The Fetch Blog

The best events and reads for professionals

Coffee talk: Danny Fiorentini, music-making creative and founder of Muzeek — August 21, 2015

Coffee talk: Danny Fiorentini, music-making creative and founder of Muzeek

A gut-follower and passionate creative, Danny Fiorentini chased his dream to Sydney where he co-founded Muzeek, beautiful software that’s changing the way artists and venues book live shows. Here, we talk with Danny about his journey, making music, and what it takes to build a great product.

How did you get to where you are today?

A whole lot of hard work, instant coffee, and ramen noodles. My team today is the hardest-working group of people I’ve ever been around, so it’s really a pleasure to come to “work” every day.

You followed your gut and moved from the United States to Australia to chase a dream. What advice do you give to people looking to do the same?

Well, the initial move to Sydney was for some personal inspiration, growth and a need to explore a bit more. Australia’s creative talent is through the roof, so I was initially looking to expand our indie-record label (that we dumped all of our student loans into) while going to graduate school on the side. I didn’t really know what I was looking for at the time, but knew I wanted to step away from my comfort zone and figure out what dream I was actually chasing within the industry.

I had been on the artist side, then production side, eventually followed by the label/manager side. Meanwhile, I found myself just wanting to go back to creating cool stuff behind the scenes – like when my brother and I first started making music. Moving to Sydney made me realize I needed to focus and go back to building & creating again, rather than just managing people. 

My personal advice for anyone chasing anything is to step away from your current perspective and try to see things from the outside-in. Focus on what you’re truly great at doing; if it’s something you love, you’ll never need any other reason to get up in the morning and make it happen.

What inspired you to create Muzeek?

Several things went into it, but mostly the idea of creating something valuable for the industry as a whole. I’ve used so many music-related platforms, but I felt like the industry was missing an integral component to live tech. Obviously the idea of technology and booking isn’t a new one, but I certainly felt the way it was approached was never done correctly. I really wanted to help contribute to the industry in a meaningful way.

Admittedly, the Internet’s evolution in general probably wouldn’t have permitted this platform to exist 10, even 5 years ago. I think it’s a combination of luck, timing and opportunity.

The biggest inspiration now is our user feedback. The team stays motivated just knowing we’re solving a real problem that’s gone unnoticed for so long. 

Why should someone opt to use Muzeek?

The platform will drastically reduce operational costs, automate a lot of the tedious stuff that bogs a booker down, surface valuable data that people currently miss out on, and above all, create a sense of transparency within a team that allows everyone to work much more efficiently.

We want to become the operating system someone has always wanted, but never knew was possible. We’ve focused meticulously on the details. We’ve approached this platform with an entirely fresh set of ideas about what live music booking needs, what it’s been missing, and how technology can remove 75% of the unnecessary manual tasks that take so much valuable time.

How do you attract attention from venues, bookers, and artists? What’s been your biggest challenge while building Muzeek?

Our users really attract the attention for us; as they all send out booking confirmations to new people, and those actions introduce Muzeek to new users. Because of this, we focus on making our existing users incredibly happy. We want each new person who comes into contact with Muzeek to be equally stoked.

The biggest challenge, by far, has been keeping up with customer demand — a good problem to have. Our team was absolutely blindsided by the amount of feedback from customers, so we tripled our development team to keep up. Luckily, most of the feature requests were already on our roadmap — we just needed to work faster.

You clearly love and live music, having previously co-founded Outbox Records. Which artists do you have on repeat now?

MuzeekI’m a big Tame Impala fan, so I’ve been on that new Currents album for a bit. Plus the Mark Ronson stuff is awesome — I was lucky enough to catch them live last month. I also think ODESZA is the best electronic music out right now. Their originality blows me away with every release. Other recent plays include Pond, Joey Bada$$, 20syl, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, The Walking Who, and our very own Prof3ssor Blue.

Where can we find you in Sydney?

Usually in Bondi avoiding sharks, or our offices in Surry Hills. Where ever it is, there’s a laptop in front of me!

Last, how do you like your coffee?

I don’t know how she does it, but my girlfriend makes the best instant coffee on Earth. She gets that milk-to-coffee ratio perfect every time. It’s definitely an art!

Featured job: Frontend developer at Macropod, Melbourne —

Featured job: Frontend developer at Macropod, Melbourne

Macropod is a software development company based in Yarraville, Melbourne. Macropod is a business built on trust, diversity and openness with the single-minded goal to deliver great software to people who build the web.

Macropod Software is seeking Frontend Developers to work within a close-knit dev team in Melbourne! The business was originally known as Bugherd, the name of their simple point and click bug tracker.

Founded in 2011 by Alan Downie and Matt Milosavljevic, Macropod is currently a team of 13. To learn more about Macropod and what the team holds important, read Alan’s post about ‘Trust, above all else‘.

About you:

  • A strong desire to make world-class single page web apps
  • Cares about UX
  • Experience (or strong interest) in React and Javascript
  • Highly experienced with HTML/CSS
  • Interested in participating in product discussions

How to apply?

All expressions of interest to email alan@macropod.com with CV and cover letter. 

Coffee talk: Brianna Haag, San Francisco events extraordinaire and Mr. Marina founder — August 17, 2015

Coffee talk: Brianna Haag, San Francisco events extraordinaire and Mr. Marina founder

Brianna Haag knows events! Not only was she Eventbrite’s first City Marketing Manager, but she created Mr. Marina, a philanthropic event that’s raised more than $500k for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the last four years.

Today, she shares her favorite networking icebreakers along with tips for organizing an event that people will love and remember.

How did you get to where you are today?

Raised in San Diego, I first became a Northern California convert when I went to school at UC Davis. I spent a year post-college as a traveling consultant for my sorority, so I lived out of my suitcase while visiting a variety of college campuses. Once that wrapped up, I unpacked my bags and made the move to San Francisco.

Seven and a half years later, I still call San Francisco home. I’ve been fortunate to work at some innovative startups in sales and marketing focused roles. I spent two years at Yelp as an early employee, four years at Eventbrite as the first city marketing manager, and have been at Tilt for the last year and a half. I’m a member of the Growth team where we’re currently focused on expanding our college community. Everything has come full circle!

Your work at Eventbrite helped many San Francisco organizers host incredible events. What makes attending valuable for guests?

Three things:

  1. The guest list. A room full of interesting people is valuable for everyone.
  2. An experience as promised. To attract a great crowd, an organizer must secure ticket sales or RSVPs and factor value into ticket pricing. All details should be communicated to potential guests to set event expectations. I once attended an event that promised unlimited cupcake tastings, but they oversold the tickets and therefore ran out of food in the first 20 minutes. The majority of the attendees were upset that they didn’t get what they paid for, and the vendors were upset that the amount of food they were told to prepare wasn’t nearly enough. 
  3. Flawless execution. Whether it’s a small bachelorette party weekend or a huge tech conference, details can determine how often (and in what context) the event is remembered and discussed. 

What’s your best icebreaker/networking tip for someone who hasn’t been to many events?

If you can peak at the guest list prior to attending, that can be really helpful for preparing. Striking up a conversation at the bar or the food table can be an easier way to approach someone, as is mentioning something you notice on a guest’s name tag.

Another networking tip is to set a goal (how many business cards to hand out or collect, or number of quality conversations to have), and to be comfortable taking off if you feel you’ve talked to everyone you wanted to connect with. There’s no reason to waste time if it’s a bust! 

You created the Mr. Marina Pageant, a well-known philanthropic event that’s been featured everywhere from the Marina Times to E! and raised $525k for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since 2012. What’s the toughest part of pulling it off every year?

Mr. Marina isn’t an easy event to pull off. I’d say the toughest part is recruiting the contestants, which allows us to scale our fundraising efforts in a massive way.

It’s a unique person who can not only commit to 10 weeks of fundraising, but is also willing to get onstage in front of an audience of 1,200+ people. Each year the group of contestants continues to raise the bar, and we’ve been so lucky to have so many awesome, passionate, and truly impressive people involved.

What other San Francisco events are you looking most forward to this year?

Right now, I’m really looking forward to the San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Night Gala on 9/24. The San Francisco Symphony sets the standard for excellence in musical performance and shapes cultural life throughout the spectrum of Bay Area communities — and opening night is the biggest event of the year, toasting to the new season.

Brianna Haag

Opening Night is also my favorite San Francisco black tie event, and this year I’m lucky to be co-chair for the Symphonix Dinner Party. Tickets are almost sold out, so I know we’re going to have a great crowd!

So many events, so little time. What’s the best way to handpick and prioritize which ones to attend?

There certainly isn’t time to go to everything, so I try to prioritize events where I’m confident there are attendees I’ll want to spend time with — whether that’s friends, people I’ve been wanting to meet, or an experience I’ve been meaning to try. I used to scoot around San Francisco on my Vespa, trying to squeeze in two or three events in a single night — but that’s exhausting! I’m much more selective now.

Where can we find you in San Francisco?

Barry’s Bootcamp. The SOMA location is right by my office, but the team is opening a new location in the Marina this fall which I know everyone in the 94123 is excited about! When I’m not working out at Barry’s (or various studios in the ClassPass network) you can find me sharing apps at Delarosa or sipping wine at California Wine Merchant.

Last, how do you take your coffee?

Usually with unsweetened almond milk (or a delectable treat is the house-made almond+macadamia milk from Saint Frank!)

10 incredible Instagram accounts to follow right now — August 7, 2015

10 incredible Instagram accounts to follow right now

65% percent of people are visual learners, so it’s no surprise that brands, companies, and communities have taken to Instagram to share inspiration and information in engaging visual formats.

Eye candy with a bit of brain food is hard to resist, so we’re sharing ten incredible Instagram accounts that offer both. Follow along to fill your feed with new learnings and beautiful imagery daily:

  1. NASA

    NASAA feed that’s literally out of this world, NASA showcases planets, new technology, and all things celestial. Explore the universe through incredible videos and photographs while learning about each item shown.

  2. I Have This Thing With Floors

    ihavethisthingwithfloorsThoughtful design is everywhere — even under your feet! This insanely popular account features photos tagged with the signature hashtag, #ihavethisthingwithfloors. Photos of the gorgeous surfaces serve as a reminder to stop overlooking beauty (no matter how small) around you.

  3.  From Where I Drone

    From Where I DroneThis drone photography and cinematography offer striking, unseen perspectives of beaches, buildings, and people around the world. Are you a digital nomad or remote freelancer? Use these extraordinary images as inspiration for a future global work location.

  4.  Adventure Patch

    Adventure PatchGo to some of the best-known parks and places (with patches of each destination, held up ‘Dear Photograph’ style) with Keegan Jones, a talented Product Designer and adventurer who curates tagged images from the community.

  5.  Hand Drawn San Francisco

    Handdrawn San FranciscoA global tech community and adored travel destination, this brilliant account features drawings of some of the city by the bay’s most popular sights. Additionally, discover lesser-known places and hidden gems, as loved and sketched by artist Thomas Leach.

  6.  Folk Magazine

    Folk MagazineFolk Magazine inspires followers to live an authentic life. See beautiful environments as shown by the people who call them home, including ‘story-telling ramblers’ and millennial wanderers.

  7.  Coffee Cups of the World

    Coffee Cups of the WorldFolks around the world love coffee, as evidenced by the massive presence of the caffeinated beverage on Instagram. More than the lattes and cappuccinos, however, are the eye-catching cups the coffee is served in. Don’t miss the quotes, puns, brilliant business logos, and a medley of day-brightening patterns and colors.

  8.  Escape Your Desk

    Escape Your DeskYou’ll never want to break free of your office more than after looking through images posted by this account. Captures include creative workspaces, coffee shops, parks equipped with Wi-Fi and more. Get out there!

  9.  Breakfast in Sydney

    Breakfast in SydneySnapshots of Sydney’s best breakfasts may inspire you to prepare a delicious plate of your own. Arguably the most important meal of the day, breakfast will provide you with all of the energy you need to knock tasks off of your to-do list.

  10.  Passion Passport

    Passion PassportFollow some of the globe’s most active adventurers who capture breathtaking shots daily. Your next project may be your Everest, but you’re sure to find inspiration for accomplishing whatever you set your mind to after scoping out these photos.

Coffee talk: Dionne Lew, social media strategist — August 3, 2015

Coffee talk: Dionne Lew, social media strategist

This week’s Coffee Talk spotlights the upcoming Australian Social Media Best Practice, a promoted event in Sydney. This event is part of a 3-days series geared toward content creation and marketing, and will feature highly regarded social strategist, author, and speaker Dionne Lew.

While talking with Dionne, we got the scoop on internet privacy, great social strategy and how she keeps her social skills sharp with the ever-changing landscape. Learn more at her panel in September!

How did you get to where you are today?

I’ve always been a voracious reader and an unstoppably curious person. I became interested in digital and social before they were mainstream. In 2006, the marketing and communication budgets I was seeing didn’t align with what research said about where audiences were. They still don’t. I was fortunate that the CEO of my company let me experiment with overhauling communication. I learned by doing, I made mistakes, and I had successes. But my passion for the possibilities of online grew and continue to grow. I believe digital and social are inseparable from leadership, and even from the way we think.

The information available to us at a single click is astounding. Right now I can go online and learn Greek, Math, or even how to program a computer from prestigious universities located anywhere in the world — for little cost. When in history have we been able to do this?

You’re a social media strategist, author, and speaker. Which companies/brands/organizations do you think do social media particularly well and why?

I’m particularly interested in social leadership — how leaders use social media and how they empower staff to do the same. This is a bit different than great social media campaigns, of which there are many. There’s a lot to be done in the social leadership space, which is the work I love. The challenge is proving the value of time spent being social online to influencers. It’s coming.

It’s good to see that David Thodey and Andy Penn from Telstra are on Twitter. Mike Smith from ANZ is there now too, and ANZ is showing how amplification is achieved when staff is empowered to get on board. Ahmed Fahour at Australia Post is tweeting.

You see a lot of leaders using LinkedIn now, which makes sense as it’s a key business platform. 7 million professionals in Australia have a presence on LinkedIn, including BHP’s Andrew Mackenzie, Westpac’s Brian Jartzer, and Woolworths’ Grant O’Brien.

But signing up and not doing anything is a bit like going to a cocktail party and standing in the corner. I’d really like to see Australian leaders using more of the social sharing functionality on LinkedIn, which can be massive.

What does a good social media strategist do? What does a GREAT social media strategist do?

Teaching someone what social media is, who to reach, and how to measure influence is one thing. Opening an already highly intelligent, strategic thinker to the possibilities of online interaction is another. Getting those people to read Edge.org or watch TED, sparking new ideas by pushing them down digital rabbit holes — this is the real gold.

Part of enabling this transformation is psychological. It’s the hand hold across the bridge from analog to digital. That means 100% knowing that these individuals already have the intelligence/capabilities, and that you’re simply showing them how to navigate the technology side. It’s giving learners the confidence to explore by saying, “this is easy (which it is), you just need to be yourself (which is true) and here – let me get you started.” From there, in my experience, these people just take off.

You’re speaking at the upcoming Australian Social Media Best Practice. What’s special about this event?

Content Days, Sydney

Practitioners coming together to share what they’ve learned. In social, we’re all each others’ best teachers. What worked, what didn’t, and why — it’s a constant exchange of ideas. There’s so much happening all the time that it’s impossible to keep up. You can’t as do it merely as an individual, but you can as a collective. People are so generous with what they’ve learned. You can get a massive dose of that in a short period of time at Australian Social Media Best Practice. Binge learning from those at the frontline. Can’t wait!

Many people are concerned with the oft-blurred lines between social media and privacy. What advice do you have for an individual or business with fears and/or privacy concerns?

My advice is that privacy is not the same as sharing — and that there’s no technological fix for good judgment. You can share online just as in real life without being an open book. Privacy is a huge issue. I get irritated when people say there’s no need to worry about privacy if you’ve got nothing to hide. People have a right to be private and they have a right so speak out, it’s a balance each person should control.

One of the reasons I love Twitter is because it’s a truly global, social, open platform. You know that everything you say is shared with everyone. It’s trickier if you’re on a platform (like Facebook) where what you post may reach people you’re unaware of. Take the time to educate yourself or speak to someone who can help you choose your individual/business settings on various social platforms to operate with the right balance.

How do you keep up with the ever-changing social media scene/landscape?

No one keeps up. But it’s good thing to identify the influencers whose job it is to try and keep up and read their stuff. People like Robert Scoble, Ian Cleary, Brian Fanzo, Ted Coine, Trevor Young, Mark Schaeffer, Mairi Smith, Pam Moore, Anne Handley — the list goes on. There are also real experts with deep insights who may not be as known, but you can often find them on platforms like Medium where quality content is more discoverable.

Personally, I look to the great curators — sites like Edge.org or Brain Pickings. You need filters or you will get overwhelmed. A glib, 600-word blog post doesn’t do it for me as I like more dense, data-driven insight. But even as I read, watch, listen, write — I know that an explosion of valuable learnings is being shared somewhere that may be unknown to me. It’s how it is.

What, if any, social media trends would you like to see vanish forever?

Automated DM in Twitter.

Where can we find you in Melbourne, Australia?

I work in a collaborative office in Lennox Street, Richmond, but wherever I am with my Mac and Wi-Fi is home.

Last, how do you like your coffee?

Hot skinny flat white with a quarter of a sugar. Code Black. Boney Coffee. Patricia.

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