Pivoting from being a musician to an entrepreneur
Yoni was an early adopter of the internet - his dad had an internet account back in the 80s, and Yoni spent a lot of his time using the computer and entering chat rooms -
“I was a geek when it wasn’t cool”,
he says with a smile. Even when he started his music career in the 90s he published his songs online - it felt natural to him.
After his 3rd album, which didn’t reach success in the beginning, only later on, he searched for something to fill the void. And so, with his bandmates and the director of the album’s clip, they forged a founding team for a startup from an idea they had while playing in the band together.
This was a big advantage for them, as they already knew each other so well, and had a safe and good dynamic between them as a team.
in connecting their background as musicians, they knew from experience what they needed, and how technology could help -
“A lot of our thinking was about the fact that the whole basis of the way the internet works is interactivity, it’s not a lean back experience, but every time a video shows up online, somehow you’re expected to lean back instead of staying engaged. Our thought process was - how do we bring the same standard of the rest of the internet to this format as well?”.
He gives the early cinema as an example to a similar process, where in the beginning movies were shot from afar just like a play where you could see everything and the experience was flat, and only later on someone had the idea to start shooting in closer shots, which made a huge difference. That's exactly the same process that’s occurring on the internet, which is still learning how to utilize videos.
Working together as entrepreneurs vs. musicians
When I asked him about the similarities and differences in working together as musicians vs entrepreneurs, Yoni had an interesting and slightly surprising answer:
“This has pros and cons, but - whoever is my friend, I also want to work with. I don’t really have the separation between life and work, so working with my friends makes total sense to me. There’s a lot of issues with that, as you can imagine, but because most of us created music together, which is much more emotional and personal because as artists you are the product - it made working as a company much easier, because suddenly we all have a product together that is not us.”
Yoni also shares that the inevitable downside of mixing those two worlds together is when you need to talk to your friends about your co-founders or your co-founders about your friends, like we all need from time to time - you can’t separate the two again.
Still, Yoni and his co-founders found the advantages in this situation, as it forced them to speak more openly about everything and being clear in what ‘hat’ they are speaking in each moment, and also gain a much deeper self awareness that helps them keep their relationships healthy - as human, as co-founders and even as musicians, as they still play and perform together.
Navigating between the different parts of your identity
When I asked Yoni about the way he defines himself, he answered openly:
“I don’t know yet. It’s somewhat of a constant identity crisis, or one that is ready to happen at any moment. I think the most challenging part is the context switching, and what I try to do is blur the lines in a way that will be productive and contribute to both parts, but I’m still on the quest to make sure it works.”
One way in which both worlds of music and entrepreneurship compliment each other is in performing. As an entrepreneur, he needs to stand and present their company and product many times in front of an audience, a skill that he developed as a performing musician before.
On the other hand, because as a musician he was used to working at such an emotional level, when it came to the company, he had a hard time separating between work and life, like understanding that when people are leaving, it’s about business, it doesn’t need to be personal.
It was a change in perspective he needed to make, which touched a lot of different aspects in the way he conducted himself and in the way he was leading -
“We had this ritual before every show where I would get very anxious, and our stage manager would say - ‘do you want me to cancel? I’m canceling the show’, it was a joke but it became a part of how we do it. In a way, even as the leader of the show I was allowed to take that space, but you can’t do that in front of your company - you can’t show those emotions in the same way. It’s back to the same problem - when you’re the product it’s more emotional but you can always record another album and it’s still you, but when you’re in a company you’re dedicated to a much bigger impact, but when it becomes harder you have to stay dedicated.”
Their company is in an interesting time right now, and looking towards the future, Yoni wants to take everything they learned through the years as musicians and as entrepreneurs and releasing it into the world in the most impactful way -
“The potential of it is bigger than we dreamt, and the challenge is very obvious as well”.
Luckily, Yoni likes challenges.