Visionary Angels Part 2
How in the world am I ever going to keep up with a community of thousands upon thousands of musicians spread across dozens of incubation facilities? And how will they be able to connect with each other?
There has to be a better solution than social media.
As I was envisioning what a “HOME to scale” would look like, I almost immediately realized that we would need some tech. A lot of people think that I built the tech in order to book the spaces at HOME, but it was actually about creating a platform to strengthen community and connection among people with common interests.
Perhaps more importantly, it was about using tech to identify RELEVANT connections.
As someone with absolutely zero tech experience, I had no earthly idea how that would happen, but I did understand that it was possible… and necessary.
I had the foresight to realize that there should be some sort of networking directory that served as a back-end member tool and gave them the capability to filter and segment their searches based on data tags. That sounded kind of complicated, so I leveraged my Belmont community and started asking around about web developers.
That’s when I had the good fortune to meet another one of HOME’s Visionary Angels - Corey Sery.
In all honesty, I don’t think Corey had a clue what he was getting himself into. Neither did I for that matter. I just knew someone needed to do it.
Corey said he was up for the challenge, and I love to believe in ambitious people.
So, on a very small retainer, he began to work his programmer magic. He had no design to go off of, very little functionality, just a vague description of a “member directory and database that we can use to figure out who people are and how they can team up.”
In other words, identify individuals within a given community according to relevant connection points.
I also told him I did NOT want it to be a social media popularity contest or have any advertising functions :) Just a clean and useful tool to connect communities. I also realized this kind of tech would be useful for communities beyond HOME… but that is another story…
A month or so into the project Corey called a meeting for more specifics about the information we wanted to collect from the members and how the directory would function. We needed a classification system to recognize our members according to their role in a “music team”. So I had to think about that a little bit. I was an artist myself with some lofty goals (big stages, world tours, etc.). Who would I be searching for if I had access to a music industry directory?
What I needed was really talented people around me that I could find easily, quickly, and continuously to develop my art and performance until it was compelling and undeniable. That’s step one. Once the product is right, I would need marketing professionals, industry connections, and ultimately FANS.
It takes a plethora of extremely talented people to break an artist. So who would they be, and how would I go about searching for them?
I came up with a classification system called the 5 P’s: Players, Performers, Producers, Professionals, and Patrons. As a developing artist, you are basically searching for:
Players to track on your records.
Performers to play live at shows.
Producers to bring your ideas to life.
Professionals to help you present your brand to the world.
Patrons who support your art.
This became the first filter for the community… a simple and elegant way to think about building artist development teams.
Corey took my vision and ran with it. Months later, I finally got to see what he had been working on. I was absolutely delighted. It was clean and useful, and it served us very well through the startup phase of the organization. Since then, we have made some changes and added new features, but the core essence of the technology is the same. It helps build teams around music creators.
I say it all the time; the best thing that you can get out of HOME is a team. The tech goes a long way in helping HOME members identify potential collaborators. But lots of apps help people get connected. What makes HOME so special is that you have a real place where you can meet, create, learn, and hang, while continuously developing and refining your projects, strategies, and ideas.