Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rules for talking about your music

   Whenever I used to work with bands with their music, these were my rules.  I mostly just did promotions work so I'd do this work for them, but it was something I ran into over and over:
  1. Listening - Make your music as easy to hear as possible.  At minimum, make a lower quality version available free for download.
  2. Genre - No artist likes being relegated to this but I promise you fall into a genre.  You get like 3 words to spend here, choose them wisely.  You are not folk-newwave-hybrid-salsa-jack-o'-lantern-metal.  Totally ok to list influences.  If you sound like the Dandy Warhols, say right up front you sound like a synth version of Dandy Warhols.  If you're all over the place, that's cross-genre or experimental.
  3. Shows - If you are playing somewhere, make it as easy as possible for someone to find out where and when that is.
  4. Fan engagement - setup an email list but only send something out for events and try hard to only send something out every 2 months. Plan ahead because otherwise you'll end up in spam folders.
  5. Website - put the critical information right up front ... put your music and where your next concert is right on the front page.  I would regularly spend 10 minutes on some big name artist's page trying to navigate their stupid interface to find locations.  The "shows" page was frequently broken.  Where you want your fans to buy tickets also helps.
  6. Reviews - If you find a review about your music or shows, post it on your site.  Again, I know you feel like you're being defined or setting expectations but a 3rd party is so hugely necessary when you you're into music your friends don't like.

Another song I want to highlight

Occasionally, I'll find one of my beloved songs from years ago has been added to Youtube by the record company and I'm blown away by the fact that it has really low views/likes.  This is one of those songs (genre is electronic that starts out downtempo/chill and slowly eases into a breaks track).

Monday, September 08, 2014

My rules for online dating (part 4)


This is fairly rare.  Either I'm genuinely interested or I'm hoping something is going to happen the third time that didn't on the first two.  Anyway, this is just a progression building from previous exchanges.  You just talk more about what you've talked about and see if you can build a real relationship.  After this there's less of a system, you just take your time and try to build an honest, long-term connection.

Note that I've gone to #3 before just because the girl was pretty.  Don't judge me!


- See if this is someone who makes you happy, brings out the best in you, etc.
- Introduce her to your friends
- [Eventually] spend a holiday together
- One trick is something Bill Murray came up with ... one of many good ways to tell who someone really is

Return to Part 1
Addendum: More first meeting suggestions. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

My rules for online dating (part 3)


If it's in the friend zone: My experience is that almost everyone doing the online dating thing isn't looking for friends so I generally don't pursue this line, but if I'm just thinking friendship, I'll ask to do more or less the same first interaction thing again.  If there's obviously still no feelings, I'll try to talk about how I think this is something I'd be comfortable continuing with as friends and go from there.


Treat this as an actual date.  I offer to pay, I take them to dinner at a sit-down, waitstaff restaurant.  Then I try to have somewhere to go afterwards like to walk around the area or a cool/interesting thing.  I don't generally offer to take women to movies unless they've professed a real love of some particular movies.  For example, one woman I dated was huge into documentaries.

The point of this stage is really the same point as the above one, but I add in a few more pieces:
  1. Seeing how the person you're with interacts with food service is a big deal.  As someone who has friends in food services, I have a big problem with folks that treat "the help" poorly.  I don't know what creates this behavior but it's a huge negative.
  2. Details like whether they show up on time, difficulty / ease of finding a midpoint / etc. all can give some insight.
  3. If whomever you're dating doesn't really seem to appreciate dinner or enjoy time with you, don't go out with them again.
The essence of this stage is gradual openness: talk a bit more about yourself, what you care about, and encourage her to do the same.  This is the ground floor of intimacy.

I've been on tons of these "second interactions" and they seem to have little to do with the first one.  I guess because people put their best foot forward on the first date and then let their guard down a bit on the second?  Or folks are more comfortable on the second run?  I can't say.

Next: Part 4

Friday, September 05, 2014

Under the Facade

An excellent and beautiful article about acid attack victims in India.  It's one of those nice moments where I could confront something horrific and come away much improved.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

My rules for online dating (part 2)


Try to talk on the phone with them.  That's usually a pretty good indicator of whether or not you'll get along at a very minimum level.  There's been this move to text messaging people only before meeting and I get that it's to get an up or down yes/no on whether or not you have chemistry, but it's limiting.  Phone calls give a bit more color.  Further, if the phone call is for some reason god-awful, it's possible to just put off the date thing at some unspecified time in the future and just leave it at that.

Regardless of a phone call, the first time you actually get together should be short.  I'd avoid even calling it a date and go to something informal like a coffee shop or one of those serve-yourself places.  I recommend women pay for your own food/drink in this situation to avoid any sense that it's a real date.  I know that might sound silly but when you barely know someone, even small indicators can say a lot.

Next, have some kind of reason to leave or limit on the amount of time you're together.  If you want to keep things smooth, I'd aim for 1-2 hours.  If you have a good feeling about the person, maybe go 3-4.

Finally, you'll essentially decide if you want to hang out again.  Keep your conclusions limited to just that; don't jump onboard with something until you have more information.  I say this because I've been on at least 10 very good dates that had poor or really bad second dates.  I've also had first dates that went just okay but the 2nd and 3rd went well.  The main thing is finding out if you dislike or can't get along with this person.  Some examples:
  • One initial date I had a lengthy explanation of a very difficult day from this woman who clearly didn't like her job.  She thankfully sensed early on it wasn't working and excused herself as we clearly weren't a good match.
  • One initial date with a woman went awkwardly, but by the 3rd date I knew I'd met someone great.  We dated for about a month before breaking things off.
  • Maybe the worst date I ever went on was this woman going on and on about these terrible situations she was dealing with in her life.  She clearly had some kind of emotional issue because things were persistently awful and she seemed to have no awareness of this.  It was a shame too as she was clearly brilliant, just missing a basic emotional foundation.
Next: Part 3

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My rules for online dating (part 1)

This is a system I've come up with over time.  I say this because this post isn't a general prescription for how people should date, but rather a way that seems to work.  Since dating is primarily about finding someone that works uniquely for you, developing a system for yourself might make more sense.

Before you begin, it's important to be okay with yourself.  Maybe this sounds obvious but it's something I seem to run into quite a bit.  While I will occasionally have a crap week and get into a funk, I realize that's a time to work on myself and put off dating.  If a grandma whom you were very close to passed recently, maybe take a longer break.


Generally people will tell you who they are.  It's not psychological or even a science, it's just most people like talking about themselves and will say things according to that.  Great example: someone writing a list like this is analytical.  Someone who talks about how they hate liars/cheaters has a history with liars/cheaters.  The main thing is to identify an overall narrative (I'm happy/sad/lost/lonely) and see if that's something you can handle.  Some examples:

- The Fixit Thing.  A main thing I look out for with women I've met online are those girls who are looking for a guy to fix them in some capacity.  I always picture it as these women having friends who don't really want to address some serious, core issues and just say "oh you just need a boyfriend!"  It's a terrible idea.

- Balanced self-esteem.  I try hard to avoid a general narrative of either self-loathing or arrogance.  Anyone who constantly tells you how great they are or how bad they are at everything has something going on.  Nobody's good at everything and nobody's bad at everything.  Anyone who says otherwise is delusional.

Next: Part 2