Pro goals for 2020 🎯

Happy New Yeaaaaar !! May 2020 bring you the best both in your personal and professional life 🥰

Here are few lines to have a look back on 2019 and talk about 2020. In mid-2019 I had my first official steps as a freelancer. Here are some major achievements that I’d like to sum up, as source of learnings and self motivation for next year!

Blogging’s so cooool

I launched this personal blog with a specific focus on music and tech related topics. 8 articles have driven 500 unique visitors. I had an amazing help from Product fellows and reader friends to improve both writing style, sourcing and argumentation, many thanks to you guys 🙏🏻.

As a short feedback, I confirmed this year that blogging is an amazing source of professional and personal new inputs. An amazing source of learning. It helps structuring your thoughts and your professional positioning. Even if readers don’t show: go for it, write and post. You’ll see what it brings later.

🎯I will write at least 2 times more article next year. In the same editorial style, I will try to dig deep into product, go-to-market and design issues related to music apps, softwares and devices.

I will also increase the pace of small publications to give you relevant and up-to-date piece of information around music-tech news. I will try to cover both major industry actors (Spotify, Soundcloud, Deezer, Pandora, Resident Advisor,…) and minor emergent products or trends (Soundtrap, Kraze, podcasts, Beat2beat,…).

Product Management

I got involved in the development process of 4 digital products:

  • Wookyhome.com: find amazing places to work for your team and enhance well being at work.
  • Fest-view.com: contribute to the greatest music encyclopedia and get rewarded with music products.
  • Kraze.fr: find the electronic music party that suits you the best in your city.
  • Appaloosa.io: deploy your mobile apps onto your employees device in a BYOD strategy.

My help on these projects had different angles. For some, the priority is to shape the vision and the business model. For some, the priority is to think a smart and cost-efficient go-to-market. For others, what I helped enhance the user understanding, the experience or the interface. And finally, some teams had me working on the agile delivery process itself.

🎯I hope that all these products will reach their business and experience targets in 2020.
My goal is to continue working on 3 to 5 running projects, focusing on industries that I love.

Design

I designed 3 logos for 3 beautiful environmental projects: Speaker4Earth, Coach4Earth, Business4Earth. They allow professionals to plant trees each time the work for their client. Collaboration was perfect, and projects are now starting really great.

🎯Plan for 2020 is to work a little more on design missions.
I would love to help other starting or growing business in the music or environment industry to communicate with efficient and modern materials.

Remote working

Finally, 2019 has been, for me, the discovery of the remote working world. I’ve spent 5 months working remotely from Germany 🇩🇪 (Hamburg 🥰), 1 month in France 🇫🇷 (Paris and Biarritz), a few weeks in Brazil 🇧🇷(Rio, Sao Paulo and Ilha Grande).

🎯I did it both as freelancer and fulltime team member. In 2020 I have 2 goals regarding this matter:

  • Spread the word and the best practices/tips around me. If you or your team want a feedback around that, knock here 😉
  • Continue working from the places that I love around the world 🌎

A job in the Electronic Music industry? Doors Open ✅

Last March 2019, Resident Advisor, the historical electronic music content media has released… a job board! Its name is Doors Open. Yes they were looking for a way to advertise their job vacancies to their 40 million readers, so they published a job board only dedicated to electronic music companies’ job offers.

Have you ever dreamt working within the electronic music industry?

Last March 2019, Resident Advisor, the historical electronic music content media has released… a job board! Its name is Doors Open. Yes they were looking for a way to advertise their job vacancies to their 40 million readers, so they published a job board only dedicated to electronic music companies’ job offers. 

Today, after a first semester rolling live, what can you get out of it?

Header of Doors Open

164 & 54.

This is the total number of job offers (164) & featured companies (54) that they got so far. Worldwide and before filtering. So let’s say it straight: Doors Open is nothing comparable with any major job board. Linkedin can match you with hundreds of new positions every week.

But even before playing with the search engine, you already know that this website is much more about quality than quantity

For music companies, you can find major listening platforms such as Spotify, Deezer or MixCloud ; hard and software companies such as Ableton or the revolutionary Roli ; crazy London venue Ministry Of Sound ; or right management company BMG.

For positions as well, a bit of everything: logistics, public relations, design, data analyzing, front-end development, digital marketing or content management…
Also note that Doors Open suits all profiles: students looking for an internship, freelancers looking for a mission or regular workers searching the permanent position of their dream.

Signing up is very easy. Even without social connect. Even too easy I thought. The platform only asks for email and password. « Okay, I love music, and that’s why I’m here ; but what about my skills here? » Wouldn’t it be convenient that I tell a bit about my expertise or even passions before digging jobs? This way the board could showcase even more relevant offers.

Well for now, out of 164 offers to be honest, the filtering goes quite fast anyway :p

Amazon Music company's page on Doors Open, subscribe to Amazon Music job offers

The good thing is that you can subscribe to a specific company. Meaning you’ll get every new position that they publish. You can also subscribe with an « expertise » approach by ticking your field of skills ; and then the platform will let you know about all offers matching.

If you feel a little down in your job search, Doors Open has also a content section called « Behind the scene ». It stars some professionals that tell their story. They say how they got into the electronic music industry, how they like it now, and also some advices to you as a future candidate. Very interesting and inspiring.

Inspiration & passion for electronic music culture, that’s what companies that post job offers there are looking for when they seek the ideal candidate. As far as I know, Resident Advisor are the first ones to try to gather their entertained community around a job board. And their community is built with purists, millions of them. So it is really worth trying for any music company to publish a job offer there and see what type of candidates they get.

Doors Open offers three free months to post unlimited job offers. Even with a plug to your applicant tracking system. That is really worth trying then.

Pricing of Doors Open

Please reach out if you’ve already used Doors Open!

Apprenticeship in a startup: 4️⃣ reasons to take the plunge

After one year spent into a startup as an apprentice, I would like to share my point of view about the « apprenticeship startup experience ».

This morning I read an astonishing article, again. One of those articles made in Silicon Valley: « Neuralink, Elon Musk’s project to enhance our brains ». Wow! What a title! An incredible project, carried by an incredible entrepreneur, to solve an incredible issue… 

And this is no bluff. Okay, the media and the atmosphere in tech world can lead us to this « futurologist hype ». They all write about transhumants, crypto-currencies, space conquest. But there’s a solid truth behind all that: there are true men and women in this world that think the future of humanity. Going as fast as the imagination of novelists. 

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "neuralink"
Elon Musk, pitching Neuralink

I’ve always been deeply admirative and passionate by these challenges to the unknown. This is an adventure. Really inspiring. Before I finish my studies, I had promised myself to become an insider of these companies that shape the world’s future. 

So when I was looking for an apprenticeship last year, it was this spirit of pioneering, ambitiousness and adventure that was attracting me. 

I followed three of my school friends into a startup carrying a strong and ambitious social project. In a word, the thing was called Skilvioo and its project was to put more meaning within the work-education system for men and women

Today, after more than one year spent into a startup as an apprentice, I would like to share, in this article, my point of view about this not-known-so-well « apprenticeship startup experience ».

Can someone tell me where we’re heading to?

#TheTarget?

Skilvioo was launched in 2012 and had a first mission of streamlining relations between work-education system operators. Big thing. 

After a very short time in the company I realized that with our innovating approach, we aimed at digitalizing processes of many different types of organizations: universities, business schools, engineering schools, Pôle Emploi, recruiting departments and companies,… I couldn’t count them all. And we had the same number of different types of professionals to talk to.

So in ou daily work, there were a lot of discussions about WHO EXACTLY were our first target. Hard to find a single unanime answer. 

#TheValueProposition?

Our app was kind of large and offered a set of many different features. So I focused on understanding ward exactly was each of these feature bringing to whom. Most of all I had this question in mind: what’s our most impacting value proposition? Would that be the skills matching? Or CV generator? Ha maybe our powerful search engine… hm… not sure.

#TheRevenueStream?

During the months that followed my arrival, I had many sales meetings with our customers and leads. And by crossing our notes within the team, we would realize that a client A would get a 5k€ proposal, whereas client B had already signed for 3k€ ; and what about client C to whom we already announced a budget of 8k€?

Sometimes it was annual recurring billing. Sometimes one shot. Sometimes monthly…

So what, even the revenu model was not set?

#TheChanels

« So I guess that we have preferred channel to communicate with our leads ? » Sponsored adds? Events? Emailing? Content strategy? What works the best since the beginning?… *complete silence in the meeting room* hm. So on that point again, no clear path to walk on.

Towards the definition of a startup

Alex Osterwalder’s business model canvas

When you are used to analyse businesses with the « Business Model Canvas » of Alex Osterwalder (below), this type of situation can become quite anxiety-provoking. The team realizes that very few things are 99% sure on the framework. All the rest were to be explored with more accuracy. 

Panic comes when you run into a wall of unknown parameters each time you try something.

Most of the time, the domain in which you’re adventuring is tied to other domains. Trigger a sales issue, end with a product deeper problem. Trigger a communication question, end with a cost and revenu headache.

Unsolved business model canvas of a startup

This is what’s called an unsolved market equation. 

And to me, this is what a startup is. Definition number one. 

A startup is a company that has not finished to solve its market equation.

You know you’re in a startup when daily routine is mined with uncertainty. When your business looks like a Mastermind game. When you dream about what could possibly 6 months from now with your colleagues during after works. It’s when your product team have their hand shaking before putting the last feature online. 

It’s deep uncertainty at pretty much every decision you take. Little or big.

« Would you tell that you’re experiencing what you were looking for ? » asked my apprenticeship tutor. 

« I did not expect such a mess, but I would definitely go for it again ! »

Without hesitation. 

4 learning levers for an apprentice in a startup

2. Empowerment

You say it, you own it. It’s the most powerful lever for learning. 

In a startup, it goes with the size of structure: an organization of 20 people navigating in the unknown has no choice but giving responsibility to all members. 

There are so many subjects to be explored. Deliverables to be produced. Identity points to be challenged. Content to be written. Features to be imagined. Data to be analyzed. There’s work for an entire army here!

And this must be done because company’s survival is at stake. 

For apprentices it means 4 things (in addition to hard work, for sure): 

  • Since nothing is really structured, the mere dashboard that you can produce is silver. The mere design of sales printed document that you can imagine is gold. The mere blog article that you can write is platine. And you can be sure that all these productions will not remain in a box, unused. Team will use it again and again, until better stuff is produced. So there truly is free space to create pretty much everything need by the company. 
  • As freshman in such a little structure, even if you’re « The trainee/apprentice », your added value is also into the company’s culture. First members of such small structures are key to define this culture. And this culture is key to the startup’s growing. 
  • Nobody is going to do the job for you. So it’s a good place to learn commitment, accountability and interpersonal communication skills. 
  • When you’re accountable for something, it makes it count double for your learnings. Failure and successes are much more powerful than if you had done the work for someone else’s accountability.
    About that, shortly: in a pedagogic stand, a skill is indeed remembered better by a person if he/she is in direct observation of the consequences of their actions – links to academic resources here and here.
    More: when you let them try new things, even if they make mistakes, it counts triple – here and there, academic resources.

2. Tempo

To reduce uncertainty over its market equation, a startup has to try a lot of things. Quickly.

On one hand, this can be pressurizing because exploration doesn’t always bring money. It brings knowledge that can lead to the money needed for the business. So dealing with short amount of time, team must keep a high pace of project management. 

On the other hand, it teaches the team not to lose focus on what’s essential for business. Without this focus, they start many things without always finishing them. I kept in mind a sentence of our CEO: « If you want to go forward: the Best is the enemy of the Good ». Meaning that spending hours on a topic to get it perfect is probably not a good idea when you have dozens of other tasks waiting in the queue.

3. Variety

Exploring many aspects of a startup’s business in a short time implies to get involved in very different domains. Communication, marketing, sales, development, product, Human Resources… Sure, everyone must hold their ground of accountability. But this one is very wide for each member of the team. 

The cliché of the « Swiss knife »intern/apprentice is true. And it’s a pity that people see it as a bad thing since Learning is the most important thing for a trainee. As such, you can easily have a good overview of the whole value stream that goes through the organisation. And as such, most important thing, a trainee better learns what they can and what they like to bring, to this value stream.

4. Agility

Finally, you can not talk about a startup without mentioning the Agile part. 

In a startup, agility seems like juggling with a business vision/mission in a hand, and the actual immediate needs of the addressed market in the other hand.

The vision comes to life with ideology, company’s culture, speeches, dreams and motivations. 

And needs comes to life with bug reports, feature demands, business negotiations, and planning. 

A very special skill set is required to address such a balanced combination of addressing both vision and needs: 

  • Knowing how to listen to the market. Eric Ries couldn’t say more « Life’s too short to build a product that nobody wants ».Market is often right.  
  • Knowing how to keep distance with market needs. Henry Ford couldn’t say more: « If I had asked people what they would need to enhance their travels, they would have answered « We need faster horses » ». How can you come up with the Car concept if you listen to your market too much ?
  • Knowing how to deliver high value to the market in short time. So that you can reduce quickly uncertainty over a topic. 

It’s been said so much that an extra time won’t hurt: our technological and economical world of 21st century is moving fast. And no organisation can deal with this pace on the long run if they don’t switch to agile project and product management. 

This is why I think learning these basics in a startup is a great opportunity for an apprentice. It’s a good time and energy investment for the future.

To sum it up

  1. Empowerment
  2. Tempo
  3. Variety
  4. Agility

So, ready to become an insider?

A lot of clichés about the startup experience are true. Uncertainty, intensity, risks, lack of solid framework/processes are totally part of the experience. I have been pushed behind my limits lots of times this year – not always comfy, nor pleasant. 

But the good part to be remembered lies into the intense learning of very useful skills. 

Hi to the bests: Der Don, Oscouille and Jaafouille – Zzzebarti!