Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Be a DJ

I just got back from singing lessons ......... ok now stop laughing .... I'm serious. My daughter had been dying to take lessons and I finally signed her up. My guitar playing, although still pretty rough, is at the point where I would like to start singing along. Only problem, the voice is as rough as the guitar playing so I figured I would take lessons along side my oldest daughter (while the other is taking piano). My teacher, Fran, the co-owner of Domenic's Music (on Hazeldean Road in Kanata) really knows what she's doing. She makes us do some strange exercises with different vowels, head position, breathing .... I was nearly yodeling today! Little by little, the sound in my head is starting to get closer and closer to the sound coming out of my mouth! I can literally hear the difference in my daughter and myself from the beginning of the lesson to the end and from week to week. It it going to take time and patience but we'll get there.

Sometimes you really need someone who has deep experience and really knows what they are doing. You probably don't want to go to a self taught gynecologist or proctologist. Having said that, I feel that we are in the thick of three key trends that when combined, can cause some interesting things to happen that pull away from traditional experts. These trends are 1) "Do It Yourself" 2) "reality" and 3) "express yourself".

Blogs are a perfect example that combine all three. YouTube is another. These two examples lack in polish and sometimes quality relative to real authors, reporters or producers but they make up for it in "realness", honesty and volume. People can say absolutely anything they want through these media which makes it real for both the creator and observer. There are so many people creating entertainment (arguably just like me right now) that there are bound to be some good things that pop out (and tons of crap). User generated content is extremely cheap to create and distribute and free for the end users.

I've been dreaming of publishing some children's stories for some time. I sometimes make up some pretty funny ones for my girls completely on the fly. It makes them giggle which is like ear candy to a parent. There are now services available that allow you to print your own very short run books .... who needs a publisher? I can create my own podcasts of the stories and put them on iTunes. As a lone dude up in my office in Stittsville, I can reach hundreds or thousands of people for almost no investment other than time. This is very cool!

I've been digging really deep into the audio space (radio, streaming music, mp3 players ...) and have realized that there is still very little user generated audio content. Radio is run by professionals and streaming music and mp3 players mostly provide music (ok ... many podcasts exist but many are professional too). I just know my brother in law would love to be a radio personality or play by play sports announcer. He has a radio face and is entertaining ... plus with a bit of computer magic we can probably make him sound good ... why can't he be on the radio?

He will but not the radio you're thinking ... no way that's happening. However, the service we're pulling together will give him and thousands of others like him that voice. After the game, or even during, people will have the choice regarding who they listen to. It won't be a handful of radio stations and tv stations ... it will be hundreds or thousands of people each with their own little show. The good ones will get heard and the crappy ones won't ... just as it should be. You want to do a morning show with your two other funny buddies? ... be my guest! You want to do play by play of your son's hockey game ... why not! And when the show is done, your radio automatically cuts to music you like ...

You get the point. Be a DJ.

PS. I'm going to be attending the Dow Jones Technology Ventures conference in San Jose next week (arriving Nov 6th and leaving on the redeye Nov 8th). If you're in the valley and want to chat, drop me an email and we can exchange contact info.

PPS. If you didn't get the evite for the big Halloween Bash at my place Friday Nov 3 in Ottawa and are interested in dropping by, shoot me a note and I'll get you the details.


Blogger SteveP said...

gigles - "ear candy to parents"
So true!!!

"user generated audi content" - who's truly willing to weed through the crap... Check out for video example.

"radio face" - boom box attached to the shoulders. Very odd.

4:35 PM


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