Tanzcafé with Manuel Pölzl aka Da Bürgermasta is now available. Check it out on Spotify or Transistor.
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I launched a new project called “Tanzcafé Podcast.” It is a show in German language where I talk to people from the Austrian hip hop dance scene about their dance, life, work and passion.
This is the intro episode that introduces the format.
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.
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.
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.
Selling and distributing art has always been a pain in the ass, but blockchain offers a potential solution with NFTs – which stands for Non-Fungible Token. Imagine being able to sell your piece of work, which can be everything that you can bring into the digital space, immediately and worldwide with 100% proof of who created it, who bought and therefore owns it, and built-in mechanics to collect royalties if it is resold. That is the concept behind NFTs.
A blockchain is a list of transactions. When you create an NFT, you summon a token that represents your work in the digital space. This token has a smart contract attached. A smart contract is just a fancy term for a code (a programme) that handles the sales and ownership. If someone buys the work, ownership is transferred (as if you would buy a painting). But the blockchain will forever show that you are the creator. Suppose the new owner decides to sell it again. In that case, the smart contract will automatically send a % of the resell price – defined in the smart contract – to you. No intermediaries needed.
Honestly, not yet. NFTs are slowly drifting into the mainstream, and everyone who gets on board now can be considered an early adopter. Not super early, but still. If you want to use them now, you need to be a little bit tech-savvy and interested in how these things work.
At the moment, NFTs are priced and bought in cryptocurrency. This will likely remain the status quo for a while. But with the rise of NFTs, there will be apps and service providers that will make it easy for everyone to enter the NFT space.
I suggest you get on-board immediately, but I understand if you want to watch the space first. Just don’t sleep on it and miss a potential opportunity that could unleash your work. Early adopters are always the ones who profited most when “their” tech goes mainstream.
I tried it and created my own NFT. As I can’t record a more significant dance piece right now, I went with a comic that speaks to the crypto-community. I am not a painter myself, so I commissioned the piece. Setting up the contract was a matter of 30 minutes, but I already had a crypto-wallet ready for use.
Until now, I did not run into any issues technically. I am currently promoting the piece on Twitter around crypto-folks and hope someone buys it.
It cost me around 0,17 ETH (which is EUR 230 at the moment of this writing), including the artwork itself and the fees to set up the smart contract.
As my intent is not selling but getting my head around how it works, I priced the token relatively high for what it offers. If someone buys – nice, if not – I have a token that predicts the future of cryptocurrency, created in 2021 – before the whole world started talking about NFTs.
In case you are interested, here is my NFT “A Taste of Things To Come.”
I write a lot about the work and life of a professional dancer. Recently someone asks me when I consider someone to be a professional dancer. Good question. Let’s check it out.
When we look at the words’ definition only, we conclude that a professional dancer is someone who earns his money with dancing. That’s it if we are looking into terminology and what I use to determine if someone is a pro.
The word professional is loaded with a lot of meaning that is not really part of the package. Here is a list of things:
And the list goes on. All of these can be true but don’t have to be.
There is also a difference in the mindset between two kinds of people who do business with dance. As much as I’d love to avoid this distinction, it often comes back to me in the form of “but he is not a professional dancer” or something that rhymes with it.
You can be both, but most peeps aren’t. The regular professional dancers focus absolutely on their craft – the dance. They perform, teach and compete. That is the lifestyle that we love and surrounds the dance when you look at it outside the dance world.
The dance entrepreneurs dance as well, but they look for opportunities outside the dance as well to nurture their business. This can be the addition of work that synergizes with dance or doing jobs where knowing dance is a prerequisite. These could be social influencers, event promoters, corporate consultants, creatives, or health service providers who specialize in dance topics.
When I talk about the dance business, I usually speak about both of those and I would be happy if we would not need to separate those two.
For many professional dancers, the perceived challenge is merely finding and doing more dance jobs. They care a lot about the question, “how can I get more dance jobs?” Whatever answer we find to that question is not the answer to building a sustainable and secure lifestyle around dance.
There are 2 particular reasons:
As an entrepreneur, you know about the importance of having multiple streams of income. Independence is the game, as is getting rid of middle-men where possible. This does not mean we can not do gigs with companies or dance paid shows with others. Both are significant parts of almost every dance business I know. The difference is that we don’t want to depend on them and have enough to offer on our own.
Then dance entrepreneur looks for additional ways to offer value and earn money. It is not important which kind you are, as long as you love what you do and feel secure enough. But when you feel the pain of uncertainty and the need for more stability, try to find additional income sources that synergize with what you do. Because you are leaving money behind and make your life harder than it needs to be.
I am doing a book promotion for Dance Smart, with a nice discount. If you liked Dance Smart and want to use it in your class or simply as a goodie for your students, this might be for you.
Order 10+ paperback copies and you will get 40% discount on the retail price (6 instead of 10 Euro).
It is up to you if you want to give them out for free, resell for 6 to give your students the benefit of getting them discounted or sell them for 10 and earn 4 Euro per copy.
The promotion is running from Feb 15 until Feb 28 2021.
Consulting alternative social media is one way to improve your research game. Recently we talked a lot about researching, asking better questions and making your own decisions. If we want to make informed decisions, it’s essential to have access to all information. Algorithms that decide which information to show us and what to withhold are detrimental to this process. Considering this and political censorship, it’s evident that the mainstream social media platforms and big tech search engines are not our friends when we want to see the complete picture.
Luckily, many projects are out there, who try to do a better job by providing decentralized and censorship-free platforms.
As mentioned above, we need alternative social media platforms to access as much information as possible. We need to decide what we want to read, instead of handing over this decision to automated processes or artificial intelligence.
The second reason is the necessity of free speech. If we can’t hear others opinions, we can not include their ideas in our thought process. Even if we disagree with statements, it is imperative to know them if we want to make well-informed decisions. We need to have discussions, even if they are inconvenient.
The one critical disadvantage of projects competing with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and more is their smaller userbase. It devalues these platforms for doing business. A big user base is beneficial to find new customers or business partners. All the major players are built in a way that benefits businesses and advertising. For the savvy businessperson, that is the purpose of mainstream social media: find your audience and connect with them.
The second major disadvantage is the dark side of an uncontrolled environment – it is not a safe space. Every content is equal. Therefore you will find all kinds of offensive content, extreme and radical opinions that reach from plainly stupid over misanthropic, and straight-up illegal stuff as well as scams that are after your money. On the other hand, all of this is happening on the major platforms as well, you just don’t see it, because you never clicked like on one of those.
These unregulated spaces are a fantastic playground for everyone who is used to think for themselves.
I want to clarify some terms that we use in this space, so you are aware of their meaning. Not too much depth and details, but enough to know about its implications.
Open Source projects publish the source code of their applications. Everybody interested can look at the code and evaluate what it does. The projects function is transparent. This transparency usually ensures that there is no hidden malicious code and fewer bugs. The opponents of the Open Source idea suggest that knowing a source code inside out makes it easier to exploit it, but in most projects, the opposite is the case. The communities working on and supporting these projects are effective in making their code secure. If one finds a potential exploit, it is often fixed way faster, than on proprietary systems.
Decentralization means that an application or system runs on many different computers, owned by many different people. In a centralized system, one server or many server clusters are owned by one company or entity. In a centralized system, the entity who controls the servers is in full control – like in a dictatorship. Decentralization works like direct democrazy as no single part of the network can change any rules alone. The strength of a decentralized network is in the number of people participating.
Blockchain is a technology that processes and stores data as a long list of so-called blocks. Usually, things are not deleted but kept forever, and the current status is the result of all blocks that have been added. The most popular use-case for blockchains is cryptocurrency, but we can use it for many things that are not cryptocurrency-related as well.
There are far more options out there than the ones I listed here. I went with the ones that I know personally and found the most useful in my own work. Do your own research and find the platforms that work best for your needs.
Be aware that you are entering the wild west of social media. You can find gold or catch a bullet on all of these social media platforms. But so can you on the mainstream ones. It is your responsibility to find the communities that work for you and make your life better.
Also, some of these platforms and apps are not as easy to handle or navigate as their mainstream counterparts. That and the smaller user base are the reason why they are only slowly adopted. But if you care for the information, that should not be an issue.
The headline is dramatic, I know, but so is the emotional impact of slaving away at work if you don’t care about it. Deep down, you think that the work you do is not worth doing. You know that there is something more fulfilling or even meaningful for you. If you don’t act on that, some of you (probably your subconsciousness – but I’m no psychologist so take the details with a grain of salt) will tell you that you are a loser, a slave or worse.
To lead a fulfilled life, you need to have the whole you on the team, not a part of you throwing punchlines to your head all the time. Trust me, I have been there, felt that, have quit the job and now life is better.
Deadlines can be a catalyst for good work if you care about what you do. If you don’t, deadlines create unnecessary and unhealthy stress. Most jobs nowadays consist of holding multiple deadlines a week.
Someone else defines that what you do is urgent, but you disagree because it is simply not important.
If you don’t care for the work you do and are working a regular 9 to 5, you spent most of your life sleeping and doing stuff you don’t care about.
That’s one of the things you should read again.
There is no need to quit your job immediately if you feel that dance is calling for you. Start it as a side-hustle and see if you can earn some extra money. If you can, slowly decrease your regular work and increase your dance biz.
The good thing is: if you find out, dance is not for you, you can just quit the side-hustle or go back to a regular job. The commitment is not eternal.
With any given crisis, you can lose your “secure” job as well. So there is no need to pretend it is more secure than doing what you love.
You either build your vision or help someone else build theirs. So you always help to make something. What reason is there to help to create something you don’t identify with. What reason is there to slave away in a job you hate?
You should treat yourself with enough respect to a least try doing something you love. You don’t want to look back at your life and wonder “what if I had become a pro dancer”, do you?
If you want to start the year with some reading, I have a list of book recommendations that I really enjoyed in 2020. Maybe there is something in there for you as well.
The links above are affiliate links. If you buy one of the recommended books via Amazon, I get a small part of what you pay as a provision. The price for you stays the same but it supports me and my work. That would be much appreciated.
Why do many people get stuck when they try to create new moves or routines? The answer is simple, but its impact is often underestimated, and therefore, people tend to ignore it. Creation and evaluation (analysis, assessment) are very different processes:
In creation mode, you want the ideas to flow freely.
Creativity is what you need.
In evaluation mode, you need to analyse your results from creation.
Logic is taking the lead here.
A popular scientific theory says that different sides of your brain are responsible for these two different tasks. And they don’t work well together. So if you try to do both at the same time, you are doing both inefficiently.
I can not comment if this theory is right or not, because I lack the scientific understanding. But I know that I work better when I only create at one time and judge later.
When you get stuck in your creation process, try to get rid of the voice in your head that wants to evaluate immediately. Film yourself and do that later. You will see the differences.
And finally, let’s grab a Dance Espresso over this topic: