An Intimate Lecture w/ ?uestlove


You mention the term, self-saboteur. Do you feel that it applies to you in any way?


Yea, especially in that time period. I think that when people don’t know how to deal with relative success, or how to handle it … a great example of it is probably our sixth album, “Phrenology”.

There’s a term called the departure album. And usually any artist that has some sort of artistic peak … there’s only one artist that I know that even dared to attempt to capitalize on the lightning in the bottle moment for their career – and that was Michael Jackson. He acknowledged that “Thriller” sold 40 million units and he wanted “Bad” to sell 100 million units. And he went in every day with the intent on, “I absolutely must sell this many units!”

?uestlove of the Roots interview with Red Bull Academy

The average artist does the opposite – they do the departure record. The first departure record was “Sgt. Pepper’s”. The Beatles were tired of being The Beatles. They said, “Let’s make a disguise record. Let’s do the opposite of what we should be doing.” And it backfired and actually became a standard. Marvin Gaye was tired of being Marvin Gaye. He wanted to get fat and grow a beard. He was tired of being the Prince of Motown. It backfired and “What’s Going On” winds up being a standard. Prince makes “Around The World In A Day” after “Purple Rain”, because the pressure of following up this massive album. It’s too much for him, so he makes the complete opposite record.

There’s a gazillion … Stevie Wonder – “Songs In The Key Of Life”. He can’t follow it, so he makes “Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants” – the closest to kind of a Pink Floyd experimental record. You can say the same thing for “Kid A” by Radiohead – coming on the heels of “OK Computer”, which was like one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 1998.

So in our case, at the time, I just felt like let’s just do the record … I don’t know what makes you … I don’t know the psychological thought process that leads one to say, “Okay, let’s take everything that we worked for and just throw it out the window. Let’s make the complete opposite album.”

To some critics of the post Village Voice cloth it’s like, “Oh, it’s an artistic statement!” It was seen as a bold move, but if I’m probably honest about it – it was like, “I don’t know what to do and we’re scared that we can’t follow up this record, because we didn’t plan this success. So let’s mess it up before they mess it up for us.”

With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility

Originally posted on Om Malik:

“You should presume that someday, we will be able to make machines that can reason, think and do things better than we can,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in a conversation with Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla.  To someone as smart as Brin, that comment is as normal as sipping on his super-green juice, but to someone who is not from this landmass we call Silicon Valley or part of the tech-set, that comment is about the futility of their future.

And more often than not, the reality of Silicon Valley giants, who are really the gatekeepers of the future, is increasingly in conflict with the reality of the real world!  What heightens that conflict — the opaque and often tone-deaf responses from companies big and small!

Silicon Valley (both the idea and the landmass) means that we always try to live in the future. We imagine what the future…

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Android screen sizes aren’t as big a challenge for developers as you might think

Originally posted on Gigaom:

For years we’ve heard horror stories about mobile app developers trying to support the many screen sizes found on Android(s goog). As the story goes, it’s a far more complicated scenario than developing for iOS(s aapl) since there’s only a handful of different screens on Apple devices. Or is it? According to one developer, who writes apps for both platforms, Android screen fragmentation is a myth.

Russel Ivanovic from Shifty Jelly, maker of the popular Pocket Casts app for iOS and Android, shared his thoughts on this perception in a blog post, starting with this infamous and daunting graphic from 2013 that illustrates the many screens supported by Android:

android screen sizes 2013

Simply looking at the graphic, it’s easy to believe that supporting Android has to be more difficult for this reason. Not so, says Ivanovic:

“It’s not that hard, and honestly causes us less headaches than most people imagine. Firstly, the tools…

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Pacebook: Orkut’s fate shows how stupid land grabs are

Originally posted on PandoDaily:

The_Tortoise_and_the_Hare_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19993The sad fate of Orkut proves what I’ve been saying about Groupon for years

It’s one of the easiest things to say but one of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do: Ignore competitors and run your own race. Every startup has a different path, but by and large pacing and fighting one battle at a time wins over a total-no-holds-barred land grab. That’s especially true when it comes to international expansion.

In the first generation of the Web, companies were mostly happy to conquer the world after they’d dominated America– even if they were pretty arrogant and awful about it when it came to companies like China.

But, in an era of the Samwer brothers, wild copy cats and mobile companies that go global in an instant, companies increasingly felt they had to go global before someone beat them to it. No matter what it cost them. In…

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With Love

I know
It hurts to be sober
You can’t forgive yourself
Or it’s everybody else’s fault
If your one of those types
But it’s all the same
It hurts to feel something
Well I’m here today
Not to say stop abusing
But to say
Time to buck up
Do as you please
But at the very least
You should be
Of that pain
From whatever it is
You’re holding onto
If you’re dealing with loss
Your lost loved one
Would not want you to suffer
I know it hurts
But the only way out of
This tunnel
Is to let go
And seek shelter
Learn to cope
Skew morality
If you have to
So that you can find your
Happy again
Without the influence from substance
Time to grow up
And be your own parent
Nobody else can do it for you
Whether it’s learning to live
Without a loved one
Or learning in life
You don’t always get what you want
Unless you’re willing to earn it
The drugs don’t hurt
Within moderation
But they don’t help you get there
Wherever “there” is in life
That you want to be at
You’re just wasting away
Clinging to a false sense of security
Hiding behind numb feelings
Not accomplishing your goals
On behalf of your own true happiness
Let go of
Whatever is
Holding you
Back from moving on
Back from finishing the work you need to
In order
To succeed at living your dream
Be happy my friend
Without addiction

Ginger rants and Brooklyn bridges

Build the Brooklyn Bridge

Because a ginger has rants and is inspired by others:

Anyone not trying to get to know the real you is not doing it right. And if they do get to know you more and it turns them away – that’s the price of admission in this thing called love (not just situational/convenient relationships). It’s a part of life.

Accept nothing less.

We try to rush through the bad, the clashing of interests, difference of opinions, the getting to know you part, because we want the fantasy of love, but the dedication part requires we jump through all those hoops so we end up with the perfect person to your other half. It’s those boring “getting to know you” moments that matter all the most.

You have to be willing to get excited about the most boring details of that person, because when you’re both 50 and it’s just the two of you (if you’re both lucky enough in life) that’s what will help make it last.

I’m not trying to only know the Friday night version of you, I’m interested in knowing the complete you – you at your most fragile, vulnerable, and lonely. What gets you through the toughest Mondays, the arguments, the frustrations, the hurdles in your life? Because if I can’t assist you in those moments, I’m useless.

Anybody can have a good time and be friends when you’re all having fun, but it’s who gets you through your toughest times that deserves your sunshine – not the professional worker/acquaintance “white” voice version of yourself that you put on for the world, but the real you who takes off the face the world projects onto you in order to make it through life successful everyday when you come home and unwind from it all.

Your glass of wine, your favorite show, the smile inside, the fire that sparks your interest, the light that turns on for you when it’s just you and time and how you choose to spend it to keep yourself satisfied in life. Your truest self. Whatever that is. No judgments.

Let those moments, the most sincere and honest version of you smile through the nervous first dates of the “will she like me’s”, “what books does she read”,what kind of parent would she make”, and after it all if they see all of you and they stick around, well THEN you have the beginnings of what COULD BE the makings of a bridge to build together on the linear road called life.

Word to the Brooklyn bridge. Go and build you one, homey.