(Founder Stories) Turntable.fm’s Billy Chasen On Closing Stickybits: “None Of Us Used The App”

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When we first invited Billy Chasen to join us on Founder Stories he was working hard to make his startup, Stickybits a success. Turns out it never took off. But like many founders, Chasen bounced back and found better luck elsewhere. In this case it’s with Turntable.fm – a platform where people play DJ online and share music with others in virtual rooms.

Having recently raised $7-million from investors that include Union Square Ventures and First Round Capital, we thought it would be interesting to catch-up with Chasen and hear how it all went down.

Chasen tells Founder Stories host, Chris Dixon that when 2010 was drawing to a close, he reviewed “the health” of Stickybits and recognized it was mired in mediocrity. He says he didn’t have the passion to continue with the project and it seems his team wasn’t much more enthusiastic. “We were all building the app and none of us used the app.”

Chasen continues, “there were two choices to make, there was either let’s just shut down the company and say Stickybits isn’t working and we all go off on our own, or we drastically change the company.” Option two won out and investors were on board, but Chasen admits he stumbled a bit when delivering the news to his staff. “One of the mistakes I made was I didn’t message it as well as I could have to my team. I basically came to them one day and was really just kind of like, we are going to do this now.”

Having previously convinced others that Stickybits was the way to go, Chasen readily admits aspects of the transition were “terrifying.” He tells Dixon, “I thought Turntable was an amazing idea and I thought it could get the traction that it has gotten, but you don’t know at the time, it is not built, it is just a concept in your head and the worst thing that can happen is you say trust me again and you build that up and then… nobody likes it.”

Make sure to watch the entire video to hear additional insights, including how Chasen came up with the idea for Turntable.fm. Past episodes of Founder Stories featuring Drew Houston, Kevin Ryan, Mayor Bloomberg and many other leaders here.

Episode II of this interview is coming up.