From suburbia to Hollywood player in a decade, step into the sneakers of Scott "DJ Skee" Keeney. In the last decade he's gone from obscurity to producing and DJ'ing for hip-hop's biggest names, launching nationally syndicated radio and TV shows, amassing staggering social and real life followers, and even supporting charities with the UN Foundation. The 30-year-old Minnesota native is reinventing what it means to be a DJ, and with his company SKEEMATIC, what an entertainment company looks like in 2015. His latest venture is Dash Radio, a 60 station, commercial-free Internet radio offering that's quickly garnered major talent and industry support. Here's Skee on what makes him tick creatively.
Name/Position/Company/Number Of Employees
Scott Keeney / CEO / Dash Radio / 22
How has innovation changed the way you do business?
It's allowed us to challenge one of the oldest and stale businesses in the world: broadcast radio. Because of technology and digital distribution, the huge costs of entry (from both production and studio operations to distribution) have been slashed by over 10,000%. We also are able to offer exact one to one analytics as well as find and incentivize talent against this.
When did you realize your path to success required you to innovate? What was your 'aha' moment?
There were two: launching my own DJ Skee app with a radio station, and realizing that was the future of broadcast if we could clone the same idea and offer it to others deserving of a platform. Second, speaking at a charity event at a high school and realizing kids didn't listen to FM radio or have any clue, interest, or positive sentiment about it. It was then I knew I had to create Dash Radio.
What challenges and roadblocks did you face initially? How did you overcome them?
So many! People doubting me since I was "just a DJ," people not giving me any shot at challenging a monster industry, raising money from investors for it, finding the right team to power it, getting DJs and personalities to take a risk and believe in this new platform. Tons of obstacles from money to tech to distribution to marketing. Persistence and patience behind my belief is what allowed me to overcome this.
What lesson do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Be agile, don't give up, follow your gut, be realistic with yourself and your product, and just find a way to fight through everything and make it happen.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting that you know now?
So many things, but I have no regrets as they helped us figure out the correct path.
What is the biggest hurdle every creator must tackle?
Being scared of failure.
How important is an idea? Is it more important than the people behind it, or vice versa?
Equal. Anyone can have ideas, but what good are they if they can't be executed?
Is failure a myth, or does it really help you grow? When is failure actually bad?
Failure is good if you learn from it and don't gamble everything on it. It's bad if you're too slow to realize it, or when it takes everything you have out of you.
Did you ever think you weren't going to make it? And how did you overcome self-doubt?
Not seriously, but there are always sleepless nights. You just have to quit being afraid and go for it.
What is your motivation?
Proving that my theory is right, providing a needed spark to the broadcast world, changing the paradigm and power from corporations back to the talent, and showing others anything is possible.
What innovation do you want to see, both in your company, business and beyond?
I want to constantly push the boundaries even as we grow. I want to create the best broadcast radio content and allow anyone, anywhere in the world, to listen in on any device.
How has change helped foster a better work culture, and improve peoples' lives?
It's given an opportunity for those who don't conform to the life of trying to slowly climb a corporate ladder and enable them to become the best they can be.
What's next for you?
Becoming the biggest radio broadcaster in the world.