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takelessons.com - Steven Cox | San Diego, CA

TakeLessons Reviews

By At Work, TakeLessons.com 2 Comments

I get a lot of satisfaction by working on things that make a positive, lasting impact. There’s a ton of ways to make money, so I figure why not make a living doing something that creates value for people. This concept has been echoed by my company to where the company philosophies are similar to my own.

At TakeLessons we are truly dedicated to building a company we can be proud of – a company that does good for those we serve, our employees, and those that took a risk with us by investing their money. As a result of hard work, we get amazing TakeLessons reviews from our students and teachers all the time. Receiving a rave review or a five-star rating for TakeLessons always makes my day because it shows me that our work makes a positive impact on the world.

We get a ton of feedback from our users – most of it good, and sometimes things we need to work on (we’re certainly not perfect). Here, I’d like to share a few special messages from some of our students and teachers.

From Students

Subject: Stellar Teacher: TakeLessons Reviews on Chrissy

I have been working with Chrissy for some time now. I have enjoyed every minute of it. My skills have improved dramatically and this is due to her diligence and outstanding teaching skills and attitude. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone that asked more for a teacher. Please pass these kudos on to her and note her record accordingly.

Thanks

Dave M, TakeLessons Student in Henderson, NV

Subject: I Love Joshua! TakeLessons Review from Scott B.

Hi,

I love Joshua! He is perfect for me and what I need. Specifically, Joshua has met me where I am in terms of my skills and experience. I am a more advanced student than Joshua typically gets. Instead of teaching me skills and songs segments, which I have done with other teachers, he focused on teaching me and playing with me! We plugged into his amps, created a rhythm track and jammed together. I have since put a pickup in my acoustic guitar and am practicing more effectively at home now. I love working with Joshua!

Regards,
Scott B., student in San Diego, CA.

Subject: My Son Enjoyed Every Minute! TakeLessons Review from Molly K.

I wanted to let you know that Eli had his first drum lesson with teacher Sheldon. I cannot express to you how impressed I was.Eli tends to have focus trouble due to his cerebral palsy and he was so focused and enjoyed every minute of his lesson. Teacher Sheldon was fantastic at working with him showing him and getting him involved in the lesson and learning. I am just so excited to see how the next one goes.I just thought you’d like to know.

Molly K, Student in Lawrenceburg, IN

Subject:My Son’s Lessons: TakeLessons Review from Juline H

Al is a wonderful teacher, My son is having a really
great time taking lessons. It’s more repetitious than he anticipated and
harder than he thought it would be, however he is as adamant as ever to keep
pushing through and still loves to play the guitar. Thank you guys very
much for helping my son have this opportunity!

Juline H, Student in Peoria, AZ

 
 

From Teachers

Subject: You Gave Me Hope: TakeLessons Review from Alkesis B.

I absolutely loved the webinar you held yesterday! I thought you were great at conducting such a clear and informative hour, that kept my attention the entire time. I told my wife yesterday how excited I was to work with your company! I’m honestly pretty skeptical after several horrible experiences with other companies. All of them owe me anywhere from one to five thousand dollars for lessons I taught that I am still waiting to get paid for. That is honestly the only reason I’ve left other companies that I spent one to five years contracting for in the decades I’ve taught lessons. So what I’m trying to say is you gave me hope :)I appreciate your time and attention and I look forward to working with you!

Aleksis B, TakeLessons Teacher in Germantown, MD

 

Subject: Appreciate the Support: TakeLessons Review from Rusty R.

My Note: This teacher had a death in the family and we worked with him to reschedule his lessons for that day. This was his response.

I want you to know how much I appreciate your help, concern and support. I will resume teaching this Friday with my student Alex, and move forward. It has always impressed me that in the worst of times,  it brings out the best in people,  and although due to the miles we’ve only talked by phone, your kindness and empathy will not be forgotten.My sincerest thanks once again.

Rusty R, TakeLessons Teacher in Memphis, TN

Subject: Student Accolade: TakeLessons Review from Katrina D.

I just wanted to let you know that my student, Jonathan A, auditioned for Celia Cruz High School of Music in the Bronx this evening. He sang the National Anthem and played Minuet in G, Mozart, on the guitar. He was asked to sight read on both instruments as well.

He did such a great job that the string teacher pulled him aside afterwards and let him know unofficially that he wants Jonathan in his string section and was willing to fight the choral department for him. I am sure this does not happen often (a teacher stepping off-stage to unofficially welcome an auditioning student), and am so very impressed that he did so well and will most likely be accepted to the high school beginning next September.

It is always wonderful working with young children, and seeing their hard work pay off. Jonathan met with me earlier today and seemed a little less confident than usual as his audition loomed over him. As a teacher, it is important to know when to pick on the little things and when to pump your students up – and today was a little bit of each, and more of the latter.

I thought you might want to hear about this wonderful benchmark in Jonathan’s musical career, probably one of the first of many great experiences that will shape him as a musician, and see how Takelessons has had a part in his growth.

Katrina D, TakeLessons Teacher in Bronx, NY

 

Steven Cox Interview on The Big Biz TV Show – Transcript

By At Work, Speaking, Start-Ups One Comment

Click here to watch the video

Our next guest is named Steven Cox. This is interesting because when you were gone.

Yeah.

Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine, who was a fantastic co-host by the way, that was good.

All good.

And he said to me, now look, I've got this guy, this entrepreneur guy that lives in San Diego and I came home that night and flipped on the T.V. and the guy was on channel 6 and here he is with takelessons.com. Steven Cox. Steven, how are you brother?

Great, how are you guys doing?

Great to talk to you.

Yeah, awesome.

So you were a serial entrepreneur they say. Right?

That's all I know, start-ups.

Boy in this economy, I talk, I talk about the fact that in this economy, because of the jobless rate, people had to reinvent themselves either by starting new businesses or or by reeducating themselves more than any other time in history. So what a better time if you're gonna reinvent yourself, if you want a business to kind of maybe think outside the box a little bit.

Yeah absolutely. That's what we're seeing. You know a lot of people, when they first start and we interview a ton of people in our company and they go, "Oh, well we're just not sure. Is it risky to join a start-up or start our own venture?" But if you take a look around today, everything's going to hell, right?

Yeah.

It's all of the big Oh, yeah.

Companies are sitting here, and it like, "Oh geez, we can't, we have to lay off people here, and lay off people there," and-

Sure.

I think the best protection you can have is developing your own self.

Sure.

And starting your own business or getting involved in a start-up, it's just as safe as a large company.

Tell us about, well.

And they got more power.

Well, I see this all the time. You look at the stocks for National University, you look at the stocks for University of Phoenix. Those stocks are going through the roof because people are reinventing themselves.

Right.

But then, the numbers also show that there's been more entrepreneurial activity right now than there ever has been in history. And I believe that's because people have to. Tell us about what you guys do over there.

So, what we do is, the name of our company is Take Lessons.

Take Lessons.

Yeah, so we've created a marketplace. Basically, there's a three billion dollar industry out there, and in essence you have a ton of musicians out there, and I don't know if you've heard, but sometimes artists are not necessarily the best at business.

Sure. Yeah.

Yeah. So, what we've done is we've developed out a marketplace where our artists can make a living doing something that they love to do.

That's unbelievable.

Yeah, so instead of having to collect money and try to market themselves online, which a lot of folks don't understand how to do. We do all of that for them and in essence they can come to our side, if they qualify as one of our certified instructors, and now we have instructors in about 3,000 cities all across the U.S.

Wow.

They can make money doing what they love to do instead of working at Chili's or working retail or something like that.

Or both.

It's just awesome.

Yeah, or both. Yeah, that's where the whole idea came from, it's to keep my drummer, keep my drummer out of Chili's.

So, so it's keep my drummer

Out of Chili's dot com was taken, so you couldn't have that one.

It's like a political statement. Keep my drummer out of Chili's.

Keep the saxophone player out of a bar.

You know what they call a roomful of drummers?

What? Prison. Oh no!

Thank you.

So this is interesting concept because what you have done, and I'm not comparing you because what you have is so unique, but it's almost like Craigslist meets Angie's List for the local music guy, right?

Yeah, if we really look at it, we take a look at it and say Craigslist was what we call services 1.0 all the way.

Yeah.

And we have a general theory that there's coming a services 2.0 on the web. And what you have, Google has created this opportunity where you can find literally anything you want.

Right.

Millions of results all over the place. The issue with that is that there's now millions of results to search for.

Sure.

So what we believe is that there will be big, big brands that get established that basically do for services, what Amazon has done for product. And basically says, here is the safest

Sure.
Oh, sure. Because remember Amazon was books when it first started.

Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

Let me ask you this. Couldn't you, couldn't you move this into other ancillary services and I'm not talking about like handyman services like Angie's List, but I mean there's so many under services. Well, one thing you don't talk about is music teachers.

Exactly.

Until you try to find one.

Right.

Yeah. 3 billion dollar industry. 54% of all households across America do it. Yet it is very, very typical to find someone.

Yeah.

How do you know what to look for?

I'd be like, it would be It would be the same, it would be in the same category, it would be in the same category as the pet business. You know, the humanization of the pet business is turning into 14 billion-dollar industry.

Right.

And it's under services so you can't. I mean, in New York City, you can find somebody to walk your dog.

In San Diego, California, if you're going on vacation for a week?

Try it. No way.

You can't do it, so there's a tough- Steven Cox On part of our entrepreneurial series on the Big Biz show, we kind of show you other businesses out there you may not have thought of. And it's, I love entrepreneurial activity. I love it, especially when a guy comes up with something. When we come back from the break, we're going to hear about how we actually came up with the idea, which I think you'll find is an interesting story.

Steven Cox, Take Lessons, takelessons.com.

I think I want to be a music teacher now.

You have to learn how to play, Russ.

Well, you know you got to start somewhere, Mark.

Russ "T" Nailz, Sully, Big Biz show, bigbizshow.com. CBS, ABC, Armed Forces, Biz Television, our website bigbizshow.com. Follow me on Twitter or @bigbizzradio. Don't go anywhere. Alright, back to our guest.

Yes.

His name is Steven Cox. He is the founder and CEO of takelessons.com.

Great idea.

And if you're just joining us, it is a clearing house of music teachers.

A lot of times when you hook up with a music teacher, or not hook up, but, you know.

Who knows?

But if I had a nickel.

Hey,
I want to learn how to play the flute!

Alright. Come on over.

No, but you hook up with the wrong type of personality because everyone learns at a different, some guys, yadda yadda yadda.

Hey, what were the metrics involved when you put that together, when you decided who you were going to take, who you're not going to take and that type of thing.

Well, we've been in business for about fi
ve years, and so it really took us a couple of years to really decipher down what makes a great music instructor. And for most of our people, most of our customers, they're beginner.

Yeah.

What they have is, they have a general fear, it's like are people going to make fun of me? Do I suck?

Yea, yes, yes and yes. Let's get past that.

And so, the whole idea is, there are a ton of great musicians out there.

Sure.

And they all play, and they, you know, all passing about it.

It's unbelievable.

Sure.

But what we really look for is not only, can they play, but can they make that beginning student, which is most of our customers, feel awesome about music?

Sure. Right.

You know because so many people, they try and if they don't get that positive reinforcement back with social approval.

Oh yeah.

They're out, they're done.

Yeah.

Cause some old music teachers are like "NAH!". Oh, man. Sorry. Scary.

Yeah, exactly. Risked a knuckle or duster to get rid of those guys.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So, let me ask you this. So how did you start?

This came out of necessity, out of a fellow musician that needed some help, so you did that to bring me to the next step

Sure. So I had done start-ups, and I was kind of taking a little time off. We had finished a start-up and I was down here in San Diego, playing in a band. My whole family is very musical, and I'm kind of the least musically-oriented out of them. So I was a lead singer in a rock band, and my drummer, he was an incredible, incredible musician.

He had a Master's degree in music performance.

Wow. Wow.

I'd just tried to buy a house in Encinitas which is basically impossible on a musician's budget, just found out that his wife was pregnant with her first kid.

And reality hit him, like right between the eyes.

Yeah, he was like, "Dude, I gotta quit the band." I'm like, "Wait a I was like, "You can't quit the band, if it means I'm not gonna get dates, if you quit the band."

Yeah. Yeah, right!

Because you're the only one good in the band.

Yeah. Oh!

Yeah, and so I started talking to him, and I was like, "Yeah, well, I'm not making a living doing this, I'm gonna have to take a job at Chili's."

Yeah, right.

And I said, "Uh-oh, well we can't have this." So I said, "Are you recording? Are you, you know, what's going on?" And he said, "Well, I'm trying all that stuff," and I said, "Are you teaching?" He said "Dad, I've got my poster hanging up at the C VS drug store."

Yeah!

"I can't find enough students." And me, I come from an internet background. I said "Well why don't you just use the internet?"

Oh yeah! Bing! Who? Where?

He's like, "I don't know how to do any of that stuff."

Right.

I said, "Well, okay, well I'll help you do that."

Right.

And we really started designing the whole methodology for how do you go about finding a really awesome instructor down on a hyper-local level. The localized level to the ZIP code.

Yeah, yeah.

And that's where.

Oh, right. So if you live in New York City versus one of the boroughs, you can find somebody in New York City. Or if you Opelika, Alabama, you can find somebody in Opelika, Alabama.

Right.

Or in San Diego, if you know, the.

Yeah, a lot of times.

In walking distance, sometimes.

Yeah, like in San Diego, we try to find someone within about four miles.

I've got two teenage girls that took lessons. I come from a music background. And one of our biggest things was safety for those kids.

Right.

How did you guys tackle that part?

We have a seven-step hiring process that we walk every single instructor through.

Nice.

Last month, we had about 1100 instructors apply to work with us.

Wow.

We ended up recruiting about 8o of those. So, we're very, very specific. Not only do they have to have the right.

Well Russ, looks like you better stay on the air for a while cause.

Yeah, well thanks for being our guest. We got to go now. Anyway. Try us again next year.

Yeah, well, whatever.

I 'm very, very peculiar about who we take in

Sure.

And they have to pass not only all of the criteria

Oh good.

But we also do background checks, criminal background checks and big deal when your.

Oh wow

Yeeah.

So, it's Craigslist type of a site.

It's Craigslist 2.0. It's the next version.

How did you get, so if you look at the website, ladies and gentlemen in takelessons.com, you didn't do this in your backyard. This took some money to do. Was this out of your own pocket? How did you guys get started?

When we first got started, I funded the company.

Family and friends? Credit card?

Yeah, so it's just basically off, you know, another venture we had done.

Sure.

So I funded the company. And then we had some friends and family did a couple of rounds of Angel Investors, here with local tech investors. We had raised a total of about 1.7 million that round.

Wow.

Last year, we signed a big deal with Best Buy and we are now teaching inside of Best Buy stores across the nation. You may not have even known that they have done that, but that is something they have started to do.

Wow. No.

And with that, we had the ability to expand the business.

Sure.

And so we took our first round of institutional capital last year in May. It was a company called Crosslink Capital. They led the round. Did 6 million dollars. This the same guys who did Pandora.

Sure.

And then backup investors did, you know, Facebook, Twitter.

Oh, wow. Yeah.

All the big heavy weights in the internet space settings.

So what's the next step for you? Do you go public with this thing? I mean, what's the path of liquidity for you. Do you sell it to a Craigslist type thing? I think what people think about these things, well that guys got a cool little business but the investors isn't getting involved and hanging on for the next 20 years.

Yeah, right and that's true, you know, they're always looking for, "What's the return?"

That's the exit strategy, yeah.

And for us, we have very, very patient investors.

Oh, good.

And so that will allow us to really build out where we are. We're very, very focused on music. That's where we want to be at this point.

Nice. Good stuff man.

Well good for you brother. I really appreciate it. And this is the type of things our listeners, our viewers need to hear is that, even in this economy you got a good idea. Good ideas and talent will get you a long way, right? Steven Cox, ladies and gentlemen. Take lessons, takelessons.com. Thank you, man.

I hope you took lessons on that interview, everybody.

Yeah!

Go visit the website. Alright.

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I have $5,000.00 for YOU

By At Work, TakeLessons.com No Comments

To: My trusted business network

I have a cool $5,000 for someone – maybe you!

What's the catch?

Our company, TakeLessons, is growing like crazy (another year with over 100% growth in 2011) and we're looking for a rockstar VP of Marketing.

As one of my trusted business associates, I wanted to reach out to you to see if you might know of someone interested in an unbelievable opportunity to make a significant impact on a hot, growing company – and I'll pay you $5,000 for an intro.

Here's what we're looking for. This person has:

– Deep experience leading a consumer internet marketing division.
– Expertise at driving customer acquisition through SEM, SEO, Email, and other forms of digital marketing.
– Ability to lead and grow a team
– Experience driving revenues from $20mm to $100mm
– Experience as a Sr. Director or VP at a well known consumer site/brand is a big plus.
– Experience selling services a big plus

Here's how to earn the $5,000

– Think about people you know who might fit the description – even if they're not looking for a job
– Introduce us
– I'll follow up with them about the opportunity
– If we end up hiring them, I'll write you a check.

 
Here's an email you can cut and paste to send to your contacts:

Hi _________,

A great opportunity for a VP of Marketing just came across my desk and I wanted to share it with you in case you, or someone you know, might be looking to make a career move.

TakeLessons.com is America's leading music lessons company, providing in-person lessons in over 3,000 cities across the USA. They drive their sales online, and the service is delivered by certified teachers in person at the customers' residence or teachers studio.

The company has 93 employees, located in a cool office in downtown San Diego, and  is backed by the same venture capital firms that backed Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, and other internet powerhouses.

They are looking for a rockstar VP Marketing to help take them to the next level of growth and I thought about you. Here's what they are looking for:

Someone that has:
– Deep experience leading a consumer internet marketing division.
– Expertise at driving customer acquisition through SEM, SEO, Email, and other forms of digital marketing.
– Ability to lead and grow a team
– Experience driving revenues from $20mm to $100mm
– Experience as a Sr. Director or VP at a well known consumer site/brand is a big plus.
– Experience selling services a big plus

Full job description at: http://bit.ly/wLqSBl

Let me know if you're interested and I can make a personal intro to Steven Cox, CEO.

—————————

Thanks for all your help! Looking forward to paying someone $5,000!

Steven (at) takelessons (dot) <com>

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Steven Cox Interview on Fox 5 News – Finding the Right San Diego StartUp Company to Work For

By At Work, Speaking, Start Up San Diego, Start-Ups, TakeLessons.com, Venture Capital, Videos No Comments

 

http://StevenCox.com. Even with the unemployment rate in San Diego hovering around 10%, the city’s startup scene is bustling with activity and creating new jobs for San Diegans. TakeLessons.com CEO, Steven Cox, talks about the 10x100x100 event where 10 startup companies that have collectively raised over $100 million in venture capital and will be hiring 100 new employees next year.

A lot of technical and web people move to the San Francisco area to find work, but you’re saying there’s work right here and they don’t have to move?
• That’s Right!
• Cheaper to buy and rent housing here than in other hotbeds such as SV, NYC.
• A lot of startups are hiring

What’s it like working for a startup?
• Incredible! Faster pace. Quicker decisions. My startup: http://TakeLessons.com

For College Graduates:
o Instead of making coffee, make a difference.
o No cogs in the wheel
o Chance to work on things at a young age — (BEST BUY example)

For Senior people
o A chance to take your knowledge and build something you’re proud of.
o Make a positive, lasting impact.
o Grow leaders underneath you.
o Potential stock upside

Everyday, I wake up thankful that I get to go to work.
o Focused on building the new sort of company.
• A company with a conscious.
• A company that makes more than money, it makes a positive difference.
o Awesome people all focused on building a great company.
o Super laid-back dress code.
o No politics.

A lot of young Internet companies didn’t make it in the dotcom crash. What should a job prospect consider when looking at startups?

Not all startups are created equal.
• Management — is there adult supervision? People who have built and ran companies before.
• Culture — Do they have a strong sense of purpose, yet flexible enough to change on a dime.
• Funding — are they well-funded. http://CrossLinkCapital.com
• Product or Service — is it something that truly adds value to people’s lives?

What type of jobs do startups hire for and what tips do you have on landing a job there?
• Big focus on Software engineering, product management and developmet, IT
• Marketing, Sales, Customer Support, Finance, HR

Tell us a little bit about the 10 x 100 x 100 event.
• StartupsAreBetter.com
• 6pm Dec 1 at Sweet Labs (http://sweetlabs.com)
Joe KrausGoogle Ventures focused on mobile, gaming, local services
Michael Robertson — SD Local tech hero. MP3.com
• Focused on engineering and product talent

More information can be found at these sites:
http://10x100x100 and http://StevenCox.com

Screen shot 2011-12-02 at 3.35.28 PM

Steven Cox – TakeLessons Company Update at San Diego Venture Group Pitchfest

By At Work, Start Up San Diego, TakeLessons.com, Venture Capital, Videos No Comments

Steven Cox, CEO of TakeLessons and winner of 2010 San Diego Venture Group Pitchfest gives an update one year later on the progress the company has made since winning last year.

Transcription:

…Here’s a very simple message for our teachers and that is: you go teach and we will curate the absolute best instructors throughout the nation.

In fact, we hire about 5% of the instructors that apply to work for us as a contractor. We end up curating the top 5% based on an algorithm that we’ve written, as well as personal interviews that we assess each and every one of their character traits.

For the customers,we  provide safe, certified instructors for them. We’ve build online tools that make the site very unique that you can’t find anywhere else in the nation. We offer 100% money back guarantee, so anyone can go out and try lessons and if you don’t like it, just give us a call back and one of our friendly counselors will refund your money.

In essence, what’s happening is the business is going really, really well.

So, I’d like to give you an update on what’s happened. We were looking for a 3 million dollar raise as of December of last year, so we started in January and we took a total of 29 meetings, most of those were in the Bay area firms, we also talked to a couple San Diego firms, talked to Brian in the LA area. From there, this has kind of been the trait. So, in 2006 we had a seed round of $200,000, we did a round in 2008, followed that up in 2010 with $795,000 and last year we closed on our first institutional round for 6 million dollars.

Our lead investor on that was CrossLink Capital. Eric Chin is now a board member,  and it was our very first institutional raise, and I can say that he has been an exceptional board member.  We’ve now had two board meetings and they went pretty well. They had a lot of good information that they personally helped with out with, as a CEO, and they really opened some doors. Also in the round, we had Softtech Venture Capital, which has funded a couple of pretty good companies, and we are happy to be a part of that group. Also Maynard Webb, the ex-CEO of eBay, also came on board as an investor, and we are proud to have him, as we are looking to grow our marketplaces. We are very proud to get these folks into ground.

Employee growth: Let’s talk a little bit about how we’ve done since 2010. When we presented we were at 37 employees. As of today, in San Diego, we have 92, so we are growing. We are now located downtown [San Diego] and it feels really good to be able to provide great jobs for people, but also make the positive lasting impact on both our employees, as well as our customers. Next year we are going to be on a hiring spree. We expect by the end of the next year to be at around 155 to 165 people… so if you are looking for a job, please contact this table right here.

Quarterly revenues: when I presented last year, this is where we were on our quarterly revenue chart [show chart] and this year we will continue to grow. So, we have doubled in revenue this size off a pretty good base. Again, the capital really helped the team and everything we have been able to deliver quite well.

We struck a deal last year with Best Buy Musical Instruments. They have opened what is basically like a guitar center, inside over 100 of their stores, and we are now running the music lessons area for them. In fact, you can walk into a Best Buy, buy a guitar, and also take music lessons right there in the facilities. They are using all of our software and all of our instructors, in order to do that.

I think David, is actually a customer of ours –is that right? Down in Chula Vista? Perfect, thank you very much.

The Best Buy store roll out: we started at 32 stores, then we went to 103 stores, now you can walk into any single Best Buy store throughout the nation and buy a lesson pack and we will teach those lessons in your home. So that was just completed and we are announcing that here, this week, that now we are in every Best Buy store across the nation. It was a big roll-out and it took about a year and a half and we are really proud.

For 2012, what we are looking to do is once again double our revenues. Just as important as revenues, we also want to grow our people. We’ve never had the opportunity to really invest back into our people, with training and education and developing the culture the way that we want to. We think that this year we are going to be able to do that, and it feels really, really powerful and really good to be able to do that.

Also, one of our goals is to be in the top 5 companies to work for in San Diego. That is just as important to us as the development of the revenue side. So, this is what we are going to do this year.

I’d like to also give a big shout out to our “internal team”. It’s the folk who have been with us since day one:

-Randy Socel with DLA Piper

-Barney and Barney

-Wells Fargo and CoAmerica Bank have been awesome partners.

-Steve Martini from Quality First Commercial has kept us out of a lot of bad deals and gotten us into a lot of good commercial deals. So, we really appreciate you, Steve.

-All of our accounting firm team. [Round of applause]

So, finally all I would like to say is, I cannot tell you how much I truly appreciate the opportunity just from TakeLessions, to be able to come up here and present in front of the group. I’m sure all three of the contestants tonight feel the same way. I really wanted to encourage each and every one of you – the accounting firms, the law firms, the venture capitalists—we really need your support. Over the past three months I’ve been in probably 4 start-up gatherings. And over those past 4 gatherings, there was one venture guy that showed up, and I think we can do better than that. I think we can do better to support the scene. We are doing really well, but there is always room for improvement.
We just did a slide here, which show that there are 87 start-ups right here on this screen. It’s blossoming. We are seeing this every day. People contacting us asking, “hey, how do we get started,” “hey where do I go from here,” “who should I do my banking with,” “which venture guy should I reach out to…” We think that the scene is awesome.

You know, when we were doing our funding, the number one issue that CrossLink had was, “is there enough talent in San Diego. Can we pull in extra talent from San Diego in order to grow this business?” And really, what I would say is that that’s up to us here in this room. It’s not just up to the start-ups, the venture guys, but if we all work together, what I’d love to see—mainly because I don’t want to move to the bay area, because no one wants to live in the bay area, over San Diego— we’ve got an opportunity to grow this thing, as a group.

So, what I wanted to do was challenge each and every one of you, to look around and say, “how can I get more involved in the San Diego scene?” The San Diego Venture Group has pushed us off to a great start and we really appreciate the opportunity, but it’s time to step up our game.

I want to encourage you to raise the game and make San Diego awesome. Thanks so much!

 

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Never Graduate From Kindergarten

By Leadership, Quotes One Comment

IStock_000005322871XSmall I'm fortunate enough to have smart advisors for TakeLessons. They've been motivational and have kicked my ass to think at a higher level and become a smarter business person.

In addition to all the business advice I get, sometimes a life lesson will shine through. These life lessons tend to be just as valuable as all the business stuff. I'm meeting two advisors, Jordan Greenhall and Tom Siegel this friday to go over a few things. Here is the conversation:

Steven: 

Jordan / Tom,

Can you get together with me this Friday morning for about an hour? I want to show you what the numbers look like, and get a final opinion on the options we should consider.

Jordan:  I could do 10:00 am

Tom: I'm available 10 or 11

Jordan: Scratch that – move to 11:00. I have a kindergarten event at 10.

Steven: Great, 11 at Tom's office

Tom: 11 AM works for me too. (Jordan, I thought you already graduated from kindergarten? 🙂

Jordan: If you are lucky, you never graduate from kindergarten.

Steven and Tom: Great line and perfect timing.

———————

It was the perfect line for me yesterday. In all of the excitement, frustration, and worry of building a company and shouldering the responsibility of employees who rely on me, sometimes I forget to never graduate from kindergarten.

If you remember back when you were that age, the world was new and making friends was as easy as smiling at girl with the crayons. Recess was rejuvenating, and there were no bad habits to break. So today, I'm going to go back to kindergarten. It's an important step to ensure that I never lose that innocent curiosity. never forget to play, and never forget that people matter more than anything else.

How TakeLessons uses social media to sell services in the real world

By At Work, Marketing, Start Up San Diego, Web and Tech No Comments

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking for the Social Media Breakfast San Diego group on how our company, TakeLessons is using social media in the digital world to effectively build trust and engage with music lovers on a hyper-localized level. Thanks to Adam and Erin of Digital Operative (a wonderful San Diego social media company) for the invite.

While many in our field are taking a wait-and-see approach to social media, we feel it fits well within our mission to "inspire an entire generation through music". We can't inspire people if they don't know who we are, or what we stand for. Social media is a way for us to communicate our passion and listen to current and future customers.

Here is a slideshow of the presentation. Comments always welcome: