The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events 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. Wherever 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!

The world on your terms: why you can start a successful business anywhere — July 5, 2014

The world on your terms: why you can start a successful business anywhere

globeIt is common thinking that you need to be in San Francisco to start a big software company, in Paris to create the world’s best restaurant and on Wall Street to build the a successful hedge fund.

…but that’s not always the case. Chris Hexton explains…

Should Atlassian have thrived in Sydney? How did Noma become the best restaurant in the world, in Denmark?

These people broke the rules, and so can you.

There are three things that can empower you to start a company with major growth potential, no matter where you are:

  1. A global focus. When you’re driving a car at speed if you focus directly on an object, it’s likely you’ll hit it. Similarly, if you’re focused on being the best in your home market, that’s what you’ll be. If, however, you dream of being the best in the world from day one, you’re much more likely to find a way to turn this dream into practical steps that lead to reality.
  2. Access to the tools you need. Technology has changed the way we work. “Work” is now an action, not a place. This means that with a fast net connection and some elbow grease, you can serve clients all over the world from your home town, wherever that may be. Invest in the other tools you need to be successful – top-of-the-line computers, video conferencing gear, high-end software and most importantly, people. The right team can raise your company to new levels time and time again.
  3. A passion for where you live. If you aren’t happy, it’s nearly impossible to succeed at building a business. In order to maintain the necessary motivation and drive, it’s key to spend your time in a place you love. Whether that’s San Francisco, Sydney, Stockholm or Shanghai, the right atmosphere will fuel you with energy.

Global focus

When James and I started Vero, we lived in San Francisco. After just six months we decided to move back home to Sydney, Australia.

A big part of this decision was that we had committed to bootstrapping Vero and needed as much support as we could get from friends, family and the home city we knew and loved.

Over a year later, we’re more than happy with how things have turned out and how bright the future looks. The biggest fear we had before we returned to Australia was that people wouldn’t take us seriously.

After all, ”Why would customers in Europe or the US care about someone from Australia?”

It turns out that if you deliver a product that people want and customer service that impresses, customers don’t get hung up on location.

Moreover, we don’t act like we’re solely interested in Australian customers. In fact, we think big.

Everything we do – from marketing and customer support to development and strategy – is designed to help grow Vero into one of the world’s key email service providers. We wonder how we can build a template editor as good as Mailchimp’s, an audience as inspired as KISSmetrics’ and revenue as quickly as Dropbox.

Keeping a global attitude can be hard when you’re not ‘in the thick of it’ but there are a few things that have helped us keep our eyes on the prize:

  • Competitors around the globe. From San Francisco to Paris, Vero has competitors that we respect. Keeping the fire alive and challenging us to grow as fast as (and even faster) than these great companies is a huge help in terms of ambition and global focus.
  • The hunt for customers on the cutting edge. At Vero, customers that spend time exploring how email can grow their business are a pleasure to work with. Finding customers that want to push the boundaries usually means looking to the global leaders, regardless of where they’re located. We have amazing customers in Berlin, New York, Mexico and Israel, and we’ve seen first hand just how smart people are. These customers are located in some of the world’s most exciting cities and they inspire us each and every day.
  • An open mind. Is it cool to have customers in Berlin that have more customers than the entire population of Australia? Damn right it’s cool. Is it cool to have built something that helps them connect with these customers? We live in a crazy, high-speed, global world and you need to embrace every minute of it.

The tools

You need to be in a place that has everything you need.

If you’re a 23-year-old bootstrapping the dream, this might be your parent’s basement for a while. If you need $2 million, then you’re going to need investors. If you need a tech team of four, then you’ll have to find them.

Where can you best get the resources you need? At home, abroad, somewhere cheaper? I remember reading an article in Monocle advocating the pros of starting a company in your home city. The statistics suggested success rates were generally higher, as founders can get what they need from trusted connections they have made throughout their lives.

There is no doubt that legal, tax, employment and other advice has been easy for me to find at Vero here in Sydney: never more than a single phone call away. This has helped us immensely to date.

A passion for where you live

When my co-founder, Damien, sent me this photo a few mornings ago – and this is just around the corner from where he lives – it was a reminder of the passion and joy he has for where he lives (sunny Manly, in Sydney).

Coffee at Manly

There is an important distinction between ‘comfortable’ and ‘complacent’. You constantly need to find ways to raise the bar but, when so much of this comes motivating forces like customers, competitors and even an entrepreneurs internal fire to prove they can win, it’s important to live in a place you love, not hate.

This could be San Francisco or New York City, it could be Sydney or London, or it could even be Chang Mai. There comes a time in any business where most people can’t work 16 hour days every day. Rest is important (science says so, as does common sense). Being somewhere you can do the things you love, such as surfing in the morning, makes for happier people.

About our contributor // Chris Hexton is the co-founder of Vero. Follow him on Twitter via @chexton.

Image credit: via Martin Klasch

Featured job: community manager, Thumbtack, San Francisco — April 11, 2014

Featured job: community manager, Thumbtack, San Francisco


Thumbtack bridges the online and offline world, bringing new work to hundreds of thousands of small businesses and connecting customers quickly with experienced professionals.

They’re now looking for a community manager to help support those professionals in a way that has them beaming with praise and positivity.

As the community manager for Thumbtack’s 400,000+ service pros, you’ll be charged with developing and maintaining a healthy relationship between Thumbtack and their business owners and professionals. You’ll be a member of their marketing team, with a mission to amplify and encourage positive – empowering our service pros and giving them a voice.

About you

You’re outgoing, friendly and relatable with the empathy needed to connect with and influence a variety of different personalities. You’re perceptive, compassionate and enjoy interacting with people, both on and offline. You get excited by the opportunity to discover what our professionals want and want nothing more than to help them achieve it. You’re good at stepping into a community member’s shoes. And not only are you unstoppable at explaining product changes and complicated issues in simple language, but you’re just as great getting people to sing a brand’s praises.


  • Develop content and communicate with service professionals – largely via email newsletters – to help them be successful on Thumbtack
  • Amplify existing positive goodwill on Thumbtack using social media. Find ways to best honor the community – sing their praises, share their stories and help them be better business owners
  • Encourage happy pros to post their experiences in online blogs and forums, while responding to those that have already been published, making writers feel heard
  • Engage with those posting positive experiences and stories via social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Secret



  • 2+ years experience in managing an online community, specifically using social media
  • Excellent writing skills – ability to write about complex issues clearly and simply
  • Great, positive attitude, even when confronted with negative sentiment. You need to be able to take community criticism in stride and find ways to focus attention on productive and positive tasks (and it’s up to you to decide what these are). This means patience and a sense of humor go a long way!
  • Ability to work independently without a lot of support
  • A passion for small businesses and the Thumbtack mission

Bonus points

  • Knowledge and understanding of social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Google+, YouTube) and how to use them most effectively.
  • Experience managing evolving communities at a startup internet company
  • General marketing and creative know-how

If interested, please apply here:

Featured job: Client Support and Digital Content, Bolinda Digital, Melbourne — January 31, 2014

Featured job: Client Support and Digital Content, Bolinda Digital, Melbourne


Bolinda Digital has revolutionized the way people access and consume books. They are Asia Pacific’s No.1 audiobook publisher and a leader in digital media, combining the dynamism of a four-year old digital startup with a reputation for excellence built over 25 years in publishing.

They’ve added eBooks and impressive mobile apps to an already amazing digital solution in the past 18 months. They won the 2013 Australian Book Industry Award for Innovation (like the Logies, but way cooler), so know what they’re doing and do it very well. Their head office is in Melbourne (Tullamarine and South Yarra; these roles are based in Tullamarine) and they also have offices in the UK, USA and NZ.

Putting it simply: Bolinda is growing and moving very fast and is looking for high achievers who can keep up with the pace – or help them increase it. What’s a high achiever? Driven, hard-working, ambitious, wants to play a genuine role in helping drive the company forward, a master at ‘getting it done’ and has some runs on the board from past roles.

They need two Client Support Specialists and two Digital Content Assistants to fill crucial roles in the digital team:

Client Support

  • Look after existing clients over the phone, by email and sometimes in person to answer both technical and other questions about the digital solution and content (technical experts provided!), fix problems and recognize sales opportunities;
  • Be responsible for the on-boarding process – taking clients from sale to ‘go-live’;
  • Deliver training to staff at libraries, schools and universities; and
  • Move into a leadership or sales role if you shoot the lights out.

Digital Content

  • Be responsible for on-boarding new publishing partners – they partner with the world’s best and biggest publishers;
  • Manage the ingestion of digital content – preparing their partners’ digital content for their download solution;
  • Be responsible for the enrichment and enhancement of metadata – essential to driving usage by end users;
  • Be responsible for quality checking all content before they set it ‘live’;
  • Move into a leadership or sales role if you really impress.

What you bring to the table

Surprise them. They’ve had a marine biologist in one of these roles before, and she was awesome. Why? Because she was someone who:

  • Loves people, has a sharp and logical mind, business acumen and an ability to see the big picture;
  • ‘Gets it done’ – i.e. produces results, is effective, no procrastination or excuses;
  • Is tech-literate and loves learning new things;
  • Loves giving client/partner support so good it leaves them amazed;
  • Could write ‘how-to’ books on written and verbal communication;
  • Has very strong time management, prioritizing and personal productivity skills (you will be pushed!); and
  • Can use initiative and work independently but loves being part of a team.

They’d love if you could tick a few of these boxes too:

  • Some experience in customer service, client support or account management;
  • Tertiary qualification in one of these or something similar: business, management, communications, editing/publishing, IT;
  • Skills with Adobe Photoshop (rest of the suite a bonus); and
  • Resourcefulness, ability to be agile and to think creatively and laterally.


At Bolinda you will:

  • Work very hard with a young, driven team and work closely with the owners and decision makers every day;
  • Be constantly challenged, coached and mentored so you will develop professionally and personally – you can build a career at Bolinda;
  • Be able to shape the direction of key projects and see the impact you have on the business;
  • Work in a flat organizational structure where you will be given responsibility and be accountable for your own results;
  • Always know how you are going in your role because of constant feedback;
  • Be exposed to and work in different areas of the business – great experience because Bolinda is a complex business on a smaller scale (45 people);
  • Be unlikely to do the same thing two days in a row and be way too busy to get bored!
  • Have fun, bring your personality to work with you, and have a voice.

To apply, email your resume to Brendan Norris, the Business Executive, at and explain why you’re perfect for the job.

Follow Bolinda on Facebook and Twitter.

Image credit: Katherine Hardy

7 must-watch talks from Lean Startup Conference — December 27, 2013

7 must-watch talks from Lean Startup Conference


On Monday December 9, on one of the coldest days of the year, a thousand people came together to the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco. I had been looking forward to this conference for a while, and despite the brisk walk up a very large hill to the Masonic Center, was delighted to meet and learn from some of the best practitioners of the Lean Startup movement.

This year’s conference displayed the breadth of just how much “Lean” has grown. From its roots in engineering and startup culture, the Lean Startup movement has sparked a passionate and often very visible community interested in using lean startup principles. Conference attendees and speakers this year hailed from diverse industries and backgrounds, ranging not just from startups and traditional tech, but also healthcare, government, manufacturing, large industry, and especially notable this year – social impact organizations.

Eric Ries kicked off the conference with a status check on the Lean Startup community. “What are the new things we’ve learned in the last year? Or since the books came out? If we’re not learning, we’re wasting time.”

“A startup is not a product, it’s a human institution developing something under conditions of great uncertainty.” Eric further noted.

We certainly live in interesting and uncertain times. For all its merits as a new management theory, Lean Startup has the fervor of a social moment. There were so many great moments to the conference, here are my top 7 highlights for every entrepreneur (or for everyone for that matter).

1. Learning to Be an Organization that Pivots

ElectNext’s Keya Dannenbaum gives a very wise and informed talk on how entrepreneurs should recognize that passion is fleeting, but dedicated practice leads to success.

“Whereas passion crashes & burns, practice sets up on the path for steady progress” @keyajay @ElectNext #LeanStartup
— Jin Zhou (@soulcandies) December 10, 2013

Video of the presentation:

2. Frame Before You Build, Measure, Learn

Zach Nies of Rally Software spoke on the importance of framing before taking up the central Lean Startup conceptual loop of build-measure-learn. You’ll need to frame the problem by using empathy and insight documentation, and how hindsight bias eliminates surprises. Consider this a ten minute crash course on the design thinking approach in conjunction to lean.

“Learning lives at the intersection of what we expect to happen and what actually happened.” @zachnies @RallySoftware #LeanStartup 
— The Lean Startup (@leanstartup) December 10, 2013

Video of the presentation:

3. Using Kickstarter to Run an MVP

“Screw investment banking, screw consulting. Full time mushroom farming for us!” Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora on how they raised $250K on Kickstarter for their MVP product. I loved these guys. A crowd favorite.

Lean viable “mushroom kit” & #aquaponics. @nikhilarora @VelezAlejandro @bttrventures #LeanStartup on #kickstarter 
— Jin Zhou (@soulcandies) December 10, 2013

4. The Medium Is the Message

Patrick Vlaskovits, author of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development and an old friend in the Lean Startup Movement, describes how it is not enough to have an innovative product, but also to have an innovative medium. He goes on to talk about TupperWare parties as being the “original growth hack”.

Innovative products don’t fit into existing distribution channels, they demand new ones. @pv with one of the best talks at #leanstartup — christiegeorge (@christiegeorge) December 10, 2013

Video of the presentation:

5. Risk, Information, Time and Money

Dan Milstein of Hut 8 Labs talks about how you should be really terrified of working on the wrong thing. How do you use your time wisely and tackle your riskiest assumptions?

You only get information when there is uncertainty and risk. If you’re not surprised, it’s not useful. @danmil #leanstartup
— Davender Gupta (@coachdavender) December 9, 2013

Video of presentation:

6. Acquiring Your First Users Out of Thin Air

The Muse’s very own Kathryn Minshew dishes out how the “build it and they will come” concept is a horrible idea. She further goes into five zero-cost strategies for customer acquisition.

Video of presentation:

7. Evidence-based Entrepreneurship

The godfather of Customer Development Steve Blank speaks on the difference between large companies and startups, bringing lean startup methods to the National Science Foundation, and the Lean LaunchPad Educators Summit.

Video of presentation:

And there we have it. I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from the conference. Hope to see you there next year!

“The work you’re doing is too critical for you not to choose the riskiest and ultimately most profound path.” @akashtrivedi @kiva #LeanStartup
— The Lean Startup (@leanstartup) December 10, 2013

About our Ambassador // When not reporting for the Fetch, Jin Zhou is an avid bookworm and tea drinker, exploring the cross sections of technology, psychology, human potential, wellness and compassion. She has previously led marketing at several startups, including The Alchemist Series, VanceInfo and EventBacker. Follow her on Twitter @soulcandies.

Image credit: Lean Startup Conference 2013