• robert hamm

The Obstacle Is The Way

January 2021 - Letter From The Editor

Marcus Aurelius said "The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." It’s from Meditations, Book 5.20.

Said more simply, “The Obstacle is the way.”

This quote has been a personal reflection of mine for many years as I have navigated the worlds of entrepreneurialism and marketing. Both of which have, in my opinion, an inordinate amount of gatekeepers. In both worlds, I have often found myself facing the inevitable “No” that is reserved for the new and untested.

That “No” came daily in the beginning. Why? I didn’t study Music Business or Marketing like so many of the people I have managed over the years. I am a liberal arts guy, Philosophy and English; just what a boss is looking for to handle the branding and marketing of their biggest client who is relying on every dollar spent to find the win. Right? Riiiiiight.

The. Obstacle. Is. The. Way.

So I worked long days and started to assume I was the dumbest guy in the room. I absorbed what I could from the minds around me and applied it to the work that needed to get done.

Now I build my own brands. That “No” is less often these days but it’s still there. I am somewhat of a known quantity to some and have active relationships with several of the companies I have always admired. I'm happy how it has all shook out. But it took a lot of turd shining and lemonade making to get there. It also took some very trusting and gracious people. Shout out to Angie Gore at Kaleidoscope Media for the Manhattans and years of patience to deal with my stubbornness.

I don’t have to explain to you, dear reader, the massive hit we all took in 2020. The obstacle that now must be our way. My industry, entertainment, has been hit harder than most. Here in Nashville, we began our isolation from the pandemic reeling from the tornado that careened through the heart of our city on March 3rd. We lost lives. We lost businesses. Some lost hope.

During the amazing response from Nashvillians to move debris, tarp roofs, and raise money, we began our first isolation lockdown. Many events that were scheduled to raise money were abandoned. The venues to hold them were gone or closed due to restrictions.

The. Obstacle. Is. The. Way.

So what was I going to do? It was clear. Start a magazine. Right? I mean that’s the most rational thing to do, don’t you think?

Let me explain.

The one thing that I have been lucky enough to have in my life is an abundance of creative people. Writers, Musicians, Designers, etc... Passionate people that are driven to make things, or to make things happen. These people have unique views of the world. Views that I think can add value to anyone’s life.

I’ve been even luckier and extremely surprised that they all said yes to combining efforts and building a place where we could all share our unique stories together. With the bonus being we can do this work from anywhere!

What you are going to see from us is nothing short of our best. Who knows how good that is going to be but I’m betting it's gonna be pretty damn good. Some of these people you will know and some you won’t.

Our format will be a little weird. I am asking everyone to contribute in the form of essays. This will give them a chance to coalesce their bigger concepts or stories in a more meaningful way. The work I have reviewed so far has been prodigious. Each writer has shared touching truths and vulnerabilities that I could never have believed would be entrusted to me. I am truly in humbled wonder.

That being said, we are all making this up as we go along. I have never done this sort of thing before… not really. So I promise you I will mess things up. This is my new obstacle. To learn how to create a media property that truly speaks to what our community values and seeks to expand what we know. To archive the best and most human things about us and to become a resource for anyone that wishes to learn what little we have to offer.

I have been contemplating another quote lately. This one from an editor that I have just discovered in my research for this project and have come to admire. Tina Brown from Vanity Fair and The New Yorker once said “A magazine - a relevant one - should be a sound, not an echo.”

I take that to mean we, as a magazine, should seek to actively add to the experience of our community; to start conversations, to point out and point to, and to add value.

To that end, we will be building content programs to help inform and educate in all different areas. Fashion, music, and art to start, but also business, politics, religion, philosophy, death, health, sex, and anything else that seems to be of value to a connected and communicative society.

We all hope you find as much joy in the reading as we did in the writing. And if you would like to pitch in just drop me a line. I’d love to chat with you.


Hey, thanks for the support.

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