hey, hate to break it to you, but it's a dog eat dog world out there.
This past week, I was not only reminded of that somber reality but also how much kindness, generosity & hope is out there too.
While writing this issue, I was listening to 'Dog Eat Dog', by The Souljazz Orchestra, it features Nigerian author, activist and artist Mabinuori Kayode Idowu. The lyrics stuck with me as the unjust struggles globally for so many and, of course, my own were on my mind.
So, with a renewed inspiration by the notion of fighting for what's right, I learned more about Mabinuori's efforts. I also quickly discovered that he was a friend and musical collaborator with Fela Anikulakpo Kuti. (I've been a fan for ages but hadn't learned enough about him yet!)
Mabinuori even wrote a biography about Fela. So, as I do, I dug in a bit and found some bullet points of wisdom to share as a preamble to this week's issue from 6 Key Business Lessons from Fela Kuti, Africa’s greatest music legend, by John-Paul Iwuoha:
- Dare to be different ~ Fela Kuti decided to pursue music and not becoming an MD like his siblings. The author's point? "Why fit in when you can stand out? It always pays to be unique."
- Be Bold – Never succumb to fear ~ Even in the face of the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Nigeria in the 1970s and 80s, Fela was one of the fiercest critics. Fela could have easily shut his mouth, but he didn’t. Boldness, like fear, is a choice.
- Never ever give up! ~ Following Fela's unrelenting criticism of the military dictatorship, soldiers were ordered to his house. he was beaten within an inch of his life, his mother was as well and she died from the injuries. His house was burnt to the ground and he lost his music studio, musical instruments, equipment… everything. Fela didn't relent and the albums released after his terrible ordeal are his greatest hits to date!
- Be versatile and creative ~ Fela was a creative and versatile musician. He could play several instruments including the saxophone, keyboards, trumpet, electric guitar, and the drums. His skill with instruments combined with his reflective music and sonorous voice always made him a wonder to watch on stage. Iwuoha's business lesson here is: as business leader, it is always better to be multi-skilled. Adding more skills to your toolbox is a necessary strategy to succeed & smart entrepreneurs understand that learning never ends.
- Cultivate a fiercely loyal and cult-like following ~ "Fela’s boldness and uniqueness struck a chord with many dispirited Nigerians and Africans in general. He naturally provided the leadership that was clearly lacking in a society overrun by poor social welfare, police brutality and corruption." Word-of-mouth will always be the most successful, gratifying and cost-effective means of advertising a business. Personally, I am so grateful for everyone that subscribes to this newsletter, reps a Twotone sticker and has referred my company opportunities for new work.
- Remember to leave a legacy ~ "Fela’s creative music genius and his magnetic personality has been widely influential on African music, popular culture and social activism." Iwuoha writes more about business in the context of Africa and I agree that there should be an overriding motivation to leave a legacy that lives beyond a business’s creator. I'd go further and say that a legacy goes beyond a commercial mark on the world. What do you want to be remembered for?
For me, whether it's getting more people on bicycles, ensuring my children have access to their home here in Amsterdam or advancing social issues that I believe in: I want to be remembered for my fight for what I believe is right. ✊
Bonus: for an amazing musical chronology, check out: I Go Shout Plenty: A Guide To The Work Of Fela Kuti. It is amazing.
As always, thank you for reading! I hope you have a nice weekend ahead and maybe through Fela Kuti's music, a renewed inspiration to fight for what's right too,
#611sinthewild header image from 2020’s Bohemian Border Bash in Saxon Switzerland by Erwin Sikkens.
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The new Lemond bikes are wild!
I love how e-bikes have shaken the stigma they once had and that cycling legends like Lemond are throwing their weight behind making it cooler than ever!
Lots of photos on The Radavist.
Zen and the art of bicycle fenders
Amsterdam local, Oski Collado and his Rain-Bow fenders are benefiting from the global bicycle resurgence as people seek ways to avoid public transport and stay dry!
Edo and Mischa: A cycling love story in the face of adversity
This week, I read about Edo & Mischa, a remarkable couple from here in Holland, both 20 years young and with an inspiring story.
Mischa was hit by a truck a few weeks before the Road World Championships in 2018. She had just turned 18.
She had begun dating Edo, who, in his first year with the Sunweb Development Team, was hit by a car in during a race in Italy. Maas was left paralysed from the waist down. He was 19.
Edo’s former team, RWC Ahoy, started a crowdfunding campaign to help Maas buy an adapted car so he can reclaim his independence. Chip in, if you can!
RIP OUTSIDER / Long Live No Fun Mag
My friend Jess has quit OUTSIDER & kicked off No Fun Mag. Check it out for interviews and exclusive news on the Offline Matters book.
For a fascinating interview with Jess herself, click: here!
Underground Railroad Ride Merch
I lived in the South of the USA for more than a decade. I immediately was inspired by the idea of the Underground Railroad Ride:
John Shackelford, a 25 year old NYC bicycle messenger, will traverse 1,114 miles on bicycle along an on/off road route known as the Underground Railroad.
Journalists Are Leaving the Noisy Internet for Your Email Inbox
Casey Newton, who has covered tech for The Verge, joins a growing number of reporters who have started subscription newsletters.
Newsletters are the future!
Passing Place - Sandy Carson
Passing Place is an intimate portrait of both Sandy Carson’s mother and the ex-mining village he grew up in the West of Scotland after emigrating to America at a young age. This photographic memoir deals with separation, space, and the invisible family bonds that exist despite physical distance incurred by geographical displacement.
I met Sandy when he screened California Golde at Workspace Six. I've grown to really dig his personal and creative work!
What it's like to have COVID-19 🦠
My friend Matt shares his story of having COVID-19 and what happens when the effects of a mild case linger. Grateful for your support over the years Matt and glad you're ok!
🙏 Completely humbled this week 🤗
I would be remiss without making note of how incredibly stunned & thankful I was this week when friends and others I don't even personally know supported my efforts to get my kids back to Amsterdam.
This collective solidarity and financial support is life changing and something my children will thank you all for someday. Thank you, everyone.
Dennis Enarson's Right Here
Back in June of 2019 Dennis Enarson set out to make the part of a lifetime; something he and the BMX community would be proud of. The goal was to capture BMX riding that lives on throughout time.
He spent 8 months hammering away at his goal. This part was 90% complete before Covid hit and shut down plans for filmmaker, Rich Forne, to come out from Spain to San Diego to get Dennis’ last few bangers. Instead the two finished editing the part from other sides of the world.
Anyone that knows BMX already knows Dennis’ explosive energy and zero regard for gravity makes him one of the most savage humans on a bike.
And yet nothing could prepare you for the heaviness of RIGHT HERE. This is one of the gnarliest parts you're ever going see.
Read more about the story behind the clip here!