Cornell Students Using Physics To Predict Human Behavior, Save Lives At Rock Concerts



I’ve got an excellent update to our ongoing experiments on concert rioting, live music fears and similar concert crisis related explorations.

According to Physics Central a group of students at Cornell University have begun to share their research about comparing concert rioting and mosh pits to the how molecules in gas behave with the plan of “using some techniques of physics to describe and maybe predict human behavior in times of crisis.”

This is really an amazing collection of research that has me thinking about a lot of other possibilities related to our previous experiments on riots, heavy metal shows and even our RIP and mourning explorations where lives were lost because of chaos as frantic crowd situations.

Here’s my favorite snippet from the article:

The project began when one student, Jesse Silverberg, took his girlfriend to a heavy metal concert. Not wanting to get involved in the mosh pit that formed in the audience–people get hurt–he stood aside and was fascinated by the motion of the crowd. The group’s movement resembled something he saw in physics classes, the disordered collisions of molecules in a gas.

Silverberg thought that might be an interesting study, and along with other students, created artificial mosh pits in a computer, using videos of rock concerts on YouTube as the template and converting the crowd into individual particles in the program using automated tracking techniques.

Bierbaum reported at the meeting that while the crowds seemed to be running around wildly, the researchers found two types of people in the patterns, subjects they called MASHERS (Mobile Active Simulated Humanoids). Some “flocked,” meaning they generally followed their neighbors. Animals flock the same way, Bierbaum said. So do fish schools. There is no bird or fish in charge. Those who stayed stationary, passive MASHERS, reacted normally when an active MASHER accidentally collided with them–they bounced–and then resumed standing still.

There’s also some very interesting and fascinating mosh pit data collected here that was used in the research along with this mosh pit simulator.

I also love it how Jessie’s desire to not want to be in the mosh pit led him to the discovery. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at mosh pits and wondered why those happen and what purpose they serve at concert beyond a physical release or just a dangerously chaotic response to how the music is making us feel during the show.

And I’m pumped to see something positive come out of moshing and know that Jessie and his fellow students have given us some great insight through the lens of physics that could really make a major impact on the lives of concert fans.

Lastly, this makes me wonder about what other parts of the concert experience can be better understood by looking at other areas of life or scientific disciplines to find solutions to problems?

If we can compare mosh pits to gas molecules to make concerts safer, what other examples and comparisons can we find to enhance, improve and better understand the concert experience?

Like I said, this is great stuff and we’ll certainly continue to follow this story and share more updates as we dive deeper into the data and uncover more awesomeness.

That’s it for now. Let us know what you think of this study in the comments below and stay tuned for more as we continue to explore this story and have the Cornell students share more about their research and favorite concert experiences on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Live Fix Radio Episode 39: Bon Iver Tattoos, Crowd Surfing Coachella and A Sublime Shakedown At Lolla




On this episode of Live Fix Radio we’re continuing our exploration of Bon Iver and the power of the little things and chatting with fellow concert fan Isabel about how this picture of Justin Vernon’s “that was then” tattoo inspired Isabel to get her own tattoo. Isabel’s also tells us why she’ll never forget crowdsurfing during Bon Iver at Coachella and soaking in Cage The Elephant with her dad during a sublime downpour at Lollapalooza. Rock on and thanks for listening!

Subscribe via iTunes.

Show Notes

News and other cool stuff we talked about:


Music featured during the show:

  • Bon Iver  –  “Holocene” and “Skinny Love” (iTunes)


Got a thought on this show or an awesome idea for a future episode of Live Fix Radio? Drop a comment below or share your feedback and concert stories with us on Twitter @livefixmediaFacebook , Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341.

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Fitbit Experiment Part 3: Why You Need Fitbit Buddies

arizona fitbit ultra one steps self-tracking quantified self

arizona fitbit ultra one steps self-tracking quantified self


This Fitbit experiment has lots of fun and challenging! I’ve been learning a lot about the importance of community in this self-tracking adventure and how to work through failure even when I’ve supposedly set realistic goals.

So let’s jump right in! On this update I’ll share:

1) why it’s important to have Fitbit buddies

2) my latest Fitbit stepping journeys on the trails in Sedona, Arizona

3) my transition from the Ultra to the One tracker and how Fitbit’s support team got a gold star


What I’ve Learned From My Fitbit Buddies

Okay, as I mentioned in my last update,  I’ve seen a big benefit in having other people who I interact with on a daily basis also tracking their steps.

And I didn’t expect that my first post would inspire my friend Brittany to get a Fitbit One. But it did and since then we’ve had a lot of great discussions about our experiences.

During our chats Brittany shared a tip with me that’s helped her in the early stages of her own Fitbit step challenge.

For example, each day she tries to walk 100 more steps than she did the previous day. This is a great gradual approach to creating a new behavior, instead of trying to walk 10K steps a day right away.

And I’ve actually incorporated this approach into my own challenge and it’s been working great.

My daily average steps is right around 7,000 steps with the weekends  being when I usually get over 10,000 steps because I’m doing more running and activity around the house or I’m out and about with family and friends.

So my focus has been to look at my activity during the week and see where I can gradually add more steps and not sit too much or miss a morning or evening walk because I’m too tired or unmotivated.

Speaking of motivation, I’ll also be honest and tell you that having friends like Brittany to share experiences with has been a huge factor in keeping on track and not getting discouraged if I don’t hit my daily goal.

The other bonus of having a Fitbit buddy is that my competitive nature has turned out to keep me healthy because I get motivated to make sure that I get more steps than Brittany.

It’s a friendly competition and Brittany’s excitement has inspired and challenged me many times these pasts couple months.

That said, as of this post, Brittany has now been averaging 10K steps a day, and even better, my friend Jennifer has also been doing a great job at increasing her steps, and she is also averaging more steps than me for the last several weeks.

Which brings me to my biggest learning moment yet.

Arizona Was Awesome But…

bell rock arizona sedona fitbit quantified_self


The last week of February I went to Arizona on vacation and I averaged 11,000 steps a day and had the chance to run on some really sweet trails like the one above.

Of course, we did a lot of sight-seeing, including an amazing hike up Bell Rock Trail in Sedona. It was Calvin’s first trail hike and it was tons of fun as we all made our way up the trail and then cruised back down again.

We were out and about for most of our 8-day trip so that really helped in getting above the 10k mark each day.

But when I returned to work and the daily flow of my job, I really struggled to hit my pre-vacation average of 8,000 a day.

I came back to a crazy work load and found myself in a lot of meetings and having to get caught up by sitting at my desk more than usual.

And ever since it’s been a really struggle to get back on track, especially with the cold weather in Chicago.

So When The Stepping Gets Tough…

…you rely on your Fitbit buddies.

Yes, that’s right. At several points during my experiment it’s been tough.

But the one thing that has been a huge help and critical to keeping me going and getting back on track has been my Fitbit buddies Brittany and Jennifer.

Everyday since I’ve been back from Arizona I’ve looked at the Fitbit leader boards and seen myself at the bottom of the weekly average.  And in a weird way this has motivated me to get back to where I was before my trip to Arizona.

Besides that, it’s also been inspiring to see both Brittany and Jennifer take off and increase their daily averages.

And in my conversations with Brittany she’s shared some interesting, creative and entertaining details about how she’s raised her daily average.

She explained to me that on certain days she has nightly Fitbit stepping challenges with her boyfriend Brad as they walk around their apartment trying to out step each other.

I loved hearing at that story from Brittany because it’s both entertaining and encouraging to think when we share our Fitbit experiences with others and the benefits self-tracking have the power to inspired others to create that sort of positive and fun behavior change. And I’m looking forward to experiencing that with Colleen too. More on that in a moment.

What’s Better Than Competition…?

But one thing that I love the most about learning more about Brittany and Brad’s experience is that it’s not really about competition. In the end, for me, it’s about creating and fostering community.

Having a mini Fitbit buddy community like the one I have with Brittany and Jennifer and the other Fitbit users is such a game-changer. And unfortunately, so many people try to do something like this by themselves and it doesn’t last or they don’t get a much out of it as they could.




And one of the other things I like about the Fitbit user experience is that they make it easy to quickly challenge or encourage each other with the “cheer”, “taught” or message.”

All of those functions are in good fun and have been things I both given and received during my experience and it’s been a blast doing so!

And in case you aren’t convince yet, here’s some research data from

A 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that the exercise habits of people you know have a positive influence on your exercise habits.

Another study, from the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University, surveyed married couples who joined health clubs together and found that couples who worked out separately had a 43 percent dropout rate over the course of a year. Those who went to the gym together, regardless of whether they focused on the same type of exercise, had only a 6.3 percent dropout rate.

So if you’re thinking of starting to do self-tracking or trying a similar Fitbit or other fitness personal challenge, I highly encourage you to find someone you know and ask them to join you in your quest.

This is probably one of the most important things you can do when you’re starting out with self-tracking or trying to develop a new behavior to stay healthy.

If you can’t find someone you know, you can always check out the Fitbit community. And just a quick note for those of you who primarily use the mobile app: You can only connect with the Fitbit community groups on the website login on the main navigation.



Giving Props To Fitbit Support, Upgrading To The One Tracker

I started this experiment with the Fitbit Ultra and in my first post I mentioned that one week later they discountined the Ultra and unveiled the One.

So over the last several weeks, I was having some issues with my Ultra. It wasn’t tracking or syncing properly.  I did all the necessary software updates and re-syncing but the issues still remained.


During this process I emailed back and forth with Fitbit support and explained my situation and after I told them I had tried all the trouble-shooting suggestions, they very kindly sent me a new Fitbit One as a replacement.

And I’d like to give big props to Fitbit and their support team for the great customer service. They were helpful and responded quickly in a way that took care of the problem and didn’t put a damper on our experiment.

The One tracker arrived on Friday, and for the last few days I’ve been using the One and I love it! And I’ll be sure to share more about my One experience.  I also ordered the new Flex for Colleen. The Flex doesn’t ship until the Spring and I’m looking forward to sharing some of her experiences too.

That’s it for this update. And stay tuned for the next update as I share some stories about what I’ve learned about earndit and Walgreens newly revamped Steps program.

Now It’s Your Turn To Step Up And Chime In

I need more Fitbit buddies, and I’d love to hear more about your experiences too.  Now, tell me how you’ve been using Fitbit to change your life.

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It’s Up To You: A Call To Action For Community Managers and Social Business Leaders




I’m thrilled to share with you some exciting news as we continue our exploration of community management!

This year I took an active role in helping to develop the research for The 2013 State of Community Management, a yearly industry report led by the Community Roundtable.

I’m honored to be part of the SOCM 2013 advisory board and contribute my community management successes, challenges and other experiences at Walgreens to help create the framework and goals of the survey. I strongly believe that business leaders put themselves at a big competitive disadvantage if they don’t realize the strategic impact that community management could have on their organization’s culture and bottom lines.

And as practitioners of community management we need to continue to communicate and demonstrate this important message to our leaders and the rest of the industry. And gathering data is one of the best ways to further prove and measure the true value of employee and customer communities to those who still see it as an add-on, instead of a key strategic driver, to achieving business objectives.

Why Gathering Data Is Important

And that’s where data and measurement come in, because that’s what gets attention and helps connect the dots for business leaders at all levels of the organization.

It’s only with data that we can begin to gain traction and position community management as a legitimate practice and indispensable science that can not only support but also drive real business results.

And that’s why I’m pumped, and honored, to be a part of the team that’s helping to push things forward. I firmly believe that this repot will help drive us closer to where we need to be by gathering more contextual data and industry feedback on the subject and state of community management within organizations — essentially find out what’s working and what’s not and what are the key lessons being learned.

In summary, these are the main objectives, key themes and questions explored in the 2013 State of Community Management:

  • Prove how community supports business goals and answer two big questions: 1) What do business communities look like and what is the value of community? and 2) What does community management look like and what is the value of community management?
  • Benchmark against other organizations: The 2013 report will focus on quantifying the performance of communities by collecting data about company demographics, community programs, community profiles and community management.
  • Build a roadmap of future community initiatives by delivering data that can be used to better inform community program decisions.

Now It’s Up To You

Okay, now this is your chance to help contribute and influence the present and future of community management by taking the survey, sending in your feedback and letting your voice be heard.

Note: Three survey participants will receive a custom research presentation with performance benchmarks for their organization, worth $7,500 each.

Thanks again for taking the survey and please spread the word to other community managers and social business leaders who might be interested in helping out!

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Live Fix Radio Episode 38: New Live Albums from Eels and Mumford & Sons



On this episode of Live Fix Radio we’re paying tribute to the fiery live performance of late Chicago bluesman Magic Slim, and sharing highlights and stories from the new releases by Mumford & Sons and Eels. Rock on and thanks for listening!

Subscribe via iTunes.

Show Notes

News and other cool stuff we talked about:

  • Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s  summer tour
  • Adelle performs Skyfall first time live at Oscars


Music featured during the show:


Got a thought on this show or an awesome idea for a future episode of Live Fix Radio? Drop a comment below or share your feedback and concert stories with us on Twitter @livefixmediaFacebook , Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341.

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My Fitbit Experiment Part 2: Why It’s Been Worth Every Single Step



Alright, it’s time for an update on our ongoing Fitbit experiment!

First, I’d like to share with you some interesting health tracking data from Pew research that supports the benefits of what I’m aiming for with my Fitbit exploration.

According to Pew Research here are three very telling and affirming percentages as to “Why do people go to the trouble of tracking health data, for themselves or for someone they care for?”:

  • 46% of trackers say that this activity has changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone for whom they provide care.
  • 40% of trackers say it has led them to ask a doctor new questions or to get a second opinion from another doctor.
  • 34% of trackers say it has affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition.



You’ll also notice, by taking a look at the image above, that when it comes to health apps  38% of those surveyed are using an app to specifically self-track their steps and daily activity.

Without a doubt, the Fitbit mobile app has played a pivotal role in my experiment and we’ll explore more details on a future post about how I’ve used the Fitbit app to stay on track and discover more important insights by comparing the calories I’m consuming and burning against my daily activity data.

Has It Been Worth The Trouble?

Now, I’d like to share with you an update on how my 10K steps a day challenge is going and a explore a few big reasons why I believe tracking my daily steps and activity has certainly been worth the trouble.

I’ll start by saying that I haven’t hit the 10k steps a day mark that I wanted to. It’s been a bigger challenge than I thought.

Also, living in Chicago has turned out to be a challenge since the average daily temperature has been between 8-25 degrees these last two months (brrrrr).

This weather obstacle has been a challenge because it’s made it harder to go on my morning or nightly walks when I know that my walks are going to be pretty frigid journeys.

Cold weather or not, I knew that the 10k a day mark would be hard and I told myself that if couldn’t hit my daily goal I would still do the best I can and continue to learn from the process.

And that I have as I passed the million step mark in January with a current total of 1,149,224 total steps since I began my experiment in September.

For the most part I’ve been working on the concept of just “showing up” and trying not think about how cold it is and just get bundled up and head out knowing that once I get walking or running I’ll be just fine.

So that practice has helped to develop some much needed discipline and get my mental and physical sides working together in the way they should.

live fix_step up start


In January I also continued my yearly stair climbing adventure and participated in the Step Up for the Kids as I voyaged up 80 floors in under 20 minutes, and as I’ve mentioned so far, I kept focused by getting in to a rhythm and taking things one step at a time.

Profound Benefits

I’ve also experienced a significant and almost a profound mental and emotional benefit as a result of tracking my steps and activity data.

I’ve learned how to set realistic expectations while I adjust to being a new dad.  Tracking my steps and daily activities has empowered me to create and integrate new smaller workouts and other healthy activities into my day, as opposed to my usual workout routine I had before my son Calvin was born.

To that end, I’ve really learned, and at times struggled with the fact, that I can’t always workout in the same way or as long as I used to, but because of this Fitbit experiment I am making progress in adapting and discovering new ways to measure my daily activity and achieve the same and new health goals in a different way.

Stepping SMART: Little Wins Are Big Wins

I can’t say it enough that at this point in my life how much the shorter more focused and goal-oriented workouts are proving to be very important because having small wins and seeing those small wins as big wins is a crucial element to making sure that I keep things realistic and rewarding.

And whether it’s going a for short 15 minute walk, getting in 20 minutes of situps and pushups or going out for a long 6 mile run on the weekends, what I’ve come to realize is that whatever little thing I can do is important and keeps me moving forward.

I’m two months into this Fitbit experiment I can honestly say that using Fitbit has empowered me to create daily and monthly SMART goals that are realistic, measurable and attainable.

Instead of looking to achieve the big goal, and at times unattainable goal of 10k steps every day of the week, I’ve been reminded of the value of creating smaller more attainable goals and building on little wins to achieve the larger goal over time. This had helped me lower my levels of discouragement and avoid completely stopping or doing nothing at all.

That said, by breaking down each day to see where I can improve my activity and focus my energy on improve a simple step number goal had been one of the biggest wins and greatest benefits thus far.


Fitbit & Fatherhood

On that note, this “little wins are big wins” approach has been very helpful because I’ve realized more and more it’s all about setting realistic expectations for myself and my fitness goals as I journey through the early stages of fatherhood.

And the surprising thing is that I didn’t expect this Fitbit experiment to teach me new lessons about fatherhood and what it means to be a dad that’s emotionally, mentally and physically balanced. But that’s exactly what’s happened.

This experiment has brought me to a new level of awareness in many areas of my life that I didn’t have before.

While I get my steps during my morning and evening walks, or while I’m walking with Calvin around the house, I’m thinking more about my life and reflecting on what 10k steps really means to me and how this experiment has influenced my relationship with Calvin. And I’m really enjoying the spiritual and relational benefits of this reflective process.

For me, it’s more than just racking up a bunch of steps. It’s about the  experiences I’ve had when I’m getting all those steps and that in turn those experiences have inspired and motivated me to get stepping when I don’t want to.

And writing about my experiences has even further allowed me to realize how much my life is being impacted by this experiment so I encourage you to also do some type of journaling to allow you to learn from your step challenge too.

Coming Up Next…

Yes, I’m still going to aim for the 10,000 steps a day but my approach will change not that I’ve learned from my friend Brittany who’s come up with a creative approach to improving her daily step goal.

And on the next update I’ll share more about what Brittany’s own Fitbit experience has taught me and how having a Fitbit buddy has helped keep me motivated and inspired as I shoot for my goals.

The Earndit rewards part of this exploration has been going well too and I’ll share more about that later as well.

As winter rolls on and spring quickly approaches (hopefully) I’m also looking forward to the new Fitbit Flex that has a lot of great new features, so I can upgrade from my current Fitbit Ultra and keep stepping up my game.

What Have You Learned?

Until next time check out the beginning of our Fitbit exploration and let me know what you have learned and if you’ve started your own Fitbit experiment.

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Concert Infographic: 50 Years Of Touring By The Rolling Stones


Continuing our infographic exploration, here’s a cool collection of infographics via  Fast Company Design inspired by 50 Years of Touring by the Rolling Stones. This is the design from the 1994 tour, click here to see the entire collection.

Have you seen The Rolling Stones live? Drop us a comment below and let us know how this infographic brings back memories and we’ll share your story on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.




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Live Fix Radio Episode 37: Super Bowl Halftime History and Real Concert Crowd Sourcing



On this episode of Live Fix Radio we’re exploring the past, present and future of the Super Bowl halftime show and thinking about what sort of copy-catting Beyonce might be up to during this year’s show. We’ll also riff on Pepsi’s attempt at crowd-sourcing and compare that with examples of real concert crowd-sourcing. Rock on and thanks for listening!

Subscribe via iTunes.

Show Notes:

News and other cool stuff we talked about:



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Beyonce’s Big Game Gig Originality Issues and Real Concert Crowdsourcing


beyonce press conference super bowl halftime show


Okay, after yesterday’s press conference we now know that Beyonce can belt out the National Anthem acapella, which if you’re wondering, is one of the hardest songs to sing.

Hey, at least Beyonce didn’t try to lipsync over Whitney Houston‘s legendary verson of the National Anthem during the inauguration, or do something like Christina Aguilera did.



Will Beyonce’s Halftime Show Be Truly Original?

But as we get ready for her halftime show, I’m wondering about our previous exploration that questioned Beyonce’s live show originality.

In that originality exploration we took a deeper look at similarities between an artist being inspired or being a copycat.

It’s a controversial and provocative topic that influences almost all of our live music experiences and challenges us to really think about our favorite concert moments and why (and how) those moments move us, even when the artist isn’t being that original.

And I couldn’t help but think about Beyonce’s Billboard Awards story in the wake of the lip-syncing fiasco. Maybe this story will resurface after Sunday?

Maybe Beyonce will “borrow” from past shows to inspire Sunday’s show performance and set design? We’ll have to wait and see.

And as I watch our son Calvin develop, I’ve also thought about how Beyonce’s performance will be inspired by her daughter Blue Ivy?

What will be going through Blue Ivy’s mind and heart as she watches her mom entertain millions of people for 12 minutes?

Will Beyonce be teaching her daughter to rock out like this?

Is Pepsi Really Crowdsourcing the Super Bowl?

The other thing I was thinking about was the crowdsourcing element to this year’s half time show as Pepsi invites fans to submit photos to be included in the introduction of the Beyonce performance.

Of course, it’s not going to be anything close to our interactive Google Plus idea we suggested last year, but at least what Pepsi is doing is semi-social and sort-of interactive.

And according to ClickZ, the fans who win the Pepsi contest will get a chance to soak in the show on one of live music’s biggest stages:

The grand prize includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, ground transportation, and $500 cash. Grand prize winners and their guests must participate in the Super Bowl halftime show practice in order to be present on the field during the halftime show. The prize does not include tickets to the Super Bowl XLVII game and Pepsi says winners will not have access to view the live game.

In order to promote the campaign, @Pepsi, which has 1.1 million followers, is tweeting with the hashtag #PepsiHalftime. Pepsi is also using promoted tweets and pulling in tweets with #PepsiHalftime and #LiveforNow on


 What Is Real Concert Crowdsourcing?

But, again, is what Pepsi is doing really crowdsourcing? And does this really benefit the fans or the evolve the live music experience? What is real concert crowdsourcing? How can crowdsourcing be used to tell amazing, diverse and unique fan stories like these?

We won’t answer those questions now, but in the meantime you can check out these great examples of concert crowdsourcing and tell me if you think Pepsi should have done something like this.

We hope you enjoy the Big Game and the halftime festivites and we look forward to sharing our experiences on the next episode of Live Fix Radio!

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Live Music Links Roundup – 3D Imaging, Pearl Jam, Adele, Annoying Concert Fan Behaviors



love_in_the_circus 3D imaging_ CES


There’s been a lot of cool stuff going on in the live music world lately, and here’s a collection of links that have inspired future explorations and episodes of Live Fix Radio. Enjoy and rock on my friends!




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Robots That Rock: The Creative Possibilities of Compressorhead




Now, this post is probably one of the most mechanically interesting and robotically entertaining posts I’ve shared with you in quite awhile, and it’s also got me thinking about a few things.


The band is called Compressorhead and to be honest their live performance is a bit robotic.

But that’s a good thing because these dudes are creative bunch. Well, at least the guys who created the band are creative.




Watching this video reminds of going to showbiz pizza as a kid and watching the animatronic bears move and sing as I scarfed down pizza and soda.  But thinking of this sort of thing in a live music context really fascinates me, and it takes things to a whole new mental, physical and emotional level.

And, according to this link, Compressorhead has made a recent live appearance at the Big Day Out festival too. And they have a fan club called the meatbags.

I also wonder if this is what Daft Punk had in mind when they wrote the “Robot Rock.”  Wouldn’t it be cool to see Compressorhead and Daft Punk do a show together.

Speaking of creative shows, what about putting Compressorhead with Tupac to evolve our sci-fi gangsta rap exploration, or maybe invite Japanese artist Hatsume Miku to do vocals and add a bit of pulsing electro-pop to the mix?

And considering our exploration of heavy metal in the Middle East I wonder how Compressorhead would be welcomed in that part of the world? And could these guys cause a riot like Metallica?

And what if we did an experiment to compare the emotional response to a Compressorhead show versus a live human band? What would we discover? Would the emotional response be different? If so, how?

The possibilities and creative wonderings are endless, really.

Check out the video above and more videos here, and let me know if you would go see Compressorhead live and if you would like to see more of these types of bands. If you’ve seen them live, drop a comment and we’ll share your story on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

This is just the beginning of our Compressorhead exploration and stay tuned for more!


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Celebrating Community Manager Appreciation Day with #CMAD Hangout




As we continue our exploration of social media, community management and Google Plus Hangouts, here’s some great news about a fun live event happening Monday January 28.

I’ll be teaming up with my fellow community managers and joining the festivities to celebrate Community Manager Appreciation Day.

It should be a fun day as My Community Manager hosts a 12-hour Google Plus hangout full of great topics and discussions that focus on the elements of community management.

I’ll be participating in the 1-2p CST slot with my friends from the Community RoundTable as we talk about how community management is driving social business and I’ll be answering questions about my experiences leading employee communities at Walgreens. You can watch here on Google+. And you can tweet along on Twitter using the #CMAD and #cmgrhangout hashtags.

And here’s a cool preview video about the event.



See you on Monday and be sure to give a big hug and shout out to all the community managers you know!

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Watch Ra Ra Riot Debut New “Beta Love” Tunes Live On YouTube


ra ra riot bowery present youtube concert


In case you missed it, last night Ra Ra Riot performed live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn and the festivities where livestreamed on YouTube. The show celebrated the release of the band’s new album “Beta Love” and kicks of their upcoming tour.



Now you can watch the performance for a limited time here or via the player above.

While I was watching the show I was definately enjoying the synthy swaying of the new tunes and thinking about these previous Live Fix Ra Ra Riot explorations. The in-between song chatter of lead singer Wes Miles was funny and entertaining, and gave fans a peek inside his heart and mind as he shared how he was feeling as the concert unfurled.

And since the show featured a new lineup I was also thinking of how the band chemistry, dynamics and artist emotions were unfolding and evolving onstage for this first show.

I hope you enjoy the show too and let us know what you think of it in the comments below, and we’ll share your experience on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

1. Too Too Too Fast
2. Shadowcasting
3. Binary Mind
4. Oh, La
5. Beta Love
6. Angel Please
7. Too Dramatic
8. St. Peter’s Day Festival
9. Is It Too Much
10. Dance With Me
11. Can You Tell
12. When I Dream
13. For Once
14. Two Hearts Beat As One
15. Run My Mouth
16. Ghost Under Rocks
17. Boy

18. Dying Is Fine
19. I Shut Off

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My Fitbit Experiment Part 1: What I’ve Learned So Far


fit bit self tracking live fix quantified self

It’s time to take another detour from our usual Live Music Experiments and explore the exciting world of self-tracking.

Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with Fitbit and the emerging trends of Quantified Self.

Like our other curious detours into community management, social business and road running, I’ve started to discover some pretty cool stuff with this Fitbit exploration. And I’m inspired by several exciting connections I’m made between self-tracking, the live concert experience, mood awareness, human emotions and my creativity.

So let’s dive in and see what I’ve learned so far.

Is It Worth It?

For starters, what I’ve learned is that setting out to walk the recommended daily 10,000 steps is hard. Almost as hard and challenging as touring.

But, without a doubt the journey has all been worth it and rewarding in several ways.

I started my experiment on September 1st when I bought the Fitbit Ultra ($100) and since then I’ve walked a total of 784,221 steps (roughly 361 miles) and climbed 2,270 floors.

I mentioned earlier that setting out to walk 10,000 steps a day is hard. And to be honest, I’ve only been able to hit the 10k mark for three days in a row.

Most of time, without any significant change in behavior, I’ve averaged between 3,000-7,000 daily steps, with my biggest days of activity (over 10,000 steps) being on Saturday and Sunday.

What I love about using Fitbit to track my steps and other activity is that both the Ultra device itself and the online dashboard analytics make it easy to measure your progress every step of the way. (Note: the Ultra, featured above, was discontinued right after I bought it in September and replaced by the One. I haven’t purchased the One so all this info is from using the Ultra and I’ll explore the device differences on a future post).


Okay, now that I’ve shared some baseline stats and backstory, I’ll take you through four areas that my Fitbit experiment has impacted my life thus far and what future possibilities I’m most excited about .

1. Positive Impact On Mood, Creativity, Stress and Spirituality

When I was in those string of 3 days and walking 10,000 steps a day I did notice that I experienced a positive impact on my creativity and clearity about work projects I was working on.

And like I do during my road roads, I used my walking time to think through mental roadblocks. The reason I love the road runs is that I love the feeling of rush of endorphines from “runner’s high.”

But, unfortunately, I’m not able to run everyday nor is it actually physically beneficial to do so. So what I’ve begun to learn is that I can have the pretty much the same physiological and mental benefits during my long or short walks.

I’ve also found that having a daily goal of 10K steps has helped my spiritual health too. I’ll be honest and say that taking care of myself spiritually isn’t always as important to me as it should be.

But again, during this Fitbit experiment I’ve found that setting out to use Fitbit to track my steps and hit daily goals has really help support and motivate me to maintain a regular practice of mediation and reflection.

For example, when I go on my walks to get my 10,000 steps, I’m also setting out to have quiet time to mediate which usually involves prayer, reflection and visualization of daily and long-term goals.

My usual times to do these types of walks have for the most part been early in the morning or at night before bed. I enjoy those times the best because it’s a great way to start the day and wind the day down.

And these walks almost always put me in a better mood because:

1) The basic physiological benefits of walking calms me

2) When I’m relaxed I can sort through problems better and find resolution

3) I’ve achieved a measurable goal of 10K daily steps and I feel great about doing so (and I just unlocked a cool badge)

Again, I haven’t been perfect at walking 10,000 steps everyday and it’s a been a challenge ever since Calvin joined us.

I’m also going to try to change my daily routine with an afternoon or mid-day walk when possible just because that has proven to help give me a welcomed break during the day.

But, again, this is a big behavioral change and my job doesn’t always allow me to do so. But I’ll see how creative I can get.

One thing’s for sure, having a simple and measurable goal of “I gotta get my 10,000 steps today” has been a extremely helpful little nudge I need to get me out the door and walking, especially when I don’t want to do it.

And these next sections have also been powerful motivators too.

2. Building Relationships & Community

The next thing that I have noticed during my experiment is the strong connection that walking has to building relationships with other people. This has happened in a few ways for me.

For example, Fitbit offers forums to connect with others who are looking share their experiences and tips to keep walking and they offer leaderboards so those competitive folks can be motivated to walk knowing that they’ve got more steps than their friends.

To be honest, depending on the day each of these things and the other areas below have motivated me on those tough days.

And going forward I want to try to develop the community aspect more and join up with groups of my fellow fitbitters for a fun walk and chat about life as we cruise down the road.

When I started my experiment I was curious to see if my social network friends would get annoyed with my step updates. Yes, I’m sure some of them have but I don’t have any real data to confirm the true level of annoyance or not.

But what I can confirm is that one of my friends bought a Fitbit and started her own challenge because of my Facebook updates.  In future posts, I’ll report on how this social influence and motivational element has developed.


3. Earning Activity Points For Products

The next part of the process that I’ve enjoyed and found valuable has been the points and product rewards I’ve received by linking my Fitbit account to sites like Earndit, Health Month, Endomondo, EveryMove, Walk with Walgreens and the Walgreens Balance Rewards Loyalty program. (Disclaimer note: I work for Walgreens and these comments are my own and not those of my employeer.)

So what exactly have I earned through my Fitbit activity?

Well, for example, over the last two months my Fitbit activity has translated in to hundreds of Earndit and Balance Rewards points that I have used to purchase products that I would actually use like Redbox rentals, fitness gear and home products like the now vitally important baby formula, wipes and diapers.

As self-tracking continues to become more popular in the mainstream and the technology advances, I expect more companies to offer customers the option to link their step and activity data with their rewards or loyalty program.

Besides product rewards, studies have shown that being more active helps to reduce health care costs, and with the issue of affordable health care being a hot topic for our country, I think encouraging and rewarding people to be more active by using a Fitbit or other type of step tracker will continue to be an important discussion and a growing ask of health conscience and data-empowered consumers in 2013.

And to be honest, my experience with Fitbit has been much better than using the usual pedometer because the Fitbit data wirelessly updates making the behavior change easier and the dashboard analytics and mobile app gives me the opportunity to gather more valuable health data than just the average pedometer.

But rewarding myself with discounts and a healthier lifestyle haven’t been the only motivation to change my behavior.


4. How My Fitbit Activity Helped Hurricane Sandy Victims

During the last three months what I’ve found most rewarding and promising about the future of self-tracking with Fitbit is the ability to transfer my Fitbit activity into points that I can use to support other people in need, such as Hurricane Sandy victims.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, here in the Midwest I was struggling to find a way to help out and just a few days after the storm hit, I received an email from Earndit telling me that they I could redeem all my points and they would translate them into donated dollars to the American Red Cross.

I immediately redeemed my points and had an epiphany!

After that moment, I then realized that my physical activity could not only benefit my own health, but it could be used to help others in need.

And even better, especially on days when I didn’t feel like hitting my goal, I was challenged by the truth that my inactivity could keep others from getting the help and financial assistance they needed.

This is such a profound discovery to make in my Fitbit experiment and it’s been one of the most compelling reasons why I’ve told other people to use Fitbit.

In my research of other similar activity trackers like the Nike Fuel band, I don’t see a lot of users or companies highlighting this as a benefit of self-tracking. And that’s a shame, because it’s a great selling point and could be used to help drive the needed behavior change.

That said, I didn’t see a lot of other companies and organizations partnering with Fitbit and Earndit to do stuff like this, but I hope more companies get onboard in 2013 and that Earndit adds more organizations to their giving tab, because what could be better than rewarding a behavior that helps people stay or get healthy and empowers people to use their healthy lifestyle to help others.

What’s My Goal for 2013?

There are many other things I’ll be exploring and sharing here on Live Fix in 2013, such as:

  • Tracking and learning from the Fitbit activity and baby/daddy exercises I’ve created while raising Calvin
  • Emerging self-tracking trends
  • Using the Fitbit mobile app to make tracking easier and more rewarding
  • Testing the impact of gamification and sharing my activity in my social networks
  • Using Fitbit to discover connections between my daily activities and my sleep habits
  • Using Fitbit to enhance, measure and make our experiences at live music festivals and concert venues more valuable and meaningful.

To wrap up this post, I wanted to let you know that all these positive experiences and results I’ve had thus far with Fitbit have led me to create a goal for 2013.

Yes, my friends, I’m setting out to see if I can walk 10,000 steps a day in 2013 and chronicle my challenge here on Live Fix and on Live Fix Radio. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing and hold me accountable. I know I’m gonna need the welcomed nudge along the way and I’d love to hear about your experiences and challenges too.

As always, it’s been a great year and I’ve had tons of fun sharing  all our other Concert Experiments with you.

How About You?

Are you using Fitbit? What have you learned? What types of live music Fitbit experiments should we do?


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