Introspection – The Might of Cancer

The last week has been eye-opening for me to say the least. Yesterday, I underwent surgical repair for a non-serious condition, an inguinal hernia, that I’ve endured for the last 3 years. Incidentally, I was hospitalized for 2 days.

I happened to share the room with 4 other people (5 people to a room). Most of the other people were admitted for the similar minor reasons involving their intestines.

However, one patient was a chronic patient who has been undergoing major surgery for the last past 5 months. He in a terminal cancer patient.

I’ve seen people with cancer and I’ve heard stories, but this has been my first encounter with someone who’s been combatting cancer. Of course, prior to sharing the room with him, he was a mere stranger, but hearing his stories were frightfully shocking.

He has scars all of his bodies (from invasive surgeries) and has had pretty much portions each organ sliced and removed. He is in constant pain and receives a steady drip of pain medication. He still has a few more surgeries to go.

One thing that resonated within his words is that I should do and eat what I enjoy.

If there’s one thing that I’ve been learning from life is that life changing moments are quick and abrupt, even though signs may creep up slowly. It’s truly impossible to identify the signs because they’re masked behind all that loud white noise.

I wonder what God has in store for me…

Introspection – Having and Raising Kids

I’ve been in Korea for less than a week. It’s a true blessing to have this opportunity to spend with my two nieces. They are two of the most precious and adorable jewels.

The first day I came, I literally spent hours on end, watching the newborn sleep. Breathe in. Breathe out. Lungs expanding. Lungs collapsing. What an inexplicable feeling of warmth, joy, love, and awe.

The second day, I was gently woken up by the whimpering cry of my first niece. That is the first true glimpse of fatherhood I have ever experienced. I was able to comfort her, hold her, and play with her. I was her rock for that morning. And it was amazing.

I have always loved kids. I want to be the most loving and caring father. I want to hear my children’s resounding laughs echo through eternity.

But it’s much harder than I ever thought. The sheer amount of patience and love that is required cannot be measured by any means.

I once remember seeing a single mother, carrying two children in her arms. Both children crying ever so loudly, flailing their arms. At the time, I couldn’t help but think that she was doing wrong. But now, I’ve discovered that my thoughts were judgmental and premature. Kids are fickle by nature because their innocence. They constantly crave an endless supply of love and attention.

It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be amazing.

How Much Pandora Pays for 1,000,000 Plays via Theunderstatement

If you’re a musician or own some kind of music that may be streamed/played via internet radio, here’s something that might be of interest.
David Lowery’s “My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89” article has been picked up over and over and over, including by very respectable folks, often without comment.

This has left many readers with two impressions:

  1. Pandora only paid $16.89 for 1 million plays.1
  2. Pandora pays much lower royalty rates than Sirius XM and especially terrestrial AM/FM radio.

Music royalties are complex, but both of these are patently untrue.


Step 1. Lowery and his royalty reports clearly state he only owns 40% of the songwriting. As he says, this means the total fee to the songwriters was $16.89 x 2.5, or $42.23.

Step 2. Songwriters actually only get about 43.5% of the songwriting/publishing rights. The publisher and the songwriters split the fee 50/50 after the rights administrator’s (BMI in this case) operating expenses, which appears to be about 13%. So the full songwriting/publishing fee was in fact about $97.

Step 3. Pandora also pays a separate royalty for the performance itself, distinct from the songwriting. In 2012, that royalty was $0.0011 per streamed song.2 For 1,159,000 plays, that works out to a total performance royalty of $1,274.90.

After the administrator SoundExchange takes its fee of 5.3%, the performance royalty is split, with 50% going to the recording owner (i.e. record company), 45% to the band/performer, and 5% to any session/backup musicians. So the band in this case received $543.30 for their performance.

Conclusion. By this math:

  • Pandora paid a total of about $1,370.
  • The band received a total of about $585.
  • If Lowery received 40% of the performance royalty, “all he got” for the 1 million plays was in fact around$234.

Whatever one thinks of the fairness of those numbers, they’re all clearly far larger than $16.89.


The main issue here is that Lowery cites only dollar amounts for comparison:

  • “For frame of reference compare [sic] Sirius XM paid me $181”
  • “Terrestrial (FM/AM) radio US paid me $1,522”

This is quite simple: those sources paid him a lot more primarily because a lot more people heard his song via those sources.3 For example, AM/FM paid him $1,373.78 for 18,797 spins. That’s 7.3 cents per spin. If only 10,000 listeners heard each spin, terrestrial radio is in fact paying just half the songwriter fee Pandora paid him per listener. And of course it’s likely to have been far more than 10,000 – even the intentionally miniscule South Dakota radio station Pandora just bought manages to average 18,000 listeners.

Even more importantly, FM/AM paid him NOTHING for the performance of the song. Unlike most industrialized nations, terrestrial radio stations in the US have never paid performers anything.4 It’s hard to believe, but true: they can play John Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things” for decades and never pay him or his estate a single cent.

Lowery doesn’t disclose the Pandora performance royalty but he declares it “unsustainable.”5 This is a fascinating perspective: apparently in Lowery’s view a performance royalty of $1,275 is unsustainable but the AM/FM world of $0 is totally fine?

AM/FM radio royalty payments are contractually capped at just 1.5% of revenues, meaning a measly 0.7% of radio revenues go to the actual songwriters – and 0% to performers.6 Pandora would indeed love to get down to those much lower rates that competitors like iHeartRadio already get to pay because they’re owned by a terrestrial radio conglomerate. Strongly implying that Pandora’s royalty rates are already far worse than AM/FM seems just plain misguided.


None of this means Pandora ought to pay less in royalties. On the contrary, it seems quite likely that others should be paying more. And perhaps the non-artists involved in the transaction shouldn’t be taking 53% of the total for their services. But attacking Pandora with intentionally misleading statistics just undermines the credibility of the argument.

Vertical Growth vs Lateral Growth via Scott H Young

Great read from Scott H Young Here:

Please visit his website for the entire read.


Vertical Growth

This is what most people think of when I talk about personal development. Vertical growth is the process of achieving, pushing ourselves and ambition. This type of development is characterized by facing challenges, struggle, pressure and pain. Ultimately this type of development also gives us our greatest triumphs and victories.


Techniques such as goal setting are ideal for vertical growth. Setting goals can allow you push yourself harder than you would normally. Goal setting is the process of identifying exactly what you want, and taking the actions required to get it.


Lateral Growth

There is, however, another form of personal development which is easy to neglect. This is what I will call lateral growth. Goal setting, drive and motivation are not the primary tools of this kind of growth. For those of you who are over-achieving goal setters, this kind of growth might be a little foreign to you. Simply because the tools we are so used to, don’t work as well as they do in this new arena.

Lateral growth is the expansion of experience. Lateral growth means exposing ourselves to new ideas. Lateral growth means increasing consciousness itself.

10 Things to Stop Saying to Your Kids (and What to Say Instead) via Lifehacker

This was an interested read. As someone who wants to father independent, intellectual, self-sustaining and impactful children, this is great advice.

Group Of Children Running In Park

Current research shows that some of the most commonly used and seemingly positive phrases we use with kids are actually quite destructive. Despite our good intentions, these statements teach children to stop trusting their internal guidance system, to become deceptive, to do as little as possible, and to give up when things get hard.

This is a guest post by Shelley Phillips via

Here’s a list of the top ten things to eliminate from your vocabulary now. I’ve also included alternatives so that you can replace these habitual statements with phrases that will actually encourage intrinsic motivation and emotional connection.