Entrepreneur Experience: Mark Van Holsbeck Founder of Jukebox Live￼
In this episode, we continue the #Entrepreneur Experience series with JukeBox Live founder Mark Van Holsbeck. As a long-time musician facing retirement from a career in IT, Mark decided he wasn’t ready to take it easy quite yet. So, he set out to help bands and fans come together… Listen now!
Today host Cynthia Del’Aria speaks with first time founder, Mark Van Holsbeck. Mark has played drums and performed with many bands, while also acquiring various skills in the IT profession with an impressive 42-year career. Combining these two skills, Mark has set to solve many common management issues that bands encounter and help fans of live cover music easily find a band that matches their musical tastes with his Jukebox Live App. Mark shares how Cynthia’s advice impacted the development of his company and app plus some of his origin story which includes an awesome connection to the infamous group Van Halen. Click, listen and enjoy!
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Straight to you from Denver, Colorado, this is Precursa: The Startup Journey. We share the ins and outs of building a tech startup from inception, to launch, to revenue and beyond. If you’ve ever wondered what building a startup from scratch really looks like, you’re in the right place. With full transparency and honesty, we reveal it all about Precursa on our ride from idea to exit: the wins, the lessons learned, and the unexpected twists and turns.
Hello everybody. And welcome back. This is Precursa the startup journey, and we always record on Fridays. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that, but it’s always a Friday morning and yay. This week feels like a week that needs a Friday. I don’t know why <laugh>. So today in the continuing our entrepreneur experience segment, my guess is mark van Eck, who is former C I S O of Avery Dennison and founder of duke box live a startup, helping musicians and fans find and engage with each other. When mark retired from Avery, he decided he didn’t wanna take it easy. Rather he wanted to build something new that incorporated his passion for music and his vast career in it. So he jumped in head first as a first time founder. And today he’s joining us to talk about his journey. He’s funny, he’s crazy generous, and he’s tenacious in a wonderfully founder way. So without further ado, welcome to the show mark.
Hi Cynthia. <laugh>
How you doing this morning?
I’m doing very well. Thanks so much.
Good, good, good. So why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and sort of your journey and, and how on earth you became an entrepreneur
<laugh> well, you, you, you started pretty well with, uh, some of my history. So being an it for 42 years, um, you know, my brain is always about fixing problems and, uh, you know, I see something I oh, that can be easily done by something else. And, um, and also, you know, the flip side is I’m a musician playing bands and, and I’ve observed over the many years how bands operate, you know, from, you know, publishing, publishing their, their gigs, uh, getting band members, you know, rehearsals, uh, getting fans to come to your gigs, getting people to come to your gigs. Uh, it’s always been a challenge and, and, uh, you know, putting those two sides together, I thought there might be a better way for us to solve the problem of how bands operate by using some technology. So, um, I’d set aside some time. Well, actually it was during my first and only real vacation. I took a month off and went to South Africa and totally shut off from work. Oh,
Yeah, because they couldn’t reach me. So yeah, it was the first time that ever in my career, I’ve been totally out of sync with the rest of the world <laugh> but gave me a chance to have full, you know, thought process about what I was trying to get at. And so while we’re driving through the, the countryside of the South Africa, which is, there’s a lot of blank spaces, there’s a lot of time that you don’t see animals, you see a lot dirt and dust and shrubs. Yeah. So I had my notepad out and I was inventing jukebox live.
Wow, wow. No kidding.
Yeah. So that’s how it, you know, got on paper at least and gave me a chance to think through all the, you know, ins and outs and, and stuff. So then, then it was looking for some way to help make this piece of paper, turn it into an actual app. And, uh, you know, it’s funny because I was asking around how, how I can go about doing this. And that’s when I thought I know someone who’s built apps before <laugh> and I contacted you. And it is so funny that it just kind of went full circle, that you were in the business of helping, you know, entrepreneurs, how get their apps off the ground. And yep. And that’s how us, you and I reconnected because, you know, even though we’re family, we’ve, we kind of all went our ways when you moved out of the local area. Yeah. And, uh, net brought us back together full circle.
Yes, it did. Yeah. So, uh, for the audience, mark is actually my brother-in-law, so my sister is married to his brother and that’s like probably one of my favorite things my sister’s ever done in her life is marry Paul. So <laugh> so you play an instrument, right?
I do play drums. Yes.
Awesome. Awesome. How long have you been playing drums?
My first band was in the seventh grade, so, uh,
Wow. Yeah, that’s awesome.
It is awesome. It is awesome. We, um, I think it was in my freshman year of high school. We were playing a gig right next door, a school next door to another school. And the other band was van Haen before they became
So popular. Gosh.
We went out for a break and we heard this band playing really loud, you know? Yeah. Who who’s that later on, found out who was playing there, but uh, it’s that’s my short little van Haen connection.
Oh my gosh. That’s so awesome. I love that story. <laugh>
Yeah, they were playing the high school and we were playing the junior high gigs, you know, so they were older than us, so they got the bigger gigs, but uh,
Oh my gosh, high school. I don’t know. I don’t know that musicians, like any kind of musicians could really play a high school anymore. That seems like way out of bounds for the current probably tenor of things.
Never been offered a gig for high school anymore. So
Me neither. Yeah. I’ve never been offered a gig for high school and I’ve been playing for about 20 years, so <laugh> okay. Well that’s cool. All right. So, so you talked a little bit about jukebox live and sort of its origin story. How has the journey been? Like, what has it, what has it been like going from, Hey, I have this idea to, oh my gosh. Now I’m building an app and, and, and where are you in the process and how is it going?
Well, you know, better than anybody, uh, by the way, I’ll just, uh, share a tidbit. So Cynthia has been, uh, my advisor on this journey for me. So it’s been very helpful to have someone and I’ll, you know, probably expand on that later. But you know, having an advisor is, is I think, critical to the success because you don’t know what you don’t know, you know? Yeah. Uh, it, it’s, uh, there’s a lot of, um, ups and downs in this process and things that you’ve got to do and things you don’t want to do and getting someone to help, you know, keep you on this straight, narrow and doing what’s important and not getting easily sidetracked, you know, the squirrel moment to, well, what’s over there. That looks fun.
I think it’s human nature to try to do what’s simple or what’s, what’s, uh, natural to them as opposed to they’ll put the hard things off to later and you need to do those hard things. And that’s, uh, where I think even, you know, cracking the whip on me <laugh> I can share don’t look over there, don’t do it, you know, but, uh, but so yeah, our journey has, has been fun. It’s um, currently we’ve got the app under development and it’s actually right now in the apple store for its second review, the first review was kickback with the minor thing. But, uh, so I’m waiting for hopefully this next one to pop out of the, the oven and be ready to eat <laugh>
That’s, uh, no, I, you know, I’ve been prepping, uh, I’ve got groups of people that I’m, uh, preparing to use to test the app out. And my alpha group is somewhat techy people that won’t be asking, what is this flight test thing? Or how do I load the app? You know, I want them just to, to focus on the app, not the how to get the app loaded. So that’s my techy people group. That’ll alpha, uh, be doing the alpha testing. The beta testing are more generic, you know, some tech people, but a lot of non-technical people. So, uh, that’s more kicking the tires and getting the thing running will and, uh, make, hopefully that gets through those two phases pretty well. So we’ll have an app that’s functional and, and workable, whatever they come up with as boy, I can’t figure out how to work this out, then we’ll have to tune the app to make sure that works.
Yeah. And the, the third phase for me is got five bands that I’ve recruited to help actually do it live in person with real life audience members that have never seen or even know what jukebox live is. So yeah, the band will be performing. The audience will be watching and I’m gonna kind of have pre pre prepped the tables with business cards and how to get the app loaded and posters and stuff. So telling people jukebox live is being used by this band check ’em out. Nice. So, uh, hopefully they’ll, I’ll watch and observe how well they do. And this will be a real live real live test, right. For a POC, if you want to call it that. Yep. So this will be fun. And I’ll be following along with those five bands to get them stood up and observe, learn from that and any minor or hopefully minor fixes we have to do before we make it ready for the world to have.
That’s awesome. Do you have a planned launch date?
That’s one of my things I was gonna
Say, yeah. February of 2021. Exactly.
That’s one thing you have to be in this, uh, entrepreneur state is very flexible. Uh, you know, if you make a schedule, uh, add a ton of, you know, contingency time, because like I said earlier, you don’t know what you don’t know and things will come up. You know? So the development took a lot longer than I anticipated. I couldn’t change that fact. Yeah. It is what it is. So the, the short answer to your question is I’m hoping end of August, I’ll be public on the Google and apple stores.
Okay. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And you know, you and I, as you mentioned, we’ve done a ton of work together over, over several years now. And a lot of it has been about, you know, my favorite topic, which is product market fit. Right? How do we, everybody’s got a great idea, but are there people out there who will, who want it, who need it, who will pay for it? Right. And talk a little bit about that process and sort of your experience digging in. And, and did you have to pivot along the way? Like what did you learn through that process?
Right. Product market fit is one of those things I didn’t want to do <laugh>
Nobody does. Yeah.
<laugh> I kept looking.
You want me to talk to customers? I’m a techie. What is that? Yeah.
Well, you know, I, well, anyways, so yeah, that was a, a fun experience. Actually. It was more fun, you know, in my imagination it was gonna be more grueling than it was, but it was fun to, to talk to people cuz and my app has got two sides of the same point. One is for what I’ll call a fan or audience member. Yep. And the other one is for the band and they both have to be there to make the ecosystem work. Right. Yeah. One doesn’t work without the other. Yeah. So I was interviewing people from two sides of that coin. If they’re a musician, you know, I wanted to find out what problems are they seeing? Do they see the same problems I do. And do they wish they were fixed? Like I wish they would fix, be fixed and you know, if they had other ideas and many of them had some great ideas, so, you know, everybody’s got their own view of the world.
And so everybody comes in with different, you know, seasoning in the, into the, uh, into the meal. So, um, yeah, so that was really good getting their side. But again, the band person is also a fan, right. He or she might go out and listen to live music at other bands. So they have their own perspective of boy, I wish I did this too. Yeah. And then the pure fan person, which is not a mu musician in any way, you know, people, uh, that, uh, yeah, so like music, but just don’t know how to play it. They have their perspectives and they were also quite interesting and different, but, but also very good. Yeah. So I learned a ton about what should be in there. What, shouldn’t the other thing that, uh, I dunno if you’re gonna ask me later, but I’ll say it now. I was trying to bake the perfect meal, all courses and all, everything I wanted the table be perfectly set. And you said, guess what, mark, you only get to have the salad.
<laugh> this is MVP. Throw everything. No, I want it all. Yeah, no MVP is this few things. So I think you and I, I had the, my most hard, you know, hardship was deciding what not to have. Um, I struggled with that. I wanted to call you names a couple times, but I, I didn’t, <laugh>
At least not to my face <laugh>
But, uh, that was hard, you know, I told my mentally I get it, you know? Yeah. Otherwise this development process would be four years in, you know, and you can’t do that. Yeah. Or, or you can’t afford it. That’s for sure. So yep. Doing this self funded is, is that’s when you realize, man, you gotta put a stop to this sometime. Yeah. But, uh,
Yeah. Yeah. So, so let’s talk about that for a little bit, cuz you ha you’ve bootstrapped everything that you’ve done so far. Right.
Yeah. And, and how’s that been like, you know, is that, is that really feasible for the average entrepreneur? How has your experience been with it? What did you ever consider taking on investors? Like, you know, or was this just kind of like, okay, I have this pool of money and I’m gonna go until it’s, it’s gone. Like what, what sort of was your thought process around that?
Yeah. Well I totally wanted to get people to help me, um, any way I can. Yeah. But, um, I, I, I found I couldn’t afford the help that I needed. Yeah. So, uh, it was a lot more money. I think, Cynthia, that you helped me try to find some people that could do development and some method that would, uh, you know, sharing of the, the, the value of the asset, you know, and things like that to make my cost go down. But it just didn’t work out. The, the numbers were way higher than either of us thought was right. And uh, yeah. So instead of making it short and sweet and making it get done in, you know, six months to a year, it’s now two to three years to do it. Yeah. You know, and, and COVID, didn’t help either. Right? Yeah. All bands shut down. My bands shut down. Uh, so you know, kind of, you know, was good and bad in some respects because it put some of the, some of the pressure off cuz there was nobody like you, you gotta get that app out. You told me about, well, you know, it’s not here.
I like, yeah. I’m not even playing right now. So
Exactly. Yeah. The bands that I saw, actually couple of bands that I signed up, they broke up after the, because of COVID they just all, oh wow. Went, everybody started doing different things and you know, cuz they didn’t rehearse. They didn’t yeah. Play, you know, so, so that, you know, anyways, I’m not sure how I got to that, that
Good. Yeah. But um,
So what development process did you ultimately end up using? Is it, is it a single dev who’s got like some equity, like a co-founder or what did you end up doing?
It’s just me. Um, there’s I ended up having, I funded the development. I funded the mark, the, um, design materials, um, everything, or I did it myself, which also took longer cuz I had to learn great stuff, learn stuff, show it to you. And you’d say, Hey, that’s great, but maybe a little more of this and your seasoning again, using my metaphor there so needs more pepper, you know? So yeah. So it, you know, it’s taken a long time. This has been a terribly long journey, but frankly it’s okay because I’m retired. Yeah. I don’t have, no one is like, you know, marching around my yard saying we want two bucks live. That’s not happening. Right. It’s just me. I’m
Song is in my head. Right. Because they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know how great it’s gonna be. It’s gonna be an awesome app. Right. So, but <laugh> everybody I’ve showed the, you know, the, the app too or the screens too, they all really get, get it and love it and say just get it done.
Yeah. I love the design of the app. It has such a, like such a modern, fresh feel. But with that kind of like old time concert experience, right. There’s like this it’s this like brilliant mix of the two things. How did you, how did you do the design piece? Was that, did that come outta your head or where’d that come from?
Well, the first design I drew, like I mentioned in South Africa, so I’ve drawn, I’ve drawn all the pictures of how I thought cuz being in it, you used to doing that. You have to make the whole concept and, and be able to express it to someone too. Right. Because even if I gave it to developer, they need to know what they’re developing. Yep. I can’t just ramble on and say, it’s gonna do all these 12 things you gotta show let’s supposed to look like. So I did. Uh, but then the fun part, the really exciting for me, it was fun. Cost me some money, but I used a company called 99 designs
That, oh yeah, we love 99 designs.
Yes. I think you turned me onto that. Yeah. Um, so basically you get a bunch of designers coming up with ideas for your screens, right? Yeah. You send ’em some, uh, some designs and they will turn ’em into something beautiful. And now you have to decide which one is the most beautiful, you know <laugh> um, and frankly, what interesting. There was one, there was one design error that I thought was the best. Yeah. Yeah. But this person didn’t understand what we were trying to do, which was really did. They kept thinking I was selling music. Oh
And, and uh, but I liked the color schemes. Like, so anyways, we went with the second one who totally got it and actually brought in some great ideas that I hadn’t thought of, of how we should make it look like you mentioned. I think that person really, you know, lived and breathed a jukebox live idea with me and helped make it, what it, what it now is.
Yeah. I love that. So I love that.
So that was a fun, fun, you know, journey that took several weeks, uh, to do, but it was definitely worth it. I learned a lot.
Yeah. Have you, had you ever built an app before you’ve been in, you’ve been in technology for so long and I, you know, had you ever done a development project or built an app before?
Yes, my first job in it, 42 years ago. <laugh> um, I used to be a developer. I started as a developer, so I was writing. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. Cobal and RPG assembly.
Cobal do you know about the Cobal cowboy? <laugh> he’s like the last holdout and there’s all these companies who have all these legacy systems that are still in Cobal and they’ve never migrated them. And this guy he’s somewhere in Texas and that’s literally the name of his company is Coball cowboy and he is, he charges insane rates and he is booked for years right years, because nobody does Coball anymore.
<laugh> right. Exactly.
So if this doesn’t work, you can go have a second career doing that,
Right? Yeah. Maybe not. I I’ve written many apps, uh, early on in those platforms. Yeah. And so I certainly understood the, the process and then I got into other things in it and operational things and whatnot. And then my last part of my career in 20, maybe 28 years of it was in it cybersecurity. So part of that job was to make sure that the apps were secure. So I, you know, had to go through, uh, with the developers and make sure their process of code design and code review and security review. So I understood the newer processes that they’re trying to do and how, you know, uh, we had to inject security into their process, which of course they hated every bit of that.
Uh, you know, they just, uh, you know, when you still catch people putting the password to the app in the text of the app and you say that’s really not smart <laugh> cause anybody can see that, you know, but it’s so convenient for them, you know? And anyways I was,
And it can’t be password or admin or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, either.
That’s hilarious. So you weren’t, you weren’t really new to the process, but you were new to the role that you, that you’ve taken on as, as founder and sort of like orchestrator of all the things what’s that been like? How has it been kind of figuring all that out? I mean, you talked about having an advisor and how important that was, but you know, ultimately you’re kind of the guy, how, how is that? How’s that been like if, if there’s other first time founders or people who are like, Hey, I might want, I have this idea. I wanna build something like, what’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned that you would tell them as an entrepreneur?
Wow. Well, I said it before. I’ll say it again. Cuz I think it needs to be said 12 times you’ve gotta be patient. Um, uh, you need to, uh, you know, one of my jobs in my career was in charge of project management for the, the company. So I put out a, a schedule or of at least the things I knew I had to do. Yeah. You know, trying to put the dates on them was probably a joke <laugh> but um, but at least knowing what had to be done. And so then you could kind of wrap your head around where is the finish line on this thing? Yeah. Cause now in like in this case I’m doing it all. I didn’t hire anybody. I had to know what all things had to be done. And some of ’em weren’t the same technical things, you know like Cynthia, you mentioned earlier the market market, you know, reviews and all that stuff. And the marketing materials, you know, when you work in a fortune five hun hundred, like I, I did, there was departments that did all these things, you know, marketing departments and you had operations and you had development and security and anyways, so everybody was doing their thing to get it to come together. Yeah. Now that was me doing all those things and you know, learning the, uh, the marketing stuff, you know, I draw awesome stick figures. <laugh>
That’s all I got for you. So, and sometimes people look at my figure and say, is that a dog or a person? And I have to write dog a person just cause I’m such a bad drawer. That’s for my, my niece comes in Becca. You should be helping anyways, having all of that thought through and, and knowing where the finish line was, was very helpful. And I think everybody should try to do that. Even if that’s not your strength, you still need to know what you gotta do. If you’re gonna bake a cake, you need to know what your ingredients are. Right. Yep. Even though you’re not a baker and you’re gonna learn to do it, you gotta do it. Right. Yeah.
So, yeah. And as a first time founder, how do you know what all those pieces are? Is it just research? Is it talking to people? I mean, like, you know, if I’m like, I don’t even know if I was gonna build a project plan today. Like I have no idea what goes in there. What, what am I keeping an eye on? How did you figure all that out?
Yeah. Well, you know, fortunately I had all these years of history in it that helped me think through that. You know, there was things I didn’t know. And that’s where you came into play and helped a lot. Um, so Cynthia, if I, if I didn’t say it out loud, Cynthia’s been my advisor in my project. Um, so things I didn’t know I had to do, she would say you need these three things to add to your recipe. <laugh> so, and the timing of where it belongs and all that stuff. Um, yeah, so that
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That’s how, what I would suggest to entrepreneurs get some help, you know, number one, another big thing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you know someone who’s done it there, at least the starting point, they may not have all the answers. Yeah. Uh, and I think at a prior podcast you had some people talking about, you know, getting help and how much of their help is genuine or, or accurate. But you know, you need to, you need to ask if you don’t know, you don’t know. And so ask.
Yeah. I love that. This is where I think like communities, even like incubator and accelerator programs that start to create community, like anywhere, you can find other people who are being founders can make such a difference. You know, wheth whether you can do like a one-on-one advisor relationship, like what we’ve done or not even just being around other people who are doing it can help you kind of pave that road a little bit. You know, I, I love that analogy where they talk about how you can drive all the way from New York to California in the dark with only the distance from your headlights. Right? Like you don’t know what’s coming out beyond that, but you can see that far. And that’s far enough. And in some ways that’s really true as a founder too, because there’s so many twists and turns in the road and so many pivots. And so, uh, yeah, I think, I think, I think you’re absolutely right. Having other people, not only to help you understand what’s coming, but also it’s lonely. I mean, have you, have you experienced that at all? Like that? I, I, I experience it at least once a week where I’m like, oh man, this thing isn’t gonna like, there’s nobody else making this thing happen, but me and that can be kinda lonely, right?
Yes. That’s true. And that’s a good point. It brings me to a thought that, you know, being a first time entrepreneur, uh, you have to be passionate about your project or your app. And if you’re not, it’s so easy to just drive off the road with your headlights only seen so far. Yeah. And you really, and your desire to get your app out and get it to people. So they have the joy that you anticipate them to have. Yeah. That’s huge. Those things are you’re, you’re grounding to keep going, you know, it’s, it’s so easy to say, oh my, this is just too, I’m done. I’m it’s too much, you know? Yeah. It never ends. It just keeps going’s. When do we get to California?
Is this California? No Ohio keep going. <laugh> exactly. Well, Ohio’s nice. Maybe I’ll just stop here. <laugh> exactly
Good enough. I’m done. Yeah. It’s so easy to, so, you know yeah. I’ve had those thoughts too. Yeah. Um, and I I’m, I know I’m, I’m still only maybe 50% done with this journey. I’ve only, I, even if I get the app starting, you know, next month, that’s not the end of it. And frankly, I don’t think there is an end because the nature of an app is people always have these new ideas that they want your app to do. So yeah. When you think that you’re done, you’re gonna add more. And so it keeps going, keeps going, keeps going. So I realize that, uh, but I do have, you know, I do have a goal that I want to kind of get to and anything beyond that is gravy to me, you know? Yeah. And so
That’s awesome. I love that. So you talked a little bit about sort of, like I said, the origin story, how did you come up with this idea? Was it, you know, people always ask me, I’d love to, I’d love to be an entrepreneur. I’d love to build an app or something, but I don’t know how to come up with an idea. Is it just doing something that you know, well, or like how, like, how’d you come up with this, you’re sitting there drumming along one night and you know, women are like shouting birthday requests from the, and you’re like, we can’t hear you, you know that right. I mean like, what was it?
No, you’re hitting right on the, on the track there, it was just being in the band and observing these things that were occurring. Um, you know, I’ll decide a couple that, you know, one is trying to get your gig, how people come to your gig, it’s just the simplest thing. But how do you do that? You’ve got emails and people, you know, or Facebook or Instagram. And, uh, the one thing that’s really frustrating for me and every, every musician I’ve talked to all will have the same true story. They have friends that say, I’m definitely coming. I’ll see you there Saturday. Right. Right. When you get to the gig and your friends aren’t there. And when you say, dude, I thought you were gonna show up. Oh, that was this Friday. I totally forgot.
So I thought we could fix that. I got be put in an app and you remind him, this is the night you’re gonna go see your friend. Oh yeah. Okay. I’ll go do that. But outta sight, outta mind, you know, and it’s not that the bad intentions, just people are so busy with their lives. Right. So right. How can I help solve that? Right. Yeah. And you, you made light of the other one, you know, people will ask us to play songs. Um, I, the funniest one is we’re performing a song. My singer is singing and someone is yelling at her while she’s singing lyrics to the song we’re playing now to go play another song. <laugh> and I just, you know, sit in the back and a drummer. I, I, I, I’m just watching all this stuff happen and I’m thinking that’s terrible besides your room <laugh> but you know, how do you expect her to be able to process all that while you’re screaming? And we can’t even hear you, you know, this, what monitors, we hearing all this music coming at us. You don’t know that, but we, you know, you know, and the other one was a shout out, you know, people write down something on a napkin from their drink holder and it’s all damp and, and grumpy and, and, you know, it says, and you’re you cast the paper around the room, you’re dancing.
And everybody’s like, everybody’s like phenomena <laugh>.
Yeah, exactly. And I think there’s gotta be a better way. There’s gotta be a better way. So, you know, even tip, you know, it’s funny because I’ve done this to me, I’m now the fan and I’ll watch a band. And then, you know, on the way home talking with whoever was with me say that was awesome band. Was it? Did I, did you leave a tip? I didn’t leave a tip. We forgot to leave a tip. <laugh> well, okay. Pop up the app and drop a tip while you’re driving home or at home, you know? Yeah. These are all this things that happen in a band in real life. Yeah. That, um, and the last one I’ll throw at you is if you just, as a fan, as an audience member, you just wanna find out where is a live music playing tonight. Oh yeah.
Just try that exercise. It could take you 30 minutes because you don’t know what, what’s the, what’s the address of the restaurant down the street. Oh, they don’t do live music. Right. Right. So then you Google and you find a bunch of stuff and then you find, you know, live music, but it’s, someone’s common says they don’t have live music. So you might go there. Right. Wouldn’t know, live music, you know? Right. There’s no easy way cuz everybody’s providing this information in their own forum, you know? Yeah. And if you don’t know the band name, you can’t look them up on Facebook to see what they right. It
It’s. And even by the band name, you don’t always know what do they play? Like you might be like, oh this is live music. This looks cool. And you go and you’re like, I am not a heavy middle fan. This is not what I wanted to enjoy. Like right.
Exactly. Yeah. So you go there and you say, oh crap. I, I, I don’t wanna stay. So now you’re standing out in, in a parking lot with your friends saying, where do we
Go? I know what,
Now, now you’re just bar hopping or something, you know, just looking for anything. So that whole thing is such a, is a hassle and I can easily fix that.
Yeah. So you’re, so you’re replacing the flyers that bands put all up and down the street for like six miles radius around the venue they’re playing. <laugh>
Do we still do that?
I don’t know. I haven’t seen, I haven’t seen anything like that in a long time. And I guess it’s been replaced sort of by social media, but yeah. There’s even a breakdown there, which is you have to know about the band in order to be able to follow them to know, you know? And so this is almost like a new way of even discovering bands that you might like. Right. So that, yeah, exactly. So that then you can follow them and know where they’re gonna play next time and, and all that. Right.
Exactly. You don’t have to know who they are. You just know they play the music that you like to hear and you’re gonna go there and
Yeah. That’s awesome. Bottom line.
I love that. I love that. So then the, the thing that I’m hearing is do, do what, you know, like, not necessarily, you don’t have to have done it necessarily professionally, but do something where you do something, solve a problem in an area that, you know, because you’re always gonna know more about how to solve that problem and who the people are that you’re solving the problem for. Right?
Yep, exactly. Right.
Yeah. I love that. So what would you say is the most important personality trait or characteristic that someone should have to be a successful entrepreneur?
Uh, you have to be, um, patient, you have to be tenacious. You have to be practical because you can’t always get what you want. I think that’s a song <laugh>
And, but if you try, sometimes,
Sometimes you may get what you need. Right.
You might. Yeah. You just might
<laugh> so, uh, yeah, yeah. Really. You have to really desiring your pro your product or project to be out there for everybody and use that as your anchor. Yeah. To keep you going, cuz there’s a lot of spots, easy ways to drop off.
Yeah. It’s it, it, you’re pointing to something that I talk about a lot, which is the why, right? Like why does this have to be, why does it have to be now? Why am I the one? Right. And that’s the thing that’s gonna keep you going when you, this beautiful project plan that you built, like just doesn’t turn out that way. Right. <laugh> yeah. Cause you’re right. It could be, it’s really easy to go, oh, this isn’t going, how I expected or you know, what, what, what was I doing? You know, why, why does this matter? And if you don’t have a big enough why, you know, for you, you’re like looking at all these bands that are like, they’re really great. And they play at these really great venues and you’re like, not enough people know and not enough people show up because they don’t know. You know? And so is that your why or what is your, why? Like what is it that, what is that thing that is like your anchor?
I think my anchor is, um, this is probably self-serving but maybe a legacy I I’m looking for, you know, this is something that I built and they always remember, this is the guy who made that jukebox live thing, even though somebody else will build it bigger and better and over yeah. Take me over. But at least, you know, I had that idea that started the, the seed that started that idea that made bands life easier. Right? Yeah.
Oh, I love that. A legacy. Why? I love that mark. That’s really cool. Nobody’s ever said that before.
That’s cool. I love
It. And part of it also was I was, you know, part of the initial one was I was thinking about family members, cuz many of them play music and thought this could be something that, you know, I’m, I’ll be eventually pushing up daisies. Yeah. And they’re younger than me and maybe, you know, they will take this legacy and, and make, keep it alive. Right. It’s becomes a family business if you will.
Yeah. I love that. I love that. So if you could give other entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would that be? And I know you’ve given us a couple, but
Get help. Number one, you CA you will, you, I won’t say you will fail, but you have a higher percentage of failing if you don’t get help because you don’t know what you don’t know. I’ve said that a couple times. Yeah. It’s probably so true. Um, it, and, um, and love your project and keep, keep it going as long as you can’t it’s um, yeah. I don’t know. Maybe that’s too simplistic, but
I think it’s perfect. Simple’s great. Simple’s great. Have you ever read, uh, the Jim Collins’s book? Good to great.
Uh, I think so. That was a long time ago. Isn’t it?
A while ago. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, I’m rereading it. And I’m reading the, uh, chapter five, which is the hedgehog concept right now, which is like, you know, there’s the Fox who’s like knows a lot of stuff and they’re very cunning and they’re very crafty and they’re always trying new things and they’re like, you know, uh, what’s the word I’m looking for? They’re they, they they’re, they’re they’re, multitudeness in their thinking, right. And then you have the hedgehog, that’s like, I’m just doing this, I’m just doing this. I’m just doing this. And this thing is simple and I’m just doing this. Like it’s, it’s just simple and it’s focused and it’s very direct. Right. And in, in the, in the companies that he’s comparing, the, the companies that went from good to great, they, they had a very simple objective. Right. And so they were the ones that were more successful and all the comparison companies to those companies that underperformed or marginally performed against the market were really trying to do a lot of things all at once or be a lot of things to a lot of people. And so, you know, simple is great. Like simple is actually how you get it done. I mean, some of the simplest ideas in the world are the most prolific and, and you wouldn’t even think about them, but they’re, they’re like, well, yeah, of course. Right. But there was no, yeah, of course until that thing came into being, but it’s really simple. So simple is good. I’m I’m a fan
All right. So I’m gonna give you a statistic and then I want you to tell me what you think about it. Okay.
All right. 42% of startups ultimately fail because no one wants what they’re building.
<laugh> um, I would say some of it is true. There’s other attributes that can, can be reasons why it fails. Um, you know, either you don’t have all the resources you need to do it. Like, like I was talking about the developers and all that stuff. Yep. And, or, um, you’re not really the person that can help inspire the sales of the product, you know, not everybody’s a salesperson. Right. Yeah. I, I don’t know. I don’t know if I am either. Um,
<laugh> we’re gonna find out
<laugh> yeah. I’m gonna find out yeah. I, a tech guy, you know? Yeah. And yeah, I’ve had to do presentations of the board and all this stuff, but that’s a form of selling, but it’s different than what I think I’m doing in this, you know, um, uh, commercial market here with the, you know, I mean the public market with everybody that’s, you know, looking at it from a different point of view. Yeah. So, you know, I’ve had some of my discussions with venues management and things, and it is interesting. I’m not, I’m not always successful. I’m less successful than I anticipated. I thought they would just, oh, this is fascinating. I wanna hear more <laugh> and it’s like, I, I don’t know. Well, I don’t, maybe I I’m doing fine already. You know, I, yeah. I’m getting rejected, you know, on things I thought, come on, this is slam dunk. But, uh, so, um, yeah. I don’t know. I’ll do my best and see if I can get, you know, 50% of the way there, maybe later on, I can find a person that really knows how to, you know, sell it. Right. Cuz I know there are those people I’ve met them. I know them. Yeah. That can make you buy stuff that you don’t need. Yeah. But
I’m not that guy. Um, and I, you know, you gotta realize your, your strengthening weaknesses and I, I know that, but if I can just get enough people to get the ball rolling, where I can afford someone that can help do it or that’s done it before. Yeah. Uh, that’d be great. So yeah. I don’t know. That’s awesome. So I, I hope I answered your question.
You did. You did. You’re great. You’re great. Um, so how did you find your developers? Cause I get that question all the time. Like I don’t know how to find developers, like, you know, and most of the time, if you do a Google search for developer to help me build my app, you end up with all these huge agencies that will charge sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars for a simple MVP. Right. So what, what strategy did you use for that?
<laugh> well, it, it, the strategy was a total failure. So you, you go back to ask for help. And, uh, I, when I first retired, I, uh, a friend of mine asked me to help advise them on, uh, cybersecurity for their, their startup. Okay. And they had some developers working on their code and they were based out of India. Okay. And I met, you know, we had meetings and I met them and all that stuff and that startup failed it, it crashed and burned. Oh, okay. Um, sad for them. Good for me because, uh, two of the developers that were on that project did some great work and uh, you know, since I knew them and I knew how well they did what they did, uh, I asked them to help me with my project. And, and um, so the price was because of the, you know, the, the currency valuation and all that.
It made the development much cheaper for me. Yeah. And, uh, you know, the only downside is you have to wake up in the morning to make your phone calls because you’re in other side of the world. <laugh> but actually I was so used to that from my job, you know, I worked for international company, had offices in 53 countries. So any time of the day didn’t matter to me, but yeah. So that’s how I, I kind of fell into them because of the perfect circumstances, you know, like the strategy you talk about later, you and I kind of went on this, this journey trying to find people and the price was so high. Oh my gosh. Yeah. I’m gonna take all my retirement when you drop it into it. And yeah.
And you’re like, no, that’s not a good strategy.
Yeah. So I always had some kind of money set aside that I thought I wanted to use for, because I knew you just couldn’t do it for free. Yeah. And, but, so I had to keep with net budget if you will. Yeah. And that’s what ended up working out. So, and, and I said earlier, yeah, it’s taking longer. Yep. But, um, I can afford it. So, and I, no, one’s banging down the door saying, I must have this product right now. Like when you work in a, you know yeah. Uh, company, you’ve got a deadline, you’ve gotta make it no matter what, it’s,
It’s a flip and that’s kind of, yeah. That’s kind of the benefit of not having investors. Right. Is that you don’t have people who have put money in who are like, Hey mark, what’s going on with that thing? You, you can, you have the luxury of, okay, I can do this a little bit different than how I plan. And maybe it takes more time, you know, good, cheap and fast, you get to pick too. Right. Right. Um, and, and you have the luxury of that because you don’t have someone else yeah. Breathing down your neck, you know? And I, and I think, you know, I don’t know what you think about this, but I feel like so many times entrepreneurs get investors involved too early. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so not only do they give up more of their company than they really should for the money they’re getting, but they also don’t get the opportunity to learn the lessons without the pressure of time. Right. Yeah. And I, I, I don’t know what you think about that. Or, you know, if you had gotten an investor two years ago versus, you know, where you’ll be in six months, like, what would the difference be, do you think?
Yeah. Uh, you know, that’s part of this life cycle. I said earlier, we’re only 50% of the way there, there there’ll probably be a point that I’ll need investor beyond MVP. Yeah. And frankly, it kind of terrifies me because it, now I’ve got a boss again. Right, right. You know, I’m not Lao boss. Right. Right. And they invested money and they want, see some something for it. Uh, I want to get myself to the position that I can actually make those things happen. Yeah. Right now I’m way too early to, to promise anything. Right. Yeah. You know, um, so after we’ve maybe got MVP going and get several thousand people on the platform, uh, then I can at least prove the concept is, is functional work, right? Yeah. It has, has legs. Yep. Um, then it’s easier to sell to someone to say, Hey, I can make this thing happen versus imagine a world where app, but bands could, you know, that’s just, that’s harder sell right. And values, close
Your eyes. Exactly. <laugh>
You know, and your valuation goes way down because they can’t imagine what you’re imagining. Right. That’s right. It’s impossible for them to get to where you are with just a that’s. Right. You know, wish you could see this and you know, that’s right. So having a real live thing that they can kick and say, yes, they’re friends and their, their, whatever, you know what I think so anyways,
Um, and having real life customers and, and even potentially some real life revenue. Right. I mean, yeah, those are all things that create enormous amounts of value. And it’s because it proves to an investor you can execute. Right. And ultimately that’s what they’re investing in. They’re they’re, I mean, they’re, you know, they’re putting the money into the company, but they’re saying this team can execute on this product to turn it into a higher valuation, which gives me a return on my money. Right. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s the simplest way to sort of like articulate what an investor really is. And so the more you can, not only de-risk it for yourself, but de-risk it for them, the better terms you’re gonna get in your deal and the easier it is for you as a founder, like you said, the minute you have investors, now you have a boss, like so many people are like, I wanna be an entrepreneur. I wanna own my own world. And it’s like, yeah, until you get investors, then you’re not anymore. <laugh> then you have other people, you know, pushing on you. Right. Yeah.
That’s why when you watch shark tank, everybody tries to keep their 51% <laugh> cause they wanna still be their own boss. Right.
That’s right. That’s right. Definitely. But I can promise you and Mr. Wonderful invest in your company. He’s the boss <laugh>
Uh, that’s funny. All right, cool. Well, um, what are three pod, you know, or like some other resources or books or podcasts or other things that you might recommend to our audience who are interested in either becoming an entrepreneur, they have been an entrepreneur and you just think it’s been really helpful for your journey.
Well, I’m gonna disappoint you in this respect because I’ve really not done a lot of that. Uh, I do actually I do listen to your Precursa show and because it’s very specific to what I’m trying to do. Yep. So it, it is interesting to listen to the folks, talk about how they’ve solved problems and some of ’em you have, you know, really beginning entrepreneurs and some of you have ones that have already made it. Yep. So right now I’m, I’m kind of stuck on yours, so,
Oh, yay. Great for you. Love that.
Uh, you know, I’ve really not, I don’t know. Maybe because I’m busy doing all my stuff with the app ball by myself. I, I, I kind of spend less time doing it. I know that’s one of the things I, you know, frankly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s one of those, um, squirrel things, you know, it’s one of the things I, I know I should be doing more of, but I, I, I don’t, um, yeah,
I get that,
You know, I don’t know.
I get that. I have a business coach who, who is like, Cynthia, how many nonfiction books are you reading? And I’m like, uh, uh, one now <laugh>,
You know, because it’s tough sometimes, you know, it’s, it’s like when you sit down to open a book or whatever, or like you’re in the car and you wanna kind of relax or, you know, like there’s a gazillion other things competing for our attention. Right. And one of the things that’s competing for my attention right now, which I absolutely love. And so I’m perfectly fine, like promoting it. It’s a podcast called ridiculous crime. Right. And I love true crime podcasts, but they can, they sometimes they’re pretty dark. Right. You know, they’re talking about these horrific murders that went unsolved and like outlining the investigation on them. And it’s fascinating insight. I mean, super fascinating, but you can kind of start to feel like, Ooh, the world is horrible. And so they, they built this, they designed this podcast called ridiculous crime where they literally talk about Rast, most ridiculous crimes you can ever imagine.
And it’s hysterical. Like I find myself laughing so frequently. I mean, and, and they go off on these like tangents where they’re like, oh, that, you know, they were talking about, and they were talking about this one that was like these five elderly dudes and their like seventies and eighties who are, who robbed this bank in, in the UK and stole like a bunch of jewelry from lock boxes and whatever. Right. And it was this big international heist. And they’re like talking about the getaway driver while he was the getaway driver. Cuz he couldn’t run very fast cuz he had diabetes, you know? Like, I mean it just, it’s hilarious. And it’s like the funniest thing. Yeah. But when there’s ridiculous crime, you know, I’m not thinking about, you know, the latest business book that I should be reading, you know? I mean it’s like, so squirrel mentality, I guess to go back to an earlier analogy you made, I do it too shiny. <laugh>
Well sometimes you need to check out and have that moment, right. Yeah.
Because otherwise your brain is, it comes numb with all these things you’ve gotta do it’s
So that’s right anyways.
That’s right. All right. Well thank you so much, mark, for joining us today. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being the guy. Who’s like the musician inventor. Cause I think that’s pretty unique. I mean, I think musicians are mostly focused on like inventing new equipment or like whatever. Right. Cause that’s, what’s really cool new gear. Um, so that’s really cool. And I, I really appreciate that and I, I, I, I love that about you. So thank you for that. Thank you. If listeners have questions or they’d like to get in touch with you to continue the conversation or maybe they’re interested in jukebox live, like what’s the best way for them to do that?
Well, um, my website is www.jukeboxlive.app.
And the, um, email is similar. It’s mark jukebox live.app.
Awesome. Awesome. So flood marks inbox with, Hey, I wanna go see live shows. There you go. Because he’s gonna be looking for more, be for more beta participants. I’m certain of it. There you go for later things. So. All right. Awesome. I will make sure that we include that in the show notes for the episode. Thank you again so much for joining us today, mark. I really, really appreciate your time and your story. It’s been, it’s been awesome.
I had a lot of fun. Thank you for inviting me.
Yay. All right. Y’all thanks for joining us for this episode as always happy entrepreneur and I will see all next time.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Precursa: The Startup Journey. If you have an idea for a startup and you want to explore the proven process of turning your idea into a viable business, check us out at precursa.com. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Until next time…
It all starts with your idea. Scratch that your great idea. So you do your homework in because you’re a doer. You make a plan, you raise the capital, you find a good developer and boom, your app is born, but even the best plans for these great ideas rarely turn out. So linear testing, bugs, user feedback and unforeseen setbacks can make an expensive mess of things. Did you know that on average you’ll spend more than $600,000 over 36 months to realize zero revenue. In fact, in 20 18, 40 6% of startups failed because they lacked the experience and skillset to successfully navigate this challenging entrepreneurial journey, even worse, 42% of these great ideas failed simply because there was no market for the product in the first place. The good news there’s a better way. Precursa provides qualified, specific, experienced feedback from those who have taken this journey before. That’s the kind of informed research Google can’t provide. Precursa provides a time tested sequential roadmap, meaning you’ll always know the answer to the ever present question. Now what Anne Precursa has successfully navigated the stressful turbulent, but necessary steps to start up success so when you’re ready to take the leap, your roadmap to successful launch is more direct with far fewer pitfalls. We believe entrepreneurs like you change the world and we provide you with the best tools to get there.