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Friday, February 2, 2018

Theater in the Age of Netflix

I read a great article in the December issue of Fast Company titled "Retail in the Age of Amazon." Long-time readers know of my penchant for following retail conversations and seeing how they are applicable to the theater world and this article was no different.

(New readers: hello! do you think retail and theater overlap, too?)

I sat down to write notes on all the topics and details from the article that I wanted to flesh out on for theaters. I thought it would be 4 or 5, since the article itself had 4 sections to it.

Instead, I had TWENTY-TWO points to hit. To flesh out each of those points, even a paragraph a piece, seems a tad much for a blog post.

Some of them I've written about before, like defining success on your terms and using heretical ideas.

A lot of them are about how going back to basics and focusing on differentiation rather than competing at the same game can help retail businesses survive and thrive in the age of click-and-buy.

This is my point about live theater: when it's easiest to click-and-buy entertainment in your pjs on your couch, you can't treat your theater business like it's another Netflix. Nor can you exasperatedly declare "there's nothing I can do!" about declining audiences and lackluster seasons. There are plenty of things you can do. Twenty-two things by this count.

So I'll be tackling this list, giving each point the focus it deserves. I hope to even find real-world examples of theater companies and people who are doing these things already. Nothing beats reading another's story for inspiration and checklist-creation.

Carr wrote: "Retailers don't need to chase a futuristic version of themselves that they might never attain; they first need to remember what made them special in the first place." I'd say the same is true for theaters, too.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Reading in 2017 Expanded My Mind, Heart, and Soul

I read 37(ish) books in 2017. As usual, they were a bit all over the place.

Some of the highlights:

- being diagnosed with anxiety and depression and realizing your codependent tendencies makes you seek out book help. I read Melody Beattie's work, including the classic Codependent No More and the newer Stop Being Mean To Yourself. I have another one still on my TBR pile. Related: Never Good Enough; Drama of the Gifted Child; The Wisdom of Depression; Potatoes Not Prozac.

- the business books included the fantastic Abundance by Peter Diamandis (older title) and Principles by Ray Dalio (new title). I'm enjoying branching out my business reading to forward-looking futurists. These are the folks who read science fiction as kids, made it come true, and are now looking ahead another forty years to see what will be next. 

- in the "make my life better" Dewey Decimal section: You Already Know What To Do, about tapping into intuition, was phenomenal and fell into my hands at the perfect time (towards the end of therapy). I've definitely been following my intuition more and feel much better about choices. Another good read was Pussy: A Reclamation. We all need to listen to our female intelligence more. Others in this category: The Happiness of Pursuit; Living Forward; Fearless and Free; Make Your Mark; The Power of Meaning; High Performance Habits.

- file under "Tim Ferriss": I read his own Tools of Titans, plus his recommended Vagabonding.

- I expanded my religious studies reading this year. Most exceptional was Four Testaments, which included foundations texts for eastern religions and a through introduction to Zoroastrianism. Every Judeo-Christian raised person should read about Zoroastrianism as it directly influenced the Hebraic history and Christian mythology. Related: A New Earth; How Philosophy Can Save Your Life; The Spirit of Zen.

- I reread Deborah Harkness' All Souls Trilogy (one of very, very few fiction works I have read multiple times) and that led me to read The Clockwork Universe, about how science bloomed during the 1600s, leading to thoughts which changed the world. Universe talks about England right after the time period of the Shadow of Night, the second in the All Souls Trilogy. It was neat to read about topics Harkness references as "coming." This also highlighted how out of practice I am in STEM areas, so I'm using the Brilliant app to brush up on my science and I read Richard Feynman's intro lectures to physics, Six Easy Pieces.

- The massive fiction tome this year went to an author I haven't read in 20 years: Neal Stephenson, and his collaboration with Nicole Galland, The Rise and Fall of DODO. If you're a fan of long, crazy, interwoven, sharp character-driven science fiction, I can't recommend this book enough. I've never read Galland's work before, so I can only surmise she kept the pace quicker than Stephenson's normal slog. But it was incredible; the ending was perfect and didn't make me sad (*cough*like The Night Circus*cough*). Also read: The Masked City; Furthermore; The Burning Page; Book Scavenger; A Conjuring of Light; Girl Who Drank The Moon

There were bits and bobs more, but those are the ones that stand out.

As usual, you can follow what I read over on Instagram, where I post shots and reviews in real time.

I'm tackling #theunreadshelfproject2018 for my reading this year, which means getting through the 55 backlog titles on my shelves. Wish me luck.