There’s a high-tech company you’ve probably never heard of, but it supports all the traffic for companies you have: Twitter, Netflix, Pandora, Digg, Mashable, Soundcloud, Homeaway and many others. One day at SXSW last year, the leaders of the company had a brilliant idea to help support independent musicians. On Tuesday March 13th they are throwing a huge blowout party to announce it to the world at SXSW 2012. Here’s the invite: Music Meets Tech on 3/13 with Dawes headlining our big #SXSWi event in downtown Austin, TX. RSVP now at www.fanfound.com/dynsxsw or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re ready for the VIP experience!
KYLE: We launched 1Band 1Brand last year at SXSW as a side project. Let me give you a quick overview of what DYN is, of who 1Band 1Brand is, then we can talk about the event.DYN is an internet infrastructure company. What makes us unique is that we’re actually like the plumbing and electricity of the internet. Our specialty is managed DNS, and what that means is we are an outsource provider of Domain Name Management. Companies like Pandora and Twitter and Netflix and Mashable and thenextweb and all the different clients of ours use us to do their global routing of their traffic behind the scenes. When you type in Twitter.com you don’t know it but you’re actually using our services, we make sure it’s always up and running and you get there as fast as possible.
We are the traffic cops of the internet. We route it so that you wouldn’t know it unless Twitter was down, we are basically are the phone book for the internet that makes sure that you get to the URL you are typing in.
AMFM: SOUNDS VERY TECHNICAL
KYLE: Yes. very. I always describe it like this. I have your number now saved in my cell phone. So I know your name, but don’t know your number. I hit Christine Thompson and call you. It shoots to towers all over. It hit s a Verizon tower, shoots down to Texas, gets a tower near you and puts our call together, right?
Well, the internet works the same way but with data centers and cloud hosting companies and content delivery networks, so that’s why we’re like the internet phone book.
AMFM: SO YOU’RE ACTUALLY A PRETTY BIG COMPANY THAT PEOPLE HAVE NOT HEARD OF
KYLE: Yes. And it’s all volume based, from websites like yours up to the larger companies. The more traffic you do the more you pay. The other service we do is email delivery. Unlike Constant Contact or an email marketing provider, a lot of the applications today whether it’s e-commerce stores or I follow you on twitter and it sends you a note saying “kyork20 followed you on twitter.” All that automated transactional mail needs to be sent through the internet, through the pipes effectively, efficiently, and to make sure your gmail or yahoo address doesn’t end up in spam.
So we manage that routing of mail as our second correlary service. So it’s really internet infrastructure for managed DNS and email delivery.
Think about that two things not sexy or mainstream. We’re a large company but you’d never know us. That leads me to why we would do a SXSW party. At the end of the day, what we do is the geekiest thing you can do on the internet – BGP routing, all these acronyms you’ve never heard of, (I’ve never heard of them either as a sales and marketing guy until I worked here).
So we started a campaign two years ago called “DNS is Sexy.” It’s not sexy. It’s a bunch of engineers with beards and shorts running around in “DNS is Sexy” shirts. Kind of like a counter to Go Daddy, if you think about the way sex sells. We thought we’d just mock ourselves. We are the electricity of the internet, you know, if our stuff goes down you can’t get to the websites you love. You don’t think much about electricity until it goes dark.
Because of this, we’ve tried to align ourselves closely with our clients. We’ve put their names in lights next to our name in lights, and talk a lot about case studies and consultative sales because at the end of the day we’re only as relevant as the clients we work with. When you work with Angry Birds, Gowalla, HomeAway and a bunch of other Austin companies like that, it makes us more relevant, it makes our work, historically behind the scenes, appear more public.
AMFM: WHEN YOU SAY INTERNET COP, DO YOU MEAN YOUR COMPANY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING IT SAFE AS WELL?
KYLE:It’s more of a traffic cop. It’s not security. It can be, there are definitely companies that angle more on security. But we angle on optimization of traffic. Another way to look at it would be if there’s four elevators in the lobby of a hotel, and someone said “you two in that elevator, you two wait for that other one, and you there go to that one,” that’s kind of like what we’re doing.
KYLE: Yes. Or here’s another. You’re shopping at Whole Foods, a new line opens. We’re going to bring you over there because it’s going to be faster for you. So all this dynamic traffic routing behind the scenes on the internet is where we really operate.
It may not seem like a big deal, but if you’re able to cut off 200-300 milliseconds of latency off your application, people will come to an e-commerce experience and it will be a lot more smooth.
AMFM: NO, IT’S A BIG DEAL. WE ARE SO SPOILED NOW ON THE INTERNET THAT IF SOMETHING LOADS SLOWLY, (SNAP LITTLE FINGERS!) WE’RE OUTTA THERE AND ON TO THE NEXT THING.
KYLE: Exactly, and that’s the world we live in. Our tagline is “Uptime is the Bottom Line.” We have to have very strong service level agreements and internet policies. Our acceptable use policies are like “Don’t mess with us. Don’t host porn on our network, don’t spam people.” We have very stringent guidelines on the types of businesses that can use this shared infrastructure.
AMFM: SO THAT LEADS TO SXSW HOW?
KYLE: This is our third year. The first year we sponsored the free VIP drinks at Stubbs for the Digg Nation Live event. We went in as a partner to Revision 3, a sister to internet television partner with Digg. That’s where we launched our “DNS is Sexy” campaign, so we were all wearing these Black shirts
AMFM: I’VE SEEN THOSE.
KYLE: Yeah, we’ve given away like 10,000 of these shirts. It’s fascinating how hot they’ve become. I’ll let you in on a little secret, we’re launching the follow up to that campaign at this year’s SXSW. It’s the (wait for this) “Get Some IaaS” campaign, Infrastructure as a Service.
KYLE: It’s a follow up to that parody of ourselves. You don’t know who we are or what we do, it isn’t that cool or sexy, but it’s so important. It’s really about that market education to make people aware. We were going to roll it out last year but we had some internal blips because some people thought it was too pushy.
AMFM: A LITTLE RISQUE?
KYLE: Yes, a little. So last year we did something called a DYN 138 listening lounge, and we hosted it at the Austin Symphony Orchestra Amphitheater. I don’t know if you watched that video.
AMFM: I DID. I STOLE IT AND PUT IT ON MY VIDEO, THEY ALLOWED ME TO DO THAT THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
KYLE: Please, use it anywhere and everywhere. We wanted to do our own event and put our name in lights. We placed it on the last day of interactive and the first day of music, because, I’m gonna send you a link to a blog I wrote on DYN, it’s about the intersection of emerging bands and stodgy startups and this correlation of how they’re actually the same, if you take a step back and look at what they’re trying to accomplish. It’s a theme that’s really been put into play around our brand.
All of our highlight videos we’ve ever done at a conference, we put an emerging band in. Every other month we host a concert in our headquarters where we bring in emerging bands on tour and have them play.
AMFM: HOW DO YOU FIND THESE EMERGING BANDS?
KYLE: Now the story comes back to 1Band 1Brand. Two years ago at SXSW, I attended with a good friend of mine who is the VP of a marketing and developing agency up here. Griffin York and Krause. My brother is York (of course) and I went down there with Brady and another friend who works for Anheuser Busch, and we did the Digg VIP sponsor event. We went around to all these events and we brainstormed up this idea for a company, a project called 1 Band 1 Brand.
We thought it would be really cool every week to engage a subscriber base with one emerging band and one emerging fashion brand, to pair them together every single week in some kind of collaboration. So this idea was born at SXSW 2010. We kicked it around for awhile, then brought in my brother Travis who runs GYK Marketing and said “HEY! You want to do this.” The reason we brought in Travis was because honestly it was inherently it was his idea, he and his wife.
The 138 Listening Lounge name is because 138 is their home address in Manchester New Hampshire where they actually host a quarterly concert series called the 138 Listening Lounge.
AMFM: I KNEW THERE WAS MUSIC LOVER ELEMENT SOMEWHERE IN ALL THIS.
KYLE: Yes, they would actually host a concert for 80 to 100 close friends in an addition to a galley kitchen in an awesome house built by my Grandfather. They started inviting touring bands to use their house as a tour stop. The idea was that you can really only do that once a quarter, he’s got two young kids, how many times can you open your house to all these people? Four times a year was great, but…what if we could introduce people to bands every week? So we launched that last year at the DYN 138 Listening Lounge. We hosted the White Arrows at the Steel Boutique off of 2nd street in Austin and launched right there.
So for the past year we’ve had 1 Band 1 Brand operating in peripheral, kinda sorta supporting what DYN, a Twenty plus million dollar company is doing. We’ve been operating in parallel, but now we say forget grave lines or blurred lines lets start to let one support the next.
That brings us to this year’s party, the DYN 138 Listening Lounge is now brought public by 1 Band 1 Brand. We’ve booked all the acts, we’ve secured the riders, we’ve secured the venues. We’ve decided it’s time to celebrate music meets tech. There’s so many awesome technologies now like Kickstarter and Bandcamp and you name it.
AMFM: AND MORE HERE IN AUSTIN
KYLE: We think of SXSW as our banner event for our internet audience, our customer bas is the web enterprise, not the enterprise. It’s companies that have a huge online following.
AMFM: AND PEOPLE LIKE AMFM MAGAZINE.
KYLE: We said let’s raise the bar on the echelon and caliber of the independent bands, and lets really try to get attention to DYN, to music technology, to our partners, and do it with some real investment.
You know, DYN was born in apartment and never taken a dollar of funding. So if you’ve think about how we’ve grown, think about two years ago when we were sponsoring the drinks, then a more casual event at the Symphony Orchestra, to this year securing a headliner and blowing it out.
That’s actually the history of the business, you grow organically, then virally, and be very disruptive against your public competition. But at some point in time you say. Ok, we’ve arrived. GO! So we are really pumped to blow this event out and do it big.
AMFM: GEEZ. YOU SOUND LIKE YOU FIT RIGHT IN. WHY DON’T YOU JUST MOVE TO AUSTIN?
KYLE: (LAUGH) We’re based out of Manchester, New Hampshire, but one of the things we’re trying to do is build an ecosystem of tech companies and leverage what DYN is doing and put people on the map, cause we’re a global company we have customers all over the world.
AMFM: HOW OLD IS DYN?
KYLE:DYN was founded as a hobby in a dorm room in 1998.
AMFM: NO WAY.
KYLE: I swear to God. A couple of guys at WPI basically wanted the ability, it’s called Dynamic DNS. It was orignally founded as DynDNS. org as a hobby before the days of PDA or Log Me In, or Back to My PC, where you had remote access from the computer lab at college back to the dorm room where you could grab content remotely. So basically it was a remote access tool that they built incorporated in 2001. Our current CEO and CTO are the founding members of the team. Didn’t actually graduate college until 2004. So it was like a startup in 98 to 2001. It was a start up again when those guys got out of school and said “ok, we have this company now we’re going to get serious about it.” So they built the platform and launched it on ‘07. Then it was a startup again in ‘08 when guys like myself came on board and said “Let’s up marketing, go towards enterprise, build a brand, build a sales force, and turn this into a business. So that’s really it.
People know of DYNDNS.org in the technical community, it’s got 5 million worldwide subscribers to it. So we had to use this very geeky tool for remote users to have access, then had to turn that into an enterprise brand. Now we have about 2500 enterprise customers around the world. So it’s only been in the last few years we set out to win Angry Birds and Netflix and Pandora and those guys.
SO YOU GUYS ARE IN THE HEADY YEARS, THE STARTUP GOLDEN YEARS.
KYLE: But we’re not a typical startup because we never took investment. It’s all been an organic progression. So when I joined, even though it was 10 years in the making, it was still very much a startup. So the culture here is just like it was for these guys when they were eating Ramen Noodles in college.
AMFM: THAT’S VERY COOL
KYLE: You kind of have to see it to believe it but it’s definitely an interesting spot. Our office here in New Hampshire is like an adult Chucky Cheese. Yeah, there’s a stage, and skee ball, and flight simulators…it’s a trip, it’s your typical internet company.
AMFM: SHOW ME, HOLD UP YOUR COMPUTER (AND THEN HE DID)
Kyle explains more about how high tech is the same as emerging bands on his blog: http://dyn.com/sxswi-technology-startups-emerging-bands-are-one-the-same/