Why Jay-Z has no desire to be our generation's Harry Belafonte
Catching up on weekday reading…this is a well-written column.
The relationship to capitalism is the fork in the road where Jay-Z and Belafonte will never meet; one man (Jay-Z) cherishes the throne that capitalism made him an heir to whereas the other man (Belafonte) believes the throne itself should be critiqued and transformed (or perhaps even dismantled). This intergenerational debate between two living legends is not merely a personal one; it gets at the heart of what divides the civil rights generation from the hip-hop generation. Where and when, if ever, will the two meet?
I think there is a fundamental difference in how Jay-Z and Belafonte see money, business, and capitalism. I’ll write more on this later. (link TK once I do)
"The line of people waiting to eat [at the Food Bank] is too long,” he told them. “Make the line shorter.” They did"
"I didn’t believe the shit I was selling investors. This was not the company I put my life on the line to build."
Exclamation: Tumblr. + Yahoo! = !!
This totally should’ve been the official press release. I haven’t decided whether I’m comforted by the fact that Mayer/Yahoo “promise[s] not to screw it up.”
In any case, Karp seems to have found a successul monetization strategy—at least for himself. The $1.1 billion deal is “substantially all” cash. (There’s a novel instance of business-speak for ya!)
"A mantra of CEOs throughout the media industry these days is more data about customers, more readily available throughout the company. They don’t add, like Bloomberg, out of pride or perhaps because it’s obvious."
"It may seem odd to say we have arrived at a moment when data and creativity are bound together in the same vocation, not to mention the same person. Silver doesn’t have much of a problem with the idea, as incongruous as it might sound. 'I think there are two types of creativity,' he says. The first is what he calls ‘pure expression’—a phrase to describe the work of musicians, poets, actors, dancers, and the like. 'The other kind,' he says, 'is finding different ways to approach and solve a problem. I’m not sure of the first kind, but I think I have a lot of the problem-solving type of creativity.’ Math, as he once put it, 'is a different language you can use to think through problems.'"
From Fast Company's profile of Nate Silver, whom the magazine has named the most creative person in business
So I came across this company, Bohemian Guitars, that makes guitars from old oil cans. Apparently it’s inspired by the founders’ experience growing up in South Africa. Pretty cool stuff! I’d love to learn more about the South African music that inspired them.
Rose-colored lenses, media edition
“There’s nothing tawdry about offering your wares on the street. It’s how magazines and newspapers started. It is a model where the people decide and no one is in charge of the velvet rope deciding who gets to write or who gets the big writing contract or not. In some ways we’re breaking up cartels and creating a true kind of journalistic capitalism.”
Andrew Sullivan is doing some real wishful thinking here. The reason he has enough readers to even consider going it alone is that he came up through those traditional velvet-roped media, with the support of big writing contracts. The importance of traditional platforms is true for other supposedly “game changing” funding models, too: The Tomorrow crew was able to get our Kickstarter funded so quickly because we were all known for our work at a traditional media outlet. If we were a group of unaffiliated writers and designers who banded together, I’m confident we wouldn’t have made as much money. (And what we made wasn’t even enough to pay ourselves fairly.) I’d love to live in a world where all readers supported their favorite journalists directly. But the truth is they still have to find out about those journalists. And those journalists still have to hone their skills. Right now, traditional media structures are pretty crucial to both of those things.
And the same is true for music. Kickstarter et al. are great, but they’re not going to finance a long-term career.
Mochi ice cream inventor passes away
Mochi Ice Cream Inventor Passes Away, Leaves a Legacy: Frances Hashimoto, one of L.A.’s historic Little Tokyo’s most influential community members and inventor of mochi ice cream, passed away earlier this week. Hashimoto saw her famous rice cake-ice cream hybrid become mainstream during her time as the president of Mikawaya, her family’s century-old business selling traditional Japanese sweet pastries and snacks.
Would have been a good one for Inc.'s dearly departed Legacy page.
"That’s why it’s important to remember that our businesses are not dependent on who’s in the White House. The President may make the wrong decisions or follow the wrong path. Or he may be right. Regardless, the American economy will continue to churn away."