Interview time with @David Noël
Our team keeps growing. Continuing our interview series with new SoundCloud teamsters, today we’re introducing you to David. He’s been on the team for a while now but has only been able to sit down for chat now. So here it goes:
David, what’s your role in the SoundCloud team and how long have you been on board?
I’m the SoundCloud Evangelist and Community Manager, my role is to get people excited about SoundCloud and doing everything in my power to keep it that way.
I send out virtual band-aids (read: answer support emails) to users experiencing “Doh’s” on the site (read: bugs), post news to our blog, Twitter, Facebook & Tumblr accounts and pretty much everything in between that doesn’t require my non-existing coding skills.
That includes helping artists and labels get their accounts or remix competitions ready and managing our forums on GetSatisfaction, where with the fantastic help of our users we’ve grown a massive help resource and have collected some really great suggestions we then evaluate with the team. Besides, there’s a lot of copy tweaking here and there, lots of networking and I love adding more emails to Dave’s inbox. He then reciprocates my love by adding even more to mine. (Oh look, pandas).
Currently, I’m busy reaching out to some users and speak with them on Skype about how they’ve been using SoundCloud, what they think of the upcoming updates on the PRO accounts and see if they have any good suggestions based on their daily usage. It’s great to be able to get to know our users on a more personal level and it’s even greater to see that today’s technology makes it super-easy to do exactly that. Contact me if you wanna chat.
Although having met Alex & Eric after they just got started, I only joined in late July. Haven’t looked back since.
What’s the funniest support request / report you’ve received since you joined?
My absolute favorite goes something like this: “Hey guys, awesome site but I noticed a little typo in the upper left of the page. It says “Hej” and I think this should say “Hey”.” This makes me giggle every time. It actually means “Hello” in Swedish.
How many emails/tweets/comments/forum posts do you write on a normal day?
Normal day? Are you kidding? Well, let’s see: I have 6 email accounts, the GetSatisfaction admin panel, two Twitter accounts (Hey Tweetie, you’re awesome!), a Facebook account, the SoundCloud Facebook Page, two Tumblr blogs and our main blog right here.
Yeah, I write/post quite a lot every day & night. “Inbox Zero” currently is more like an urban legend to me but I hope to find a great intern soon to help me out.
So, how do you become an Evangelist & Community Manager – there’s not really an education for that?
Tough one, Eric. I have no idea – no, there doesn’t seem to be an education except for “the street school” I guess. But let me try.
In my opinion, the most important thing is passion. Personally, I’ve always admired SoundCloud as a product & service, the team and the way it has evolved to what it is today. It solves a problem, it is user-focused, technology-driven and a remarkably well executed business. So to join SoundCloud with the task to evangelize the service and its users was a no-brainer for me. I love this quote by Tumblr staffer Jared in his post about AnyClip from earlier this week: “You log on to AnyClip with a mission, and you leave with passion“. What a great mantra for any given web service.
I think you need a couple of years of experience navigating through different parts of a (web)business: it requires a marketing mindset, communication skills, deep understanding of the product, strategy and the vision behind it. You basically take all that knowledge and energy and put it out there, gather users and friends around you and march forward. The more you are, the stronger you get and the more you receive back.
If you would like to tap into what this actually means, I suggest reading Creating Customer Evangelists written by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba and Tribes by Seth Godin. Both are great books to start with. Even for an artist or a label, you’ll find a lot of useful insights in there. Remember: it’s all about the people you get excited about the things you do. A recent post on Guardian.co.uk titled How can a new act stand out of the crowd wraps up with the question: “Who are your trusted filters?” – can you answer it?
Your last name (Noël) sounds french – what’s your background?
I was born and raised in a small town in Belgium called Eupen which is in the German-speaking part of the country. I dropped out of college, moved to Cologne, Germany where I worked as an A&R for an indie label before spending three years on the roads all across Europe tour managing bands from around the world. After that I worked for a marketing agency while going to school in the evenings to get a Marketing degree. In 2006, I co-founded a startup and left at the end of last year before an epic reset on the beaches of Thailand. Returning home, I spent a couple of months consulting startups and agencies before finally joining the mighty Cloud.
You spend a lot of time on the web – any favorite sites or trends right now?
Unfortunately I don’t find the time to hang around any new/other sites too much. I absolutely love Tumblr: drop-dead simple blogging platform and an awesome team & community around it. Big fan also of Anthony and his little (actually not so little) Hype Machine. I love the power of Twitter, am happy to be a Spotify Premium user and can’t wait for Foursquare Berlin. If Facebook works a bit on its UI, it’s close to be a perfect social network. Oh and Google is plain and simply great. Everything these guys do is amazing, we use it all the time – it’s incredible what they’ve achieved for the entire tech-industry.
What I love about the web right now is its openness. Instead of closed gardens like a couple of years ago, the web has grown into that huge connected octopus (a very cute one) and it flattens the world much more than ever. We love API’s and believe in the power of the layered web. It’s incredible to see all that creativity out there, triggered by accessible data, turning something into something totally new. Can’t wait to see how developers play around with our own API.
On the contrary – what do you hate about the web?
Spam. Can’t believe they’re still trying. Even worse: can’t believe they actually succeed in some cases.
Could you name three artists to describe your musical taste?
That’s way too hard to answer. If a track is great, chances are that I’ll love it. To see what I liked recently, see my Last.fm and Hype Machine profiles or check out my favorites on SoundCloud. Current favs: Tom Petty, Neil McSweeney and Mumford & Sons.
Thanks, David! And welcome. Any more links for us?
Sure, my pleasure. Find me on Twitter (@David), SoundCloud or Tumblr.