The First 100 | How Founders Acquired their First 100 Customers | Product-Market Fit

[Raised $143.5 million] Ep.92 - The First 100 with Chris Barton, the co-founder of Shazam | Founder of Guard | Keynote Speaker

August 21, 2023 Chris Barton Season 3 Episode 7
The First 100 | How Founders Acquired their First 100 Customers | Product-Market Fit
[Raised $143.5 million] Ep.92 - The First 100 with Chris Barton, the co-founder of Shazam | Founder of Guard | Keynote Speaker
Show Notes Transcript

My guest today is Chris Barton, the co-founder of Shazam, which was created due to Chris’ frustration with being unable to identify a song he heard while at a club in San Francisco in 1999. Shazam Entertainment has raised $143.5M. In 2018, Apple bought the music recognition startup and app Shazam for about $400 million.

I doubt anyone who doesn’t like music hasn’t used Shazam. Chris Barton founded the app Shazam twenty years ago, in 2002, years before the iPod and iTunes had even been created.  In fact, the flip phone had just come out.

You can find Chris, "Innovation Keynote Speaker." at

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Let's do it. Broadcasting from around the world. You're listening to the first 100. A podcast on how founders acquired their first 100 paying customers. Here's your host, Hadi Rodwan. Good to have you on the show, Chris. How are you doing today? I'm very good. Thank you. Thank you for joining our podcast. I'm feeling great. I want just to give a quick introduction for our listener. Chris Barton is the co-founder of Shazam, which was created from Chris frustration of not being able to identify a song while back at the club in San Francisco in 1999. And Shazam raised around $140 million and then was bought by. Apple back in 2018 for 400 million. I doubt anyone who doesn't like music hasn't used Chazin. Chris Barton founded the app 20 years ago in 2002 and that was years before the iPod, iTunes or iPad or even the App Store. I promise on this podcast I will not revisit how you came up with the idea, the name or how you overcame rejections from hundreds of VCs who didn't believe in your idea. I think Most of this content is out there. I want to try to get things that you have not spoken about in the past. So before we dive into the first 100, did young Chris exhibit any flashes of entrepreneurship early on? I definitely did. I mean, by the way, a lot of entrepreneurs have parents who are entrepreneurs and my dad, yeah, I was an entrepreneur, he's now retired, but he started his own consulting business. So it's a different type of entrepreneurship, but. I think he realized that he really wanted to be his own boss and do his own thing. And he tried working at companies and didn't like the traditional corporate world. He had been a professor. He's a PhD in nuclear physics, believe it or not, but working in a company didn't feel right after all the academic. So yeah, so that was an influence. And then as a child, I definitely loved projects. I mean, I would have little entrepreneurial things like I'd have, um, gosh, I mean, selling cookies at school and as a child and having bake sales and. having little garage sales. And some of my projects weren't even about making money. I like to think of them as entrepreneurial projects that were non-profit. For example, I created a haunted house for Halloween from scratch. For me, the reward was, you know, there was no charge for people to go through this haunted house, so there was no money, but it was like the reward of creating an experience for people and coming up with that entire experience from scratch and being very inventive about it. So I've always loved the idea of creating. things that could delight people and end to end, starting from an idea and a vision and then all the way through to seeing it through to creating something and seeing people experience it. What were dinner topics like with your parents when you were young and how much influence did those times help you when you started Chazam in the future? So dinner topics were typically led by my dad and by the way, both my parents are, they're both PhDs in physics actually. So they're both kind of very... well, surpassed anything I could ever do in terms of academics and science and it was really humbling to grow up with parents that accomplished. But my dad love is very analytical and so he loved to analyze things. So most of our conversations were pretty different I think than many families at dinner table and we would always have dinner together, my sister as well, but he loved to just sort of, he would ask tough questions and you know, and it could be anything, it could be about. things going on in the world and politics, or it could be what you're studying, what I was studying at school, or it could be a decision I was making about what to major in college or even what job to take. It didn't matter what it was. It was just more about, okay, well, what's the thinking? What's the analysis? What's the conclusion? And he loved to drive, he still to this day, likes to drive very heavily on the analysis. And I think it set a sort of a high bar for myself to really think through in a way because we can all think through things. but it's sort of, there's almost a rigor in your own practice of thinking, right? And so you can set your own bar even higher and higher and how rigorous are you gonna be in your thinking? I mean, just give you one example. An entrepreneur might say, oh, I have this business idea. Oh, it seems like a good idea. I think people would use that. Okay, that's a certain amount of rigor. What would be even greater rigor is to say, well, will that business idea survive over time? Will people copy it? And if they do, what will my defense be? How will I differentiate? And you're kind of playing it out, almost like a chess game farther into the future. And then how will I create a more unique proposition and a more defensible business? Because I really believe strongly that one of the most significant and important things you can do in the formation of a business from scratch as an entrepreneur is to build something that is sustainable over time. And typically, even the best of ideas are gonna be copied by a million people eventually. And so you want to think about how do you end up not being in a race to the bottom, as they say, and being commoditized to non-existence. So anyway, so the rigor of pushing yourself to think that way, I think is a valuable sort of behavior to have. Yeah, this is an amazing point. And especially for someone who can think in frameworks, because you just touched on two important frameworks, one is second order thinking, like you have to go beyond just the first order of thinking so that you can find defensible idea. And the second one is, I think, which is very famous, first principles thinking, like, can I go to the root cause and understand why things are this way? I'd like to touch base on one important aspect. You talked about competition. When it came to Shazam, I personally haven't seen any competitor who copied something that good and especially in a competitive space we're living in when something pops up that probably has good economic. model and it can generate value, you'd see multiple copycats and they could thrive in the same ecosystem. However, with Shazam, if I think of a music app that detects songs, I can't think except of Shazam. So how did the framework thinking that you just mentioned influence the ability to be the one and only, at least in a customer's mind? Maybe there's apps out there, but you have a monopoly, I think. on this space? Well, first of all, they're definitely competitors to Shazam, but fortunately, the outcome was that Shazam ended up with more than 90% market share of music recognition around the world. And we definitely had copycat competitors, and not only were they copycat competitors, but they were copycat competitors that had some big advantages over us. And that's money, financial resources, and distribution power. The three big companies that competed against Shazam were Phillips, Sony and Google. And Philips built a competing technology. They didn't distribute it or sell it. They licensed it. But they definitely copied Shazam after Shazam came up with their own invention. Sony actually ended up eventually buying that technology. The Philips technology was sold to a company called GraceNote, which was then bought by Sony. So Sony then owned its own music recognition technology. And they built their own app called, I forgot the name, actually. Thankfully, that's how insignificant it was. But I think it was called Music ID or something boring like that. But they did preload it on all the Sony Ericsson phones, which is, you know, a massive amount of distribution power, uh, relative because they were also made phones and then Google, the scariest one of all Google, of course, they like to do everything in house. I know I spent eight years working at Google. I joined them in 2004, six months before they went public. So I got to see them go from 2000 employees to many, many tens of thousands of employees. And they like to do a lot of homegrown stuff. They don't typically. bring technologies in from the outside. So they did build their own music recognition technology. You can think of their distribution power on phones is incredible, right? 80% of all smartphones in the world are Android. I worked on the Android team. And luckily it never took off. I mean, it was there. I mean, it is there. I could show people on Android phones, you know, a way to find this thing. It's not a very, you know, rich experience, I would say, but it is music recognition. So how did we win? Well, It is worth noting that in those early days, you know, what we created was an incredibly difficult technology to create. I mean, that it's not like, you know, if you wanted to copy Facebook or copy Snapchat or copy Instagram, those are technologies you can just build with some good engineers, but music recognition in a noisy environment was actually a very hard technology. So that was a barrier for many people. And I should mention there were startups as well. There's one called Soundhound. That was a very significant competitor, but it's always no bigger than a quarter the size of Shazam at its heyday. So very hard technology, a lot of heavy lifting to get this, you know, especially in the days that we started getting all the music. Because you have to have not only a great algorithm, but also you have to have a huge amount of music. And I always think that's actually a twofold problem. I like to say it's sort of the massive back catalogue of all the music, but also. what I call the fresh music, there's constantly new music being released every day, every week, new music, new music in all genres. And it's so fragmented around the world that getting it all is very, very difficult. And so that became an expertise for Shazam. And it's interesting because you can have this massive back catalog of tens of millions of songs in a database. And yet that fresh music, which might only be a few hundred songs, can be very significant because those songs, it might be only a few hundred songs, but couple of them might get placed into the top rated Grey's Anatomy TV show or in a brand new movie release or it might just suddenly take off with the DJs on radio stations. And so you had to have it, even though it was a small number of songs, it was getting a lot of interest among people that want to identify songs. So that is a difficult problem. And then I sometimes like to joke that the reality is that Shazam has massive distribution. I mean, over 2 billion downloads. hundreds of millions of monthly active users. But it's not a massively financially successful proposition. Because it doesn't take, consume a lot of the consumer's time, it's not like social networking where you go and you spend hours and hours on Instagram and Snapchat. And so there's a lot of room to make money from advertising. In Shazam, you're using it for just very small amounts of time. And so while we did have an advertising model and it became our primary source of revenue, it was not as big as I think we had all hoped to. because of the amount of time, because basically advertising is a function of really two things, the number of people and the amount of time. And we had a lot of people, but not that much time. So I sometimes like to joke that one of Shazam's greatest defenses was that it was a huge business that doesn't make that much money. I mean, you know, I say that much money, it wasn't making billions of dollars or even hundreds of millions of dollars. That meant that for companies like even companies like Google, Sony and Philips, it's not that much of a priority, right? They'd rather go. really put all the resources on self-driving cars and things that are gonna make a lot of money. And no one's gonna make a lot of money out of music recognition. So, you know, we built a viable business and we were bought by Apple for, as one of the, I think the sixth largest acquisition of all time by Apple, which as according to Wikipedia, reported, the number was never announced, but it reported $400 million. It was a nice outcome, but yeah, it wasn't the kind of business where Google can't afford to not win. So. Anyway, that was a lengthy answer for you there. I guess the last thing to mention is that, look, I think the way you win is that you are so connected to wanting to delight that user. We would do everything we can to have all the music and all the fresh songs, but also we'd build lots of great features so that people would just love the service. So, you know, we had offline Shazam. So if you're Shazaming in a club underground where there's no coverage, then it just, we would record it and then the moment you get out of the club and back to cell coverage, then we get the Shazam result for you. You know, and we had a synchronized lyrics so that you after you shazam a song you literally can see the lyrics in Synchronization with the ambient music in the ambient environment that you hear you're seeing synchronized lyrics that are connected with that That kind of real-world experience you're having that was just a cool another cool feature And then of course your list of all your shazams and what date they were and where they were and so it just that really just Wonderful experience for the users. I think it was something that just we outdid everyone because we care deeply. That's it We are emotionally connected and we care deeply Amazing, amazing. Thank you for sharing this. The show is about the first 100. So we're going to go back more than 20 years between that period of 2000, 2004, when you were an active founder there. Tell us, how did you find your first customers? Yeah. So it's important to really bring at this point, something that is quite shocking to a lot of people. So get ready. But when Shazam launched, which was the year 2002, there were no smartphones. So there were no apps. And you're so, we essentially talk about being ahead of our time. Essentially this idea I came up with was essentially, you could say was for an app eight years before apps existed. Talk about being ahead of your time, right? And talk about innovating ahead of your time. So what that meant is that we had to create a service, Shazam, that identifies songs, but there were no apps. What are we gonna do? And all the entrepreneurs out there can sit there and think, what would you do? How would you launch Shazam? If there's no apps, what would you do? Probably a lot of people are feeling a little bit stuck. Well, here's the answer. The way Shazam worked when we launched in 2002 is that you dial the phone number. You pulled out your phone on these old Nokia, or it doesn't matter what phone you had, Nokia, Ericsson, you name it. You pulled out your phone, and you literally dialed a voice phone number on your phone. And we arranged to get a four digit number. So it wasn't a full number, you know, like a nine digits or whatever, 10 digits. but it was just four digits long, so it was like a short code number. So we got that with the mobile phone companies. You dialed this four digit number, that initiated a voice phone call, and then we answered the phone using our interactive voice response systems technology, and just answered the phone, and we just started recording sound. We recorded about 15 seconds of sound, and then we just simply terminated the phone call. We hung up on you essentially, but we quickly processed that music. We like turned it into a fingerprint, ran it against our search engine database, identified the song in hundreds of a second, and then sent a text message back to you with the name of the song, because we had your caller ID from when you called us. So you received a text message seconds later on your phone and it said, this is the song you identified. So that's the way Shazam launched. And so that's basically the type of service that we were offering to those initial customers. So it's worth pointing out that first of all, it's a pretty limited experience, right? Because all you have is a text message. So, There's no graphical user interface. You can't show the discography. You can't show the album cover. There wasn't even images and text messages at that time. So you can't show the album cover. You can't listen to the song. You can't sample the song. You can't do many of the things. You can't just look through lots of text, like the lyrics and the discography. So all you're really seeing is a little short text message that said, you know, Shazam identified this song by this artist. That's it, pretty much, right? On this album. And... That was the service. So not only are we limited in the experience, but also we're limited in distribution. Because if you think about apps, what apps do, one thing they do is they create this graphical user interface, very rich experience with a lot of capabilities with video and images and so on. But the other thing that comes along with apps is distribution, and it's called the App Store. And with the App Store, you go and you discover apps, you download apps, and you find what you preview them and so on. There was no App Store either. So we had to get this message out to people, members of the public that, hey, there's a phone number you can call. And if you call it, you'll be charged, because it charged if we identify the song. And that's how we made our money, by the way, in those early days, is 50 pence in the UK, where we launched 50 pence each time you use Shazam. And then we'll identify the song for you and send you a text message. So we had to get that message out there and we had to educate people that they had to dial a four digit phone number in order to use this. So it turns out that if you describe this to someone, they'd say, wow, that's incredible. If they were a music lover, They just thought, this is the most incredible thing ever. Like I have a mobile phone and all I can do is make phone calls and send text messages and now I can identify songs. And they just thought it was the bee's knees, as they say in the UK. It was just, they loved it. But still that's an expensive effort to get that message to someone. We undertook basically traditional marketing. We spent a significant portion of that seven and a half million dollar series a venture capital round going out and doing marketing. And so we did things like. radio ads and of course the radio ad would be the last ad just before the music plays. So you could say Shazam is a service you can identify songs. We'll try it right now on the next song and then boom a song comes out for the DJ. Or we did billboards, we did banners on the web. Believe it or not we even hired people to walk into bars and just go around telling people in the bars about it. But all this stuff is serious marketing heavy lifting. When your revenue stream is 50 pence and of course that share with the mobile phone company. Economics have to work basically for you to be able to invest in marketing and then be able to make more than that amount Of money back and the economics were not working for us So we are essentially in a bad really scary position because we're spending this money on marketing getting people to use it Yes, they loved it, but we're not getting nearly enough people to use it and it's not spreading like wildfire It's not viral by the way, and then there's no app store There's no easy distribution people are we're having to educate users like with apps people are already Understood that apps are things that do things on your phone We're literally starting from zero and saying, hey, there's something else you can do with your phone. This is what it is, you can identify songs. I mean, that's a lot of heavy lifting. And when you're educating people, you're essentially changing behavior. Changing behavior is one of the hardest things that any entrepreneur can do. In fact, I think a lot of the great success stories come from not changing behavior. If you look at what did Dropbox do, Dropbox basically made it so that your stuff is in the cloud if it's already on your computer, right? That folder on your computer is also in the cloud. So they made it so that you're not changing behavior. And that's why they became successful. In those early years, from launch in 2002 until the App Store launched in 2008, a period of six years, we had very few customers. I mean, we're talking tens of thousands, or maybe low hundreds of thousands. Very, very few customers, not enough to pay the bills and fund the company. We were burning cash. We were having rounds of layoffs. We were on the brink of bankruptcy. I always believed we'd find a way, but yeah, we were at risk of closing our doors. It was really, really tough and it was really the App Store that led to the hockey stick of growth that led to today where you get 2 billion downloads. I love your story and specifically I've listened to one of the podcasts where you were saying a potential VC told you, I don't see why anyone would ever use that. And it's a very common scenario with a lot of startups, especially if you go to a VC and tell them, look, my customer acquisition cost is much higher than my LTV. I'm burning cash. Their perspective is this is a vitamin, not a painkiller. And a lot of people give up. They run out of money. They don't get enough funding from VCs. What kept you going? And you said after six years, you caught a break with that. But during that six year period, something kept you going that other people don't know about. What you're pointing out, it ends up making such, at the time, it just felt tough, right? Really hard. And yes, VCs said, I don't see why anyone would ever use this. And it actually ends up making for such a good story that now what I do is I do keynote speaking and speak to large audiences about how they can be innovative and collaborative and perseverance and resilience and so on, because I believe the incredible things can happen from this. And it was all from digging into, you know, how did we do this? How did we not give up? No, I think the answer, I believe it really comes from the combination of. Having a vision, and by the way, I should mention, Shazam was 18 years from starting until it was bought by Apple. Many of those years, I was a board member of Shazam. So I actually moved on, we hired sort of gray-haired management to run the company, but I was an incredibly active board member, spending 15 or 20 hours a week on Shazam on top of my job at Google and Dropbox and so on. But I never gave up. I continued to work crazy hours into the evenings and weekends and... I would say it comes from these two core ingredients that are the ingredients any entrepreneur should be thoughtful about whether they have those for their particular idea. So one is the vision and I could absolutely see the vision. I mean even though we were struggling and the world had not gotten to where we needed to get to, I could just see this day. I always saw it from that first day and throughout all those tough years where we barely survived. I could just picture this day where just hundreds of millions of people were using Shazam. You know, I just could see it and never went away. Even though it didn't happen for those six years, I just could see it was gonna get there because it just felt like it. In fact, in the original PowerPoint decks of Shazam, I remember saying that one in five people are just gonna use Shazam regularly or something. And it's actually not that far off from what percentage of phones have Shazam on them, I know 30% or whatever in many European countries. So it was the vision. But then of course, the vision's not enough because. it wasn't actually happening and we're going bankrupt, nearly bankrupt and the company's struggling and it's like, even though you have this vision, it's like, you have the vision, but what do you do as an entrepreneur? You're like, but it's not actually happening and I'm barely surviving, what's wrong? And so the second part was what allows you to stick with it over such a long period of time is really that, I like to think of it as this emotional, personal connection. It's like your baby. I have a son who's 14 years old and I just, no matter what, I'm gonna see him through and I'm just gonna help him get to... the best he can be. It's not really necessarily logical. That's why I say it's emotional. It's not like just, it doesn't have the raw analytics of just like, is this a good investment of your time? Is this a good ROI on investment and so maybe I should spend my time on other things. But it was more just like, I just really believed in Shazam and I just felt so connected to it. And not just me, by the way, my co-founders and these early employees that joined and they bet their lives on. Shazam as well, you know, they're betting on it and acting like co-founders really. Everyone, the entire team felt so connected. I can guarantee you that personal connection, that emotional connection that entire team had, the founders and the employees of Shazam was way, way stronger, way more powerful than whoever was working on music recognition at Sony and Philips and Google. For them it was just like, oh yeah, here's an interesting project, you know, we should launch this. It'd be good to put this out there. But forming that personal connection is key. Amazing. Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently in the development or growth of Shazam? Any missed opportunities or strategies that you would reconsider? Let's see here. Things I would reconsider. Well, OK. The big one is that something that we did do, but I would have done it earlier. And that was that we did build. We found another use for our technology. and that was to monitor radio stations. It turned out that our technology was the most advanced technology in the world, the most efficient technology in the world for music recognition, not just on mobile phones, but for any purposes. And so there are already other technologies for monitoring radio, but ours was way better. And so we actually were able to build a B2B business where it turns out there are companies that need to know what's playing on the radio because they have to report this information and royalties have to be paid out to artists. and we built that business and it became a nice business and we got some significant revenue from it and actually ended up selling that business and that helped fund the company. I wish we had done that a year earlier than we did because getting that early revenue is so key to survival for entrepreneurs. And it turns out, like I mean, Google got its early revenue by... powering Yahoo search. That's how they paid their bills in those early years. And I think that that's a real art and it's a difficult one for an entrepreneur because you have a certain vision and you really, you tend to want to prioritize that vision. Like, oh, I want to build mobile music recognition, or Google wants to build the most advanced search in the world. And instead building this sort of thing that's built catered for a business client, it may not feel like that was your number one priority. So the early revenue may not feel like. your number one priority, but it should be because that early revenue is your oxygen. And if you have early revenue, you have oxygen to feed your business over time. And that's why I wish we had done it earlier. That's the biggest learning. Thank you for sharing this. Shazam's journey from a startup to a global phenomenon is inspiring. Could you share with us any memorable moments or stories from your experience as the founder of Shazam that have stayed with you throughout the years? Let's see, a memorable moment, so stay with me throughout the years. Gosh, I mean, you know, honestly, I view the whole Shazam experience as being a human experience. You know, it was an experience of that you're sharing with others. And that's such a big part, I think, again, for any entrepreneur to think about because the reality is that not every startup succeeds. So it's very important that if it doesn't succeed, and you know, as we all know, a significant number fail, the minimum you can do is get a good an interesting life experience out of it. I treasure and I value and I'm so grateful for the experiences I had with my co-founders and all the early employees of Shazam that were really amazing experiences of working those long hours. I mean, it didn't feel like working, you know, because we're all creating this thing, you know, and overcoming all these different hurdles and trying to invent this path for this, path for something that didn't exist. And it's all those experiences and celebrating those moments as well, you know. We started Shazam in central London. So our office was in Warder Street in central London, for those of you that are familiar with that location. It was wonderful. So after working a late evening, we'd all kind of go out to the pub and celebrate whatever that specific celebration is we had for that day. And it felt so good. We're all just doing this together and whatever it was, whether it was we had a good meeting with a mobile phone company, or maybe with a provider of CDs, or whatever it is. those little wins that we had along the way. And then also, you know, the challenges and sharing that ride together with other people, that's the most memorable part of Shazam. It's the thing that I'm so thankful for and every entrepreneur should make sure that they're sort of present and in the moment and keeping that with them. Is there a business principle or a life principle that you believe in that has helped you really in your entrepreneurial journey? Probably the two main business principles. You could argue that one is almost a subset of the other. And I think people pay what I call lip service to this. But what I like to say is it's not the lip service. It's really going kind of beyond. So one is that focus on delighting your customers and not just your customers, but your partners and your delighting everyone that touches your baby, your company, your partners, your customers, your employees, everyone. But delighting them. And then the second one. is the, what I like to say is eliminating friction. And that comes into, that's part of delighting, for a customer or a partner, when you eliminate friction, one way we often talk about this is keeping it simple. We say we're gonna make it simple, but it's not just about being simple, it's also about eliminating friction. So I'll give you an example, like let's say you had a product where you ordered it and then it takes three days to get it. So that still may be simple, but you had to wait and that waiting is friction. Or maybe a part of the time, It says, sorry, we can't give you this. You order it and it says, not available, we're out of stock. Okay, that's still simple, but it's still friction because that was a negative experience. You're not getting, you know, you now have to go find another product to order. So basically, I'm obsessed with this idea of eliminating friction. And when you eliminate friction, you make things more delightful for the customer. And so this is where I say, it's such an obvious thing that everyone says, of course, I wanna be simple, I wanna eliminate friction, I wanna delight customers. That all seems so obvious. The part that's not so obvious is just how far you sometimes have to go to do that. I sometimes like to say that being simple can be very complex. And so, you know, great examples, if you look at Shazam, it's like, you know, what we created was just simple, like you push a button and you get the name of the song. But my gosh, what's behind that was incredibly hard. We moved mountains to make that happen, inventing impossible algorithms and building vast databases of music and huge, very complicated search engines and so on. And we could have cut corners and done things that would have been easier for us, but then it wouldn't have been as simple for the user. So for example, we could have made it so they only know what's playing on the radio. In that case, that would have been a lot easier. We wouldn't have needed all the songs in the world. We wouldn't have needed noisy algorithms that identify songs in noisy environments and so on. So we could have still built it. It would have been less effort for us, but it wouldn't have been as simple for the user. I also love to give the two examples of the other two places that I've worked, Google and Dropbox, and both, again. They move mountains and did very complex things that resulted in making something very simple for the end user, or more importantly, eliminating friction. And so that's the key takeaway is, go beyond the lip service, right? Because I guarantee you that Samsung looks at Apple and says, yeah, we're gonna be simple, just like Apple. But it's like, are they really going beyond and going to incredible efforts moving mountains, right? And overcoming massive technical challenges and so on. to make it simpler for the user. Like what Spotify did to make it free for users until they wanna pay. That was moving mountains, right? In terms of like payments to record labels and so on for the rights to make it free for users until they wanted to pay the freemium model. Something that was so gargantuan of a task that even Apple, Google and Amazon didn't do it. So that's the, I think is the key takeaway really. What advice would you give entrepreneurs on the brink of giving up? either because they're running out of money or they're getting rejections or, you know, they want to achieve their visions, but something is pulling them back. You have an amazing story of perseverance. Is there any advice that you could give someone not to give up? I think one is always be creative. What sometimes looks like it sometimes feels like you've come to the end of a long hallway and all you've reached is a locked door. And so constantly remind yourself to. Be creative, you know, instead of, it's very easy to just think, oh, that's it, the door is locked, you know, darn it, I guess that's not gonna work, right? But instead, you know, immediately try to form the habit of being creative as a response instead. So, you know, maybe you say, hmm, maybe there's a way to unlock this door, or hmm, you know, on the way down this hallway, I pass that other hallway, you know, maybe that leads somewhere that could get me to the. to the result. Or maybe I actually don't even need to get to, maybe there's a way where I don't even need to get the other side of that door at all. It's just that kind of very, always being creative and thinking outside the box and about everything, you know, not just realizing that it's not just about the creativity of your original idea, but all these other creativity along the way that can lead to a great outcome. That's one thing. I think as I said, the emotional connection makes that resilience feel, it gives you like superpowers and super energy. to kind of have resilience and stick with it through challenging times. And I think you can be creative even in your own personal life. I've seen many entrepreneurs, they get creative about how they're gonna make it work financially through the tough times, right? I mean, I've seen entrepreneurs that can make their company incredibly lean so they can achieve one key thing. I have entrepreneur friends who made money as a consultant on the side for like eight plus years so they could like work on their startup. But they need they realize they need a way to make money without drawing income from their startup So in fact, I'm even doing that today actually I have a new startup and I do keynote speaking both because I enjoy it But also it's a way to make money without having to draw income from my mission driven startup So I think that's another thing that entrepreneurs can do is getting creative with their own ways of making a living and remaining lean and mean Those are the main pieces of advice I give thank you for sharing the advice This one is a little bit philosophical questions, we see how we can get the answer from you. What is the hardest thing you had to do to be who you are today? I think. I mean, I guess looking back, I have dyslexia. So as a kid, I struggled academically and I always I would just continuously find that things just seem so much more difficult for me than my peers. And so I worked hard and I. Got into UC Berkeley for college, a competitive college, but then I felt so lost and I had like, actually almost failed out my first semester. I got a 1.7 GPA, so they literally send a letter to my parents saying, you're gonna kick you out. But I would keep striving and striving and so I was able to get into consulting for strategy, consulting firms with a bunch of really smart people as my colleagues and later into Google. But every time I would do this, I'd work really hard, get into like this incredibly amazing place and then feel absolutely overwhelmed and. feel like an imposter, because then I'd realized, oh my gosh, how am I going to keep up with these people? They're just incredible, and I'm like an imposter here. So when I look back, I realize that in all those situations, I kind of thought, I don't know how I'm going to thrive, because I'm never going to be able to keep up with these amazing people around me. And so really, I think definitely the biggest bet when I'm looking across my whole career was the bet of thinking, I'm going to start my own company. It was that. And that was a decision I made. While I was doing an MBA at UC Berkeley, so that's my second time at UC Berkeley And I was doing the MBA and I was not planning to do that I went to UC Berkeley thinking I'm just gonna get an MBA and it's gonna help me get even better jobs But I just suddenly realized you know what I'm gonna start a company and just like all of your audience has done They've thought you know what I'm gonna start a company That is a seriously scary thing to do when your peers and the people around you in the world they all have the security of making a certain salary and You know, having their healthcare paid for and all this stuff, that's an American thing. I know in Europe you don't have to worry about that, but it's a scary thing to just start a company because it's hard, it's really hard. And so that's a big step to take and that was the biggest step. But it's also the most rewarding. It just felt right. It felt like, yes, you know, life is short, you gotta go for it. And isn't it wonderful how rewarding it is to really go for it, so. Thank you for sharing this. One last question. If you were to write a book about your life, what would the title be and why? Well, it's funny you say that because I am actually planning to write a book. I just happened to kick this off in the last week, actually, and it will be a long process writing because I'm going big. I like to do everything. Everything. I have set a high bar, I should say, for things. So I do want to go the traditional publishing route. And that's a long route. You got to pitch to publishers and then get a big publisher and so on. So we're looking at a year or two at least. But anyway, this book will not be an autobiography. It will be. probably a little more practical nonfiction. So it would teach people the things that I think people could take away in their own lives about being innovative and overcoming big obstacles and some secret sauce into how to do that, I think is non-obvious, shall we say, surprising. But, and of course it will tell the stories of Shazam. It will be a little bit of personal stuff, not too much. And quite a lot about Shazam and all the things that we faced and encountered and overcame. So. Yeah, it's funny because I'm actually brainstorming titles right now, even though that's getting way ahead of myself because you don't normally do the title until near the end of the book. But it is fun because it gives you like a true north, shall we say, of like where you're going and then you can be thinking about that the whole way. And I don't want to give away the title yet because I first of all haven't decided which one and I've been considering about six. But I'll just say that they're all in the kind of arena. They have themes around things like doing difficult things, overcoming obstacles, really sticking with it, perseverance and tenacity, but also creativity. In fact, part of the challenge is trying to figure out what the right title is that's gonna weave all these things into one memorable title that sort of has a nice sound to it. That's kind of the general area that I view as my expertise through all this and filing 12 patents and spending all this time creating Shazam, but also being inventive at Google and Dropbox and so on. Really, the theme is this combination of being innovative and creative, but also being really, really persistent and tenacious and doing things in sort of surprising ways. And I think that's what leads to great outcomes. And so that will be the title will connote that and the themes and the lessons will really share those learnings. So you're doing a book keynote speaking, you're starting a new company. Is there anything that you're you want to share with the audience? Oh yeah, well anyone can check, you know, learn more about me on my speaking site which is and yeah, maybe hopefully I'll see you out there on the speaking route. I love speaking, I give speeches to big audiences, 2,000 people all over the world, which I love so much. It's so much fun and so rewarding to inspire people. Yeah, and so hopefully one day when they see that Shazam founder book come out, please get yourself a copy and yeah, thanks to everyone for listening. I hope I inspired some of you. amazing entrepreneurs and I wish you all the best of luck in all the amazing things you're creating. Thank you Chris. One hypothetical question. If Shazam did not exist and it stopped back in 2006, would you have given up or would you have created it again when the App Store went up? Oh I definitely would have created it again. I was not going to give up. No matter what it took, I was going to find a way. I definitely would have created it again. Amazing. Thank you Chris for stopping by. We wish you the best of luck. We'll put everything in the show notes. That was an amazing episode. Hopefully we will meet up again. Yeah, excellent. Thank you so much for listening to the first 100. We hope it inspired you in your journey. If you're enjoying the podcast, please subscribe to our podcast on Apple iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or Spotify and share it with a friend starting their entrepreneurship journey. Leave us a five star review. Your support will help spread our podcast to more viewers.