At Lerer Ventures I created the first version of The Guide to NYC Tech after dozens of people asked me the same dozen questions, over and over. What are the best co-working spaces? Which lawyer should I hire? Where are good places to take a meeting? Who are the key investors to know? How do I…
There’s never been a more exciting time to build product in NYC and Steve’s got a great take on the whole landscape.
I wish I could be more helpful and say, “You should find your dream path and paint a rainbow to your love cloud!” But, most of us are so stuck in this notion of how stuff should go that we want to find one of seven stories that matches our narrative. The fact is that most of us are wandering around, scared shitless, wondering what the fuck’s going to happen next. That’s as true when you’re 11 as it is when you’re in your 40s. It’s one reason that people feel very discouraged or disinclined to try new things—they feel like it’s not for them.
I understand that you’re asking me this because you’re trying to get the narrative, but my narrative is that I’ve never known what’s coming next—I still don’t. I fell down the right set of stairs and have been surrounded by people who have picked me up and said, “Let’s try this again.” It’s been one anxious block of uncertainty after another.
Over the past year, I’ve found myself discovering more and more new, great music thanks to The Hype Machine. You can do a whole lot more on the service but I tend to stick to a pretty simple workflow that yields a lot of value with minimal effort (always a big product win) that hopefully others can benefit from.
That workflow is as follows:
1. I go to the Popular tab, hit Play
2. When I hear something I like, I give it a heart/fave
3. Over time, my Favorites list becomes a great playlist of music I often can’t find anywhere else
Extra Credit: the Hype Machine iOS app (iTunes link) is nicely designed and really smart about syncing the favorites you listen to the most. One day I opened up my app on the subway and noticed that while the rest of the app wouldn’t work without a connection, I was still able to play my Favorites, even though I’d never actively synced them. I don’t know the details of the witchcraft they use to choose which tracks to sync and then sync them in the background but it felt a little magical to have my music with me without having to go through some heavy handed syncing process. An example of something truly “just working” the way you’d want it to.
Two minor nitpicks:
1. I wish they made My Favorites a top level nav item rather than nested in the Profile menu where people might never find it.
2. I would love more clarity on how I can influence the music I see. They recently added a callout for a Blog Recommender based on the music you favorite but it didn’t seem to work for me right now.
I recommend you head over the site and give it a go. If you fancy yourself more of a desktop app kind of person, I recently discovered a simple + elegant Hype Machine client called Plug, that you can get at http://www.plugformac.com/. Enjoy!
You look for people that are not political. People that are not bureaucrats. People that can privately celebrate the achievement, but not care if their name that is in the one in the lights. There are greater reasons to do things.
You look for wicked smart people. You look for people who appreciate different points of view. People who care enough that they have an idea at 11 at night and they want to call and talk to you about it. Because they’re so excited about it, they want to push the idea further. And that they believe that somebody can help them push the idea another step instead of them doing everything themselves.
I’ve never met anyone in my life, maybe they exist, that could do something so incredible by themselves in companies with global footprints. In our world, in Apple’s world, the reason Apple is special is we focus on hardware, software, and services. And the magic happens where those three come together.
And so, it’s unlikely that somebody that’s focused on one of those in and of itself can come up with magic and so you want people collaborating in such a way so you can produce these things that can’t be produced otherwise. And you want people to believe in that.
I like this answer from Tim Cook a lot. No one thinks for a second that Apple is in any way devoid of politics but this captures an ideal to strive for, a spirit you want people to embody as any organization building integrated product(s) grows and inevitably goes through both great and tough times and evolves as a result of it. This is part of what defines the fabric of your company’s culture.
If you’re working as part of a team, no matter the size, building something together, this applies to you. As a team grows, and distinct “departments” take shape, it’s easy to start to slip into more politically-driven thought. To a large degree it’s human nature and people dynamics at work but remembering and having leadership reinforce that “there are greater reasons to do things” is a good way to stay focused on the bigger, more important, things that ultimately will have the biggest impact for your whole team.
(some more thoughts + video from Cook over at Geekwire)