Shark Tank and Being Entrepreneurial
I watched Shark Tank for my first time tonight. It’s not like I’d been avoiding the show (in fact, I really liked the episode I saw)–I just never watch television. My overall lack of time spent with TV isn’t a hipster affectation or political statement; I just never have the time.
After I get home from work, have a family dinner, and put the kids to bed, I throw myself into one of a handful of personal projects. In most cases, I’m working on my podcast. Other nights, I’m waging war against writer’s block, trying to scrawl down half-baked thoughts for either my next book or a blog entry like this. Remaining free time gets spent on my three month-old music discovery website. The point is, I’ve never watched Shark Tank because I’ve been too busy trying to build something Shark-worthy.
I thought I had the entrepreneurial idea earlier this year, a Birchbox-like music discovery service targeted to guys my (advanced) age, who love the idea of new music but have given up trying to find it. I won’t get into the specifics (I wrote up a 30-page business plan), but for a while there I thought I was really on to something. I talked with friends (great idea!), family (you’ll be rich!), and then VC guys (um, you’re nice and all, but … no.). The idea died shortly after that, eventually tumbling its way into Onesongperday.com, a site that features one new song every weekday.
On the positive side, the site has given me the chance to once again curate music for friends and interested passersby, something I loved to do when I hosted Local 101 and a handful of other specialty radio shows over the years. Looking at it objectively, onesongperday is a labor of love that leans heavier on the “labor” side than deep, romantic engagement. I’ve wrestled with a few longer-term strategies to monetize the site, but none seem worth the sweat and expense when contrasted with the potential ROI.
I love the entrepreneurial spirit and the idea of starting a whole lot of something from nothing. I think a necessary part of that entrepreneurial spirit is having the courage to realize what’s not working or inspiring true passion, and being able to let it go. I like writing, but I don’t necessarily like writing about music—I think it’s one of the hardest things for a writer to do well (okay, that and historical fiction-writing). I’m going to give the site another week and see how I feel then. As I try and remind myself, there will always be other ideas to plot, hatch, and scheme if this isn’t the one.
I subscribe to the notion of “failing fast” and then moving on if need be. Onesongperday might be a case study for that.
In the meantime, with so many creative friends floating around the city, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some sort of monthly meetup to brainstorm and work on some Shark-friendly concepts. What do you think?