Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Startup as Band

The world of startups and bands have much more in common than you might imagine. They often start out in grungy garages and go through similar teething pains: balancing ambitious and talented young people in small groups producing creative content on shoe-string budgets. The members have to make massive commitments in the pursuit of a high-risk dream. And the odds of succeeding in a startup are probably not that much better than being in a band.

Raw talent alone can make you famous (a la Google's Sergey and Larry), however, if you want to kick-start your start up its time to start thinking about what kind of band you are.

Every startup needs its lead singer. At Zipipop we have Helene Auramo, who appears regularly in the Finnish media talking about social media; for example, she has just been featured in the new edition of the popular Finnish cultural / design magazine "Image" (see above). The feature title is "Pop Star". Helene is a big fan of Gwen Stefani; which is not a bad comparison to her personal brand image: sassy, sexy and savvy.

Internet entrepreneur as pop star is not new. Probably the most famous is Kevin Rose; who founded and hosts DiggNation on his own Revision3 internet television distribution company.

In Finland, in addition to Helene, we have Taneli Tikka who definitely knows a thing or two about putting across a pop star image. I don't know him well enough to suggest who he could be compared to though. Any suggestions?

Anyway, I was thinking which other band members would startup "types" be. In Zipipop's case, I feel that Markku (Chairman) would be the lead guitar / band manager; Tuomas (Creative Director) song writer / driving bass; Taro (CTO) innovative mixer/DJ. Diana (the unofficial 6th member of Zipipop) lyrical keyboard player. And I would like to think of myself as song writer / rhythm guitar.

Helene and I co-founded Zipipop, and like all the best creative partnerships, our differences complement each other. Creative partnerships work best when there is time together, but there is also time apart. This is why it is great that she has her Digitytot project in addition to Zipipop and I have my little kid (and maybe a secret film project, but it is too early days to talk about that). Here is a quote from an excellent book I am currently reading called Life's a Pitch:

"One of the greatest creative partnerships was, of course, Lennon and McCartney. They influenced each other profoundly, but they often developed songs on their own. Many of the songs attributed to both of them were actually written by just one: yet the personality of the other still hovers in the background. That was proved when they stopped writing as a team. Without McCartney's softening touch, Lennon's work often became crudely strident; and without Lennon's attack and edginess, McCartney's work frequently descended into sentimentality."

Zipipop is rapidly making a name for itself and with Markku Silén now on board (Finnish press release) the future looks bright indeed. However, we also look forward to seeing Finland's future entrepreneur pop idols.