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The Power of Perseverance
Shazam Co-Founder Chris Barton on Making the Impossible Possible
Chris Barton founded the app Shazam twenty years ago in 2002, years before the iPod and iTunes had even been created. In fact, the flip phone had just come out.
With an unwavering vision for what’s possible – and a core principle of creating from the heart and building with the mind – Barton built one of the most popular apps of all time.
Shazam has surpassed 1 billion downloads, and has hundreds of millions of active users daily. It was acquired by Apple in 2018 for $400 million, making it Apple’s fifth largest acquisition.
In this lively and inspiring conversation with Tony Robbins, Barton shares how his own perseverance made the impossible possible, and reveals how personal limitations can in fact be your superpower.
Listen below to the full conversation.
[2:30] Introduction to Chris Barton
[4:39] Overcoming dyslexia and ADHD
[05:31] How limitations can be a Superpower
[6:49] Defining your own path
[8:24] Choosing co-founders before the business
[11:09] Breakthrough idea for Shazaam
[12:18] Two businesses all entrepreneurs must run
[13:54] Being told an idea is impossible
[16:11] Meeting co-founder/ inventor Avery Wang
[19:06] Getting turned down by over 100 VC’s
[20:48] Building a music database by hand
[22:22] Launch expectations and reality
[24:46] Early struggles
[26:25] Lessons from Google and Dropbox
[29:41] Earning revenue via a parallel to core business
[31:14] Coming up with the name Shazam
[33:23] Apple showcases Shazam
[35:44] Monetization of the app over time
[37:07] Apple acquires Shazam
[41:46] Life after selling Shazam
[42:47] Incubating a new startup (Guard)
[46:04] Audience question from Becky: What are three things to focus on when creating an app?
[47:55] Audience question from Miles: What was your ideation process behind Guard?
[55:05] Audience question from Barbara: Did you buy every CD to get Shazam started?
[58:03] Audience question from Hannah: How do I get over fear and become a musician?
[01:00:04] Tony explains how “proximity is power”
[01:03:42] Sign off