Context & Caveats
Before I attempt to share what is going into my ears as I type need to supply some context. Earlier in the week I received some interesting news. I’m a cancer “survivor”. I put survivor in quotes because I have a chronic condition we’ve successfully fought back three times with chemo.
Cancer teachers many valuable lessons that I hope YOU never learn. One of those lessons is MUSIC is therapy. When you are sitting in the most contemplative chair in the world, the chemo chair, MUSIC is what gets you through. Music is HOPE, LOVE and LIFE.
Earlier in the week I was sitting in the waiting room at UNC Lineberger listening to Bob Marley, tweeting and working. Doing things I LOVE waiting to hear if the knot in my neck was no big thing.
A Great Day Gets Better
When you have the Big C there is no such thing as “no big thing”. Colds are “big things”, fatigue is a big thing. Life is a big thing. Met with wizard of an oncologist Dr. Hank van Deventer (Hammering Hank) and learned there is about a 10% chance I am VERY sick again.
Hearing that news I had two feelings simultaneously:
- Been Here Before.
- Play it as it lays.
Here is a challenge. When someone tells you there is a 10% chance you won’t be here much longer FOCUS on the 90% not the ten. Hard right? Focusing on the 90% got easier as the week went on.
We are CLOSE to “soft launching” our “community in a box” Internet marketing tool currently called Curagaami (follow that link if you want to help us crowdsouce a new name).
My week got BETTER each day and Friday was AMAZING. We had a great meeting with our first customer, friends at Moon-Audio.com, and THEY PAID US! Too cool because our friends Drew and Nichole Baird, the husband and wife team who created Moon Audio, are great people.
Nichole and Drew are people who if you are lucky enough to work with them (or others like them) make YOU better.
They actually “paid” Phil and me in more ways than one. They will help us refine Curagami into a powerful content marketing and social media tool. They are letting me play in ecommerce again (THANK YOU), AND Drew changed cables on my Shure earbuds and OMG.
This sound is like a DRUG (lol), like one of the GOOD drugs that make you feel BETTER not worse.
Drew’s Dragon SLAYS Bob Marley
I’m sitting in my favorite place to have Saturday lunch, Saladelia where we often conduct Free web marketing consulting Saturdays, and Bob Marley is inside my HEAD…and it is a good thing (lol). Let’s see if I can describe what is happening in my ears right now thanks to Drew’s Silver Dragon Headphone Cables:
The music is suddenly smooth, warm and close. What was almost too SHARP before has mellowed out to a tone that sounds like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Unexpected, calming and beautiful Marley’s music feels personal and happening NOW.
Marley NEVER sounds bad, but before Drew upgraded my Shure’s they played LOUD music best. Loudness seemed to run right by the limitations that were immediately present and distracting during quiet passages.
Thinking back now I realized I was changing my listening patterns. I haven’t been listening to Miles or Keith Jarrett much lately, music I love, because the range of the music is greater, more quiet reflective pauses between the notes, than my favorite rock bands (Zeppelin, stones, who, Steely Dan). My Macbook Air + Spotify + Shure 425s + Drew’s Silver Dragons has me wanting to fire up some MILES or Gary Burton.
Money Doesn’t Matter
Here’s another Big C lesson – MONEY doesn’t matter. I spent much of my life worrying about money. Let’s model it. If you are SMART, work hard and are willing to learn will you EVER not be able to make “good money” in America?
Maybe, but when that day comes we will have a new job – Occupy Wall Street.
The other thing I made a point of doing is SAVING. Well let me amend that. I started saving in my 30s when I realized money earned from money was cool and required a lot less SWEAT. Please don’t read this next rif like you shouldn’t save, but I saved money I may well be unable to ever spend.
That is my life in a nutshell (lol).
Ever feel like you do the right thing and still it goes wrong? Perhaps the most important lesson cancer teaches is KEEP TURNING THE CRANK. When we set out to ride a bicycle 3,300 miles from the Duke Cancer Institute to the Santa Monica Pier in the summer of 2010 the concept of KEEP TURNING THE CRANK became clear.
What we THINK matters DOESN’T. What we THINK doesn’t matter DOES.
The crank is the part of your bicycle that turns the wheel, the part that makes you go forward. There were DAYS when I just wanted to sit down and say F**K It. I’m OUT (lol). My team did what great teams do – they convinced me to KEEP TURNING THE CRANK.
Don’t make the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons about money. Save, but every now and again realize LIFE IS SHORT and you need to spend some cash to make life BETTER (or have amazing friends like Drew and Nichole or both).
You might think, “That’s a lot of money” when looking at a life transforming product like Drew’s Dragon. Let me provide some context. After six months of chemo I got a bill for $250,000. Most of that money went to drugs. I realize drug companies are some of the most profitable on earth, but they along with my docs, nurses and friends SAVED MY LIFE so THANK YOU.
The reluctant insurance company who paid my bills also saved my life, but they were MUCH LESS graceful about it. If you are a Republican, as my father is, yelling about ObamaCare I hope you NEVER get cancer. The minute someone says “cancer” and your name in the same sentence getting insurance without President Obama’s brave help would be impossible.
Here is another mental exercise and the last one I promise.
If you have to choose LIFE or SAVINGS what do you choose? My answer so far has been SAVINGS. I’m out of pocket more than $100K at this point, money that could have gone into my 501c3 nonprofit foundation to fight cancer, but no complaints since NOT spending the money produces a lousy result.
At least a lousy result NOW. At the point when the Big C is winning and my life isn’t my life anymore it will be time to say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to those working so hard to save and support MY life. If you are one of those special FOMs (friends of Martins’) known or unknown I will try to repay your investment in me with LOVE, ethics and giving.
I won’t live up to that last sentence as much or as easily as it is to write, but you now know my FULL intentions. There is NOTHING other than REPAYMENT and SERVICE now and saying that makes me sound like a charlatan. Not so much. I am NOT one of those tell you one thing do another people.
Never have been. I don’t have that much ART or intelligence or whatever it takes to master the dodge. My nickname at Choate was Marty “Tank” Smith. I think they hung that on me for more than how I play football.
If TANK Smith has rolled over you in the past FORGIVE ME. Never my intention. I get excited and LOVE what I do for a living and so TALK when I should be listening. Working on it.
Oh, and if you LOVE music then your Bob Marley needs to meet Drew’s Dragon.
Peace, Love and CURE CANCER,
Founder, Curagami (or whatever)