Categories
Entrepreneurship Gigable Growth Startups

MVP: Lessons Learned Vol. 1

Back in the early days of Gigable, we worked to release and market our mobile app and ticket platform.  The app was officially released on July 1, 2016.

To introduce the app to our initial audience, we got a booth at Ribfest in Naperville, IL.  This fest is the largest of its kind in the suburbs of Chicago during the summer. There is a big focus on live music which is why we wanted to introduce our app at this event. We also had a big showcase planned for August 19 at Wentz Concert Hall in downtown Naperville.  What better way to promote a live show, than to talk to people at an outdoor music fest in the weeks leading up to the show!? (more about this lesson in Vol. 2)

We got our banner printed, along with a few thousand promo cards. Then we spent 4 days meeting and talking to about 1000 people about Gigable and the emerging artists we feature. The conversations were very positive and we had a good response from music fans regarding our concept.  We ended up getting about 100+ people load the app.

All this is going well, except we didn’t configure a great solution to measure app usage. In hindsight, we should have had a plan to use Mixpanel or GA to get in-depth analytics on usage.  Not just usage, but stickiness.  How often to people come back and use the app on a weekly basis?  Are they saving shows or favoring songs?  Unfortunately, we don’t know.  As of September 7, 2016, we still don’t really know.

The big lesson: Setup methods to measure “viability”! It’s great to say that you are launching our MVP and getting the product out there.  That is a great accomplishment and you look really smart.  But, is it truly viable?  What’s the threshold? What’s the benchmark?  It doesn’t have to be a perfect measure, but directionally, you should be confident to invest more money into the product and marketing post launch. It’s really easy, I mean super-easy to dump thousands of dollars marketing anything. But does it stick?  Is the brand message getting through? How will you know?

These are the questions you will have planned for prior to launch.

Categories
Music

You Are Cordially Invited

Starting in Movember, 2020 I’ll be hosting a series of virtual private concerts. These are Zoom-powered and crowd participation is encouraged! Livestreaming is ok, but with this format we (the band) can directly interact with you – almost like a real show.

First show is 11/5/20 at 8pm CST. Tickets are $10 for the series of three shows and can be purchased here. Can’t wait to actually see you!

Categories
New Music

My Computer Kept Crashing…

My computer kept stopping with a “system overload” error as I was trying to record the acoustic guitar part.  My Macbook Pro is old but mighty (for a while longer I hope!). I changed some parameters and finished the track. Then, listened back. Horrible. “This sucks, @#$%! it” and I closed Logic (recording software). 

Then I sat there and thought of all the advice I give my kids… “It’s supposed to be hard, that’s how you learn” “It’s always darkest before dawn” – and lots of other supposed wisdom. So, I shook my head and re-opened the song. “I’m going to dive deeper and find this damn song” – An hour later I found it. The perfect vibe for the song – something that has eluded me for years. I may have had a little breakthrough.

So, here it is –  the unreleased song of the month: “Let Me In”

Categories
Life

Bird on a Horse

Bird on a Horse

That’s it. This is the entire post.

Categories
For The Good Life

Golf 2020

Really into golf this year. The pandemic has injected a renewed interest in the game. Most courses I’ve played have been packed and I see a lot of young players.

John M & Me at Randall Oaks Golf Club

A few years back, it seemed the sport was dying. Who knows, this could save the industry?

Categories
Entrepreneurship Growth Startups

The Problem With “Failing Fast”

As an entrepreneur growing a startup, I’m constantly pushing the envelope. Always trying new things and ways to reach people and inspire them to action. In the startup world (especially tech), everyone likes to throw around the phrase “fail fast.”  Which means, find the stuff that doesn’t work as fast as possible so you can get to the stuff that does work.

The problem with this is that I’m human, with feelings.  When I come up with an idea and push it out into the world and it falls flat, it wears me down a little. When we believe in an idea and we execute on it, there’s a part of us expecting that it will work right. When it doesn’t, sometimes we have to face some harsh truths and adjust course.

After 1000 failed attempts to create a commercial incandescent light bulb, did Edison say to himself, ‘this is stupid and I’m an idiot.’ He probably felt that, but tried 1000 more times and got it right. That belief in the vision to keep going in the face of many failed attempts is some of the most difficult terrain any person will encounter.

Then there are the days where you’ve applied the lessons learned and executed to find that you’ve succeeded. If you can get through this cycle enough times, you are a superhero.

Categories
For The Good Life

Us

There are good humans
There are bad humans
White, black, brown, tan, orange, whatever color
There are people with irrational beliefs based on some tragedy from years past
There are people with mental issues and chemical imbalances
There are politicians

There are soul-less people and there are amazing generous people
Politics can’t solve every issue.

Your vote can solve some public issues
Your heart can solve the real issues.

Categories
Life Self-Help

I Threw A Rock Once

In my youth, 30+ years ago I threw a rock. I was mad at an institution that I felt failed me. I was angry. I was afraid. I was frustrated. I blamed the institution.

What I learned over time of course, is that it was 100% on me. My failures, my anger was all due to my own fear and confusion. We are all looking for someone/something to blame when things aren’t going right. This is primal fear at work. Every single human experiences it. Given the right (or wrong) set of circumstances, fear materializes in many different ways: addiction, abuse, homicide, vandalism, etc.

Every vandal, looter and criminal running the streets right now are projecting a fear that has been festering for a long time. They are using #BLM as a vehicle to expel the fear.

We are dealing with two distinct issues right now. Racism and fear. One needs to be dealt with externally and one internally.

Categories
Life

What I Learned During the Pandemic

Sitting at the pool in West Palm Beach Florida on March 17th, I looked around and was grateful for being there. News was starting to get more and more serious about the pandemic and lockdowns looked immenent.

Sitting here today, May 31, 2002 about 2 1/2 months later, the world is a much different place. (And it looks to be changing again after the George Floyd murder).

So, what have I learned over the past 10 weeks of being “quarantined?” (I put it in quotes because I’m not sick, but we’re in some sort of preemptive quarantine). Here’s the top 10 list:

  1. We can save about $1000 per month by not going to restaurants
  2. Puzzles are fun for about 3 days
  3. I can sit and do nothing and be ok
  4. I don’t trust the media at all, probably less than the Government
  5. I’m learning to appreciate quality time with family
  6. People can be very irrational
  7. Fear rules most people’s lives
  8. My day-to-day is really not that different in non-pandemic times
  9. I played the guitar and drums about the same or maybe a little more than usual
  10. The world will never be the same and perhaps better?

I made this shot glass as a fun little diversion and keepsake for this unusual situation.

Now I need to go get my free coffee from Panera.

Categories
Music New Music

Quarantine Sessions: Inthemiddle

Here’s a song about growing older and stopping to take in the scenery. This is the second song in the quarantine sessions series where I just use my iPhone voice memo to record a single take.

Here’s a link to Distrokid (my distributor) and they have links to all the digital services.