Power in Representation

We are only as powerful as what we represent.

Yes, our skills and knowledge (hopefully) increase and compound over time; making us more marketable as we go along. But, the older we get, the less appealing we become (in most circumstances). So, on the continuum of our finite lives, the window for success and power is pretty limited.

Consider why people want to talk with you; or why you want to talk with most others. Usually it’s for what’s on the other side, giving the temporary delusion that the person in the middle has power. Yeah, they technically do in that moment. But what happens when their representative power ends?

I started my career working with (very) independent artists. More often than not, no one cared. It’s amazing how some of those same people responded (usually for the first time) differently when I was able to attach “Sony” after my name. Those first few years of my career have, and will continue to, provide my personal motivation.

I know there are countless people out there that feel like I do, and I would love to hear your story.

And next time you think you are an invincible bad-ass, think about why people even care about you to start with.

*Originally published November 2, 2009.

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2 thoughts on “Power in Representation

  1. I think in many cases there are 3 phases to a career. You’ve touched on the first two if I understand you right. But the 3rd is where we all want to be. Phase 1) Learning to be competent (or better) phase — You are working to gain experience, but your customer base is still evaluating you for competency. You work (or want to work) with many different people, but they don’t yet recognize your value. Phase 2) Competency (or better) phase — Potential customers/and or employers recognize that you can do the job. Having a major label, corporation, or firm name behind you establish this. (Sony believes in you, so you must be good.) Phase 3) Expert phase — This is when it doesn’t matter who you work for — you have proven you know what you’re doing because of the work you’ve produced, the awards you’ve won, etc. This is the place we all want to get and stay, because with this, our value will last until we draw our last breath. In your world, someone like Tandy Rice comes to mind. Nobody cares who he works for (indeed, he works for himself) because he carries an ‘expert label’ everywhere he goes. He’s proven his value.

    • Joel, I sincerely apologize for just now getting back to you on this. First, thank you very much for reading, and for the comment. Second, you make very good points here. I was really taking a jab at people that get all high and mighty because they are able to say they work for [insert A or B level artist/talent here] – and trying to point out that the high and mighty only lasts as long as said person is in a representative position for that talent, therefore it is important to be nice to people along the way – you never know when you may need that relationship. However, I do agree with your phases of a career, and yes, that is something to strive for. Thanks again man. I hope to see you soon.

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