Archive for August, 2007

Podcast with Gail Kantor, CEO ejamming

The other day I did a blog post about ejamming and how cool I thought it was. Well this afternoon I got to do a Podcast with Gail Kantor, the CEO, and talk about the company, where they are going and what she is looking to do in her current capital raise.

We decided to ejamming to record the cast. Very easy once you get it up and running. Not very difficult, but not the usual plug-n-play applications we’ve become familiar with. For example, you need a certain device driver and certain capabilities from you sound card. So I had to look around a bit and discovered it had everything I needed.

For doing one-on-one interviews, it’s a little overkill, but, if you wanted to do a conversation involving 3 or more people, this is the system to use. They use .wav files, which are quite large but will soon be supporting .mp3 format.

For any of you musicians or wannabe’s, they are still in beta and you can use the service for free. Even if they weren’t, the planned fees are miniscule considering the value you get.

I really enjoyed talking with Gail and hope you have 30 minutes to listen to her. I think we will be hearing a lot more about ejamming in the future.

Thanks for the great interview Gail.

New Music on my Podcast – Peter White, Michael Paulo & Brad Parker

When I started my Podcast about two years ago. I thought, in the spirit of Southern California, it would be neat if I were able to use Southern California artists for the music I use to open and close each cast. Of course, I really didn’t want to infringe on any-ones copyrights and use their music without getting permission. Getting permission proved to be challenging unless I was willing to pay for the rights, which if this were a business and I was making money, I would gladly do.

I ran across a couple of artists who said I could use their music, but it ended up that they did other peoples song’s and didn’t own the rights to the music and lyrics. So, I was using some very good music from Creative Commons.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a concert by Jazz Guitarist, Peter White where he mentioned that he has lived in LA for the past 20 years; you wouldn’t think he could keep his British accent that long. His saxophonist was Michael Paulo who is best known for his work with Al Jarreau in the ’90’s. Michael happens to live in Hemet.

So, after the show, I went backstage and talked with both of them and asked for permission and both agreed. So, I have two new sources for music from Southern California musicians.

In talking about it at a networking event, Brad Parker, the CEO of a new start-up and musician himself, told me I was welcome to use his music also and went to his car and brought me a couple of his CD’s.

So, now I can rack up another accomplishment. I now can say I have SoCal musicians on SoCal Buzz!

Very Cool.

eJamming, a Very Cool Company

Yesterday afternoon I attended a screening of companies looking to present to the SoCal Keiretsu Forum members and was pleasantly surprised. One of the companies screening was ejamming and the presenter their CEO Gail Kantor. I had come across them earlier this year as they were a presenter at Demo 07 out in Palm Desert and had taken the DemoGod award. Their solution allows musicians or wannabe’s to play, practice or learn by playing with others over the Internet. This might sound like a “So What”, but the big deal is everything is live! More importantly, they have solved a significant problem of latency or everyone in sync with each other and no one behind because of delays in the data caused by the network or distance.

 One of the demo’s I had seen on YouTube was a recording of a live session at the Bitter End in NYC where the singer and drummer are on stage while the bass player is in Boston and the guitar player is in Upstate New York. They did a Stevie Wonder number and you could not tell that everyone was not on the same stage.  I tried to provide a hotlink, but the video is down.

There is another set of segments on YouTube about a classical pianist who is now using ejamming to teach piano to students who are hundreds of miles away. Before ejamming she was severely limited in who she could provide lessons to since it had a lot to do about how far the students, or their parents, would travel. ejamming and a MIDI equipped keyboard solved all that.

What I hadn’t learned from the Demo background is the CEO, Gail Kantor has been in the music business forever. Her bio lists, among her many accomplishments, being one of the original Harlettes, Bette Midlers fabuloues backup group. Does it get much better?

A fascinating woman with lots of energy and a great concept and company. I plan to do a Podcast in the near term to let her talk about the company and what she is looking for in financing. In the mean time, if you get a chance, check them out.

Don’t Make a Billion Dollar Mistake!

There is a great article in the Sunday New York Times Business Section that brings out an issue that all early stage entrepreneurs need to understand and not fall into. The focus is on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and how he may have gotten started.

While attending Harvard in November 2003 and studying Computer Science, Mark was approaced by twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss who had a vision for creating a social networking site ConnectU. Originally, the called their project the Harvard Connection, a social network for the college.

They asked Mark to develop the the site’s software and database and (HERE IS THE PUNCH LINE!!) promising to compensate him if they site got traction and created revenues. What they didn’t do is have him sign an type of employment contract with provisions for not competing or application ownership!!

A few months later, Mark abandoned the project and at the end of February 2004 he put up his own site using the domain name thefacebook.com, which he registered in January. He aggressively marketed the site and within a few months it had spread to other Ivy League schools and the rest is history.

The Winklevoss brothers are suing to have all of Facebook’s assets be transferred to them. Good luck, at a hearing a couple of weeks ago, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the US District Court in Boston, berated Connect U’s lawyer for not being able to provide documentary evidence stating that “Dorm-room chitchat does not make a contract”. He gave them two weeks to prepare a better case.

OK now how many of you have done similar things by not getting agreements with people who you have talked into helping get your business off the ground and promising future payments? Well here’s what can happen; you can be making a billion dollar mistake. Don’t do it! If someones going to get annoyed because you ask them to sign something, you are probably better off without their help.

Venture Fund Distributions

One of the Venture Capitalists I follow is Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. Fred put up a great post on Venture Fund Distributions and Cash versus Stock. I like that Fred goes into sufficient detail for readers to understand and still is able to clearly reflect his viewpoint no matter how complex the subject.

If this is the first time you run across him, by all means, not only add him to your list, but go back and read his back-posts.

Thanks Fred.

“Focus On the Business Model, Not the Technology”

I was looking though TheFunded.com’s advice section, and saw a post by an anonymous member. Too bad he/she decided not to provide their name. The post is spot-on. Whether you are talking to a VC or Angel, they want to know what you are going to do with their money, how much you think you can grow it, over what period of time and when they can expect it back. You know, the “Elevator Pitch.” Yet, time and time again, entrepreneurs spend the majority of their presentation, including the critical first 45 to 60 seconds, talking about their technology, how they started and why!

A lot of investors I know use the philosophy of, “If you can get my attention in the first minute, and I don’t mentally arrive at “NO”, then you’ll have my attention for the remainder of the presentation. If you get that far and I still haven’t arrived at “NO”, then I will give you an hour. If after an hour, I still haven’t arrived at “NO”, then I’ll do due diligence and if I still haven’t arrived at “NO”, you’ll get a term sheet”.

Talking about the business opportunity and business model you are planning should take front stage to the product or technology. You have to cover both, but the business should be more equally weighted. If you don’t cover it early, investors get to NO. In most cases, Yes can always become NO over time but not vice versa!

Now I understand that there are exceptions and VC’s/Angels that look at very early stage deals where maybe the technology is the only thing that exists, but these are “Seed” stage deals where the technologist is looking for thousands of dollars to put the business together not millions of dollars that most entrepreneurs are looking for.

If you are going to go through all the pain and expense of trying to make something out of a great idea, technology and associated products, then why put all that at risk by not understanding who you’re talking to, what drives them and cover their needs early in your presentation, business plan and executive summary.

The Funded.com – New Web Service for Entrepreneurs

There was an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal on a web service The Funded.com which provides member comments on entrepreneur experiences with the Venture Capital and Angel investment communities. Apparently, a few firms, or more specifically individuals mentioned, are taking this seriously when someone provides a less than positive review.

An entrepreneur might want to go there and search to find out the 411 on an investor they are scheduled to visit or as they decide their strategy to on who to approach. For each member review, there is a scorecard in the upper right corner with the number of members who agree or disagree with the review.

I keep using the term member since you have to join to post and membership comes at a cost of $250 a year and you have to be a CEO or Founder and can not be a member on the investment community.

How much impact can an article in the Journal mean to a business? Well the article mentioned that the current membership is 1,500 but the site “News” mentioned that they received 500 new applications yesterday. That’s a $125,000 day for an Internet business. Not bad, if only I could get the Journal to …


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