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Building the biggest and fairest music company in the world…

I never expected to find the missing pieces of the puzzle in Mexico.

Building the biggest and fairest music company in the world… I never expected to find the missing pieces of the puzzle in Mexico.

At the end of 2021 when my 3 year US visa was up for renewal, I was in a position where I was reviewing my options.

Renewing my US visa would take a few months to get in place, and so I decided to use the opportunity for a road trip with my family over the US border down south through Baja California Sur, to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.

We’d never been to Mexico before, let alone driven over the US / Mexico border through Tijuana, which is often referred to was one of the deadliest cities in the world.

Some of our friends in LA were concerned for our safety and questioned whether it was the right choice to do the road trip. I was reminded of plenty of stories of child abduction, cartel violence and such like.

As it turned out, the biggest risk was the possibility of running into a cow in the road, especially at night.

It was an epic road trip, that took us 3 days to complete, with one part of the journey taking us through an area where there was no phone reception for hours.

It was also very humbling, away from the fast-paced life of LA, to drive through small towns and farmlands owned by generations of family farmers.

Change can be good.

What was meant to be a 3 month visit has now turned into a 2 year stay.

Not only did Cabo San Lucas feel infinitely safer than LA did, the fact that it was away from the hustle and noise turned out to be the perfect setting for me to find the missing pieces of the puzzle towards making this rather lofty mission become a reality.

I chose to get my head down and in the past two years I’ve studied at an extreme level, binging on audiobooks and content written by some of the world’s elite performers, visionaries and change makers.

I’m not going to talk about all of the missing pieces of the puzzle in this post because there were many, but, one of the biggest was, ‘how do you build a music company that can compete at scale with the major record labels, without having to work with them?’

The second question to this is, ‘how do you raise capital without at some point being forced to sell to the major record labels?’

Over the past decade or so, I’ve seen almost all companies who took external finances and who started to get traction, end up being in a position where their equity partners wanted to exit. At some point the only viable buyer is one of the major record labels.

In attempting this mission to turn High Time into the biggest and fairest music company in the world, it is not part of my agenda to be in this situation that I describe above.

At the same time, in order to compete at the same level as the majors, you also have to have the capital that they have access to at your disposal. This is essential in order to be able to invest into and support artists towards making their visions a reality.

The light bulb moment for me to find this piece of the puzzle came almost 1 year ago.

Since arriving in Cabo, I had been listening to a new audiobook every single week and one of the books I had in my Audible library was ‘Shoe Dog: A Memoir’ written by the creator of Nike - Phil Knight.

I had delayed listening to this particular book for some time due to the fact that it was 13 hours and 21 minutes long, however, during this moment of ‘time-out’ spent in Mexico, the moment had come where I was compelled to start to listen.

It turned out to be one of the most inspirational books I’ve listened to in my life.

The level of transparency that Phil Knight shares in this book is incredible and if you’ve not yet read it, I’d highly recommend that you do.

Not only was it hugely relatable - it felt like there wasn’t a week that went by where Phil Knight wasn’t fighting to stop the company from going under in its early stages - but, it provided me with the piece of the puzzle I needed to solve my capital problem.

Nike was growing at an incredible pace, however, they didn’t have enough capital to be able to cover the cost of manufacturing the products they needed to supply the demand.

Every year they did a financial review, and every year the question of how to solve their lack of capital was asked.

The only viable solution was to take the company public, however, Phil and the rest of his executive team were fearful that doing so would mean they would lose control, resulting in them losing the magic they were nurturing within the Nike DNA.

This was until they met an advisor who told them they could structure the company in a way where they would be able to maintain control of everything that mattered, while still being able to go public and getting their hands on the capital they desperately needed to scale.

The decision to go public was the one that allowed Nike to become the global powerhouse brand that it is today.

This part of the book was the moment where I knew that I was going to work on a plan to take High Time public in the future.

The crazy thing is that within days of this realization, I connected with somebody in my local coffee shop who has extensive experience in raising capital for companies through both equity crowd funding campaigns and going public.

The moral of this story is that sometimes you need to get away from the noise - when we are constantly in the momentum, it is often impossible to have the time and headspace required to solve big problems.

We need to get ourselves in a place where we have the time freedom required to allow us to focus on finding the missing pieces of the puzzle.

For me, this time has been incredibly valuable and the decision to take High Time public, along with running multiple rounds of equity crowd funding campaigns are firmly in the roadmap that I believe will see the mission become a reality.

-The Baker

It's High Time for change | #TheTimeToDoIsNow


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