Monday, August 4, 2008

Do The One Step (When Ya Wanna Half Step on the Two Step)

For years, I've known the story "The Little Red Hen," The story of a little hen who finds a grain of wheat, but can't find anybody to help her plant it, take care of it, harvest it, grind it, make it into dough, then into bread. However, when it's time to eat the bread, the others all came running. It wasn't until I read the story to my son today (for the umpteen hundredth time) that it really hit me how much this story is an allegory for out folks and business.

Years ago, my tribe had a community garden that everybody from the tribe could get the vegetables from, and they did. However, the folks who took care of the garden where in much shorter supply and the garden soon disappeared. The most interesting part came about when folks started complaining and blamed the garden's failure on the tribal council for not seeing to it that the garden was maintained. Among the main complainers were folks who had no interest in contributing to the gardens care.

Who are the true enemies of Black businesses and micro enterprises? We are. Simply put, folks love to talk about ideas and dream, but then it's time to put the idea in motion, half the folks who were in the room talking about it drop the ball. Then if the one or two who carry the ball make it, the rest all want to talk about how they were there in the beginning hen it was an idea. If it fails, they will sit around and talk about how they always knew it would be a waste of time.

Today: I finally had a partner (so I thought) to run Midnight Groove Records. Had a background in business, including a degree, had experiences in running a business (which eventually folded... hind-sight, I wonder why?), and here is the best part. I have some backing with-which I was going to pay them to handle the administrative side of the business. Amazing how somebody with a background in real estate seemed surprised to find out that you can't succeed in the music industry by soft-peddling. I remember having to ask, "When you call a realtor, and get voice mail and leave a message, or a bank about financing the purchase and leave a message; and they don't call you back in a timely fashion, do you just sit on your hands and hope for the best? If the building inspector fails to make their appointment, do you just sit back?" of course the answer was, "No." So why would you do that when calling a promoter, program director, or media outlet??? The answer? Too much effort. Meanwhile, they already spend a considerable amount of time playing on myspace, facebook and web-surfing as it is. Here's a chance to do that and make some money at the same time, but it's too much effort. Wow!
The funny part is, I've already made money in this arena and with my label. 2000 - 2002 were good years indeed, all from a CD single and a vinyl only EP that was launched by handing out 50 copies at The Shelter in NYC on a night when a bunch of DJs from around the world were in the house. The advances of the Internet in the marketing and promotion of music makes it easier to make even more money with little more of an investment of time and attention. Ah well, here is another plan reduced to a cliche and another business that has to be moved by a Red Rooster.
Meanwhile a former partner sits back stressing about how to make a living and increase their income. "People keep waiting on a change and don't have enough sense to come in out of the rain." Sang George Clinton, and how true it is.
In both physics and real life, the true issue half-stepping is, if you keep half-stepping you never reach your desitination.

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