THE BLOG

Thinking With Bach

07/29/2014 12:36 pm ET | Updated Sep 28, 2014

AOL is a company full of great talent and great brands. From our content sites such as Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Engadget, to the AOL advertising platforms group, to our AOL Membership business, we have passionate and dedicated engineers building the platforms and services AOL needs to succeed. Since joining this great company a few months ago as Global CTO it's been a whirlwind, and it is a struggle sometimes to take it all in. We need time think, to reflect, and to build plans of action that are carefully considered and not a reaction to the latest crisis.

A friend of mine told me that every Wednesday during the summer the organist at Grace Church in NYC, which is just two blocks from AOL Headquarters, is performing the keyboard works of Bach, so I decided to stop in one day while grabbing lunch. What a great suggestion! For twenty minutes I listened, along with a dozen or so other people who had wandered in off the street. My mind had been racing all day but as I listened it gradually quieted. The complete lack of any distraction -- no email, no discussion about the massive Hadoop clusters we are building or the number of real time decisions our ad platforms need to make, or the constant flow of meetings and business calls that fill our days -- but rather pure sound, brought a moment of calm to my day.

When I returned to my office my mind was clearer, more focused, and I had a very productive afternoon. That twenty minute investment of time, which I never have enough of, had made all the difference. We need to make time to think and reflect. We'd all be better leaders and better people if we do.