I skyped with Anthony Frasier yesterday. I'm a huge fan of the man, and for those of you who have never heard of him, here's a short bio: Anthony co-founded mobile startup Playd and the award winning gaming site TheKoalition.com. He was profiled on CNN's Black in America: The New Promised Land—Silicon Valley. Wayne Sutton has called him, along with Tiffani Bell, "the new face of black startups" in America. He currently runs The Phat Startup, a website about hip-hop, entrepreneurship, and how both industries have much in common.
Anthony and I talked about a lot of different subjects, including our favorite rappers and how startup founders are similar to aspiring hip-hop artists in terms of the struggle they face every day. We also discussed an idea of his, that mixtapes are similar to minimum viable products (for those of you who don't know, a minimum viable product is the leanest possible version of your product that is often used to garner customer feedback). Think about it—both test the market before the actual product (i..e. album) officially drops. 50 Cent, a great entrepreneur and businessman, hasn't released his upcoming album, "Street King Immortal" yet. His last album, "Before I Self-Destruct," posted dismal numbers, and ever since then he's been working the mixtape circuit, gauging the market response and building hype so that "Street King Immortal" will sell well. Gucci Mane released literally dozens of mixtapes before his major label debut album, building his fan base up so that when "The State vs. Radric Davis" finally dropped, it was #1.
LightHouse Ohio, the incubator I am running for students in Cleveland, is largely based on teaching "lean startup" principles. However, we are always looking for innovative approaches to entrepreneurship, and Anthony's "phat startup" principles embody that. LightHouse Ohio is going to interview Anthony soon about his thoughts/recommendations on being a successful entrepreneur, so keep watching www.lighthouseohio.com for that to drop.