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Apple Music Festival

apple music.jpg

 

This weekend, Apple kicked off its heavily promoted Apple Music festival (RIP iTunes Music Festival) at the iconic Roundhouse theatre in Camden, London. If you’re an Apple user, you’ve been served pre-roll promos in your AppleTV binges and above every App Store download for the past month or so.

To say that the lineup is impressive is an understatement. Apple secured a slate of mega-stars across diverse music genres ranging from Ellie Goulding, The Weekend, One Direction, Pharrell, Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine, and more. Not to mention the fresh group of opening acts— insert “Apple Connect” vs. Spotify “Found Them First” joke here. But seriously, ping me if you know anyone that uses either “artist engagement” solution? I digress.

This was Apple’s 8th festival since launching in 2007, and is under pressure to deliver results after the recent—dare I call them—music flops. First, the U2 debacle when Apple clogged our iCloud/AppleDrive/@me? accounts with Bono’s latest studio time this past March and then released a haphazard Apple Music app back in June that had Jobs screaming from six feet under. Nevertheless, Apple is making a huge statement that it’s here for good when it comes to music and will dedicate the time, R&D, and prime-time marketing dollars (last night’s Emmy’s) to give its product a chance to compete. The contrary outcome, an all-out cession to Spotify,YouTube & co.

As Wall Street has shown us over the course of September, diversity is key to a healthy portfolio. If Apple loses the platform battle to other online streaming services, how does it hold on to one of the industries that help put it on the map? Do you remember the days of passing around physical CDs in 6th grade hallways to then go home and meticulously organize your library of 10,000 songs? Or, the days of having to purchase individual LOST episodes on iTunes at $2.99 because your JV basketball practice ran beyond 9pm? The point is that music is an integral staple of the Apple brand, and not a component it will let go of, even if the ship has already sailed. 11 million free trial users on Apple Music is a solid launch stat for a platform force-fed to your home screen, but estimates are showing conversion at far below original expectations…As digital libraries and (fraction-of-a) penny streams continue to alter the music business as we know it, Apple can hedge its music bets in the live events world by putting on (for-the-time-being) free spectacular live performances. Live events are the thriving revenue stream in the business today. 2014 was a $20B year for touring, with marquee legends including The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel,  returning to the stage and new boy band sensations, One Direction, & Five Seconds of Summer selling out crowds of tweens + Mom. 2015 is shaping up to be another record-breaking year with U2, Neil Diamond AC/DC Ariana Grande, Sam Hunt and co preselling arenas worldwide...Is there a world where Apple taps into the live-events marketshare?

A recent Tweet of mine reads:

“Apple Music is to live touring platform as iPhone pricing plan is to wireless telecom business”

Apple is a BIG PICTURE company and is the reason its market cap is north of the GDP’s of modern day New Zealand, Vietnam, Morocco, & Ecuador. Jobs was a platform believer, not a product launcher. With September’s iPhone 6s announcement came the favorable iPhone pricing plan + apple care deal. Get ready for the telecom wars as Apple moves closer to owning the headset in your ear as well as the cell tower that powers them up in the skies. If Apple can convert users to spend money on iHeartRadio–esque mega tours, the same way it can convince users to buy Candy Crush currency, there is a world in which Apple comes out on top of music, Apple Connect or not.

I’ll be streaming-in all week. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1Fbeaq8

#proud

Today marks 14 years since our nation was attacked on our home turf. 3000 innocent lives taken, thousands of families torn apart. I can remember it like it as yesterday. 5th grade, blue room @ Heschel. We had just returned from morning recess. Judith comes in and tells us that a plane had just hit the world trade center and that we were all going home. What did we know about terrorism at that age? 

I literally thought a plane just hit the tall building by mistake…

Next thing I knew we were on my roof looking south on a huge black balloon of soot. That balloon didn’t dissipate for weeks. The footage was on repeat on every channel. Network TV, ESPN, you couldn’t escape it. To this day I remember the recurring nightmare I had for months about being kidnapped on my street corner by a terrorist.

Terrorism had a meaning for the first time in my life. 

Now we fast forward, families still recovering from the devastation that occurred on that Tuesday morning. And on this past Tuesday morning, we paved the way for a terrorist regime to legally attain nuclear weapons in the next 14 years. A nation that vows to destroy Israel and burns American flags in the streets. 

Doesn’t Sept 11, 2011--14 years ago-- seem like it was yesterday?

In the next 14 years, we are going to be defending our home turf once again. This time, against an nuclear-armed enemy that we’ve reemerged into the world economy and handed over weapons of mass destruction to. An enemy that within hours of news from the White House this week vowed that “there will be no Israel in 25 years” and will never renegotiate with the US. Here’s the exact quote from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:

“I am telling you, first, you will not be around in 25 years’ time, and God willing, there will be no Zionist regime in 25 years. Second, during this period, the spirit of fighting, heroism and jihad will keep you worried every moment.” 

I really can’t seem to wrap my head around the decision that our government just made. Yet, I’m so proud of the efforts of AIPAC and my peers that helped spread knowledge and awareness on the issue in a short matter of weeks. While it was definitely a defeat, there’s no time to hang up the towel and efforts now need to be shifted to defense. 

Here’s to keeping America as a land of opportunity & freedom, where capitalism spurs innovation and creativity. Here’s to Israel, who continues to be our only sovereign democracy and ally in the region, a country that lives on even in the face of enemies who swear to destroy it every day. Here’s to the resilience of New York City & Tel Aviv, and to our governments that work to protect us each day. And here’s to the lives of our fellow citizens and servicemen in both countries that lost their lives for the sake of all of our freedoms. You will never be forgotten.

#nycstrong #proudtobeanamerican #proudtobeanisraeli

DEAL OR NO DEAL?!

I’ve never turned to Social Media for politics, but this is way too important of an issue for me to go silent on…

Two weeks ago, Iran and the P5+1 world powers (China, France, Russia, UK, USA & Germany) voted in Vienna to pass U.N. Resolution 2231. It will now be reviewed by congress for two weeks with an ultimate stamp of approval or disapproval.

In my opinion, this deal doesn’t block the road for an Iranian nuclear threat, it paves the way for it. For all those who say the only alternative is war, a nuclear Iran is a sure-bet for war. It legitimizes a terrorist government’s ambitions to build a nuclear warhead after vowing on multiple occasions (and leaders) to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.” Advocates of the deal promote stringent tracking measures and watchdog oversight stricter than ever before. We’ll have access to 24/7 video monitoring on the declared sites. We’ll have a — wait for it — 24-day window of requesting access to Iranian nuclear sites for inspection — which surely won’t be enough for the ayatollah to clean up a trace of malice… You know what’s funny about the “declared” sites? They all started off as undeclared before we caught Iran hiding them (i.e. Fordow and Natanz). Who’s to say there aren’t or won’t be other undisclosed and underground centrifuge sites? Their recent government has a history of cheating inspectors, promoting terror across the region, destabilizing middle east governments, and let’s not forget the human rights violations against its own people…

The sanctions lift is extremely problematic, immediately injecting $50 -150 BILLION of cash into the government, with no lateral oversight in regards to spending. Where do you think the money will be spent? Even if 90% flows into infrastructure, roads, bridges, power plants, & the basic tenants of government, and 10% flows into terror proxies of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, this is far too alarming. Just last month, we uncovered a truckload of Iranian explosives being smuggled into Jordan. Our response is to go ahead and give them a couple hundred million dollars?

The impending geography will be a state of Israel surrounded by terrorist proxy groups funded by the Iranian government on all four neighboring borders. This becomes a devastating reality with a nuclear-armed Iran. The economic sanctions were the only bargaining chip we had to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and even as a united and global front, they took twenty years to become effective. Let me re-iterate. These negotiations weren’t spurred by a sudden realization and peaceful change of heart among the Iranian government, but rather a financial crisis from being completely shut out of the global economy. It’s pretty hard to create an economy out of pistachios and rugs…It’s also a fantasy to believe that if we catch Iran violating the agreement, that we can “snapback” to twenty years of sanctions with the snap of a finger. And while it’s not that I lack trust in U.S. or Israeli intelligence of Iran’s nuclear efforts, we’ve guessed wrong multiple times in the past two decades...

For those of you that know me well, this is not one of my “Israeli rants.” I’ve taken these past two weeks to become (mildly) educated on the matter and come to my own stance and decision. I’ve heard multiple arguments both for and against the deal by policymakers, congressmen, RAND researchers, priests, and rabbis. And while I have clearly made up my mind and chosen a side, all I ask is that everyone take 10 minutes to educate themselves and come to their own understanding on the matter.

In today’s world where technology empowers communication, action, and change, it’s become easier — more than ever — to spread opinion, knowledge, and interact with our peers and policy makers. As us millennials usher in a new generation of politicians and spokespeople, we have a responsibility to make sure we’re making time for important global issues, and not just the next snapchat.

So let’s put the short term aside for a second. In ten years, Iran will be LEGALLY permitted to race to the nuclear bomb with a breakout time of two-three months. 10 years. As a benchmark, 9/11 was 15 years ago…

This isn’t just an Israel problem. This isn’t just an America problem. This is a Global Problem.

Do you want to be part of a generation that watched the US back this effort? Because I certainly do not.

‪#‎israel‬ ‪#‎irantalks‬ ‪#‎irandeal‬ ‪#‎amyisraelchai‬

Bibi Netanyahu’s livestream today: http://bit.ly/1IG6DKT

Urge Congress to reject the bad Iran deal today!
 

Operator

Operator allows you to request any service from delivery to recommendation to errand. Remember the days of ChaCha? We were enamored by the ability to have ANY question answered on the spot. Well now, thanks to APIs and the global competition to win the delivery/services/concierge market, we now have Operator.

My first experience was great: Needed a sushi restaurant in downtown LA that I could take a few family members. Having spent four years at USC, I knew most of the familiar joints, and took the opportunity to uncover the strength of my “operator’s” recommendation engine.

OPERATOR: “Sugarfish is the best sushi in town that doesn’t cost a ton.”

ME: Problem…Sugarfish doesn’t take reservations and it’s a Friday night…Operator you failed me.

A few hours later I got a note from my new operator named Grace, asking if if I needed any further help with my reservation. Really impressed by the handoff from operator #1 to #2 and the follow up / check in on me. I noted that a reservation was a must at which she recommended Takami Sushi, about 10 floors up in a downtown skyscraper.

OPERATOR: “A bit pricier, but worth the atmosphere.”

…and then Grace gracefully made me a reservation.

Grace, you were spot on. Operator, excellent first impression.

I’m excited to see how this personal concierge service industry is going to pan out. Remember OnStar? Oh, the fun I had as a twelve year old pranking the poor call center out of Birmingham, Alabama. Shane Mac announced his launch of Assist, Los Angeles already has Sensay, now Service, and it’s going to be an interesting new trend to watch in the second half of 2015.

Trendalytics

The B2B Social Analytics market is becoming an extremely competitive space as companies look to social media to engage with their audience and promote via organic channels. While most analytics platforms are focused on post-product release analysis, TRENDALYTICS is using research to influence FUTURE product decisions. By analyzing the way that influencers, celebrities, and common consumers are sharing current fashion trends, TRENDALYTICS clients are able to tap into millions of data-points and metadeta surrounding certain fashion picks and specific brands giving them an immense leg up on product roadmapping and diversification.

120 Sports

Really excited to see what the guys at 120 Sports can do in the next few years. If anyone is going to take on the ESPN, FOX Sports, Sports Illustrated conglomerate sports publishers, 120 Sports has a shot with its mobile-first and Bleacher-Report casual reporting. 24/7 programming, fantasy tips, this network is a winner in the mobile sports space.

Privately funded by Silver Chalice VenturesMLB Advanced Media, and the National Hockey League

Digit

Digit, is a new fin-tech and personal finance application that actually walks the walk. While MINT and other finance trackers provide reports on spending habits and saving suggestions, Digit goes one step forward by depositing savings into a  separate account from your checking account each month. Digit's algorithms analyze balances, income, and spending behavior to create a personal amount each month that is transferred to a separate Digit account. Millennials are always told to start saving young, even if it's just 20 bucks here, or 100 bucks there. This digital approach can be an exciting way to jumpstart this kind of financial planning and foresight.