Decision making & the narrative fallacy

Good morning, cherry plums,

Warning: long & personal email ahead. Grab a mug of coffee before you dig into it. You’re going to need it.

I’m celebrating one year since I’ve made the decision to ‘divorce’ the music industry and start from scratch in a completely different field. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in 2017, along with starting this newsletter and deleting my Facebook account.

However, the outcome is only secondary to the context and forces outside my control that led me to this point.

From the outside, it might appear that some decisions were born in a jiffy, when it’s actually a continuous work-in-progress that includes sleepless nights, changing your mind back and forth, and asking yourself (and unfortunate bystanders) thousands of times if you chose the right path.

In my case, this is the (almost) complete story of how I ended my career in the music business:

– In 2011, after exiting the music blog I previously founded, I decided to go all-in into managing and promoting indie artists, and exploit the knowledge gained at the Master in Music Business form Berklee College.

– Because of a mix between gargantuan egos, a mismatch between what’s being said versus actual thoughts, and my lack of real world knowledge (I was a 23 yo naive little girl back then), the artists I’ve been working with decided they don’t need my services anymore.

– I felt compelled to take whatever life threw at me, which led to two years as a tour manager (just a fancy word for ‘driver’winking for a hip-hop band – artists whom I highly admire and I’ll remain forever grateful for their help, as they jumped in right when I needed most. I had a lot to learn from them – still do – a true school of life (better later than never, I guess).

– Since being a driver was kind of a waste of my brain and I couldn’t sustain myself from the money I was making, I started working on marketing projects for various corporations. I’ve worked for an SEO agency, a digital agency where I got sick because of the crazy amount of work and pressure, a local music streaming website, and a few other projects that I almost erased from my memory.

– I’ve had the chance to work with awesome human beings Alin Vlad and Andra Zaharia for a Copenhagen cyber-security startup, who inspired and encouraged me to get back to music industry and give it a final shot.

– After nine months of building frustrations and making exactly 0 money, I felt stuck and miserable. As an introvert with INTJ personality, I don’t usually ask for help, I’d rather bounce my head against walls or seek solutions in books and Google (not proud of it – it’s something I’m still fighting).

– In May 2017 I decided to ask Andrei Roșca for help and started a series of life coach session with him (I’ve known Andrei and was aware of his accomplishments for 10 years). He helped me realize I was trying to squeeze myself in an industry that has nothing in common with my personal values. As cliche as it might sound, it’s nonetheless true: I hate drama, conflict and ego, and I love transparency – close to 0 overlap with what’s going on in the local music business. Andrei helped me clear the fog  – I probably would have reached the same solutions on my own eventually – but surely not as fast.

Despite all these (and many other facts I’m sure I completely forgot about or intentionally left out), I’ll sometimes catch myself saying „I have 10 years of experience working in the music business” – an oversimplification for the sake of… time? And highly inaccurate, when you come to think of everything I just wrote above.

We have the tendency to simplify our stories and try to make some sense out of them, force links that don’t exist, just to fit into a pattern. Life’s too damn random for that. Don’t fall for the narrative fallacy.

And now, finally, the reason why you actually subscribed to this newsletter… brain expanding articles!

Cristina’s Friday Read #40

1. Career advice

I don’t remember exactly what subject I was researching when I bumped into this old article from Scott Adams – the famous author and cartoonist, creator of Dilbert.

In order to be successful at something, Scott argues that you need to either be in the top 1% of a field, or in the top 25% of two or more different fields.

This second option goes against the popular advice that you need to go deep into just one field (the 10,000 hours of deliberate practice rule, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell through Outliers).

Scott built on his strengths and combined humor with illustration skills and business culture, to the point of creating a blue ocean (and reaching an estimated net worth of $75 million).

Stop putting yourself into just one box. It’s ok to combine multiple interests and skill sets from different domains and not limit what you do. If you build a narrow skill set, you’re making your career fragile and, in case your profession disappears or evolves (a highly likely scenario in today’s accelerated work environment), it’s going to be hard to start over. The downside is that you’re going to have a hard time explaining what you do in very few words.

2. Why broken sleep is a golden time for creativity

Another article I reread recently, about how modern routines altered our sleeping patterns and how we connected to the creativity and fantasies born between our dreams and waking life.

3. Fake It ‘Til You Make It :: Why Counterfeit Reselling Isn’t Going Anywhere

A long article from The Hundreds blog on why the reselling market for fakes will be around as long as streetwear remains popular and mainstream.

4. The ‘Robert Greene’ Method of Writing Books

I’ve only discovered Robert Greene’s books a few years ago, through Ryan Holiday – it should have been the other way around, considering that Robert is Ryan’s mentor and the one who taught him how to write.

Robert Greene‘s an American writer, author of five international bestsellers on the subjects of power, strategy, war and seduction (including a book co-written with 50 Cent). You might know him for ‘The 48 Laws of Power‘, which is among the most requested books by American prison inmates (yeap), and has been referenced in lyrics by Jay-Z and Kanye West.

This long article is an introduction to Robert’s creative process for writing, put together from all his interviews and AMA sessions.

And a few local, language, time-dependent & shameless self-promo stuff:

5. Next month I’ll be moving my headquarters (do read: ‘laptop’winking to FITS – that’s short for Sibiu International Theatre Festival. Even though it’s at its 25th edition and I’ve been hearing my friends praising it for a long time, I only first attended last year.

It was love at first experience – mixed with feelings of regrets for not giving it a chance sooner. I promised myself I won’t be missing any more of its editions, and so here I am, one year later, sticking to that promise.

It’s a much needed overdose of arts and creativity in all its forms – from theatre (obviously) to dance, modern circus, movies, music, books, photo exhibitions, and, overall, a good opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world gathered in a beautiful place (which also happens to be my ancestors’ town).

If you happen to be attending, give me a sign and let’s grab a coffee in between performances. I’ll be there between June 8-15.

6. Some awesome people are subscribed to Friday Read, including stand-up comedian Cristi Popesco.
Cristi invited me to be a guest on his podcast/show/vlog, where I talked about my daily routine, productivity tips, habits, why and how I quit Facebook, my experience within the music industry and working with rappers, earthquake alerts, my obsessive attention to laundry doing details, and many other completely random stuff.
Unfortunately for my international readers, this one’s Romanian only. Play it here.

7. I’ve had the chance to interview Yaro Starak, founder of, entrepreneur and content creator who’s made it his life’s mission to teach others how to make a full-time income from blogging – his own blogging income hasn’t dropped below $10,000 per month in the past decade.

I’ve been following him for more than 10 years, since I started my first blog (the one I later successfully exited, despite the global financial crisis), so this interview is an old dream coming true. You can listen to it here or read the transcript, whichever way you prefer: ‘There’s no such thing as failure, there’s only stepping stones to success‘.

Fun fact: this interview was a work in progress for 6 months, since I first cold emailed Yaro. When he finally accepted to do it, he said that „this was the longest email thread ever to request an interview with him”.


P.S. in order to make this newsletter viable over long term, I need to build a larger audience. The only way I can do this is with your support. If you enjoy what I write here, please forward it to your friends, enemies and coworkers, together with a personal recommendation to subscribe. You can also write about it on your blog (or social media channels, in case you don’t have a blog, but you know my opinion about building a home on rented land).

Please don’t rely on other readers to do this – stop waiting for others to do things and get into the proactive zone where you do it yourself, otherwise it won’t work.

Until next Friday. Persevere. Keep inbox 0.

– Cristina


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