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Online business and the importance of keeping an open mind

by Chris Sutton | July 26, 2010

Sunday afternoon and it’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a blog, so I might just indulge myself a little today and write a little “off topic”. That gap since the last blog does highlight the problem for small to medium businesses though where writing a regular blog can be the first task to take a back seat when the day to day pressure in a business mounts. But the results can’t be discounted, when our blog frequency drops our Google ranking drops and consequently so do our site visitors. So here we go…music, online business and the importance of keeping an open mind.

I think I may have mentioned my interest in music before and recently I caught up with an old acquaintance who started listening and buying music about the same time as me, in the mid 60s. What was interesting though was his attitude to music produced since then; we both have a love of the heavier side of late 60s rock, think Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc. but that’s actually not only where his interested started but also where it ended, in fact he discounts music produced since then as so much derivative garbage. On the other hand, I’ve been a musical itinerant who’s wandered all over the musical map and gradually lost my prejudices and musical snobbery along the way. I still pull out the old metal albums from time to time and thoroughly enjoy them, but they’re only a very small part of my listening these days. Now there’s nothing wrong with either view, music after all is, for the listener, purely about enjoyment. But I think that it’s sad to close yourself off to new ideas/sounds etc., especially when there’s some truly wonderful and original music being made around the world.

What is actually worse about being closed to new ideas though is when it has an impact on a business. Having started in the early days of the commercial internet in the 90s, we’ve seen business attitudes to websites slowly change. But even all these years later, levels of online involvement range from those who embrace the technology wholeheartedly and create vibrant new online businesses, to those who either discount the whole idea or only grudgingly accept the need for websites and online tools in business. I’m always staggered when the annual e-Business report from Sensis is released, it still shows year after year that more than half of all businesses don’t have a website, and that’s even when all the data shows that more than half of all buying decisions are made after online research.

So while not listening to new music only affects potential enjoyment, not keeping up with technology can doom your business if you are reducing your potential market by 50%!

New Music….

One of my current favourites is “Hadestown” by Anais Mitchell. I think it’s fair to say that the words folk and opera should almost never be used in the same sentence, but they’re writ large with this album which tells the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice set in an America of hard times. While so many examples of the concept album are overblown conceits often devoid of musical merit, on this album there simply isn’t a weak track, and while the album holds together thematically, you don’t have to listen to it in its entirety to appreciate it. The strong writing is enhanced by an outstanding cast of singers, including Anais Mitchell as Eurydice, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) as Orpheus, Ani DiFranco as Persephone, Greg Brown (one of my favourite singer songwriters, check out his album “Covenant”) as Hades and Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem) as Hermes.

Musically, the styles on this album range from country gospel, ragtime, blues and early jazz, to rock and  avant-garde. Again that sounds like a recipe for disaster but it is always accessible, intimate and unpretentious and perfectly compliments the narrative flow. Even in the world of Americana or American Folk, there is simply nothing else like this album, it is a beautiful and engaging album that proves that staying stuck in the 60s probably isn’t a good idea musically either!!




So there we go, all over the place today, but that's Sundays for you, and it does rather fit with the theme of music, online business and the importance of keeping an open mind.

SiteSuite Website Design - Online Marketing Blog Author Chris Sutton

Co-founder and Managing Director of SiteSuite Australasia, Australian pioneers in web design and ecommerce since 1997. For more from Chris you can follow him on Google+ or Twitter, and for further professional musings and thoughts on his other passions in life,

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