Derek Sivers
from the book “Your Music and People”:

You need to be profitable to last.


A musician sent me her album, and very proudly said, “This cost $80,000 to make and two years to record. Everything is top-notch. We used one of the finest studios in the world.”

She wanted me to be impressed, but once she said “$80,000” I lost hope in her ability to make a living making music.

I’d be much more impressed with someone who could make an album for $800, because that shows they are resourceful. They could record a hundred albums for the price of hers! If I was an investor, I’d invest in that kind of person.

Great music isn’t enough. Losing money can’t last. For a career to be sustainable, it has to be profitable.

Don’t impress people with how much you spend. Impress people with how little you spend.

Same goes for expensive tools. The audience can’t hear the difference between cheap and expensive equipment. So saying you need a certain tool is just another excuse to avoid the real work. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

Your ability to be resourceful diminishes over time. You get older and feel you’ve earned the comforts. So especially early in your career, be as resourceful as possible. It shows you can survive.