Career Spotlight is a new interview series that focuses on regular people in the music industry and the jobs you might not hear much about—from publicists, artist managers, booking agents, label owners, and everything in between.
Haulix is a web-based platform used for promoting music and fighting piracy, created by Matt Brown in 2009. We spoke to him about the ins and outs of an anti-piracy company.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
My name is Matt and I’m the Founder & CEO of Haulix. I currently live in an eastern suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
What drove you to choose your career path?
I’ve played the drums most of my life — music has always been important to me. I tried a bunch of jobs in my younger years. Before college, I welded in a factory, inspected hard drives on an assembly line, bussed tables at a seafood restaurant and I had a data entry job at a call center. I finally decided I wanted to do something with computers, art and music. I then got a degree in computer science and spent countless nights working on building websites. I really like how in computer programming, everything has to be exactly right for your program to work, but then on the flip side your web pages have a user interface and graphics which allow you to be creative.
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
Anyone can go out and start a business. I don’t have a business degree and I don’t even own a fancy suit. Haulix is a web based subscription service and with a programming background, I didn’t have to hire someone to build it — in bootstrapping a business, we did all of the work ourselves. We’re remote too, in that we don’t have a central “office”. So we were able to start out with very minimal up-front money. A lot of running a business is just using common sense. Build a product or service that people love and will be willing to pay for. Take care of your customers and strive to always improve.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
The majority of my time is spent strategizing, managing projects and engaging customers. I need to make sure our team has direction and projects to work on that will improve the overall vision of where we want to take the company. I also do most of the customer support.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
We’re still considered a small company even though our services impact hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Even though I’m in a leadership role, I still answer the phone and talk with customers and send out invoices.
What are your average work hours?
I work in bursts of three hours at a time and then I usually take an hour or two off to go to the gym or something outside. Because half of our customers are outside of the U.S, I answer the phone usually any time — even outside of our core hours. This business fits in as an important part of my lifestyle. I’m not watching the clock to determine when I stop or go. If someone needs help, we help them. If there’s a server issue at three in the morning, we take care of it right away.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
I think the fact that we built and improved our software so much over the last six years, it runs very well now-a-days. When the system runs well and customers are happy, my job is much easier. My advice is to put in the time and make a really good product. If the product or service is great, then most other stuff will fall into place.
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
We’re still a “small” company and so I wear many hats. The large tech companies have hundreds of millions of dollars to play with and they can afford top talent and huge teams. Example, I still send out invoices.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
If someone needs our services, then they most likely have been promoting their music the old way by sending out CDs or not promoting at all. Many of those same people don’t realize how easy it is to efficiently promote an album and protect it from leaking. I keep hearing from customers, “We can’t live without your services….”.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
The worst part of the job is when something goes wrong with our application or one of the servers goes down. I care so much about our customers and I want them to be successful while using our services. When something goes down we always have our team on top of it getting it fixed right away.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
Easily, the most enjoyable part of the job is experiencing feedback from happy customers. It never gets old.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
Well, I’m doing this interview from my yacht… so, read between the lines. ; )
How do you move up in your field?
Don’t ever get comfortable. Don’t ever lose sight of the core things that make your services great. Continue to improve your product and take care of your customers. Do that and you will grow and succeed.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
There’s no better time to start a web-based business. Especially if you are a programmer and can do a lot of the work by yourself or with a buddy. Keep in mind, when we started way back in 2009, we had no idea at that time if this would take off. You won’t know until you execute. I say, execute as soon as possible and keep pushing forward.