Don't Give Other People Veto Power

It's so easy to unconsciously put yourself in a position where you are reliant on someone else – or worse, a lot of other people – in order to get your project or your career off the ground. Don't do it. Don't. What happens if that person gets fired? Or that project's budget gets cut? Or your champion can't sell it to their boss? The answer is simple: you are screwed.

If you believe you need the sign-off from the head of a major label before you can even get started, you may as well quit now. Hell, buy a Powerball ticket. The odds are similar. You are setting yourself up for a lot of frustration and disappointment. And perhaps even more importantly, you are showing an incredible lack of creativity and determination – two things you will need deep reserves of if you ever hope to make a mark in the music industry.

Don't wait for someone to make it happen for you. Start doing it on your own. Start a Kickstarter project to fund an album. Start your own YouTube channel. MAKE SOMETHING WONDERFUL. Then go and find good outlets and partners for it. Now you actually have something to talk to labels about. And, trust me, that label president is going to love it if you've built it yourself. Even if he gives you a budget and asks you to rebuild it on a larger scale. Why? Because he knows how tough the road ahead is even with a major label behind you. Because he knows they can find great songs for you. And they can get you a stylist and a trainer. But they can't make you do the work. And they can't make you want it so badly that giving up just isn't an option.

So what should you do? Have a plan. And a back-up plan. Actually, have 3 back-up plans. And work the crap out of all of them. Chances are you'll need them. Pursue multiple avenues knowing that most of them won't work out. And that is absolutely fine as long as you don't let it kill your momentum. Or your spirit. You can always scale it up if the opportunity comes along. But if you wait around for someone to tell you it's okay to get started, you're going to be waiting forever. Relying too much on one person or outlet gives them veto power. And the only person who should have that is you.

Just Because You Can...

... is a really, really bad reason to do something. Whether we're talking about product lines, technology, or marketing. Google is the perfect example. They have a campus full of incredibly smart people and gigantic piles of cash. So they can do pretty much anything they want. But right now they are getting into the smart power business for homes. Which, I'm sure there is some connection to their search strategy somewhere, but at that point, you're just rationalizing. They are getting into smart power because they can. And it's a bad move. They do and/or will have significant challengers in search, advertising, mobile platforms, web browsing and web apps. A case could be made that they've already spread themselves too thin. But at least all those had some connection back to the core search philosophy. Ultimately, not only will efforts like this distract them and leave them vulnerable in some areas they now dominate, it will dilute the brand. Or worse yet, it could reinforce the low Google backlash rumbles that have already begun. They could end up not just standing for nothing, but playing the role this decade that Microsoft played in the 90's and IBM played in the 80s: a big, arrogant, stagnant bully.