Pandora Tim is a crazy genius. Seriously, if you were at the Pandora Meetup on Thursday, July 23 you would agree with me, no questions asked. This casual, laid back guy from Northern California wandered to the front of the room and, without pause, began talking about his degree from Stanford, his life as a poor musician, the ridiculous debt in the beginning stages of Pandora Radio and finally, his experiences being wined and dined in Las Vegas, eating truffle-infused Kobe beef sliders.
There were seniors and there were 20-somethings, all coming together around their love of free streaming music and to learn about the incredibleness that is Pandora Radio. Did you know that 10,000 songs are added manually each month? That is a bunch of people sitting around wearing headphones, hand marking the “genetics” of each song. If not enough consensus is built, they have to do it again. Tim taught us all about his IP-protected Music Genome. The meeting was about technology and a social network made up of musicians and fans. And it all happened here.
Being in a fantastic location gives us the opportunity to participate in culture that is happening now. We tweet, we Facebook friend, we blog; we follow DCist, and we stream Pandora into our offices on a daily basis. These days, none of these things are particularly unique for nonprofit and community organizations. But to have Pandora call you up and ask to use your space – now that is special. You’re part of the “in” crowd. We are, in a word, cool.
Growing up, I never thought my JCC was all that cool. Sure they had trendy California Quivers at the Yom Ha’atzmaut fair, but the JCC was far out in the wealthy area of town. It was not hip; it was where your parents dragged you every so often to community theater or the Jewish book fair.
And, I still admit that when I walk into work, I don’t feel transformed by this “cool” factor. But there are times when I hear of something we’re doing – or something that is happening in our building – and I am really struck at how contemporary we truly are. This Pandora meeting was SO COOL. My friend and I went together: we listened, we learned and we got free t-shirts. When I attended the J-on-Demand inaugural ball – that was also cool! Not many cities could get 100+ 20-somethings to dress up in their formal best on a weeknight and trot on out to the JCC (not to mention after hours in the freezing cold standing on the National Mall).
So all I ask is this: don’t dismiss us before you research a bit. Yeah, when I tell people what I do their words say “cool” but their glazed over eyes say “books? Boring.” But take a moment to Google that book or that author. Sometimes the program is just your standard Hebrew class, but maybe it’s a controversial dialogue. Perhaps it’s a loud, rock-out-with-your-bad-self kind of band or a really great film that gives you a glimpse at modern Israeli life.
And maybe, just maybe, it will be the cast of MTV’s The Real World DC poppin’ by for a little Jewish flavor. Fingers crossed – we can only hope.
Bonus: Leave a comment! What has been your favorite program here? What program are you most looking forward to?