The Self-Made Man: Anthony Volodkin
Many of this generation’s entrepreneurs are younger people with tons of programming/web design experience under their belt, gained from childhood interest or internships or both. This week’s Self Made Man, Hype Machine founder Anthony Volodkin (whose name could be a minor character in a Chekov play), didn’t have either of those things and he still made a successful blog aggregator. So there.
Anthony, who was 19 when he started his website, was attending Hunter College and had pretty much exhausted whatever joy he’d gotten from his IT job. He figured that the energy he’d applied to that could be applied to his own project, which I can definitely relate to; IT can be a pretty soul-crushing job once you stop learning new things.
He was also tired of having to hunt and peck all over the Internet for new music; music blogs were still a new thing at the time, and once the post-Napster-shutdown residual fear wore off, there were suddenly tons of them. And of course, there was also the lingering problem of music journalism being terrible.
“Music magazines were the result of too many degrees of marketing,” he told Inc.com. “There was nothing I could trust to find something new.”
Hype Machine was Anthony’s attempt to solve this problem for himself and create a hub where new music could be easily shared, but he had two immediate setbacks: he didn’t know much about web design, and he didn’t have enough money to pay other people to do it for him.
But, since Anthony is a hard worker who bares his fangs at challenges, he learned how to build a website on the job, so to speak. That method can be (and usually is) a huge time commitment and a relentless grind, which is why most people either don’t attempt it or give up before their goals are met. Anthony has admitted that “anything that I was adding to the site took about four times as long as it should have taken” for every step of the process.
The good news is that it paid off, and the online music pioneers he asked for feedback just sent Hype Machine’s link around; they believed in it right from the start. Not only does it pick music from blogs and allow users to share songs with each other (even deep album cuts and weird covers that they might not find on their own), they can also buy songs and concert tickets through the site.
I’ll leave you with this video of Anthony Volodkin talking about “finding your own way” as an entrepreneur, and letting your passions and interests (rather than your experience) guide your career.
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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.