My friend Nick Sincaglia recently wrote a great blog entry about his company's acquisition and how it made him look back on the last few years.
At one point, he notes that 6 years ago, we were all punks trying to break into the music business and now, we are the music business. At least the exciting future part, or the place where some innovation happens and lots of media attention is focused. It seems like every week there's some sort of story about the music business - a level of attention and press "the biz" would have killed for pre-Napster. Odd they can't seem to take advantage of it. But I digress.
My point is that my friends and I kicked in a basement window and sneaked into the music business' house. From the start-up TuneTo.com and later, Listen.com, my colleagues are now highly placed at companies including Liquid Digital Media/Wal-Mart, Real Networks, Sony/BMG, Time Warner, and Apple. There's probably more.
I have known Nick for almost 10 years. Another colleague of mine, Tim Bratton, recently left Real Networks. I've been working with Tim since 1993. A compelling argument could be made that I owe my entire professional career to Tim. He provided me tremendous opportunities. He taught many things. How to create a costed bill of materials, how to write good specifications, how to be graceful under pressure. How to persist and never give up.
I am sad to see Tim go, though I completely understand his reasons. Were I in his shoes, those shoes would probably have walked out the door a long time ago. I will miss his optimism, patience, and perspective, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.
In 1999, I taught my first class at Duke University's Talent Identification Program. I remember quite dramatically holding up a Diamond Rio PMP 300 and telling the kids that it would "change the world", and that in a few years, they'd all have something like that. It has come to pass.
Why all this reminiscing? I refer back to Nick's statement: "Now we are the music business".
I think of Nietzche - "Battle with monsters and beware, lest you become a monster. And as you gaze into the abyss, so the abyss gazes into you."