Taylor beats AI
Taylor Swift's Management of her brand

Taylor Swift’s management is so awesome that one MILLION people stood in a virtual queue for 3 hours and tried (and mostly failed) to buy tickets to Taylor’s Swift’s concert in Singapore in 2024. I failed to score even an “opportunity to book a ticket, ticket”. 300,000 seats available – and it’s not enough!

Must be nice to be Taylor Swift

Her songs are available digitally for a miniscule fee. With the power of AI, you could pretty much just say “compose me a Taytay song” and you’d get it. With a bit more effort an avatar could croon it for you. While certainly this will displace a bunch of jobs, it doesn’t affect Ms Swift. Why?

The art of Taylor Swift’s Management

She doesn’t just sing, she thinks through the experience of her music. So there are launch hints, emoji cues, references to her personal life like where she lives or her favourite Starbucks, easter eggs that refer back to other songs and a timeline of release for each song.

Taylor is really good at what she does which is “entertain” and maintain a connect with her fan(atics).

AI will replace mediocrity

Before the appearance of recordings you had to listen to your neighbourhood singer. They could be Cacofonix but you had no choice. The first wave of recording tech eliminated a lot of the local entertainers and each succeeding development has made it harder and harder for the not so good to survive.

You are either good enough to attract a large audience or be viable being attractive to a well-defined niche.

Look at Indian cinema. When an actor like “Thalapathy” Vijay rakes in Rs 200 crores ($24 million) for a film, it’s real clear who is the hero.

AI is going to make it easier and easier for work to be automated. The more mediocre the original output the faster that’s going to be taken by AI.

If you’re not a superstar save yourself – start partnering with AI!

If you are, say, held back by the quality of your communication AI can fix that and let your ideas shine! Or if you can’t afford a good designer now you can! If you don’t have the bandwidth for research, AI can do that in a jiffy! Imagine that you are a small business paying someone $200 a month to run your instagram page because “you can’t design”. Their output is better than what you can do, but still pretty crummy by your standards. With AI and 15 minutes a day you could do this work yourself and raise the quality. Or your designer could adopt AI and raise their standards without increasing the price.

I’ve written about skilling trends in compensation and the role of AI back in 2021. The title was “Don’t be mediocre”. Can’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂

Wabi-sabi is proof against AI

Why do we listen to cover bands?
Go to a concert?
Admire a painting when a photograph captures reality so much better?
Prefer home-baked cookies over the factory version of the same thing?

Because we humans actually LIKE some imperfection! We like a bit of history to things! A little variety, a quirk, something we can explore. A narrative that makes the experience special.

Wabi-sabi: Japanese aesthetic philosophy appreciating the beauty of imperfection, transience, and the natural cycle of growth and decay. Source: ChatGPT

This newsletter is a manifestation of me, the individual. It reflects my experiences of this week – whether it is shaking my fist at Taylor Swift’s management of concert ticket scarcity, discovering the joy of a Uchino towel, meeting a new colleague for the Singapore team, speaking with potential keynote speakers for a November event – and the many decades of experience that came prior to today.

AI makes my life better

I’ve tried to get AI to help me write stuff. It helps with topic suggestions, research, and standardized content. Super helpful in drafting emails to express what you want to say, but nicely. We are always looking for ways to make things easier – AI helps with that. Check out the marketing trends around “Make it easy for me from 2021” I’m so glad they’re still valid, not cringe worthy wrong.

I’ve been playing around with numerous AI tools and find them extremely useful – acceptable language, design and research. It’s so awesome to be able to say “define wabi wabi in 20 words” and use the outcome as-is!

But it isn’t able to replicate my voice and experiences. So this newsletter remains painstakingly handcrafted – as it has since 2011 🙂

As for what will we do with the extra time? Going by history we will just create more stuff, more experiences, more choices. As per choice theory by William Glasser: People are motivated by their own choices, seeking to fulfil their needs for connection, power, freedom, fun, and survival. I hope that survival is ensured for more of the world as we progress, and we can all have more of the other stuff.


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