Gigable Update November 2015

House Concert Series (1)As I sit down to write this and look through the last set of updates that I wrote.. wow!  So much has happened.

  • Secured initial round of seed funding
  • Signed on several artists to manage regional tours
  • Brought on a new partner and advisory team
  • 50% though development of a new mobile app that I’m insanely excited about
  • Considering the hiring plan for Marketing & Tour Ops

In addition to all this, we are planning a house concert series starting in January 2016.  So far, every house concert we have been involved in has been an amazing experience.  There’s a different vibe when you get a singer-songwriter in the cozy room telling stories about their songs.  There’s a deeper connection with the listener and it has a lasting effect that is different from a regular concert.

The team is very excited to help people “produce” their own house concerts and make it easy.

We are also excited to be working with Fontaine, Kevin Presbrey, Alex Dezen, Hurley Mower, Tyler Barham and potentially Randy Montana!  We’ll be planning shows in the Midwest for these artists and featuring their music on the app.  Also, we’re planning on doing some interviews and studio sessions for our upcoming podcast series.

Who’s gonna do all this work!? Stay tuned.

Dunworth Designs

A good friend of mine, John Mayer has recently launched a new venture called Dunworth Designs. He has partnered with a long-time friend who lives in Wisconsin to create some very unique home decor.

They use reclaimed barn wood and create one-of-a-kind pieces like the one shown here.

Dunworth Designs - Tin Cornice Shelf
Dunworth Designs – Tin Cornice Shelf

This shelf is made using vintage tin ceiling cornice and original antique barn shiplap from southern Wisconsin.

They can also create custom pieces by request.

Best of luck John in your new venture!

Don’t Mistake “MVP” for Casual Experiments

Let’s be honest. We want a quick win. Everyone wants a quick win once in a while.  We come up with a great idea and try to figure out the fastest way for that idea to generate money.

This is a huge trap. Building the next Facebook over a weekend and showing it to a few friends does not equal the next $100b company.  But somehow, we believe this may happen.

The truth is; you need to work it hard.  You need to fine-tune the unfair advantage, distill the massive benefit statement and get more people bought in today than yesterday.  How many more?  I don’t know, but more every day and then the day after that.  Get one more believer than yesterday. Then two more the day after.

Make sure you crystalize your vision.  How does this idea/product/service/song resonate when 1m people are looking at it or even using it?

When you perform a casual experiment or side project, you are thinking small at the start.  This is normal.  Will this idea work?  Will anyone care? You do yourself a disservice by dabbling.  Sure, go ahead and tell a few friends.  Are they being nice or are they excited and want to share it? Don’t mistake this process for MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

Someone wrote about getting 10 paying customers you DON’T know.  They will be very honest with you. Once someone pays even $1, they want value in return. The value exchange should be very clear and they should be happy to tell you they are satisfied.  Once you have 10 paying customers you don’t know, throw gas on the fire and go full throttle.  Now you are entering MVP-land. It’s the ONLY way to gain critical mass and call it a business.

Idea: “SnapPosts”

Since social media posts are like ships passing in the night, why not just design around that?

How about a service that let’s you store “evergreen” posts and re-posts them at a certain interval?  Then, the service removes the post from the timeline after a certain period.

Why?  So your timeline is always fresh and doesn’t have redundant posts cluttering it up.

Example: Live events.  Say you are hosting an open house in 2 months. You can create a nice post with pictures, info, etc. and set the post to “SnapPost” every 7 days between a give time period.

Does something like this exist?

Gigable Update June 2015

It’s been 18 months since the official launch of Gigable. What started out as a simple crowdfunding concept has evolved into musical brand that people are recognizing.

The best part about it personally, is how much fun we’re having. So many of these projects can get heavy and grueling (especially when there’s very little progress), but this project is very inspiring each and every day.

Last Saturday, we had our 5th official sell-out show. The feedback so far is amazing.  People really love going to a comfortable setting to discover new music that moves them – which most don’t expect. They also like to meet the artists and get a chance to talk about their own stories.

We’ve added Gigable Radio as a new feature on the site. I’m really excited about this, since it allows us to easily add songs we’re discovering and share with the Gigable audience. We want to put the music first and introduce great music in a way that’s fun and local.

Very soon, we will be adding a download store so that anyone can buy exclusive tracks from the artists who have played Gigable shows. All of this should culminate to a curated experience so that music fans will “tune in” to Gigable to find great music and emerging artists.

We’re also about to kick-off Gigable 2.0!  This is the first major project to improve the platform and streamline some features.

We’re going to add promoter tools for easier management of email lists. Also, we’re integrating with Facebook so fans can easily login and engage with Gigable shows and artists and share with their friends.

This is all needed, however the big deal in my mind will be the mobile app! The mobile app should really promote more widespread use of the platform with fans. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but let’s just say this should bring everything to a new level.

Feel free to ask questions about Gigable or about the emerging artists that we’re discovering!

New eBook: How To Host An Amazing House Concert

Very excited to announce a guide I’ve been planning/writing for some time is available today on Amazon!

There’s an insurgence of indie musicians taking to living rooms, backyards, decks, farms and winning new fans. House concerts are not a new concept but they are taking center stage as artists are using new tools such as crowdfunding to plan these unique gigs.

I’ve talked to many people about hosting these shows and some feel reluctant not knowing how much effort is involved.  House concerts can be public or private and I layout a full plan of attack in the ebook.

Grab a copy for free until midnight 4/8/15!  It would be awesome to leave a review on Amazon so more people can learn about this exciting trend!

#SXSW via #meerkat and @mazzeo

So I couldn’t get down to Austin, TX this week to partake in South-by-Southwest. I was pretty bummed, but I think maybe I may have caught some of the best conversations despite being in Chicago.

Last week, I saw a post on Product Hunt for Meerkat.  Meerkat is a live video streaming app, mobile-to-mobile. It uses your Twitter login and when you start a stream, a tweet is sent with a link to the live feed.

So, I happened upon a few key players streaming from SXSW like Gary Vaynerchuk, Sarah Evans and someone I’ve been looking to meet, Matt Mazzeo.

Via Meerkat, I caught Matt’s daily “lowercase office hours” in the lobby of a hotel where he does quick interviews/discussions with founders and other influencers during SXSW.

Today’s session was pretty great and he even did a quick discussion with the Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis’ agent.  Very cool impromptu conversation about a movie in the works for Mikhail Gorbachev.

Here’s a quick recap of the startups he put on his “hang”.  Hopefully I’ve captured the correct elevator pitch for each of these:

Homerun – Killer stories about sports players built on their stats – Great stuff curated by interesting people – Worldwide travel rewards program

Snowshoe – Plastic ID that uses smartphone screen for recognition

Humin – Contacts stored in a more human way

Clinton Foundation – not a startup but a mention, none-the-less.

Looking forward to more great stuff from @mazzeo on @meerkat!

How Many Times A Day Do You “Shift Gears?”

As I’ve been working with multiple clients/projects/startups, I’m constantly battling focus challenges. A common misconception about productivity is the ability to multi-task. There’s good and bad multi-tasking.

I believe good multi-tasking comes in the form of activities that are complimentary to a big goal. I’m listening to Spotify while writing this post and not checking email. Many people watch the news on the treadmill. All good.

Bad multi-tasking is switching between tasks that are going after different goals. For example, writing a proposal and answering email about your kids’ sports team.

All afternoon, I’ve been working on Gigable and then tried to read a brief about another startup for which I’m advising.  It didn’t work.  Better to stay in the Gigable headspace as long as possible, then take a good break and reset.

I sometimes call this “spinning plates” and I think human nature forces us to pay attention to something new as it happens. Can someone drop mail on your desk and you don’t open until end of day?  Email is the same distraction.  Do you have your email open all day and anytime the drug-like “Inbox(2)” shows up, you are a pavlovian dog. I am.

However, as I bucket activities and goals into daily sprints, this is all changing. My newest routine is to plan and focus activities based on big goals. So, I’ll only work on Gigable activities on Wednesday until I’ve exhausted the to-do list.

This mindset became apparent to me while songwriting.  Songwriting is the type of activity that needs 100% focus. Any type of creative activity requires a “flow” state which takes a while to achieve (it does for me anyway).  Once you are in flow, you move through it until you reach a point.  This point can be 1 hour later or 4 hours later.

Blocking off full days for focused activity pertaining to a major goal seems like the optimal strategy. However, I think it’s possible to break the day into 2 parts.  3 parts if you are really energized.

Conversely, switching between every possible goal/project daily is sure death. That breeds burnout, stress and adult ADD. This may work for a while, but it will catch up to you.

What works for you (or doesn’t)?

My #7daylaunch Post-Launch

It’s been 2 two weeks since I went live with the stock music service. I’d love to say that there’s been a steady stream of subscribers, but alas, that is just not the case. I’m really not discouraged since I’ve been spending time adding more tracks to the catalog.  Based on a few discussions, part of the MVP is catalog selection. My goal is to have 25-30 unique tracks available and then ramp up more discussions with more video producers.

The “P” in MVP is the catalog, in my case. There are many different styles of music that will need to be presented.  Right now, I have an abundance of acoustic guitar-driven songs and need to diversify.

So, my two main goals at this point are:

  1. A diverse selection of tracks in various musical styles.
  2. Discussions with video producers to understand their needs and get feedback on current state of the service.

Once I have time to absorb the feedback and make adjustments, I will be ramping up on a larger marketing plan.

It’s very clear to me that I will need to talk to 10-20 video producers and understand their world.  Once I can integrate those learnings, I will have proven (or dis-proven) minimum viable product for this stock music service.