November 7, 2014
Moodsnap wants to help you choose what music you want to hear – based on tapping the image that feels right. This product was designed for the instinct-driven, right-brain oriented music consumer. How many millions of songs are available at your fingertips on today's music apps? It's overwhelming to choose the music that is going to make the mood better. So rather than employing other curation source for music discovery, founder David Blutenthal believes that this is the best way to map music to personal taste.
Let's check out what Blutenthal had to say when we asked him to tell us more about his startup and the entire startup process.
You're starting up in Boston. What's the biggest advantage – and disadvantage – to your town?
In Boston there's a huge wealth of tech talent and entrepreneurs but it's a little light on the music business compared to NYC, LA, or SF. It's a big enterprise, B2B, SAAS town and we're not that. It takes more work to find the right people who “get it”.
Why should we be using Moodsnap?
It'll make you feel more alive in whatever you're feeling or doing, and you'll discover more music that you'll like, easier than anywhere else.
What would you be doing if you weren't building this company?
I'd be opening a speakeasy + live music venue combo somewhere in NYC or California. I'm a total cocktail geek and have an idea for a particular kind of experience that as far as I've seen hasn't been done well enough yet.
What's been the most encouraging feedback that you have received about the product?
More and more people email me saying that they think it's the coolest music app they've ever seen. We're getting strong reactions which is a great thing. It's a love it or “don't get it” product. My favorite things in the world are like that.
What other trends are exciting you today?
Wearables and environmental sensory data to deliver hyper-personalized experiences. There's so many opportunities there to experience life in more personally connected ways.
How do you keep your Moodsnap team motivated?
Celebrating good news, keeping open and transparent about bad news, and letting everyone know that their voice matters in the company. Also being aware of what each person values, whether it's words of encouragement, or a bit of bonus cash for a job well done, and making an effort to speak that “value language” for each person uniquely.
What's a quirky fact that we might not have known about your team?
We have heated ping pong tournaments when we're stressed. Clears the head and gets the blood pumping. I don't think I'll ever have an office again that doesn't have a ping-pong table.
Startup advice can be found everywhere. What is a piece of advice that you disagree with?
That an early stage Founder shouldn't pay him/herself. If you're investing 80+ hours a week in your business you have to be able to eat, pay rent, support your family (if you have one), and, well, LIVE! Any wise investor knows this and while salary should be no means be exorbitant, you gotta cover your bottom line or you won't be any good for your personal health of the health of your business.
What has been the hardest lesson to learn as you build your business?
That it's an ongoing struggle to prioritize among hundreds of things that you could be doing at any given time to grow the business and evolve the product. Also, that just because you want to design or develop some new improvement or feature right now, even if you feel it's going to be a hit with your users, doesn't mean you should. Things always take longer than expected and too much work-in-progress can stall the engine.
Which book would you recommend as the best source to learn about entrepreneurship?
Action Trumps Everything by Charles F. Kiefer, Leonard A. Schlesinger, & Paul B. Brown. Quick, and reading it feels like a fire's lit under your ass to just start! It makes anything feel possible.
What advice do you wish you had known before embarking on the startup journey?
That it's 24/7 all-consuming at an obsessive level and not everyone in your life will understand the choices you make and why you're doing it. It can be an assault on your personal life and relationships will suffer if you don't go the extra mile to find balance to nurture them.
What's your own personal weakness, and how do you overcome it to be effective?
Finding a balance between my ADD tendencies and the multiple hats I put on and take off during a given day. Transitions and multi-tasking is a challenge for me and the “loudest” thing at the moment often grabs my attention and interrupts what I'm in the middle of doing. I really work at this and have created systems and a conducive work environment to stay focused and well-prioritized. The first thing I shut off while at work is push notifications on my phone. Those are productivity killers!
And finally, if your startup were a cocktail, what would it be?
Funny you ask, I used to run a blog that was made to answer this question, except swap the word “startup” for “music”. Moodsnap would be a Ramos Gin Fizz – layered, nuanced, artfully crafted, easily digestible, and the more sips you take the more than unfolds. Here's the recipe!
- 1.5 oz London Dry Gin
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz simple syrup
- few drops of orange flower water
- 2 oz heavy cream
- 1 raw egg white
- Shake dry to emulsify the egg. Then add ice and shake. Strain and serve up. Pour 1 oz of soda water to top off the glass. Serve with a metal straw if you have one. It's fun.
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