What started out as a breakfast meet-up in a San Francisco diner lead by co-founders Stefan Aronsen and Andy Freeman has now transformed into something larger than life. Balanced Breakfast is designed to bring music industry professionals together and enhance the networking experience. One meeting turned into meetings across the country, and then the world, and now it's coming to you in app form! Stefan reached out to one of his long-time friends Levi Winkler to make Balanced Breakfast an LLC and kick start the process of creating a unique app designed especially for the ultimate connector within the music industry.
"Balanced Breakfast is about creating community and realizing all of the untapped skills, strengths, and resources contained in the people around us. Amazing connections happen at our meetings, we encourage our communities to nurture and cultivate these relationships offline and digitally." - Levi Winkler
When it comes down to it, Aronsen says nothing fuels his passion for this product more than the ability to positively change lives and create a support system for those that need it. ͞
"The thing in the app that I’m most excited for is seeing all the faces of music industry professionals in my neighborhood. How cool is it going to be to finally have a tool to filter your network based on interests, professions, and skills that you are passionate about?" - Stefan Aronsen
We caught up with co-founder Stefan Aronsen and talked about the highlights of the app and the process of getting the app to it's launch date, check out the interview below!
What is one of the most fulfilling experiences you had at some of your very original Balanced Breakfast meet-ups?
Let me start by admitting that Balanced Breakfast as a meetup isn’t an original idea. We didn’t invent breakfast food or the concept of meeting to eat it. Plenty of people around the world eat breakfast before going to work. What is original about BB is our approach to how we meet and what we hope to accomplish by meeting. Our goal is a more connected music industry, a community that is progressing towards a healthy, supportive, and sustainable future.
As we attempt to create this reality, I have had many fulfilling experience. The most memorable of them was the first time a member of BB pulled me aside after a meeting and said, “THANK YOU, I had given up on music, I was done with San Francisco, BB has given me a renewed purpose, connected with with my bandmates and helped me feel supportive.” That day I realized BB was more than just breakfast.
What do you think helped spread the word of Balanced Breakfast so quickly?
Balanced Breakfast is successful based on the extreme support of the people that wake up early and join us for our meetings. Word spread based on amazing people evangelizing the BB brand. Without the help of passionate people like Andy Freeman who helped me create BB, Brian Bergeron who branched it out to Oakland, and Barbara Wahli who started it in SJ and the countless other city leaders, we’d still be 7 people at a table in the Mission district of San Francisco.
What was the process like for making the app, did you run into any difficulties along the way?
Making an app is not for the weak of heart. If you’d like my advice … “DON’T DO IT!” For that sake, only crazy people decide it’s a good idea to launch a brand. I eat, drink, sleep BB and then do it again in the morning. For me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If that's not crazy I don’t know what is.
But, let’s be more specific. With all projects, BB included, you need time and funding. The app took twice as long as I planned and cost more than I planned. There was a point when I wasn’t sure if it was going to launch. Thus, now that the app is successfully in the app store … I think I’m celebrating more than anybody else … because I know how much blood sweat and tears went into making this happen.
You're passionate enough about this project and app that you sublet your apartment for four months and spent two of those months back with your parents, what has been the most rewarding part of getting the app ready to take-off?
Ultimately in the end, I sublet my apartment for 10 months. I spent the first 2 months in my parent’s basement, the second 2 at a live/work in Colombia and the last 6 traveling to as many BB cities as I could.
I was basically on the road from November 2016 until September 2017. During this time I traveled to 7 states and 10+ cities including but not limited to Austin, Napa, Santa Rosa, Humboldt, Arcata, Sacramento, Quincy, Los Angeles, Portland, Camas, Seattle, Bigfork, Denver, Fort Collins, Ann Arbor and Detroit. (Some 2 or 3 times)
What festivals did you go to?
SXSW, BottleRock, Phono del Sol, ID10T Festival, Northern Nights, High Sierra, Upstream, Underground Music Showcase, Outside Lands, Crown Guitar Workshop & Festival, plus numerous live shows up and down the west coast.
What is the hardest thing about being on the road?
It is tiring to be on the road that long. It's hard on your ego, health, and mental stability. There is something super important about having access to your room and personal belongings. Being back in San Francisco, in my apartment, in my room, and sleeping in my bed, has felt rejuvenating and empowering.
My time away from San Francisco allowed me the time and focus I needed to the Balanced Breakfast App. BB has been my labor of love since 2013. With the help of my friend Levi, I have been able to turn my hobby into an official LLC. The app I created will help increase each user's ability to find, filter and meet other professionals in the music industry. BB will continue to have IRL meetings, we are introducing the app as an additional way to facilitate face-to-face interactions.
What do you think will be the most helpful feature of the app?
Version 1 of the app is very simple, it’s a database of people passionate about the music industry. We have created a place for fans, bands and music industry professionals to connect. With the introduction of the BB app, we now have the tool we need to find people in our scene based on location, profession and skills. We don’t intend to replace successful products like Facebook or Linkedin, but rather give you a tool that accomplishes things that they haven’t yet solved. Our goal is to create a product that leverages existing API and fills the gaps where traditional platforms fail. Finally, we hope to help you create community by connecting you to the people in your scene that can help you be more successful. Whether you’re looking for a banjo player or a mastering engineer, the BB app can help.
How can people bring Balanced Breakfast meetings to their city?
If we aren’t in your city, we want to be, reach out to us and we’ll make it happen. Our growth is organic and not rushed. We have found success planting meetups in the cities that have leaders that want us in their community. I am thankful for all of the BB city leaders and members who make this adventure possible. Add us on Facebook, check our calendar, and join us at a meeting. Hopefully we’re in your city, if we’re not, download the app and request a BB for your city from the side nav. We are growing and intend to be in your city soon.
Do you have any big goals for Balanced Breakfast going into 2018?
Our first order of business for 2018 is the National BB Summit in San Francisco. It will gather all of the leaders from our 22 cities to one location. We will educate attendees via panels that will cover topics like licensing, marketing and touring. Ultimately this is a 2 day networking party at PianoFight that we’d love to see you at. Otherwise, plan to join us in your city at Noise Pop, Upstream, SxSW, UMS, or maybe Coachella.
Get the Balanced Breakfast app: