I’ve had this idea knocking around my head for over a month now, and I need to get it out.
The hardest part about being a sound engineer is finding work and organizing time.
I want to change that.
I’ve moved across the country and overseas six times since I started my career. It takes years to build a professional network to fill your calendar with great projects, and every time you move you have to start over again. It’s hard. There has to be a better way.
Imagine a world where you aren’t limited by geography. Where you can move to a new city and pick up right where you left off. Imagine spending several years building up a client base in New York City, then moving to Austin, TX and quickly being hired for work of a similar quality, because your reputation and references moved with you. Way better than the status quo of being limited by personal contacts and gate keepers, right?
This is how I image it works for a contractor who does well on Angie’s List. They can work for several years in one city, accruing good ratings and reviews, then move to another city where those ratings and reviews still benefit them. Sound engineers could probably have a similar experience using Angie’s List or LinkedIn, but I think that we are a broad and diverse enough industry that we need our own online home.
Once every year I miss a gig because of a calendar error, usually because I just plain didn’t enter the details. It feels terrible. I’ve been working in pro audio for over ten years and this still happens. It’s not the only mistake I make, either. On occasion I get lazy, make assumptions, and lose money. How can I protect myself from me?
Clearly, I need a booking agent. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen, but I can put automation in place that will protect me from some of the fail points I mentioned above. What does a booking agent do? He knows the kind of work that I like, the conditions I’m willing to experience, and the amount of money I want to make. He can promote my work to possible clients and turn down the things that don’t fit. I know you are thinking that these things can’t be automated because there are so many details involved when booking technical labor. I agree, but what if we could make it super easy to book in the initial steps, and then follow up with all of the details once the job has basically been sold?
One of the great things about TaskRabbit is that posting a job only takes 30 seconds. Someone will grab it in the next few hours and then there will be a followup conversation for details. You skip the time-consuming back and forth communication that you encounter when hiring someone through Craigslist. TaskRabbit mostly handles simple tasks like cleaning the yard or picking up groceries, but I think we can take a lesson from them.
Doesn’t This Exist Already?
What about eLance, Production Hub, OffStage Jobs, Music Jobs, and ARTsearch? Those are all quality job listing sites, but how many of you have actually gotten any work out of them? The big problem is that hardly anyone goes to the internet to hire live event staff. No one is searching Google for sound engineer. In fact, if you check Google Trends, the term sound engineer is trending down since 2005.
I want to change that. When you need a plumber, you search the net. When you want to eat at a restaurant, you go to Yelp. When you want to find a general contractor, you use Angie’s list. Live event specialists need a central hub where everyone in the world knows we can be found and booked easily. There are lots of features that I want from a product like this, but the first step is to move away from personal contacts as gate keepers, and move toward an open market and meritocracy.
Am I crazy? Is there someone offering this service already and I missed it somehow? If so, let me know!
Think I’m sane? Then sign up to help me build something great.
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