What gets you fired up about what you do?
Youtube is a great resource for music but it’s difficult to find stuff. If you want serendipity it’s ok but making better use of the wealth of data need a different approach.
So we’ve built seevl, a personal music assistant for YouTube, that integrates within YouTube as a browser plug-in. It lets you search for music by genre, influences, label, or even using your social graph; and you can easily create playlists around those topics. seevl also gives you liner notes to every music video, because we believe it’s important to know more about what you’re listening to – music is more than sounds.
We mine all this information about artists from several data sources on the Web, and we push it to music lovers on YouTube via seevl. It’s exciting, because it really shows what “the Web as a platform” can do for users, by bringing together data from different places, extracting meaning from it, and then packaging into a nice UI layer.
What’s the biggest challenge you had with seevl and how did you overcome it?
Finding the focus, the one key thing to solve. Also remembering to forget the tech. and instead to consider users and the product experience.
We initially approached the problem differently – with a separate website as a way to browse data and discover new music with our recommendations, but we then realised that we were just using it as a way to find bands and eventually go to YouTube to listen to them.
We’ve done some more research and survey, and decided to directly integrate our product into YouTube – as we discovered that many other people had that problem of discovering music on YouTube.
I think it’s important (and sometimes hard) for tech founders to remind that your users don’t care about your fancy data-mining algorithms, and that technology is just a means to an end.
What was the last pep talk you gave yourself?
There are lots of ups and downs. Uses telling us we are solving something important for them is always a good pickup.
I guess that’s the case in every start-up, but once you see people contacting you to give some praise and feedback or feature request, that’s really motivating.
What other startup do you admire and what would you ask their CEO?
I admire the way Airbnb have taken a problem and executed on it with a really compelling user experience. As a programmer I’m a fan of Github. It has changed the way people are coding, sharing, managing code and bug tracking. ”attack” the hotel industry, and same for github regarding sourceforge.
I need a new book, what should I read?
Do more faster and Founders at work gave me some inspiration from other people who have built successful startups. but also, where and why they could have failed. Very interesting stories and useful advices in both.