Posted by: yogmoney | March 19, 2013

The Next Big Thing – Real LIfe

March 19, 2013

The next big thing – Real Life


Hello there. Yes, it’s been a while.

I’ve just returned from 4 days in beautiful Austin where I was attending the SxSW Music Festival (yes, I know some people call it SxSW Interactive & Music…but I am a bit old school when it comes to this event).  I have attended this festival for just about every single year for the past 15 or 16.  It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year as it gives me a lot of inspiration to see so many great young artists perform.

This isn’t a piece about how great it used to be “back in the day” or to criticize anything about what it has become. Yes, there were great things about the way it used to be. You could walk down 6th street without playing human pinball with thousands of slightly intoxicated people and pop into a small club to find your next favorite artist. Today it’s crowded and there are shows everywhere you look. There are sponsors everywhere trying to get your attention, providing you with special access if you’re willing to wait in a long line to get in. Today’s festival isn’t worse that it used to be. In fact, on some levels its actually better…because there are more & more opportunities to see & hear great music….and to me that’s a great thing.

One of the things that I noticed this year, more than any in the past, is the amount of people standing at shows with their iPhones held high over their heads, snapping up photos for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook; shooting short videos of the show as its happening. If you watch carefully you will notice that they aren’t actually enjoying the show, or the moment they are standing in. Rather, they are too busy snapping a photo then immediately putting their head down to type a caption before posting it to their favorite social media platform. I was blown away by the sheer number of people taking photos, non-stop during a few of the shows I attended. What happens to these photos? Do they make us feel better about ourselves when we go back and look at them when we get home? Are we somehow superior to our friends who couldn’t make the show? Does it make us cooler because we can prove, along with 1,000 other people with almost exactly the same photo, that we were “in the moment”?

DISCLAIMER: I love Instagram. I think its one of the coolest new platforms to come out in a long time. It allows people to show you their world, their perspective, their creativity. I use it almost every day to document where I am. I take a quick shot of my sneakers and then I post under a series called “same sneakers, different place”. I do this to document my journey through life…through the perspective of my sneakers. And, for those of you know what I do for a living, it sort of makes sense why I do it.  I insert this in here to say that I am not against social media in any way whatsoever. I love it. But, I think we may be going too far….ok ,so let’s get back to SxSW now…

As I stood in show after show I witnessed person after person taking pictures and then immediately posting them. This head up, arm up, followed by an immediate head down, arm down typing motion caused me to wonder if anyone was really there to begin with. Well, we know people were in the venue but were they present? They were standing next to their best friend and texting or posting to another friend. There was very little actual interaction & connection between the people standing right next to each other.

I would love it if someone like Instagram (yes, I know they won’t do something like I am about to suggest) had a way of allowing only one photo from a concert or an event to be posted. Let’s ay we all went to see Jay Z…and someone in the front row posted a great shot of him as he started his set….and then the rest of us (all 24,999 of us) tried to post our own photo and we received a message that said, “we already have our quota of Jay Z shots form today’s show….please feel free to use this shot to send to your friends after the show or in the morning when you wake up. Now, please put your damn phone down and enjoy the rest of your evening”.

Yes, I know. I like to dream…..but how great would it be for all of us who are at the show to know that its ok not to spend the entire evening standing there looking like a fool trying to video the entire show? How great would it be to actually be able to stand there and see the artist perform because you were no longer looking at the backside of a thousand people imitating the Statue of Liberty? (I am starting to think that the French are behind this entire thing… us the Statue of Liberty was just their ay of showing us how to stand at a concert.)  How great would it be to stand there with your friends, phones placed safely away in your back pocket, and scream at the top of your lungs after your favorite song is played, or better yet – sing along at the top of your lungs as your favorite song is played without fear that your friend is recording the whole thing and is going to embarrass you on Facebook when he posts it and tells his network how poorly you sing?  C’mon people – let it rip…sing your heart out because you are ALIVE!

How great would it be to actually just enjoy the show?

I am predicting right now (this isn’t too bold of a prediction, I know) that at some point in the near future that people will begin to realize that it isn’t about the photo, the post, or the number of likes you are able to generate.  It’s about the experience and the moment you are in. Live music is one of the last true experiences you can have with your friends, loved ones, or perfect strangers. The show you are attending isn’t going to happen again in the exact same manner its happening while you are there. It’s time to put down the phones, raise your head and really watch what is happening. Sometimes life is better without the picture……and with just a real memory that is forever burned into your memory.

Well, maybe prediction is the wrong word. Maybe the word is hopeful. Yes, I am hopeful that at some point my dream of people once again enjoying the moment, in the real world, will happen. I am trying my best to start the process, to begin the march, to inspire just a few more folks to stop – listen, see, smell, and actually feel the music.

When you look back at your life will you remember how many likes you had from the Prince show or will you remember who you were with, how you guys felt, what the band sounded like, what the show really looked like, how the room smelled, and how (or if) it somehow touched your heart?

I might be getting too old to really understand why this seems so important to people…but I can tell you this is the one thing that I miss about how SxSW used to be….people used to enjoy the moment & the interaction with each other and the artist a lot more.

So, please join my march……the next time you’re at a show with your friends pull out your iphone, take a shot of the band during the first song, put it away, and then enjoy the show…and at the end close your eyes tightly and try hard to remember your favorite moment of the show. Was it when they played your favorite song? Was it when your best friend said something funny? Was it when everyone in the place went insane when the band played that song they never play live anymore? What was it? As you decide your favorite moment, put it into your mind, and make a shutter clicking sound to yourself. There…you have taken a very special mental picture that only you can see. And that, my friend, is the only photo that really matters.

Yes – the next big thing is….Real Life…..and there is no App for that.

Thank you for listening. It’s nice to be back & writing again.

Thanks to SxSW for providing me the inspiration to write it down.



Posted by: yogmoney | November 20, 2012

Article in Relix Magazine

Article in Relix Magazine

A guest column I recently did for Relix Magazine about the current state of music.

Soapbox: Converse’s Geoff Cottrill “How Brands Can Help the Music Industry (Really)”

Years ago, I found myself having a conversation with a legendary music producer and record industry executive. During the conversation, he pulled outRolling Stone magazine and started to flip through the pages. On one page, there’s a story on Eminem, and on another, there’s Bono and, a few pages later, Gwen Stefani.

In between one of the stories, there was an ad for the global brand I was working for. He says to me, “See this? You’re in between my stuff. People buy this magazine because of these artists and you are in between them. You’ve got to get in it. ” It’s a conversation that has helped guide my career ever since.

Earlier this year, I attended a conference where some of the world’s biggest brands were seated alongside music and digital start-ups in a conversation where we were all trying to figure out how we can do our part to support creativity. While the world’s economy continues to fluctuate, we’ve always known that in the toughest of economic times that creativity is always what brings us out of it. It’s creativity in music, business and thinking that always saves us. Just look around, there is music playing everywhere. Those of us with the means must bring it to light.

Access to studio time, mentoring, marketing support and a platform—these are areas where emerging artists need support and this is where we can help. At Converse, we make footwear and apparel, we’re not a label and we’re not interested in becoming one.

Instead, we’ve found that if we can be useful and bring value to our core consumers who are artists, then we can find meaningful ways to connect with them and contribute to the culture.

This summer marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of Converse Rubber Tracks, a state-of-the-art recording studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., where musicians can register for studio time and record for free. Converse Rubber Tracks helps new artists overcome one of the biggest hurdles in their career: affording studio time.

The project gives emerging artists of all genres the opportunity to record original music that they will own and use to launch their careers. Music, mind you, that is recorded in a high-quality studio alongside a team of experienced engineers without cost to the artist. In this first year, we’ve had more than 300 artists record at the studio.

In June, we launched a bi-monthly, free concert series held at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, headlined by established artists and featuring opening slots for Converse Rubber Tracks recording artists—handpicked by the headliner.

These efforts are our way to give back to the community, which has given so much to us, and to help foster a new generation of musicians. Most important, we want to give artists opportunities and allow them to unleash their creative spirit.

With the music business evolving daily, less money is going into developing new talent and studio time. If brands begin to shift their thinking, lose the idea of what’s in it for them and begin to value community and expression of their core audience, then a halo effect will form around the brand.

Musicians and creative people are our core audience, and we need to do everything possible to foster this community. We want to be useful to the community and never take advantage of it or overstep our place. It may sound cheesy for a sneaker company, but we want to bring cultures together and celebrate music. In other words, we want to be in it, without getting in the way.

The traditional advertising/sponsorship model of a brand has had very little to do with music, community or fans. Traditionally, brand “X” has sponsored artist “Y” (or paid an artist handsomely for an appearance or commercial) in the hope that the artist’s credibility would make their brand seem cooler. That model feels antiquated in the era of social media, where consumers can see right through any marketing campaign.

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to try to be useful when you can. In the end, Converse saw a need in the marketplace to help emerging artists by giving them a top quality recording experience. We ask for nothing in return and as a result we have built strong, on-going relationships with a lot of new voices. That’s good business.


Geoff Cottrill is the chief marketing officer for Converse. For more information on Converse Rubber Tracks, please visit

Posted by: yogmoney | May 17, 2012

Ode to my friend Alan

May 15, 2012

Daylight is waiting for you…an ode to my friend Alan Mintz.

Today as I write this I am reminded that there are only a few things we will all share in this thing called life. And, one of the things in life that we will all share is death.

The world lost someone last week that I will never forget. A father, a husband, an artist, a musician, and most of all, a friend to virtually everyone he ever met. Yes, the world lost many things when this one person left us.

It’s amazing how much of an impact just one person can have on the people and the world around them. My friend Alan was one of those unique people. He gave more than he took – always. He always left you feeling better about yourself no matter the circumstances. He gave you inspiration, encouragement, and energy when you needed it. He laughed throughout his life, no matter the circumstances….he was an eternal optimist.

There is a song I have been listening to a lot lately called Wolves by a not too well known band called Down Like Silver. It’s a haunting song about death and about life. As you listen to it for the first time you might think it’s a dark & depressing track…but as the song progresses you hear the voices of a man & a woman who are in perfect sync with one another. As I listen to it I am left with the feeling of two people who are at peace with life and with the inevitable – death. And, like Alan, it leaves us with a true sense of optimism in the face of great uncertainty.

I wasn’t able to make it to my friend’s bedside before he passed away. I don’t know what he must have been thinking, how scared he was, and how sad he must have been to leave so many loved ones behind. In his last few months we texted, we spoke on the phone a few times, we e-mailed one another. As he faced the inevitable he did it with grace and dignity.

I do know in my heart of hearts that my friend Alan was at peace. He was always at peace, and that is what I loved most about him. I am guessing that I am not the only one who felt that way when the sad news came our way. I know that Alan was at peace because I know he loved life. More importantly he loved his wife and his girls – his family. Alan lived a life filled with love and for that he was rewarded in life with a certain kind of peace some of us may never know. That’s how I know he died with it because he always had it within him.

And, as I listen to this beautiful song that I know my friend Alan would have loved and appreciated, I can only hear the voices of Alan & Christie, in a state of complete peace – knowing that no matter what one faces in life or death, somehow daylight is waiting for you at the other end.

Rest in peace my dear, dear friend. I will always miss you.

Daylight is waiting for you.



When I die

Let the wolves enjoy my bones


When I die

Let me go


When I die

Let the wolves enjoy my bones


When I die

Let me go

When I die

You can push me out to sea


When I die

Set me free


When I die

Let the sharks come round to feed


When I die

Set me free

Oh, the world is dark

And I’ve looked as far as I can see


When the years have torn me apart

Let me be

When I die

Let the flames devour me


When I die

Set me free

When I die

Throw my ashes to the breeze


When I die

Scatter me


Oh the world is dark

And I’ve looked as far as I can see


When the years have torn me apart

Let me be

Let me be

Let me be

Let me be

Let me be

Daylight is waiting for you


*lyrics come from the beautiful song Wolves by Down Like Silver. I hope that they don’t mind that I used their words for inspiration.

Posted by: yogmoney | February 1, 2012

The Current State of Music & Marketing – a few thoughts

January 31, 2012

The Current State of Music & Marketing – some of my random thoughts.

I am just returning from a global music conference called Midem. The conference takes place in Cannes, France. Yeah, I know what you’re saying……..but you should know that it poured down rain the entire time. (OK, I know you still don’t feel sorry for me).

I love music. I love just about everything about it – how it can make me feel, how it can bring me together with friends at a Radiohead show, how I share a love of certain songs or artists with my wife and two beautiful teenage daughters, how intimate and personal it can be – all at the same time.

While attending this conference I sat thru multiple panel discussions (I even participated in a few), listened to presentations, talked to people between sessions, and made some new friends.

There were major global brands in attendance. Brands like Facebook, Yahoo, Coca-Cola. American Express, Vodaphone, Nokia, Microsoft (are these really music companies?). Apple was also quietly present behind the scenes. There were up and coming companies such as Spotify, TopSpin, and a few others. There was a tremendous amount of energy spent on talking about the “future” of the business of music. This music business is something that I have always been fascinated with. Its fun to sit where I do, outside of it, and watch the old guard attempt to act as if they are the new guard…..and to see the new up and comers hustle their ideas of the future state of their business.

I have good news to report – the future of music looks pretty bright.

Here’s why:

  1. Global brands are starting to understand that it is more about the art than the endorsement.

Brands are starting to get it. They are starting to understand that it is about the art…..not just the borrowing of it. Let me explain. For years & years brands “used music” to market their brands. They do this by paying established artists huge sums of money to sing or dance (sometimes both) for them in hopes of increasing their sales via their “association” or endorsement of their product. This is a pretty standard model and its been in place for years. The issue with it is that consumers today (insert “music fans” here if you’d like) see right thru this model. There are a number of big brands still using this model. Some will never change and that’s ok by me.

There are a number of brands who have finally discovered that its better to invest in the process of music than spending their time trying to cool hunt. Public funding for the arts continues to decline. Music & art programs in our public school system are dying….and its sad. Instead of making big donations to public institutions and hoping their money is going to good use, companies are starting to invest directly into the creative process. Coca-Cola is starting to do this – and it will have an impact on the future of music if they stick with it (I am hopeful they will).

Brands and artists are now working directly in ways never before imagined. The more this happens, and the more that the brands focus on the art, the better off we’ll all be. One warning to all brands though – understand your place and don’t forget that YOU are not in the music business. Always remember who you are, and maintain a focus on your core business, then find ways to connect with the arts. Many (in fact almost all) brands get involved in music and lose their way because they get caught up in it, and they start to believe they can be “in the business”. Remember Starbucks and their run at it? Yes, I do…I was a big part of it. They lost focus for a bit and actually thought a coffee company could change the industry. They did some super cool stuff, made a few great records, and sold a ton of CDs….but in the end the focus on being a great provider of coffee was pushed to the side and the pursuit to change an industry that was far older than itself. As much as I have criticized them along the way, I am happy to see that they have found their center again and are clearly focused on who they are and what they do……and they’ve determined the role of music in their business vs trying to be in it in a meaningful way.

2. Music is intensely personal while at the same time social.

Technology continues to march forward, making it easier to access music on your own terms AND to leverage the technology in ways that allow it to be what it has always been – social.

Things are changing pretty rapidly. Facebook’s world dominance continues to roll on. Their pending IPO is going to be all we hear about for the next 6 months, watching the new millionaire club continue its expansion. I say – good for them. They have created something that allows us to easily connect with each other, while at the same time allow each of us to curate ourselves as brands (yes, YOU are a brand). Their recent moves to integrate music into their platform via Spotify is changing the way we share music with each other. We’ve always shared our music tastes with each other, but now it’s a bit easier and immediate. I am anxious to see what becomes of this new partnership. It may or may not work…but I am confident that it will lead us to new places…..and I believe at some point the good folks at iTunes will take the idea of social music to another level. Lets not forget – Apple is the one who changed the landscape for all of us. While they may have been a little quiet as of late when it comes to music – my gut tells me that they are not finished blowing our minds just yet. Their “ping” service has fallen short which I can only imagine has stoked their competitive fires. Stay tuned there.

Brands can also play an interesting role in the social media space. Someone at the conference posed the question yesterday, “Is Facebook the new network or channel for new music discovery?”. I think not. I actually think that Facebook is the cable system, and that the “channels” are the pages of brands, artists, & people. Facebook has 800+ million people on their platform but people still look to their friends (or others) for the new and interesting things. Facebook isn’t the one talking to me when I am on there… friends are the ones. They are the new media channels. Brands can play this role too, now more than ever.

Fifteen years ago brands made big (and sometime famously expensive) tv commercials. We then paid big artists to be in them – to sing and dance to sell our products. We then bought time on big event TV like the Super Bowl and we broadcast our message. We then bought even more and more media in order to make sure that you heard what we had to say…….and if we had a big enough marketing budget and our message was funny or clever…..we would wear you down…..and you would likely buy what we were selling. That model is somewhat obsolete (although can still be extremely effective if used strategically today). That was the easiest approach in the world for marketers……stand on a town and yell your message…….TELL people what to think, how to act, what to believe.

Then the digital revolution hit us….remember that? We were all running to buy banner ads, then we got a little creative using Flash……..we chased the digital revolution not really knowing what we were after. All we knew (and were told by the experts) was that we needed to be there. “What % of your media budget is in digital?” we were constantly asked by AdWeek and the likes. We chased our tails……but things kept moving forward and we got better. We learned from our mistakes and started to understand that it wasn’t “digital” we should have been chasing….it was connection (and relationships) we needed to build. This scared us because we needed to start listening.

Today the world is a very different place. Today the consumer is actually in charge. Or, at least they are an equal partner is this journey. Ten years ago “new media” was defined as digital marketing.

Today – people are media. And the experiences you provide to them ARE the message.

Brands need to understand this. In today’s social world, we’re only a click away from thousands of other people…..and “friends” listen to what other “friends” have to say about things, including brands. We’re in a world of advocacy now. If you have advocates for your brand – you will succeed. If you don’t, all the advertising in the world won’t save you from yourself. The sooner you understand this basic thing, the better off you’ll be, Build advocates and have the confidence (and guts) to believe in them, to deliver your message……just make sure that the experiences you give them, the interactions you have with them are pure, honest, and true.

3. Art is alive and kicking.

I’ve said this a few times before. The music business is in trouble BUT music has never been more popular. This is true. Art is alive and well. We knew it would be. While the world’s economy continues to fluctuate, we’ve always known that in the toughest of economic times that creativity is always what brings us out of it. It’s creativity in music, business, and thinking that always saves us. And right now just look around. There is music playing everywhere…….and it’s a great thing to hear.

These artists now have new & interesting ways to expose their music to audiences all over the world. It used to be that an artist needed to get signed, make a record, and hope like hell it would get played on the radio…, that must have been a painful process for a young and impressionable artist. Today, they can record a track in their garage, upload it, then start spreading the word via Twitter, facebook, and dozens of other channels at their fingertips. Although this model still comes with many of its own challenges (finding an audience in a sea of madness), it does however still offer great potential for these people.

One thing for us all to consider – these artists will still need the help & expertise of the industry. I don’t think this will ever go away….but it will continue to change. The “industry” is going to need to be at the forefront of how to leverage the technology to find paying audiences – whether it’s through streaming, downloads, live performances, or new experiences these artists will need the industry (labels) to innovate. This is your challenge music industry – YOU must innovate as well….not just watch those around you in the technology and brand worlds do it for you. We need you to also innovate, bring new and interesting models, ideas, and experiences to the marketplace. The technology companies (or other brands) don’t really understand the music like you do.

So, there you have it. A few thoughts.

We (brands, technology, and the industry) need to work together FOR the artist…….not have the artist work FOR us. If we do this, everyone wins….including those people who pay the bills….our fans, our consumers, the ones who download the apps, buy the shoes, go to the shows, and who love the music…..OUR advocates.

Yes, I have great hope for this thing I love.

This thing called music.

Thanks for listening. Peace.


PS – here’s a list of songs that served as the soundtrack as I wrote this piece.

Lana Del Rey – Video Games (get her new album NOW)

Down Like Silver – Wolves (you need to hear this song)

The Head & The Heart – Lost In My Mind

Jay Farrar & Ben GIbbard – These Roads Don’t Move

Arcade Fire – We Used To Wait

Posted by: yogmoney | January 3, 2012

Music in 2011 – A few of my favorite things

Music in 2011 – A few of my favorite things

It’s hard to believe that 2011 has come and gone. This year brought us a lot of great music. Before I get to my list of favorites here is a quick recap of a few of the things that happened in music this year…(some of these facts & figures borrowed from my friends at SPIN)….


-The White Stripes broke up. Let’s hope it isn’t for good….


-Nate Dog dies at the age of 41 years old.


-LCD Soundsystem play for the final time at MSG

-Flav’s place – Flav’s Fried Chicken closes after being open for 4 months.


-Clarence Clemons dies and the sound of the E-Street band is forever changed


-Converse Rubber Tracks opens its doors to its first artist. Thanks to all of the people who poured their heart & soul into making the dream a reality. To date, we’ve hosted more than 120 artists in the studio. 2012 promises to be an even better year.

-Rilo Kiley, one of my favorite bands, broke up for good.

-Amy Winehouse dies of alcohol poisoning at age 27


-Riots in London

-Stages collapse at festivals in Indiana & Belgium, killing 10 people.


-R.E.M. announces their breakup after being together for 31 years (we’re getting older folks).


-The world is sad to learn that Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56. Plenty has been written about the man and his legacy. It’s true – there will never be another who will have as big an impact on the world of music & technology. RIP.

-Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon announce their separation after 27 years of marriage


-Heavy D dies at the age of 44

-Death Cab front man Ben Gibbard & Zoey Deschannel announce their separation after two years of marriage. Who knew they were married, and did anyone care?

While these things were happening, people occupied Wall Street, Portland, Boston, and virtually every other major city – demanding that the 99% be heard.

There was also a heck of a lot of great music released this year. Here is a list of my favorites in no particular order:

RADIOHEAD – The King of Limbs

My favorite record of the year, from my favorite band in the world. Surprised?

I’ll admit the first four times I listened to it, I didn’t love it. But, as with any great Radiohead record, its not until the 6th or 7th spin that it grabs you around the neck and never lets go.

The tracks Codex & Separator are not to be missed.

The video for Lotus Flower is great as is the song.

The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

One of my favorite bands these days. Portland’s finest, in my opinion. I had the opportunity to attend a show in NYC as they were releasing the record, followed by drinks in the bar at the Ace. These folks are the nicest (and funniest) people I’ve met in a long time. We sat there for an hour & a half and no one recognized them. Classic.

Wilco – The Whole Love

When these guys get it right, they are hard to beat. This is a rock solid record.

The Black Keys – El Camino

Perhaps the best two man rock band I have ever heard (note: The White Stripes don’t qualify as a two man band). These guys bring it. They are outstanding live. This is a solid effort.

The Head And The Heart (self-titled)

Another new artist coming out of the Pacific Northwest. These guys come from Seattle. No doubt, one of my favorite records in a long time. It almost makes me miss living in Seattle…..almost. Very mellow record. Great driving music. Lost In My Mind is perhaps my favorite song of the year.

Foster The People – Torches

It was impossible not to hear “pumped up kicks” three times a day for a period of about 6 months. Even after that happened, I still like the track. The rest of the record is also great. They should enjoy themselves at the Grammy Awards this February.

Bon Iver (self-titled)

Alt-folk/country at its finest. We’re going to hear a lot about this guy in the next two years. No doubt about it.

My Morning Jacket – Circuital

Two words: Southern Rock.

Enough said.

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

Mid 70’s, Laurel Canyon alt-rock at its finest. Reminiscent of Jackson Brown, Eagles, CS&N

Gary Clark, Jr. – The Bright Lights – EP

We’re going to hear a lot about this guy in the coming year. I had the opportunity to see him live at an event for MyMusicRx. He was amazing. Sometimes bands without talent get a lot of buzz at the expense of one who have talent. This guy has massive talent and my hope is that people notice him….because he deserves it.

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

These guys come from Seattle. They’ve been kicking around there for a few years and outstanding. They represent the best of what’s going on in the beautiful Pacific Northwest these days. A revival of 70’s style folk-rock. Their music fully captures the essence of Seattle for me.

Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest

Simple, beautiful, haunting. She could sing the phone book and I’d buy it. Nice record.

Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know

21 years old, from the UK. This is her third record. This record is not to be missed. Great songwriter. She appears to be the real deal.

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

She is back in a big way. MOJO’s “Album of the Year” described as “she still fizzes with originality and brilliance”.  Enough said. This chick simply rocks. Always has. Check out her old track with Thom Yorke called “The Mess We’re In”. One of my all time favorite songs.

Honorable Mentions – other artists to check out and keep an eye on in the coming year…

Lana Del Ray’s single “video games” is amazing.

Jonathan Wilson, M83, Girls, The Joy Formidable, EMA, Beast Make Bomb, Tennis.

And don’t miss the Converse “Three Artists, One Song” track – I’m a Goner by Matt & Kim, Soulja Boy, and Andrew WK. A strange mix of artists and styles that comes together to create a song that rocks.

Reissues of the Year:

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

Rolling Stones – Some Girls

The Smiths – Complete

REM – Life’s Rich Pageant

Ok, so there you have it. People say that the music business is in trouble. Maybe it is BUT music isn’t. It was a very good year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that 2012 gives us as much as ’11 did.

Stay tuned……

Posted by: yogmoney | February 7, 2011

Abby has “Bieber-Fever”

February 7, 2011

Abby has Bieber-Fever

OK, I admit it.

I am a snob.

To be more specific, I am a music snob.

I believe that my music tastes are superior to others around me. Even though I worked at Starbucks on their entertainment team (all self-proclaimed music snobs and purveyors of fine compilation CDs and strong coffee – that makes me qualified, right?), I really have no right to be such a snob.

But, I am a music snob. I love Radiohead and can’t understand when others don’t. I wonder how a band like Coldplay can even exist in today’s world, so bland and lame.

I grew up in the 70’s with the likes of Led Zep, the Stones, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, and so many other now over-the-hill bands. These artists, all still solid, yet old and no longer as meaningful to the world as they once were. I stood on the field of Tampa Stadium (before it was actually a big sombrero) with a tray of Coca-Cola that weighed more than i did, looking up at the giant pink pig floating above my head. I saw Led Zep play in the rain at that same stadium. I stood in the rain for hours to watch the Eagles on their “The Long Run” tour. (this doesn’t make me cool, just old). I am the all knowing music snob….at least in my own mind.

Today’s music world is dominated by people like Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Ke$sa (seriously, we’re now spelling our names with $ signs in them?), Katy Perry, and one Mr. Justin Bieber. I do not understand any of them. They sell hundreds of records (ok, cheap shot…sorry), sell out music venues, and appear on all the right tv shows. (I still don’t get them. It’s not because i am cool – it’s because i am old).

A little over a year ago my 14 year old daughter Abby told me about Justin Bieber. She walked into the kitchen one day and said, “I love Justin Bieber”. I had no idea who he was or where he was coming from. Was he a new boyfriend? Was he a new crush at school? No – he was a new artist that seemingly came out of the digital abyss.

Abby played a song for me, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. She sang along, not missing a word.

As you can imagine, I immediately rejected Justin Bieber as a flash in the pan. Someone who, like most overnight sensations, would be gone in a week. After all, he came from YouTube for crying out loud. I explained to Abby that this wasn’t music. This was disposable noise (are you kidding me? How freaking old am i?…….i sound like I am 60).

This love affair continued for a few more months until “Bieber Fever” (as they say) completely consumed my daughter. There were concerts to attend, backstage meet & greets, photos for Facebook, hearts drawn on the back of her hand with his initials and hers surrounded by a heart. The screen saver on our upstairs computer now featured a shot of this kid. There was no escape. Bieber fever was everywhere in my house. Posters, blankets, t-shirts, wrist bands, buttons, notebooks, magazines, and so on.

At this point Abby declares, “Justin is going to win a Grammy this year”.  Because I am a music snob (see above comments about working for the tastemaker of compilation CDs – Starbucks) I rejected my daughter’s comments as foolish. I said to her that there was no way he was even going to be nominated for a Grammy, much less win one. I jokingly said he wouldn’t even be invited to the Grammy’s. (I did this because I know everything).

After about 6 months of this nonsense Abby once again walked into the kitchen and proclaimed, “I am going to marry Justin Bieber”. Ok, so now things are starting to get serious. I decided that if my first-born daughter was going to marry this guy that I better explore him, make sure he is going to take care of her once the ceremony has concluded.

I listened to a few of his songs. I listened to them again. I tried a third time. I could find no reason whatsoever why my little girl would be in love with this kid. But, it didn’t matter – she did. The love affair has now gone on for more than a year. Abby has more than 1,000 Bieber photos on her phone and there was nothing I could do to stop it. MY wife Allie understood from the minute this love affair began. (she still not-so-secretly loves Donny Osmond for crying out loud).

As hard as a music snob like me tries to fight it (and I do fight hard because I am never wrong…how could I possibly be wrong?). As much as I have tried to expose my daughters to the classics like the Beatles, Stones, and the many other now over the hill artists I still cling to, I’ve realized that I have lost the battle.  It really makes no difference what I like. As I look at Abby I realize that her love for Bieber is real. I see how it makes her feel. I see her smile, possibly in the same way my parents used to see me smile when I was rocking out to Tom Petty or Kiss in my bedroom all those years ago wondering why I didn’t love Blood, Sweat, & Tears or “old BS&T” as my Dad once said…..yes Dad, I will always remember that moment!).

Not only am I a snob – I am also an idiot not to realize sooner that just because I don’t like someone’s music that it can still bring joy, happiness, and memories to the ones around me. I see the joy in my daughter’s eyes, her hope filled heart, and her beautiful smile and I realize that this kid is the one responsible for giving this to her. Bieber brings a joy to her that her father simply can’t deliver and it warms my heart while at the same time breaking it. The beat of music marches on, changing and evolving with each step it takes. It brings some along with it and it leaves many behind. If you want to keep up you need to stay on your toes.

So, while I will likely (ok, I am pretty sure about this – you know, because I used to work at the place that sells strong java, plays jazz overhead, and makes cute Valentine’s Day compilation CDs) not ever like Justin Bieber, I now understand his power and his potential. I see a daughter growing up in front of my eyes, singing, and fully stricken with Bieber fever.

I am still a snob. And, now i realize that I am also an idiot. I am not the all knowing, all powerful music expert. I am just a fan. I love the way music makes me feel. I love the fact that songs, artists, and concerts have served as mile markers in my life.  Just like my beautiful little girl Abby.

But now I have a slightly different perspective on the world. I sit here, typing these words to you as a confession that I was wrong. I was wrong – with the exception of Coldplay. My views on them stand. They remain unnecessary.

A year later, Abby was right – Justin Bieber was nominated for a Grammy and will perform for the crowd this Sunday night. I will sit in the darkness of the Staples Center watching this spectacle unfold in front of my eyes, knowing that Abby is sitting in front of the tv, smiling and singing along.

I leave you with two things.

Abby – you were right.

Justin – Take good care of Abby. If you break my daughter’s heart I will kick your ass.



Posted by: yogmoney | January 8, 2011

Claire’s Discovery

Claire’s Discovery

By Geoff Cottrill

January 2010

Being a parent is a great thing. It’s not an easy job by any means. There are days, sometimes weeks, when you feel like everything you do is wrong. You worry about whether or not you’re making the right choices, giving enough love, affection, advice, and attention. You wonder what kind of people your kids are going to grow up to be.

One of the wonders of being a parent is watching your children grow, discover, and experience things for the first time. It’s magic. Sometimes however they discover things before you’re ready for it.

Recently my 12 year-old daughter Claire discovered something.


Yes, I had hoped that maybe we would make it until college graduation before I had to start worrying about boys chasing my girls. Well, a lot like turning 40, it comes before you’re really ready for it.

So, I decided to go with it. I bit my lip as I heard Claire talk non-stop about the various boys in her class. She came home from a dance a month ago, proudly announcing that she danced with three boys. It was the first time she had ever danced with a boy. And she had to dance with three of them? In just one night? NO!!!

After a few weeks she walked in to the room and proudly announced, “Daddy, guess what? I have a boyfriend”. After considering quickly putting the house up for sale and moving to somewhere in Alaska, I took a deep breath and asked her, “A boyfriend, huh? What’s his name?”. She smiled and said his name was John. Now, I immediately think to myself, “John, huh? Where does this little monster live? Does he know that I am looking for him?……”. She then goes on to tell me that they have been texting to each other for a few weeks and have just decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend.

I live in a very small town. We have no red light. There is a church, a school, a small country store, and an ice cream stand that’s only open in the summer. We’re a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of any big city. Ok, maybe not a million miles, but at least 20 miles. Living here has been a wonderful experience. Sometimes I feel like because its so small that people are a bit more innocent and unaffected here, especially our children. (It’s not always the case but it is a lovely place, filled with lots of wonderful people).

Ok, back to this new discovery by my daughter.


A month ago Claire came home from school and announced she was trying out for the school’s basketball team. We have a hoop on our driveway, and we shoot baskets with the dog (when it’s not snowing). Claire has become pretty good at shooting the rock.

After trying out and making the JV team (she is in 6th grade), she started taking a greater interest in the game and the Celtics. I thought to myself, “this is great! Claire likes basketball!”.

Once I started digging in to this boy named John, I learned that he plays basketball too. He’s on the boys team and is evidently pretty good (probably a lot better than me). I learned about John’s basketball passion from the 157 page report I received from the private investigator I hired to dig into the background of this 12 year old boy John. (Not really, but I sure did think about it). I will never watch this young man play basketball, I think to myself. How dare he date my daughter!

So, a few weeks go by. I casually check in from time to time with Claire-bear to find out how things are going with young John. She says things are fine. (She has no idea that I have had a private eye trailing him since the news broke….and I know every move he’s made for the past two weeks!).

Back to basketball. Claire’s team plays their first game two weeks ago. The Carlisle Huskies lost the game 38-0. Claire, the most competitive 12 year old I know, was pretty upset after the thrashing they took from the private all girls school with the 6’ tall center (she’s 12? Really?).

This past Thursday they played their second game. At the end of a hard fought game the scoreboard read; Huskies 6, Visitor 48. (Another close game for the mighty Huskies….maybe b’ball isn’t our game…).

Claire came walking into the kitchen after the game with a few tears in her eyes. I figured that she was upset that they were once again on the short end of a big score. I said, “don’t worry Claire-bear, at least you guys scored 6 points (Claire scored exactly zero of them).

Claire looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “no Daddy, its not about the game. I don’t really care that much that we lost………I am upset about John…….we’re breaking up”.

I quickly turned away, tried to contain my pure elation, and almost blurted out, “YES!”.

After biting my lip till it practically started bleeding I gave Claire a hug. I told her not to worry, that things always have a way of working themselves out. We sit down and have a chat about what she’s going through…..

Claire pulls out her phone and shows me the text she has spent an hour writing, ready to hit the send button. It is literally a “Dear John” letter. (I am not kidding, here!!). She wrote him a long note letting him know that it just wasn’t working out. I don’t read it for fear that I will learn that he has kissed her or held her hand!

She hits the send button. Into the G3 network goes this breakup letter. The mailman isn’t necessary. No need to send a note via one of your friends. Instantly delivered. See ya later.

I decided that maybe Claire-bear and I needed a little time together so the two of us jumped in the car and headed over to our favorite pizza place in the next town, a few miles away. We walked in and immediately ran into 3 of Claire’s friends. When they invited us to join them, Claire shot me a quick glance and smile, and then told her friends she needed a few minutes with her Dad. I had to turn away and wipe a tear from my eye. My 12 year-old chose me over her friends. She needed me, and I needed her.

We sat and we talked. She asked me about my first girlfriend. How old was I? What was her name? Did she like you? Did you like her? Why didn’t you guys work out?.

These were the questions Claire had for me. I was careful not to ask about John. I waited for her to start talking. And, she did.

“Daddy, I was thinking about it. I want to be able to go to Fern’s (our country store) after school with my friends. If I have a boyfriend I will have to go with him. I don’t want to be tied down. I am too young to be tied down to one guy. I want to be with my friends after school, not some boy. If I have a boyfriend then I will have to stand with him at the dance and only dance with him. I don’t want to be tied down like I am married or anything”.

She is 12.

I sit there for a minute, trying to make sure that the tape recorder inside my head is remembering every single word. This is a moment I want to last forever. I sit there, with a warm feeling in my heart, telling myself that I haven’t lost her just yet.

I try to give Claire some advice about boys, telling her that we’re not that smart. I remind her that girls mature faster than boys do and that she has nothing but time in front of her. There will never be another first boyfriend, but there will be other boyfriends. We talk about the fact that being married isn’t necessarily being “tied down”. She says, “Well, I guess it depends who you are married to”. I tell her not to worry. Everything will be OK. I can tell by the way she looks at me. She believes me.

We finish our pizza and climb in the car to drive home. As we drive through the beautiful Massachusetts country, past old horse barns, a frozen pond, giant trees with arms that look like they are going to reach down and grab us, I decide to turn on the radio. She looks at me and says that she’s recently been listening to the band Paramore. She says, “I love their singer Hayley. The reason I like her is because she really sings. They don’t mess with her voice (no T-Pain action here!). She is in the room, with her band, when they record their songs”.  She likes the fact that they are real, imperfect, raw, & pure. She likes the same things deep within music that I do. The simple song. One that comes from the heart.

I switch from the radio to a CD I have been listening to lately. It’s a Beatles record. She and I share a bond over the four guys from Liverpool. A year ago she texted me while I was on the west coast, telling me her new favorite song was Hey Jude. It melted my heart.

I hit the forward button a few times and the song starts. After the second note from the piano Claire looks over to me and says, “Let It Be. I love this song”. I look back at her with a smile, feeling like the king of the world. As the song starts, I decide to turn it up nice and loud. Without a word to each other we both start singing at the top of our lungs, “whisper words of wisdom, let it be…..let it be”. As I look away, out the window, I stop singing. All I can hear is the sweet, sweet voice of my daughter. After the sounds of the first cry of both Abby and Claire the minute they were born, I have never heard a sweeter sound.

I realize that she is an angel.

As the song ends, Claire looks over at me. She sees the tears in my eyes and says, “I guess this song is telling me something, huh Daddy…….let it be”.

One of the moments in my life I will never, ever forget.

Claire has discovered boys.


Live. Love. Laugh.

Enjoy life. Every simple moment of it.

Thanks for listening….



Posted by: yogmoney | August 8, 2010

My Bosses…

My Bosses along the way……

I was just doing the math. I graduated from college 25 years ago. I always said that I was never going to be one of those guys who talked about how long ago I graduated from college. So, I won’t do it here.

If you’ve read any of my previous pieces you know that I hate voicemail, don’t drink coffee anymore, and have the love affair with music (excluding Coldplay).

You’ll also know that I consider myself to be pretty lucky. I have a great life, a fun job, and lots of friends around the world. Some would define my career as a success.

I have gotten to where I am today for a few reasons. A positive attitude (I try anyway), working hard, the support of my wife and daughters, a little luck, and a number of people who have all had a profound impact on my life – my bosses.

I have had a few bosses along the way. I liked some of them better than others. A few of them were not very nice people. But, all of them taught me something. The things they taught me about life, work, leadership, teamwork, and friendship have all contributed to the person I am today – the husband, the father, the friend, the marketer, the writer.

Jim Dinkins – my first boss out of college, at Procter & Gamble. Jim and I have been friends for 25 years now. He stood at the alter with me when I married my wife Allie.

Jim taught me how to work and play hard. He also taught me how to sell, something I find myself doing every single day of my life. Whether its creating a TV commercial or getting a budget approved you have to know how to sell. Jim is the master at this. Jim also taught me that I wasn’t in college anymore and that work started at 7.30am. That was one of the tougher lessons I had to learn. I’d like to think that maybe I taught Jim a thing or two along the way as well but it isn’t anywhere close to the things he’s given me.

Steve Koonin – a truly creative genius. He used to run a department at Coke that to this day is still talked about. He assembled a team of smart, creative people and he let us run. Coming to Coke from P&G was quite an adjustment. P&G is all about structure, process, and method. They are the best at it. Coke is much more image driven and is constantly refreshing itself as it works to maintain relevancy to its consumer base. Steve understood how to creatively connect our brands to consumers. I was often in awe of him and his ability to create things from thin air. He once told me that there were only 8-10 original ideas in marketing and that everything that every single successful program is just some sort of adaptation or combination of those few ideas. I asked him to tell me what they were. He just laughed and shook his head. He let me figure it out for myself. Steve opened a side of my brain that I didn’t realize I had. Eleven years of process and method will convince you you’re not creative. Steve threw that out of the window my first week on the job. I sat in a meeting with about 7 people. They were talking about Coke and the NFL. Ideas were thrown around. I sat there, fresh out of P&G, and didn’t contribute any ideas. I was studying the room, trying to figure out how to survive in the new place. The meeting ended and as I was walking back to my office I said to Steve, “hey, I have an idea about the NFL….”. He turned on his heels, fire in his eyes, and asked me id I was not just in that meeting about the NFL with him. I said, of course I was in there. I sat right next to you. He then started yelling at me – literally yelling – that I wasn’t at P&G anymore and that if I had an idea that I better share it DURING the meeting, not after the fact. He said (and I will never forget these words) – “if you have a f’ing idea Geoff, come to me, tell me. If it’s a good one I will give you the money and you will make it happen…..that’s how we do things here!”  In the end, Steve taught me that I had two sides of my brain….and he really helped to open up the creative side. I wouldn’t be here today had it not been for Steve. That was the only time he ever yelled at me. I could probably fill an entire book on all that Steve taught me. He had a big impact on me and I will never forget him.

Chuck Fruit – I became the head of Coke’s Entertainment Marketing team while working for Chuck. In fact, we created it. He was the ultimate senior statesman. A truly class act, one of a kind. One day I was in his office talking about music and the entertainment business. It was a personal interest of mine as I always wanted to run a record label. After talking to him he asked me to come back to his office after lunch. I walked in at 1pm sharp. He walked me from his office all the way across the Coke campus and up to the 25th floor executive offices. We walked into the CMO’s office (Steve Jones). Chuck then looked at me and said, “Geoff, talk to Steve about the things you were telling me earlier”. I started, a little confused. After 2 minutes he looked at Steve and smiled. Steve nodded his head. Chuck then said we let Steve get back to his meeting. As I got up Chuck patted me on the back and said “congratulations Geoff, you’re the new head of entertainment marketing at The Coca-Cola Company”.  Chuck did nice things for me. He was a good man. When I heard the news that he passed away I cried. I have a tear in my eye as I type this right now. He gave me a big opportunity and it helped me on my journey. Chuck taught me to treat people with respect, to build relationships with people. He encouraged me along the way. He treated every single person he met exactly the same way – with dignity and respect. I try to live up to his legacy every single day. I miss Chuck.

Darryl Cobbin – DC taught me how to build a brand. Darryl is the guy who is known for building the Sprite brand to the global brand it is today. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work for DC. He always encouraged me no matter what I was doing. He taught me how to market but he also taught me how to be a better man. DC is a natural born leader. People lined up behind him and ran through walls to get the job done. DC cared equally for the “what” and the “how”. He taught me that you don’t need to be mean to people along the way to get what you want. We were surrounded by people who would stab you in the chest (yeah, more direct than in the back) to get what they wanted. DC never carried a knife or a iron fist. He built consensus, enrolled people along the way, and stood back and watched his people do great things. His leadership example is something that I have always tried to live up to. DC is also responsible for the name of my blog – yogmoney. He used to always walk into my office and say, “YO G-MONEY, what’s up?” He always made me smile when he did that. I miss hearing my old friend saying that as he walked down the hall. I recently saw him at an event we put on. He yelled it across the gym. It was a special moment for me.

Katie J. Bayne – KJB, as she is known by many, is one of the smartest marketers I have ever known. She used to be the CMO of Coke North America. She is on her way to even bigger and better things at Coke and will someday probably run it. Katie taught me how to hold my own in a room of people far more senior than I was at the time. She was always prepared. She knew her business well and had a point of view on things. She was actively engaged in every meeting she was in. Although I often fail to be as prepared or detailed oriented as KJB, I strive to be. KJB taught me how to survive and thrive in a major corporation. KJB was the first person I met at Coke when I joined the company. She was always a supporter of mine and helped me move along through the world of Coca-Cola in a productive way while I was there. Katie should be considered a role model to young women everywhere. We need more leaders like KJB.

Ken Lombard – well, this is a tough one for me. I had an unusual relationship with Ken. He was a hard driving boss – always pushing for perfection. Some looked at Ken as a bully. AT 6’6” (I think that is his height, lets just call him tall, ok?) he can be a little bit intimidating. He knew it and used it to his advantage when necessary. When I left Starbucks I was kind of angry; disappointed in the working experience I had while I was there. I never felt like I really fit into the culture there. Ken’s management style was different than mine and we had our battles. One day during my performance review (where I was fully expecting to get my tail handed to me) Ken gave me the highest rating you could get – Exceptional. He said, “I’ve been tough on you because you have talent and I want you to succeed….i’m pushing you because I know you can take it”. I was floored because he had been so tough on me all year. I never really got to thank Ken when I left Starbucks. He was living in LA when I decided to leave Seattle. We exchanged notes but I never got to say goodbye in person. I regret that. As painful as some of those days were – it was the single best professional experience of my life. I grew up. If I had not had Ken pushing me as hard as he did I am sure that I would not have enjoyed the success I have to date at Converse. I have a lot to thank Ken for.

Howard Schultz – while I never reported directly to Howard, I did have the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with him. Howard is the boss at Starbucks. Never have I met a person who cares as deeply about his business as Howard. He is the most passionate, motivating person I have ever met – bar none. He can walk into a room and spin your head with his inspiring presentation. He has a presence about him that is Obama-like.

Howard taught me about passion, about caring, about having soul.  Howard is a perfectionist when it comes to Starbucks. Everything needs to be right for the consumers. When a store isn’t right he addresses it right away. He lives in the moment and he fixes things. He can get pretty upset when things aren’t right. I think that sometimes he can be a little too hard on folks but I now understand why he is the way he is. He cares, deeply. That’s a pretty special quality to have – to truly care (in your soul) about what you’re doing. I am in a position now where I truly love what I do. I have a lot to thank Howard for. As a result of my time at Starbucks I am a better leader of people. Instead of using fear, I try to inspire people to be the best they can be. I learned that from Howard Schultz.

So, if someday you find yourself reading another piece like this from some other professional and I am lucky enough to be mentioned as someone who had a positive impact on them you will know why. It is because of these people – Jim Dinkins, Steve Koonin, Chuck Fruit, Darryl Cobbin, Katie Bayne, Ken Lombard, and Howard Schultz. They lifted me up to where I am today. I officially thank each and every one of them for all they taught me along the way.


NOTE : I decided it wasn’t appropriate to comment on my boss at Converse. He’s amazing though.

Posted by: yogmoney | November 8, 2009

The Theory of Permanent Age

The Theory of Permanent Age

by Geoff Cottrill

October 2009

What is it about getting older that makes you want to be younger?

No, I am not having a mid-life crisis. I am not even sure what that means. I’ve seen friends go through it. I’ve seen them come out the other side of it happy with a new sports car. I’ve seen some come out of it miserable and without their family. I am not interested in that……although the car does sound kind of cool.

One day many, many years ago a woman said something to me that I will never forget. We woke up one Saturday morning and were chatting in bed. She said, “I have a theory. I think that all people are a certain age. And, I think that they are that age forever”.

I laid there and thought about what she had just said. I was 30 years old at the time. I had things figured out. I knew it all. Or, at least I thought I did.  I wasn’t married and was enjoying my days of being single. At this moment I didn’t want to buy into what this girl was telling me. I told her that I thought she was crazy. That was the end of the conversation.

Two years later I was laying in bed with that same woman. She was now my wife. In the past two years we had gotten engaged, moved to a new city in the midwest, gotten married, changed jobs, moved back to the city in the south where we met, and had our oldest daughter, and we had  our second on the way. We also got a dog in the midst of these crazy two years. I must admit it. I was feeling pretty old. I was feeling the responsibilities of life bearing down on me. I was happy. And, I was sad. And, I wasn’t ready for what I was facing. I guess maybe I had not yet grown up. I wasn’t acting my age. I was running away from it.

So, back to the real story at hand. After thinking about this “theory of  permanent age” for two years I decided it was time to finally tell this girl about the conclusion I had come to. So, I woke her up. She rubbed her eyes and looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and that little smile I fell in love with. I looked at her and said, “I’ve been thinking. I think you’re right. Your “theory of permanent age” is right, I think”. My wife looked at me as if I was a bit strange (which I am). She said, “have you been thinking about this for a long time?”. I said something to the effect that yes, I am sometimes slow to come to the right conclusions ( I went to Florida State for crying out loud – we’re not known for our thesis statements and theories on life…we’re not even known for a good football team anymore!) and in this case it had only taken me 2 years and a lot of craziness in my life to realize she was right.

So, think about it for a minute. How old are you? Are you as old as your true age? Are you younger? Are you an old person or a young kid? Close your eyes for a minute and think about it.

Me, I am a kid at heart, maybe 13 years old. My body and the lines on my face remind me every day that I am 46 years old. I can’t run as fast or jump as high. I have long ago given up one of my life’s passions – soccer. But in my mind and in my heart I am young. I am still the kid that stood there on my 13th birthday and watched the fireworks on the day of America’s bicentennial (1976). I became a teen on one our country’s biggest days and it’s a day when everyone around me – friend and foe – was happy, smiling, and seemingly united around the ideas our country was founded on. It was one of the four greatest days on my life. So, maybe that’s why, in my head, I am still a kid. Life was less complicated. There were fewer meetings. There were fewer business trips. There were more friends to hang out with.  There was a lot to do after school and before dinner. Bikes to ride, soccer games to play, friends to hang out with. But, as much as I remember that day as near perfect I wouldn’t go back there even if I could. I like where I am now….46 in years, 13 in my mind.

If I apply this theory to people I know I see them in a new light. I have friends that I have known along the way that were 65 when they were actually 21 and in college. I have friends who were 35 when they were 14. I have 40 year old friends who are still 11, or at least they still act 11. I have a friend who is 45 and will forever be single and 25. I have another friend who is 43 and acts 17. His behavior cost him his marriage. I have seen the grandparents of my friends who are still 30 years old in their hearts – as happy as they have ever been.

You see, to me there is a difference between “acting” a certain age and actually “being” an age in your heart and your soul. Those who go through the dreaded mid-life crisis are merely acting a certain age. They are reaching back for something that can’t be regained. Those who are 70 and feel 30 are the ones that fit with this theory. These are the people who have embraced who they are inside. They aren’t trying to run back to a time in their lives when they were younger and free from the things that bring them down today.

So, this is the “theory of permanent age” that my beautiful wife taught me all those years ago. It took me a long time to come to terms with it, to understand it and to embrace it. But, after all these years I know that it’s true. I guess I didn’t have it all figured out all those years ago. Thank God for that.

Now, close your eyes once again. How old are you acting and how old are you truly feeling? Stay young at heart but stop acting like a kid…..because the kids you have are counting on you to show them the way through this world we live in. Skip the mid life crisis for their sake, if not for yours.

Thanks for listening.


Posted by: yogmoney | October 23, 2009

Connecting with Claire

“Connecting with Claire”

by Geoff Cottrill

October 2009

Yesterday, while I sat in a meeting, on the other side of the country from my family, a funny thing happened to me. What happened was another reminder that music connects us all. It is passed from generation to generation, person to person. The chain goes on forever.

Yes, the industry of music is sick with an incurable disease. It sits in its hospital bed blaming the world for their state of being. They are the old guy in the room just down at the end of the hall. You can hear the grumpy screams coming from the last door on the left…..”where’s my breakfast?”  They’ve been groaning so long that the doctors and nurses have stopped listening. With the exception of the occasional music talent show, its family business is nearing bankruptcy while they lie there and complain.

But, this is not what this piece is about. I have already written that piece – several times.

This is about how a text message from your 11 year old daughter can make your day, reconfirming why music is so important in our lives. It is about how something as simple as a song can forever connect you to someone. In this case, it’s my daughter Claire.

A little about Claire (aka “The Bear”). Claire is an 11 year old with the heart and soul of someone who has lived before. She as a keen sense of right and wrong. She feels things deeply in her soul. She is thoughtful, funny, sensitive, and complex all at once. She is 11 in age only – but not in spirit.

Claire likes to explore my music collection. My iTunes has something like 13,000 songs in it. Over the years I have taken advantage of car rides to school and to lacrosse practice, or a trip to the store. I have tried to expose her to some of the artists who have been important in my life. Artists like Radiohead, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Beck, Bill Withers, The Beatles, Clapton, Motown, Pink Floyd, Jack Johnson, Gomez, and a dozen others. One day a few years ago from the backseat she informed me that she was “getting into jazz”. She went on to say something to the effect of “jazz makes me relax…..i really like the way it makes me feel Daddy”. So, this is a little context on Claire and her love for music. She is also the same girl who, on the day of the Jonas Brothers concert and a pre-arranged chance to meet them, looks at me and says, “Daddy, can we hang out at home….i’m not into the Jonas Brothers……they just aren’t that good”. No one was more happy than me to not have to endure a Jonas Brothers show…and have an 11 year old daughter who wanted to hang out with me instead of going to the show.

This is Claire.

About two and a half years ago, as I was kissing her goodnight, she removed her earplugs to say something to me. She said, “Daddy, I really like Beck…..his song e-pro is amazing”. I’d never played it for he. She found it on her on as she sifted through my iTunes folder. She did the same thing with the band Gomez’s song See The World. The same thing happened when she discovered Bob Marley and told me she liked that “song about the little birds”. It made my day.

Ok, back to the story at hand. I was in one of the biggest meetings of my career yesterday. The team I am on flew across the country to present our strategic business plan to our parent company. It was an important meeting. After our presentation ended, I was sitting in the back of the room listening to the next group’s presentation. I snuck a look at my blackberry. Yeah, I know. I should have been paying attention. But, I wasn’t.

I had received a text message from Claire.

Here’s exactly what it said:

“Hey guess what song i LOVE???  Hey jude by the beatles!”

So, as I sat in the room, in the middle of my important meeting, on the other side of the country from my wife, my two beautiful daughters, and my dog Tucker, I get this simple little text from my 11 year old music lover.

I wanted to stand up and scream! I wanted to say, “hey, guess what! My daughter just discovered Hey Jude for the first time!” instead, I typed her a quick response, “YES!!!!!!!!!!”, was my reply.

She hit me back immediately with, “Hah, its like my favorite song!”

I sat there for a few minutes as a proud father. I sat there with a new connection to my daughter….made as I was on the other side of the country…..sitting in a meeting.

And, thanks to the guys from Liverpool……..a lifelong memory that I will forever cherish. Thanks guys. Its safe to say that the torch has been passed and you will be remembered always.

Yes, music can and does do amazing things. I just wish it could be powerful enough to save its industry from itself……while it lies in its hospital bed and blames the world for its woes.

Stay tuned….and, thanks for listening.


PS – here’s a bit of advice I think we could all use right about now…….sing it out loud.

Hey Jude,  don’t make it bad

Take a sad song and make it better


To let her into your heart

Then you can start

To make it better.

And anytime you feel the pain

Hey Jude, refrain

Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders

For well you know that it’s a fool

Who plays it cool

By making his world a little colder.

Posted by: yogmoney | October 21, 2009

Reality TV

Reality TV

by Geoff Cottrill

October 2009

OK, its been going on long enough. I can’t stand it any longer. I’ve almost stopped watching TV as a result of it. Reality TV is reducing us to something that I don’t ever want to be. Reality TV is sucking our souls from us.

What is it about reality TV that has people so captivated? Why is it that almost every single night of the week the TV line-up is filled with these shows? There are housewives in Atlanta, Newport Beach, and in New Jersey. There are people who swap wives. They swap their families. There are nanny’s who come and discipline your kids. There are survivors on an island back stabbing each other for money. There are cop shows featuring bad-boy, bad-boy (what ‘ya gona do?) drunks. There are guys out at sea fishing for crabs. There are people locked in a house while George Orwell’s big brother watches their every move. There are talent-less talent shows. There are auditions to be the next great American star. There are people who can’t sing a note on these programs. We laugh at their failures so we can ignore our own. We watch a couple with 8 kids ruin each other’s lives while they give interviews to Entertainment Tonight. We watch bachelors sift through 20 women looking for true love. We then watch the rejected runner up from that show get her own so she can work through 20 guys of her own. After the season, the couple will be on Oprah. Everyone will cry. People who go on Oprah always cry. Oprah and her audience cry along.  They will be featured on the cover of People Magazine. After the last edit from the final show they will find that they now need to face a new reality. A world away from the competition and the cameras. A real life. And, chances are their  “true love” will fall apart. This will bring more People Magazine covers, more interviews on Entertainment Tonight. The cycle continues……and we’re caught up in it. We simply can’t get enough of the news coverage. The news coverage that is actually covering nothing at all. The empty news coverage that shows like Extra! Extra! pump out every night.

We sit and we watch. We leave our own reality behind, we clear our minds and we tune in almost every night. We watch someone else’s reality while running away from our own. It’s train wreck TV (the new and improved “Must See TV”). We drive by the train wreck and we know something terrible has happened. We are afraid to look but as we drive by we look through our fingers as we fake an attempt to cover our eyes. We can’t look away. This is today’s TV reality. We have little kids and their parents faking an emergency as the world watches the balloon float away glued to the TV as we hope the little boy will be OK. We then find the next day that this family has been on a few reality programs. It was all a hoax. They needed more time in the spotlight. So, they create a lie. They make the world believe that their young son is in danger. They do this because the need to be seen by the world. They can’t get enough of being in the public eye. Where does reality TV end and real life begin? Its becoming harder and harder to tell the difference.

What happened to us? Why are we so obsessed with the lives of some housewives in Atlanta, Orange County, or New Jersey? Why are we running away from our own reality just to watch someone else’s? I know what you are going to say. You’re going to tell me that these reality shows help you to escape. They help you forget for just a little while what your own world is really like. I don’t buy it any more.

Yeah, and the networks love them too. They are low budget. Any ya-hoo with an idea can get a reality show on TV these days. No experience needed. All you need is a camera, some people with 8th grade educations, some family drama, a good guy and a bad guy. Once you have these things you call up almost any network executive or Hollywood agent and get it on TV. Chances are if you have an original idea like filming a raving jerk of a real estate agent as he sells houses in LA and you have a hit show.

Art imitates life and then life imitates art. The cycle continues to repeat itself as time marches on until we will no longer be able to tell the difference any more. When this happens we’ll live in a world where it’s acceptable to cheat, steal, and lie just to win the game. We need to escape from this reality that plays on our expensive flat panel screens every night as we sit there glued to the TV, waiting for the next couple to be kicked off the race around the world. We’re coming to the point when being able to see the difference between true reality or made-for-tv reality that isn’t really real at all.

Andy Warhol once said that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. From what I’ve seen on TV the past few years I’d say that quite a few people have completely wasted theirs.

So, that’s my two cents on reality TV.

Hey, if you have the number of that network executive at NBC can you send it to me?

I have an idea about a guy who wants to be a writer someday……he can’t sing. He can’t sell real estate. He doesn’t have a big brother. He doesn’t hang out with a bunch of rich housewives. He won’t get arrested or show up on a “most wanted” list. He doesn’t have 8 kids. Sorry, no hot air balloons. No kids hiding in a box while the world watches the balloon crash to the ground. He lives a fairly normal life. He has a fun job and it allows him to meet cool people from time to time. He has some issues of his own but you’ll have to tune in to see them. Stay tuned for another new reality program coming soon.

As the Josh Joplin song says  – its funny how life turns out, the odds of faith in the face of doubt, camera one closes in, the soundtrack starts, the scene begins….…’re playing you now. you’re playing you now. Take a bow. Take a bow.

There might just be something to this reality TV after all……..but hurry up. The 15 minute clock of fame is ticking.

Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.


Check out Josh Joplin on iTunes. The song Camera One comes from his album Useful Music. Enjoy.

Posted by: yogmoney | March 10, 2009

Facebook Status Updates

Geoff is ……….

(The status of Facebook)

OK, I admit it. I am addicted to Facebook, just like most of you are. In fact, there’s a good chance you launched this blog entry from my Facebook page. If so, please forgive me for what I am about to do.

On Facebook, I have many “friends”. I have real friends I work with; real friends I know from college; real friends I know from high school; and real friends from the life I’ve lived. I am lucky to have so many real friends.

Like most I also have many acquaintances on Facebook. These people I’ve met via Facebook. Some have been quite interesting to get to know. Most people I’ve linked with have been for networking reasons. My business requires that I keep in touch with a lot of people in the worlds of music, entertainment, and pop culture. This is the best thing about Facebook in my opinion. Its connected me to some very interesting people.

I have a third group of “friends” on Facebook that I do not really know. Some have friended me, some I have friended. These people are not really my friends. I don’t know them. They do not know me. I guess that’s why they don’t call it Friendbook. The name Facebook now makes sense to me.

So, I am not here to talk trash about my Facebook friends (but I am going to). However I need to vent about one of the most annoying pieces of the Facebook experience. It’s your status that I want to talk about. Yes, I am talking to all of you serial status changers.

Like a lot of people, I log into Facebook in the morning and then keep it open while I am working, checking in on it from time to time. Each time I check my home page I am greeted with a massive list of status updates. You know what I mean. Status updates like this:

Chris is……about to mow the lawn.

(these are the kind of updates that frequently show up. I ask – do we really care?)

Chris is…….just finishing cutting the grass

(wow, that was fast)

Chris is…….enjoying a cold beverage after cutting the grass

(a well earned beverage on a hot summer day…..but you are wasting my time my “friend”)

Suzanne is……thinking about life’s mysteries

(wow, that’s deep Suzanne. Are you asking us for help or are you just projecting on us again?)

Louise is …… recovering from a blind date gone wrong. What a LOSER!

(this is the 3rd such entry this week from my old college friend. This is just sad)

Cat is ……. Getting ready to see Coldplay!!! YAY, YAY, YAY!

( I de-friended Cat immediately when learning of her plans).

Susan is …….. sleepy

(said another way, Susan is deeply depressed)

John is …….. the 2,372,061 person to join the mayonnaise lovers march on Washington

(OK, I made this one up – but you know what I am talking about here…….)

Brandon is ….. wondering what’s at the end of the yellow brink road, thinking maybe I should have taken the blue brink road instead.

(take the red pill buddy. Stay away from the blue and yellow ones)

Emily is ….attending the Fashion Week Fiesta party at Club Thump Thump. Ooo-wee!

(yeah, she is a bit of a party girl – her update tomorrow will indicate her head hurts)

These are all real status updates that have come across my screen the past few weeks. I have cut and pasted them. You can’t make this stuff up (OK, I admit it, I made up a few of them). The names have been changed to protect the innocent (and for fear that you might just de-friend me). I’m a numbers guy so every one of you are important and count in my book.

What is it about that causes people to think that others care what they are doing at that exact moment? Are people that lonely? Do we do it because we somehow want others to know we’re alive? Are we reaching out when we change our status every 5 minutes? Are we crying out for the lack of intimacy in our lives. Do we secretly hope that we are going to receive a flood of e-mails and phone calls when we tell our “friends” that we’ve just picked up the dry cleaning?

I am not sure what this phenomenon says about our society but I think it’s a bit strange and sad. Is it narcissistic? Is it loneliness? What makes us think that people really care? Are we trying to show that we’re witty? That we’re smart? That we’re culturally aware? What does it say? To me, it says all of that and more. When the historians and sociologists look back on these times they will talk about this. They will have studied this; done the qualitative and quantitative analysis, tested their hypothesis, and proven their point. They will prove that we’re preoccupied with the wrong things in life.

It’s a sad state we’re in. We’re living in a time that is more technologically advanced than any time before us. The technology was intended to make our life easier, to free us up from the chains of work and burdens of everyday life. It was intended to give us great freedom. The technology gave promise that we would be more connected to one another. It had the promise of freeing up time so that we could be with our families, our loved ones. It said that you can be standing on top of Tiger Mountain in Seattle and still be in touch with the office back in Miami.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the technology and all the promise it brings. Technology does deliver on some of its promises and I couldn’t live without my blackberry, my ipod, my iphone, my laptop with the dvd player inside, the GPS system in my car. I think we’ve gone a little too far though. The technology we live with every day, the technology that was supposed to connect us, has actually isolated us. It has separated us. Yes, we can exchange an e-mail or a text on the fly telling your loved one your loved one you are thinking about them or running late. But, in the end this technology has isolated us. What used to be a continent, a country, a big city, a small town that brought us together to interact has actually created millions of tiny islands inhabited by only one person. At the same time its done all of this, it has also created a sense of entrapment. No longer can you escape a call from the office in Miami. Why would you want to talk to the office while hiking up Tiger Mountain? Where is the freedom in that? No, all of this technology and these fancy devices have actually diminished our freedom. We used to be able to walk away from the office, from the phone calls, and clear our heads. We used to dream bigger dreams when we had fewer people demanding you return their text in the next 10 minutes. The loss of this personal freedom is coming with a cost. We are losing the intimacy of true friendship. The world is a fast paced place. If we don’t find ways to unplug and escape every once in a while we will lose our edge, our individuality, our creativity. If we lose these things, what are we left with?

We stand next to one another in the subway but we all look down, texting a mile a minute, trying to stay connected to another human being somewhere other than where you are at this moment. All this looking down is causing people to miss opportunities to truly connect with another person. Updating your status on Facebook every fifteen minutes it proof of this. It says to me, “I’m afraid to talk to the person sitting next to me for fear they might think that I am not interesting…but hey, I am so connected……people care so much about me that I feel compelled to share with them that my laundry has been picked up”.

I ask the question, do you think your friends really care? Yes, some do. I will admit that. But, if we are honest with one another, most don’t. We read the status updates and immediately think, “hey, this person doesn’t have enough to do” or, “please stop wasting my time with your attempt to be witty or cute”.

Wait, I have to take a break and check in on my Facebook page.

More status entries:

Paul is ……..daydreaming

(get back to work, jobs are moving to China and India because we’re not paying attention to the work in front of us…wake up my friend)

Laurie Ann is ….proud of herself for detailing her car to save some $$!

(this is a huge accomplishment for Laurie Ann as she is a trust fund baby. In the past she has traded in her car when it gets too dirty)

Howard is ….. wondering if our new breakfast value meal will save them.

(no comment)

Matthew is …… feeling free and easy

(and just released from rehab)

Jeff is ……… on his way to lunch with Pete and Suzie

(don’t leave me hanging! Where are you going? Are you going to Burger King for your free Whopper for de-friending 5 people? See you there in just a little while…as soon as I cut a few more friends)

Andrea is ……. excited its Wednesday – HUMP DAY!

(my least favorite reference to a day of the week – borderline de-friend candidate)

Steven is …….. just clearing security at Logan and wondering how much longer I am going to have to take off my shoes. LOL!

(nice visual, steven doesn’t shower that often and his Chuck Taylors smell bad– we’ve known each other too long for me to drop him)

Ken is ……still wondering what happened

(you get what you deserve buddy – its called karma)

Christine is ….looking forward to her day at work! Not! LOL!

(another trust fund baby who has never worked a day in her life. I do not like the whole LOL! phenomenon – possibly a future blog entry on the acronyms of the web )

Jimmy is ……. wrecking the music industry

(wrecking? Try the word wrecked….its too late to save it)

Lisa is ….. tired

(always the pessimist)

Gary is …..wishing Elvis was still around

( I do not like Elvis. Although it doesn’t approach the level of disdain I have for Coldplay, I still felt compelled to drop Gary from my friend list – hey, I was hungry and wanted to get a free Whopper).

Shawn is ……working on his new album. Due out in stores on the 17th!

(did he say stores? they still sell music in stores?)

Trip is ………. calculating his losses from the market

(it was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it Mr. Hamptons?)

Lizzie is ……..happy 😉

(it’s true, she really is happy but please don’t make those annoying little text faces anymore)

Michael is ….. just got laid off. I had no idea a career in catering could disappear so fast.

(I feel for ya but I have no idea how to respond to this one – maybe a little bit too much information).

Laura is …. Designing a cover for a new CD

(a CD? For sale in a store? Really?)

Sharon is …….going out tonight with the gang from work

(many careers have been ended from “going out with the gang from work” – its going to be a long night. Beware: career limiting moves ahead)

Tommy is …….cooking lasagna for 6. Looking good!!!!

(dude, we went to college together. I know all about your past. I am NOT eating that stuff)

Shannon is …… still sore from the six mile run with Suze and Phil on Saturday

(Shannon talks a lot. I would never go running with her)

Don is …..dreaming of a white Christmas

(he is always dreaming. That’s what I like most about him)

Faith is …..wondering how we connected to each other before the Facebook status application was created

(I am thinking exactly the same thing and also considering adding her to the de-friend list, its getting close to lunch and I need that free Whopper).

Sean is ………..happy to be going home but will miss my friends this week. L

Drinks next Tuesday anyone?

(dude, you are cheesy. You used the frown face in your update. Give it up – I just dropped another one on my way to Whopper world)

Stanley is …. Happy to be out of there.

(yep, so am I my friend. So am I)

Bobby is ….. wondering if he’s on the right path

(you are a smart guy. You will figure it out…..but do you need to share this with everyone?)

Dave is ……. Dealing with his demons

(future rehab alumni, just like Ms Lohan and Ms Winehouse)

Suze is ….still shocked by what Shannon said during their run on Saturday

( I hate people who talk while I am running – Shannon has just made my de-friend list)

Craig is ……..wishing I was still on vacation in Alabama

(dude, who vacations in Alabama?)

Jason is …. Listening to the kids giggle

(yeah, we all have kids too. They all giggle from time to time. Its cute. But, I don’t really care about your kids because I have no idea how we became facebook friends to begin with…bye bye Jason – hello double whopper with cheese!)

Charlie is ……digging out

(he is the most unorganized person on the planet. He will be digging out forever)

Dave is ….wondering where we lost our soul, thinking another trip to Bainbridge is in order. Kayaking anyone?

(Oh, don’t get me started about where it went wrong….but you have to accept responsibility for your lack of action)

Phil is…..going to start running with a new group of friends

(I don’t blame you..that Shannon talks too much when she runs)

Alex is ….just wrote the last check to the ex-wife!

(the first one or the second one?)

Chris is ….remembering I forgot to put on deodorant this morning. Wait, did I brush my teeth? LOL!

(dude, that’s just gross. You would have a nice time in China; you would fit right in)

Howard is …… optimistic that our new instant coffee will save our souls.

(um, no comment)

I long for the day when I open up Facebook and I see 100 status updates that say…….

(insert name)……..are going to stop updating our status and start spending some quality time together free from this technology that was supposed to free us.

Geoff is………finishing a blog entry.

Geoff is ………on his way to Burger King for his free Whopper! LOL! J

Geoff is……….going to sign off now. I have to meet a few of my old friends for a Whopper. I hope I don’t see any of the people I dropped to get the free burger! LOL!

Geoff is ………hey wait a minute…..Geoff is updating his status. I give up.

PS – I know that many of you are going to de-friend me after reading this.

Its been nice knowing you. Best of luck with your future status reports.

Posted by: yogmoney | December 23, 2011

How To Save A Life.

How To Save A Life.

December 22, 2011

Well, well…..its been a while since I last sat down to write anything. Life flies by pretty fast these days and in a blink of an eye months & months seem to come and go. Another year older, one more inch on the waist, and a few new lines on my face. Time marches on.

A lot has happened in my life during the past year. Thanks to the work of some dedicated friends & co-workers we opened a recording studio in Brooklyn. There were multiple trips to NYC, visits to China, London, LA, Atlanta, Austin, Amherst, Portland, Tampa, Nashville, and seemingly every other city Delta flies to from Boston. It’s been the busiest year of my life. Along the way I became so busy that I actually lost a bit of myself, and I lost focus on what’s important to me. So focused was I on bringing a vision to life that I sometimes missed the simple, and important things in my life.

Tonight I was reminded. And, once again it was through the power of music.

My daughter Claire had her weekly guitar lesson and since I was in town, I jumped at the opportunity to take her. She’s been taking lessons for a few months and, although she dreads going every week, she really enjoys it. On the way to her lesson she plugs in her iPhone and takes over the music in the car. Inevitably she puts on some young rap star that I have never heard of and I endure the drive trying to fake it, acting as if I am cool enough to know the artist (its been well documented that I am NOT cool enough to know). She raps along, never missing a beat or a lyric. Admittedly I usually have no earthly idea what she is saying. My daughter Abby does the same thing, educating me on the likes of Justin Bieber (yep, he is still hanging around), Drake, and many others….

After Claire’s lesson she jumped into the car with a huge smile on her face. She immediately reached for the music and I dreaded what was about to come out of the speakers. She looked at me and said, “guess what song I am learning?”. Obviously I had no idea what to say at this point, in fear that she was going to tell me it was a T-Pain version of something by Coldplay. Much to my surprise (& delight) it wasn’t.

She played the song “Over My Head” by The Fray. Now, this isn’t my favorite song or band and when she started to play it I thought to myself, “well, thank God it isn’t Yellow”. As the song started to play she started to sing along, and so did i. (I have to admit, I really like the song but I didn’t realize that I actually knew the lyrics). As we drove down the same dark road where a year before we sang “Let It Be” together at the top of our lungs, we both just let go and sang. I looked over at her, smile on her face, spark in her eye, and my heart once again melted.

The song ended and then she hits the play button on “How To Save A Life”. Again, I wouldn’t say this is in my top 100 favorite songs of all time but as I sat there and listened to this little angel sing it I began to smile (and, OK….i also shed a few tears). The lyrics say, “where did I go wrong, I lost a friend somewhere along in the bitterness”. I thought about my year, my life, and wondered just how many friends I have lost along the way to my own bitterness. Probably more than I’d like to admit or face. I know that while I have made some new friends this past year, I have lost a few good ones along the way. As the song played on I thought about this for a few minutes.  I was reminded that there are more important things in life than recording studios, advertising campaigns, and meetings. More important than that, I was reminded that I need to let go of the bitterness that is inside of me. I don’t know why it’s there or where it came from but in the coming year I am going to try to fight it and let it go somehow.

So, to my friends (you know who you are) who I have lost along the way, alone in the bitterness, I want to say that I am sorry.

It’s funny how a simple song, shared with a love one, can offer a moment of perspective and clarity.

Thanks Claire-bear. Thanks for singing the way you do, with so much joy in your voice. Thanks for reminding me what is important in this crazy life – my family, my friends, balance, and my life. Thanks for helping me save it.


Posted by: yogmoney | March 1, 2011

I love Carlisle

Our little secret : Carlisle


One of my favorite songs starts with the lyrics:


I know somewhere there is a party going down,

Interesting people, conversation to be found

I’ve lived in cities where there is no solitude

I’ve made some friends there that I hope I’ll never lose

But for now, I want to stay in this quiet town.

(Quiet Town – by Josh Rouse).



Today as I fly back to Mass from the most wonderful vacation of my life, beautiful wife seated next to me, both daughters with their heads down typing on their Macs and rocking out to some music I simply can’t understand, I find myself thinking about how great it will be to get home.


I want to let you in on a little secret. You see, I love Carlisle. There’s no doubt that there will be five feet of snow on the ground when I get there. It won’t be as sunny and warm as Islamorada was this past week. The driveway will be covered with ice, the front yard buried until Spring. It will be colder than I’d like it to be.


But, I love Carlisle.


My town has no red light. It has no high-rise buildings. It has no shopping mall. It does however have everything a person could ever dream of having. It has soul. It has a sense of itself and its history. It knows its role in the area as the little brother of the far more popular and famous Concord, home of the birth of the American Revolutionary War. We have a small rotary in the center of town. We have two churches, a school, a country store, a beautiful library, and an ATM machine (that must have been quite a public debate when that was put in!). Somehow this historic little rural farming community is at peace with our place in this busy, complicated world.


But, we love Carlisle. I have never felt more at home since actually leaving home all those years ago. I have only been there three years but it feels like I have been all my life. It feels like I finally belong somewhere.


You know by now that we have two beautiful daughters. Carlisle has given us the gift of having our daughters hang on to their youth, their precious childhood, for a year or two longer than in some other, more “progressive” and busy places. In this day and age, I count this as one of my greatest blessings.


There is a sense of innocence in Carlisle yet the people who live here are not naïve about the world around us. We’re engaged in the world, its just that we’ve chosen to live in a world that is running at a slightly slower pace than the rest.


The first time I came to Carlisle I actually drove through it without even knowing it. I was looking for a place to live, driving through the beautiful Mass countryside. My wife Allie and I were on the phone as I drove. She was giving me directions to various homes she found on line in places like Concord, Lexington, and Bedford. As I drove past the beautiful Middlesex School Allie told me I would soon be in Carlisle. Ten minutes later I was in the middle of Bedford, after having driven right through Carlisle. I remember thinking there was no way I was ever going to live in a place that I could drive through without knowing it. I was moving here from Seattle with a certain sense of entitlement and arrogance that can only be acquired from spending your life living in big cities like Atlanta and Seattle. I had certain expectations, I guess, that I would live in a typical suburb surrounded by McMansions. I had no intention of living in a small town with no red light. Well, things didn’t end up as originally planned and I consider myself to be pretty lucky that they didn’t. We found more than a house in Carlisle.


I drove over to Carlisle early one Saturday morning to meet the builder and inspect this little town a little closer. The first place I found was a small country store called Ferns. I pulled up in my car, with license plates from the state of Washington, walked in and grabbed a Diet Coke from the cooler. I looked around the place and wondered what the heck we were doing moving to this place that is seemingly in the middle of nowhere. As I approached the counter I couldn’t help but to feel that purchasing this house was likely to be the single biggest mistake of my life. The voice inside my head was casting major doubt. I wasn’t really paying attention when the man behind the counter said something to me. He said, “well, that’s an awful long way to drive for a Diet Coke (delivered in an unfamiliar Mass accent to boot!). I paid no attention to it but then realized he was talking to me. I looked at him and said, “excuse me?” – thinking that people in stores no longer speak to each other or engage in any sort of interaction beyond the typical, “that’ll be $1.79”. But this was something different. He looked me in the eye and said, “I see that you’re from Washington state. And, that’s a long way to have driven for a Diet Coke”. After a minute I realized that someone was actually talking TO me and not AT me. After gathering myself off the floor I said, “Oh yeah. I’m sorry, I wasn’t really paying attention. I am from Seattle. My family and I are moving here”. He then continued, “Well, you must be Allie’s husband. My name is Larry. Welcome to Carlisle”.


OK, so this is one of those moments in one’s life that only comes along a few times. I fear that some people never have one of these moments. A perfect moment of clarity.

This world is a busy place. We’re all in a hurry. No matter if its getting to work, rushing to a meeting, keeping up with the neighbors, or catching a flight to somewhere you don’t want to go, this world comes at us pretty fast. The old saying of taking a moment to smell the roses seems more like an abstract idea sometimes instead of something real. At least, it’s been that way for me.


So, I love Carlisle. I stood there on that early Saturday morning and suddenly everything made perfect sense. Never before in my life had everything made so much sense. I belonged here. I realized that I had found something I didn’t know I was searching for. I had longed for a place where I belonged. I found it in Carlisle.


Three years have passed. There has been more snow than I would like. There have been many summer evenings at Kimball’s Farm enjoying ice cream with my wife and daughters, saying hello to neighbors and friends. There have been walks in the woods, learning how to cross country ski, Old Home Day, school concerts, soap box derby races, Halloween school parades, bike rides through the country, walks at the cranberry bog, barn parties, new friendships, holiday parties, kayak rides on the Concord River, Christmas carols on the town green in the freezing cold, enjoying our small town newspaper the Mosquito, walks at Foss Farm, wandering through the trails of Carlisle, walking the path that the troops marched on their way to begin a war that started this country we live in, the loss of a trusted friend and dog named Piedmont, the addition of a new friend and dog named Tucker. There has been laughter and joy in the eyes of our beautiful daughters.


I do not tell you all of this to imply my little town is any better or worse than anywhere else. I simply tell you this as my hope is that all of us will someday find that place where we belong. We all need that place.


I may not live in Carlisle forever but somehow I think it will always feel like home.






Posted by: yogmoney | December 4, 2010

AdAge – World AIDS Day

It’s been almost five years since Converse joined (RED) when (RED) was just a new, crazy startup idea for getting a sustainable flow of money from business to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Since then, that crazy idea has turned into a real machine, sending more than $160 million to the Global Fund and helping to fund programs that have reached more than 5 million people affected by AIDS in Africa.

So it’s safe to say the crazy idea is working.

Beyond the money that flows to the fund, the idea has also worked for our business. First and foremost, it has given great meaning to what we do every day. Our employees are engaged and motivated by the fact that their work is contributing to something much bigger.

To mark World AIDS Day, Converse is releasing the Damien Hirst for Converse (PRODUCT) RED Chuck Taylor All Star shoe. The company is contributing 100% of the net profit of this shoe to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
It has also worked because there is so much synergy between our brands. It results in great things for our company and, ultimately, the cause. Creativity is at the core of Creativity is at the core of both brands, Converse and (RED). The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoe is one of pop culture’s great blank canvases and has inspired generations of artists who have been scribbling on the Chuck Taylor shoe for decades.
Ever since people started writing on their Chuck Taylors, turning our shoes into their personal expression, creativity has driven this company. (RED) brings another layer to that for us. With (RED), we’ve brought more than 110 artist-, designer- and musician-collaboration projects to life—from The Edge to Lupe Fiasco to Terence Koh to Vena Cava to Damien Hirst—and held artist events around the world to raise awareness for the mission.

Today, as we mark our fifth World AIDS Day involved in this issue, I’m looking ahead and excited about the five-year plan. I’m not talking about the five-year “strategic” plan for Converse (although that is, of course, great), but about the five-year plan in the fight against AIDS.

Within five years, we are on track to achieve one of the most important goals in this historic battle: the possibility of delivering the first generation of babies born without HIV in nearly three decades.

That is an incredible thing to say—that, given that this disease has claimed the lives of more than 25 million people and, today, we still see more than 1,000 children born every day with the disease (90% of whom are in Africa, the region hit hardest by the disease), we can stop it in its tracks and start an entire generation on the path to living HIV-free.

With (RED), we’re launching a new initiative called “The AIDS Free Generation Is Due in 2015” to raise awareness of this milestone and to get people involved to ensure that the focus and funding needed to achieve this goal are delivered.

At Converse, we’re proud to be one part of this massive effort. While we’re working on our five-year plan of making shoes you love and building an irresistible brand, we find great joy in knowing that it has much more meaning as it gives the kids of 2015, and all generations to follow, a healthy chance to be born HIV-free.

Learn more at

Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: