How Pandora Almost Didn’t Happen
When Pandora co-founder, Tim Westergren set out to change music consumption, his goal was to integrate well known musicians with the lesser known artists. As a musician, he uncovered a sea of undiscovered talent. This discovery, led to the creation of a “musical compatibility” database. It matched and ranked songs using unique attributes.
After a successful test drive, Tim, decided it was time to share his product with the world. What seemed like a slam dunk ran into a funding roadblock. Believing in his idea and backed by the success of the tests, he asked his 50 employees to go without pay in 2001 until funding could be secured. They agreed. They had a shared interest in what they were creating and stayed. Tim confesses that this shared purpose kept the business alive when it seemed dead in the water. Three years later, Tim secured funding and paid $2 million in back-pay to his employees.
Pandora’s potential became a reality and today it is one of the leading services in the shift of how we listen to music. The vision of Pandora is to create a deeper connective tissue between artists and listeners.
Share to Connect
The story of Pandora reminds us of the power of having common ground especially in tough times. In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. Dr. John Maxwell says that connecting is a choice. When we seek connection, not just to condemn or correct, our communication creates a safe, non-judgmental environment where we can share experiences, values, and differences. Transparency and a sense of community are built around connectivity.
Life works better with connection. How can you become a better connector? Though the power of sharing. For today’s post, I have cherry picked three ways you can leverage the power of sharing daily for greater connectivity and civility.
A close friend of mine once shared with me how injured animals instinctively isolate themselves for fear of becoming prey in this vulnerable state. Humans do the same. We hide or disguise our pain because of fear. Author, Dr. Brene Brown calls is shame. It is the mask that hides vulnerability. It dates back to Adam and Eve in the Bible after they ate from the forbidden tree. By hiding and clothing themselves with fig leaves they attempted to fix in isolation what could only be healed through relationship.
The ‘lone ranger’ approach to dealing with adversity almost never works. When I am running and meet another runner, I am immediately infused with the desire to keep going. This is the power of a shared experience. In isolation, we get consumed by the idea that our experience is specific to us. We feel alone and abandoned. When we share the wounds from our experiences, we start the process of healing. We open up to kill the urge for isolation. Hiding and isolation causes emotional sepsis. It infects our hearts and spreads to other areas of our lives. Prolonged isolation makes us insensitive, easily angered, and shuts down our passion and the desire to live.
Author Rick Warren said that revealing our feelings is the beginning of healing. The darkness of isolation turns into the light of hope as we share our experiences and get help.
As a man, one of the hardest things to do is to ask for help. I interpret it is an admittance of weakness. But I have learned that asking for help brings the resources I need for the experience or hardship I have. Never miss moments when sharing your experiences will create a bridge to connect you to the help you need. Whether negative or positive, sharing our experiences add depth to our relationships. Remember, while we can impress with our accomplishments, we connect through our experiences.
A few months ago, I signed up for a free trial of Netflix, arguably the largest streaming service in the world. Before I completed the sign up I was asked to select a few shows that I would like to watch. Based on my selection, Netflix populated my account with other recommended viewing content. It was content that I had no idea existed. They used data from my expressed value to create aspirational value. Their algorithm applies a life principle: Value drives behavior. Yes, even when it comes to entertainment. It is this subtle trick that almost made me commit to a paid subscription. I got hooked on a recommended Netflix original that I could not finish before my free trial was up. Perhaps something similar has happened to you. If you are not strong enough don’t attempt a free trial. By sharing what I value, I also exposed what I love.
Love is a time and tested value system that is highly effective. And no, I am not about to sell you hallmark card. Love is a core value that will move passion and behavior in the positive. It is also a “wow” value that sets an atmosphere for authenticity, appreciation, integrity, trust, and respect to find their footing and thrive. By sharing this value in a demonstrative, not just emotional manner, it is a metric by which future behavior can be measured and predicted.
Love is sacrificial and painful but also bold and strong. As a follower of Jesus, love is not mushy or rosy. It is expressed by Jesus Who took whips, thorns, and was nailed to a cross because of the value He placed on humanity.
Love tears down walls, doors, barriers, and ceilings. It expresses itself in a way that improves quality of life regardless of political affiliation, cultural background, sexual orientation, or racial identity. Love makes life meaningful. A compelling writer concluded this about love, “So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” It is the key to exceeding expectations. I heard someone call it the platinum rule. Martin Luther King once said, “I have decided to stick with love, hate it too great a burden to bear.” If love becomes a shared value, you will never fail at living a life that others will be attracted to.
3. Shared Differences
The plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York City bears this inscription, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
It is this invitation that has become the rich diversity in the USA today. With a hot immigration debate ensuing, racial tensions rising, and online platforms where people can post before they ponder, we cannot ignore that our differences are what make us rich in culture and heritage. But creating a country where differences are celebrated instead of vilified is easier said than done.
First, there must be acknowledgement of the differences. The opposite, which is denial, is a catalyst for deterioration. Second, appreciation of what makes us different should be understood not weaponized. Third, attention to the purpose of these differences should be taken advantage of. The trap of being different is to marginalize, label, and classify people by focusing on their exterior. But the purpose of shared differences is to know one another and connect with the aim of growing and learning. When differences are acknowledged, appreciated and given purposeful attention, stronger communities and subsequently stronger countries are shaped or forged. In the words of Stephen Covey, seek to understand not just to be understood.
Final Thought: Everyday, we have the opportunity to practice the power of sharing. Let every encounter you have for interaction become your platform to display it. Your quality of life and those around you will skyrocket.
Keep on Keeping on!
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