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Ask HN: Share an industry secret
50 points by ThomPete on Sept 21, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments
Business: Advertising

Secret: Most agencies who pitch you several ideas, will often on purpose have one or two ideas they know you wont chose, so they can nudge you into selecting those they want you to choose.

Hopefully we can use this format.

Business: Direct Advertising.

Secret: All acquisition channels decline over time, due to audience fatigue and increased competition as people realize a channel as positive ROI. You can combat this with fresh creative but it only slows the slide.

Secret 2: All of the marketing psychology stuff, Edward Bernay's "propzganda", etc., is not really used by direct marketers. A handful of things are useful "tricks" (risk reversal, urgency, etc.) but marketing is not a handful of magic spells. The creative itself is half about telling people your Unique Value Proposition, and half empathy for your customer. Empathy is the root of all expert creative.

Secret 3: The trick of direct marketing is not persuading people, it's getting in front of people who already want what you have and making it easy for them to get it.

> The trick of direct marketing is not persuading people, it's getting in front of people who already want what you have and making it easy for them to get it.

Indeed. As we say in the software biz, find out who's already evaluating products in a given category and go after them. As lucrative as it sounds, the "educational sales cycle" is not for the young, the under-funded and the starving.

Electronic (non-vinyl) DJing isn't difficult at all. With a week of practice, almost anyone with a good ear can learn the foundations to become a decent to good DJ. Being a great DJ takes time and attention to the crowd, as well as creative selections and confidence as you start to involve yourself in the industry and scene.

But the basics could be learned by anyone. It's also blindingly fun to DJ to a group of people, so I suggest more people try it.

Are there any good resources to learn it? I've always wanted to do this.

Get a cheap controller and have a play. I recommend the Numark Mixtrack III [1] because it has an audio interface built in. I think it comes with Serato software, but you could download a trial of Virtual DJ [2] too.

The software processes your mp3's to detect bpm. You then select songs with similar energy and sound (this is what I feel makes a great dj), match the bpm's together and then using the headphones to cue play them together in sync and then using the fader you bring the other track in, then at some point fade the other track out.

Advanced things to do are: 1) Loop the outgoing record - most dj software allows for a single button to select and loop one bar. This allows you to mix without worrying about the old song running out of time, and/or lyrics mashing over one another. 2) Harmonic mixing.

Obligatory Plug [3]

[1] http://www.numark.com/product/mixtrack-pro-3 [2] http://www.virtualdj.com [3] https://www.mixcloud.com/ddmfhsuk/june-cd-swap-bonkers-mixta...

As a high level overview (what really helped me grok it):

1. Two songs play simultaneously (mp3s, cds, turntables), and a mixer controls what is fed to the main output. The mixer has a separate channel to headphones so you can adjust without affecting what comes out of the speakers.

2. The songs need to be adjusted so they play at the same speed(tempo), or they will drift apart over time. You generally adjust the speed of the muted input so it matches the current bpm.

3. Songs have a definite phrasing, often broken into recursive layers. Think 4 beats in a bar, 4-8 bars in a phrase, etc... You'll need to listen to the new track and position it on the first beat of a phrase, and start it playing when the current track hits its first beat. If the tempos match, you may still need to nudge it forward / back to line up the kicks / snares exactly.

4. _only now_ should you really start mixing the new track into the main output. if everything is in sync, its just a matter of balancing the Hi/Mid/Low to avoid them summing too loud. (mixers will show an output meter, we try to sit below 0dB or the sound starts to distort)

Software like Traktor, Virtual DJ generally have two controllable players and a virtual mixer, often controlled by MIDI controllers that mirror the layout with faders, knobs and jogwheels. quality is often judged on road-worthiness so don't be afraid to try cheaper gear. The main difference will be resolution of controls and extensive mapping to effects and other features, which you shouldn't focus on at first...

If you have any other questions, fire away. There's so so many options these days, and everything's so accessible. Think of the above as 'driving a stick', there are automatic syncing options if you just want to mix, STEM files (multi channel audio files) if you want to control vocals / drums / bass / lead directly rather than filtering frequencies, check the features pages of some of the DJ software if you haven't looked into it much. Its a lot of fun, best of luck mate.

Do you mean DJing in the sense of playing curated playlists for events? Or DJing in the sense of mixing synthesizers, samples, and original recordings to create music? I imagine you're talking about the former.

The latter sounds like Production, rather than DJing.

It is production, but DJing has come to be used to describe both things, at least in California. The line is especially blurred because a lot of popular electronic producers perform live, which ranges from anything to mixing music in real time to playing pre-produced tracks, both of which resemble traditional DJing.

Ditto dennybritz

Business: Games

Secret: Most game releases, however sturdy and flawless they might seem, are a snapshot of a cardhouse in a storm, momentarily held together by baling wire, gum and worn tufts of the souls of overworked game developers.

This would hold true for most complex pieces of software really.

Amen. Writing software the "right" way is time consuming and sometimes difficult. With commercial software, developing more features and content is often a more valuable use of developer time.

After a recent ASK HN thread [1] I've been looking for a different way to ask that same question. Reddit did a great thread [2] a few days back and I would love to see what the HN community could come up with.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9799007 [2] https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/3lh28b/share_...

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