with Dan Radin CEO of Auxbus
Are you planning on creating a podcast is your biggest hesitation costs or access to podcast producers is the only thing preventing you from starting your podcast is knowing exactly how to construct it. Learn what you need to do to create your very own professionally produced podcast without all the expenses. Learn how one program can help you create this podcast that you have been putting off. Tune into this week's episode of stand out and grow to learn more. I'm Kat Ramirez, your host of stand out and grow. I want to help your business stand out, survive, succeed and grow. building your business is really really hard and knowing what marketing and advertising tools you need. help you become successful is extremely confusing. After 30 years of working with thousands of businesses, I am here to help you make good business decisions. I want to help you understand the programs that are available to you so that you can stand out, survive, succeed and grow. So let's get started. This is Episode 11. of stand out and grow, bang. If you are looking into doing your own podcasts and you don't have the funds to hire an editor, or know of anyone who can mix your content, then you'll want to tune into this podcast. My guest is a 15 year veteran with more than 75 professional and consumer audio technology products under his belt and he discovered a lot of pain and creating a Professional podcast, despite being a giant audio nerd, please join me in welcoming Dan Raiden, CEO of ox bus. Dan, what a great background. I am so impressed. Thank you for being on the show. I really do appreciate it. And I know that the people listening to our program are really going to learn a lot from you today.
Thanks so much for head. No, sorry, Stefan, you thanks so much for having me. It's great to be here.
Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate you. Okay, so my first question to you is, because I talked to a lot of startups and young entrepreneurs and small businesses is Did you ever see yourself becoming an entrepreneur?
I did you know, I so my background is that I have A music business degree, which is basically a music degree that has some business courses in it. And once I had finished that, and I was working in the music industry developing things like musical instruments and equipment for professional engineers, I knew that I wanted to start a business of my own the whole time. And I was always working on side projects, prototyping things at night and on the weekends. And the more I did that, the more I realized that I was really good at marketing and product, but I really wasn't good at a lot of the other things that you need to be good at business, the things like accounting and finance and legal services. So I went back and got an MBA because I didn't really feel like I had a legitimate business degree. I didn't know where my knowledge ended in those kinds of places, like where do I get myself in trouble writing my own contract or doing my own taxes? So I think I always knew I wanted to have a venture of my own and got the education so that I would feel comfortable having a good understanding where is the right place to bring in other professionals to help me and My own limits.
So because in looking back in your career because I noticed that you have a lot of corporate life and your history, at what point did you and what was there like red flags or what or like what set you off to go to the entrepreneurial route?
Well my first job out of college I worked for an audio company called Sennheiser. It's a German company that is a very traditional and conservative company Sennheiser is known for really amazing microphones, headphones and wireless systems. And typically Sennheiser is last to market with a new product. A lot of other companies like to work on being first to market being the fastest, the most innovative, but Sennheiser when they introduce new product, they are the last in but they make the best one. And you know that when Sennheiser introduces a new product, it's going to last a really long time, whereas a lot of other companies will introduce something and they'll have To replace it a year later because there were problems with it. So I saw that that was a really great way to do business but not one that I was built for. It was too slow and it was too safe for me. After that, I worked for a company called in music brands, which is the parent company of a whole bunch of different music equipment companies from New Mark DJ equipment to Akai professional production gear, to Elise's, which was the brand that I worked on in mobile recording and electronic drums. And that was the first time working directly for an entrepreneur who owned the company guy named jack O'Donnell who had taken each of these brands in most cases from bankruptcy and returned them to success. That was the first time I really saw what it was like to work for an entrepreneur and what that life was like. And I saw how hard he worked and I saw how personally he took everything. And I think that was what really lit the fire under me that this was something I wanted to do for myself eventually what I found the right thing to do. So I think jack Donald of in music brands was the one who set me on this course. Okay.
Okay. And then, of course, you worked for two, I think two other big corporations, right? I mean, Steve steel series, which is known for headphones, right?
Yeah, well, it's actually gaming peripherals. So when I finished grad school, I was recruited by this company steel series. And I didn't know anything about gaming. I wasn't a gamer, myself, I was musician. That was how I spent all my free time. But I realized that if you look back 15 or 20 years, probably a lot of the kids who would have become musicians were now becoming gamers. And I thought, well, with gaming headsets, here's a place where I can still do audio, which I love, but for a different kind of fast growing industry. And I tried it out and I didn't really love it, but it was fun. I learned a lot and I worked in much huge volumes where, you know, with musical instrument if you sell 1000 or 5000 of something that's considered a successful new product, where in this world if you sold half a million of a headset, that was considered very Successful or even a failure at those kinds of volumes. So it's a very different world. So I learned a lot working in that industry. But ultimately I really love helping people create with audio. And that was what led me back to Harmon, the company that's known for brands like JBL Harman, Kardon, AKG, Mark Levinson and a whole bunch of other brands they own about 35 brands. Harmon is now part of Samsung, a tiny little Korean company that you may have heard of. With Harmon that was the first time I worked for a really huge company. And at the time, a publicly traded company now as part of Samsung, differently publicly traded, but it was a really interesting experience. And I learned a lot but ultimately, the bigger company I worked for, starting with Harmon being I don't remember 40 or 50,000 people and then as part of Samsung being part of a couple hundred thousand people worldwide, the less happy I was and the more I realized I was much happier in smaller, less stable, less mature Organizations,
right and I can relate to that so I can totally understand so tell me and describe to me What was your aha moment of your this baby, you know? And and forgive me if I say the name wrong cuz it's ox bus is that correct? Got it. Okay, right. Okay, so tell me tell me how this led up I mean did you like just have an epiphany did it just you know what I mean? Like, lead me into it.
Okay, so I'm gonna This is a little bit of a convoluted story so I'll try to shorten as much as I can for the listeners I so after Harmon was acquired by Samsung, I had a new boss installed and he and I did not have a good values match. And he did not really, in my opinion value individuals and people, individual people and there were a couple of red flags and the last red flag I was willing to bear was my wife and I left on our honeymoon. I said Got a note to him and the rest of my team saying I'm shutting it down for two weeks while we're away. I'm not going to be checking email, here's who to contact if you need help while I'm away, but I'm off and you should be aware. And we talked about this and phone calls and things like that. So about halfway into our honeymoon, I decided I'm just going to check in and see what's going on with my project while I'm away. And sure enough, one of the first emails that had come in about a day after I left on my honeymoon after I'd made this proclamation that I'm on vacation and not checking email was from this new boss saying, Dan, when you get back from your honeymoon, you need to be in China for three weeks immediately. Wow. And it wasn't, here's why it wasn't. Here's what's going on. And I think it would be best it was just a directive to be in China for three weeks when I got back. And that was really the last straw because we had been fighting. He was a business development guy and used to spending three out of every four weeks on the road and not really seeing his family and that was good for him. We had been we've had a lot of conversations about the work life balance that was okay for me. And I say that looking back and it's it's kind of funny to talk about work life balance as an entrepreneur, but that's a little bit of a side tangent. But you know, the, the concept of he expected me to be in China, one or two weeks a month, and in either Austin or Baltimore the other week and maybe home one week a month we're working on a project with Under Armour, the sport brand, and developing sport headphones for athletes, and he expected me to either be at Under Armour or at our factories and development centers in China most of the time and that was not the job that I had signed up for and I made that very clear. So anyway, I get back from the honeymoon. I had seen this directive missive to me and I came back and very calmly updated him on on my project statuses and then resigned. And I didn't have anything planned. I didn't have anything lined up, but I knew that this was not the right place. For me, this was not a values match. For me, this was not how I wanted to spend a lot of my waking hours thinking about stressing about worrying about. So I've quit, I have no job, what am I going to do? For many years, I'm a drummer, I love drums. It's not the industry that I've worked in for a long time, because musical instruments have been contracting for a long time for about 20 years, 25 years, musical instruments have been contracting by a pretty large percentage. So I thought, this is not a great place to have a really successful career. This might be a place I can come back to when I'm retired and make some contributions to but I thought to myself, maybe now's the time, maybe this is the universe telling me I should just follow my passion, follow my heart and start a drum company of some kind. And I started thinking about what could I do? And I really didn't know but I knew one thing that I could do was reconnect to people in the industry and try to get my name back out there. So I started a podcast about drum equipment drum gear. So drum show room, the world's first Drum gear podcast debuted just after I quit, I was terrible at it, I got better. But the important thing that happened was I found myself trying to make a professional sounding podcast and I saw all of the different tools all of the time, it took all of the knowledge you had to amass. And I realized that it wasn't all in one place. There was no single piece of software, and no single compendium of all of the knowledge that you need to go from. I think I want to start a podcast to I have a successful podcast. And that was the lightbulb moment, the aha moment you referred to cat that led me to say, Well, I have product management experience for 15 years. I understand systems. This is really kind of what I've done my whole career. And I kind of have the network to connect if I need to to people in audio people in media. And by the way, before I went into this business, I was a music education major. And I like teaching people so Ultimately what box bus is, is an end to end software company that teaches people and guides people all the way through that journey of I want to have a podcast to have a successful podcast we try to make it really fast and easy for people as you've experienced.
Brian right and and just for the record, so for anyone who is listening, I use the ox bus a program so i love it i am a huge fan and I can't say enough about it and it is incredible. I mean, for I just can't believe nobody else has thought about putting a program like this together. Do you know I'm saying like it is incredible.
Well, thank you What were you using before ox bus What was your stack of different tools
and it was probably similar to you. We were peace milling things together because I was using GarageBand my producer was using it Odyssey Whenever the thank you audacity, and then I had. So of course, I had other people that were using zoom, and there's just a bunch of a collection of collage of stuff. And we were bringing all these files together. So it just made it a little confusing and hard to bear of trying to collect all these files and then put it in bits and pieces. Whereas your program really defines and lines up exactly what you need to do and really helps you put your train of thought together. Do you know I'm saying like, it really outlines your program and what you should be saying and doing.
Right? Well, thank you. One of the things that we saw that was missing was there were good amateur apps that were out there that help people get started without any regard or thought for what are you going to say? Or how do you make it professional, and we saw that unless you want to spend a huge amount money on a professional marketing agency production team that will help you script and develop your content. None of these tools helped you with that. So we thought for all of the small businesses out there, and I know this is your audience is small businesses, that's really who were focused on solving for their 60 million small businesses in the US as of the last SBA numbers, and none of them can use audio in their content marketing. And that's really what we're focused on is helping all of those small businesses have voice. And it's a talk I talked about this this triangulation of content marketing where you have social media, which is really good because it's fast and quick, but it can be shallow and almost like fast food marketing. And then you have blogs, which can be deeper and more substantial, but you can't take them with you in the car or on the treadmill. They're not portable. And then you have video which can be really expressive and visually descriptive, but it also can feel very slick and overproduced and audio has this special relationship with each one of those where it's more substantial. than social media, it's more portable than a blog. And it's more authentic than video. So I think the future of Content Marketing for Small Business is in audio, obviously, I'm biased because this is the business that I'm in. But that's really what we're trying to make happen for all of the 16 million small businesses in the US and then worldwide,
right. And then and so which aligns with my, my whole podcast, the theme, and then our business because, you know, our whole focus is to help small businesses to get their name out and stand out. And some of the things that they can control and do and really create some really good original content is of course, podcasting. And, you know, if you listen to any of the trades or hear any leaders out there, you know, they're predicting that in, you know, two to five years, it's going to be audio video that you see that's it, you know, and so, you know, we become lazier and lazier and lazier but we want it. It's not Really a lazy thing. It's, I'm so tired starve I gotta get it on the go, I gotta get it when I can get it.
Right reading is hard. You can't take it with you on the treadmill or you can't listen to a blog post while you're chasing the kids around and preparing dinner. But you can always do audio audio can be a great multitasking medium. So I'm all in on audio. And I also think, culturally, socially, we're all kind of tired of staring at screens all day. And audio is this special medium where you can have your eyes up and look at the world while also listening to a podcast and I love that it even though we're not connecting in real life, we can see each other which we can't do all watching video on on screens all day.
Right? I agree. I agree. Okay, so I'm just curious. And I love it when people ask my business name. So I'm going to ask your is like, how did you come about the name like what does it mean?
So the original name of the company was pod craft, which is a great name. But as we discovered and started to really develop Our suite of technologies that do things like make you sound good and automate the assembly, we discovered that they also map on to other audio media like audio books and Alexa skills and meditations. So we wanted a name that wasn't podcast specific. So we played around with a whole bunch of ideas, we went to a local brewery and a couple of drinks and played with a couple of tools like name checker, which is one of my favorite, you have to leave off the E. So its name checker, which will check your domain and all the social media handles and we had the source com out and we were playing with a bunch of different things. And I, I stumbled on ox bus because I was looking for something short, that was easy to spell. And as an audio person, this is kind of inside knowledge and we don't really talk about this that much. But in audio, the auxiliary bus is where you plug in all of the effects like your reverb or your EQ. And the ox bus is the place where the input signal like what goes into your microphone gets transformed into what you hear at the speakers or the output or the the headphones. So we like to think of ox bus as we make you sound the way that you want it to sound without you having to do all that work in in the middle.
Right right now that's awesome. I love it. So there is a little rain to the rhythm for your name.
Yeah, and we get a lot of people when they hear ox bus, they think it's ox the animal. Yeah. So like, do you have a bunch of oxen on a bus somewhere? So we tried to buy Oh XP us calm. It's not available. It's owned by some some Chinese company that won't respond to our request purchase. So I was trying to spell it whenever I say it a UX be us.com
right right now but I love it. That's awesome.
Okay, so now getting back to I'm just going to swing back to you being an entrepreneur and then just looking back, you know, to is Was it hard Is it what you know what kind of what Just give me a frame of mind for other people who are thinking of being entrepreneurs, you know? Like, what if you had to look back? How would you describe it?
Well, that's a big question. I'm going to try to do my best. I think that I think that there's a lot in our media landscape that encourages people to be entrepreneurs. And I think that's great because starting new business, new business creation is the way that we build our economy, wherever we are, you know, existing incumbent companies are comfortable and slow, and they don't really have the need to innovate the way new businesses do. But I think there's a lot of messaging out there that everybody should be an entrepreneur and I don't agree with that. I think that everyone if they want to can create a business but that doesn't make them an entrepreneur. Just because you're starting a small business does not make you an entrepreneur and that's okay. I think that where people get tripped up is that they have to become the next Mark Zuckerberg and they have to raise venture capital. And they have to build a software as a service. And they have to scale like a moonshot and make a billion dollar exit in five years. And that just isn't for everybody. But I think that's being sold. very broadly. That dream of you're going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg and you're gonna build the next Facebook and I just, I worry that we are telling too many people that that is a reality where lots and lots of people could build really great small businesses and accumulate a lot of wealth over a long period of time, but not take that venture capital moonshot ride that. Frankly, we are evaluating every day whether or not that's right for us. So I think that's one of the biggest things that I've learned. It's very, very stressful to try to consider doing entrepreneurship where I can imagine building a small business and building it brick by brick day by day, my might be a better fit for a lot of people and frankly, might lead to a lot better outcomes. I mean, owning 100% of a $30 million company is a whole lot better than owning 1% of a $300 million company in the end. So it's it's one of these things where, you know, you hear things like hustle porn and struggle porn.
Gary Vee is big on you just have to work harder than the competition. Now, I don't necessarily, of course, you need to work hard, and that is sort of inherent and written into the, the gig. But I just, I worry that we tell too many people that they've got to take that that roller coaster ride and you have to know yourself, I guess, self, self, knowing yourself and I'm trying to struggle for the right word here. knowing yourself is super important. Knowing your limits, knowing how much risk you're willing to take. These things are really important because I can tell you, doing this kind of business is a whole lot more stressful I would think, then a small business that's not trying to grow and scale really fast. And I think that I see some of my colleagues around town where I am who have more small business type companies that are not more startup entrepreneurial companies. And they seem like they have a really good quality of life. I mean, I don't know what it's like to be inside their head and inside their household. But I have to tell you, this kind of work is incredibly hard. It is never ending. It is very stressful. I've had stomach problems. I've had physical injuries, I've had trouble, you know, my background, I was a power lifter competitively for a number of years, and I'm lifting half of what I was lifting five years ago in the gym, and it affects your sleep, it affects your relationships. You hear lots of stories of people's relationships breaking up, or co founder relationships breaking up people getting divorced. So I just like to be honest about the level of stress you need to be able to tolerate to do this. This is a hard hard job. On the other side of it, it's the most rewarding job I've ever done. I am so proud is the best work I've ever done. And I hear from multiple members of my team. This is the best work I've ever done. I'm staking my career on the work we're doing right now. And as I'm saying those words, you know, my video is not but I'm getting goosebumps just saying those words, because that means so much to me. And this work means so much to me. And I've never felt so emotional and emotionally connected to this work to this company to this brand. So it's a big giant roller coaster. It's really scary. Every single day, every minute of every day. The highs are incredibly high and the lows are crushingly low. I mean, here's a great example. Tuesday, I drove I live in Asheville, North Carolina, which is western North Carolina, and I drove three and a half hours to Research Triangle Park, which is Raleigh Durham area where a lot of the big companies in the universities are to go give a pitch to some angel investors. So three and a half hours each way, give the pitch drive back with another entrepreneur who was carpooling with me. And we just talked entrepreneurship for 10 hours that day. And it was, on one hand, very therapeutic to be able to share with somebody who's doing something very similar and have that shared experience. But the next day, I mean, I couldn't get out of bed till 1030 because I was so exhausted emotionally from having that experience. So it's just it. You can't imagine what it's like until you're in it. It is incredibly amazing when it's great. And it's incredibly difficult when it's hard. And compared with corporate jobs. I mean, I try not to think about it too much. But going back and taking a corporate job sounds and feels so much easier. But again, you know, you're working for somebody else, you're working for their values, and your upside is very limited. So I know that was a really long and rambling answer at but I feel really strongly that I want more people to know that taking venture capital And being an entrepreneur is not the only path to own your own business, knowing your own destiny. And I wish we talked more about that.
And I would agree, because I am a bootstrap kind of girl. And I push that on a lot of people who I talked to. And so I and I can concur, and I appreciate your honesty of it is very much appreciate it. Thank you so much. And I, you know, my next question was going to be what your biggest challenge? How is? So I kind of got the gist of it. But do you have a challenge with ox bus?
Keeping enough money in the bank to pay the team, frankly, we are 45 days in market we launched in the middle of August. So we're brand new, even though the company has been around for almost two years. The biggest challenge particularly with a software company is you have to take a risk and do your user research and build this thing before you can actually make money with it. Right. So we've been losing money for almost almost two years because we weren't in market yet. So it is scary to rely on outside funding to exist, like I heard somebody say on Jason Calacanis is the famous angels podcast. We like we want our default state to be in business. And that's what happens once you're at breakeven in terms of your expenses. And until you make it to that point, your default state is not being in business. And that's scary. And that's where we are. So there is no question in my mind that that is the biggest, scariest hardest thing about this job is, is getting to break even or getting enough funding in the bank that you're not worrying about getting to breakeven. But I think that model of business we've seen over the last few weeks with the we work IPO debacle and Uber continuing to lose money, we're seeing some of those even though Silicon Valley unicorns the idea of getting to profitable is becoming much more attractive even at that level. Right, right. Yeah, I agree, which is something that every small business knows in lives because if you're bootstrapped, you can't rely on outside funding because you're bootstrapping. Is your money up?
Yep. Yeah. Okay, great. So I saw a little bit of a teaser on your website and some of your social media. So my question is what is next for you?
So great. I appreciate you. You teed that up really nicely. So 45 days ago, we launched ox bus at podcast movement. It's the easiest, fastest way for everybody to create professional podcasts you can plan record, automatically produce and instantly distribute your podcast. But the next thing that we're about to launch is ox bus Connect, which is the fastest, easiest way for you to have remote interviews, guests and co hosts on your show right inside ox bus. So as you mentioned, no multiple tools, no downloading and uploading files, and no loss of sound quality. We've all heard phone calls and Skype calls on podcasts and we all know how bad they sound with the drop packets and words getting stretched out. So we fixed all of that and we've also fixed it inside. ox bus. So instead of having to go outside of ox bus to bring in a remote interviewer in a different platform, you'll be able to click a button, send a link, either email or text to your guests or guests. They're on your show, you're recording. And that's it. There's no moving files around. There's no loss of sound quality because we record each person locally, meaning we don't get that internet sound, we get the local sound of you in the room. So it sounds like everyone's in the studio together, and it just works. So we've built the technology. We are integrating and testing it over the next 45 to 60 days. And we're running a Kickstarter right now you can go to tiny url.com slash ox bus. And we're trying to raise money to get the word out but also to determine how big should we go with this feature because we have a number of other things we want to do with it like being able to leave voicemails for a show that you can use on your episode and being able to reply to things we've got a whole bunch of things that we could build. But we want to get a sense for how much interest there is from the podcasting community. So go to tiny URL com slash ox bus that'll take you to our Kickstarter and help us get a feel for how much we should invest in further development of oculus Connect, but either way, minimally we'll be launching the base bones of octopus Connect within q4 2019.
Awesome, awesome. Okay, so as we wrap this up. So first off, again, I'm just want to reiterate, for anyone who is tuning in right now, who is the best person for ox bus? And what are you offering them today so that they can try your product?
Great. ox bus is designed to be the easiest, fastest way for anybody, regardless of audio experience, including novices to create professional podcasts and I mean when I say professional podcasts is something that you're using to promote your business, your brand or your work. So it could be individual practitioners like coaches, writers, therapists or filmmakers. It could be small business owners. It even could be mid sized companies. But the key here is we've tried to make it super easy for everybody to be able to enjoy and leverage audio to build their brand. So think of it like Turbo Tax for audio. You don't need to be a tax specialist or an accountant to do your taxes with TurboTax. And we guide you through all of the steps of the journey to making professional sounding audio with ox bus. You can go to ox boss calm right now and try it for free. We give you three free episodes. And when you're done with those three episodes, you can upgrade to either 999 per episode 3499 for four episodes a month, so weekly episodes, or 3999 for unlimited episodes, which is great for people who do more than one episode a week including daily shows. We all offer discounts on prepaid annual plans and we even send you a free microphone. And again, ox bus. Pardon me tiny URL com slash ox bus is the way to get to our Kickstarter and help us get ox bus Connect over the finish line.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Dan. If somebody wants to give you some feedback or anything like that, can I connect with you? Can I get ahold of you?
Absolutely. I love talking to customers, users or even just people who are interested. My personal email is Dan@auxbus.com
That's da n at a UX be us calm. I would love to talk to you. I do extensive user interviews and research every single day, every week, every month. The only way that we can build things that solve problems for people and make this whole medium better is by talking to people so we don't pretend we have all the answers. We pretend you have all the answers and we want to listen to them
and what is the one thing you want to leave with the listener In regards to you know, content, social media, you know, podcasting, what is the one thing you want to leave with them.
My favorite thing to teach people is the best way to make your podcast sound better is Mike technique. And there's two pieces that you need to know to make your podcast sound better in terms of mic technique. First pieces get close and stay close. So you want to be between a finger and a fist away from your microphone. So really, really close and stay there. And you want your microphone off center of your mouth. You don't want it in the center because every time you make a P or a B or A T or an S, you make little blasts of air and they hit the microphone and you want those blasts of air to miss the microphone. So put the microphone at the corner of your mouth instead of the middle. So keep it close and stay there and off center. That is the easiest, fastest way You don't need to spend any money any money. You don't need to treat your room. Start there and then see if you need any more gear or treatment for your room to make your podcast sound better.
God, I love it. Thank you so much, Dan, thank you for being on our show.
My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me. I really, really appreciate this opportunity.
Absolutely. Thank you everybody for listening and tune in next week for another episode of stand out and grow.
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