabling does great whether you have it come down in front of your head or behind. In the case of walking outside it seemed better to have it fall back and then I put the extra foot of cabling in my pocket with my phone. Even with such a small amount of cabling, I’m usually trying to carefully wrap it with the over-under method. 

Live sound (2/28/16)
I took them to my Sunday live sound gig.

For live sound it’s typical to monitor with a standard closed back set of headphones, but figured I’d give it a whirl with the Grados. They surprised me. I thought the sound leakage would be an issue in being able to clearly hear, but they worked great. I was able to keep a feel for the room while adjusting/listening to the specific instruments or mixes. While I’m sure that the bleed did affect me in some way, it didn’t feel like an issue. The other thing that stood out is the low ear fatigue even when I (very briefly) cranked the headphone amp to max.

NOTE: There is more to come. This is a current, in progress review of the Grado Prestige Series Model SR225e Headphones. I’ll be updating it periodically and will document it as I go.

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Reducing Inputs

I’ve started on a new book by Cal Newport, Deep Work.

One of my first takeaways is this:

Fewer distracting inputs plus intentional focus will likely lead to greater meaningful output.

This leads to a competitive advantage for focused work going forward. In an ever-increasing distracted economy, the simple ability to focus is going to be in high demand.


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The music of your audience

Mike plays his saxophone at the entrance to the parking garage at the Perot museum of nature and science. For the past year, he’s been there just about every time I visit. How he interacts with his product (music) changes depending on who is approaching.

For example, when a group with small kids goes by, they will likely enjoy The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

If a more mature couple strolls by, you might overhear him playing Misty from a distance.

This illustrates the simple business premise: treat different customers differently.

Another musical illustration is a story from a concert pianist I traveled with. In the Army he was assigned to play piano in the officer’s club. He found out what the favorite songs were for various officers. Soon enough he would be playing something they would like as soon as they arrived through the door.

In a way it’s a form of storytelling back to the person: Your tastes are such and such. This is how you identify yourself. You are the kind of person who would enjoy this.

Even small amounts of noticing people can go a long way.


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