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June, 2012:

Self-Worth and the Internet Marketplace

What makes something worth X dollars and not Y? And how do we determine our own self-worth, in this age of free downloads, crowdfunding, and instant everything?

In this article, Doug Shineman talks about YouTube’s business model for embedding advertising. In it, he builds his case by talking about retail vs. auction methods of sales and valuation.

In the retail model, stores sell a widget for, say, $10. At an auction, the widget will sell for the highest bid. That might be $1 one day and $25 the next, depending on the crowd and how many people want it how badly. Same widget – different prices.

If you the reader have been following me at all, you’ll know that at the moment I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund my newest CD, Of All the Rum Joints. As that campaign has developed, I’ve been learning some interesting things about my own self-worth and how I determine it.

It’s been eye-opening. I expect I’ll learn even more about myself by the time it wraps up next week.

You see, I don’t always have the strongest self-image in the world. This may surprise you, because I’m pretty good at “faking it ’til I make it.” And I’m not good at asking for stuff for myself like this, because I occasionally doubt I’m “worth it,” and like most folks I hate rejection. :) But what determines that worth?

In the case of this project, it’s apparently the number of people willing to put their money behind me and my music, and how much they’re willing to pledge. I had a “panic moment” of “what happens if nobody signs up,” and how embarassing that would feel to me. But I went ahead and did it anyway, figuring I really had nothing to lose but a bit of time and perhaps a bit of face.

I’m fighting a lot of old programming to get to this place. My Mom, bless her soul, left me a number of interesting mental “tapes,” including “don’t make a fool of yourself,” “what will people think,” and “be prepared for disappointment.” She meant well…but these are exactly the wrong tapes to support me in doing what I’m doing as an artist. And I’ve had to put a lot of work into resolving those tapes and creating new ones that serve me better.

Well, so far I’m doing almost as well as I hoped on Kickstarter, and maybe better than I expected. I’m over 2/3 of the way to making my goal, and at this point even if I don’t make it, I’ll feel like I’ve given it my best and gotten a good response. And that my music really *is* “worth it,” at least to enough people for me to feel validated.

And for better or worse, that helps me to feel better about myself, doing what I’m doing.

Which I think might make Mom happy, even if she *was* a bit overprotective along the way.

If you haven’t already checked out my Kickstarter project, I recommend it. It’s good reading and you get videos of three new songs, whether you pledge anything or not.

But I hope you will. After all, I’m worth it. :) And what I’m offering is well worth your support.

Product Review: iKlip by IK Multimedia

I’ve had my iPad for a month or so now. I’ve been finding it increasingly useful, and when I go to Florida in a week and a couple of days, I’ll take it and not take my old Mac laptop. Even if I don’t have the remote access thing for my desktop totally debugged by then, I think I can manage for about a week without an actual computer.

One of the functions I’m trying out that I like is that of using my iPad to store and play instrumental “backing tracks” during my shows. I’d been doing this with my old iPod, but that’s not as useful, and the “click click click” every time you change songs or volume levels is really distracting during a show.

Enter the iKlip. It’s one of many devices designed to attach an iPad to a mic stand. After looking over a few online, I bought an iKlip. Overall, I’m satisfied with it, but there are a few things I wish it did better.

Pluses: It does exactly what they say it will. It attaches to my mic stands. It gives my iPad a place to live. It apparently handles all three generations of iPad, with the included adapter clips.

Minuses:

  • In order to install it on a mic stand, you have to remove anything else at the end of the mic stand. As I use boom mikes, I have to remove the boom and the little star-shaped nut before I can slide the mount down onto the mic stand. So moving it from stand to stand (which I do, as I’ve got a duplicate rig set up at home for rehearsals) is a pain.
  • It is not only possible, but way too easy to install the stand part of the mount upside down. I discovered this last night after getting to my gig and installing it. I made it mostly work, but the bracket piece doesn’t lock into position when it’s installed that way. It’s hard to describe in English.
  • I only just ten minutes ago figured out how to install the iPad 2/3 adapter clips, after trying to puzzle it out for the last couple of weeks. Yes, the diagram shows you where they go, IKEA-style. But they don’t tell you how to push the clips into place until they lock. I’d been trying to fit them every which-way, without success.
  • When installed, one of the top clips is so close to the volume rocker on the iPad that it’s hard to turn the volume down using that rocker. During a show, when I’m adjusting the volume of tracks, that’s an issue because I have to do this fairly quickly. I guess I’ll get used to it.

Overall, I have to say it’s worth the approximately $35 I paid for it. But I’m going to have to buy another one in order to have the functionality I want – being able to mount my iPad on two different mic stands at different times – without having to repeatedly disassemble and reassemble the mic stands.

As I need another adapter, I may see what else is on the market rather than buying a second iKlip. Stay tuned.