Alon Shacham is a Musician/Developer turned Entrepreneur and is allergic to bad UX.
While finishing his BSc in Computer Sciences, just as the first iPhone launched, I co-founded my first startup and have been leading mobile development in mobile startups ever since.
What are you working on these days?
Today I am the CEO, Founder and lead developer in Compoze, while still consulting for other startups every now and again.
I also play the Saxophone professionally and am the band leader of an 18 piece funky bag band called “the Bari Hard Big Band.”
What was your first position in the Startup Nation?
Exactly 10 years ago.
It was a functional QA position in Mobixell, a mature startup that provided services to mobile providers and I was a part of a team that tested the company’s MMS server.
I was attracted to the position because we had a closet full of the newest smartphones of the day (pre-iPhone), but the job was pretty terrible, having to run over 250 tests on mobile devices, over and over again.
After a couple of months there, I realized that with a bit of hacking, I could automate around 60% of the process, so I did.
I wasn’t employed as a developer, and never worked as one before, nor did I get anyone’s permission to do it. But I was on schedule with everything else, so no one even noticed.
I like to joke around and say that because I made a software that did most of my teams work they didn’t need me anymore, but the truth is that the position was tremendously boring for me and my focus drifted towards my studies and my music.”
What was your first job ever?
Technical support staff member in an art camp called ‘Matan.’
What life event or moment affected your life the most?
1 story, 3 major life lessons:
It was during my year studying in music school.
I was 24 and had been playing the Saxophone for about 15 years at the time when my school assigned Saxophone teacher told me that I should seriously consider switching instruments.”Maybe you should play the trumpet,” he said, in what I had just decided was our last lesson.
I was a good player with great technical skills, but something was wrong, and he didn’t really understand what that was.
That same week, while visiting my hometown, I met a Saxophone teacher that knew me since I was a kid.
He heard I was studying music and was excited to hear me play, but after just a few notes, he stopped me and said:
“Alon, don’t be offended, but you’re playing like a child. But, you’re only missing something very small that I’m teaching my students on their very first lessons and I can teach it to you, 2-3 lessons and you’ll be good”.
“When someone asks for your advice- saying “I don’t know” is better than giving bad advice
Three lessons later I was completely changed forever.
He changed my perception and core understanding of music in practical steps and the process changed my music taste and playing forever.
His last advice to me was “now that you get it, I think you should find a band and grow yourself musically through it.”
My band Hoodska, had it’s first rehearsal that week, and we’ve been playing and touring for 12 years now.
- In music and life, it’s all about your intention
- When someone asks for your advice- saying “I don’t know” is better than giving bad advice (no offense to trumpets), but if you understand the problem well, give it even if it’s brutal, just make sure you frame it well.
- We can change in a snap, life hacks are possible, and we have the ability to better ourselves immensely and sometime almost immediately, it’s all about the right method from the right person.
Best advice you received or would like to share?
Breath. A good life has to do with the right balance between yin and yang. Startup life is all about Yang- up, up, up. Learning to stop and breath keeps you sane, focused and makes you a better person to those around you.