Last week was Audio Bloggers Live.
I travelled 16 hours to LA; slept (fitfully) for 8; then spent the next 10 hours presenting, connecting with guests and co-hosts and answering questions; collapsed in a heap and slept some more; then next day snuck in a tour of EastWest Studios (where Pet Sounds, amongst many other great albums, was recorded) and Brian Lucey‘s mastering room; then travelled another 16 hours to get back home, sleeping most of the way, thankfully. During that time, the event raised over $3000 for Ronan’s charity.
So, what did I learn ?
What we do is all about people
Now I already knew that, and so do you, but the weekend really brought it home to me, in several important ways – especially one.
Of course it was great to meet people I’d talked to online, who read the site and have taken my courses, and even people I’ve done mastering work for. And of course it was great to meet Bob Clearmountain, and connect with other mastering engineers like Maor Appelbaum, John Rodd & Brian. And of course it was great to be able to personally thank Mick Guzauski for doing such a great job recording and mixing Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” !
But here’s the thing.
In-person is just MORE
Without doubt one of the best things about the visit was the fact that I finally got to meet and spend time with Joe & Graham. Joe and I have been connected and collaborating online for over 7 years now, amazingly – and I’ve known Graham almost as long. So it was great to finally shake hands, share a couple of meals and several beers together. But it was strange too, because in many ways we’ve already spent so much time together online that it felt like we already knew each other. So what was so great about meeting in person ?
Firstly – there was more time. Even with the wonders of Skype, we’re always juggling time zones, work schedules and family life when we connect – and although we always have fun anyway, knowing we didn’t have to hang up in ten minutes to do The Next Thing this weekend was great.
As a result, it was (secondly) much more relaxed. Graham and Joe make a great team, as Duelling Mixes members will already know, and it was really fun seeing how they interact together – how many music and film references they could share that flew straight over my head ! And how often I could make them do a double-take by using over-the-top British turns of phrase. (Best moment ? Trying to get Joe to say “mastering” with an English accent 🙂 )
But the third and final benefit, building on top of the first two, was feeling able to be honest and open about our hopes and concerns.
Well, actually that was mostly just me.
And the beer probably helped, too.
Seriously, though – and this is slightly off my usual topics, so please bear with me – I’m a huge fan of Brene Brown. And if by some freak of chance you’re not one of the 25 million people (!) who’ve already seen her TED talk yet, click here to find out why. The theme of that talk and several of her books is vulnerability – which she says is synonymous with courage. Having the courage to open up about the things we’re worried about, and ask for help from them. Which is exactly what I was able to do (with a little help from advanced jet-lag and beer) sitting talking to Joe & Graham.
And because we share similar experiences of running sites like this, they were able to give me some amazing feedback and advice that will prove to be invaluable, I think.
Could I have asked the same questions, got the same reactions via Skype? Maybe. But it hadn’t happened so far, in the last 7 years. Whereas in person, having spent a busy day working together at Audio Bloggers Live, in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, it was perfectly natural.
Because it’s all about people
The best way to really connect with people is actually be there with them, in person. It may sound obvious, but this is more and more rare, these days! Some of us don’t even meet the people we’re making music with, with is amazing but also slightly crazy.
And that’s exactly why Ronan Chris Murphy dreamed up Audio Bloggers Live in the first place – to enable more connections like this to take place. Massive kudos and thanks, to him. People kept asking if it would be streamed, or recorded, but the answer was No. The aim was to get people together, in a room, meeting and talking to each other. And it worked.
Well, it worked for me, at least – and I really hope for everyone else who was able to be there, too.
Try it. Make an effort to meet the people you normally talk to online in the Real World – or, take time to spend time with some old friends – open up about your hopes and fears, and see what happens.
I’m betting you’ll be glad you did.
(So what exactly what did I ask Graham and Joe, and what was their advice ? Well, I’m still processing it, so I’m not quite ready to share it with you yet – but as soon as I am, you’ll be the first to hear about it 🙂 )
PS. Joe also had a great take-away from the weekend – check it out here.