Mentors’ Monday: David Lowery
I had the opportunity of talking with David Lowery about his many accomplishments, especially in the music business, and how his experience makes him a helpful mentor. Enjoy another Mentors’ Monday!
RC: What field do you work in?
DL: I work with all aspects of the music business including labels, publishing, music supervision, producing, songwriting, and performing. I have platinum selling albums like Cracker. I have a tech and adventure background. I was on the board of advisors for Groupon which is how I ended up on the Athens Angels fund. I also teach finance and economics of the music business at the University of Georgia. You can checkout my bio on my Wikipedia page.
RC: What do you enjoy most about your field?
DL: I like travelling all over the world and meeting different people. I also do a lot of things in Washington D.C. on behalf of artists. I have an artist rights campaign that I have been on for two to three years.
RC: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your experience?
DL: You never know what is going to be your hit. I don’t mean just songs or which album you produce; it applies to all aspects of life. I did not realize that after doing something like the artists’ rights acts in D.C. I would end up being on CNBC and Fox. When I write a blog post I never know if it’s just going to be my loyal three thousand readers who read it or if five million people will read it. You can never predict in advance what is going to be a hit. That’s why I say yes to a lot of things.
RC: How do you think starting founders could benefit from your experience?
DL: I know a lot about how things become popular. Songs become popular in many different ways but it is similar to how websites become popular, how an app becomes popular, or a certain service. There is a similarity between app and service promotion and song promotion. All bands are essentially boot strapped. Boot strapping is basically going from absolutely nothing to building something without getting money from others. I can teach founders how to boot strap the first stages after they get to investment. That’s what all bands have to do.
RC: What is the first piece of advice you would give someone founding their own company?
DL: They should make something that they know they need. It’s just like how you should write songs that you like.
RC: Have you mentored people in the FourAthens space?
DL: Yes but a couple of them have left. I’ve worked with MiraclePickett and Tunewolf. I’ve sat in on some pitches and given some advice. I am kind of the resident music business guy even though I am interested in lots of other things as well.
RC: What interested you in becoming a mentor?
DL: I started my music advocating positions and mentoring for tech people around the same time. I was fairly lucky when I made money in an IPO as a part owner of Groupon. I felt like I needed to give it back and that I owe young people my advice, time, and energy. I’m trying to pay it forward.
RC: What is the most important part of a mentor’s role?
DL: The big picture advice. For example, who is this service or product for; do I like it or not; what is the market? That is really valuable info to give people. I am also pretty good at understanding how to market things thanks to the music business.
RC: What makes for a good mentee?
DL: Somebody who is willing to listen but at the same time is willing to challenge my assumptions. I’d like them to teach me something I don’t know.