David Dufresne: CEO of Bandzoogle

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the tech industry?

I started my career as a venture capital analyst and associate, at the same time I was doing some DJing and being that annoying music geek friend that keeps bugging you about new bands. So my early years were spent investing in software, Web, and mobile startups, and keeping an eye on how the Internet was affecting the music industry, musicians and fans.

Tell us about Bandzoogle. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?

My partner Chris Vinson (our founder and CTO) was playing bass in a rock band. The label they were on hired him to build manage websites for all of their acts and he built a tool that would let the artists and managers update their own websites. Many of his friends indie bands asked him of they could use his tool so in 2003 he had the idea and launched Bandzoogle. 10 years later over 22,000 bands and musicians us the platform.

Our vision going forward is to keep growing the platform and add themes and features. We plan to make our tools multilingual and expand internationally. We're also planning to launch a similar platform to Bandzoogle, but for other types of entertainers personalities.

What strategic partnerships have you implemented that have attributed to Bandzoogle's success?

We have different types of partnerships with associations and organizations that reach large groups of musicians; ASCAP, The Folk Alliance, A2IM, The Grammys organization, to name a few. We also work with conferences, music schools and colleges, and a few technology providers that have products complementary to our tools.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

The music industry is moving from a focus on volume to a focus on quality. For the average musician, it isn't about how many hundreds of thousands of fans you'll get, but about how you'll be able to engage and eventually monetize the ones you have.  So, tools that allow to be in touch directly with your fans, and treat them as patrons of your Art, partners in your career, become even more important. Your website, your mailing list, your direct-to-fan store all play a strategic role. And that's what we provide.

Life Motto?

Be mindful. There's so much we can enjoy in one lifetime; love, friendship, great art, great food, places, people, ideas, etc. My motto is to "keep checking it out", and keep being amazed.

Bandzoogle's Motto?

Made for musicians. By musicians.


Your greatest success as CEO of Bandzoogle?

Being able to double the size of our company and customer base, while we were rebuilding our whole platform and infrastructure, with no outside funding. In recent years we've been able to establish Bandzoogle as the leading website platform for musicians, and expand our reach thanks to our team, users and partners.

Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

The aforementioned rewrite and relaunch took much longer than we has initially planned.  We badly underestimated the scope of the project and teh resources we would need. We learned to better organize our team, and to manage our users expectations. Now that we have completed the migration it's been pretty amazing, and much easier to delight our users with a regular stream of new features, themes and integrations.

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Focus on the customer. Build something they need badly enough to be willing to pay for. Make sure you can afford to support them and treat them the most important people in the World. Because they are.

Favorite travel destination?

Camping, hiking and mountain biking in the American South West, where it's all deserts and canyons. Feels like a different planet.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

I'd go to a sugar shack, and wash it off with a really old single malt scotch.

What literature is on your bed stand?

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children http://www.amazon.ca/NurtureShock-New-Thinking-About-Children/dp/0446504130

I have 2 young daughters and this book talks about the latest research in child development and parenting. It questions many old ideas and habits.

Role model - business and personal?

I have many professional and personal role models and I love to get inspired in different ways by different people. My parents have taught me the importance of being mindful and grateful of what you have, and keep "checking things out".

Current passion?

Being a dad is pretty awesome. And music, always.

Most interesting headline you've read this week?

http://qz.com/139916/ceos-and-inventors-most-likely-took-art-or-music-lessons-as-a-kid/

CEOs and inventors most likely took art or music lessons as a kid

(I wish I did.)

What's next for Bandzoogle?

We'll keep building cool and useful tools for artists. More tools, and hopefully more artists.

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Bandzoogle provides online tools for musicians to build a professional website, promote their music, and sell directly to fans. The all-in-one platform lets an artist's website become the hub of all their online activity, with a built-in store, fan management tools, email and text message blasts, detailed reporting and integration with social networks. Plans start at $9.95/month. Visit http://www.bandzoogle.com to try it free.

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