What I’ve Been Up To

[Update: If you’d like to sign up for the Beta for Swell Radio, please fill out this short form.]

Over the course of the next few days, I’d like to share with you a personal story about how I’ve been working in the Valley. In the Fall of 2011, I was introduced to a very successful technologist and entrepreneur through a mutual friend. At that time, I was surprised that someone of this person’s caliber would ask for an introduction to me. Over the course of a few meetings, he and his team were able to raise a seed round given their track record in mobile. As you’ll learn soon, this team had built one of the most unique mobile technologies around imaging what seems like many years ago now. Anyway, I started to spend more time with the founders, and over time, an organic relationship formed where I turned into a formal advisor to the company. The added bonus, which isn’t central to this story but nevertheless important, is that the founder/CEO has also become a real mentor to me, which is beyond invaluable.

Now, to the company. This is a technology startup. It’s located off of California Avenue in Palo Alto. It’s a small team. There’s a lot of work on engineering, design (for mobile) and content. The goal is to release an application on iPhone, and eventually Android and web, that is a hit on Day 1. Their team is small. The office is not fancy. It feels like a garage, in this modern day sense of how startups du jour talk about culture, free snacks, and over-the-top self-affirming elitism.

And, about the product. The application under construction by Concept (the parent) is a product called “Swell Radio.” At a high level, Swell Radio’s goal is to reimagine audio content. I can’t reveal more just now, but I am working with the team to release more builds of the app and get more people around here using it. For me, Swell Radio has completely replaced terrestrial and satellite radio, and as someone who actively uses Quora and Prismatic, I am — for better or worse — constantly looking for new products that will keep me informed in the most efficient manner. This is where Swell fits in. When I’m in the car driving, or when I get up in the morning, or when I’m home late at night and working (we cut our Cable TV), if I’m not listening to music, I’m listening to Swell. It tells me about my world around me, but also delivers a level of personalized content that I couldn’t even imagine.

Over the next few days, I’ll be writing more about Concept.io and Swell, and I’ll be able to start inviting a bunch of you who are reading this into the app. And, if you’re like me, there’s a good chance you’ll like it.