Experimenting, learning, and then applying those insights back to the product road map and sales strategy is the unglamorous (but totally necessary) process to providing real value in the market.
Lauren Pufpaf is CMO and Co-founder of Feed.fm, the leading B2B music platform for apps and retail brands. With experience across a wide range of industries, the connecting thread is the desire to build businesses and drive growth. With Feed.fm she’s merged a personal passion for music with 15 years of proven success creating customer relationships through digital and direct marketing. Lauren believes in the power of music to create connections and drive memorable experience. Whether it’s core to each user interaction (like fitness), or leveraged as content marketing (like retail), music is proven to shift LTV and perception metrics for brands. She’s also a house music fanatic with a massive vinyl collection and over 20 years of DJ experience.
Where did the idea for Feed.fm come from?
The idea evolved very organically from a combination of the founders’ experience. Jeff Yasuda ran a music label for many years and saw how important it was becoming for bands to get incremental revenue from brands that they aligned with. Eric Lambrecht has 20 years of experience managing high bandwidth media at scale, and I come from a marketing and advertising background and know how challenging it is for businesses to share music legally with their customers. Through a lot of trial and error and really transparent partnerships with top brands, we’ve grown our offering to be a strategic audio partnership. We curate custom music experiences, procure all the music (and pay out the artists), and integrate those branded experiences into apps, smart speakers, social feeds, and games.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I don’t need an alarm clock any more, since I have a 3 month old daughter! My day starts with her around 5:30 am and I get an hour of really lovely time with her. After feeding, we read books, play, and I do not touch my phone. She goes down for a nap and then I get caught up on email, double check the calendar for the day and get myself ready. I head into the office and sync up with the team before the swirl of meetings takes over. A lot of what I do involves creation, whether it’s a keynote deck, writing, or excel projections, so I make sure to block off time and limit distractions (turn off Slack!). The days fly by and before I know it I am hugging that snuggly baby again. Juggling a startup and a baby is challenging, but I am focusing on being present in each capacity – when I’m working, I’m all in and when I’m with my husband and daughter, I’m not checking email.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I always start by writing it down. What is the endgame and the hypothesis on how we get there? Getting a goal or idea on paper drastically increases the likelihood of attainment. In fact, a Harvard Business study looked at earnings from MBA students ten years after graduation. Those that had written goals down ended up earning 10x more than those that did not.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The changing conversation around women’s rights across the board. While this administration is the worst we’ve seen for women and families (attacks on reproductive freedom, defunding planned parenthood, rolling back legislation to reduce the gender pay gap, etc.), we are seeing activists catalyzed for change. In the last year we’ve seen women marching, organizing, voting and running for office. It’s just getting started but it feels transformational.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Focus is so key for deep thinking. It’s easy to bounce from meeting to meeting and check email all day, but the big questions never get answered that way. Blocking off focused time and not looking at email or slack has been crucial for my productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
When you are making career decisions, start with the people first. Do you want to be in the trenches with them every day? Are they smart, are they honest, do you like them? Your experience is truly shaped by your colleagues and it makes all the difference during the harder times.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Early mornings are the best!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Constantly come back to the higher goals of the company and making sure we’re working on the right things. We have to evolve quickly and it’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects (like new customers with deep pockets). But we also have to be ok saying no and following our north star.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Approaching the journey to Product Market Fit in a very methodical way has been a key factor for growth. Experimenting, learning, and then applying those insights back to the product road map and sales strategy is the unglamorous (but totally necessary) process to providing real value in the market.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We’ve been in the final stages of securing funding and have had it fall through. Even when commitments are signed, you can’t count on the cash until it’s in the bank. While it can certainly take the wind out of your sails, the trick is to always have a Plan B. If you’re managing expenses and looking to apply funds to growth rather than staying alive, a setback like that doesn’t have to be fatal.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Stylish maternity clothes! I found the selection of clothing available for pregnant women to be very uninspiring. There are one or two more fashionable sites, but their price points are unrealistic when you are only wearing a piece for a few months. I think there is an opportunity to figure out a mid priced option that makes women feel great.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A personal training session. Re-learning form after being out of the game for a few months is so important.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I love Trello for product planning. The whole team has visibility into their priorities and our sprint planning process has really improved now that we are using it religiously.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Magic Box Paradigm: A Framework for Startup Acquisitions. While an outcome of some sort is assumed by everyone involved, I have found relatively few resources on getting there strategically. Other than the advice to “grow the business quickly”, of course!
What is your favorite quote?
“The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.”
― Tara Brach
- Focus on being present in each area of your life.
- Experiment relentlessly.
- Surround yourself with smart people that you truly enjoy.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.