Change is Good….(I think)…
Yesterday I arrived in Europe, checked into my hotel, and began the process of trying to stay awake and get on the local time zone as fast as possible ….(today I happen to be in Bilbao Spain to do something with the Symphony for a week). Usually outside of the USA there isn’t much on television in English besides news, so when I wake up in the middle of the night from jet lag I tend to check out whats going on via the TV or Internet. Because of this if you are unable to sleep, quite often you will find yourself paying attention to things on TV or online that may not otherwise hold your interest at home. Last night I happened to stumble upon a debate on either CNBC or Bloomberg Television that involved 3 representatives from the New York Times on one side of the stage, VS 3 representatives from Social Media Platforms on the other. After observing the arguments by both sides it was obvious that the New York Times representatives were anything but willing to admit that the newspaper business is gradually being phased out. This is, of course not news to anyone who has witnessed what the Internet has to offer. The amount of content and the speed at which we can access it is truly amazing. In addition, we now have the ability to see a number of different approaches and opinions on any subject and are not at the mercy of just absorbing what the newspaper says as “fact”. Of course, on the other hand, its amazing to see how ANYONE can put something up on the Internet and immediately seem as if they have a valid statement to make, but at least we are all able to participate if we choose to do so. At one point in this debate I was referring to, the newspaper people were being accused of looking the other way on certain issues that should be, according to the social media side, paid attention to. The newspaper people were completely in denial of this fact and one of the social media representatives sited the Boston Globe approach to the various catholic church accusations in Boston, and how that newspaper had ignored a problem for 30 years and wouldn’t report on it, even though it was something that should have been brought to light as an issue. It was obvious to me that the newspaper people were doing anything they could to show the validity of this format, and how it still has some relevance in the world. But in order to do this they had to downplay the obvious aspects of everything that was going on around them.
This brings up a much bigger issue in human nature. We all resist change. Many times, the only way we will acknowledge it is if we are absolutely FORCED to do so. I cant imagine being in the newspaper business at this point in time. Im sure its a very tough time now for people who have made their living in that business and I mean no disrespect to it, but the arguments I see people make to try to avoid change are fascinating to me. This debate was evidence that the fear of something new and how its going to manifest itself will often cause us to lie to ourselves. Through this process we shortchange ourselves by not reaching the potential we could. I have seen this in the music business all around me for years. I still have friends in my home town who are trying to get signed by a record company, thinking that this will be a career changing event. Unfortunately this is no longer the reality, and hasn’t been since I was in high school or college. Quite often they will cling to the idea of this and structure their path around it, rather than investigate the unknown and look at what would really benefit them. If you look at anyone who has been successful in any business, many times you will see that they were often required to completely abandon their past frame of reference to reach the next level, otherwise their business would fail.
Things are changing faster now than ever before. The speed at which you learn will quite often determine your level of success, because by the time you learn something within a few years it will be obsolete. Especially if you are in any business that involves entertainment. I know people who run recording studios in my hometown who still don’t use computers….and not for the right reasons. They just never got past adats, or tape. They are gradually being phased out and they don’t know it. In addition, it reflects in the sounds they get, and the speed at which they can produce. We can all fight it, but if you don’t pay close attention to whats going on and be honest with yourself you will find yourself making any argument you can out of desperation. The hidden detriment is that we completely shortchange our development by lying to ourselves about these things, and in the process our skills become dull. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap, or you’ll get left behind….