Political Candidates in the Era of Trump?

February 2nd, 2020 by admin

Bad reasons to support a candidate…

  • emotional irrelevancies
    • basing your opinion on the opinions of others – i.e. only considering top polling candidates, only names that are widely covered in the media or even hanging with your neighbors at a caucus meeting
    • based on who has the most commercials (tv, internet, etc.)
    • based on candidates with ties to presidents of the past – i.e. name-dropping
    • based solely on gender, race or sexual orientation
    • based on yearning to return to some past version of normality
    • based on political party affiliation – come hell or high water

The issue with these reasons is that none of them really fix anything. They are all personal and emotional. Don’t get me wrong, emotion is THE vehicle that Trump ran on. But none of these emotions are likely strong enough to invoke the relevant emotion needed to spark a turnout big enough to overcome Trump’s base.

Better reasons to support a candidate…

  • anything policy related
    • climate change
    • criminal justice reform
    • racial inequality
    • health care (including mental health)
    • immigration reform
    • education reform
    • tax relief
    • etc.

Policy changes do fix things. But policies are not strong enough to invoke the emotion needed to spark a turnout big enough to overcome Trump’s base.

Likely the BEST reason to support a candidate…

You have to address the reasons that Trump exists as President, or you will lose. Period.

One of the top reasons? THE relevant emotion – racism. Not to be confused with policies of racial inequality, we’re talking about the you-are-different-than-me-therefore-you-must-be-inferior racism. Trump uses this type of racism to pit (typically poor) white folks against minorities.

Let’s face it, white America is slowly losing its majority status which it has enjoyed since white Americans themselves immigrated here and took the majority status away from native Americans. To white Americans, losing majority status also equates to a loss of power, and invokes fear. Trump embraced this fear and used it as red meat to toss at a hungry base of white Americans afraid of losing their version of America.

Trump’s answer? Build a wall, and America keeps its white majority, right?

It is much easier to coerce a group of people to blame their issues on minorities and others and conjure up ill-advised ways to eliminate them from the country than to face the real issues head on. Trump’s answer? Build a wall, and America keeps its white majority, right?

Ok, if the issue is not the minorities, then what is the real issue?

The real issue is making money in the 21st century economy – i.e. elimination of jobs via automation.

  • Mall jobs (and malls themselves) are disappearing.
  • Fast-food restaurants are replacing cashiers with self-service kiosks. Only a matter of time before the cooks are replaced as well.
  • Grocery stores have replaced cashiers with self-checkout, are testing online order and delivery and once perfected, will shutdown neighborhood grocery stores and utilize city-wide distribution centers.
  • Self-driving cars will change the gig-economy as we know it; no reason for Lyft and Uber drivers when the cars can drive themselves!
  • Truck drivers are at risk because these too will be self-driving.
  • Bars are moving to robot bartenders.
  • By the way, when was the last time you were on a major toll road and traffic had to stop, line up and pay a cashier? Technology is not fake news.

    Companies that invent and / or leverage automation technologies which eliminate jobs that existed in the 20th century should place a share of that revenue directly back into the hands of Americans. This concept is not new, in fact, it is currently in effect in Alaska and was mentioned by Martin Luther King Jr. and recently by Barack Obama as well. Americans can use this money to start their own business, put food on their tables, or sock away for a rainy day, or whatever. It’s your America, it’s your money, do with it what you will.

    Coal mining jobs are out. Fossil fuel jobs will be too some day. The survival of the planet and the evolving technology to enable this survival will inevitably win. The good news is that solutions like solar, clean-infrastructure, electric cars, etc. will bring new jobs.

    I am a technologist working in IT, so things that I work on could likely be one of the things where I too end up having to pay some of my revenue back into the pockets of my fellow Americans. So I too can’t skirt this initiative –  and I am 100% ok with it!

    So what is the answer? Andrew Yang is the ONLY candidate addressing these types of issues. He is a minority of Asian descent and is committing to providing $1,000 a month for every American to help us navigate the 21st century economy. In addition, his policies are inline with other candidates such as healthcare to all.

    Why any American, especially minority Americans, are ignoring this man is beyond me.

    But don’t form your opinion based on my (or anyone else’s) opinion. You may want to take a look at candidate Yang for yourself http://yang2020.com/

    Or not. What’s another four years of what we have now anyway, right?

    – Big Strad

Mountains, Milkshakes and Sand

July 17th, 2012 by bigstrad

Sometimes I get so caught in the day to day grind that I forget why I am grinding in the first place. I am the poster child for living to work instead of working to live. Shame on me.

This weekend I figured I would change up the routine a bit. I went to my family reunion in the beautiful mountains of Big Bear Lake, California and did absolutely *NO* work! And the result? No stress and a relaxing time.

As a bonus, I also wandered down the mountain for a little tourism in Los Angeles and got a taste of the most amazing milkshake on the planet thus far at millionsofmilkshakes.

Lastly I spent a little time at the beach before heading back to Texas. Mountains, milkshakes and sand. I’m definitely going back to Cali.

– Big Strad

Hiatus? or Hard at Work?

April 15th, 2011 by bigstrad

I have not posted any blog entries here in over a year! At first glance, one may think I have been on some type of a hiatus.

hi·a·tus
[hahy-ey-tuhs]
–noun, plural -tus·es, -tus.
1. a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

The truth is that I have *not* had a break and have in fact been working quite diligently with partners on a project that could have a significant impact on the entertainment industry. This project has been held very close to the vest and though still in beta is about to be unveiled.

Very shortly I will begin to dive into more detailed discussions on the project; but for now I invite you to a sneak peek into what I have been working on.


I present prodjreport.com.

– Big Strad

The First Thing That Comes To Mind

February 20th, 2010 by bigstrad

Today I want to throw out a few names and have you think about the first thing that comes to mind.

Lady GaGa, Marilyn Manson, Lil Wayne, Madonna, Andre 3000 – George Clinton.

All are artists in the music biz. But is it the music itself that actually comes to mind first? Or is it their public facing characters ?

Many, including myself, feel it’s definitely the characters that come to mind first. In fact, without the characters, many artists may have never generated enough of a buzz to be noticed over the deafening roar of everybody else, and consequently we may have never gotten around to having ever heard their music – no matter how great the music was. A prime example of cause and effect.

… to many artists, having to have a reason other than what they feel they do best to even be heard is a rude-awakening and a bitter-tasting pill to swallow.

Don’t get me wrong, this type of character branding is nothing new, and it’s not just entertainment biz related – it exists everywhere. But to many artists, having to have a reason other than what they feel they do best to even be heard is a rude-awakening and a bitter-tasting pill to swallow. But once you accept it, and perhaps even embrace it, the world is yours.

I placed George Clinton in the list above rightly so, because he was an absolute master at characters. As much as I enjoyed the music of Parliament / Funkadelic, I also could not deny the characters; Dr. Funkenstein, Brides of Funkenstein, Diaper man, Sir Nose, Horny Horns, every album cover; they were everywhere. Even though William Collins was an undeniable bass playing sensation that played on many of James Brown’s mega hits, prior to coming to George Clinton’s camp he was just a bass player. So what did George do? He created a character – Bootsy. The rest is rhinestone rubber band history.

– Big Strad

Bad Habits

January 13th, 2010 by bigstrad

Ok midnight tonight will make it exactly two weeks into the new year, but it just doesn’t feel like I have officially rang in the new year because I never posted anything about it. So here goes.

Happy New Year!

Ahh, much better.

Seriously, new years bring new opportunities to lash out at old habits. I am going to at least address one or two of my bad habits, but I refuse to address all of them and absolutely will not actually promise to overcome any of them. Pretty sad I know, but hey, fight your own habits.

Hi, my name is Big Strad and I am a Dr. Pepper addict. I chain drink the stuff all day long. No kidding. I must admit that it is my worst vice… at least in my mind. And NO, I will not stop drinking it, but I know I need to cut back on the stuff and I will…even if it kills me.

Juggling projects and tasks is something that I have prided myself on. However, I tend to juggle too many at one time and frequently delay them all, and even worse, cause some of them to never come to fruition. Shame on me. But I am going to prioritize these projects and start getting some of them out the door. In fact, I will be blogging about some of these projects in the very near future. I promise, I have some good things in the works for the entertainment biz.

I mean if there really is such a thing as a social butterfly, then I wouldn’t even be a moth.

Those of you that know me know that I am as deep into technology as I am into the entertainment biz, and as much as my family, friends, business partners, associates and pretty much everybody that I know have flocked to the whole social networking thing, I have all but ignored it. It’s not that I don’t understand the technology, in fact I have even programmed and championed similar technology initiatives before most people had even heard of the Internet. And I have even had a FaceBook account for quite a while; I just hadn’t gotten around to actually caring enough about it to actually use it. I mean if there really is such a thing as a social butterfly, then I wouldn’t even be a moth. So, I have decided that I will try to do more social networking with friends past and present. In fact, I have even logged into my FaceBook account. I can do this…even if this kills me too.

I suppose I could list all of the usual things as well; work out more, save money, make more money, etc., but I will probably take a stab at doing all of these types of things because we should all be doing them anyway. But I thought I would focus on the things that I consider bad habits but don’t really want to shake – but really should.

Alright I have all of this resolution stuff behind me now. Next time we dive back into the fun stuff. Go wiggle.

– Big Strad

Pink Elephants

November 3rd, 2009 by bigstrad

There is an entire generation living amongst us that only looks at TV because the networks refuse to put their favorite reality shows online, do not listen to the radio even in the car (as all new cars come equipped for iPods), would rather text on a phone than talk on it, can tweet for hours on end and owns not a single CD instead insisting on obtaining all of their music via a plethora of Internet sites that allow downloads, streaming, etc.; all of it available 24/7 and much of it being totally free. In fact, actually owning the music is not really that important – they only want to listen to it for a while.

This generation prefers the pull methodology to the push methodology that I previously discussed here and how it gives them the power to choose what they want to see and hear, when they want to see and hear it. What I didn’t really elaborate on is that just like physics, for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. The power gained by today’s Fan has come at the expense of the entertainment industry itself, which is still based on the push methodology and a series of controls that filter the volume of music that is released to the public.

One of the pink elephants in the room is the power of choice.

Every now and then one of the many pink elephants in the middle of the room that no one likes talking about really needs to be pointed out. One of the pink elephants in the room is the power of choice. Big, strong, powerful, able to stampede at will, controlled by Fans…yet not talked about much in industry circles. There are those that still carry on with business as usual as if nothing has changed, oblivious to (or ignoring) the fact that the entertainment industry will have to better align itself with the lifestyle of today’s Fan very, very shortly. But hey, maybe we can just sit a lamp on the elephant and call it a table. Maybe nobody will notice, and even if they do, they won’t acknowledge it or say anything about it anyway right?

– Big Strad

The Internet

July 17th, 2009 by bigstrad

If you are too young to remember back as far as the dotcom bust then you may not get much out of this post. However if you do remember it and you market music, then I would like to point out some observations of mine. Let me first state that these observations are not really earth-shattering, but perhaps they may confirm similar thoughts that you are also having.

Looking back at the consumer of 1993, we see that the norm was a push mechanism where targeted material (song, video, commercial, etc ) was broadcast to you. You had the ability to choose what channel / station that you wanted to watch, but once selected there were not options – except selecting another channel / station. The consumer was the endpoint for the broadcast and could not participate in the broadcast moving elsewhere; meaning even if there was material that caught your attention you could not pass it on to others, except perhaps with a verbal attempt at explaining to others the content of the material. You also had no mechanism to interact with the media – it was a one way street.

15 years later, though these push mechanisms are still used by consumers however there are now more options available. One of them is a pull mechanism that the Internet provides. There is now an entire demographic that has grown up on, and prefers the pull mechanism. They have the power to choose the material (song, video, commercial, etc ) that they want to see / hear, when they want to see it, and with mobile technology growing by leaps and bounds, where they want it. Interaction with the content provider by leaving comments or replies is a large part of the norm in the new consumer world. The new consumer also has the power to pass on material to others by emailing, embedding, sharing, re-posting, re-tweeting, etc.

In a nutshell, the new consumer is now a major partner in your marketing campaign – or at least they should be.

Not only is the communication street now two-way, but with the ability for the new consumer to do one-to-many types of forwarding (such as re-tweets), the power to create a viral type of buzz actually now lies within the new consumers hands! In a nutshell, the new consumer is now a major partner in your marketing campaign – or at least they should be.

– Big Strad

Where Do We Go Now (Part 3)

June 8th, 2009 by bigstrad

From time to time it is beneficial for me to step back from the day to day rat race and ask myself why I do things that I do the way that I do them. I try to be honest with myself and more often than not the real answer is simply I do things a certain way because I have always done them that way. But times have changed and no one is exempt from having to re-invent themselves – not even the mammoth General Motors. For some time now I have been asking the same question of the music biz, and sure enough I always get the exact same answer – things have always been done a certain way. So step back one more time with me and let’s first acknowledge that people do still want to hear music – they just don’t want to buy it anymore. With this in mind I began thinking about what I would do if I were in charge of running a major label. I am going to make this the last of my Where Do We Go Now series. As always, remember that this is just my 2 cents. Here goes.

The Big Strad steps would be two-fold.

    Step 1 – Re-invent

  • I would make my entire staff realize that we are going to re-invent the wheel and come up with a new business model. This means work folks – lots of it. And anybody that is not down for the work of a company-wide do-over can exit stage left. For those that are up to the challenge, the resulting compensation and org chart on the other side would be directly proportional to the size of your contribution and its importance to the new business model. So, interns may end up Directors – and vice versa. You get the point.
    Step 2 – Do what we do best and let the rest go

  • We begin making money by doing what we do best and let partners handle what we used to do best. This is one of the most fundamental of business rules, but it is one the record labels seem to be ignoring. I believe it is being ignored because record label executives are still thinking in terms of what record labels used to do best – which was sell music. It is pretty common knowledge that producing the type of sales numbers that used to be possible is no longer a reality for anyone in the digital age. Ok, so what do major labels do best now? They market music. The trick is to make money marketing music, instead of selling it. This is a paradigm shift in the music biz, but it means in the new business model record labels will transform into music marketing companies (MMC)!

This is synergy at its best.

For the most part, music is tough to sell in today’s market. But products still sell; clothing, toiletries, electronics, beverages, food, cars, etc. are all still viewed by the consumer as items that must be purchased, after all it is not yet possible to download a car with today’s technology. All of the companies that sell real-world products (RWPC) also have marketing budgets for them, but they are usually geared towards advertisements for TV, radio, etc. The key for the success of an MMC is that they have to still own the exclusive rights to market an artist, but they must give up any musical rights. But giving up these rights can be leveraged in finding a suitable RWPC with a marketing budget. Endorsements are not new to the RWPC, but having exclusivity to the artists’ brand name is! The popularity of the artist and / or their music will be they key to the success of the endorsement. So who is better at making artists popular? The MMC! This is synergy at its best.

…there is yet another partner in the new business model that can win – the artist!

The MMC can also use their A&R and scouting skills to help find hot artists for the RWPC to endorse and thus continue to solidify their exclusivity in marketing music for said artist. This gives the MMC a new revenue stream (marketing), foregoing an old one (music sales). But I always preach that a win/win solution for all parties is the key to a successfull partnership. So who else wins in this partnership. The RWPC can win as well as they can fully sponsor artist tours, and even give away music based on the purchase of their product, etc. And there is yet another partner in the new business model that can win – the artist! That’s right, the artist. The RWPC already have marketing budgets and that is where the artist will now get paid from. So the artist will now get paid based on the RWPC marketing budget, not based on sales of music from a record label. So an artist with a hot endorsement deal can still be a huge star, and can make big money without having to sell a single unit!

Is this is thinking out of the box? Hell yes! But how else are you going to succeed in today’s market? Is this going to take some work? Hell yes! I mentioned that in Step number 1. What it is going to take is re-invention (this is key) from the top down. There will have to be buy in from the shareholders, to the executives all the way to the mail clerk. So please soak my idea and let me know what you think. And if any of the major labels want to put Big Strad in a VP slot and give my MMC re-invention a try – get at me. And if you do it yourselves without me, the world will always point to my blog and know it was my idea that you stole! LOL

– Big Strad

Where Do We Go Now (Part 2)

May 9th, 2009 by bigstrad

Back in the day I used to work out of studios across the country with mixing boards that had 64-128 channels (or more), 2″ reel-to-reel tape decks and cost upwards of $200 an hour. Today, technology has allowed me to create a comparable sound using a PC or Mac in any facility; small studio, house, on location with laptop – anywhere. And some of the programs are so simple to use that even the novice musician can knock out beats that compete with the big boys – though most of the big boys will disagree with me on this point. My bad. And once the song is complete it can be uploaded on blogs, social sites, tweets, etc. This means that a song can go from idea, to reality, to the world within minutes! Powerful. Damn Powerful.

Middle Class Entertainers

I am no economics wiz, but I do understand that supply and demand is at the the root of most any business with a product or service. Programmed media outlets like radio and television are excellent at exposing only a few artists at a time. This is by design and creates a big demand on a very short list (supply) of artists. This formula generates big dollars for the major labels and the labels deserve it for the amount of investment they put into these artists. Now Newton’s third law of motion states that every action creates an equal but opposite reaction. This can actually be applied to the powerful technology mentioned above, with the reaction here being that the once carefully guarded gates of supply have been kicked wide open. The Internet has allowed everybody, their cousin, uncle, sister and best friend to upload music (and everything else) simultaneously. This creates an over abundance of supply – damn the lack of a demand for it.

If you want to succeed today, then “Aim for the edges.”

However if you have a hot song and if you can generate enough of a buzz so that Internet fans can find it amidst the background noise (i.e. all of the BS that really shouldn’t even be there in the first place), then my experience has shown that you can create an opportunity for yourself to actually book enough shows and sell enough product and merchandise to earn a decent living. And though it will most likely be on a smaller scale than the dollars that the major label artists still manage to pull down (for now at least), I am not talking about the starving artist stereotype – I am talking about what Michael Laskow (President/CEO of Taxi) describes as a new middle class of entertainer. Derek Sivers (the founder of CD Baby and now Independent Music Evangelist) had a very clever analogy to describe this as well. To summarize, Derek states that the old music business was like trying to hit a 1-inch bulls-eye on the other side of a field with an arrow. Hit it and you had a huge hit; miss it and you had absolutely nothing. Today the target is 10 feet away. You can aim for the edges, and hit something pretty easily, but the bulls-eye in the middle where you get those huge hits is gone. If you’re still aiming for the bulls-eye, there’s nothing there. All the users now have the power to explore niches out on the edges of the target. This means that it is now easier to make a decent buzz in any niche market, but damn near impossible to have the all encompassing kind of mega hits that cross all genres and niches that used to occur back in the day. His final comment on it is worth noting. If you want to succeed today, then “Aim for the edges.”

I will talk about a prediction of mine for major labels next time.

– Big Strad

Where Do We Go Now (Part 1)

May 8th, 2009 by bigstrad

I believe the music biz will retain a few well-remembered scars even if they do heal.

Last time I touched on how the state of the music biz got from where it was (riches) to where it is (rags).  I want to touch on one idea that could help stabilize the ship somewhat – or at least make it more palatable for all involved when signing major label deals.  But I first want to caveat it with this; I believe the music biz will retain a few well-remembered scars even if they do heal. 

360 Deals

No way I am going to get out of speaking on this, so I will jump right into them as part 1 of “Where Do We Go Now”. Note: If you don’t know what 360 deals are (is that possible?) then you are probably a better candidate for actually reading my opinion on them than those that have already formed their opinions on them. For those that have already formed their opinion, please bear with me as I elaborate a bit on mine.

360 (or multiple rights) deals allow major labels to get a percentage of an artists revenue from items and services that had not previously been offered to the record label, such as merchandise sales, shows, endorsements, etc. This allows the label to insert themselves full circle (360 degrees) into a revenue stream that had previously been reserved exclusively for the artist and their management team. Just a short while ago I would have stated that 360 deals were becoming increasingly common, but with the state of the music biz and the economy, I can now pretty comfortably say that these are just about the only deals that are even being offered right now – at least in the rap game. To sell the deal the major labels have offered to shoulder some of the management responsibility and really become pseudo-managers themselves.

So with that being said, here’s the big question…

Are 360 deals good or bad?

Both.

Seriously.

The reason that I say this is because in my opinion (that’s why I’m blogging) I believe that any legal contract is always give and take and the key is to try and negotiate a win/win for both sides. Those are the good contracts. If one side is not happy then the contract usually ends up breached anyway and everyone loses. Those are the bad contracts. But even in the case of a 360 deal, IF the deal is written fairly (i.e. is a win/win for both parties) then it could actually be good! If this weren’t a web page here is where I would probably have to duck, but hear me out first because I have a suggestion for making 360 deals fair!

BigStrad 360 “bubble” deal… basically says “I will take multiple jobs to help pay off my loan quicker, but once I get it paid it off stop asking me for a payment – until I take out another loan”!

The major label and the artist bear a certain amount of risk in entering into a contract with one another. At a high level, the artist is risking their youth, career, dreams, etc, and the labels are parting with nice sums of cash in the hopes that they can not just make a profit, but just recoup their investment. With this in mind, I propose the BigStrad 360 “bubble” deal. It is based on give and take on both sides of the contract as follows:

    Label’s Skin in the Game

  • Labels should be allowed to recoup their monetary investments by tapping into all of an artists revenue streams (merchandise sales, shows, endorsements, etc) up until the point of they have recouped their investment. This is they key. At that point the “bubble” bursts and it reverts back to a traditional label deal with the label profiting from music sales only.
    Artist’s Skin in the Game

  • If a label will only be issuing a monetary investment then it is up to the artist and their management team to perform all management related tasks and the label should not have to perform any tasks such as seeking additional revenue streams – however it really is in the labels best interest to do so as they will recoup even faster! That is where the win/win comes in.

This deal should be fluid enough to create or burst another “bubble” and move back and forth based on whether an artist is in the red or the black. This fluid type of 360 structure is probably a lawyers worst nightmare, but could allow the label to recoup their investment faster (and much more safely) while still remaining a fair “bubble” clause which is in the best interest for the long-term career plan of the artist – especially the artists that ARE in the black and deserve it. Am I a lawyer and have I worked out all the kinks? No and No. However, common sense has to come into play at some point. This type of deal basically says “I will take multiple jobs to help pay off my loan quicker, but once I get it paid it off stop asking me for a payment – until I take out another loan”!

Next time I will take a look at a new middle class of entertainer.

– Big Strad