On the Road Again

A year ago this week I was in London for business. It was a memorable and exciting trip for both personal and professional reasons. I took a direct Virgin Atlantic flight from San Francisco to Heathrow, which, on Virgin’s Upper Class, was a nice vacation on its own, and spent quality time with colleagues at work and explored one of the great world cities after hours.

But that was then. My reality now is working predictable hours for the U.S. government, where, due to budget shortages, only “mission critical” travel is permitted (not that going to London would have ever been an option anyway regardless of the budget). As I recall that trip a year ago, I am reminded of my many prior travels for my last job and realize how much I enjoyed them after not traveling for these past six months. Business travel provided something for me to look forward to, broke up the routine and provided a needed break from time to time (not to mention allowed me to catch up on books and movies). From New York, to London to Zurich to Milwaukee and so on, I had a schedule that took me out every six weeks or so. Now, I couldn’t tell you the next time I will be traveling for work. But, at least I have a job and have one that may lead one day to a position that allows me to travel again one day. Let’s hope so, for in trading my family for a few days of my own, I came to better appreciate the family and life I truly had waiting for me at home.

When Music Ruled the World

For anyone who enjoys the music industry, technology or pop culture, you need to subscribe to the Lefsetz Letter. A friend let me know about it over three years ago and I have enjoyed reading his musings, insight and rants in my email inbox since. While most of his letters focus on the music industry and its artists, there are the occasional non-music related discussions that open my eyes to something new or expand my thinking. In a recent letter discussing a song he enjoyed listened to over and over, he wrote the following:

It’s about music! This is something the baby boomers know. Which is why they overpay to see the stars of yore. Ask young ‘uns, and you find out music is disposable, grease for the event, something to laugh at and discard. But for baby boomers, music is life itself. Because they remember when music drove the culture, ruled the earth.

After I read those few sentences, I stopped, and read them again. While I somehow knew this intuitively, it made complete sense to me when I saw it written down. Just think of the Top 40 right now, the YouTube stars and the rise of electronic music – how many of those artists become legendary, cultural icons, or rule the world? These days, it’s hardly about the artist and it is definitely not about the music most of the time. Music is, as Lefsetz writes, solely the “grease for the event,” a facilitator.

Music was still driving the culture in the 1990s, when people still bought CDs (I was still buying plenty of cassette tapes then too), but soon, along came MP3s and streaming music and access to any song any time almost anywhere. What has come along with it is a generation of young adults that may know certain songs, but barely own any music and may never know the enjoyment that comes from following an artist through his or her musical career.

I have kids at home. One of my goals will get them to appreciate the music of yore while still living life to the disposable music of today.

Decision Made

Shortly after my last post, I did end up making the decision I needed to and I have felt good about it since then. I am staying in the Bay Area for now and with my current job. Of course, as they say, when one door closes, a window opens. I have since pursued a few more opportunities and we will see if any pan out. Some of these opportunities would also include a relocation and big change, but that is part of the allure and what I am seeking. The key, though, is to be happy where you are while still planning and thinking towards the future. Doing this successfully can be trickier than it sounds at all times and is something that I am still working on. But in the constant practice can come perfection.