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Working the dance floor

If you go dancing at a club, the music you hear is never the same in its entirety from one day to another. Even if it is the same DJ playing the music. There will be a lot of overlap in terms of the songs that are played and the music that is played, but it will not be the exact same sequence of songs in the exact same order as it was on any other day.

Thus, you still have a person as a DJ and not a computer program.

The reason this difference exists from one day to another is because the DJ is constantly learning. She knows the basics and she has a good idea of the kind of music the audience on any night likes to dance to. But she experiments and responds to the specifics of the audience on the night.

The job of the DJ is to draw as many people as possible onto the dance floor and keep them there, with only the music as a tool to manipulate the behaviour of the audience. And it is important to understand that these two parts of the job are different.

Nearly every Internet company today from Facebook to Uber to Amazon and every product that you build, every piece of content that you create has precisely these two parts to the job.

One is drawing the audience to the dance floor. This is done in different ways depending on how popular and experienced the DJ is. Someone like a David Guetta or Avici only has to decide to perform at a venue and announce that fact and they will have people queueing up to go there. A lesser known DJ has to rely on the brand of the venue, and hope that she can live up to the expectations with which people come to a certain club where they have a chance to play at. Many others don't have either and have to work towards getting access to this audience, either by creating music and publishing it on Youtube and marketing it themselves until they become popular or by finding the right connections and landing a gig at a popular club.

The second is keeping them on the dance floor. Even the likes of David Guetta and Avici cannot rest on their past laurels to keep people on the dance floor. They need to continue to experiment and make the experience better for the audience. When it is a thorough repeat of a previous experience, then people stop turning up and start looking for something new.

In order to work the dance floor and ensure that the ones on it continue to dance and have a good time, the DJ experiments. She introduces new tracks, new beats and mixes up what had worked before. Not all at once. There is still a huge overlap with what has worked before. But there is a little element that is new and fresh. Sometimes it works and many times it doesn't. And she gets the feedback from the crowd and learns quickly. When it doesn't work, people leave the dance floor and when it works, they cheer and continue to stay there.

A successful life and a successful career is like a DJ working the dance floor. There is no set routine that we can finalise on and continue to repeat week in and week out. There is no formula.

There is only room to experiment.

And those that don't, those too scared to try something new will fall out of favour, or worse, never reach it in the first place.

So, each day, explore a little. Do something new. It can be as little as the DJ adding a new beat to a track or mixing up the order of the tracks. But do it.

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