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Posts Tagged ‘music’

What do Leningrad, cowboys, a Finnish rock band, and the Red Army Choir have in common? They perform together… “Sweet Home Alabama!!!”

OK, this might sound like something I could have made up after having too much eggnog this holiday season, but no, you can check it out for yourself. I’ll venture to say this is the most edgy and innovative interpretation of the old favorite.  The Finish band that calls itself the “Leningrad cowboys” obviously increased its appeal (and credentials?) compared to their earlier interpretation by adding to the mix another unexpected ingredient: the Red Army choir singing in English, vigorously and it seems in the same time nostalgically (although the song might have been the only reason for which many of the singers first heard about Alabama).  While the musical intersection of all these apparently disparate entities might not be something all of us think as great, courtesy of YouTube, at the time I am writing this 2,254,837 people saw the video which is rated as a perfect five star. The masses have spoken!

On my side this discovery strangely connected with the advice received this week from a Nordstrom customer representative: “if you can rock it, go for it!” after I had been contemplating – for some time – buying something that would normally land outside my comfort zone. I tried to make up my mind by briefly positioning the article in front of me – as you can do these days with some online retailers that have embraced “augmented reality” – and glancing in one of those large mirrors between racks. While doing this two separate times, several customers passing by exclaimed: “wow, that really looks good on you!” Maybe they were just trying to be nice, but getting the “independent” encouragement, made me believe that I might be able to “rock it.” I still have to test that idea by actually wearing the item this season… By the way, this experience also indicated to me that the ability to share the result of virtually trying stuff on is a feature that would be tremendously popular (online retailers might want to take note!).

Meanwhile, I thought that the shopping assistant’s “advice” might be just the way we need to start thinking more often in many other areas of our life to step out of our daily boxes. Think how to “rock it” in work-related endeavors, unleashing a remarkably innovative project, maybe? Many times the only limitation is that mental barrier we have created for ourselves. Our analytical brains are very good at creating “acceptable” frameworks for our thinking and behavior, providing all the reasons for which something might fail, including that it just may not fit with what is expected… How many times did you hear: “this is not how we do things around here?” So, here is another way to take a good tally: Do you need to innovate? If successful, can you envision a positive impact of your plan? Are you committed to doing what it takes to bring it to fruition? Are you (physically/mentally) capable of doing it? Then, finally… Why not???

The Finish band and the Red Army choir rocked it in front of huge enthusiastic crowds online and off line. More and more people take their chance – publicly – on testing their ability on TV and many more are watching them religiously. So, are you still a “wall flower,” looking sadly at the dance floor wondering why nobody can see that you can and would like to dance, or are you simply worried about looking out of place? Here is a suggestion for us in 2010: if we THINK we can dance, let’s go for it! At least, we will not forever wonder “what if I tried?” Some of us will get the big prize. It might even be you, but you’ll never know unless you go for it!

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It was the final night of a long conference: all looked drained, every business lead seemingly exhausted…. then the music started!

This was my second time attending the Biotechnology International Organization (BIO) annual meeting. BIO ”represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.”  This year’s meeting held in Atlanta gathered over 14,000 registered participants, including scientists, technologists, business people, lawyers, regulators, lobbyists, media, etc.

BIO seems to be mainly a giant biotech business networking event, indeed it is very useful especially in today’s environment where collaborations and partnerships are essential. Business “match-making” in many shapes and forms occurred, from a separate extra-fee event dedicated to company partnering to “speed-networking”, and making individual contacts during the sessions, exhibits and the many social events. A special emphasis this year was on collaborative efforts between academia and industry, and on international collaborations presented in parallel tracks that included examination of business, legal, regulatory, and cultural differences. A track highlighting “Exciting science”, included sessions on stem cells, nanotechnology, diagnostics, and new biofuels. Current efforts along these lines and emerging technologies springing from local universities, especially from the Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”), were well represented.

While San Diego, the site of last year’s event, is a difficult act to follow, the organizing committee for Atlanta put on a good show. Sir Elton John, one of the most famous and loved (adopted) Atlantans, spoke in front of thousands gathered at a keynote luncheon on behalf of his AIDS foundation. Atlanta’s weather was crisp (!) and its local music scene, benefiting from a rather strong tradition, boosted an energetic engagement of participants during a couple of events featuring the B52s (likely in their 50s’ but very much still able to bring down the house), and a local rock and roll/hip hop band, complete with a Bono look alike, at the “Tabernacle.”

Dance floor comes to life with BIO dancers unified by music

Dance floor comes to life with BIO dancers unified by music

The “good bye party,” was far from a tired, sappy “farewell till next year” (in Chicago) type of event. In fact, it was fascinating to watch the unexpected unleashing of human energy on the dance floor. Young and old, scientists and sales people, entry level and executives, now shedding their regular day skin (suits and ties), emerged as friends on the dance floor. The infectious effect of the dance music rhythm and maybe the conscious release of guarded behavior, due to being beyond what was perceived as the end of the conference, revealed the true selves. People became naturally drawn to other like-minded… dancers. Before long, the last remaining business cards were exchanged, and many napkins had to be used for contact info, as many had not anticipated the need to bring more cards. Such business contacts made when everyone’s guard was down were seemingly based solely on the natural associations between individuals sharing similar style/preferences, without prior knowledge of their area or level of expertise. I am wondering if these personality-driven connections will spark new business endeavors that would have not happen through regular business channels.

Oh, and besides dancing, this year I also organized and chaired an interactive session dedicated to examining current barriers to innovation in the life sciences, “Fast Forwarding Life Science Innovation: What Works, What doesn’t, Where Do We Go From Here?”  We gathered many great insights from the panel and audience which I will report on in future posts.

p.s. As I was about to post this, an email hit my inbox. Pam, a fellow BIO dancer (!) with whom we exchanged cards at the Tabernacle, is telling me how much she enjoyed learning about my business ideas while moving together to the music and is offering me a “blank check” for any collaborative proposal I may come up… Let the music play!

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