Accidental coincidence to Product Hunt in two weeks.
This is the story of a happy inspirational accident and how Studio Something took that accident from a joke in the studio to the front page of ProductHunt in two weeks.
As we have battered you about the head with on the site, Studio Something is ‘a creative studio on a mission to make something people genuinely like’ and as we have tried to show this ‘something’ can be for clients or ourselves.
Making our ideas and those of our clients a reality, we’re of course acutely aware can take A LOT of time. So we are always on the lookout for potential side projects, passion projects where creativity is king and we can we can determine how long they take to make. No grand vision. No business plan. No series-A. No serious, ay! And sometimes they come along by happy accident.
Studiowave is one such happy accident.
MIX THE MIXER
Now, buckle up for two of the most ‘advertising’ paragraphs of all time...
Ken, our graphic designer, was in the studio, listening to a vaporwave mix on youtube, working away (Vaporwave is a micro-genre of electronic music grounded in a distinctly 80s and 90s style OBVIOUSLY)
Across the room, Jordan one of our Creative Directors, was watching ‘The Major Thinkers’, a motivational speech from Steve Jobs (as you do). We stopped. They were in sync. The words worked just perfectly with the instrumental.
You get through them okay? Cool on with the rest of the story...
Headphones in, Ken opened another tab, and played Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot along side the vaporwave…It was perfect. We had accidentally created a weird inspirational instrumental mega mix.
We tried another, and another, changing the vaporwave mix to make sure. Even when they weren’t in time with each other, it still had a unique sound. The speeches seemed to dictate the atmosphere, these vaporwave tracks had become inspirational.
As it became more and more consistent Ken unplugged his headphones and began to bleed the audio into the studio. One by one everyone in the office began to acknowledge it, eyes widened, it worked perfectly. Everyone in the studio said ‘this should be a thing!’. This type of thing can be shouted very regularly in the studio so I didn’t take ‘too’ much notice to begin with.
Some things that should be ‘things’ over time have been -
Dead or Not Dead - a website that quickly lets you check if a celebrity is dead or not dead
Gerry Cinnabot - an extremely niche Twitter account that revealed Gerry Cinnamon’s alter ego
But then, for the next couple of days I became the studio’s resident DJ, mixing YouTube videos, finding tracks that would mix perfectly with interesting audio books or speeches (Lord Of The Rings Audiobook mixed with 80’s synths?). Everyone was energised, inspirational speeches and chillout vaporwave coursed through the studio…productivity soared. Pretotype successful, what was next?
Pretotype — using everything in our disposal that someone else has already built to test an idea and ask whether we need to build something new.
We were pretty stretched in the studio, so we got in touch with the lovely Neef Rehman of ustwo studios and told him the idea. Neef is a supremely talented fellow who works for the wildly successful product studio ustwo. We approached him with the question ‘is there anyone in your building who might be looking for a fun side project?’, it turned out there was, him. ‘NEEFLESS’ to say, he was in…and so Studiowave was getting made!
WHEN THE WAVE HITS THE STUDIO
We liked the idea that this product was ideal for open plan design studios, places looking for music that the whole place would enjoy, enough ‘lyrics’ to not make the music monotonous but also not overpowering enough to distract people who need to concentrate on writing.
BELLS AND WHISTLES
In an afternoon we all came up with the name and the design. We wanted a clear and simple UI where the user could mix a beat and a speech. That’s pretty much it. Low fidelity. High impact.
Neef, in his spare time then built Studiowave in a week. Our hero. We decided from the off that the product wouldn’t grow arms and legs. “Could it do this? Or this? OR WHAT ABOUT THIS?!” It was hard not to keep drawing out functionality to it, could it work on phone? What about when you want to go for a run, could it match that? What about tempo? COULD IT DO MORE THINGS?! Not on our watch. The only bells and whistles would be coming from the music.
Studiowave works because of its simplicity and we wanted it to stay that way. This was something we had to continually focus on. Stick to the plan.
THE SPEECH TRAWL
While Neef did his bizness we trawled the internet for great speeches and great tunes, we quickly found out that there was a number of factors that could exclude a potential video, if it had a musical sting intro, outro, too much clapping, too quiet, too loud, too much laughter. It was out. We lost some great men and women to obtrusive intro stings. We had confidence in the fact that everyday since our accidental discovery we still found ourselves shouting out “oh that would work as a great speech on the wave”
READY TO RIDE THE WAVE
Two weeks later we were ready to launch. We put it up on ProductHunt, the site to launch new internet toys, gadgets and ‘things’ one Monday morning and kinda just hoped that people would understand and ‘get’ it the way we did. It was safe to say they did, we were inundated with requests for new features (running, mobile eeeek!) and questions about where the idea came from. The stats backed it up, it was being played by thousands of people at a time for huge amounts of time, people were opening the site and leaving it to run for hours. To this day the site still continues to receive huge numbers of listeners.
The point of Studiowave was not made to make money. It’s simply a side project born from a creative work environment and testament to the benefit of surrounding yourself with like-minded people. It was a pure idea that was borne from a situation and one made mostly for ourselves, to inspire us in work, to put paid to the office stereo conundrum and to give us a short creative palette cleanse.