• Important Note

    The 60 Works site is up for reference, but is not actively being maintained.

  • What is 60 Works?

    What is 60 Works?

    22nd July 2011, (0 Comments)

    I have found myself describing this little company to a variety of people from different backgrounds. Here is what I tell them.

    You’re a generic service provider (accountant, lawyer, banker, supplier, etc): 60 Works is a small business in the Musical Instruments (MI) industry. We specialize in boutique and custom designs.

    You’re a random person off the street: 60 Works makes gadgets for people who use computers to perform music. It sounds pretty geeky (and it is), but one of our goals is to empower these people to stop hiding behind their laptops, and to start providing an actual performance on stage.

    You’re an instrumentalist/vocalist: 60 Works makes custom MIDI controllers. These devices control the computer gear you use to record. Some artists have begun using MIDI controllers as instruments in their own right. 60 Works helps make these.

    You’re a DJ: You know those devices that let you control Serato or Traktor without using the keyboard? Those are MIDI Controllers. 60 Works makes them for people with needs beyond what can be found off the shelf.

    You’re an Electronic Musician: 60 Works makes MIDI controllers. They’re more expensive than what you see at the store, but are built around a different philosophy. We build custom instruments for your performance. We don’t build generic plastic boxes.


    You’re a business/tech journalist looking for an introductory sentence to start an article about 60 Works: What if a restless, jaded 30 year old — a devotee of the works of David Allen and Seth Godin — decided to start a company around his singular passion for music-making gadgets?



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    A Short Guide to Artist Relations

    A Short Guide to Artist Relations

    01st July 2011, (4 Comments)

    At my current gig and at my previous Ableton gig, I’ve had the pleasure of doing some Artist Relations work. Some self-taught lessons are below. As you’ll see, this is a guide for getting to Artist Relations, not Artist Relations itself:


    Lesson 1: decide if you’re going to be a fan or a business partner.

    Guess what? If you’ve heard of this person, and if your company wants to know them better, they already have fans. What they don’t have is a relationship with your company. You can absolutely let the artist know you’re a personal fan of their work, but that’s not the main reason you (or they) got in contact.


    Lesson 2: find the real person behind the Artist.

    The following refrain should become common in your work: “Wow, this is a real person that just happens to be an artist!” That real person is the one you want to build a relationship with, not their “persona.”


    Lesson 3: be wary of the Ego.

    If someone consistently maintains the facade of their artist persona in front of you, they are not interested in a serious relationship with you. They’re not interacting with you on a personal level, they are performing for you.

    Problem is, some artists don’t know the difference between their real selves and their “act.” My advice? If you encounter such a person, walk away, slowly at first, then sprint once you’re out of eyesight. They are a ticking time bomb, and the fallout from the eventual Ego Explosion will be massive.


    Lesson 4: be wary of Their Entitlement.

    Ego and Entitlement go hand-in-hand. If someone feels they’re doing you a massive favor by simply getting in touch, or by requesting freebies or a discount, you’re back to Bomb Squad work. Manage expectations early and carefully to prevent an explosion.


    Lesson 5: be wary of Your Entitlement.

    Express your own humility. The product or service you offer should not be dangled in front of someone like a doggie treat. If an artist is making the effort to break down their facade to interact with you, they deserve a real person in return, not your Marketing or Press Persona.


    Lesson 6: your memory for them is better than their memory for you.

    Seriously, it is. Do you remember the exact details of your last trip to the grocery store, when you chatted with the cashier while you entered your PIN? Do you remember that day in 2008 when you were hailing a cab and you accidentally waved at someone instead? These miniature interactions are cute but forgettable.

    Problem is, if someone recognizes your fame, you just seared that interaction into their mind. Famous people create memorable experiences out of mundane occassions. That’s why they’re famous.

    I distinctly remember standing behind a famous actor at Starbucks. I distinctly remember standing at a urinal next to my Baseball idol. But I doubt Jeffrey Dean Morgan or Ryne Sandberg could detail those experiences as vividly as I can.

    Getting back to the point. Don’t expect your every moment with the artist to be as memorable for them as it is for you. Even if your interaction represents the culmination of 20 years of following their career, for them it may just be another business meeting or phone call. Harsh but true.



    Repeating from the beginning. This is a guide for getting to Artist Relations. I would argue “Artist Relations” is the act of removing the quotation marks, the capital letters and the word Artist. It’s turning “Artist Relations” into… relations.

    You want to achieve the kind of contact where they just happen to be famous, and you just happen to represent a service/product they want.

    After you accomplish that, the real work begins, and my advice ends. How you interact with an Artist at this stage is your perogative, to be dictated by your company vision and your own personality.


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    “I Don’t Have a Day Job”

    “I Don’t Have a Day Job”

    23rd May 2011, (1 Comments)

    After seven years of doing 60 Works-related thinking and planning “on the side,” I have decided to pursue the world of custom music controllers exclusively.


    Two main takeaways from this short post:

    1. greatly accelerated progress on two 60 Works projects to be released this summer.
    2. hypocrisy, contradictions and general backpedaling from the statements in “I Have a Day Job.”


    Regarding 1 — These projects will be receiving my full attention, as well as the attention of a small, local team of experts I’ve gathered. I hate “tease” marketing, so I’ll only say that specific news will follow in the late Summer.

    Regarding 2 — Meh, life happens. Turns out that maintaining quality and sanity while managing Personal Life, Day Job and 60 Works all at once was impossible. Chalk it up to a life lesson, learned the hard way.


    A number of uncertainties lie ahead, but two things are clear:

    1. I’m as excited as I have ever been to make something out of this opportunity.
    2. Comment Spam will continue to hound me.


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    Amazing Spam

    Amazing Spam

    25th April 2011, (2 Comments)

    A quick update, as I realize a two-month lull between posts is tragic in this age. 60 Works is humming along nicely. I have some parallel controller business ideas I’m developing, but this site will continue to be my public portfolio and sounding board.

    In Marketing 60 Works, I mentioned site hacks and comment spam on WordPress. Thankfully, the hacking has gone away. But the spam is still pervasive.

    This is my fault for not investing in an automated anti-spam solution. This tiny little site has received 29 “real” comments (including my replies and automated trackbacks) and 161 spam comments. I know, it’s the age we live in, but some of the spam comments are fascinating.

    Most comments are easily filtered, due to the use of Cyrillic or due to obvious relevance/grammar issues. But some are harder to peg. Would you assume these are spam comments on an initial read-through?:

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox on some post of yours and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    I guess you may want to add a facebook button to your blog. I just bookmarked this article, but I must complete it manually. Just my 2 cents.

    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    Amazing blog! Thanks for maintaining it. Keep posting that way. (Received while writing this post.)


    Why spam such comments? For the attribution hyperlink on the commenter’s name. For example, clicking any “Dave Cross” comments on this site will take you back to 60works.com. Clicking any of these people’s names would direct you to their spam page. (On a more technical level, I wonder if these links have more value for increasing relevance on search engines than they do for the occasional click.)

    I almost fell for it the first time. But it seemed a little fishy so I Googled the entire text of the comment to find it plastered on hundreds of other obscure blogs like mine.

    This is an amazing feat of social engineering. Especially the laudatory posts. Who wouldn’t want such kind words at the bottom of their new blog?

    As with most spam, this is a highly automated affair. But by appealing directly to the egos and fears of the author, the spammers are — I’m assuming — succeeding on a level much higher than that of email spam.

    I’m on the fence with regard to turning off comments entirely on this site. Only time, and my patience, will tell.


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    You must stop before you can move forward

    You must stop before you can move forward

    21st February 2011, (3 Comments)

    Advances in technology have given us a never-ending stream of innovation in computing and music devices. This is a wonderful age where progress is a constant. But it’s also a curse. It is easy to focus on the progress to the detriment of everything else.

    Take, for example, gear- and feature-lust; the desire to be part of the next big thing. The argument is simple: “why should I do something now when something better will come along?” or “If something new makes me 300% more efficient, it’s in my best interest to wait until that thing comes along.”

    This behavior is not exclusive to technological innovation. Have you ever heard the following?: “I’m halfway done, but if I start over completely, I know the end product will be better for it.”

    Taken without context, the above quotes are rational. But if you hear them often — especially from your inner monologue, be careful. You may be focusing on the process instead of the end result. (A process which, by the way, will never end.)

    This is not an indictment of precision, or of quality. It’s a warning for those who favor quality over results. The greatest process in the world (like the greatest idea in the world) is nothing without implementation. And implementation requires you to pick a moment and STOP, so you can go from thinking to working.

    I’ll come down off my philosophical high horse for one example: instrumentation. Whether your weapon of choice is a turntable, a saxaphone, a controller or a paintbrush, it will not become your instrument until you stop, sit down with what you have, and practice. If you’re focusing on developing your craft, time spent drooling over the “next” and the “best” is time wasted.

    Again, not an indictment of progress (or of awesome gear) here. Just a warning: you’ll never get good at it unless you stop to appreciate it. If you’re constantly looking over the horizon, you WILL find something to pique your interest. That’s the age we live in.

    You must stop before you can move forward.

    (Yet another sappy self-help message brought to you by 60 Works.)

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