Interview with William LeGate

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via @williamlegate Twitter

We had the opportunity to chat with the co-founder of Ponder about what it is like to be a young person in the start-up world.

TBYT: You got into technology at a very young age. What got you so interested, and how did it all start for you?

William: I got an iPhone for my birthday and wanted to make an app for it, not knowing the extensive work & programming knowledge required. Despite it being much harder than I originally thought, I knew that the reward of having something I made being available to the world would be more than worth it. There were lots of hurdles and road bumps, but it was something I was passionate about doing, which is what allowed me to push through the harder times. The most important thing when creating a startup is being passionate about what you’re doing.

TBYT: What advice do you have for young people who want to get into the startup world?

W: If you’re wanting “normal” work hours, a steady salary, or a stress-free lifestyle, the startup world isn’t for you. That being said, if you’re willing to put the work in it that’s required, it’ll prove to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

TBYT: During the crucial time in which you were learning all these things and putting yourself out there, what kept you motivated?

W: Knowing that my work will someday impact lots of people and knowing that once that happens, I can change the world for the better.

TBYT: Have you dealt with any age discrimination? If so, what have you done to get past it?

W: Yes. I was about to close a 6-figure investment at 16… I flew to San Francisco to sign the papers, and when they saw me, the company decided to retract their offer. It was devastating, but after getting over the initial pain, the urge the prove them wrong kept me going.

TBYT: What experience have you or people in your life had with cyberbullying?

W: Too many to list. Cyberbullying sucks. Don’t do it, and if you’re the one being bullied, talk to a parent or some other trusted individual about it. In addition, it’s illegal in many jurisdictions, so if all other means of intervening don’t succeed, consider contacting the authorities. If you let whatever someone says about you, online or otherwise, negatively affect you, you’ve allowed the bully to win. Just know that they are the weak one since they have such little self esteem in themselves that they have to revert to hurting others to make themselves feel better. It gets better.

TBYT: Who is your role model?

W: Elon Musk

TBYT: It’s really fascinating that you didn’t take the traditional path. How can people who don’t have the means to get a traditional college education use the resources that are out there to achieve their goals?

W: There are so many free resources out there available to people who, for whatever reason, don’t want to go down a traditional education path. If you decide to not go to college, I’d ensure that you first ensure that you’re making that decision for the right reasons (i.e. financial issues or a desire to learn in a non-traditional environment… hating homework isn’t an excuse because real world work is even harder). Services like Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy, and iTunes U are great.

TBYT: What’s the best part about what you do?

W: Waking up every day excited to work and knowing what I do will become a part of people’s daily lives.

TBYT: At TBYT we are all about encouraging people to use the internet for good. What is one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?

W: An increase in crowdsourcing, whether that’s for funding an idea, locating a criminal, or sharing thoughts & opinions.

TBYT: You’re only 20, and you’ve already accomplished a lot. What are your long term goals?

W: It’s hard to tell as I don’t even know where I’ll be a year from now. That’s what’s exciting about the startup world. I’d like to be in a position where I can influence others and help shape a better, brighter future.

Think Before You Type Interviews Roxie Bardo

This photo is owned by Roxie Bardo.

This photo is owned by Roxie Bardo.

We caught up with singer-songwriter Roxie Bardo. We chatted about her music, songwriting process, and taking the time to be kind.

TBYT: You’ve been performing since a really young age. How did you get your start?

Roxie: When I was very young I’d put on shows in my front yard. I would perform songs from Brittney Spears and Mariah Carey for my family. When I reached middle school I began attending a performing arts school that really allowed me to branch out performance wise.

We did musicals mostly but it was a crucial time in my life with regard to setting my career choice in stone.

TBYT: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

R: I would say that being artistic in any sense is difficult. When you’re young you don’t fully understand what makes you different, but you know that you don’t think the same as your peers. I would tell myself to relax and to not worry so much about what others think. To not be concerned with blending in with the crowds and to embrace my view of the world.

TBYT: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

R: Not particularly. At some point in my life someone told me to “Just Be.” It hit home for me. I’m such a perfectionist and those two words get me threw a lot of hardships.

TBYT: What is the one thing that keeps you from getting discouraged on a bad day?

R: I go through quite a few ups and downs in my line of work. Every time I feel hopeless I remember all that I have. All the support I have from my family, all the love I get from my fans, and all the opportunity that’s in front of me. When you find gratitude in your life you’re able to accomplish so much more because all the worry is gone. I have everything I need right now. All my future accomplishes will just be excess.

TBYT: Who are your musical influences?

R: I’m really into Die Antwoord and The Weeknd right now. They are both free, musically speaking. I’m hoping some of their bravery will seep into my subconsciousness!

TBYT: What’s your favorite part of your job?

R: I’m most joyous when I’m performing usually. Although, as of late the creative process has been very exciting. I’m just loving writing right now.

TBYT: How do you deal with negative comments online?

R: Well, as an artist I’m a sponge. I absorb everything around me or being told to me. Because of this I tend to try and stay away from any negativity or cruelty with regard to my music. If I don’t see it or hear about it, I’m good.

TBYT: Do you ever get stage fright?  If so, how do you overcome it?

R: Every time I perform I have a deep nervousness. It comes, for me, before I go on stage. While I’m immersed in the performance I’m fine. I think that’s the key – completely loosing yourself in your music and lyrics. It makes performing an elevated experience that can be quite spiritual.

TBYT: What advice do you have for young people who want to follow their dreams, but might be too afraid to try?

R: I would say that if you love it, do it. There are so many minuscule things that cloud our minds when we are making these life decisions that can drive us crazy. We think too much, all of us. When you let go a bit you end up being the best you. So let go, and if you naturally are steered towards one direction then follow it. Don’t ask questions.

TBYT: You’ve stated that you want your music to have a “deeper meaning” how does this perspective impact your songwriting process?

R: I want my music to evoke emotion. I want it to make you consider ideas and experiences you never have before. So naturally when I’m writing I’m aware of the end goal. I tend to try and surprise or shock myself. If I can make myself question my thoughts and feelings then odds are whoever is listening will feel the same way.

TBYT: Why do you think that it’s important for people to think before they type?

R: Everything you put into the world matters. Every statement, every good or bad feeling, it all can have a domino affect on not only you but those around you. My generation is very careless it seems when it comes to how we treat each other and I pray that we are able to realize that above all else we have to be kind to one another. If you only do one thing in your lifetime let it be being kind to all you come in contact with whether they deserve it or not.

Think Before You Type Media Interviews Minor Soul

Minor Soul

Think Before You Type recently interviewed brothers Jack and Max Wagner, who make up the musical duo, Minor Soul. We discussed their love of performing, how they got their start in music, and how they deal with negative comments online.

Think Before You Type: How did you two get your start in music and performing?

Max: So Jack started playing guitar when he was eight, and he was already writing all these songs really early on. Meanwhile, I was doing a lot of theater acting, performing around Asia in different touring shows. And when I got too old for the theater troupe I was with, I started stealing Jack’s guitar from his room, and he got annoyed at me so he decided to buy me my first guitar for Christmas. I think it was when I was thirteen.

Jack: And so I taught Max how to play some chords, and he taught himself a lot, and we decided to start playing together. And one day Max was on my computer and found all these songs I had written but kept secret because I was too shy.

Max: We put some songs up on YouTube, and we were discovered randomly by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, who is just a legendary producer and rock star. And he flew us out to LA and got us started in the industry. We recorded Beneath My Skin with him, and that song and music video led to everything else we have done in our career so far.

TBYT: What’s your favorite social media site?

Jack: Max and I are really into Myspace…

Max: Haha actually our favorite is Instagram. I love taking selfies.

TBYT: You just finished the Infinity Tour with AJR. What is your favorite tour memory?

Jack: The tour was so much fun, and it was a massive learning experience because it was our first ever tour. My favorite moment was in Rochester when we played our song, “Charlie Chaplin”, and the whole crowd started singing along to the anthem in the bridge of the song. That was the first time there was such a massive crowd sing-a-long to our music.

Max: I just really enjoyed being on the road with the AJR boys and also playing the encore with them — the fans really loved seeing all of us on stage together.

TBYT:  Who are your role models?

Jack: I think my role model in terms of music is John Lennon or Paul McCartney, they are the top of the pile.

Max: My role model is Gordon Ramsay.

TBYT:  What is your writing process like?

Max: It kind of depends on the song actually. Some songs Jack starts by himself, some songs I start by myself, and there are some we write completely together from start to finish.

Jack: For example, “Beneath My Skin” was a song I had written by myself, and I presented it to Max and he actually changed the end of the song and wrote the whole “Oh Oh Oh” outro part, which is the best part of the song!

TBYT: In what ways has the internet impacted your work with Minor Soul?

Max: We are really focused on building our fanbase through social media, so the internet is really important to us. We love connecting with fans around the world so easily, and we try to be really responsive and active with them.

TBYT: When you’re down, what song helps to pick up your mood?

Jack: I usually cheer myself up with some Bee Gees. “You Win Again” is my favorite.

Max: Anything by Tiesto gets me in a good mood.

TBYT: You guys were born in London, but you grew up in Hong Kong, and now you live in New York. How has living in such diverse places influenced you two as people and as musicians?

Max: We were so lucky to grow up in Hong Kong, and it has definitely made Jack and I discover a lot of wonderful things around the world. We are in love with traveling and we still try to go back home to Hong Kong once a year if we can.

Jack: And I guess as musicians we were mostly influenced by our dad, who is a massive Beatles and David Bowie fan. So for our music, it was less to do with where we grew up and more to do with the people who raised us.

TBYT:  Sometimes the internet can be a really tough place. How do you deal with negative comments on social media?

Max: We honestly don’t get too many negative comments right now which is very lucky given how harsh people on the internet can be. But when we do get something negative we just look to all the positives and remind ourselves that getting affected by the odd negative comment is not worth it at all.

Jack: We believe in what we are doing, and we also have been through so many tough experiences in the music industry that we don’t get affected by the little negative things anymore. We just focus on ourselves, and we are just so happy to be able to make music as our job!

TBYT: What do you guys have coming up for the rest of the year, and early 2015?
 
Max: Well this tour was awesome and also a lot of work, so after just getting off that we are gonna focus on promoting our music through social media and we are definitely gonna just keep working hard. If we can get on another tour as the opener that would be incredible!

AJR Interview

I headed over to Silver Spring, MD to interview the brothers in AJR at the first night of their Infinity Tour. We discussed cyberbullying, positive internet use, their exciting career, and having the courage to stand out. Check the interview out and let us know what you think!

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Thanks for watching 🙂

Concept Interview

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1. How did you guys get interested in making music?

 

Karim: I started singing when I was around 11 or younger, and was in to acting before we formed, Nathan had singing lessons through secondary school, Matt was into dance and used to do that quite a bit, Scott was into bands like Westlife and Ben played guitar a lot but privately at home. All of us had a passion for music just in different ways to begin with.

2. What has been your most influential fan encounter (online or in person)?

Matt: The most influential fan encounter we’ve experienced as a band was when we went on a school tour to promote anti drugs. Seeing the effect we had when delivering the message to the children really made us stop and think that what we do and say really has an impact on people.

3. Sometimes the internet can be a really tough place. How do you deal with negative comments on social media?

Nathan: I feel the best way to deal with these situations are to either ignore them completely or don’t play up to them, by replying with anger or replying at all only continues the situation, where as a short reply or no reply can cut off the comments completely. Try not to take anything to heart and believe in yourself.

4. What advice or encouragement do you guys have for young people who are being cyberbullied?

Scott: Everything will be ok, just ignore them and don’t let it get to you. They probably have their own insecurities and feel the need to take it out on someone. So just keep being yourself, and don’t worry about what others say.

5. What’s one thing that people tend to misjudge or underestimate about you (as individuals or as a band)?

Ben: A lot of people just think we are “another boyband” but we are more, being friends since the age of 4 and playing live instruments on stage sets us apart from other bands. I also think we can appeal to everyone.

6. When you’re down, what song helps to pick up your mood?

Karim: Spending time with my little brother, Myles, he’s a funny kid. When I’m with the boys and we have a laugh it’s always hilarious wherever we go together and obviously some chilled out music. A little bit of the 1975.

7. Who are some of your musical influences?

Matt: As a band we have such a variety of musical influences for instance mine would be people like Bastille and Ellie Goulding, because they have such a distinctive sounds as well as bands like The Eagles and The Clash, Ben is into more rock orientated music, Karim likes a bit of R&B, Nathan’s a fan of new alternative music and Scott loves his Pop. I think that fact we all love different genres really comes across in our voices which makes a really distinct blend.

8. We’re really passionate about encouraging other young people to use the internet for good. What’s one positive way that you would like to see the internet change?

Nathan: I think by having pages where people can anonymously talk to others about there issues looking for help would be one way to help people resolve their issues and become more confident.

9. What’s one thing you want people to know about Concept?

Scott: We are childhood friends, have grown up together and formed the band as friends before becoming band mates. And that we love our fans more than anything and appreciate everything they do for us.

10. What do you have coming up in 2014?

Ben: We have been hitting the studio to record some new original tracks as well as writing all of them, so hopefully will get them out there onto iTunes by the later stages of the year. Also definitely more Concept Cover Thursdays will be coming your way so check them out.