The Data Driven Web (or Why What People Say and What People Do Are Different Things)

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the always awesome SF Music Tech Conference.

More about the music industry (and why its really in trouble) in a future post, but for today I wanted to riff on something Steve Jang of Soundtracking (previously Imeem) said during his panel on Location Check-ins.

For background, Imeem was one of the early players in the music discovery space.  Users would sign-up and both passively track the music they were listening to as well as create playlists to share with other users with the end goal of discovering new music to listen to.

As part of the panel, Steve explained the real issue with explicitly selected interests:

“Users would sign-up and create these amazing aspirational playlists – lots of independent music and off the beaten track bands.  But then we would watch what these users were playing in the background and it was usually just Madonna or the new Snow Patrol album on repeat.”

The problem:

  • Interests change over time (both in degree and type)
  • Consumers are actually really bad at selecting what they like
  • There’s no context for that interest (with degree or specific type)
  • Users have a view of themselves that may not be entirely true

Continue reading The Data Driven Web (or Why What People Say and What People Do Are Different Things)

The Magic of (or the Real Social Web)

I love 8Tracks and Pandora in a serious way.

But this weekend, I spent all of my time listening to music in – a new web application from Seth Goldstein and Billy Chasen – the co-Founders of IoT company StickyBits.

For background, is a social music discovery platform.  Arrive on the site, choose a room to enter based on your musical interest and find yourself in a virtual club – with DJs on stage and other users milling about listening to the tunes.  Everyone in the room has an avatar and can chat with each other.  Users create their own playlist and then can get up on the DJ table to play their tracks.

It’s fun, highly addictive, and has provided all of the music for my weekend at work and play.

However, beyond providing a great soundtrack and helping me discover new music – creates a very unique social experience that I think points to the next generation of the social web.

On the site, social is not a feature – but rather core to the entire product experience:

  1. Users listen to a curated playlist being created in real-time by a group of 1 – 5 DJs who a user has opted to spend their time listening to
  2. Within each room, a group of people who have implicitly decided to spend time together are able to have a conversation within the chat box on the side
  3. While some of this chat is about the music, much of the chat is about other topics which users discover that they have a shared interests with others in
  4. As such each room develops their own personality and group identity – initially formed around the music, but transitions over time as users find other topics they have in common

The result is not only a robust music discovery platform, but also a truly social experience where users interact and discover each other – creating new robust relationships that didn’t exist before.

As we enter the Summer Music Festival Season (one of my favorite times of the year) – I’m reminded why I love spending a weekend camping with strangers and friends in the woods listening to musicians I know and other that I have yet to discover.  While it starts with the music, the reason everyone comes back year after year is the amazing community and relationships that are developed over experiencing live music together. taps into this same emotion set to bring the offline experience of live music to the online world resulting in a truly social web application.

Those building social apps take note – social is not about connecting to Twitter & Facebook or simply asking questions to your existing social graph – its about creating a robust experience that users can share – that at the end of the day results in users building real relationships.