Tag: Music

DeFender of the Faith – Andy Mooney, @Fender

It must be tough building a business whose core products were launched in the 1950s. Fender is best known for its solid-body guitars and electric basses: the Telecaster (1950), the Stratocaster (1954) and the Precision Bass (1951).

The Times this week has a profile of Fender’s CEO, Andy Mooney, who took the reins in 2015. It’s a fascinating read both for gear-heads (I’m a life-long Fender fan) and strategy gurus.

Among the insights are Fender’s lack of customer research when Mooney arrived – “I didn’t know who was buying or using the guitars.” – what the subsequent research showed, and how Fender responded.

First-time players were a much larger segment than expected (45% of guitars sold) and 90% abandoned playing within a year. The response? Fender Play is a new subscription service bringing online video lessons to learners with a goal of reducing the churn

If we could reduce the abandonment rate by only 10 per cent, we could double the size of the industry.

An insightful article.

By coincidence (or marketing success), I posted a video a couple of months ago that originated with Fender Play.

Mooney was first inspired to pick up the guitar by Ritchie Blackmore, so it’s only fair to also share…

Image: Fender

Steely Dan and the Renaissance Men

Oh, the wondrous synchronicity of the interweb.

These last couple of weeks I’ve been having something of a Steely Dan wallow. I still can’t quite decide which is my favourite album, although 1974’s Pretzel Logic is high in the running, but then again…

Today, I discover these delights from Cultural Offering. Firstly a live video of Reelin’ in the Years:

Then, this profile of guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. I had previously read that Baxter was now a missile expert, but the whole story (on Business Insider) is fascinating.

And, in sharing these delights with my oldest, and vinyl-collecting, friend I find he had “just picked up an original US press of Katy Lied last Saturday – sensational stuff & the original sounds SOOO much better than the re-press I had.”

Baxter is one of those individuals who has forged hugely successful careers in wildly different fields. John Perry Barlow was another: cattle rancher, internet pioneer, lyricist with the Grateful Dead, cyber-libertarian and founding member of the  Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A third is John Kao: entrepreneur, psychiatrist, a talented jazz pianist who played with Frank Zappa, and a theatre and film producer with the film Sex, Lies and Videotape to his credit.

Do they all qualify as sovereign professionals? I guess they do.

And an eclectic set of fantasy dinner-guests.

 

Songs for Sovereign Professionals: Get It Right Next Time

Life is a liar, yeah, life is a cheat
It’ll lead you on and pull the ground from underneath your feet
No use complaining, don’t you worry, don’t you whine
‘Cause if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time, next time

Life is about learning from your mistakes. You’re bound to get it wrong sometimes, just make sure you get it right next time.

Another great track from Gerry Rafferty.

Incidentally, I love the arrangement, the way that the song sort of wanders in, says it stuff, then wanders off down the street, again.

Also worth noting is Hugh Burns’ sublime, understated guitar work.

This is the official video. From 1979. Can you guess?

Get It Right Next Time comes from Rafferty’s 1979 album Night Owl, the follow-up to the hugely successful City to City (which featured Baker Street).

Settled science – the Cultural Offering of @HardenKurt

Pressed for time but eager to keep pace with the latest scientific developments?

Cultural Offering brings you Settled Science:

All this plus inspiration and more music than you can shake a stick at (as they say, but as I’ve never quite understood).

And, via Cultural Offering, here’s Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs:

 

Photo by Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash

Hayek, Popper and Schumpeter – @TheEconomist on the Viennese economists

Three exiles from Vienna and their responses to totalitarianism.

Part of the Economist’s Schools Brief series, this is a great essay on the influential Viennese exiles.

Today the Austrians are as relevant as ever. Autocracy is hardening in China. Democracy is in retreat in Turkey, the Philippines and elsewhere. Populists stalk the Americas and Europe: in Vienna a party with fascist roots is in the ruling coalition. All three would have been perturbed by the decay of the public sphere in the West. Instead of a contest of ideas, there is the tribal outrage of social media, leftwing zealotry on America’s campuses and fearmongering and misinformation on the right.

Of no direct relevance, Vienna was recently ranked as the world’s most liveable city. It is certainly, beautiful, elegant and civilised.

And, of course it was the inspiration for a great song…

 

Image: National Portrait Gallery