Playing ketchup

bread-390247_1920Time to do some catching up on topics I’ve been writing about…

The news still isn’t great for women in business. According to research by McKinsey & Co., if present trends continue, women won’t close the pay gap with men for more than a century. (That’s more than a hundred years by my detailed calculation.) And this requires investing over $300 billion in access to childcare and paid leave over the next ten years.

Meanwhile, it's been reported that only 6% of general partners in venture capital firms are women—down from 10% a decade and a half ago. (By my accounting those numbers appear to be headed in the wrong direction.) And this is occurring while women are making the lion’s share of consumer purchases—85% by some estimates! But if 94% of investment decisions are made by men, this is right out of Alice In Wonderland.

Women haven’t gained much ground in the music business as we've previously discussed, despite a few success stories like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry which distract us from the continuing low percentage of female performers getting radio play in almost every genre. The talent is out there, so this is insanely stupid.

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Big-name songwriters and their publishers can sleep more easily now that Led Zeppelin has successfully defended itself in a plagiarism suit targeting its iconic "Stairway to Heaven." The estate of Randy Wolfe—who as a member of the LA band, Spirit, had written an earlier song, “Taurus,” that had a similar opening guitar line as “Stairway to Heaven”—had sued Zeppelin for copyright infringement.

But in a week-long trial an eight-person jury just didn’t buy it that Zeppelin writers Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had stolen the “Taurus” riff. Yet as I mentioned in an earlier post, a case can be made that both Zeppelin and Spirit copped the guitar line from Davey Graham’s 1959 hit, “Cry Me a River.” Go figure.

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Meanwhile non-compete agreements—which legally prevent departing employees from finding employment in the same industry for a limited amount of time—are under increased scrutiny across the land. My home state of Massachusetts is in the process of modifying the law so that employers would have to compensate their ex-employees for a mutually agreed-upon sum for the duration of the agreement.

The start-up community has long argued that non-competes suppress innovation by discouraging the most creative talent from leaving their companies to begin new enterprises. Methinks and (me hopes) these agreements are headed for extinction.

As I’ve written before, many of the most successful rock bands in history—The Beatles, Who, Zeppelin, for example—would have never made it out of the starting gate if band members had signed non-competes with their previous bands. Imagine there's no Beatles.


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4 Comments

  1. Glad to see the Stairway Suit end so sensibly. I continue to be astonished at the number of people who tell me it's "an obvious rip-off" but who don't play an instrument, have never written a song, and thing "music theory" is somehow related to gravity or evolution, their other two favorite theories.

    I continue to be irked at the sad status of women in the marketplace.

    1. Reading about the McKinsey report on women in the workplace was a WTF moment for me. I keep hammering this home in the business workshops I do, but progress is slow.

    1. As I always say, alberto, it's never an either/or.

      I think the ketchup on the toast dribbled from a happy face into a sad face. It happens.

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