Perfect Pitch

By Cindy Chin, CLC Advisors, LLC CEO

My thoughts on the proposed acquisition of Steinway & Sons by Kohberg & Co. (Note: the company has a brief period in which to gauge interest from other buyers.) Initially, I was saddened and concerned that a cherished institution with such a significant and rich musical history has been acquired by another private financial entity with little transparency as to the future of the beloved piano purveyor. Then upon more reflection and thought, I was relieved that the number to acquire Steinway is in the upwards of $438MM. That’s right, folks. FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY-EIGHT MILLION U.S. DOLLARS. Far more than what classical music or instrument manufacturers have been given clout in the past. Furthermore, it places a firm, significant and respectable value on a weak market/ecosystem for music and the arts.

While some of my friends and colleagues in the music world may think that Steinway is selling out, I’d like to take the time to reflect on the number of inferior Steinway pianos that exist out there, many of which are in the revered Valhalla-like walls of Juilliard in the practice rooms. Yes, that’s right. The MAJORITY of the Steinway pianos are old, trashed, and acoustically on their last breaths since as a pianist it is difficult to transport your instrument like a string or woodwind player, etc. Unless, of course, you’re Liberace or Lang Lang.

That said, I have had the privilege to play pianos of unique outstanding and exceptional caliber only thrice in my life: 1. a Bösendorfer (at Westminster Choir College, I believe) during my competition years in high school, 2. The concert grand Steinway gently hidden inside the recital hall of the Chamber Music Society (the piano is the equivalent of a Ferarri – I kid you not), and 3. a certain well-known violinist’s Steinway. The latter two only happened in the past 3 years. The Bösendorfer had far more value as I was at the top of my own technical abilities as a pianist.

In summary, I wish Kohlberg & Co. the best of luck in revitalizing Steinway & Sons in the hopes that they infusion of cash will positively impact the production of stellar, world-class instruments that wonder and delight musicians of all technical skill from the virtuoso to the beginner. Better pianos means they’ll be played, kept, and therefore less disposal in the trash and environment.

This is the new age for music and the performing arts. I am delighted that someone else thought so too.



Ethos: the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.

Our ethos at CLC Advisors is the exchange of ideas through art, film, music or dance so that the communication gap does not exist between international relations, business, or emerging markets. Coca-Cola’s Small World vending machine achieved that in Indian-Pakistani relationship during the recent launch that was captured in a short video and widely spread over YouTube. It is a illustration of the effect of how the combination of the arts can cross borders, grow or innovate brand recognition and sales in an industry sector, measure the neuroscience in human receptivity to brands, and create new global ecosystems.

From the science of understanding the human mind and condition to how a individual perceives information, consumes material goods, to purchasing decisions affecting economic markets, models creating and shaping developing markets, there are tipping points that exist in which points of social change can be directly measured and quantified. With these points, changes in philanthropic giving and new capitalist models are created by incorporating salient data points from both public and private sectors. By observing the growing shift in market share from the for-profit sector into the not-for-profit sector, social impact and financial products such as social impact bonds will continue to grow and open without borders in the impact investing sector where there is no other market for philanthropy.


By Cindy Chin, CLC Advisors, LLC CEO

“Dare to make yourself an example of the best of man’s humanity to man and watch the world change around you.”Luong Ung

I credit Oprah Winfrey and her work for helping me get started. No, I have never met Oprah in person, but I have met her best friend Gayle King and handed her my card while enthusing about my own Oprah experience during a “Live Your Best Life” conference during a time when I was searching for myself, my next career steps and that “Ah ha! moment” in the City by the Bay a decade ago in the first tech bust. What Oprah did best than anyone else was the spotlight. She shined her spotlight on people who otherwise wouldn’t have spotlights to be seen. She told the stories, gave them voices and let us see their faces.

I think of all the people who have shared their stories and listened to mine as we build this company or careers, some of which who are reading this post today. As entrepreneurs, you learn to find business partners who help shine their spotlights on what you are doing to help you get on your way and return the favor in full or more. As employees in a large company, we often get lost in the mix and search for those more meaningful tasks or projects that put us on the map, slightly above others in our peer circles and ways to channel our personal motivations.

Sometimes it’s the other way around, particularly if you are building a client base or implementing a strategy for new business. In this digital age, clients and employers are looking for your personal spotlights to reach business goals. Whatever the reasons have the courage to shine your own spotlights onto your endeavors and those around you. Collectively, it brings attention to the important things that are being done and the  problems being solved. The world lights up and the rest of us are no longer finding our way in the dark, living our best lives.

Create change. Make an impact.

The London Symphony Orchestra 2012-13 Season