I picked Eric Ries's The Lean Startup back up over the past couple days because something interesting has happened with my point of view on The Pizza Bats since I accepted more hours at ye olde hourly job.
Lately I've been pushing a lot of papers. I like it, it's meditative in a way if the conditions are right, but my success at this endeavor is measured in my mind at how many folders I move from one filing cabinet to the next one. This sort of visual result has always been gratifying to me.
When you're starting a business, and such is the approach we are taking with The Pizza Bats, there is a lot of mental unraveling in regards to getting started, forming a foundation, and deciding on a product. Most people agree that CDs are not viable products in the current day market place, but, I mean... as far as I know, nobody's written the book on how to start an entrepreneurial band in the year 2016. Wow, please tell me if that exists.
The result has been that I feel a real pull on The Pizza Bats side for real world action. Certain things feel real and are real steps towards documentation of the band's progression (our Instagram, this blog, the weekly e-mail, our recently launched Patreon acount [official announcement to follow]) but other things are entirely necessary but more passive (keeping up with the news in the music industry, educating myself through reading books, researching what other bands are doing in the area). The acts of execution happen in a moment. The foundational learning is a ceaseless, although enjoyable, obligation.
I wrote a little bit about feedback in the last post I made on Sunday. Eric Ries does this in the setting of a start-up, but I love to cross-contaminate the logical mind with the creative mind, so let's see where we get here. He's not picky about what defines a start-up: "an organization designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty." So in my case: I am creating new music but I don't know exactly what appeals to a wide audience, how to get it to them, or how to get myself in front of the people who can get me a wider spread. When we think of businesses, we think that as a rule their role is to create a product which people will then buy. This is the model I've been trying to put on top of The Pizza Bats, and thinking in my head, why is our product so difficult to define? I think it's because a band fits less under the wing of a business and more under the wing of a start-up. "In the Lean Startup model, every product, every feature, every marketing campaign -- everything a startup does -- is understood to be an experiment designed to achieve validated learning." Validated learning is a definition that Eric Ries uses to mean tested, measurable feedback.
So, I gotta find a way to get people engaged. I gotta ask everybody I meet to listen to the songs on the SoundCloud and give me feedback. Jake and I have tossed around ideas on how to do this... I think anonymity would be a valuable feature because although it could breed spam or trolling, I think honest, well-intentioned people would be more willing to provide their honest critique of what they're hearing.