Macklemore, 1 Year In
Their album, The Heist, was an amazing commercial success with millions of records sold and several hit singles. And yet, almost everything about the band is independent. They decided against signing with a label, despite offers, because they wanted to control their art and future.
This post looks back at the last year, their rise to fame, and some of the decisions that came with it. I really respect what they’ve done, musically and more. This bit was my favorite.
He said, “Basically, if you sign this deal there is a potential that you will turn into a super star. Your life will change drastically. And once that happens, there is no going back. If we don’t go this direction, there is a ceiling to your career. You can continue to play the same rooms you’ve been playing and have a strong run as an underground rapper. But taking it to the next level will not be attainable. I see positives and negatives to both sides, and will support you either way. What do you want to do”?
I knew immediately that this a decision that would alter my life forever. I knew that getting played on the radio would alienate a core group of fans; that I’d be labeled a sell-out, maybe even a “one hit wonder” if the song got big. But despite those risks, I knew at the core what I wanted.
My logic was simple. If “Thrift Shop” blew up, the floodgates would open. People beyond even the core group of supporters would learn about our music and buy the album. The masses would not only hear a song about saving money and bargain shopping, but would discover songs about marriage equality and homophobia, consumerism, addiction, sobriety, relapse. My story would be told. That is what mattered to me.
Top 10 Digital Car Dashboards
Jalopnik rounded up up what they believe to be the best (most interesting?) car dashboards. It’s a mix of super-fancy, adaptive new ones and some relics.
Though I appreciate the new-fangled fancy screens, I’m sharing this because my dad used to have that late 80’s Buick Riviera with a touchscreen console computer and it felt like magic. I couldn’t believe they were able to have a responsive screen in the car and now I’m wondering just how big the computer behind it had to be. Here’s a video of it in action.
Mental Illness and the NFL
This weekend, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall wore green shoes to promote Mental Health Awareness week. Marshall suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and has been very public about how much treatment has helped him. While much of the NFL was wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month, Marshall was fined ~$5,000 for promoting an issue that doesn’t help the NFL’s bottom line.
Jeff Hughes, writer of Da Bears Blog, does an amazing job breaking down the NFL’s disgraceful treatment of mental illness and lack of priorities. I couldn’t recommend this article enough. It’s a great piece of sports journalism.
Don't Divert the Train
Luke Wroblewski has some good advice on getting users to do what you want without driving them nuts. In any successful app, users develop muscle memory around common tasks. This means it’s difficult to push users to complete secondary tasks — like adding a user photo or connecting with friends — that will improve their experience but are rarely the reason you open the app.
His solution is to style these tasks like other items in a user’s feed and insert them seamlessly. He didn’t give numbers, but said the “use of the Find Friends feature shot up dramatically” after implementing this change.
It’s a simple observation, but a powerful one for me. Changing someone’s behavior is difficult and there’s no reason to take on this task when it’s unnecessary. I would just be careful to respect the user’s intentions and avoid polluting a stream with too much unexpected content.