Marty Andrews

artful code

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Best videos of SF MusicTech Summit 2012

One of the side effects of running a business like Eventer (more about that in another post) is that I get to see videos of great conference content a lot. A little over a week ago, SF MuiscTech Summit 2012 was recorded and published on an SF MusicTech Eventer channel. Here's my summary of the most popular talks, and my personal picks of the bunch.

Most Popular

There's two clear winners in the most popular category at the conference.

Firstly, there's a panel named named Artist Tools, where Hisham Dahud moderates a panel with Steve Rennie, David Dufresne, Taynah Reis, Matt Mason and David Haynes. They talk about tools that artists can use to operate the digital side of their business.

Secondly, Celia Hirschman interview the very cool Michael Franti of Spearhead. He talks about his music, fans, social media, Barack Obama and more. Jump to 21:10 if you just wanna see him start rockin on the guitar.

My Favourites

I'm a geek at heart, so my favourite talks at the conference were a couple of demos of some new iPad apps. In both cases, I watched and said "wow". They blew me away.

The first is commercial app about to be released. The presenter, with a straight face, says "Our technology analyses and codifies the meaningful elements in a song, capturing the compositional genome and then deploys that through the architecture, to render it interactively." I ate it up, maybe because the software was so cool and I could see myself (with no musical ability) playing some cool music.

Here's Dave Park talking about JamBandit.

Finally, as part of the SF MusicTech hack day, Yosun Chang built a virtual reality app named AR Album in just 6 hours! It lets you imagine you're holding an original vinyl album in your hands, including the ability to slide the record out from the cover, Incredible.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

House hunting letter drop

The real estate market naturally slows down over the christmas period, and my house hunting for the previous few months hadn't been very fruitful, so I decided to do a letter drop in the are we wanted to buy in.  Here's what I wrote:

Dear homeowner,

Hi. My name is Marty Andrews. My wife and I moved to the area about 6 months ago to be closer to family, and been looking for a house in xxxxxxxxx to buy for our young family. We are wondering if you might be interested in having a conversation about selling your home. If not, thanks for reading this far, and please disregard this letter.

We’re open to all sorts of options, from major renovations to homes that are ready to move in. We’re ready to make a decision quickly if needed, but we can also be flexible on long settlement periods if you need time to find another place of your own.

I’d be happy to share what I know about recent sales in the area to help figure out a fair price for your home, or to get some independent advice too if you want to. A direct sale could mean hefty savings on commission and advertising for you.

If you think you might be interested, please call me on xxxx xxx xxx, or email me at with as much or as little detail as you like. I’m happy to explore any option further to see if it is right for both of us.

Thanks for your time.

Marty Andrews

For a cost of about $25, I created about 400 copies of that letter and dropped it in houses in an area I was interested in.  I didn't bother with envelopes.  The letters were dropped off on January 1st and 2nd.  At the time I did it, I hoped I might get about 0.5% as a response rate.

Now, a couple of weeks later, my response rate has been exactly that.  I got one phone call and one email.  One of those responses was for a house that I was actually interested in, and from a seller who wasn't otherwise exploring selling.  That was great, because I got to have a conversation that I would never have had if I had just waited for real estate listings to appear.

As it turned out, the seller was hoping for too high a price, biased by a valuation he had done about 6 months ago (the market has steadily dropped since then).  We both walked away totally relaxed and happy though, as our investment in the conversation was virtually nil.

I'll absolutely try this technique again one day if I'm buying again.  It's so simple and cheap, and much more comfortable to have a conversation without an agent trying to influence both parties.