Crossing Phenomenon

Day 194 Week 28 Q3 Friday, July 12, 2024

From a creative outlier perspective, what is the crossing phenomenon? When you cross over some threshold, your creative life seems to be different from before. This could happen many times or never, but let’s see if I can describe a few. I once performed with a string quartet on piano at a concert in Manhattan in the church next door to Juilliard. I was terrified because, in comparison to myself, I am a self-taught musician. Everyone else was conservatory-trained. But I did manage to do it and to do well, even in comparison to change musicians, although I only had 12 piano lessons 60 years ago. This was a significant crossing phenomenon again to think of myself as a real musician, although it took a few years and more concerts to sink in. But now, I consider myself a composer and a professional musician, which is astounding to occur late in life when you are primarily self-taught.

Another crossing phenomenon occurred just a few weeks ago when I sang and played guitar, bass, and keyboard in front of a professional singer. I did not get overwhelmingly positive or hardly any feedback at all. Still, I also did not get any wincing, rolling of the eyes, or disdain vibes from anybody in the room, including the singer. I took this as a positive, even though perhaps people were just being polite. But some people were extremely positive, and perhaps they were just being polite. But it was a crossing phenomenon because I had the courage and confidence to go out and do this and not crash and burn.  This means I can do it again and again and again and continue to grow and become better. This is another major turning point because it is fantastic when you think you cannot sing for your entire life and then discover that you can do it 60 years later.

Are we aware of crossing phenomena when they occur? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. But there is no question that they do occur. Another one for me was the year. I was a special graduate student at MIT and Harvard simultaneously, and I had the audacity to attempt to take two courses at each venerable institution while simultaneously or full-time at Bose Corporation. Of course, this was insane, and I could not complete all four courses that semester while working full-time. However, I completed two of them, one at Harvard and one at MIT. Considering I had a full-time job, that was amazing. It was another crossing phenomenon to discover that I could keep up with the intellectually elite. And this one occurred 40 years ago, permitting me to have this knowledge for most of my adult life.

Have I done anything with these three crossings? Well, it depends on how you define having done something. Have I become more successful as a result? It depends on how you define becoming more successful. But do I have a healthier regard for myself, appreciate myself more, and accept myself more due to these three situations? Absolutely.

Were these three situations consciously created? Or did they just occur in the flow of life? And were we aware of them when they occurred or a long time later? Does it really matter? See if you can determine some of these points in your life and what you might derive from them.

Whether we know it or not, we cross over boundaries. Some of us cross many boundaries, and some may cross a few. The number doesn’t matter. What matters is becoming consciously aware of them and seeing how to use them to better your life.

This is what I call the crossing phenomenon.

Music Addict

Day 193 Week 28 Q3 Thursday, July 11, 2024

I noticed a powerful effect on me early on, and playing music had a far more significant impact than listening to it. I also noticed that searching for new notes instead of repeating the old ones was much more satisfying to me but not necessarily to others. The search for new notes, rhythms, and accompaniments was more exciting than attempting to copy or emulate what I heard.

Emulating the feeling was fine, but not the same notes, as I did not want to play the same notes all the time, and perhaps not even any of the time. Being exceedingly curious and of a scientific bent, I wondered how this worked and why. By the time I got to college after first attempting to major in music, I discovered that almost all of the musicians in he world were playing the same pieces over and over again, which they perfected. To me, it made no sense to try to perfect the past; creating something new had a lot more appeal to me. Now I had physical and psychological questions to answer and spent ten years at various colleges taking every course I could find in acoustics, electroacoustics, underwater acoustics, sound and vibration, music theory, architectural acoustics, and anything to try to explain what sound was and is, and why it had so much impact and what that impact was on different people.

I also subscribed to popular magazines like Stereo Review and High Fidelity, Guitar Player, Keyboard Player, Bass Player, Recording PriemiereGuitar, and many more. I also joined the Acoustics Society, part of the American Institute of Physics, the Audio Engineering Society, and the IEEE’s Acoustics Speech and Signal Processing subgroup. I ended up studying as an undergraduate and a graduate student in four different departments: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, and mathematics.

Do you know the phrase about 10,000 hours leading to mastery? I have spent at least ten hours per week over the last 50 years, which is 25,000 hours minimum, not counting the twenty years of professional hours. I guess I realized that I was some music addict, spending as much time and money as I had available on music, sound, audio instruments, learning, and playing.

There are many worse things you can be addicted to, and addiction is a primarily victimless crime. To ensure this, when I was at Bose, I invented a portable integrated electroacoustic piano called the Acoustic Wave Piano. Almost forty years later, I still have two of the early products and several other companies’ versions, the upright piano I learned 60 years ago and the awesome small grand piano I acquired 40 years ago when it was already 58 years old!  And I won a pile of guitars, basses, cellos, and all sorts of hardware, software, and lab equipment. In addition to the ten current hours per week voluntarily exploring, I also worked another for 20 years as a sound professional, putting in another minimum of 25 hours per week, bringing the total up to 50,000 hours!

I am still fascinated by the subject and spend 20 hours per week on it for another 1000 hours per year. I may have another 30 years and 30,000 hours to go!

I guess I am really a music addict!

Flow Beats Optimization

Day 192 Week 28 Q3 Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Flow often trumps optimization, diplomacy, and analysis in personal and professional effectiveness. When individuals enter a state of flow, they operate significantly higher than when they’re merely trying to optimize their performance. Optimization demands time, attention to minute details, and considerable intellectual effort. In contrast, flow allows for a more intuitive and seamless execution of tasks.

The value of flow becomes particularly evident in high-pressure situations. When challenges arise, the need for a seasoned, resilient individual becomes paramount. Rather than relying on a politically correct diplomat who might hesitate to call a spade a spade, challenging circumstances demand someone who can act decisively and effectively. This is where practical experience proves invaluable. The wisdom gained from a thousand real-world experiences often outweighs the knowledge acquired through four to eight years of formal education. While academic learning certainly has its place, it’s the hands-on experience that truly prepares one for the unpredictable nature of real-world challenges.

Consider the difference between someone still learning the ropes and someone whose actions have become second nature. When danger looms or time is of the essence, you need someone whose autopilot can navigate the situation effortlessly. The luxury of figuring things out quickly becomes a liability in crises. This is why individuals who have honed their skills through repeated practice and diverse experiences often outperform those with purely theoretical knowledge.

The concept of flow is closely tied to transcendent performance. When we observe individuals operating at an extraordinary level, we often witness them in a state of flow. These high performers process information and make decisions with remarkable speed, showing no observable delay in their actions. They seamlessly blend analytical processing with intuitive decision-making, resulting in swift and effective responses to complex situations.

This ability to execute quickly and decisively is far rarer than the capacity for in-depth analysis. In many scenarios, the correct course of action is relatively straightforward; the challenge lies in the rapid and effective implementation. When time is of the essence, it’s crucial to entrust tasks to individuals who can get things done quickly and efficiently. These people can make split-second decisions and act on them without hesitation.

Our current technological tools, such as speech recognition software, often fall short of capturing the essence of flow. Dictating ideas to a computer can be frustratingly slow, potentially disrupting the flow state one is trying to document or maintain. This limitation highlights human flow states’ unique and valuable nature, which remains difficult to replicate or fully capture through artificial means.

In conclusion, while careful analysis and diplomatic approaches have their place, the ability to enter a flow state, draw upon extensive practical experience, and make quick, effective decisions is often the key to success in challenging and time-sensitive situations. As we navigate an increasingly complex world, cultivating these skills may be more valuable than ever.

Creation Context

Day 191 Week 28 Q3 Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Creative outliers create; that is why they’re called creative outliers. What creation occurs is always within a context. For example, as a musician, when you perform indoors or outdoors, you must consider the environment. There are few reflections outdoors and many reflections indoors. This is why playing slow, soft music with a lot of ambiance doesn’t work well outdoors; there aren’t enough reflections to create a rich sound. On the other hand, playing indoors is affected by the season. Audiences in winter wear more clothing than in summer. Coats absorb much sound, making the room deader than in the summer. Experienced musicians are acoustically aware of the context within which they are playing. When creating a program, they consider where it will be performed, who will be performing it, who the audience is likely to be, how old they will be, and even the time of day. This sounds like a lot because the creation context has a tremendous and vital impact.

How about a content creator for online content? Do you think that one size fits all? There’s a big difference between YouTube and TikTok and chats. There is a big difference in screen sizes between phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Years ago, the issue of color versus black and white was an issue. There will be different ones tomorrow.. but one thing is certain: if you were a content creator, you had better be aware of the context in which this content will be received.

Assuming that most digital content is accessed via websites, the pages within which any content is presented matter a tremendous amount. And the homepage matters most because if people don’t like it or understand what to do, they will leave before they even get to any content. This means that all the content you have created and all your work will be a waste of time. Suppose you primarily rely on words to communicate but do not consider what is being said visually. In that case, you should not count on your message ever being received at all unless perhaps it is on a podcast or radio show. But if it is on television or video, and once again, the visual context is critical.

There is no creation without context. If you want to write a piece of music, ask which kind of instruments you expect it to be played on.  Ask which particular instrument(s) will be used. For example, piano-jazz and guitar-jazz are very different from each other. Additionally, acoustic guitars versus electric guitars present very different options.

And have you ever thought about creating the context for your day? Are you tired or awake? Are you in a rush or have plenty of time? Are you in a good mood or stressed out? Consider thinking about or consciously creating your day’s context before you begin it. It makes a difference.

Manifesting Exponential Convergence

Day 190 Week 28 Q3 Monday, July 8, 2024

This phrase, manifesting exponential convergence, is meant to explain harvesting infinity. The first thing we notice is that the word exponential seems a lot closer to infinity than linear, which is the way most of the world thinks things operate—except for, of course, Wall Street’s hysteria at bidding up stock prices to absurdly high valuations, which can rarely be justified by fiscal performance. 

The word exponential appeals to technical people who have all had some amount of mathematics. We talk about X raised to the power of four, and there is an exponential. Notice the word power accompanies the word exponent, and yes, this is quite true, especially in comparison to linearity.

Now, take the word manifesting. This word appeals to human-resource people who probably majored in Liberal arts. It is related to abundance and the spirit. The combination of exponential and manifesting is sure to please—a combination of technical and non-technical people. The word convergence is where it all comes together for a chief executive officer. Without convergence, nothing is harvested, and all you are left with are ideas and words, not physical manifestations of them.

The word convergence may be less appealing to Liberal arts people, who are probably more qualitative than quantitative. They might tend to desire exponential results, and that is going to require convergence. So you see, this phrase, manifesting exponential convergence, should bring together the finance people, the technical people, the marketing and human resource people, and finally, the person in charge.

This is what it takes to Harvest Infinity, which is what all innovators do and what most creative outliers would like to do. This is why harvesting infinity needs to be explained more deeply, and the phrase manifesting exponential convergence does exactly that.

Composers most certainly harvest infinity. So do innovators. Anyone who is a change agent is working on this, including poets, actors, engineers, inventors, and start-up entrepreneurs.

If a person is capable of harvesting infinity, they are literally unbounded. That makes them a good person to have around when you are stuck. It also makes them a bad person to have around. When do you think you know what you were doing. Because they are likely to question the tried and true and want to explore the new and different.

But if everyone involved can agree that manifesting exponential convergence is a good idea to harvest infinity, then you should have a change-agent-innovator around. 

They may be ornery, hard to find, and rock the boat, but you did want to rock-the-boat. Oh, you didn’t? That the change with the easy and smooth and fast? Then, you are never going to harvest infinity nor manifest exponential convergence. As an involuntary professional innovator and change agent, I have sometimes been called a shit disturber. If you do not want your shit to be disturbed, then do not call me, because I am in the business of harvesting infinity.

Options Integration and Management

Sunday, July 7, 2024

three music files: 16 measure Saexly loop in Bias FX, PianoTeq Steel drums and Steinway B Felt 2 piano.

As a musician in 2024, you have an incredible set of adaptable and versatile options at your fingertips. Keyboard players can delve into the universe of MIDI and sample libraries, unlocking an infinite set of sounds and combinations. Guitar players have a vast array of digital signal processing tools for model transformations, effects, emulation, and amplifier and speaker modeling. And for those on the recording side, be it engineers, producers, or sound designers, a whole new universe of options is available, ready to adapt to your unique needs and preferences. The joy of exploring these options can be truly inspiring.

As many people play the guitar and keyboards and record themselves, it is easy to become overwhelmed with options. This is why management and integration are required: because these will work with each other in an extensive set of possible ways. If you happen to be an electrical engineer with a graduate degree in digital signal processing and electroacoustics, as well as a Juilliard-trained Composer and an MIT-trained acoustician who has played more than 1000 gigs on multiple instruments in multiple styles and written and performed a ton of original music acting as an underpinning for being a Jazz improviser, who also in the last few years learned how to sing, well you can see the dilemma.

It’s a delightful dilemma, as I’ve spent the last 60 years accumulating all this knowledge and equipment. Now, I have the joy of playing with and hopefully producing truly unique, original, professional music. But still, the astronomical number of choices can be overwhelming even for a guy who spent ten years in college studying all these things, another 20 years in the industry, designing and evaluating these things, and another 25 years teaching and speaking about many of these topics. And, of course, constantly reading the literature, both technical and consumer-oriented, in the form of thousands of magazines and journals, as well as in the last couple of decades, the infinite resource of the Internet for print, audio, and video.

It is understandable if a person can become bogged down or occasionally paralyzed by this number of options. Almost no one in the world has this many options. They make an excellent subterfuge to hide behind when afraid to enter a feedback loop with an external reality, turning this into a giant procrastination. Once you realize that this is what’s happening, it is time to take action to get your arms around the entire pile of options and begin to manage them. Now, of course, there are also infinite ways to manage, and unfortunately, I have to tell you that creating more options is not one of them; even if you could afford to pay for them, the time does not exist to exercise and master them.

Therefore, it is time to declare a moratorium on option generation and switch to integrating and managing them to achieve musical goals. Try to let go of technical goals and spend your energy residing in the artistic, technical world to the extent that this is possible for a lifelong engineer and scientist who could have been a professional musician and is still trying to do the balancing act between them.

On the positive side, combining gear, knowledge, talent, and curiosity must be beneficial. I have to find out how, as I am now in my eighth decade, which means I do not have an infinite amount of time left. But I may have 30 years left, which is the equivalent of an endless amount of time, considering some musicians did not even live that long and produced terrific results.

So, let’s get to it!

Sanctuary and Trust

Day 188 Week 27 Q3 Saturday, July 6, 2024

I sure hope that you can trust yourself because it is becoming increasingly difficult to trust what we are told, the emails and texts sent to us, what we watch on television, and the advice of so-called experts. sometimes it feels like we have entered an age of manipulation. For a brief period of time between religious directives and marketing oriented manipulation, scientistsand engineers were in charge. there was a period of time that the scientific method validated or invalidated the wishful thinking of those who put forth hypothesis. This was the time when you did not have to have faith nor did you have to follow the digital hoards but we now live in age of old alternative facts, which to my mind are not facts at all. Facts can be verified and just because manipulators say things ardently and frequently does not mean they are true at all. In fact, the louder people have to say something and the more frequently they have to say it the more suspicious I become. Because if they had some facts and can prove what they were saying and have it be independently verified then I would believe them. But we have become so consumer oriented that marketing has taken over the world and branding has superseded facts. Even big famous companies who were known for how reliable they were, have been caught lying to their customers and lying to their regulators and no doubt lying to their investors. I can only wonder if they are also lying to their employees.

The value of a company at the moment appears to be more of function of how good the story is told than anything to do with price, earnings and accomplishments. greed causes people to project obscene values, and the stock is worth the obscene amount until it isn’t. This brings me back to trusting yourself and developing a sanctuary from all of the external noise, we are barraged with every moment. The gamification  of the universe is well underway. Last year video games generated $180 billion worth of revenue when the entire music, industry and film industry combined or closer to $60 billion. That means the video game makrlet is roughly the size of music, movies, books and magazines combined. An, d although their category called serious games, which is developmental and problem-solving, that is not the part of the market that’s growing.

If like me, you would prefer to escape into music, literature, and conversations with people instead of spending my time trying to drink life through a teeny straw of games then I guess you need to create your own sanctuary and invite your own friends into it. Because you are never going to be mainstream. and that’s perfectly OK with me too because the mainstream hardly invents anything and mostly follow the leader. This is not creative outliers and innovators do with themselves.  We create our own world and live in it. Is this any different than playing games? You bet it is. Reality is a lot better than escape. Create your owen and live in it, and see how much you can keep away from manipulators who probably knows more about you than you know about yourself. But they do not care about you, just about scrapping your eyeballs and any money they can extrsact from you.  I have a hard time trusting people were always attempting to manipulate me.

AVP Dominates

Day 187 Week 27 Q3 Friday, July 5, 2024

Let’s revisit what AVP stands for-actionable vantage point. This is the point from which you can always take action, ensuring you’re never stuck. By zooming out from your situation to a distance where you can see your current position and your desired destination, you find the actual vantage point. This perspective lets you see both simultaneously, even if you’re too far away to see paths in detail. The adaptability of AVP means you can always adjust your view to see what’s most important at any given moment.

Dynamic zooming is the next step. This is when you zoom in further until you can see paths, or at least one path connecting your current origin and destination. It’s similar to driving with a GPS display in your car, where the scale changes as a function of your proximity to your destination. You can also provide this kind of dynamic zooming to see where you are, where you are going, and sometimes even where you were previously, bringing a clear and focused direction to your actions.

This dynamic zooming is critical because the level of detail at which you need to operate on a moment-to-moment basis is always too close to see the big picture. This is why it isn’t easy to be both a manager and simultaneously. It also isn’t easy to be a performing musician and a recording engineer simultaneously. It takes time to shift yours, and it takes time to shift zooming perspectives, but this ability to shift and change perspective is one of the attributes of a successful innovator.

After all, innovators spend a fair amount of time looking closely at things that don’t exist. These things can appear to be hallucinations to those who can’t see them, and to those who can see them extremely clearly, it is extremely annoying to be regarded as hallucinating. But this is the life of all innovators and of all creative outliers as well. We see things that are not there yet and then cause them to come into being, inspiring and motivating others with our vision. 

The change agent’s job is to bring into being what is not yet there but what is needed. These people are especially important when everyone is stuck, when all those around you can see no solution and are having a hard time moving forward. This is when the clarity and vision of the creative outlier have tremendous value, but only if they can communicate it clearly and in an emotionally relevant, engaging manner.

This is when an actionable vantage point dominates. If you know the next steps and can very clearly see a path to a conclusion, people begin to follow, whether you like it or not. I have been called a reluctant leader more than once, and when I asked people why they were following me, they said because you know where to go.  the reason why I am very rarely stuck is because I know that there is always an actionable vantage point, a perspective from which one can move forward and make progress.  in times of uncertainty AVP dominates.

Accept But Qualify Hallucinations

Day 186 Week 27 Q3 Thursday, July 4, 2024

At the moment, many people are concerned that artificial intelligence tends to hallucinate. Why should this be surprising to us? All of us tend to hallucinate. CEOs, the president of the United States, and people do not need to take drugs to hallucinate, although many do. Creative people are always accused of hallucinating because we see things that don’t exist yet. Where do you think tomorrow comes from? Everything comes from hallucination. We imagine our way forward. Because we are imagining, we are not always going to get it right because, after all, imagining is not reality. At least, it is not a reality until you make it. Outliers manifest their hallucinations, and that is where their reality comes from. If we could not manifest our hallucinations, we would be heartbroken because we would be stuck with the present, and it is not often, or at least not always, the way we want things to be.

Is it fair to expect artificial intelligence to avoid hallucinating when we, as real people, often find ourselves in similar states of mind? There’s a lot of what we call manipulation in our world. Businesses manipulate us into buying things we don’t need. Politicians try to manipulate us into voting for them. Even those who ask us on dates are trying to convince us. But is this really manipulation, or is it a shared hallucination, or is it simply the way things are, and we’ve come to accept it?

Or does it? Let’s tell people the truth and let them decide on their own merits and with their judgment what to do. That has always been my preferred path, but it did not necessarily make me a better politician or businessman. My colleagues told me I was naïve because I assumed that people could form their judgments and make up their minds and wanted to know the truth.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with us to distinguish reality from hallucination. Fortunately, we have a powerful tool at our disposal-the scientific method. When in doubt about what’s real, we can always conduct experiments to uncover the truth. We might not all be skilled experimenters, but that’s where the scientific community comes in. We have a dedicated group of scientists and engineers who spend their lives unraveling the mysteries of our world, empowering us to discern reality from illusion. 

Instead of making decisions in a vacuum, consider conducting experiments and gathering empirical evidence to support or refute your beliefs. If you find yourself unable to gather evidence for what you believe to be true and real, there’s a high chance you’re being manipulated, whether you’re aware of it or not. You might prefer to escape and consume what’s fed to you, but remember, not everyone is content with that. There are large groups of people who demand evidence and won’t accept alternative facts. So, don’t be afraid to demand evidence and take control of your reality.

Do we hallucinate? Of course, we do. How could we not if we are at all engaged in the creation of tomorrow? So don’t be so hard on hallucinating. Just try to qualify it and determine how far away from reality you are and what you are exposed to. But don’t blame AI if you do not want to take responsibility for discovering where reality is. 

Accept But Qualify Hallucinations

Musicians Play

Day 185 Week 27 Q3 Wednesday, July 3, 2024

There are many kinds of musicians, producers, directors, arrangers, composers, and engineers. But as far as I’m concerned, if you cannot play, or do not want to play, or do not take the time to play, then you are not a musician. You may be part of a musical team, you may produce musical results, and you may contribute to music. But you are not a musician if you do not play. Sorry, but if I ask musician what instrument they play and they say, I play laptop, to me that doesn’t count, unless they are capable of playing it in real time. I know some musicians are more comfortable in the studio than performing in front of others, and I suspect the most musicians are more comfortable playing in their house instead of in front of others. Well that still counts, as long as they actually play. I don’t mean they just talk about playing, or think about playing, or used to play, or things that they might play sometime. If you do not play and do not enjoy playing, you are not musician.

I hate to break it to you, but if you are a musician, you are an entertainer. Sure you might be changing the world with your music, but you are probably not. Only a handful of people in every generation do this. Most musicians are playing variations on themes or worse or simply copycats imitating what other stuff done. This does not mean that you are not a musician if you are in a cover band, or play restaurants, or play top 40 tunes. As long as you get out there and play for somebody some of the time, you are still a musician. Even if you only entertain yourself by getting up and playing a set or at least a complete song from beginning to end.

Also, there’s a reason that is called play and not work. Do musicians work also? Of course they do. But if they do not ever play, they are not a musician. Why am I harping on this? Because Music is a social activity meant to bring people together. It is a way for one person to express themselves to others. It is also way for musicians to have conversation with each other not using words, but sinking up and playing together. If you are a musician and have never played for anyone except yourself, and by that I mean, never played in front of anyone, and have also never played with another human being, then you were missing something. And why am I bringing all of this up? Because artificial intelligence will be creating and performing music increasingly. And since it will cost less than human beings, no doubt the trend from piped in music and DJs to AI performers will continue. 

After all a lot of people who include music and what they offered to the world think of music as hot and cold running music. They do not think of music or something created by human beings. If you do not get anything from playing music, you will be replaced shortly. If you do get something from playing music, 4 and with other people, then you can persist as musician. If you fall into the category of hot and cold, running music, you are not a musician. if you are not a musician, you can be replaced by a robot.

I sincerely hope, that as I do, that you get great pleasure, from playing music and some of the time performing music and some of the time doing this for others, and with others, because it is something an artificial intelligence cannot do. This does not mean that you cannot use our intelligence to practice with, to compose with and even to perform with. If a musician plays with a drum machine, does that make them any less of a musician? I do not think so. But does that mean that drama machines can replace musicians? If you have ever played with a live drummer, you know this is not true. Perhaps for commercial reasons some of the times it happens. But a drama scene cannot have a conversation, at least not yet. And even if and when it gets to the point that it can emulate having a conversation, a machine can have no joy, but a drummer can and audiences can tell.

Most musicians cannot earn a living playing music. Most writers cannot earn a living writing. Most people who can cook a meal for themselves cannot earn a living as a cook. But I aret doesn’t mean that they not a cook, a writer or a musician. for you see it is not about money. It’s about meaning. Machines do not have meaning people do. This is not a diatribe against machines, they are useful convenient and sometimes even life-saving, but do not confuse playing with machines with playing with people, it is not the same thing.

Musicians Play!  And if they don’t, they will be replaced by machines.