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Seven Point Sunday #5

Seven Point Sunday #5

 
Happy Sunday!
 
I spend my “free” time (1) making music, (2) understanding cryptocurrencies. Yes, crypto can help musicians. Artists receive royalty payments months after the fact. There are several startups addressing this problem. Help may be on the way.
 
It’s a dire situation in India as the pandemic is surging. I’m monitoring the situation closely and how my family and friends are being affected. Consider donating to UNICEF which is helping with the response.
 
Also, I still talk to strangers.
 
Do I NOT know you? DM me, and maybe we can video chat.
 
-Kabir
 
 
 
Sunday Seven
 
 
 
💼 Portfolio Career
Joey Crawford is an academic and entrepreneur. He started a gin distillery! Imagine if your co-worker operated a distillery on the side. His advice on getting more done: “Check your phone usage. How much time did you spend stuck in a social media scroll of death? I used to get trapped in keeping up-to-date with Instagram and Facebook…and TikTok now. I learned to reutilize that time.” Learn how he manages his portfolio career.
 
 
 
 
 
⚡ Productivity
Quit scrambling around the web to read the news. I use Feedly, a reader that helps me organize & digest all sorts of information. I was already using Feedly to read periodicals like Bloomberg and MarketWatch. I got the pro subscription so that I could integrate Reddit threads, YouTube channels, and even newsletters into the reader. With Feedly Pro, you can generate a unique email and use it to subscribe to a newsletter (such as this one). Achieve organizational bliss with Feedly! (This is not an ad)

 

💰 Money
Consider investing in Indian bank and consumer stocks. India’s BSE Index has fallen considerably over recent weeks, because of the pandemic surge – which is likely to get worse. If you’re a contrarian investor, consider these Indian ADR stocks that trade in the US. Axis Bank and HDFC are proxies for the country’s macro economic situation. Whereas firms like Wipro and Infosys is how to get exposure to the IT sector. India needs capital inflows, so now may be your opportunity.

 

📚 Books

Want to get more done? Make a list. Check out the classic Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo, an Emmy award winning TV producer. What do Madonna, Martha Stewart, John Lennon, Ellen DeGeneres, Ben Franklin, Ronald Reagan, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Johnny Cash have in common? Each is (or was) a list maker. In this book, Rizzo walks through how to make a list and drive tasks towards execution.

 

🎵 Music

Alí Bello‘s album Inheritance just dropped! Listen here. The Venezuelan-born, New York-based violinist & composer’s new album showcases his unique amalgam of modern jazz and musical traditions the Caribbean. An original set of nine compositions, Inheritance documents the dazzling compositional output of this acclaimed leader. Featured special guests include Regina Carter and Jaleel Shaw. It was a pleasure to help produce this project.

 

📽️ Film

Jimmy Carter is misunderstood. He’s not just a great former president, but he was also an excellent president. That’s the viewpoint of a new film Carterland by Will & Jim Pattiz. The film details how President Carter was ahead of his times, from his installing solar panels at the White House to returning the Panama Canal. The film includes Walter Mondale’s last interview. And one by Paul Volker whom Carter appointed to the Chair of the Federal Reserve, a decision that took gutsCarterland had its world premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival and was awarded Best Documentary Feature. While the film isn’t available to watch yet, you can check out my interview of the directors.

 

📷 Photo

 
What’s your favorite point?
Tweet @kabirsehgal using #7PS so I can find your thoughts
Seven Point Sunday #5

Seven Point Sunday #4

 
Here we go again!
 
I can tell when Harvard Business Review re-posts my article about having a portfolio career. I receive hundreds of comments, queries, and notes.
 
The piece seems to strike a chord: “You need a job that pays the bills. But you also need a job that fulfills you. You can have both.”
 
I started this very newsletter weeks ago to help & feature those with many careers. Remarkably, 4,500+ have signed up! Thanks for your interest and support.
Also, I still talk to strangers.
 
Do I NOT know you? DM me, and maybe we can video chat.
-Kabir
 
 
Sunday Seven
 
 
💼 Portfolio Career
Zachary Burton is a Stanford-trained geologist AND playwright. He almost committed suicide and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder: “It wasn’t until after this pivotal life moment that I fully embraced throwing my heart and soul of multiple causes and careers I care about,” he said. So, he started a theater company, and now he’s pursuing his many passions.
His advice for aspiring multi-careerists:
1. Start today.
2. Start small.
 
 
 
 
⚡ Productivity
Higher quality audio makes you sound smarter and even more likable. A study finds that people think less of those who have bad quality audio. Audience members rated a speaker’s remarks 20% better when there was good audio quality.
For your Zooms, make sure you have:
  1. Fast speed internet
  2. Good microphone
  3. Low background noise.
If you don’t have these, let people know during the call. Or else they may think you’re an idiot.

 

💰 Money
Trading cryptocurrencies is a wild but fascinating ride.
Imagine learning about the US dollar or South African rand for the first time. That’s where we are with crypto.
There are many cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Dogecoin, SushiSwap, etc. It’s still early in the game. Learn, study, and potentially invest.
How to get started:

 

📚 Books

We all want to make passive income. But how do you actually make it? Acclaimed author Dorie Clark‘s Entrepreneurial You provides a blueprint for professional independence, with insights and advice on building your brand, monetizing your expertise, and extending your impact online. She shares wisdom from those who have created passive income streams, such as fellow authors, podcasters, coaches, and online marketers.

 

🎵 Music

April is Autism Awareness month. Multi Grammy Award winning artist John Daversa’s album All Without Words: Variations Inspired by Loren drops April 30 (pre-save). It’s a lush, orchestral jazz trumpet concerto composed by his lifelong friend Justin Morell. As a parent of an autistic child, Morell conceived the album when Daversa asked him to write a largescale orchestral jazz piece. Loren, Morell’s son, struggled with the basics of communication from a very young age and lost his ability to speak by the time he was 3 years old. This is a musical masterpiece, and I’m humbled to produce their music.

 

📽️ Film

The Academy Awards are today. A Concerto is a Conversation is nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject. It’s a stirring 13-minute film about acclaimed composer (and film co-director) Kris Bowers who converses with his grandfather about their familial history. Here’s my interview with Ben Proudfoot (co-director).

 

📷 Photo
 

 
What’s your favorite point?
Tweet @kabirsehgal using #7PS so I can find your thoughts
Seven Point Sunday #5

Seven Point Sunday #3

 
I talk to strangers.
 
Every so often, I video chat live with strangers on Instagram. It’s a roulette, opportunity, and hoot! I never know who I’ll speak with and what about. Last Wednesday, I met Bladimir, a writer in Venezuela who is exploring the virtues of being multifaceted; conversed with Paul Adams in Illinois about his peaceful album; and jammed with Amandeep in India who plays the guitar and ukulele. Bernardo Monk in Argentina (who isn’t a stranger) even dropped into chat.
 
These days we aren’t meeting many strangers. It’s been a while since I made a new friend at a coffee shop or talked to someone in an elevator (yes, I wrote a piece on that very topic). But it doesn’t have to be that way.
 
Do we NOT know each other? If so, would you like to video chat? DM me on Instagram.
 
-Kabir
 
 
 
 
Sunday Seven
 
 
 
 
💼 Portfolio Career
As Europe deals with another pandemic surge and poor vaccine distribution, there’s another challenge on the horizon. Angela Merkel, the de facto leader of the continent, will leave her post this fall. I examine who will replace her and ultimately who may speak for a united Europe in MarketWatch.
 
 
 
 
 
 
⚡ Productivity
Got Zoom fatigue? A Stanford researcher published a whitepaper on virtual meeting effects and mitigations:
  • Effect: A high amount of close-up eye contact can create anxiety.
  • Solution: Don’t use full screen mode. Make people smaller.
  • Effect: Videos create more taxing cognitive work.
  • Solution: Turn some of your meetings into audio only.

💰 Money
Have you re-financed your mortgage? There are still 13 million Americans who are eligible to refinance. This is an obvious way to save some cash every month. Even though rates are increasing, they’re still low on a historical basis. Don’t miss the boathouse.

📚 Books
Want to get more done? Make a list. Check out the classic Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo, an Emmy award winning TV producer. What do Madonna, Martha Stewart, John Lennon, Ellen DeGeneres, Ben Franklin, Ronald Reagan, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Johnny Cash have in common? Each is (or was) a list maker. In this book, Rizzo walks through how to make a list and drive tasks towards execution.

 

🎵 Music

Heart Awakening is the new soothing, peaceful guitar single (from an EP with the same name) from Shambhu, who is an acclaimed artist. Shambhu’s performance on my Quarantine Concert Series was one of my favorites. I like listening to his music as I write and walk in ovals outside. His music puts me in a serene state of mind, and it may help you find tranquility.

 

📽️ Film

Crip Camp (Netflix) is an eye opening documentary about a group of teenagers who went on to build the disability rights movement. The film is Executive Produced by President Obama and Michelle Obama. It’s nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Here’s my interview with directors Nicole Newnham & Jim Lebrecht.

 

📷 Photo

 
 
 
What’s your favorite point?
Tweet @kabirsehgal using #7PS so I can find your thoughts
Seven Point Sunday #5

Seven Point Sunday #2

 
 
Hello, there! I’m back 😊
 
I’ve been thinking about this newsletter and how to make it more useful for you. I want to create value for you.
 
I believe in having a portfolio career, so this newsletter will share insights and ideas for you to create your own portfolio career. It’s OK to have a range of interests and do many things.
 
To get value from this newsletter – you don’t have to be an accountant who reads science fiction, invests in municipal bonds, plays accordion, and meditates daily. But that’s awesome if you are. This newsletter is for anyone who has a curiosity about life and wants to explore. Let’s learn from each other.
 
So, here’s the plan:
  • Frequency – I’ll send you my top 7 points every (or more likely, every other) Sunday at 7 am ET.
  • Topics – These 7 points will be what I find noteworthy across many fields such as productivity, money, books, music, film, etc. I hope these nuggets will provide insight or even inspire you to take action in your life.
  • Together – I’ll mention some of my projects. DM or Tweet #7PS if you’d like me to consider something to feature.
  • Brevity – I’ll be brief. Skim and move on.
  • Not feeling it? – Unsubscribe below (no hard feelings)
 
 
 

Sunday Seven

📰 Top News

Today begins the Indian springtime festival of Holi. People gather in the streets and put colors on each other. My mother and I wrote Festival of Colors that is now available as a board book for younger children. We also made a stop time video of the story. Zesty Kitchen created a special edition Holi box with sesame brittle, colorful powder, and our book.

⚡ Productivity

One year into the pandemic, are you still working for The Firm? That’s fine, but now is a good time to start a side hustle. Here is my take on how to dominate working from home, so you can finally find time to do what you want.
 
 

💰 Money
J.P. Morgan recently upgraded Mexico to overweight or “Buy.” With upwards revisions to US GDP estimates and the enactment of the recent relief bill, more people may send remittances to Mexico. This will likely buoy its market. A list of Mexican companies that have ADRs that trade on US stock exchanges.

📚 Books

Hashtags were done. Until they made a comeback on Twitter. A new book looks at the history of punctuation marks: Hyphens and Hashtags: The Stories Behind the Symbols on Our Keyboards. Two French lawyers once fought a duel over the use of the semi-colon.
 

🎵 Music
March is Women’s History Month. Check out Shoulder to Shoulder: Centennial Tribute to Women’s Suffrage by Karrin Allyson Sextet. I was proud to produce. We recast suffrage era songs as modern jazz. The album features Harry BelafonteRosanne CashRegina CarterMadeleine PeyrouxDenise DonatelliVeronica SwiftRapsodyKurt Elling, even Roberta FlackRead the liners.

 

📽️ Film
The recent gun violence is tragic and sad. I interviewed Kim Snyder, director of US Kids, a documentary that interviews the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who speak out about the gun violence epidemic.

 

📷 Photo

 
 
 
 
What’s your favorite point?
Tweet @kabirsehgal using #7PS so I can find your thoughts
As Merkel exits the political stage, who will speak for a united Europe?

As Merkel exits the political stage, who will speak for a united Europe?

This is the year that we will no longer have Angela Merkel on the world stage. Back in 2018, she announced that she would step down this fall, after serving as the chancellor of Germany for 15 years. During her tenure, she’s seen many leaders come and go: four American presidents, four French presidents, five United Kingdom prime ministers. Throughout her tenure, she’s been a model for stability and the de facto leader of Europe, as she navigated crises from the European Debt Crisis and Arab Spring to the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Brexit, among others.

With Merkel exiting the stage, who will fill her shoes? Here are the chief contenders:

·        The next German chancellor

There are two main candidates vying to replace Merkel in the September 26 national election. Armin Laschet, recently won the election to become the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He has a long career in politics, first being elected to the German Bundestag in 1994 and later serving as a cabinet minister and prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, his state. He is an ally of Merkel, and his election is a signal that the party wants to continue her policies and approach. Laschet is widely viewed as a centrist who can bridge the factions to create a governing coalition.

Despite Laschet serving as party head, he’s not necessarily a shoe-in to become chancellor. Markus Söder, the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) which operates and coordinates with the CDU, is leading recent public opinion polls. Söder serves as the head of government in Bavaria. He has taken a tougher stand on immigration and even demanded that crucifixes be placed in public buildings.

There are other candidates such as Olaf Scholz, leader of the Social Democratic Party, who are vying for the chancellorship. But the CDU-CSU candidate is expected to win the office.

Yet whomever becomes the next chancellor will not be able to fill the void of Merkel –– at least not in the short run. Merkel’s elevated stature on the world stage made her Europe’s singular and most important leader.

·         Emmanuel Macron

The president of France may become the de facto leader of Europe by default; France is the European Union’s second largest economy. Macron has led France since May 2017 and has an ambitious vision and agenda for Europe, pushing for “strategic autonomy.” He believes the EU should increase spending on security and defense, and act more as a political union, not just an economic one. With Merkel’s departure, Macron may grow more outspoken regarding his policies and priorities. Besides, any new German chancellor will have to spend the initial months shoring up political support and tending to domestic affairs. Still, Macron is up for reelection in the spring of 2022, and currently he is lagging behind Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in opinion polls.

·         European Union leaders

The leaders of several European Union institutions may try to fill Merkel’s void. These include Charles Michel, president of the European Council; Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission; David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament; or even Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank. All of these individuals are institutionalists who can surely articulate the values and priorities of the EU. But none can claim the same sweeping electoral mandate as the leader of a large sovereign country such as France, Germany, or even Italy.

Merkel has been a strong, steady leader for Europe, which has long been a fractious union of more than two dozen countries. To dramatize the singular power Merkel — an opera lover — I created an opera that highlights how she navigated the European debt crisis with reluctance yet dexterity. Like any good opera, Europe’s next primary protagonist will have a grand stage on which to perform.

[This article was previously published in MarketWatch]

Kabir Sehgal is a multi-Grammy Award winner and the creator of Angela’s Ring: An Opera Revue of the European Debt Crisis.

Seven Point Sunday #5

Seven Point Sunday #1

I’m starting a newsletter. Yeah, like for real. Straight from my keyboard to your inbox.
 
There’s something about this that feels both old and new. Newsletters (and newsgroups) were some of the first online communities. And now they’re coming back, as several social media platforms are letting their users create newsletters to communicate directly with their audiences. Sure, I post to Facebook, IG, Twitter – but it’s hard to know who is seeing what, as the respective algorithms limit the organic reach of posts.
 
So, we’re back to good ole fashioned email. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, and it’s taken me a year into the pandemic to finally set this up.
 
What will I cover in this newsletter? A bit of everything: personal development, productivity, business, investments, politics, music, films. While that may seem “all over the place,” I hope my curiosity will be of interest to you, and we may grow together. I’ll also provide updates on my projects: music I’m making, books and articles that I’m writing, films I’m producing. This newsletter will evolve and find its own groove. I hope that you enjoy my missives and that you encourage your friends to read and subscribe.
 
The Lede
My opera just came out!
Angela’s Ring: An Opera Revue of the European Debt Crisis
 

My friend Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was a CNBC news anchor who performs on the opera. She’s also running for Comptroller of New York City.

 
Opera Reviews:
  • The Jazz Owl: “It is not very often that we see a Jazz opera and rarer still to hear a work of Jazz and Classical vocals that is so instructive, humorous, and sympathetic to an international crisis, but Angela’s Ring is all of that.”
  • Take Effect: “But if your interests reside anywhere near opera and jazz, there’s much in the way of instruments, texturing and top notch songwriting to be excited about from the exceptional talent present.”
  • Midwest Record: “The script is pretty funny and sassy–you don’t even have to be a news head to smirk your way through it…Don’t be afraid to approach it if you want something new that really colors outside the lines.”

Nota Bene

My long time creative partner Arturo O’Farrill won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for his album Four Questions which is inspired by the wisdom of W. E. B. DuBois. I was blessed to help produce the album. Listen here.
 
Here’s what I wrote in the liner notes:
Four Questions is the sixth production on which Arturo and I collaborated, over almost a decade. It’s been amazing to see Arturo’s journey as an artist and intellect. He makes music that is both contemporary and timeless, provoking questions among listeners to observe their surroundings. That this project is grounded in the philosophy of one great American writer, W.E.B. Du Bois, it’s fitting to cite another. The influential African American jazz critic and novelist Albert Murray believed that cultural diversity was a hallmark to America’s strength, and I know that Arturo believes this, too. Moreover, like Murray, Arturo believes that the powers that be should be called out for intolerance and bigotry.

 

Why Mexico didn’t pay for the border wall — and shouldn’t have to

Why Mexico didn’t pay for the border wall — and shouldn’t have to

Here is a shocker: Mexico didn’t pay for the wall. Building a border wall that spans the entire U.S.-Mexico border is untenable. In fact, just five miles of new wall have been built in recent years.

The two countries have shared a border for 200 years and have endured periods of war and violent invasions between each other. Yet despite the many ups and downs of the relationship, there has never been an attempt to construct such an extensive wall across the whole border. So when the cry to “build the wall” started to pervade the political conversation in 2015, Mexican leaders immediately dismissed the notion.

Here is why an extended border wall is unlikely to be built. First, geography is a limiting factor. The U.S.-Mexico border covers almost 2,000 miles, from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east. It touches four U.S. states and six Mexican ones. It also bisects various terrains from mountains and deserts to wildlife preserves and urban areas. The Rio Grande river is a natural barrier and makes up more than 60% of the border.

Second, there is already a partial border wall. Some 20% or 650 miles of the border had some fencing or divider, as of 2017. Much of the existing border wall inhibits cars from crossing the border. Only 17% of the border has a wall designed to stop people traveling on foot. Much of these dividers were constructed after The Secure Fences Act of 2006 was signed into law. This prompted then Mexican President Felipe Calderon to say, “Humanity made a huge mistake by building the Berlin Wall, and I believe that today the United States is committing a grave error in building the wall on our border.”

Third, it’s expensive to build a wall. Even constructing a partial wall across the border, which could run some 900 miles, will cost almost $22 billion, according to an internal estimate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Researchers at MIT calculated the cost at $40 billion, and the effort could take up seven years. Congress, at least in the short run, will not authorize these funds. Mexico is not ponying up either.

Fourth, the wall is ineffective. In 2016, some 62% of undocumented workers in the U.S. had overstayed their visas, far more than those who crossed the border on foot. While building a wall may act as a deterrent to those wanting to come to the United States, even the conservative Heritage Foundation contends that constructing a wall isn’t enough to meaningfully to curb undocumented people from traveling to the U.S.

The “build the wall” mantra has resulted in forming mental walls. There is a long history of xenophobia between the two countries. The fervor to build the wall is the latest incarnation of deep and mutual skepticism among Americans and Mexicans.

Despite their checkered history, the U.S. and Mexico have enjoyed periods of friendship and amity. There are millions of people in both countries who have shared ancestry. Over the years, both private citizens and policymakers have tried to tear down walls, both physical and mental.

We believe the U.S.-Mexico border should also reflect the historic friendship between our two countries. In fact, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to create a binational, international park in the 1940s. He succeeded in creating Big Bend National Park that is adjacent to the U.S.-Mexico border. But the common park has never materialized.

In 2018, we organized a concert with musicians on both sides of the border. In doing so, we turned an object that is supposed to divide into one that unites. We filmed the experience as part of a new feature documentary “Fandango at The Wall,” which we hope will help people realize that Americans and Mexicans aren’t just neighbors but friends and interconnected families.

[This article was published in MarketWatch.]
Article is by Kabir Sehgal & Doug Davis

***

Kabir Sehgal and Doug Davis are producers of the feature music documentary Fandango at the Wall which explores U.S.-Mexico relations through Mexican folk music known as “son jarocho.” HBO will premiere the film on Friday, September 25. It will also be available on HBO Max.

Frontline workers in this coronavirus-damaged economy need money as well as applause

Frontline workers in this coronavirus-damaged economy need money as well as applause

If there’s one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has made clear, it’s the importance of “essential workers.” While this moniker is fairly broad and accounts for employees in many sectors, the definition is narrow: Essential workers are those who are integral to the health, safety, and very functioning of society.

From physicians and pharmacists to grocery store and delivery workers, these workers have arguably put their health at risk during the pandemic. What’s more, many of these essential workers with lower incomes have long been overlooked and underappreciated. They’re also underbanked, meaning that they don’t have access to basic financial products like bank accounts, personal loans, and credit cards.

It’s time to take better care of those who are taking care of us.

It’s time to take better care of those who are taking care of us. Here are three vital ways we can help lower-income workers attain greater financial security:

1. Bank accounts for everyone: About 55 million Americans, or 22% of households, do not have a bank account. Most of these are minorities including Hispanics and African Americans. The $2 trillion stimulus CARES Act was implemented to help Americans during these turbulent times. And while the Internal Revenue Service has distributed about half of the allotted money to Americans via direct deposit, it hasn’t yet sent funds to the millions of Americans who don’t have a bank account.

Instead, the IRS will mail checks to these individuals, who may have to use a cash checking service that charges high fees. In other words, the Americans who are most in need (many of whom are essential workers) will have to wait the longest for their payments. Governments and bank must work together to provide FDIC-insured bank accounts to the underbanked population and waive overdrafts and other fees for maintaining a low balance.

2. Access to cash: The death of cash has been portended for more than 20 years, but cash is still the fastest way to get much-needed funds to the underbanked. Employers can now allow employees to choose from a broad array of payment types — including cash (as well other methods such as prepaid cards, ACH, etc.). In order to do this, companies will need to partner with fintech firms that provide many of these payment options. For example, payments-platform company KyckGlobal offers companies various payroll options that in turn allow employees to choose how they want to be paid. Said CEO Ashish Bahl: “Employees can also request an advance on earned wages, which helps them cover the unanticipated expenses of everyday life.”

One industry leading the way in providing quick access to cash is car-title lending. In many cases, an underbanked individual’s most valuable asset is their car, and they’re able to borrow against it. The fees charged are both nominal and regulated, so the borrower can receive almost the full value of the loan. More businesses should explore whether they can leverage digital solutions to make fast cash payments to their employees and customers so they can obtain much-needed liquidity during these difficult times.

3. Support for financial literacy: Now is the time for the federal government to allocate more resources to community development financial institutions (CDFIs). There are more than 1,000 CDFIs in communities across the U.S. For example, Hope Credit Union is a CDFI that provides financial products to the underbanked in the Southeast.

The government could establish a working group between Trump administration officials and executives at CDFIs to develop ways to get capital to people in need. In 2019, the Treasury Department’s CDFI program originated $21.5 million in loans and investments. This should be a lot more, given the need for capital in underbanked communities.

In addition, the government could provide grants to CDFIs to start workshops in which essential workers can ask questions of financial counselors. Some of the funds could be used to advertise the programs so that essential workers know about these opportunities to learn.  Just as every community needs a hospital to deal with patients affected by this pandemic, there must also be a well resourced CDFI and financial center in all areas to help low-income workers get back on their feet.

[This article was previously published in MarketWatch]

Kabir Sehgal is the CEO of Tiger Turn. He is a multiple Grammy award-winning producer. He is also the author of 15 books including the newly published biography of his father Raghbir Sehgal: Close the Loop: The Life of an American Dream CEO & His Lessons for Success. (Hachette Originals, 2020), and Coined: The Rich Life of Money And How Its History Has Shaped Us (Hachette, 2015)

 

 

 

 

Become a patron of the arts to help the U.S. economy get back in tune

Become a patron of the arts to help the U.S. economy get back in tune

It’s tough out there for musicians. The coronavirus pandemic has shut concert halls, outdoor theaters and clubs, and many won’t reopen anytime soon. No performing arts venue wants to be the source of another outbreak; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, for example, said it’s unlikely that large concerts will happen in his city until 2021.

With musicians not being able to make income from their live performances, they are in a tenuous situation. One estimate is that event cancellations will result in a loss to the concert industry of almost $9 billion. But there are ways in which we can support them during and after the pandemic.

1. Become a patron: There has always been a link between artists and patrons. But streaming an artist’s music is not enough. Streaming services pay copyright holders of music (artists, record labels) less than a penny per play. Many independent artists make most of their money via live concerts. They use these in-person events to sell merchandise directly to their fans, whether its t-shirts or CDs. You can still support your favorite artists by buying merchandise from their websites right now.

You can also browse the thousands of musicians who want to cultivate a relationship with you on Patreon. For example, for just a few dollars, you can receive the lyrics and lead sheets from talented singer Cyrille Aimée. You can also hire musicians for a private lesson or concert over Skype or Zoom.

2. Attend or stage a concert: When the world eventually gets back to normal, it’s important to attend live events and support artists. While many of us may be reluctant to attend a large concert hall, we can visit the neighborhood bar or restaurant that has live music.

You can even stage a live concert at your home. Grammy nominated artist Alastair Moock published best practices on how to host a house concert: Invite “20-50 guests who contribute a donation to attend the show. The intimate setting allows you and your guests to truly experience the music and meet and mingle with the performers. A house concert usually includes snacks/drinks provided by the host or a potluck dinner.”

I started the nightly Quarantine Concert Series, in which artists perform a virtual concert from their home. Some of these remarkable artists include Multi Grammy nominee Mindi Abair,  American Idol winner Maddie Poppe, and Latin Grammy award winner Mister G.

Artists are not the only ones affected; those who book, manage, promote, and present live events have also taken a hit. You could reach out to individuals in these professions to help you book and promote your own live events.

3. Donate: Consider a donation as an investment in the creative economy. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts and associated sectors accounted for $763 billion or 4.2% of U.S. GDP. The arts generate a $20 billion trade surplus for the U.S. To be sure, the lucrative television and film industries are counted in these numbers, but independent artists are certainly integral to the creative economy. And these artists add to the vibrancy of their local communities. Several organizations have launched initiatives to help musicians in need: The Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief FundThe Louis Armstrong Foundation’s COVID-19 FundThe Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s Artist Emergency FundJazz Coalitionamong many others.

By donating to an organization that supports artists, you will be helping make sure that — quite literally — the show must go on.

[This article was also published in MarketWatch]

Kabir Sehgal is the CEO of Tiger Turn. He is a multiple Grammy award-winning producer. He is also the author of 15 books including the newly published biography of his father Raghbir Sehgal: Close the Loop: The Life of an American Dream CEO & His Lessons for Success. (Hachette Originals, 2020).

 

 

3 things great leaders do to set their teams up for success

3 things great leaders do to set their teams up for success

Whether you’ve been doing it for decades or stepping into the role for the first time, managing a team is hard work. It requires practice and the strengthening of essential skills such as communication, coaching, delegating, and emotional intelligence.“The goal of every leader should be to help people grow their skills, while also fostering a culture that makes everyone excited to go to work every day,” says Liberty & Company founder Erica Boeke, who has held leadership positions for more than 10 years at large companies like Condé Nast and The New York Times.

Here are three things great leaders do to set their teams up for success:

1. Encourage work-life balance

While you want your team to work hard and add value to the company, it’s also important to promote a healthy work-life balance.Too often, managers put more focus into pushing their teams to meet deadlines and business goals. But this can lead to burnout and disengagement at work.Companies like Apple, Salesforce, and Nike have added meditation rooms, to encourage employees to take breaks. Taking even just a few minutes to calm your your mind can have restorative effects on your health and boost attention span, studies have found.

2. Plan team-building activities

The best teams embrace working with each other, which can ultimately boost productivity and performance. The first step to encouraging collaboration is getting your team members to feel comfortable with one another. You can do this by creating a shared experience, like planning social outing to a new art exhibit.

“Nothing beats face-to-face exchanges,” Rosenberg says. “Also, being in a completely new environment outside of the office makes the experience even more special.”

3. Empower them to succeed

Every employee wants to know that they are being noticed and valued — because it empowers them to succeed. One of the most effective ways to do this is to acknowledge their skills.

According to a 2019 Gallup poll, employees who are aware of their strengths are more motivated, perform better, and less likely to leave. When managers don’t notice or point out their team members’ strengths, disengagement can increase by up to 45%, the report found.

So pay close attention to the work of each team member and help them identify their strongest skills. Then, discuss how their can use those skills to add value to the company and excel in their career.

[Article was published previously in CNBC]

Deepak Chopra is the co-author of “Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential,” founder of The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global, and co-founder of Jiyo.

Kabir Sehgal is a New York Times best-selling author, former vice president at JPMorgan Chase, multi-Grammy Award winner, and U.S. Navy veteran. Chopra and Sehgal are the co-creators of Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome, inspired by American immigrants.