Here are my top 11 takeaways from #NAMM 2018:

Booth babes and Alexa Morales at NAMM 2018

#1 There’s a lot of money in the music business. But finding it, like hunting Pokemon, can be hazardous. Just know that it’s there, and don’t be desperate.
#2 The Bay Area is a hotbed of talent, but LA has skillz.
#3 Synth and electronic music is, like everything, cyclical. Now the 2nd generation of techno fans/creators is here — the 1st gen are their parents!!!
#4 You can go around and try to get endorsement deals, but you can also just get really good at what you do over the course of a few decades and let the endorsement deals come to you.
#5 Gear is fun and inspiring, but all the toys in the world won’t make you a better musician. You don’t need more gear. You need to practice.
#6 If you must have gear, you have more options than ever — get a version from a small shop or find a vibrant woman inventor to build it for you in ways you would have never thought of or go ahead and DIY that shit.
#7 The easiest part about making music is the joy of hitting something and producing a (pleasant) vibration. The hardest part about making music is listening.
#8 If you walk softly amid the chaos and no one notices you, that’s fine. You are stealth.
#9 There are a million ways to be a musician or instrument maker or inventor or artist. There are so many genres. There are zero rules. Be yourself.
#10 Grab bag: You can use an arpeggiator on an effects patch. Finger drumming is a thing. Good onstage schtick is important. There’s a difference between a rumba and a drum circle. Not everything sounds better with a pickup.
#11 If you have a friend or roomie at the conference, it feels less lonely and a little more wonderful. But if you are alone, that’s cool too. It’s important to know how to be alone, because there will be times when you are your only ally.