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Archive for 2013

  • While I Was Inside North Korea: How I Heard About Merrill Newman’s Captivity

    By Mike on December 9, 2013
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    A couple nights into our stay in North Korea, we were joined at dinner by a junior government official working in the organization that provides guides / minders for foreigners visiting the country. We were told that they had detained an American Korean War veteran who was in his eighties and that it had just made international news. They had to tell us this because we had no access to any news inside North Korea.
  • Keep it civil even when you passionately disagree with someone

    By Mike on December 7, 2013
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    In business and politics, keep it civil. Keep it productive. Complain in private to your most trusted friends if you must – and even that’s not a great idea. But don’t prevent good business from getting done by wearing your negative emotions on your sleeve - especially when more than your own fate depends upon reaching a workable agreement. Most business and politics are conducted by rational actors - people who act in their best interests even though they may employ hardball negotiation tactics. Keep your emotions at home.
  • What’s Up With North Korea & Why Did I Visit?

    By Mike on November 30, 2013
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    It’s easy and lazy to simply return from a trip to North Korea and relate the surrealist reality. But after consuming all the documentaries, Vice episodes (including those featuring Dennis Rodman), and reading the accounts of recent visitors, I hungered to get past the staring, laughing, and scoffing stage. I aspired to more. I wanted to understand the root causes of the madness. If we can’t comprehend how North Korea understands the world we can’t begin to predict its geo-political behavior.
  • Why Banksy Chose Photogenic Staple Street

    By Mike on October 16, 2013
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    Staple Street isn’t much of a street. It’s more of an alleyway lined with red brick buildings dating back to the 19th century and it only runs for two short blocks in TriBeCa, the Manhattan neighborhood bordering the financial district and the World Trade Center. I live on the corner of Staple Street and look out onto it everyday while […]
  • Mike’s picks: weekly A&R post

    By Mike on October 2, 2013
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    As always, below are some of the songs I’ve stumbled across this past week. Personally, I have favorites among them but generally speaking I hear merit in them all. You can hear some of my previous selections here and here. “All The Rage” by The Mates “Far From Over” by The Slang “Loved By You” by Candice E. Russell
  • Mike's picks: weekly A&R post

    By Mike on September 22, 2013
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    If you were an A&R at a big label seeking to sign big new pop bands and to find new monster hits for the current roster of pop acts, how many songs do you think you would have to listen to before you hear a hit that meets your criteria? 8? 10? 100? More? If everyone you speak to tells […]
  • Competition heats up among the industry for the best songs & talent

    By Mike on August 29, 2013
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    While Music Xray enables industry professionals to collaborate and to pool their efforts to screen massive amounts of new music each day, they compete to be the first to identify the best talent.
  • Musicians, Welcome to the NFL

    By Mike on August 23, 2013
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    Music Xray has brought a level playing field to musicians, songwriters, and performing acts. But the level playing field isn't always what you think it's going to be. It forces you to come face-to-face with reality. Are you really as good as you think you are? It's hard to argue with the answer when you know you're getting a fair shake. But some artists still blame Music Xray instead of seeing the value of gaining access to the level playing field.
  • Snowden Is Either An Idiot Or He's Working For An Enemy of the US. Maybe Both.

    By Mike on June 26, 2013
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    Premise: If the US is serious about leading in the 21st Century, it must have the most sophisticated cyber warfare capability in the world. Part of achieving that superiority undoubtedly requires secrecy. If we decide we want that superiority we must live with secrecy tradeoffs. If we decide we can't live with the secrecy, we yield the ground of cyber warfare superiority to another country who can live with (or impose) the secrecy. It seems pretty straight-forward and you should be at least smart enough to draw the same conclusion if you work at the NSA.
  • Empop has an interesting little pop song about her parents' garden

    By Mike on May 14, 2013
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    You hear songs about a lot of things, but this is the first time I've ever heard one about a garden on a private estate. The inspiration for this song is a garden in Loudwater Estate, Hertfordshire, UK.