How do you decide between known revenue as a consulting firm in a rapidly growing industry and the abstract hope of building your own mobile products in a highly competitive and noisy app world? That’s the big question that Mark Kasdorf, co-founder of live music discovery app Timbre was facing as the app was being developed at the sacrifice of client work. So why do it? What is it that makes service companies want to move into their own products? Can it be done without killing one business or the other?
To say that Mark is afflicted by the entrepreneurial bug would be an understatement. He runs a growing mobile application development company called Intrepid Pursuits, an incubation space called Intrepid Labs and has recently launched a company around Timbre – and raised a seed round to build it out as well. All this from his epicentre in Cambridge. Mark really personifies the opportunities the mobile market offers – provided you have enough foresight and back strength to make it happen.
In this episode we were going to talk about the creation of the app exclusively but to understand how Mark and his team got to launch day his back story is essential. From his first failed company, to falling into the app space, to finding a way to work in his dream office, to launching and funding Timbre – this is what I love about the times we live in right now. An app is just an app but each one of them out there has a story and each one is worth telling because of the lessons they bring.
There are more lessons in this episode than can be listed including the 1 feature they removed that led to a 35% increase in user engagement, his take on the #1 affliction that kills mobile products, how they raised their seed round (my favorite line from the episode: “you can spend 6 months seeking funding or spend 5 months and 30 days getting users and 1 day seeking funding”), how his consulting company finds customers, the difference between UI and building a user experience and the REAL impact of being featured in Techcrunch vs the AppStore.
To say I enjoyed this would be an understatement.
Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip
1. What is Intrepid 1:45
2. What happened to your first company? Why did it fail 2:50
3. How did you find your biggest client? 6:00
4. How did you grow the revenue without finding investment in 2011 10:30
5. When did your company grow up 13:00
6. What is the goal for Intrepid 16:00
7. How do you drive revenue while maintaining a small team? 18:45
8. 3 types of consulting services 20:00
9. Can bad mobile ideas get better? 23:45
10. What is Intrepid Labs 26:50
11. What is Timbre and where did it come from 37:00
12. What is the problem Timbre solves 39:30
13. How long did it take to build the first version of Timbre 40:50
14. Timbre is NOT design, it is a user experience 44:25
15. How do you create unique designs for your apps 45:25
16. Was there any frustration to get things done faster with Timbre 47:05
17. What do you do with Timbre? How do you drive revenue 50:25
18. Two interesting numbers: Downloads from being featured by Techcrunch vs “New and noteworthy” by Apple 51:26
19. How did you end up as a “new and noteworthy” app in the AppStore and why do you think they chose it? 52:20
20. How did you raise $360,000 from a 4 minute pitch 56:00
21. Strategy: “Friction free” ways to generate revenue 61:00
22. The #1 affliction for app developers is… 63:00
23. How removing 1 feature increased app usage by 35% 66:15
About Mark Kasdorf
Cambridge based entrepreneur. I’ve started three companies in three years. The first while finishing law school, the second shortly after, and the third based on a pain point in growing the first two. Highly motivated and hard working, my goal is to build successful companies in the thriving Boston/Cambridge community, and to help others do the same.