Posts Tagged Mashable

What’s More Exciting? Van Gogh, Twitter or Mars Lander?

vangogh-starry_night_ballance1All day and night on Twitter, Mashable, and Tech Crunch, San Francisco Bay Area technistas gabble and babble about the latest news of tech startups, social media websites, venture capital firms, and celebrity entrepreneurs that most people have never heard of. This week I had a break from that insanity while working on a client engagement in Amsterdam, Holland.

After 2.5 days of thoughtful and engaging branding and marketing strategy, I spent my last few hours at the Van Gogh Museum and sought to feel and absorb the brilliance of Van Gogh through some 200 paintings, along with works of his influencers, peers and contemporaries.

19th Century romantic artists like Van Gogh found God in Nature. They consciously made the connection and Van Gogh clearly sought to convey that higher awareness through his work. Decades of learning with my Guru Sri Chinmoy helped make me aware of the God-Nature connection for sure. What was cool for me what I could feel it in Van Gogh’s work. What a profound gift to close out my Amsterdam visit.

So I’m back in San Francisco (no sleep yet) plugging into the latest news about who’s leaving Yahoo, changes at Facebook, and the plethora of information available through Twitter which has just gone down yet again. And that Mars Lander is delivering some awesome images (ice on Mars???) so scientists managing that project must ecstatic.

What’s more exciting for you? Van Gogh and God in Nature, Twitter’s latest news, or the Mars Lander?

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The Collision of Technology and PR, Music

19178163For a tech geek like me, rarely does a search for information, sharing of ideas, and conversation take place without technology – a laptop, desktop, iPhone, or desk phone – as an intermediary. And through social networking tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, AIM, Twitter and Jaiku, I’m in a virtual and constant presence with hundreds of key influencers and friends operating in my areas of interest. For technology — computers, software, the Internet and social networking — has touched my life and penetrated my consciousness.

I enjoy it. It’s good for my business, and it satisfies my need to grow and know. But it’s mere technology, not Nirvana. And I go elsewhere for peace of mind. I ride my bike, feel and appreciate nature, embrace a healthful diet and explore Spirit. I also play and write music that expresses my heart. And I meditate daily and seek my Soul. The latter comprise my personal satisfaction and make it possible for me to handle the former.

But make no mistake about it – technology has changed me and the industries I play in – like public relations and music, especially. This week, the San Francisco MusicTech Summit, organized by my friend, Brian Zisk, brought together the best and brightest developers in the Music/Technology Space, along with the musicians, entrepreneurial business people, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce. They met to discuss the evolving music/business/technology ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to dealmaking environment.

What was interesting about the conversation was the apparent gap between technology affecting the music industry and the ability of most traditional musicians to use it to their advantage. Social media expert Brian Solis talked about the collision between technology and public relations suggesting that new tech tools are changing the practice of PR and practitioners need to evolve their social media toolset. I agree. I think there’s been a similar collision between technology and music.

Technology has been creeping into the music business for decades. It really gained speed in the late 90s with the advent of digitized music, and, for better or worse, I helped make it happen — working with pioneers of the MP3 movement to help them elevate awareness of their technology and drive adoption. Today, MP3 is the dominant digital music technology, thanks largely to startups like MP3.com, eMusic and MusicMatch. Add to that the power of Steve Jobs and Apple who changed the face of music distribution and sales, with iTunes and iPods.

Brian’s summit brought together hundreds of people and I especially enjoyed the panel that explored the collision of tech and music, led by my friend David Katznelson, of the Birdman Recording Group. Music has taken a back seat to the technology, record companies are no longer the intermediaries between the artist and audience, and if you want to succeed, you better know how to work the tech tools and social networks to your advantage.

Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, was also on site connecting with the digital side of the music business as his brilliant and popular blog is expanding beyond coverage of social web apps coverage into music and other diverse areas of interest.

Some folks at the intersection of music and tech have it down, like my friends, Jonny Kaps and Nat Hays, at +1. They tap the power of technology to their advantage. They have a strong social media methodology for promoting their bands like The Kooks, The Heavy, Kate Nash, and others. They’ve avoided the collision and monetized the tools.

Others are still trying to figure it out, hence a great opportunity for Brian to expand his conference in SF and in major markets across the country.

Ah, the weekend is almost here, and through the chaos I can hear the faint sound of seagulls down at the Marina calling me to take a bike ride, perhaps over the Golden Gate Bridge. Gotta leave tech and engage my soul. See you Monday.

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