The other day I needed to write something and I asked my 10-year-old son to find me a paper and pen. Of course, he got up right away and handed me a paper and a pencil even though he would have rather stayed on the couch and play his iPad. As I started to write I realized that the pencil was very dull and it needed sharpening. Not knowing where the sharpeners were, I asked him again to please sharpen the pencil for me, which, of course, he got up and did. As I started to write I realized that the pencil was a bit dull still, so I sat there staring at this pencil thinking about life and the many people I have worked with within my 48 years of life, even thinking of myself NOT in my best moments. I sat there for over 5 minutes and as I looked at my beautiful son’s face, I said “Julian, turn your iPad off and come here please. I asked you to sharpen this pencil,” and he said, “But daddy I did.” I replied “No, you sort of did but not really because it’s very unpleasant to use, and it’s not sharp. Please finish the job.” He took the pencil, put it in the sharpener and made exactly two turns, after which the pencil was beautifully sharpened. As he looked at it he realized the difference between the kind of sharpened and truly sharpened and he looked at me with a mischievous but somewhat embarrassed smile. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to give him what I hoped to be a life-shaping father to son talk. The Apple way: All my friends and all the artists at el-live Productions that know me well know that I am an Apple junkie. I just love everything Apple. I remember when I bought my first Macbook Pro, I just loved the box, the whole experience of unwrapping it. You could see the love and care and meticulous attention paid to just the packaging. Then I got to the electrical plug. I was completely knocked out and was amazed at how smooth and efficient the edges open so you can wrap the wire around it. To top it all off, There was a little clip so the wire could be fastened in place. Someone made that extra effort to give me that experience. It’s no wonder people line up for days to buy Apple products. Love him or hate him: Donald Trump knows a thing or two about real estate. According to Mr. Trump, the difference between a very luxurious building and just an average one is about 20%. He says that the foundation, steel, plumbing, etc……. the fundamentals are exactly the same. What makes a normal building luxurious? Slap some marble on it, put a couple of very expensive waterfalls near the entrance to the lobby, install nice kitchen counters. Whatever that 20% is, pay extreme attention to detail and first be proud of a beautiful job. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Donald Trump can sell his apartments sometimes for 500 times the price of his competitors. It applies to everything: As singers, drummers, keyboardists, whatever it is that you do, learn your material well. “Baby I love you,” is not the same as “Baby I like you.” It’s important that we apply ourselves to every minute detail of your craft. When working on drums for a song, learn the exact drum part. If you move the kick drum by an 8th note, you just played another song, because often that’s the difference between song A and song B, just one 8th note. Dedicated musicians have a very difficult time respecting slackers, and who can blame them? Many times the difference between good and great is just 2 more turns of the pencil. Thank you for reading. G.