A week-or-so ago, I had a quick Twitter conversation with Terry Starbucker comparing play lists on our iPods. I asked him if what we had on our iPods helped to define our personal brands. Here’s the conversation (top down)

In subsequent tweets I’ve seen by Terry mention artists such as Neil Diamond, Elton John, The Bee Gees as well as an overwhelming compilation of music trivia and general musicology.

So, what did this tell me about Terry’s personal brand?

He has a propensity for lightheartedness and is a complete nerd (Yoda-speak?). He’s open, caring and sentimental (Doris Day). He’s passionate (AC/DC to Elton John). He grew up listening to the best FM radio the 1970’s could offer (Neil Diamond, Bee Gees). And finally, he has a thirst for knowledge and sharing knowledge with ANYONE that will participate.

Does his iPod reflect his personal brand? Yes. And if you read his blog or followed him on Twitter, you’d agree. (I’ve GOT to meet this guy face-to-face!)

So, with that, I’ve taken a closer look at my own iPod. Just how would it define my personal brand?

Here’s what I found…

From a content standpoint, you’ll find everything from Mozart, Vivaldi and Rachmaninoff to Jimi Hendrix, The Band, and Led Zeppelin. Heck, I even have some Plain White Tees and Gnarls Barkley thrown in there. On any given rotation you may hear Jimmy Durante’s “Make Someone Happy” and have it followed up by Steve Vai (as with my trip into work this AM).

What can this tell me about my personal brand? Diversified? Flexible? How about Creative? Open-Minded?

One thing that really stood out was the balance of “rockin’, driving, pulse-pushing songs” to the more “serene, cerebral and melodic tunes” tallied up at about 3 to 1 in favor of the melodic. Meaning?!? Sensitive? Reflective? Moody? Emotional? Sure… I could see that. How about Cerebral? Intelligent? Maybe.

Now, my iPod is organized. I mean ridiculously organized. I have broken down 7,875 songs into play lists by Genre, by Date, and then I have those broken down by Artist (starting with 4 Non Blondes and Adam Ant and rolling through Nirvana, No Doubt and Nora Jones to Yanni, Yes, and Yo-Yo Ma). I’ve also begun to break them down in order of preference (by # of stars), but I’m finding that hard because from day-to-day my opinion of a song or artist changes… (e.g. Andrew Lloyd Webber has good and bad days, but The Beatles will always be 4-stars).

So, how does this define my personal brand? Organized? Detail-Oriented? Methodical?

What do you think? Have I defined (at least a snapshot of) my personal brand? For those that know me personally, did I hit the nail on the head? For those that know me professionally, how did I do? In all actuality, I’m a Schizophrenic with OCD! (Or something very close)

Take a look at your iPod/Mp3 player. I think you’ll be surprised with how well it defines YOUR personal brand. Tell us all how your iPod defines you.

Better yet, if your company had a play list, who would we find on it? Howard Jones? Melissa Etheridge? Or something closer to Frank Zappa?

Thanks, Terry, for letting me pick on you.

Until next time –

Keep Cooking!
Andrew B. Clark
— The Brand Chef

Yoda Image Credit: SwordChucksYo

  1. What a great idea. I guess I never had thought of iPod playlists as being “windows to the soul” – or brand, as the case may be.BR/BR/I’ll be very interested to see what others post about their own iPods (or mp3s) and how they think that defines them…I, sadly, don’t even HAVE an mp3 player, so I can’t play along…;-D

  2. Andrew, you’re quite welcome! I am a complete nerd, no doubt. I really didn’t realize how much my playlist said about me until we exchanged those tweets, and now reading this post really brings it home.

    As for you, I’d say…. “iPod Are You!”. We’re two peas in a pod, my friend.

    I look forward to meeting you in person sometime soon (SOBCon09, perhaps?).

    All the best,BR/Terry

  3. I’m afraid of what it means if you don’t yet have an iPod…

    And yes, I see OCD written all over your iPod 🙂 And moody. But both in good ways!

  4. @Sharon – thank you. As for your play list… I’ve heard what you listen to and it reflects you to a tee… Exciting, caring and diverse… more thoughtful than you care to give yourself credit for as well…

    And maybe it’s time your lump-of-a-husband gets you an iPod… What a cheapskate…

  5. @Starbucker – NERDS Unite! A battle call heard all too often ’round here.

    The idea had been rolling around in my head for a while, but it really broke out when I saw your tweets…

    Thanks again! And KEEP COOKING!BR/Andrew

  6. @A. James – Moody? heck, I didn’t even mention my A HREF=”http://tinyurl.com/ysbnwc” REL=”nofollow”Morrissey/A and A HREF=”http://tinyurl.com/yohrnu” REL=”nofollow”Mazzy Star/A collections…BR/BR/Thanks for stopping by the kitchen! I expect to see you around here more often…BR/Andrew

  7. Andrew. I love the concept here.

    I think music does tell others a lot about us (and maybe even tells us about ourselves).

    I worked at a company a few years back that wove music interests into their interviewing process. They did this partly because of many of their clients were in the music industry, but a lot of it was because of how much music can tell us about someone. For example, if someone came in with a very small playlist and narrow focus on a very specific type of music or even an obsession with one band, then it would often indicate that this person’s personality could be narrow and not very accepting of change, which wouldn’t be a good fit.

    I guess we should be careful here though. Some people just aren’t music people. My dad for instance has a great personality and full of passion, but has never really had a huge interest in music.

  8. That’s a fantastic idea – integrating music oriented questions into an interview process… Worded strategically, you could really get a lot of information about someone… their orientation to detail? their creativity? their flexibility? SOOOO much more…

    As for those like your dad, I think music can be a window to anyone – lest it be style preferences, memory cues, iPod play lists, etc. With him, maybe the question would be, “Tell me one time of your life that music affected you.” and leave it as open-ended as that… I bet you’d be surprised by the answer.

    Great thinking… Tasty morsels for all! I bet HR and Management folks would like to get their 2¢ into this conversation as well…

    Keep Cooking!

  9. Hi Andrew – I’ve always been a huge music fan (nerd?) – including marching in my high school marching band. (Trombone, thank you very much) And I also believe that the music we listen to influences us and vice versa. A few more of your ingredients, Oh Chef, could be female oriented. The gender issue is a non issue issue to me. So by absence you have created a void, unwittingly perhaps. Nonetheless, since perception is a big part of life, I’d love to hear what other female music you enjoy. Ginger

  10. First off – I LOVE the trombone! My dad played it, I played it (for a VERY short time) before finding the drums. And now my daughter plays it… There’s nothing better than the melodic hum in a symphony by the trombones and baritones – or even the roar they offer bands like Chicago and Tower of Power… GOOD FOR YOU!

    Second, I didn’t realize my list was so masculine. Looking back at it, that really wasn’t my intention.

    With that, I don’t believe that music (solely by artist) is either masculine or feminine… From a more feminine (or sensitive) standpoint, I’ve been moved to tears by many male artists (Harry Connick Jr., Michael Hedges, Paul McCartney). I’ve also been moved (physically and mentally) by many female artists (Aretha, Janis Joplin, 4 Non Blondes, and Melissa Etheridge).

    I’ve never considered individual artists as a reflection of their gender. Heck some say Michael Bolton isn’t either, but admittedly, I have him on my iPod as well…

    Great thinking comment… I love the insight.

    Keep cooking!