THIS IS HOW WE MADE STEREOTYPE.FM
What’s the story behind Stereotype.fm? Whose laptops did we pimp on Valentine’s Day? Why is a `hack weekend` a good thing? Tune in to our freshest episode of Tastebuds HQ!
This is the HEAD AT THE RETREAT OF ROCK…
…this is VOODOO…
..and this is an early design draft for our latest `hack weekend` project Stereotype. A simple but powerful idea – you type in a band name and get weird and wonderful statistics about their fans. Mashable just pimped us and so did Evolver.fm, National Post, A.V.Club, Elite Daily, Gawker and many others.
SO HOW DID WE COME UP WITH THE IDEA?
Right after our team got back from Stockholm’s Music Hack Day this January (we were working on the Blind Chat feature for our Spotify app), we thought it would be a great incentive to work on a feature in a different mindset, way outside the daily routine. That would mean, remote location, a sole focus of creating one specific feature, louder music, louder coffee (the kind of coffee you measure in decibels, not deciliters, mind you)..and a 48-hour deadline.
As for the idea itself: we’ve been brandishing the idea that there is a connection between music preference and personality traits. Stereotype.fm is one way of looking at it – taking music preference data from user profiles, cross-referencing it with survey answers and see where it leads us. How we managed to present the facts and numbers is – listening to user reviews and comments – both fun and shareable. As for how valid and legit it is… to much merriment and dismay – it is. Deal with it.
To give you a better understanding of how Stereotype looks from the inside, here’s a collection of what each team member had to say about our routine-breaking hack weekend! (Also, you’ll get to know whose laptops we pimped on our Facebook page on Day 1 of the hack weekend!)
We wanted to do something different – our everyday work is building and maintaining a social network so it was a nice break to have the team working on a side project. It’s a bonus that the data resulted in some humorous headlines.
We have always suspected a link between music taste and personality traits so we wanted to see if we could examine this link and present our findings in a fun and appealing way. We actually had the idea for Stereotype.fm over a year ago but only recently had enough data to make it a reality, thanks to the recent growth of Tastebuds.fm.
Funny or serious? Provocative or informative? These were the biggest decisions we had to make on the content level and even with these funny ones we had a serious amount of database massage and background work. As for the hack weekend mindset, we were constantly forced to make hard choices and stick to them – making challenges like these reality in under 48 hours. Do we deal with long tail artists? Do we cross-reference data to come up with examples like who has the most blonde Buddhist fans in Mexico? How about presenting that data on an interactive infographic? Or will these little blue and pink things we call ‘beermats` suffice? Tough choices, gotta tell you that.
The biggest concern I had about the idea for the hack day was whether or not the results from the surveys would be interesting and/or funny. However, once we got stuck into the data and some of the hilarious results started popping out I knew we were onto a winner.
It was definitely a test of endurance. I don’t think Alex or Milo stepped outside for 2 days! We entertained ourselves with an insane amount of coffee, crisps and sweets, including a fancy heart-shaped box of chocolates, seeing as it was Valentines Day!
Milo was unavailable for comments this time. (Too busy stroking his Adobe Illustrator. Whatever that means.)
Every company should have off-site hack days like this. The experience produces much higher intensity and focus, the likes of which are not possible in your normal office environment.
We were able to solve some pretty tricky data problems which yielded a combination of expected, unexpected and hilarious results. More surprisingly we were able to put all our different threads of work together into a coherent, fun product.
I hope the idea of those shareable headline images pays off because they took WAY more effort to generate than you think!
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