Feb 3, 2021 by Hsu Ken Ooi
Vibhas Jain is the co-founder and CEO of Outside Voice (Iterative S20), a no-code app builder for WhatsApp. On this episode, we talk about Vibhas (Vibes) childhood growing up in India, getting into and moving to Stanford but never actually attending Stanford, how he met his co-founder and came up with the idea of Outside Voice.
Hsu Ken: [00:00:00] hi everyone. My name is Hsu Ken. I’m a Managing Partner at iterative. Today we have Vibes from Outside Voice. Thanks for being here. Do you want to introduce yourself and Outside Voice?
Hey, Hsu Ken. I’m the boss from Outside Voice. Outside Voice is a Singaporean startup and we’re building a no-code app builder for WhatsApp.
Cool. Before we talk about Outside Voice, I want to talk a little bit about your life leading up to a, being a founder. I think one of the themes we talk a lot about on this podcast is just how people get into entrepreneurship. The idea of being, I think, There isn’t one path to get into entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs and founders come from a bunch of different backgrounds. And I thought yours was pretty interesting. Maybe we can start with just like where you grew up.
Vibes: [00:00:59] Sure. I grew up in new Delhi, India and I went to study product design in San Francisco right after high school.
Hsu Ken: [00:01:06] What was it like, what did your parents do? Was it like you grew up a pretty typical Indian teenager.
Vibes: [00:01:12] Yeah, I would say so. In India, it’s all about education and my parents were very education focused so I was always meant to be an engineer at an Indian engineering school and quickly realized that was not for me. I was always really attracted to product design and elegant solutions to problems. And when I saw that there was a big design movement centered around California, I really wanted to go there. I was lucky enough that my parents had the resources to send me to college in the States, which a lot of families in India don’t. My interest in software came from it was a segue from product design and specifically industrial design. I actually went to school to study designing physical products like hardware and then segue into software.
Hsu Ken: [00:01:54] How did you know about product design? When I was going to school design, a designer, wasn’t a job that I knew anything about. And probably, you and I have Asian parents and it was like engineer, lawyer, doctor designer was not in that. It sounds like you wanted to be a designer from like a young age. How did you know about it?
Vibes: [00:02:09] Yeah, I think I discovered it in high school and it was ideal. There’s a farm called ideal out in the Valley and they do a lot of great work and just browsing the internet. I found their website and I just, it wasn’t even about. Making things look good. They had all these solutions that they came up with. For example, bank of America had this round off the change program. So every transaction on your card, they would round off the change and deposited into your savings. And ideal went through their process and came up with that. And that resulted in like a huge, many sales for bank of America. And that was really exciting to me. So it was just following ideal and David Kelly at the Stanford school of design and all these people in what they were doing, that’s what kind of sparked it.
Hsu Ken: [00:02:53] Fun trivia fact. I lived across the street from IDEO SF. So their office was along the Embarcadero and I lived along the Embarcadero. Obviously Stanford is design school, which is quite famous Bay area, IDEO famously worked with Apple in the early days also Bay area. Was that kind of where you were like, okay, I got to get to SF I want to go to school in SF.
Vibes: [00:03:12] Totally. I tried to actually took a year, two years off after high school and I just bombed around there and try to get an internship at ideal didn’t work, but I was just living on the Stanford campus, just crashing with students all over and just having fun. I just gravitated towards that area. Back then I was super bullish on a few different companies, which I noticed that they had a very strong design sense in their products. And so it was like companies like Apple, Amazon, Netflix. My hypothesis on those companies was designed. That’s where I was coming from.
Hsu Ken: [00:03:46] When you were bumping around, where are you going to art school at the same time? Or were you like, I was just in San Francisco for two years and then I started art school.
Vibes: [00:03:52] I was just there for two, why I was there for a year back in India for a year. And then I started art school finally. When I was hanging around Stanford, I was actually doing exactly what I do now, which was, I was trying to convince developers to build my app ideas. But back then, I couldn’t. Design couldn’t code and didn’t have any money. So I had none of the elements I needed to convince someone , some of the people I was trying to convince back then they run really successful companies now.
Hsu Ken: [00:04:19] So you were really interested in design and then you were trying to convince people to basically bumming around Stanford and trying to convince CS students, I’m sure. To build products with you. How did you go from okay, I’m really interested in design, which doesn’t necessarily mean building products. But you went into this part where you had ideas you wanted to build products. Was that just a natural extension of the design work or were you like startups seemed really interesting.
Vibes: [00:04:39] Building an app seemed to be the quickest way to scale design idea, which you own. This was 2006 and Facebook was taking off in a lot of things. The new iPhone just launched. I was there on the day, the iPhone launched. And so it was just a really exciting time. And I knew that if I wanted to. I either I could design ideas sell them to someone else, or I could actually build a product and scale it as software seemed to be the quickest way to do that. My first idea was a music, coal listening app, where he wants to do a music app and that’s the one I was trying to build at that time.
Hsu Ken: [00:05:15] How did it work?
Vibes: [00:05:16] It was basically a zoom call where people listened to music together.
Hsu Ken: [00:05:20] Was it like turntable? Do you remember turntable back in the day?
Vibes: [00:05:23] Yeah, it was like turntable, but it was mobile first. And I think dozens of teams have attempted that idea since then. And yeah I don’t think that concept works. I think music listening is a very personal experience. People might share it for a few minutes, but. Not more than that.
Hsu Ken: [00:05:41] Walk me through the story a little bit. Where did that idea come from?
Vibes: [00:05:44] It just came from being really into music and. Just being really passionate about it, it would be great to listen to music with friends together. And that would be really engaging because you’re constantly sharing music with your friends back and forth. A lot of people do that. There still isn’t a good way to do that. There’s still a big gap in the market. Not saying that a business can be built around it, but it’s an activity people do, which isn’t sufficiently address.
Hsu Ken: [00:06:09] Spotify recently released a feature around this, which is you can listen with friends. And it’s still around somewhere,
Vibes: [00:06:15] It’s a really poor implementation of that. Yeah, we discussed it. We were like, Oh, this is so bad. I guess it’s just not the top priority for them. But a it’s probably user acquisition or something.
Hsu Ken: [00:06:24] Yeah, I’m not sure. Which it is right now. So you had this idea and then you couldn’t build the app yourself, at that point you were like, okay, you’re not a designer, you’re not an engineer so what did you do?
Vibes: [00:06:33] I knew some kids at Stanford and I pitched the idea to them. Just got ghosted by most of them, it was just sketches on paper, literally like pen sketches on paper. But later when I went to design school and I actually started designing apps better you have way more potential to excite someone with even a design prototype than just by describing an idea to people. So it’s really about whatever skill you can. To bring some part of your idea to life.
Hsu Ken: [00:07:02] So in my earlier days, when we were starting the first company, I was the designer of the group. And my design review meetings were the meetings that everybody was the most excited about, because it was like, we would talk about an idea and people just have visceral reactions to seeing it, they also have visceral reactions to trying it after you built it, but There’s this really visceral reaction to here it is right in your like showing them the design
Vibes: [00:07:23] Yeah, totally. It’s possible to motivate entire groups of people to do something just by helping them visualize it because they can see a goal and then there’ll be motivated to work towards it. So if you have trouble learning how to code, learn to design, right?
Hsu Ken: [00:07:39] Just a slight detour into this. I feel like the problem that you had is a problem that a lot of founders have. Which is you yourself want to do a startup and you’re like trying to convince people to work with on your things. And so you’re trying to motivate other people to do it. And so one way is you can design stuff to get people excited. I feel like another way that I’ve seen is engineers can obviously build stuff. But I’ve also seen salespeople who can sell stuff before it’s either designed or built and then they can convince people. And so depending on what your skill set is, I feel like there’s always stuff you can do to show people,
Vibes: [00:08:13] Definitely. If you can close a sale before building anything, that’s also great. Then you could go to an engineer and they will help you because you’ve closed the sale. From the story is that bill Gates sold the software first before building it. So yeah, that’s totally possible.
Hsu Ken: [00:08:28] Going back to Stanford just to be clear, you did not go to Stanford. You were bumming around Stanford, but somehow you made friends with Stanford kids. Like how did that happen?
Vibes: [00:08:36] Yeah, totally so long story. So right after high school, I was admitted to Sanford and I was supposed to join the class of 2012. After you get in to ask you to send your final high school transcripts, I didn’t do so well. On those. And then they were like, you know what? We’d like you to take a year off and take the AP exams. You guys know what AP exams are. And I was like, cool. Okay, fine. Whatever. And by that, but I was just, I just became so disinterested that I never took those tests. And I just wrote to them a year later say, you know what? I don’t want to go to Stanford. I’m going to go to art school. Yeah, I think I was pretty upset about them making me jump through those hoops.
Hsu Ken: [00:09:13] What made you so disinterested? Like they made you jump through the hoops and after that you were just like, all right. If you don’t want me, I don’t want you kind of stuff.
Vibes: [00:09:20] Yeah, I guess I just had, so for the AP exams are, they’re fairly easy. Like you can take those. After studying for a few weeks and still get a really good score. And I had a whole year to take them. So in the meanwhile because I’d been led into orientation and all the forums, and I had an email address, I had everything, so I had met all these people that started to started doing stuff. Like we were shooting a documentary on campus with all these students. They would just let me stay with them, meet all sorts of friends. And I just had so much time on my hands. And then I was just like, Yeah, I don’t, it’s just, when you have so much time, I was just like a baby. I don’t need this. Maybe I can just have this experience without going here.
Hsu Ken: [00:10:03] I feel like it’s because you got all the good stuff about going to college, like hanging out with everybody. It didn’t have to go to class. So you’re like, why would I want to go to class then after this?
Vibes: [00:10:12] Yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:10:13] How did you tell your parents? You’re like, Hey cause you got into Stanford, they’re probably very excited. And then you were like, Hey, so it turns out I am not going to go to Stanford.
Vibes: [00:10:21] They’re super upset. They were first super upset that I managed to get my admission deferred. Because going to Stanford is anyone’s dream yeah, it’s the dream. And then after that, a year later, when I was like, at the last minute, I was like, you know what, I’m not going to go. Yeah, they were upset, but they’ve always been super supportive. They’re like, just do what you want. I think I was also really obsessed with building my music app at that time. And I was like, I don’t want to go to class. I would rather build stuff.
Hsu Ken: [00:10:47] So you had never been to SF before Basically before moving there. And I feel like a lot of times especially people in Southeast Asia, I guess around the world who are into tech, you have this vision of what SF is like. So I had a friend she’s gonna kill me for telling this story. I just won’t say who it was. She was very into tech and she went to SF for the first time and she rented a hotel room and basically had no plans. And honestly, she just thought she was going to go to a coffee shop, meet a co-founder and then basically start Facebook like shooters. This is as long as you were here, things will happen to you. And I ended up staying in a hotel room most of the time, because it’s like that doesn’t, that’s not actually how it works. How did your experience in SF match up to what you thought it was going to be like, and maybe talk a little bit about there’s cultural stuff, and then there’s the types of people like just how did those kinds of expectations match up to what you actually saw? And you saw Stanford kids, which is a different segment of SF too.
Vibes: [00:11:42] I think I was just really young and just malleable. So just going in and you just Sanford, like day one, you meet people from every country, like Ethiopia, like everywhere. And just had a ton of friends. So it was, it’s really easy when you go to a place with a network. Like even when I moved to Singapore, there was a whole ETF network and that makes it really easy. If you go in without a network, it’s way harder. Yeah, there was a little bit of culture shock in the beginning, but it went away pretty quickly. I think when you’re young it’s much easier. There was just so much palpable excitement around tech. I remember being at talks where Zuckerberg was speaking. He used to be at that pizza place. I used to see him over there all the time. And then. I remember when the first iPhone came out, I was camped out, outside the Apple store in Palo Alto. And like Steve jobs walked in that day. He like walked right by me. And there was just so much palpable excitement around tech, even back then. It just rubs off on you. And when you’re on the campus, Stanford campus more than SF actually there was just clients, silly events talks. You could just drop into classes. Most of them, some of them you can get kicked out. So for me it was mostly Stanford rather than SF, I would say SF was design school and that came later.
Hsu Ken: [00:12:55] I don’t know what it is, but that is definitely one of the magical parts of just being around the Bay area. It feels like all of the tech, the big tech things are happening, like in your life, like you’re in the middle of it, right? Steve jobs walks by when the iPhone, only in Silicon Valley. How did beam around that change? How you thought about entrepreneurship and doing startups and building products.
Vibes: [00:13:21] I guess it was very immersive. That’s what you thinking about all the time. And the more conversations you have with people, even with business, I feel like the greatest currency is like how many people, and how many conversations you have. So when you’re just thinking about it all the time, you’re reading about it. You’re meeting people who are doing it. I guess it just amplifies everything. I never actually produced any software while I was there. So I don’t know how far that took, but it’s pretty excited about it.
Hsu Ken: [00:13:50] How long did you work on the music app?
Vibes: [00:13:52] We’d never worked on it. I just pitched it to a bunch of people and it didn’t go anywhere. I built that exact same music app a few years later. And it was in tech crunch was a New York times wired magazine and it was pretty great to have it. When I finally got around to building it, it went well.
Hsu Ken: [00:14:08] What kept you from building it the first time around
Vibes: [00:14:12] I would say, and this is just looking back in my thing, right? When I actually empowered myself to do some part of the process. And for me, that was designed, you got to bring something to the table. And that’s when I had. Skin in the game. That’s when a developer would look at this and be like, okay, this is why I should build with this person, because it’s not just an idea. They’re actually bringing something to the table. So for me, that’s what it was years later when we started building that app, it actually happened because I happened to be at a hackathon and I had a fully designed prototype of this app, which was like an interactive prototype. It played music. I, and so when you show that to a developer, they’re like, Do I go work on some idea, which is some pie in the sky, or do I work on this thing, which looks and feels amazing. So yeah, I think it was just bringing some, something finite to the table. That’s what, at least for a music app idea. That’s what helped me convince people to build it.
Hsu Ken: [00:15:08] is this like one of these things where you are connecting the dots after the fact, like when you were working on it? Thinking about it the first time , it sounds like you were trying to convince people to do it where people not willing to work with you on it.
Vibes: [00:15:18] No, because if I look back at my emails and my sketches , you sound like an insane person. It’s literally Oh, people are gonna listen to music together and they’re going to, and it’s a rough sketch with two circles in it. Have you ever seen the movie, the Hudsucker proxy? It’s a fictional story about the guy who invented the hula hoop. And he goes around showing people a picture of a circle and he’s for kids and people are like, are you insane? And then when he actually makes the thing, it turns out to be a genius idea, which just blows up. So it was like that.
Hsu Ken: [00:15:51] How did you make the decision to go to art school? Cause you were hanging out at Stanford, you went back to India for a year. It sounds like you could have gone to Stanford. Or you could have done many other things. But you’re like art school SS, like why that.
Vibes: [00:16:02] By the time I decided, okay, maybe I should go to college. My doors at Stanford were closed, because I told them at the last minute, I’m not going to Stanford. And meanwhile, I tried to do something else. I tried to pitch something to Coca-Cola in India, just like this idea for a drink or something that I was working on. So it’s yeah. More ridiculous stuff.
Hsu Ken: [00:16:22] I feel like that’s interesting. There is this common thread, you definitely didn’t have the common path. And it sounds actually like the common path that most people would dream of, you had access to. I don’t know how many people in the audience would like love to go to Stanford. And you ended up doing. Weird things, you’re like, I’m gonna make this music app and I’m gonna just going to go to Stanford. Anyway, I’m going to pitch Coca-Cola in India. Like what, where, like, where did this Coca-Cola pitch come from? What made you want to do that?
Vibes: [00:16:49] It was just looking at the Indian culture in which kind of soda is consumed. That setting is very different from. The States and where, soda was invented and all this stuff was invented. So in India, people like you serve it to guests in a more formal settings. Sometimes when people come over, it’s almost like a celebratory drink. And none of that was being addressed through the marketing or even the product itself. So my pitch was this celebratory version of Coca-Cola almost like a Coca-Cola champagne meant for India. I think I pitched it to the vice president of marketing at Coca-Cola India. I didn’t get explicitly laughed out of the room, but I’m pretty sure they were amused.
Hsu Ken: [00:17:32] I feel like I’m halfway to talk to myself into funding this right now. You still think this is a good idea or a bad idea.
Vibes: [00:17:38] It could work. It could work. I just think you have to be inside Coca Cola to make it work. Or you spend a few million doors launched this as a separate company and then get Coca-Cola to acquire you. I think that’s the business path to making that happen.
Hsu Ken: [00:17:52] We’re not going to do DTC champagne and soda in India right now.
Vibes: [00:17:57] Not me, but yeah, if someone wants to, I think there’s room
Hsu Ken: [00:18:02] It’s awesome that you pitched them, but like the average person is not thinking about these things. And the average person is definitely not. How old were you at the time when you were pitching them to Coca-Cola?
Vibes: [00:18:11] 19.
Hsu Ken: [00:18:12] Yeah, like the average person is not thinking about this stuff and the other person is not trying to pitch it to the VP of Coca-Cola in India. Like what do you think made you think about these types of things? I think most 19 year olds are like hanging out and like partying and stuff.
Vibes: [00:18:25] Yeah. So I think just having the time to think about things. I think the Stanford deferral was a blessing in disguise. When you have so much structure around your day and all this stuff, you’re not going to have the. Sometimes you might struggle to find time to think of an execute ideas. Yeah, even growing up, I lived in LG area for two years cause my dad was posted there and I was homeschooled for those two years and I, yeah. And I remember it. Homeschooling was basically just me teaching myself by just reading a bunch, whatever showed up in the mail. And that only took up like a few hours a week. And that’s when I realized that school doesn’t have to take up that much time. And that was really great Lake free and clear if period for me, like I would just do whatever I wanted. Mostly just read a lot of books. Yeah. And that’s what I realized that having your time being in control of your own time that’s really powerful and it can really stimulate creativity.
Hsu Ken: [00:19:24] I feel like a lot of people though. If they just have a bunch of free time into playing like video games and hanging out with friends and stuff, but it sounds like you channeled it into creative pursuits. Do you think that’s something in your upbringing? Is that kind of in your personality, your parents what do you think that comes from?
Vibes: [00:19:42] That’s a good question. I had no exposure to anything creative growing up. My parents are sort of government employees
Hsu Ken: [00:19:50] So they were not rebellious. Government employee is not known for rebellion.
Vibes: [00:19:53] no, not at all. My parents worked the same job for 30 years each. Yeah. Where does that come from? Yeah, really not sure.
Hsu Ken: [00:20:00] My father also worked the same job for 25 years. And so I’m also I don’t know where this comes from. I guess we moved around a lot growing up. It sounds like you’ve moved around a little bit too. So I wonder if that change in perspective sparked some of that.
Vibes: [00:20:11] Yeah, I think that helps. And plus like you and I have spoken before for both our parents, there was economic mobility, right? Like sharp.
Hsu Ken: [00:20:19] Yep.
Vibes: [00:20:19] And I, yeah I think that also helps the moving around the economic mobility, both of those things just give people like us more freedom to like, think about stuff. I think.
Hsu Ken: [00:20:29] Privileged, I think is the word here, I think privilege is all the word is the word here.
Vibes: [00:20:34] Totally. Totally. Totally.
Hsu Ken: [00:20:36] I always think that there’s always these inklings of like entrepreneurship. I feel like a lot of times when I like listening to people’s stories, like when they were young and they just do weird stuff Okay, so you pitched Coca-Cola, they didn’t laugh you out of the room, but basically and then you were like, okay, art school.
Vibes: [00:20:51] Yeah, at that point I was basically like, I think I need to go back to school, whatever. Whatever my entrepreneurial attempts are. I’m basically just getting laughed at whether it is this or that. And so I was like, I don’t think I know what I’m doing yet. Let’s try something else. And I wanted to go back to SF because I, I just felt that it was a really magical place. The art school I went to is called the Academy of art university. It’s almost like community college. It’s like anyone can go there.
Hsu Ken: [00:21:17] You were going to do industrial design. Were you thinking I want to work on physical products.
Vibes: [00:21:21] Yeah. I think back then I was really excited about physical products. So I was focusing on that.
Hsu Ken: [00:21:27] Was it the whole Apple kind of effect? I remember there was this there was like these five, seven years where every designer wanted to be an industrial designer. Cause Apple is like doing so much stuff.
Vibes: [00:21:36] I think that’s totally what it was. But I’m just picking up Photoshop in school, led me into software design.
Hsu Ken: [00:21:42] How did that kind of come back? So you were like, okay, you were studying industrial design and then I guess you worked on this music app, right? Was that your first kind of four year? Like back into software design and building software products?
Vibes: [00:21:53] No. So when I was after school, I went back to India. And when I was in India, a friend was launching an e-commerce website, selling peop selling stuff for people who want to set up bars at home to like a really nice bar too, so that they can drink from. And he said, Hey, I know you. No, you how to, I know, how to use Photoshop. Can you design my website for me? And I had never designed a website before and I was like, okay, sure. I’ll give it a shot. And that was my first software design project. And then I went to work for, PTM, which is like this Indian unicorn. While at PTM, I still had the age to build my own music app. It never really got to scratch that a trait. So I convinced some of the iOS developers worked at PTM to work on that idea with me and the first version of the music app that they built. It didn’t even make it to the app store because I think they just got frustrated and they left before we even finished. They’re like, this is taking too long and then they wouldn’t even give the code over to me. And I was like, okay, anyway, this is a total disaster. Yeah, the second time I, then I attempted it again at my next job and that went much, much better.
Hsu Ken: [00:22:59] Wait. So you’re basically just like changing jobs so that you have access to new engineers that you can like convince to do this like music app.
Vibes: [00:23:07] The first time actually I’d paid them. I actually paid them out of my pocket to
Hsu Ken: [00:23:11] and they didn’t give you the code.
Vibes: [00:23:12] they still didn’t. Yeah, children’s just got screwed over. But I think the lesson that I learned from that was. You don’t want some people can make it work, but you don’t want these people working on contract. You really want a technical co-founder. So at, by next place I found a technical co-founder who is actually as intuitive as I was. So it wasn’t just doing it to make a quick buck. And that was the version that we launched and that, yeah. It got a lot of attacks.
Hsu Ken: [00:23:36] So I feel like that the technical co-founder is like really hard to find, right? So the first, your first set of engineers, who you paid on a contract. Okay. Not easy to find, but like you can do it, right? Like you can find people like that. The second one who really cares, wants to take risks, you didn’t pay him or her.
Vibes: [00:23:51] No. And that was total surrender pity because our company organize these company-wide hackathons and it was like build anything. And so I met this person at that hackathon and like I said, I had a design prototype of the music app on my phone. I’d just been working on it nights and weekends. It was really nice. Like it was Very charming prototype. And so six people at that hackathon worked on this app together. We won the hackathon, won a bunch of prizes, and that was, some validation for that developer that this thing could be well received. This is worth something. And then we all, we just started working on it nights and weekends together.
Hsu Ken: [00:24:30] How did you, I guess a couple of questions just like zooming in, on meeting this engineer, like, how did you know that this person was going to be the type of person that wanted to take on this kind of risk that wasn’t like the other engineers where you, it sounds like you’ve been pitching this idea, like throughout your life and so many engineers, like each one you were like, okay I need to find somebody more like this, not like this. How did you figure out that this person was going to be the right person?
Vibes: [00:24:56] I think it’s all in hindsight. When you have either one or zero, people were willing to work on your thing. It’s not like I had a choice. Yeah, it’s all in hindsight that turned out to be the right person.
Hsu Ken: [00:25:07] What was different about this person than the other engineers that you work with?
Vibes: [00:25:11] Let’s see much better communication with this person. And you had a lot more common interests and just felt like someone you could trust more.
Hsu Ken: [00:25:20] Risk tolerance?
Vibes: [00:25:22] Yeah. So this person Definitely wanted to take risks because at some point they actually quit their job to work on this full-time without me even asking them. So they wanted, yeah, they wanted to take risks. And then this person actually went on to start more companies and exited one of their companies. So they definitely had the entrepreneurial itch with, or without me. So that’s one thing. If the person only is only thinking about entrepreneurship only because you introduced them to it, then maybe not they have to already be thinking about it. But at the end of the day, your relationship with your co founder, it shouldn’t feel like a transaction. It’s not right. Like it very much has to be a relationship.
Hsu Ken: [00:26:02] We just I was talking to a friend of mine who was starting a company and looking for a co-founder and basically had been working with somebody for a month or two. And they, he wasn’t sure if they had the right risk tolerance to do a startup. And they like, he was, and basically the way it ended up was this person said I will join full. I will quit my job and join your startup full time. If we get into YC. And basically he was like, what do you think about this? It rubs me the wrong way, whatever I was like, I don’t think you should do it. I think that tells you everything. You need to know, like cool finding relationships. Can’t be like, Hey vibes. You should, I will join your thing. If you get fun, if you get fundraising, like that’s not a co-founder. Yeah.
Vibes: [00:26:45] Totally. So someone who’s gotta be in with you on it, you can tell by the conversations, right? Cause the best thing I’ve heard about startups is that it’s a shared, it’s a constructive delusion. So when you talk to them, you look into their eyes, are they as diluted as you are? And so that should be it if they’re unconvinced and they’re just minimizing their own risk, then yeah. Maybe that’s not the right thing. But on the other hand, you hear about people like that on the, how I built this podcast, there was the Callan Lee guy and he built this, he built a startup by paying an agency in Ukraine and outsource dev shop. And yeah, I think they does 10 million a year in revenue. No, I think they do a hundred million a year in revenue. I’m not sure, but yeah, he started. Yeah. He started with the dev shop in the Ukraine. So there’s lots of ways to do it, I think, yeah,
Hsu Ken: [00:27:37] Yeah, I guess there is a lot of work. Calendly is an amazing story. Like they, they raised very little money. I don’t know if you
Vibes: [00:27:43] yeah. Totally.
Hsu Ken: [00:27:45] do a lot of us do. Yeah. There’s lots of different ways to tackle it. I don’t know if I would I don’t know if I would recommend their way, the Calendly way of doing it, but there’s lots of, even if you can write,
Vibes: [00:27:54] Yeah, no, of course. I know people who’ve sunk money into dev shops and money and time, and nothing came out of it.
Hsu Ken: [00:28:00] I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this story. When Brian and I first spent, so Brian is one of the, is the other managing partner. He was, we were basically, we were having the conversation of should we all quit our jobs? And Brian asked, my brother was like, are you quitting your job? And my brother was like, yeah, I think so, whatever, Brian didn’t bother asking his brother because his brother was still in college. And so it was like, you have no job to quit. And then he didn’t, he skipped over me. He was like, okay, that’s it then. And I was like, are you going to ask me? And he was like, I don’t need to ask you, you quit your, you would have quit your job like two months ago. And so I think sometimes in those early days, you’re just excited by anybody that wants to take the level of risks that you’re going to take. Do you have. Any advice on how to find people like that. I guess this is skipping ahead quite a lot, but like you went through the F which kind of like famously puts people together and stuff. So I think this is something you’ve probably struggled, maybe too strong, but like I’ve dealt with right. Finding people to work with.
Vibes: [00:28:53] yeah, definitely. In programs like E F and I think like on-deck is another one which is popular in the Valley.
Hsu Ken: [00:29:00] Yep. Antlers and other one.
Vibes: [00:29:01] Handler is a great one. They make it easy to find people, and as long as you’re somewhat sociable, you will find a co-founder who you think you get along with, or you get along with, but surviving the ups and downs of a startup without the presence of a deep relationship. That’s hard, it takes a toll, but I guess what to look for in a co-founder I guess if that’s your question?
Hsu Ken: [00:29:24] I guess there’s like what to look for, but then there’s the other part too, of like, how do you, I think you were fortunate and I was fortunate to meet people who had the similar kind of like risk tolerance. How do you increase your probability of running into people who have that kind of risk tolerance? So for you, you ran into this person who worked at the same company as you was it a startup at that point or was it like a pretty big company?
Vibes: [00:29:46] It was a pretty big company. Yeah, it
Hsu Ken: [00:29:48] pretty big company.
Vibes: [00:29:49] Yeah. It was like a, it was already at a billion dollar valuation.
Hsu Ken: [00:29:51] Okay. So it’s a huge company. Got
Vibes: [00:29:53] huge company yet, which means that people were bored without having much to do on the side.
Hsu Ken: [00:30:00] I guess hackathons are self-selecting a little bit like the people who really want to do hackathons are probably like someone motivated.
Vibes: [00:30:06] Yeah, I think so. I’ve found, I found people at hackathons and yeah. Which is, the accelerator. And yeah, it is self selection. It’s people who are there because they feel the itch to build something or a business or a product or something like that.
Hsu Ken: [00:30:21] Let’s jump ahead to the F part. So you were in India, you worked for kind of these two unicorns. You had launched this music app. But it sounds like some other people like ran with it and then you did not follow them .
Vibes: [00:30:31] Oh, I know. We all worked on it for a year and a half. And then, yeah, it just didn’t go anywhere. We’ve shut it down amicably and we’re all still really good friends and everyone has their own startup. All of the startups are doing well.
Hsu Ken: [00:30:45] Do you count that as your first startup? That sounds like a true startup kind of experience, right?
Vibes: [00:30:49] Yeah. I think it was the first one which actually built an audience and actually got international attention
Hsu Ken: [00:30:55] You guys were written up in tech crunch and wired . What did that feel like?
Vibes: [00:30:59] Yeah, that was crazy. It was just, it was four kids from India just building this in their free time. And next thing you know, we’re on tech crunch and all these places we’re getting calls from Silicon Valley. VCs were like, didn’t even know how to talk to them on the phone flew to meet Sequoia and all this stuff. And none of it really went. Yeah. None of it went anywhere, but Yeah, that felt pretty great. It was honestly just great to see that you have an idea and that you build it and people will notice like you put it up. We didn’t, we never spent anything on marketing. So people will notice if the product is good, people will notice that it doesn’t matter that you’re sitting in India or wherever you are. So that was really exciting. It was just validation. Even though we didn’t get any money out of it or build a real business. It was like, when you pull something out of nothing and you put it out there, people respond. It just tells you that. Okay. Maybe I’m not insane. Something that I was convinced was worth. Something is worth something. Because even when people are spending a lot of time in that app, that’s worth something. We had people sending us letters like, Oh my God, this app saved my long distance relationship and all this stuff like that. It was very gratifying.
Hsu Ken: [00:32:08] I know this was the case for us when we first started out, because you’re like, We were kids. It sounds like you were at the age where you’re like, I basically think of I, I think of ourselves as kids at that time, you were pretty young. You are building this stuff in anonymity and nobody cares and you build lots of stuff that nobody cares about. And then your first taste of the tech crunch and all of that. I remember where I was told me and all of that stuff to you remember all of that.
Vibes: [00:32:33] Oh, I totally, I was on vacation in Thailand. With a bunch of my friends and I had notifications on Slack on, and it just started blowing up like hundreds. And I’m like, what just happened? And that was our everyone mentioning us on Twitter and we were like, wait, what happened? And then we just traced everything back and yeah, it was a pretty surreal moment. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. Hsu Ken: [00:32:58] Feel like when the first time that happened to was like, you couldn’t tell us anything like you. I was convinced we were going to be the next Facebook. You couldn’t tell us anything. Talk to me about your first meeting with Sequoia. What was that kind of light? Sequoia is as big Silicon Valley VC. You went to St. Hill road, I’m guessing.
Vibes: [00:33:14] Oh no. This was the Sequoia in Bangalore.
Hsu Ken: [00:33:17] Oh in Bangalore. Okay.
Vibes: [00:33:18] we S we get phone calls with a few people on Sand Hill, but yeah, this was Sequoia and Bangalore. Yeah. All of us flew there. We, four of us flew there. Some people dressed up, some people were like more, more casual nonchalant, but yeah, it was just, it was a meeting with a principal. Like the junior, most person would probably just call this in just to amuse himself.
Hsu Ken: [00:33:40] I it’s have a game plan when Brian and I first did it. We like spending an entire day, like game planning. We like Brian and I had this pitch off so Brian would patient, I would pitch it’d be like, okay, who’s better at pitching. We like had this whole thing. At the end of the day, why do we do this?
Vibes: [00:33:53] Oh we, no, we didn’t
Hsu Ken: [00:33:55] You guys are smarter than
Vibes: [00:33:56] We were just going to talk about it. I don’t think it lasted more than 45 minutes that meeting. Yeah. More than the investors. We were excited about, like the fat thousands of people pouring into the app. We had this manual thing, the founders would chat, but the initial people I’d play a few songs for them and actually say there . I just remember so many people that we spoke to.
Hsu Ken: [00:34:18] Your servers fall over or anything like that.
Vibes: [00:34:21] I think your service held up. I think we got blocked from the Spotify API at one point then got unblocked and lots of other things happen. I remember when the first time I tried to build this app, the people who would charge me and then kept the code. I remember them walking into the app and I remember chatting with them and they’re like, dude, great work. This is amazing. And I was just like ethics.
Hsu Ken: [00:34:42] If you don’t give me my money back or give you the code.
Vibes: [00:34:45] I remember the first person at Stanford who had pitched this app to that person walking into the app and me onboarding them manually Hey, listen to some songs. And that felt good too, because it was just like, I just want to let you know, I wasn’t insane. I told you this was worth something.
Hsu Ken: [00:35:00] I totally can empathize with the. You feel like it’s insane, right? Because you’re spending so much energy on something and for you you’ve been pitching this idea for like, how long have you been pitching that idea?
Vibes: [00:35:11] I initially pitched it for when I was 18 and then resume pitching it when I was like 24 as a six year hiatus.
Hsu Ken: [00:35:20] How did you guys decide to stop working on it?
Vibes: [00:35:24] Yeah, so we, we tried all sorts of growth tactics, right? Like getting new artists to post us on Instagram with customized video snippets and a lot of other stuff. And at one point we were just like, it’s not growing. Users are not coming back often enough, the ones which do are not spending enough time in the app. And we recognize the next feature fallacy that we were like, okay, if we build groups, maybe it’ll take off. And we’re like, we don’t think this is working.
Hsu Ken: [00:35:55] Do you want to explain the next feature fallacy for people real quick?
Vibes: [00:35:58] The next feature fallacy is when you’re convinced that the reason your product isn’t working is because you haven’t built this one add on piece. And as soon as you build it, it’s going to take off, but more often than not, it’s a Mirage. So yeah, you don’t want to fall for that.
Hsu Ken: [00:36:14] I’ve personally fallen into strings of that, you’re like, okay, just this one feature. And then you like build that one feature and you’re like, just this one feature and you’re like eight teachers and it’s brutal. Okay. So you stopped working on that. And then what happened after that? You had basically been pitching this idea for six years. You actually got people to do it. You actually got some traction on it and then you were like, okay, we’re shutting it down. Which, it’s gotta be disappointing, right?
Vibes: [00:36:38] Totally. Eh, but it wasn’t a moment. Like we saw it coming over three, six months and there’s a lot of tough conversations. We shut it down. It was disappointing. But typically what happens with these things is you think it was all wasted effort and then a year later it unlocks a new door for you. And you’re like, Oh, so that’s what that was for it wasn’t wasted. So what happened was my co-founder from that music app he joined the EDF program in Singapore and started building this AI company and he told them, look, you should really get this guy from India. He’s, I had built my, and so they, they brought me over here to EIF and I built my first kind of funded startup.
Hsu Ken: [00:37:17] Why didn’t you guys work together?
Vibes: [00:37:19] He did, he EF like a year before me I had a job yeah. To start up. And and then, yeah, so I only, after he went through EDF and he raised money himself, he was like, yo, you should try this. So yeah, that, that opportunity that whatever I did over there led me to this. Don’t think it’s wasted time.
Hsu Ken: [00:37:37] What made you want to get back on the horse?
Vibes: [00:37:41] I guess still just at the end of the day, just building a company which continuously delivers value to customers. Because when you put so much effort into a product at the end of the day, you just want to see people use and enjoy your product continuously that at the core, that’s what you want. And we couldn’t get that, with the engine we’ve been built, wasn’t sustainable. So I just wanted to take another crack at it. I guess I’m also just in my job. I was just like, I’m probably only using two to three hours of my time effectively. Yeah. I went and told my employers that I think that made them even happier. Hsu Ken: [00:38:25] Yeah I feel like you have a hard time with structure a little bit with the whole, like Stanford asking you to jump through hoops and then your employers you and I have talked about this a little bit. We’re both very much product people. And a lot of product people that I talk to there’s this, I don’t want to call it a drug, but when people really start using this thing that you made, you get this like satisfaction and this high that is so fulfilling and. You keep craving it. You’re like, Oh, I like, I want that somewhere. And so I don’t know. I think for me, that kind of keeps me going a lot. And maybe for you, it has like similar.
Vibes: [00:38:58] Definitely. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s heartbreaking when you build something and people don’t want to use it. Yeah. That’s also heartbreaking.
Timestamp resets because we continued the interview at a later date.
Hsu Ken: [00:00:00] All right. And we’re back. Basically our interview went long because we were just talking about stuff . Then as life of a founder goes, you had to run to a sales call. So we’re picking this back up, maybe I don’t know, maybe like a week later and maybe a good place to this is a very natural place to start again is actually talking about outside voice. Where did the idea for outside voice come from?
Vibes: [00:00:21] Totally. When my co-founder and I met at EF. They’re very much encouraged us to not work on ideas, which the co-founders came up with while having a beer together. And they encouraged us to work on ideas, which actually came from industry research. So the idea came from me going to a design meetup where the head of design at grab, which is basically the Uber of Southeast Asia. And I literally just put my hands up in the after talk questions. And I was like, what are some of your biggest pain points right now with your team? And so just when riffing off of some of the things that I heard from him. It just came from having conversations with people we had access to and thinking about what B2B enterprise product could we build for those people.
Hsu Ken: [00:01:07] Did you end up following up with whoever? Whoever that person was like, Hey, I actually started a company around.
Vibes: [00:01:11] Yeah. We follow up with them, try to sell it back to them. We did like line of contract with them and then. Not only that they, they were interested in investing both in personal capacity and then with like funds that they represent. It’s actually very gratifying for the person. You go back to the person who you got the idea from to show them that you built it. It’s a great story for them.
Hsu Ken: [00:01:32] EFs advice is interesting around Hey don’t come up with the idea, around a beer, because I feel like I’ve definitely seen a lot of ideas come out around beers too. Do you agree with it? What’s the rationale around it? There’s no one way to do
Vibes: [00:01:43] There’s no one way to do it. One of the, we did idea around, around a beer and one of the ideas that we really came up with was, Oh, what if podcasts had transcripts? And then you could search them all. And then, but as it turns out, there was other, very smart people working on that and Google built, something like that. Other startups build something like that, we would. And whereas with the idea that we went with, We’re still early to this and it’s been a couple of years the research method led us to a more unique value proposition than what we just came up with between ourselves, that whatever we came up with between ourselves, there’s probably dozens, if not hundreds of teams, which came up with the exact same thing, but what we’re working on now, it’s much, much fewer teams that have come up with this.
Hsu Ken: [00:02:28] The transcription is a good idea. Descript, I think is the big one, right? Like Andrew Mason from Groupon is doing that now. Is that basically what you guys were thinking? If you look at that product,
Vibes: [00:02:36] We basically wanted to make podcasts searchable with texts, all podcasts. And so Google’s attempting that there’s a startup called shuffle, which our friend built
Hsu Ken: [00:02:46] Oh, I know Adda.
Vibes: [00:02:47] Oh, there you go. You know how to, okay. So Gilbert was in the F her co founder and in fact, in the same card as cash and I. Yeah, so we just felt like we didn’t have an edge there. I guess he programmed us to think a certain way. Yeah, no complaints.
Hsu Ken: [00:03:02] Yeah. I think you join programs like this because part of it is you learn how they think about stuff, right? That’s part of the reason you joined like iterative, right? It’s okay. Hopefully these guys seem like they’re smart. We want to see with how they think about stuff. So I know you and Kosh met at EF. I guess maybe not everyone is familiar with it. You, if you want to explain just like very quickly how works.
Vibes: [00:03:22] totally EF is a founder dating program where the group of hundred people start a cohort. And in the, over the next three months, they kind of speed date each other and work on ideas. Typically, each person goes through two or three co-founders before they finally land on something and someone that they want to work with eff takes about. Half of these teams and funds them gives them, some money incorporates their company and then you move on and you try to make your company survive and thrive.
Hsu Ken: [00:03:51] And how, and what was it about posh that made you where you, I guess when you first met him, were you like, okay, this is the guy, or were you like, I don’t really like this guy that much, and you grow on you.
Vibes: [00:03:59] Totally w caution. I went, each went through two or three other people first, before we finally started working with each other. And for us, it started more as a friendship where you were just having lunch with each other and hanging out and just riffing on ideas. And then we were like, we get along. Should we try and working on something together? It was definitely person first and then, okay. Let’s work on something together. And then there was like, and then I had already been researching this idea. I was like, gosh, Let’s work on something that is based on research.
Hsu Ken: [00:04:28] I’m I’m surprised that you guys didn’t get together at the beginning of the program. I haven’t hung out with you guys. Like you guys are totally friends, so I’m surprised you didn’t just see each other from across the room and be like, we should do something.
Vibes: [00:04:38] Yeah both of us were initially gravitated towards super technical co-founders because that’s the first instinct and an accelerator like yeah. Can I find the most deep tech person? It’s like a fight you get in there. It’s a fight for the AI people without even necessarily being clear on what do you want to build with AI, but that’s seen, perceived as a scarce resource, so costs try to build A Bitcoin exchange, a defy exchange with someone. I try to build something I think, with something else and yeah,
Hsu Ken: [00:05:09] It’s surprising to hear because you guys are both technical. It’s not like you are non-technical founders, you’re both technical. And even then you were like, okay, we want even more technical. Co-founders.
Vibes: [00:05:19] Yeah, totally. You have it makes you think in these terms that the deeper, the more proprietary tech that you can build, that’s where the best tough comes out. Some of their flagship startups are building like space stuff where like they’ve been added for five plus years with no product. Yeah. That’s yeah, we really drank the Kool-Aid there. Yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:05:39] What ultimately made you come to the decision Hey, we should do this together. Let’s not talk to other people. Was there any kind of like moment that you knew or was it just, I don’t know. You guys have been working together for awhile and it made sense.
Vibes: [00:05:51] we just gone each country, a couple of breakups each, and then we’re still riffing off of ideas.
Hsu Ken: [00:05:57] Do you guys call it breakups, like internally at EF?
Vibes: [00:05:59] It is called a breakup. There’s a Slack channel where a bot auto reports a breakup, because it’s a formal thing that you go on the dashboard and you Mark yourself as single again. And the Slack channel report said, and everyone applaud. Everyone’s like great job guys. So there’s emoji reactions and everything. It’s a whole system.
Hsu Ken: [00:06:17] There’s some drama there where somebody like breaks up with somebody, but didn’t tell the other person and they find out black.
Vibes: [00:06:22] There is a guy who got on a flight and by the time he got off, he found out that he’d been,
Hsu Ken: [00:06:29] Okay. That’s brutal. I feel like we could do a gossip podcast that is just like a whole gossip stuff that happens.
Vibes: [00:06:34] Oh, there’s big time drama. There’s cheating. There’s people who like cheat on people while they’re yeah. There’s all sorts of stuff that happens.
Hsu Ken: [00:06:41] If we just take this dating thing way too far, because apparently they call it breakups too. There must be a proposal right. Where you’re like, okay, you are the going to be the person. Is there a Slack notification for proposals?
Vibes: [00:06:52] No. So the proposals happen offline and then the relationship is formalized, but caution, I would just hanging out and we just realized we really talking to each other. And we’re just riffing off each other about new technologies, new products that we find interesting. At sitting down in one lunch, we came up with three or five ideas. We were excited. We weren’t even trying to come up with ideas. It was more like, wouldn’t it be cool if this exists? So it just came to a point when we were both single I probably popped the question. I was like, Hey, we sh we should consider working together to get totally I’ll be down. And then later I was like just let’s formalize it. Let’s do it. But it was just, the conversation was gravitating towards that. So it didn’t really feel like. It w I knew he was going to say yes. ,
Hsu Ken: [00:07:31] Oh, so like it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was like, of course we should do this.
Vibes: [00:07:36] Totally. It would be a waste of time not to do it. Because there’s two people singing, single people sitting with each other with complementary skills will get along with each other, have ideas. Why would you not get together? There’s no, that’s enough makes it so that there’s no downside to it. It makes more sense to try it and get rid of the relationship in a week. So they really move the fear of trying so that they definitely do a good job of that.
Hsu Ken: [00:08:00] It’s interesting because when I first met the both of you, I thought you were old friends. And especially since like you like posh actually went to Stanford. So I was like, Oh, they must’ve met. And he was in SF for a while. So you guys had like similar backgrounds in you like overlapping paths. And I was like, Oh, they must know each other for a long time. So I was surprised to hear that.
Vibes: [00:08:17] Every post spent like many years in the Bay area. That’s probably why we vibed. Just yeah. Also just like Indian bros. So we, the first time we hung out was over Indian food, even in a funeral lunch. So yeah, totally. There’s a lot we have in common.
Hsu Ken: [00:08:32] Just to wrap things up a little bit, I have one serious question. And then one fun question. The serious question is you’ve worked on a couple of projects before and I think you’ve done more than once, right? And you guys are part of the Facebook, et cetera. You’re a part of iterative. Quite a bit about accelerators. Do you have advice for people who are thinking about accelerators? When is the right time to join one? How did you guys kinda think about it?
Vibes: [00:08:55] Both CAUTI and I moved to Singapore from other countries. We land here with zero connections. So when you think about joining accelerator, always ask you how rich is your network. If you’re in Silicon Valley with really deep connections, which traverse in all directions, you can get investments co-founders very easily. Maybe you don’t need an accelerator. If you’re sitting in another country, you don’t have such a rich network and accelerator can do wonders, right? Like even things like beyond DEC, I’m hearing so many good things about that. At the end of the day, when we are struggling with something, we have Slack channels available, like theater it, one that , it can be anything from like lawyers, taxes, logistical issues to broader issues, the speed with which you’ll resolve those issues. Is going to be much quicker. If you have a solid network of people and an active, engaged network where people actually feel obliged to help each other. There’s a lot of networks and forums where you don’t even know the people and if no one really responds to it. And so it’s all about the speed with which you can resolve whatever issues which come up and yeah. Accelerators are pretty amazing for that. Yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:10:06] About it as definitely YC in the Valley is thought of as like a network, I think. The badge itself is helpful, but I think most people think about it as it’s really the YC kind of community as anything else. So I guess if you thought about it a similar way for the accelerator.
Vibes: [00:10:21] yeah, I would say so the immediate benefits obviously are some, some funding and mentorship from the accelerator itself, which is great, but that lasts for a few months. The lasting value that we really get is after the accelerator, right? Like probably every week I speak to any Kel ETF startup or someone, and same for iterative, right? Like we’re in constant touch with them. So that’s what I would say. The longer lasting value is going to come up.
Hsu Ken: [00:10:48] We actually try to suss this out when we are Talking to people who are applying to the batch are they just doing this for the money? Because if it’s honestly just the money you can get larger checks from other places Unless you’re interested in engaging with the. Program it’s going to be a waste of your time. Cause we’re, we’re going to ask you to like, do a bunch of stuff. Not do a bunch of stuff. During the back of you and I talked quite a lot, we had talked about a lot of
Vibes: [00:11:10] Yeah, totally. And even with iterative with us. So again, it just started with us, like almost just hanging out because you sat across the table from
Hsu Ken: [00:11:19] Totally.
Vibes: [00:11:20] We were, so I would say the way we, you and I started working together very similar Alqosh and I started working together. Just hanging out more than, yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:11:29] Okay. Fun questions. I said that there was one, but now I actually want to ask too. The first question is where’s your favorite place to get Indian food in Singapore? Because I love Indian food and I’m like, where do you go? And then the second question is when we first started talking, you did some deejaying on the side, which I don’t know if you like still do. But I was going to ask you about what music you’re
Vibes: [00:11:48] Sure. Totally. For answer the first one first there’s a restaurant called . K H a N S a M a. So that one’s pretty bombing in food. Totally not healthy at all. I just feel like shit after I eat it, I’m just, Oh my God. But
Hsu Ken: [00:12:04] What’s your order at that place? Because I feel like I like like a non-Indian person, right? It’s like when you get in there and you’re going garlic, naan, butter, chicken. It’s like Indian, right?
Vibes: [00:12:14] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I actually liked the vegetarian stuff. So you got to get the doll Mockney, which is lentils, that stuff’s really bomb. Then you got to get the aloo Gobi, which has potatoes and cauliflower, and then you’ve got to get the egg Curry. That’s really good, bad Cari. So that those are three really good things. There
Hsu Ken: [00:12:33] Okay. Okay. I never ordered any of those things, so clearly I’m doing it
Vibes: [00:12:37] you try those things. Yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:12:38] I’ve been getting a lot of palak paneer,
Vibes: [00:12:40] Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. That’s good. It’s great. It’s really high on protein. I liked by way. Yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:12:45] Yes. Yeah. Okay. So we should go there. You don’t do any more DJ
Vibes: [00:12:51] Haven’t been able to simply because a it’s on, you’re not allowed to congregate here in Singapore, but but yeah, I used to like basically listen to a lot of Afropop, which is popular music from Kenya Congo, Nigeria, all these places. Favorite artists are like the trifecta of, there’s basically the Kanye Drake Kendrick of Africa. And I use Africa for the continent, but so it’s, they’re called Davido Wizkid. And Bernabei, those are the big three, but yeah, they’ve got great, just consistent hits. Like every song is a
Hsu Ken: [00:13:22] which of those three people is the Kanye.
Vibes: [00:13:25] Oh man, which is the Connie. No no one has the Kanye personality, but Davido is he’s. He’s the biggest personality out of those three. Yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:13:35] Okay. Cause I, who is the Kendrick? Cause I feel like Kendrick is the critically acclaimed
Vibes: [00:13:39] Ah, yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:13:40] can, nobody says they
Vibes: [00:13:41] Yeah, maybe Burna boy’s the Kendrick and then drink whiskey kid is the more commercial one like Drake, but yeah, the, yeah, that’s the trifecta. The Trinity.
Hsu Ken: [00:13:53] you should have, did you ever think about doing a live DJ stream?
Vibes: [00:13:58] Yeah, I guess I have thought about that. I’ve mostly just, DJ’ed just to see all my friends in one place and get a lot of free drinks. So I just wonder what I would get out of that, but But yeah, it was fun while it lasted for a funny story. When I actually started deejaying here in Singapore, I didn’t know how to DJ, I just walked into a bar. I walked into a bar and I told the guy, yo, I’m a famous DJ in India. You should let me DJ. And once he said, okay, and I’ll pay you, then I went back home and I learned how to DJ. Yeah.
Hsu Ken: [00:14:25] just rolled up and you’re like, I’m really famous.
Vibes: [00:14:28] That’s what happened because the Afro DJ, the resident after DJ who’s actually, from there, he was leaving. And I knew there was going to be an opening, so he was leaving. And then I just went up to the bar owner and I was like, yo, you should let me take a spot. I totally play out for music back in India. But I, it, the only reason it worked was because I knew all the music, like every, all the music. So basically what you need is extensive knowledge of a lot of different playlists. And then the actual mixing part is not hard at all.
Hsu Ken: [00:15:00] Did anybody find out did you get up on stage? And they were like, wait.
Vibes: [00:15:04] No it’s actually very easy. It’s, like the software is advanced enough that as long as the beats per minute is close enough, it’ll blend it together. So it’s actually fine. It’s just putting a playlist together for, but yeah,
Hsu Ken: [00:15:18] I should get you to do a live sheet DJ for for iterative. Like I’ve seen I see the Questlove from the roots. He does it on Facebook live and on YouTube and stuff. He does it for three hours a night,
Vibes: [00:15:29] Oh, awesome. That’d be pretty cool. It was really interesting to find out how much audience overlap there is between like Afropop listeners and iterative scares might be a lot. Might be some, might be none.
Hsu Ken: [00:15:39] I’m going to probably tell you that if we sent out a survey, I think most people have never heard of Afro pop, but I feel like a lot of people will come check you out and hang out.
Vibes: [00:15:48] That sounds fun. It sounds pretty fun.
Hsu Ken: [00:15:50] All right. Cool. I appreciate your time thanks for doing this. And yeah, I, your stories are like I feel like your DJ story is something that like comes up a lot of like entrepreneurship. So I like stuff like that.
Vibes: [00:16:03] Totally fake it till you make it big time.
Hsu Ken: [00:16:07] That’s what we should call this episode. Just fake it till you make it.
Vibes: [00:16:12] Can’t faking it. Never made it.
Hsu Ken: [00:16:15] All right. Cool. Thanks
Vibes: [00:16:16] Thanks. Hsu Ken.