e27 Reading List #3: Of successes, the sequester, and the music industry’s comeback

Other than reporting news, e27′s editorial team reads extensively and we want to share with you some valuable takeaways. Here’s our reading list for the week.

JoashRichard Brandson: ‘Screw It. Just Do It’, by Eric Schurenberg

Snippet from the article:

From Richard Branson’s dad to him:

“Look, you know what you want to do at 15; I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was 21. Give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll try to get you a formal education again.”

What I really enjoyed about the article:

Getting a firsthand look into Richard’s do first, apologize later attitude and also how his family plays an important part into supporting his ventures. Most interesting for me was how he got his first funding, £300 his mother raised from selling a necklace she found on a train.

- Joash Wee, Editor

Angelo9 Great Things About the Looming Sequester, by Gene Marks

Snippet from the article:

Contrary to the Armageddon predicted, most business people I know aren’t fazed by a five percent budget cut.  In fact, most small businesses will not really notice it.  That’s because there are between 20 million and 30 million small businesses in this country.  These are pizza shops, gas stations, accounting firms, strip bar owners, and plumbers.  Some, of course, will be impacted … there will be others who will feel the bite indirectly because customers are in affected industries, like defense and education.  And some will see revenue fall because they’re located in regions where cuts will make a difference.  But the good news is that the government next year must cut $85 billion from its $4 trillion in spending.  You know the math.  You cut stuff from your budget all the time.  Life goes on.

What I really enjoyed about the article:

Running out of money to spend isn’t any fun, especially if you’re running a big (dis?)organized entity like the U.S. government. But let’s take things into perspective. The looming “sequester” in the U.S. government is reportedly going to lead to schools closing down, flights getting delayed and services not getting delivered. But on a lighter note, it’s probably one of those things that can encourage people to find more innovative, creative and interesting solutions to something as difficult as finding where to get money to pay the bills.

Hey, the policy is supposed to have encouraged the bipartisan U.S. Congress to finally work together toward a common goal. Have they painted themselves into a corner? Is this a first-world problem that’s not necessarily a first-world problem? Economic problems are not always fun to watch, but it’s good to take a short break from the hustle and bustle of it all, and perhaps find a good way to really attack (or circumvent) the issue.

- J. Angelo Racoma, Senior Writer

jacky yapAng Lee and the uncertainty of success, by Jeffjlin

Snippet from the article:

When external rewards and validation are nonexistent; when you suffer through bouts where of jealousy, wondering “How come so-and-so got signed/is successful/got a deal/etc?”; when every new development seems like a kick in the stomach, the love of what you are doing gives you something to hang onto.

What I really enjoyed about the article:

We often hear about overnight success stories and all the glamour that comes with it. Stories like Ang Lee’s success remind us again that overnight successes are rare and they usually come with perseverance, hard work, and of course, faith. For Ang Lee, that meant six dry years. For entrepreneurs too, success often means keep holding on when others have given up.

- Jacky Yap, Writer
Elaine HuangMusic industry revenues grew last year for the first time since 1999, driven by digital sales, by Anna Heim

Snippet from the article:

While the growth is still very modest, it is indeed newsworthy enough in an industry that has been struggling to overcome the transition from offline to online. In 1999, industry revenues were worth $27.8 billion, and IFPI is blaming “illegal free music” for part of this decline. As a result, it still encourages advertisers, search engines and ISPs to take measures to sanction “unlicensed music services.”

This repressive and controversial approach is not new, but what’s interesting is that major players in the music industry now have good reasons to see the Internet as much more than a threat. As a matter of fact, digital sales surpassed physical sales for the first time one year ago. As we reported out at the time, this shift is connected with the rise of subscription services such as Spotify and Rdio, which now represent around 10 percent of digital music revenues.

What I really enjoyed about the article:

For a while now, everyone around me has been mourning the closure of HMV, a huge multinational entertainment outlet with presence in Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Well, to put it simply, it is a gigantic retail store that sells music CDs, television shows and movies.

While chatting with friends over lunch, cynical views like “no one is buying CDs anymore” and “they don’t have to buy it because they can just simply download it illegally” arose. However sad and jaded that might sound, it was also particularly true. I know of many who would only buy a physical copy or off iTunes if they are an ardent fan of the artiste. The same goes for movies. As iTunes entered Singapore last year with its music store, I am sure many would have wondered, “Will this change anything? Will Singaporeans really buy music off iTunes?”

This piece of news, backed up by facts and data that digital sales is bringing the music industry back into its glory days, was rather reassuring. What was even better to hear was that apps like Spotify and Rdio were the ones giving rise to this increase in revenue.

- Elaine Huang, Writer

Elizabeth Tan Author e27Play by your own rules, by Josh Williams

Snippet from the article:

Play by your own rules.

Listen to your users more than the press. Don’t get sucked into the gravity hole between you and your competition. Ruthlessly run your own path, not someone else’s.

What I really enjoyed about the article: 

To me, an inspirational article is something that challenges you in the way you think and your work processes. In other words, it criticizes you and the way you’ve been doing things. (In a positive way of course) As entrepreneurs, we are always pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo, and very often, it can be very easy to get stuck in your own world while fighting for people to notice your startup and your product. Therefore, this article is a refreshing reminder that while we are busy fighting our own entrepreunrial war, we must always remember the reason why we became an entreprenuer, why we decided to build that product, and who did we wanted to truly impact. Keep in mind always that we ruthlessly run our own paths, and not someone else’s.

- Elizabeth Tan, Writer

Read also: e27 Recommended Reading List #2

 

Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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