How does one get involved with innovative new online products such as Spotify? Day 2 of PubCon launched with an exclusive interview with UK entrepreneur and principal contributor to Spotify, Shakil Khanv, where he shared how he came to be where is today.
Since Shakil was young, he always believed that in order to do something extraordinary, he needed to break out of his comfort zone. He considered himself a bright kid in school, however had little to no interest in studying and hated every moment he sat in a classroom. He decided at the age of 16 to leave school, and in 2004 embarked on a world travelling adventure to find himself.
Lead by his passion and his love of connecting with people, Shakil visited 7 countries before settling on Shanghai as a place to live abroad. During his stay in China he:
– Learned Mandarin
– Learnt the Chinese way of business
– Found daily challenges
Shakil met great friends but never lost site of his principles:
– Treat people with respect
– Never stop learning
– Always find new great friends
Shakil’s next move was to start a business called Lightstate, which he sold to AOL after only 2 years. In the years that followed, he was involved in various start-ups, where he spent most of this time developing the product, and the rest of it networking and fundraising for charities.
Having a close connection with Daniel Ek (the founder of Spotify), Shakil was later invited to collaborate to create a network to spread music around the world. He was able to make the product a huge marketing success thanks to his knowledge of the online world, which he gained through his previous side business of selling Viagra during the early days of the Internet.
Shakil comments on his lessons learnt from online marketing:
“There was NO magic formula and I put the success down to a number of points, a couple of which were: A) Focus on conversion rates NOT the cost of media. It’s amazing what taking your conversion rate from 1% to 2% can do for your business model. B) Understand your clients’ business model and needs and try and work with them rather than the typical affiliate mentality of “I don’t give a damn why you ran out of budget.”
Shakil is now leveraging his experience and connections for the social network Path, which aims to build the a global personal network by helping people journal and share life with family and close friends. He admits that he’s always considered himself a “start-up kind of guy”.
Stay tuned for lessons from day 3 of PubCon Las Vegas 2012!