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How Two Teenagers Broke In To Silicon Valley - And The Music Industry (forbes.com)
82 points by alaskamiller 2248 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments

If you're good at what you do and have the results to prove it, eventually, people will recognize that and present opportunities. This is Silicon Valley, not Hollywood, no need to "Break In".

The rest of the world can't conceive of a culture where real talent is rewarded appropriately and nepotism, politics and seniority take a back seat to getting shit done.

Maybe we're better off that way.

I'm Matt Schlicht, one of the guys in the story. We would love to chat with any music/entertainment focused companies OR digital managers + any start up founders. Email matt@tracksby.com to get in touch.

To everyone else - thanks for the support! (love the Madmen reference)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you social networking 100: When people are talking about you, go say hi.

Hi Matt :)

tl;dr version: 21st century version of Madmen. People with a talent for exploiting social networks to achieve brand recognition in a particular demographic.

It certainly illustrates clearly the difference between what one might consider 'traditional' promotion to 'modern' promotion. In the sixties they guys would have founded a PR agency.

Mad respect Chuck but I feel like you're being a little reductionist. Couldn't I weave a story that these guys would have been hackers in the 70s, exploiting telephone networks for fun and profit?

Rather than do that, I'll just say some things are just what they are, and don't need to be explained by being 'like' something else. Especially when it comes to Madmen, its just too easy to make anything mythological by conflating it with that show.

I've got huge respect for them, and if I came off dismissive then that was certainly not my intent. I do find it mythological when folks are just natural born connectors like these two.

These guys took Lil Twist from 4K to 2M facebook fans. That is impressive. With the phreakers in the 70's and the folks at the MIT AI lab, it was not about brand so much as it was about the nascent power of technological change. I see that as a different groove.

By hack, they mean that two teens who know how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, help musicians use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

By "hack" I think they mean they know how to hustle the shit out of SV tech companies and some of the top musicians in the world. Not an easy hack at all.

Don't be so harsh... and they do know something about developing facebook pages: >Require yours fans to like you on Facebook before playing certain tracks and videos. (I find that extremly annoying though)

Well, "hacked" is now an overused word.

Props to these guys, i'm currently going through this as a 17 year old founder. This is more about the tech community and how it seems to be perceived by Forbes at least.

From what i've seen startups don't discriminate by age (young at least). I know lots of 18 year olds (some younger) involved and working for startups, lots starting their own and raising money. I just perceived the piece as if they believe the valley is like wall street. When it's such an open ecosystem, if you're building cool stuff and are around you already have a lot of leverage.

It's also much easier to achieve a lot of meaningful connecting from out of the valley, i'm from London and am out here for a week and have had lots of great meetings and catch ups. I've been able to meet all these people I know from twitter, hacker news (to an extent), events in other places and MLGen (http://mlgen.com).

Not saying any of this is easy but many of these publications don't understand how it works.

Following the wave of college dropout billionaires, we are going to be seeing high school dropout billionaires... ;)

These guys truly get the whole "Social" thing.

matt & mazy - congrats on the launch and good luck. Hope you're able to recognize who I am.

Holy shit - what's up. Go friend me on Facebook http://facebook.com/Mattfs

One clever hack - they want to give free tunes to people in return for "likes". I guess it's better than a free virtual cow.

They "hacked themselves"... Really?

This is exactly the type of journalism that gives people the wrong impression about entrepreneurship.

This makes it sounds so easy.

It's so easy, high school kids could get music's hottest stars to promote their service to garner millions of social network fans and raise the brow of every musician, record company exec and venture capitalist with a penchant for newsworthy investments.

It's so easy, a guy built a shoddy little dating/hookup site that looked and ran like absolute nightmare, and the only distinguishing twist was that it's free; now he's a millionaire I'm not sure how many times over.

It's so easy, one teenage girl created, bought, and licensed a bunch of shiny gifs and site templates for MySpace users years ago and was making at one point $2 Million a year and she hadn't even graduated or taken one cent of funding.

Be in the right niche at the right time and exploit the hell out of it. Oh, and hard work, dedication bordering on the pathological, and almost zero aversion to both risk and knowing your "place".

It's really easy after that.

C'mon. You guys don't understand the budgets they had to grow these bases. It's not hard to throw $ in a FB advertising campaign w/ a few grand a month and get to these #'s. Props to these guys for being hustlers and tech-savvy but the praise ends there. Tracks.by hasn't proven anything yet

I'm one of the guys in the story. We've never spent a dime on any ad campaign for our artists or Tracks.by


Right on guys.

But, even for Lil' Wayne? It's hard to believe, usually ad budgets get allocated for Universal artists

With a brand like Lil Wayne, you don't need to spend money on advertising to gain FB users.

You're severely underestimating how popular these people are. Plus given their target markets ARE the social networking generation, getting them to "like" your pages is even easier.

It would be a waste of money to spend anything on trying to get FB fans when you can do it for free.


Its all about finding all possible ways to distribute their content + maximizing the interactions with the content once you send the traffic (optimizing it to be viral, social, and a great experience where both the fan and artist are happy).

> maximizing the interactions...optimizing it to be viral..

You lost me.

Well, I assume Lil' Wayne's advertising budget went to these guys, but then these guys didn't spend any of it on the promotions they did (it just paid for their time / expertise).

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