Category Archives: Bizness Projects

a collection of archival materials and content for the record from a string of (mostly) internet-centric companies: Hootsuite, Raincity Studios, happyfrog, Zhonka, OlyWa.net, Internet Adventures, etc.

Vomit and the Big Chunks, jugband reunion tour

My i present *the* magical musical moment you will never forget? Jugband “Vomit and the Big Chunks” on their reunion tour performing their theme song “Dry Heaves” – featuring Larry Harper on vox, kazoo and autoharp.

Mikael Lewis performs “Wildflower (for Foster)”

Mikael Lewis performs “Wildflower (for Foster)” written by Dave Olson and Mikael Lewis, at some restaurant in Orem, Utah, Aug. 16, 2017.

Bill Lenker’s “West of 101” released by Archeology Records

Bill Lenker's "West of 101"
Bill Lenker’s “West of 101”

Bill Lenker’s “West of 101”

From the Appalachian mountains of eastern Pennsylvania to the salty coast of the Pacific Northwest, Bill Lenker’s “West of 101“ tells guitar stories of a seeker wandering and roaming while finding balance between the present and the past.

A traditional stonemason by trade, Bill’s hand-chisels his original songs to feel as gritty and real as raw limestone or granite – sculpted with the proper tools to be strong enough to stand the test of time with flavors of bluegrass, folk, rock, and boom-chuck, performed with craft and soul.

  1. Bubba
  2. I Heard Your Captain
  3. West of 101
  4. Turn Out Your Fears
  5. Maya
  6. Whiskey Hammer
  7. Ages
  8. Hemispheres

Recorded at Olympia, Washington’s Moon Music in 1999, engineered by Scott Swayze (producer/engineer/guitar for Modest Mouse, The Dirty Birds etc.) and featuring violin by Tyler Reilly (also performs on Modest Mouse’s Lonesome Crowded West) and additional lead electric guitar by Mike Esparza (Chief), this authentic Americana album now digitally available via Archaeology Records.

Available via: 

Dig along via Tw: @archeologyrecs  + Fb: Archeology Records – for the endeavors of a music label bringing under-heard garage bands, buskers, outsider artists, and renegade musicians to worldwide audiences through community building and digital-fu.

Archeology Records: The Gist

The Gist:

Archeology Records is a music distribution label bringing under-heard garage bands, buskers, outsider artists, and renegade musicians to worldwide audiences through community building and digital-fu.

In brief: Archeology Records partners with artists for digital distribution and community promotion for their (possibly forgotten) musical treasures.

Artists own their masters and responsible for all creative direction > we take a split (automatic) > music gets heard. PS Originals only.

Have a shoebox of your most-excellent CDs in your garage? Recordings you always meant to “finish and release”? Can’t be fcked learning how to upload to all the channels and find audience? Great, let’s do a project. Get in touch.

Follow along:

Tw: @archeologyrecs

FB: /archeologyrecords

More to follow forthwith.

Uncle Weed’s “Comfortably Lonely” EP released by Archeology Records

Uncle Weed - Comfortably Lonely EP
Uncle Weed – Comfortably Lonely EP

Uncle Weed “Comfortably Lonely”

Two tracks of spoken-song/poetry + loops – reminiscent of collaborations between Tom Waits and William Burroughs and/or The Clash and Allen Ginsberg.

Recorded in Little Bay, Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 2014

  • Humble Boys Club
  • Change my Route (to think about the neighbourhoods)

Available via: 

Dig along via Tw: @archeologyrecs  + Fb: Archeology Records – for the endeavors of a music label bringing under-heard garage bands, buskers, outsider artists, and renegade musicians to worldwide audiences through community building and digital-fu.

Day-job skills and ideas for musicians

The Matinee Set list
Bands need helpers on tour to spread the social vibes and make cool arts n crafts

Canadian broadcaster Grant Lawrence posted a bit on CBC Radio 3 blog (now disappeared from internet and not archived) about “Backup Job Plans for Musicians” and i chimed in with unsolicited advice, [the article seems to be lost from the internets as cbcradio3 has ummm… disbanded] anyhow, ergo:

My advice is to have a backup plan which used your skills to help other bands. Keeps you in the mix and gives you an opportunity to share your knowledge and skills with other band folks who are on similar path/mission/trajectory as your own.

A few good ideas:

Silkscreen T-shirts / Merch Master:
Every band needs these and a lot of bands fuck this up or pay too much. Not just T-shirts, but other smart merchandise. At my day job, we made passports, tubes, guitar picks, stickers, scarves, flags… Get creative with your merch and people will buy it. Seriously, they want to give ya bread to keep participating in your culture.

Graphic design:
I mean being a real designer, not just someone with Photoshop on a computer, to make poster art and album covers and so on. Packaging and March are too critical elements about the music business which are often overlooked. Look at the career (Vancouver legend) Bob Masse has built for himself since the mid 60s making awesome posters.

Social media promoter/community builder:
Fans are communities who desperately want to learn more about their favourite musicians, spend their money and rock out. Social media is the best way to build this community. Labels, bands and promoters are just catching on… Perhaps you can help them.

Recording engineer:
This one seems obvious and as difficult as making it as a musician but, with radical changes in the way music is recorded and released, there is huge potential for someone who understands both analog and digital recording methods.

Bookers/promoters:
Most bands have someone that kind of knows this game or they become too reliant on the labels, managers etc. If you are a touring road warrior who has built relationships with clubs, venues etc. but aren’t up for it anymore, work the phone and help emerging bands set up tours. You won’t get rich doing it for one band but doing it for 10 will pad your stats, especially when one of the bands hits big.

Band mentor:
This seems a little reality TV-ish but many bands don’t have someone to instruct and advise them and care about them. Managers and labels usually don’t have the resources to dedicate to merging bands and so they are left to making mistakes and put in their career in someone else’s hands. Bands often need someone who has a deep long history with the music business but also has the empathy and insight to counsel and advise them on band dynamics. The right advisor can make the difference between a two album “flash in the pan” band and a generational band who last for decades.

Hello Owls of HootsuiteAPAC

Note: I noticed the Hootsuite APAC folks were holding a neat event called #TheOwlys. As such, i said hello. Ergo:

Hello #Owls of #HootsuiteAPAC – i’m your great-uncle Daveo and I’m laden with creation myths and stories. Just saying hello to you #renegades celebrating social goodness at #TheOwlys. Perhaps one day I can say hello in person, in the meantime, I will send my stunt double.

Community + Freemium = Start up Magic, Hootsuite Community

Recently, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes posted an article in his LinkedIn influencer column “Two Lean Startup Hacks to Get Millions of New Customers | Ryan Holmes | LinkedIn” to discuss some key tactics we used to build Hootsuite in the early days: freemium + community.

I am especially proud of the community focused narrative of which I’ll share a bit here:

Investing in Community-Building Programs  

But it’s important to note that freemium was just one part of our formula for user growth. Another big piece of the puzzle was investing in a fully functional community department at Hootsuite. In many startups, the community team – if there’s one at all – is treated as an extension of marketing or customer support. While their ostensible role may be “building a community” of users, they spend a lot of their time pitching products and fielding help calls.

Our community department, by contrast, didn’t have direct sales or support responsibilities. Instead, their primary mandate was to help people who already knew and loved our product connect with one another. They built out social media channels in a half-dozen key languages, enabling users around the world to share updates and learn about Hootsuite news and events. And they organized crowd-sourced translation efforts, recruiting international users to adapt our interface into local languages, everything from German and Italian to Thai and Chinese. (Amazingly, translations were volunteer-driven – motivated by love of the technology and a liberal helping of swag, i.e. stickers, t-shirts and cuddly stuffed animals inspired by our owl logo.)

Online efforts were supplemented by old-fashioned face-to-face events. In emerging markets, the community team helped users organize hundreds of free meetups (branded as “HootUps”), where people could get together and trade Hootsuite tips. Ultimately, a network of hundreds of volunteer “ambassadors” around the world took shape, enthusiastic users who spread the word about Hootsuite in their countries. Many of these ambassadors, not surprisingly, were bloggers, consultants and marketers who just so happened to have large online audiences of their own.

Cumulatively, these projects gave us entree into new markets, initiating the viral chain of adoption in other countries and spreading Hootsuite far beyond its original North American user base.

via Two Lean Startup Hacks to Get Millions of New Customers | Ryan Holmes | LinkedIn.

Five million customers, no ad budget: How Hootsuite used a freemium model to build its business | Financial Post

An article by Ryan Holmes talking about the tactics and methods Hootsuite used to build with small budgets and big fun including Hootups, community activities like translation project, creative swag and more…

Ryan Holmes | April 10, 2015 1:04 PM ET

Ryan Holmes: With literally millions of apps competing for attention, startups are finding themselves forced to pour ever greater sums into marketing efforts. But money isn’t always the answer…

But more money isn’t always the answer. In Hootsuite’s first three years, we grew our user base from zero to five million people. During that time, our marketing budget was pretty much non-existent. We turned instead to a pair of complementary, low-cost approaches to find and keep customers. It may well have made all the difference.

Freemium economics One fundamental decision made shortly after launching in 2009 was to make our social media tool a freemium service. The majority of our users — and we very quickly reached the million mark — paid nothing. They could (and still can) log in for free to view their social media accounts from one dashboard, schedule messages and see analytics. Companies that wanted beefed up functionality and extra support, paid a monthly fee, ranging from as little as $9 to $1,000 and up for large enterprises with lots of employees.

Why invest so many resources and so much bandwidth catering to millions of free users who would never account for a cent of revenue? For starters, freemium dramatically reduces the need for traditional marketing and sales efforts. Our free users — in steady, predictable numbers — became paid users. Instead of having to sell them on the merits of our product with expensive ads, we let them see for themselves. Our product became our best marketing tool and salesperson. On average more than half our paying customers, including large clients, start out as free users.

Meanwhile, our free user base fulfilled another key function: It kept us honest. Free users are fickle; they’re not locked in by a contract or any other obligations. They can, at any moment, pick up and take their “business” elsewhere. So to maintain and grow our free user base, we had to continually update our product, rolling out new features to stay ahead of the pack.

These same features helped us win and keep paying customers. While other corporate tools were years behind the social media curve, our efforts to satisfy free users meant we could offer big enterprise customers the latest technology.

Seeing value in community But the freemium approach wouldn’t have been as effective were it not for another equally important strategy: investing in a fully functional community department. In many startups, the community team, if there’s one at all, is treated as an extension of marketing or customer support. While their ostensible role may be “building a community” of users, they spend a lot of time pitching products and fielding help calls.

Our community department, by contrast, didn’t have direct sales or support responsibilities. Their primary mandate was to help people who already knew our product connect with one another. In the early days, they set up social media accounts in a half-dozen key languages, sharing updates with users around the world.

At the same time, they led a crowdsourced translation effort that saw our tool translated into more than a dozen local languages, from German and Italian to Thai and Chinese. (Amazingly, translations were volunteer-driven — motivated by love of the technology and a liberal helping of swag, i.e. stickers, T-shirts and cuddly stuffed animals inspired by our owl logo.)

Online efforts were supplemented by old-fashioned face-to-face events. In emerging markets, the community team helped users organize hundreds of free meetups (branded as “HootUps”), where people could get together and trade product tips. Ultimately, a network of hundreds of volunteer “ambassadors” around the world took shape, enthusiastic users who agreed to spread the word in their countries. Many of these ambassadors were bloggers, consultants and marketers whose own agenda of developing a large online following aligned well with ours.

Cumulatively, these projects gave us entree into new markets, initiating the viral chain of adoption in other countries and spreading our product beyond its original North American user base.

Source: Five million customers, no ad budget: How Hootsuite used a freemium model to build its business | Financial Post

Anecdotes about Breakfast and #HootKits at SXSW – Journal snippet

Day two or three, depending on how you count ‘em, of my 3rd quest to South by Southwest in Austin Texas… And I gotta say, it’s shaping up just fine man. You know, I’m keeping up a solid effort and fully professional about spreading the love of my job, and that’s going really well. Also very important to maximize the party and good times, and that, too, is progressing suitably well.

John Biehler Rocks a Custom Hootsuite short at SxSW
Me and John Biehler sit on a sunny day in Austin making the first batch of the (now legendary) HootKits featuring stickers, tattoos and pins in a Japanese rice paper, side-loading envelope. Photo by Jason Sanders (hire him).
File_001
The origin of the legendary Hootkits started with Japanese rice paper envelopes, 2 Owly stickers, a tattoo and a pin

Despite shaking off some nasty flu and general haggardness from excess travel and in general just haven’t taking very good care of myself, and then coupled with some disorganization and long stories about things that didn’t get printed and didn’t get delivered and stuff, yeah it’s rolling along just fine.

Recap: Last night down at the Gingerman, one of my favourite beer drinking places (which has moved around the corner to a location that might even be finer than its previous, though I’m really surprised that’s even possible because that old location was just fine).

Yesterday I rallied up after my slumber and scarfed down some nasty coffee and went down to the Hideout Coffee Shop. I met up with this nice Canadian lady that I met every time that I’m down here and as soon as I walked in the door she said, “You’re here from Canada” and I’m like, “Yes I am!”

It was packed and hectic. Just like last year, I was late for these migas breakfast burritos laden with a bunch of leftover odds n ends shit: egg, cornflakes, etc. Tasty. I really needed a good proper breakfast! Where should I go? She told me some directions to this place and I thought I was going off track but then it all came together and I got some wicked blueberry pancakes at the Counter Cafe with poached eggs just the way i like em.

If you’re not careful you end up living on appetizers, which is why today I’m on a quest for a proper breakfast, so again, I am in some dire need of sustenance – need to nourish the body to nourish the soul. At the Hideout I got a big giant smoothie. It was quite charming.

Then, at the convention centre, I stood in line and got my badge! You gotta have a badge. If you don’t have a lanyard, man, you don’t belong.

Then I rallied with some buddies and we sat on the lawn drinking Sobe green tea. I had some Japanese envelopes from my papery stash — back from 1983! I was fortunate to be able to augment my stash with some more packets from a Japanese dollar store in Tinseltown. So I sat with some buddies (John and Jason) and I filled these wee dossiers with stickers, tattoos, pins and sealed my card in. It was like a bundle of diplomatic goodness. Good time doing arts and crafts in the sunshine.

Me and John Biehler sit on a sunny day in Austin making the first batch of the (now legendary) HootKits featuring stickers, tattoos and pins in a Japanese rice paper, side-loading envelope. Photo by Jason Sanders (hire him).

Then I found a little table to setup. I was curious about a press release I had put out so checked on that while thinking about issues about privacy, elitism, notions about early adoption, etc.

Then I headed off to Mellow Johnnies — it’s a bike shop, a complete beauty. It wasn’t super fancy but it felt really comfortable. They had smoothies and maps for local riding routes. I could see how you might like living here with all the distances to ride. There’s not really mountains — not by the B.C. definition but long roads to ramble.

Anyhow, this particular meetup event at Mellow Johnny’s had to do with my professional capacity. The people/hosts knew what I was doing with day-job and knew what  we were up to and we had some intelligent discourse about this particular topic.

But, my highlight was sharing these envelopes with all these people. And explaining the love and care that went into those things and they opened them up with excitement and questions. Cheap and Cheerful marketing success.