He met his partner in a diner. Perry was his waiter.
I know this guy Shak. Shakil Khan to be exact. He’s hipper and more genuine than any rock star. He was the consigliere for Spotify.
But he made almost ten mil before that as an entrepreneur. He invested in Spotify, he wanted to watch his money. He’s gone from there now. He’s at Path today.
Anyway, hanging with Shak is different from hanging with the musicians. He doesn’t constantly tell you how great he is. There’s no level of intimidation. You can be friends.
Shak connected Daniel Ek to Facebook. He got connected to Sean Parker via the Summit Series.
The Summit Series?
I met that cat in the desert. They just raised tens of millions to buy Powder Mountain, a ski area in Utah.
You see tech people are the new rock stars. And tech is the new music. Where young people are doing it for themselves. Working really hard to make their dreams come true, unrestricted by the so-called "man" who’s so busy driving his Mercedes and being seen in the right places that he’s clueless as to what’s really going on.
So I wrote about Kickstarter and Shak connected me with Yancey. One of the founders. We just got off the phone.
He was an English major. He comes from middle class Virginia. His parents weren’t rich. Take that chip off your shoulder, the only reason you’re not successful is you.
So Yancey graduates from college and moves to Coney Island with a bunch of other cats. Where he becomes, get this, a rock critic. Writing for Pitchfork amongst other outlets.
He gets a full-time job, then goes indie and then goes to work for eMusic, where he’s employed when he meets Perry.
Perry had an idea. Back in 2001. Why didn’t they have music AFTER the show at JazzFest? That’s how he came up with the idea for Kickstarter, if only he could find out who was interested and guarantee they’d come.
But that idea never got off the ground. But Perry didn’t forget about it. Four years later, in 2005, he told Yancey.
Are you getting this? FOUR YEARS! Long enough for Justin Bieber to go through puberty and get married. Do you have that kind of patience?
And it wasn’t until four years after that that the site launched.
Because they didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t have anyone who could code and were blundering along until…
They made contacts.
Maybe people you don’t know, but those with power in the online world. Like Caterina Fake, who started Flickr. Who introduced them to someone who personified Malcolm Gladwell’s connector, this woman knew everybody. Which led them to Andy Baio and ultimately even Fred Wilson.
Music ain’t like this. Nobody at the top wants to help anybody at the bottom. It’s all about ME ME ME, whereas the younger generation is all about US! There’s enough money to go around, and your contacts are everything.
Yup, the world is being rebuilt brick by brick by people who grew up connected, baby boomers have been left out.
So finally the site launches. After they get a good coder, someone who can make the site work.
Yancey’s goal, along with his two partners Perry and Charles, was to get one project funded in a month.
Three were funded in the first week.
So you get this straight… When you send out your MP3 and nobody cares it’s because of the MUSIC! Stop telling yourself how great you are and realize you’ve got to go back to the drawing board. If you’re truly that great, people will CLAMOR for you!
And speaking of getting started…
Did the Kickstarter trio hire a PR agent? Did they go for mainstream press? No, they sent invites to fifty friends, and each got five more to pass on. And Andy Baio wrote a blog post. THAT’S IT!
Are you willing to put in the time to create something so good it sells itself?
And then two weeks in, this artist from Georgia, Allison Weiss, created a pitch so good, it’s still the template for Kickstarter projects today:
She made the classic intro video. Your fans/members will help you out, if you just let them play.
And this past January, 10% of the entrants at Sundance were Kickstarter projects.
This is not a fad, this is not a phase, funding has been wrested from the fat cats and put in the hands of the proletariat.
But that does not mean anybody but the few fans of these acts care.
But in the future… Mainstream acts will break or fund via Kickstarter… Who wouldn’t want to? YOU GET TO KEEP ALL THE MONEY! There’s no label ripping you off, not accounting for what it does owe.
And, an entire infrastructure will be built around Kickstarter. All those things the label says it provides…marketing, etc…will be done by newbies. Especially as radio and traditional media outlets fade.
This is the power of the Internet.
We’ve heard from the old guard for far too long that it ruined America.
No, it’s FIXING America. Putting power back into the hands of the people. Giving opportunities to those savvy hard workers who were closed out before. People who the label won’t give a job to, who are doing it for themselves.