“Messy beginnings:” Doing something that has never been done, or at least has never been done in a specific context. Infrastructure is missing, issues are fixed with patches and bandages. The result is a patchwork from a few or many enthusiastic people that work towards a common goal.
Different people bring different experiences and different opinions, which often leads to disagreements on how to do things. That is the hard part of being first in a new space. But it is also the beauty of the process. Different brains on the same topic, give the option to do things better than in streamlined environments, where we have a “correct” way of doing things.
Working in a new, messy environment gives us room for innovation. That is what’s happening right now with Breaking at Olympia. It is also what is happening with NFTs. Both are messy beginnings and have massive potential to change breaking and business with breaking forever.
Don’t ignore things, just because they are messy. Innovation always is.
2020 and 2021 taught me that doing business with art in the way we did relies way too much on things that I can’t control. I also learned that I absolutely detest that. So what can one do, who spent half of his life dancing, teaching, and producing dance. Doing something else is not an option. Honestly, it would be too easy.
From now on, I will embark on a journey to find new ways to work with art. Ways that are more self-sufficient and less reliable on existing structures or gate-keepers.
In the tech world, decentralization is the buzzword that promises solutions to issues that only arise because we gave too much control to people who only care for profits, and not for the art. We can do the same in art. Finding alternative places to show what we do, move even more in the public space and at the same time in the digital realm. There are new distribution models that promise proof of ownership and direct compensation flowing from the audience to the artist, without being eaten up by middlemen.
I am excited to take a deep dive into these new opportunities. Let’s see what the future brings.
Strange times, that’s for sure. We are confused. Some of us scream for more personal responsibility and freedom, while others want stronger government intervention and control.
I did not publish a lot recently. Life kept me busy with things that are not related to dance. I also took the time to read and think a lot. Some books were more thought-provoking than others. Here are four that I want to recommend if you are looking for stuff to read. Two of them are fiction, two non-fiction.
1984. George Orwell.
Schöne Neue Welt. Aldous Huxley. (Original title: Brave New World)
Die gefährliste aller Religionen. Larken Rose. (Original title: The Most Dangerous Superstition)
Psychologie der Massen. Gustave Le Bon. (Original title: Psychologie des Foules, French)
If you are reading them in 2021, I guarantee for a mind-bending journey.
The new episode of the Tanzcafé Podcast is out now. This time I talk to Joana aka Joflow, who is the founder of the female artist collective All Aut Females*. Find out about her story in dance, how she balances dance and being a proud mother, and what motivated her to start All Aut Females*.
As usual, Tanzcafè Podcast is in the German language.
Cash Flow is the way we use our money to handle life. It is not exactly something that we are usually taught in school, but it absolutely should be. For artists, a smart cashflow can bring you into a position that enables you to create more, and live the life you want. The points that cover here are valid for everyone, but I use examples from the dance world.
If you want to read up on the matter in depth: Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant from Robert Kyosaki cover those topics in easily understandable language. There is better literature if you are already in the matter but those are a perfect starting point if you want to dig deeper.
The predominant model – the Rat Race cash flow
The majority of people work a job and directly spend the money to cover their fixed cost and additional expenses. It is what is taught in schools. Get a good education, get a good job.
The issue with this model is that at the moment, you are not able to work (or don’t want to), you have no way of covering your costs. Smart fellas have a few months of savings, but it does not change the fact that you depend on your work.
Some folks consider this to be the modern form of slavery. But that is a debate for another day.
The smart cashflow that can lead to financial independence
The smarter set-up is to put your work into creating assets that make you money and pay your costs from the income produced by those assets. Assets can be anything that generates income without the need to constantly spend your time on them. Probably the most famous asset, which is also easy to understand, would be real estate. You can rent it out and get money from it. As long as you earn more from the rent than it costs you to maintain the facility, you have a positive cash flow that does not depend on yourself. Other traditional assets would be a company you own or stocks (that come with some risk).
But we don’t have the money to buy a house! Me neither. Luckily, there are many cheaper assets that you can start working on right now, based on your dance skills.
Examples of this would be online education based on recorded videos instead of live streams. It can also be books, recorded performances that require a fee to watch, templates for papers that people need, stock images of your artwork and whatever you can come up with.
The significant advantage of the income from those assets is its independence from your work. As soon as you have them up, they can sell while you do other things or sleep.
In the final stage (call it your endgame if you want), when your income from assets is higher than your costs of living, you can feed the money back into creating more assets.
How do we get there?
The abstract process to optimise your cash flow is really easy, like with most concepts. You start to build your first assets, which provide a little income. This money either goes directly into creating new assets or covers part of your fixed costs. This gives you a little bit of leverage (time or money) to continue building your reputation and assets. Now you repeat the process until your assets provide for your life.
The execution is not as easy, of course. Let me give you an example based on some real numbers from my own career. Suppose writing books would be the only way I had to create assets. At the moment I have only one book on the market. In the first three months of 2021, the average income through its sales was 91 bucks. Not a lot to write home about.
Let’s do some math. Imagine I have ten of those. Without considering that people who grabbed one book are more likely to buy more, there would be 910 bucks a month. Having 20 would be enough to make a living without doing any other work. Writing 20 books would surely take some time, and neither writing nor reading is for everyone. But in dance, there are way more options than just amassing books to sell. Having the right offer at the right time can make a substantial difference.
Be brave and be bold. Now is the time to make the change and take your financial well-being into your own hands.
In the last weeks, life was a roller coaster. I neglected writing for the blog, the newsletter and promoting the new podcast episodes. Despite not promoting them, I recorded and published. As life is getting a little bit more stable again, meet the Tanzcafé episodes 2-5 with the amazing Olivia, Sina, Jaekwon and Chris Cross.
Recently I witnessed the question “Who is fact-checking you?” popping up on Social Media more and more. Not aimed at me, but at good people I follow. That question is a sign of ignorance and misunderstanding of the process. In my opinion, it’s a testament to one of the most underrated issues of our society: the missing ability to check and verify the information yourself.
What is fact-checking?
Fact-checking is an elementary form of research. If you are confronted with new information, you look for the real source of this information. If you get it from someone who just heard/read it somewhere and you don’t know where it comes from, you can not judge if the source is trustworthy. If you find the source, look if the statements make sense. Is it about what someone said in an interview? Check the interview, not an article about someone writing about the interview. About science? Is the source a scientific paper that quotes other sources, or is it a text that is all anecdote and no data?
Depending on what you are fact-checking, the process differs.
Why you need to fact-check yourself
Because you never know the reasons why other people do it. More often than not, so-called fact-checkers are on the payroll of governments, corporations, or NGOs with their own agenda, which is not revealing the truth but supporting their interests. These fact-checkers are just part of the propaganda machine.
If you can’t do it yourself, have someone on your team who can do it, or you lose in the information war.
Here is the absolute basic process if you want to get started with fact-checking yourself.
Check Google and DuckDuckGo for the stuff you want to read about. We use 2 different search engines to rule out algorithmic bias or censorship. You can use any 2 search engines of your choice as long the second is not based on the first. If you can not confirm this info, just go with Google and DuckDuckGo.
See if you can find the original source. Example: if it is about something someone said: try to find a video interview where he did. Then check if the video has been cut at that place. If yes, it might be out of context as it has been edited.