Introducing Tim Heineke

24 March 2011

Tim HeinekeTim Heineke (@timheineke) is the co-founder, prior to that music start-ups Twones and Fuga. Also co-owner of indie record label Kindred Spirits and co-organiser of Music and Bits and Music Hackday Amsterdam.

1) Who/what is your source of inspiration regarding the things you do?

I love design from graphic design (or art) or furniture, it inspires me me a lot. I guess in general any kind of art inspires me; ranging from food (cooking) to design/art to fashion to the web (which is one big canvas of creation). Off-course music and, especially lately, music blogs. Music blogs are just like labels/talent scouts. They A&R, and thus select, all the shit which is out there.
As a former skater (i try to ride sometimes), skating or skate culture still inspires me, in general my friends and peers in the niche ,where i’m in, inspire me a lot.

2) What is the biggest mistake you’ve made?

In Twones we tried to listen to to many people and please to many people. We thought feedback was always good and that we should react on it as soon as possible. While releasing early and then incorporating feedback is the right way to go (lean start-up model), we did this way to early and started creating features which where not – yet – a priority. In it’s essence the product should be simple and solve something which you (and your co-founders) think is cool.Period. Then launch that in it’s most simplest form; it’s essence. If you don’t get it right, something is wrong somewhere else, don’t start adding other features.

3) What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Hard one. I’m not really satisfied yet. I was with our record label, but it was small and very niche. We where on our own island and that was great. But it was not a business success in terms of money / users or listeners. It was one of the most rewarding times and where we had a lot of recognition from our peers and that was nice. So my biggest success is yet to come. I’ve been close many times but never to made it to the finish line.

4) What do you believe to be the biggest hype at this moment? Why?

If you mean in terms of overrated, or overhyped, then i would way that there are to many players in the location and “check-in” space. Copying either foursquare, or a vertical, of it, or getglue is trying to check in products/services. Although i think there is a lot or room in that space for more verticals i also think it’s very crowded.

5) What do you expect from the event?

I hope that at the end all of the people in the room know what is and i convinced them about the importance of curation, filtering and serendipity for online music or any kind of content.

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Introducing Brian Whitman

15 March 2011

Brian WhitmanBrian Whitman (@bwhitman) is the co-founder of The Echo Nest. As he’ll be sharing his ideas on the future of music at our upcoming event we asked Brian some questions…

1) What field do you think is the most inspiring with regard to the field you’re in?

I am very cautiously watching computer vision for cues on how it will affect music analysis and synthesis in the near future.

2) When was fortune on your hand?

Time has been kind to us; we’ve come of age during the “cloud computing” revolution– very little of what we do could have been possible without the Amazon EC2 service, where we remain one of their oldest and likely most annoying customers. The vagaries of the music industry also has worked in our favor; dozens of music technology companies have come and gone since we’ve started and we’ve been resilient and forward thinking throughout.

3) How did you end up as the co-founder of The Echo Nest? What were the critical / turning points in this path?

I was a grad student at MIT and facing job prospects (professor, research scientist, etc) that would not have let me have the potential to change things in the world. The second I knew starting a company was even remotely possible I was certain that’s what I would do.

4) How will mobile music develop over the next 3-5 years?

We will see hundreds if not thousands of ways to listen to music. Just as some people only listen to a fringe style, some people will use a fringe player or experience on their device.

5) What question would you like to ask our audience after your talk?

“Why have the technical barriers to music experiences come down so long before the legal and business barriers?”

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