Records, Reviews, WFA, STIR
Issue No 30
Welcome to the 30th edition of this Monday Mailer where I sketch and share ideas that STIR ie they are
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2020 was a record year
One of the first vinyl albums I bought with my pocket money was a Beatles album. John Lennon-Paul McCartney were my heroes. How do you explain an increase in the number of vinyl albums sold in this year? This year 11.5 million vinyl records were sold which is 1.6 million vinyls more than 2019. So, this was a record year for sure!
The dreamer phase
A record, is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac, with earlier records having a fine abrasive filler mixed in. Starting in the 1940s polyvinyl chloride became common, hence the name vinyl. In the mid-2000s, gradually, records made of any material began to be called vinyl records, or simply vinyl. Read more
My name is Gauhar Jaan
In 1901, 4 years after its foundation in England, the EMI record company established its subsidiary in India, the Gramophone Company. On the very first published vinyl one could listen to Gauhar Jan’s vocal music, which was recorded in 1902.
This Bhairavi-Dadra ends with the singer Gauhar Jaan announcing
“My name is Gauhar Jaan”. The Bollywood singer Honey Singh too announces his name in every song. He announces his name “Yo Yo Honey Singh”! BUT, it was Gauhar Jaan who started the trend.
You can hear her say her name right at the end of this video. The recordings were all shipped to England to turn into records. Announcing the name of the artist ensured that the recordings did not get mixed up in the studio. Gauhar Jaan was actually born Eileen Angelina Yeoward, an Armenian Christian who later converted to Islam. She went on to cut 600 albums - quite a rockstar, you could say.
Vikram Sampath has a book all about it. <This one>
Market Shaper to Incumbent to Unicorn
Vinyl records ruled the market for decades. Then consumer tastes changed. Cassette tapes and CDs took over. Then all music got moved to the cloud. For the price of one CD, you could hear ad free music. Amazon threw in endless music and movies if you became an Amazon prime member. Vinyls moved from being Market Shapers to being Incumbents.
Then the audiophiles took over. Audiophiles are an exceptional breed of people who are fascinated by pure audio, motivated by sound quality and addicted to audio gadgets. They’re curious about how songs are recorded and the science behind how sounds are reproduced. They’re constantly wondering how audio products are made and enjoy digging into the minutiae of speaker technology, sound engineering and the merits of different audio file formats. Read Five ways to tell you are an audiophile
Since vinyl records are analog rather than digital they are “lossless,” which means that they contain exactly what was recorded in the studio rather than a version that has been compressed to fit on a CD or to efficiently stream. This is great for listeners if the album involves live instruments and hangs out in the middle of the sound frequency, rather than the higher and lower ends. Records emphasise middle frequency sound, which creates the “warm” feeling many people associate with vinyl.
PS: The buyers of vinyl records in the UK are “57% more likely to be aged under 25” than buyers of other formats.
When an Incumbent has an opportunity to become a Unicorn, they need to become a Dreamer once again. Musicians may have to have a separate strategy for their vinyl listeners. That would be a great way to build the audience who are connoisseurs.
Pro Tip: When you pick up new skills or add a qualification, make sure you update your LinkedIn resume.
The trigger for this story was from our Regular Reader-Cum-Contributor (RRCC) Rajiv Bhalla
Book Review: Let’s Build a Company
Two room-mates at IIT Mumbai met, fought and took a few detours in their career. Then decided to build a company. The year was 2007. That company was called CoCubes. They sold their startup to Aon for a tidy sum in 2016 ,and then exited in 2019. How did their life change after making more money than they ever dreamt of? Beyond some creature comforts and the ability to pursue personal passions like mountaineering or flying, very little changes.
The startup they built: CoCubes
The idea was to COnnect COlleges to COmpanies. So Co-Co-Co became CoCubes.
Is the DNA of an entrepreneur different from an employee of a large firm? Do they show signs of entrepreneurial promise as kids? Even as kids, entrepreneurs are always trying to figure ways to sell their ideas to people for money. They are trying to solve problems and want to get money for it.
In the words of these two entrepreneurs Harpreet Grover and Vibhore Goyal, the profile of the ideal employee in a startup is the following:
“You need a person who is comfortable with ambiguity, who is comfortable with things that are broken, who likes fixing stuff.”
Do I recommend that you read it? Find out
How to maintain work-life balance when you WFA
It was first Work From Home (WFH), then it morphed to WFH (H stood for Hometown) and it made life tough for bosses because they could not tell you to ‘come to office for 10 minutes… please.’ Now it is WFA (Anywhere). When people are thumping their chest about productivity gains, remind them that employees are working longer hours and productivity is still being measured in 8-hour chunks. Everyone works much more than eight hours. Tell your boss that.
This is the reason you MUST maintain work-life balance. Three things you can do.
Most people have figured out when to start the day while working from anywhere. Finding a definitive time to end the day is rare. Building that is a vital first step.
Finding time to sleep for 7-8 hours is necessary to feel refreshed. Exercise may be the missing element at work.
Finding ways to connect with colleagues and friends for unstructured chats is a great way to feel connected. It limits our feelings of isolation. Unplanned and unstructured social connections are mood uplifters. Try them.
The power of stories and late bloomers
This is the golden age of storytelling. Netflix recently released the 4th season of The Crown. The story features the relationship of Princess Diana with the British Royal family. A story is powerful because it leads the viewer to suspend disbelief.
And according to The Guardian now “the culture secretary wants to write to Netflix and ask that a “health warning” be played before The Crown – an historical drama depicting life inside the palace – so viewers would be aware the show was a work of fiction. Oliver Dowden worried that viewers would not be able to distinguish fiction from fact. His intervention followed complaints that the fourth series of the drama had abused its artistic licence and fabricated events.”
Netflix has said that it will not remind the viewer that it is a story. Here is what Emma Corrin (who plays Diana) feels about it <read and watch the clip>
I watched another brilliant miniseries on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit. This was meant to be a 90 minute movie shown by Netflix. Then Netflix decided to detail out the story as a miniseries that features a fictitious woman chess player called Elizabeth Harmon. The story is based on a book that is 37 years old and is now a New York Times bestseller. Late bloomers are everywhere.
The show was released on Oct 23, 2020. Since then, it grew from Dreamer to Unicorn to becoming a Market Shaper. 62 million people watched it in the first 28 days, setting a viewership record. Chess.com has 5x more new players. There are nine times more people Goggling, “How to Play Chess”. Chess sets are likely to be the most gifted by Santa Claus this year I am told.
The ability to build curiosity is the essence of storytelling. It is SUCH a powerful skill to have since all communication has moved online. How I wish companies would invite writers and stand-up comedians to teach their leaders how to become more powerful communicators. Learning and Development teams should really use this as a way for people to build their own capability to learn how to build engaging content that people will watch.
What makes content engaging? It should STIR you up S
Recommended app and learning resources
There is so much of content that it helps to have a way to curate the content around the STIR principle. Here are two resources for you
Debu Mishra has built this content curation app called WorkLife. Debu asked a bunch of us on Twitter to try out his app called WorkLife. On Apple Store look for the app with the blue twirl next to the word Explore. Or if you use an Android phone <click this>
Here are some podcasts that someone has compiled. <
Thanks so much for reading. I hope this issue tickled your curiosity and maybe you know someone else it could move or inspire?
Every Wednesday on LinkedIn, I share an idea that you can use. In three weeks, more than 140,000 subscribers have joined it.
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I will compile the most read stories from the past 30 issues for 2020 Year End Special next Monday. If you liked a particular story in an issue, do email me and I will be happy to include it.
Don’t miss the next issue.
Stay connected. Stay curious.