On days like yesterday I am so pleased I am a bit of a music geek, I love making musical lists, the best 75 songs of Bowie, the best 10 Stone Roses songs and yesterday morning way more important than any list ever before, the best 50 Prince songs. The day the world lost Prince is the day I have never wanted to listen more to his amazing music, in an order that takes us through all the bests…
Best singer, best guitar player, best pianist, best drummer, best funk, best classic rock, best old school RnB, best rude song and best bat dancer!
Prince was (is) my first musical hero, live on tape, in films, in interview or with his abstract and ever changing views of digital he change my world, no actually he changed the world!
What is best, the home made anthology of songs, the record label chosen greatest hits or the one the ‘person in the know’ pulled together? Since the age of thirteen I have been somewhat obsessed with the compilation tape as a concept. Technology has evolved and now it’s a playlist I can share but the question remains, how do I pick the 20ish best songs to listen to in any given situation?
Two compilation tapes made for me by friends at school created my obsession. One of my best friends, John, made a series of compilation tapes called, ‘See Inlay Card For Details.’ The creativity John would put into these compilations that he delivered sporadically into the group of friends to share around was phenomenal. They would include songs by German metal bands, the Penguin Café Orchestra, soundtrack pieces from spaghetti westerns and often a bit of Bowie. The entertainment with this series though was the running order as much as anything, John almost wilfully subverted the style of the mix by throwing in something that jarred with the previous song, no one could nod off when listening to a John mix. Years later the Chemical Brothers would pretty much make their fame from this strategy!
The other was a tape from a chap called Saul. A mix so artfully created it changed my listening habits. Saul was one of the sixth form common room cool kids, he made me a compilation tape of Madchester mixes, 808 State, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, North Side and the like. Perfectly written in tiny writing so you knew what you were listening to, I wanted to recreate the experience for others from that day on.
So going to new places as a young adult the mix tape became my way of making friends. My best friend even mentioned this in his best mans speech, that his first real conversation with me was me brandishing a mix tape (CD) for him and him stating I never really liked ‘band music’!
Traveling a little each day is the perfect opportunity to listen to snap shots of different music, be it a new band, a new EP from a tried and tested love or a mix from some Ibiza bound DJ and despite technology changes I still hold my iPOD and the shuffle button dear.
April and May of 2016 are months with quite a lot of travel for work and pleasure and therefore I have been spending more and more time trying to create playlists for different journeys. For me it’s not just about the songs either, the whole play list needs a structure, just as John and Saul ‘taught’ me.
So here I am on a flight for a lovely holiday thanking my lucky starts that months ago I thought I needed a playlist with ‘THE’ 50 best Prince, I think this list will be played a lot over the next 4 days on holiday, even if the lovely lady wife doesn’t get that Batdance is actually a really cool song!
When the compilation used to be burnt to a CD there was the catalyst for a little self-regulation as you only had so much room on each piece of media. Now with the playlist the compilation can be even more sprawling, but if its for an event then it still needs a structure, as if you were curating the music or acting as a DJ. I do see the parallels to this and the building and developing of a team.
In the last few days two members of the senior management team in Ireland have been recognised by the Tech Excellence awards in their short list as IT professionals of the year. The team see these two people as the hit songs of the moment I guess, whereas other members of the team are absolutely the old school classics. For every Get Off or Breakfast Can Wait there has to be a Purple Rain or a 1999!
Creating the playlist of the team is essential, it has taken eHealth Ireland over a year to work out the playing order but in the last three months it has felt more and more like we have got there. The strengths of the team as a whole are so much more important than the one hit wonders. Much like a playlist we can see the team has come together because the progression of the experience has started to make us all smile. That sounds odd I know, but the team meeting is now an experience of support and constructive challenge where it doesn’t matter if it is one of the complex projects being discussed or an issue in business as usual the team can and will pull together over it. And this has to be a credit to each individual moving part.
The next few months are full of excitement that’s for sure, the eHealth Festival in a few weeks will see the application of a wider musical theme as we work with partners to deliver the first technology in health conference with a theme based around a musical festival, some have suggested we must be a little bit crazy to try to do this, but, I have always believed it is about the story telling and if we can get that right then people will engage.
In the last few days it has become clear to me that we haven’t taken all of the staff on a journey, yet! But I want to keep making the compilation tapes and try and get that right! Everyone has a theme song I think, and part of my challenge as a business leader first and CIO second is to discover the theme song for each person…
…. Make it easier for me, leave your theme song in the comments below and lets create a mix tape for eHealth in Ireland!
And in the immortal words of the man himself, “Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life… “ A rallying call, lets do more than get through this thing called life, lets become a single compilation tape of excellence.