Tunesage

Y Combinator’s Startup School in retrospect

Y Combinator’s latest Startup School session ended this week. I still haven’t gotten nearly as far as I would have liked in TuneSage’s development, but I did make some progress, and I’m hoping to launch it near the end of next month. Of course, that prediction is probably still off, since it feels impossible to predict, but I did submit an application to Y Combinator’s core program, so the sooner I can launch it the better. If they’re looking at my application and can find no demo videos or samples online demonstrating what TuneSage can do, so much the worse for me.

Anyway, here are some of the biggest things I’ve learned from this year’s startup school:

  • Launch your product as soon as you can. The initial version doesn’t have to be as polished as you might imagine. They talk quite a bit about launching an MVP, a “minimal viable product”. This allows you to start getting feedback from early adopters. Handling the initial version of your product like a manuscript submission or a film premiere that needs to attract a crowd upon release isn’t the right way to think about a tech startup launch; the initial version won’t be polished. (For TuneSage, the initial version will likely only generate melodies and chords.)
  • After launching, it’s all about growth, and organic growth at that. Pay attention to new users you’re attracting, user retention, and how users are using your product. (Paying to advertise your product isn’t a great idea because having to pay to obtain your first customers isn’t going to scale, and may throw off any traction metrics.) Decide what to work on based on how it will stimulate growth.
  • Set concrete goals (preferably having to do with growth) so that you know whether or not what you’re working on is having the desired affect.

I’ll admit that some of the finance stuff (stock, shareholding, vesting, etc.) is still a bit over my head; some of it is just lingo to learn, but I also think I need to see more examples of it in action.

The Startup School videos are on YouTube, available for anyone to watch (I’m sure I’ll re-watch some of them), but participating in the course also gave me an opportunity to have weekly meetings with other founders. This allowed me to develop my “pitch” and get real feedback. I will admit that I need to get better at talking. A bit too much repeating myself, ending sentences on conjunctions (“and, yeah…”), forgetting words and stammering. Sometimes I wasn’t so bad, but it’s definitely something to practice. And, yeah…

Overall, it was a great experience, and I’m excited to get TuneSage up to a launch-able state. Like I said, I wish I had made more progress during Startup School itself, but I should have more time next month.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Tunesage

Tunesage.com is up… but there’s nothing there yet

It’s just a temporary page. One can sign up for the mailing list, but until I start actually releasing sample work or something, it’s probably not good for much. Better than nothing, though.

I have no idea what the look and feel of the final site will be; I am not a graphic designer. However, I really like the font I found for the title. I was originally trying to reuse the letters I created for Insane Fantasy…

Very similar! An uncanny resemblance, especially the ‘E’ and the ‘S’. I kind of prefer my curved ‘A’. I tried to make a ‘G’ to match the style, but I just failed terribly, it looked horrible. So I’m glad I was able to find something very similar.

Anyway, be sure to head over to TuneSage and join the mailing list! (If you want.)

By S P Hannifin, ago
Business

Startup School 2019

This year, Y Combinator’s Startup School is open for everyone to register, and I’m hoping to participate. As they say on their blog:

Today, we’re opening up registration for Startup School 2019, our free online course for founders looking to get help turning an idea into a startup. The 10 week course will begin July 22, 2019 and is free for everyone to participate.

They’ll also be granting equity-free $15K grants to “the most promising companies that join and complete the course.” (I still hope to apply to the core YC program, but the possibility of a $15K grant if I don’t make it would surely be nice.)

They’ll also be hosting meetups / events around the world, one location being Washington DC, which I’ll try to make it to. (I just hope it’s not on Tuesday, September 10th, as I’m going to a Kamelot concert that day. Or near the end of August, as I’ve got a sibling’s wedding to go to.)

My startup is the AI-powered music generation web app I’ve been working on, now tentatively titled Tunesage. (Can you think of a better name?)

I was hoping to finish a prototype of the web app by the end of this month (July 2019). I’ll still try to, but I’m also giving myself an extension until September 25th (the deadline to apply to the Y Combinator Winter 2020 batch) due to circumstances beyond my control (such as a sibling’s approaching wedding and my parents deciding now is a good time to redecorate parts of the house).

So that’s what I’m up to. I’ve also been learning the programming language Rust as I hope to use that on the music app’s back-end.

By S P Hannifin, ago