Succeeding through kindness and humanity.

Today, Joel Spolsky and the Fog Creek Software team announced they’re spinning off their popular project management product Trello into a standalone company complete with $10.3 million in venture funding.

The entire announcement is terrific and worth the read, but this part in particular really rang true to me:

Even though Fog Creek, Trello, and Stack Exchange are now three separate companies, they are all running basically the same operating system, based on the original microprocessor architecture known as “making a company where the best developers want to work,” or, in simpler terms, treating people well.

This operating system applies both to the physical layer (beautiful daylit private offices, allowing remote work, catered lunches, height-adjustable desks and Aeron chairs, and top-tier coffee), the application layer (health insurance where everything is paid for, liberal vacations, family-friendly policies, reasonable work hours), the presentation layer (clean and pragmatic programming practices, pushing decisions down to the team, hiring smart people and letting them get things done, and a commitment to inclusion and professional development), and mostly, the human layer, where no matter what we do, it’s guided first and foremost by obsession over being fair, humane, kind, and treating each other like family.

It’s impossible to not be inspired by a statement like that. Fog Creek is killing it with kindness. We can too.


Bootstrapping a Music/Tech Startup Without Venture Capital, with Jonathan Sexton, CEO of Bandposters


Jonathan Sexton is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bandposters – a name you guys might recall from our chat a few weeks back with Mike Fabio, Jon’s Partner.

Jonathan Sexton - Bandposters

 For those of you that don’t – Bandposters is a service that lets artists easily print and ship bandposters to every stop on their tour, in 90 seconds. It’s an incredibly elegant solution to the problem of shipping bandposters around the country (think about what that used to entail… designing it, having dozens or hundreds of posters printed, hand-writing all the tour date info one-by-one, and shipping yourself).

In our chat this week, Jonathan and I discussed a little bit of background and where the idea for Bandposters came from, and then we started talking about startups, technology, and entrepreneurship in general.

We talked about co-founders, bootstrapping vs raising venture capital, strategic partnerships in the music industry, and how new technology and new startups like Bandposters are making it easier and easier for independent artists to manage their careers.

Thanks again for tuning in for this week’s Crewlab. Enjoy the episode.
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Brian Zisk on Organizing the San Francisco Music Tech Summit


Brian Zisk is, among many things, the Founder and Executive Producer of the San Francisco Music Tech Summit (SFMT). SFMT has been running for over 7 years now, and will be hosting it’s 16th incarnation this November (they’ve been doing two per year for the last few years).

Bryan Zisk - SFMusicTech

In this conversation, Brian and I speak about the history of the SFMT, how it all started, and about the music and tech industry as a whole. We cover Brian’s past, why and how he got involved in the music and tech industries, and where he sees (and has invested in) the future of music.

Interestingly, Brian is also a managing partner of the SF Music Tech Fund, an angel investment fund that takes advantage of the deal-flow Brian sees at the helm of the SFMT platform, and invests in promising companies at the intersection of music and technology. They have a broad portfolio that covers everything from music creation software to listening hardware, and it was interesting to hear about that part of Brian’s universe.
Take a listen, and enjoy the episode :)

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Over 80 Clients in just 2 Years with Jessica Cole and Jonathan Lapides of Lyric House Publishing


Jessica Cole and Jonathan Lapides are the President and Director of Music Licensing for Lyric House Publishing – a boutique music publishing and licensing company with offices in Denver and LA.

Jessica Cole - Lyric House

 Though only 2 years into their venture with Lyric House, Jessica and Jonathan have amassed a client roster of over 80 artists, and have placed songs across networks and commercials ranging from VH1, MTV and Style Network to Logitech, MasterCard, and Lucky Charms.

If you’re like me, you’ve maybe heard of “music publishing” or “music licensing” but might not be totally sure about what that business entails. In this chat, Jessica and Jonathan do an awesome job of breaking it down for us, and offer us an awesome look behind the curtains of their up-and-coming publishing company.

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Marketing, Working in the Corporate Music Industry, and Mentors, with Mike Fabio of


This week, I spoke with Mike Fabio. Mike’s involved in a number of projects at the nexus of music, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

He’s a Partner at Back Porch Group – a music industry think tank, the Founder of Tiny Jetpack - a music marketing agency, and the Co-Founder of BandPosters - a service that lets artists design, print, and ship posters to any stop on their tour.

Mike Fabio - BandPosters
We originally connected on the basis of some similarities between BandPosters and my product SimpleCrew. There’s overlap in the target audiences for our respective companies, so we scheduled a call to discuss partnership opportunities and to get acquainted. Of course, with so many shared interests in music, entrepreneurship, marketing, podcasting, technology and startups – the conversation was awesome and we became fast friends.

What better starting point for a podcast than that?
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Booking Shows as an Independent Artist, and Managing an Internet Business as an Entrepreneur, with Bryan Weber of


We’re back with another episode of the Crewlab Podcast! In this week’s show I spoke with Bryan Weber – one of the founders of


IndieOnTheMove is a concert venue database for independent artists. Artists can use the database to get the contact info and other important details of concert venues, promoters, and festivals for when they’re booking tours and shows. It’s completely free, and Bryan and his team offer premium services to artists to help them book shows and market themselves.

During our chat, we talked about Bryan’s background as a musician and how he and his brother originally came up with the idea for the website, and how over the last 5 years they’ve grown it to over 50,000 registered artists using their service.

Check it out! Enjoy the interview.

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How to Teach (and How to Learn) DJing and Music Production, with Alex Maniatis (Owner, Mmmmaven DJ & Production School)


Alex Maniatis is the Owner of Mmmmaven - a music production and DJ school in Boston, and the Managing Director of Together, an electronic music festival (also in Boston).

Alex Maniatis mmmmaven
In this week’s show, we start with Alex’s background, and how he got started in music running a record label called Dopamine Records.

From there, Alex recounts the beginning of Mmmmaven (now just under 2 years old) – how the idea came out of a brainstorming session with partners of the Together Music Festival, and how they went on to raise crowd-funding through an Indie Go Go campaign.

Alex goes on to offer insight into the Mmmmaven classes, what makes the school special, and some of the success stories of students that have come out of Mmmmaven.

Finally, as a huge electronic music and hip-hop fan, I took this opportunity to ask Alex for advice on starting out in DJing and music production. We covered his advice for beginners, the minimum equipment needed, and the importance of learning music theory.

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An Incredible Approach to Niche Markets, Branding, and Social Media, with Ariel Hyatt (Founder, Cyber PR)


Ariel Hyatt is the founder of Cyber PR, a New York based social media PR firm. She was another introduction from our friend Erik from FanManager, and man, this conversation was a blast.


In our chat, the general outline was press, branding, and social media, but the conversation went so much deeper than.

We started with Ariel’s background, how she got started in the industry, and how Cyber PR emerged. Then we got into the takeaways section, and things really started to pop off, so to speak.

Ariel and Cyber PR have an incredibly unique approach to niches. Over the years, they’ve plugged many of their clients into niche communities that you wouldn’t necessarily think of as being musical genres. But it works. After describing the strategy, Ariel gives some niche examples, and a case study from one of her clients.

We went on to discuss the importance of career planning and defining your brand, and how to communicate your brand with your fans using social media. Ariel included her tips on getting started with social media in a way that anyone just starting out can learn from.

I had a blast with this one, and I’m sure you will too. Check it out.

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How Universal Music Group Collects and Uses Data and Social Analytics, with Jeff Mitchell (CTO, Appreciation Engine)


This week, I spoke with Jeff Mitchell – the CTO and Co-Founder of Appreciation Engine, the social analytics technology that helps Universal Music Group make smarter recommendations, engagement programs, and targeted advertising campaigns.

Jeff Mitchell - Appreciation Engine

We started our chat off with a little background on Jeff, including an interesting story about how he ended up staying in New Zealand for a decade, and how Lord of The Rings literally changed the course of his life. He shared with us the story of his first project Music Hype, their transition from a New Zealand company to the US, and their pivot to Appreciation Engine.

We spent some time discussing some of the technical details about Appreciation Engine, and what it does for it’s clients, including an example of how Universal has implemented AE in the marketing and advertising for some of it’s high-profile clients.

We ended our conversation with a discussion about entrepreneurship and startups, including a chat about how a company called 37Signals has influenced both of our companies.

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Networking and Relationship Building in the Music Industry, with Tess Taylor (President, National Assoc. of Record Industry Professionals)


Tess Taylor is the Founder and President of NARIP – the National Association of Record Industry Professionals, the largest music business network in the world.

Tess Taylor - NARIP

Tess has a fascinating and engaging way about her. She holds music, relationships, personal-development, and lifestyle sacred. Listen for those themes throughout the show. They shine through.

In our chat, Tess and I discussed her background, NARIP, and her thoughts on networking and relationship building in the music industry. We went on to discuss a variety of other topics, from intellectual property to the importance of reading to what skills she believes are the most important for any young hustler interested in getting involved in the music industry.

Check the outline below for more detailed show notes. I had a blast with this conversation, I think you will too.

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