What if streaming platforms were more than just buzz worthy? At injii, they’re building a better world by developing a platform that gives back to charitable organizations. As the team is getting ready for the injii Access Coin (IAC) Crowdsale launch, they want to introduce the project and share their story here at StartupRadius.
This is the original article by Justin Paul, the founder of injii.com, a blockchain-based open broadcast of content supporting causes.
As far back as I can remember I’ve had an infatuation with the MTV channel. I loved all of it. The bad graphics, the cheesy talk show hosts, and the programming such as Yo! MTV Raps and The Ball — but most importantly Making the Video series.
The music videos were different from all the other stuff. They were standalone pieces of art. The cinema-quality film, artistry, and production of the music videos left me speechless. I didn’t know it then, but my love for those videos would spark a deeper passion to do and be more.
Back then, all the way in the late 80’s, analog is all we had for Movies, TV, and Music. When I wasn’t watching MTV, I was recording music off the radio, dubbing music from friends’ tapes, or listening to my parent’s vinyl records.
I wasn’t so much hooked to what the artists and filmmakers said, but more locked into the why and how they did it. I was fascinated by the process.
I was convinced I would be a director, screenplay writer, rapper or Rockstar when I ‘grew up.’ At the time I clearly had no idea there is a difference between aspirations and talent…
Little did I know that it would be my technical skillsets that would set me apart.
My second love was computers. My father, a former Systems Administrator, bought me my very first Packard Bell PC. He showed me how to use it and I figured out the rest by tinkering and exploring it. I quickly taught myself how to code (QBasic, VB). As the years passed I used those self-taught skills to build web pages for local businesses and organizations and repair hardware for my friends and family.
All the while I was building the foundation for a future that had no idea was waiting for me.
The world stopped for me when I discovered the RealPlayer program and streamed my first every music video. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Naughty By Nature — Feel Me Flow.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew immediately that content streaming could change the way we lived. This technology wasn’t something to brush off. Right then and there I was no longer just a coder. I became a Tech Entrepreneur.
Every founder has a similar story. A point in time they can pinpoint as the moment their world changed. For me, I went from being someone who loved tech as a side-hobby to someone who saw the limitless possibilities it could bring to the world — and I wanted to be part of it.
Like other startup founders, I haven’t always been in the ‘startup’ business, however. Even after that premonition, it took decades to help me find my real purpose.
I have spent much of my life running businesses (had my own Mixtape CD company at age 13) and even worked as a sales supervisor, business banker and wall street broker trainee. I eventually made my way into the startup space and spent over a decade working my way through the ranks of one startup that shall remain nameless.
I enjoyed the journey but knew in my heart I was put on this earth for something different. You can probably relate if you’re in the startup space.
You ache for something more meaningful. Something that you can respect yourself for having been part of. Something you want your legacy tied to.
As I’ve worked on Injii I’ve learned so much about what it means to build something you can be proud of. First, you’ve got to accept being a fool. People will call you that. They called Steve Jobs that, and they’ll call you one too.
But you’ve got to push past your fear of failure. That fear is worse than failure itself. You’ve got to be willing to be called ‘crazy’ and you can’t let fear stop you.
For example, 15 years ago if I told you that people would not only openly share their basic personal information but also share their romantic interests, deepest darkest thoughts and opinions, and willingly record their lives for the world to see all without ever being paid a dime to do it, you’d tell me I was insane.
Well, that’s exactly what Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are. And people love it.
The vision to create a platform where people willingly share their personal information not only succeeded but changed the way the WORLD lives.
What does all this have to do with our startup?
It has to do with our ‘why’. The reason we do what we do.
I and the Injii team believe that everyone should explore what it is they came here to do. Change the world and do it without any fear. All that matters is that you do what it is that makes your heart pump faster and you follow through with your goals. A key part of doing what you love is finding inspiration to get there.
A song lyric that has always inspired me is Beach Chair by Jay-Z:
Some said “Hov, how you get so fly?”
I said, “From not being afraid to fall out the sky.”
When I decided to give up on the fear and put the work into changing the world, it was more my fear of leaving this world without ever doing anything significant that motivated me. In 2014 I felt like I was reaching the end of my opportunity to do something incredible. And so, I started to hustle.
I still had a full-time day job, but in the evening and early morning, I put the work in to achieve my dream. Most startup founders will tell you a similar story. Work when you can to do what you can.
Initially, I spent my spare time brainstorming ideas. That phase went on for months. I started by really digging in and figuring out what was most important to me. By the end of those first few months, I realized I wanted to build a service that represented my interests — online media streaming — in a way that other people would find helpful and innovative.
After I came up with the idea, I spent several hundreds of hours on wireframing, hashing out work-flows, branding, managing legal filings and more. The result was in March 2014 injii was founded.
What I’m getting at here is that being a founder isn’t all the glitz and glam that Instagram accounts will have you believe.
It’s purely hard work. It involves countless sleepless nights, crying, yelling, hospital admissions, way too many bags of espresso, transferred credit card balances and missed social opportunities. There’s no way to accurately prepare for that.
That’s why I and every other founder emphasizes that you fully love what you’re doing. The romanticism of entrepreneurs rising from the ashes to become overnight successes is a façade. It takes a certain kind of crazy to get through it.
When I set out to write this blog my initial thought was to write about “why you should check out injii,” but overlooking the harsh realities of this type of work wouldn’t be fair to my fellow entrepreneurs who are on that journey.
As you navigate through the startup landscape, the one piece of advice I want you to take is not necessarily to adopt some crazy Zen meditation schedule, a liquid kale diet or go hike Mount Everest, but to curate one solid playlist, be it on Spotify, Apple Music or any streaming service.
I’m being serious. The power of music is real.
The American Psychological Association has cited studies showing that music therapy can reduce the hormone cortisol in your body (that’s the hormone responsible for stress). And believe me, there will be plenty of stress in your body to get rid of as a startup founder.
Creating a playlist of music that you love will get you through those early morning hours, earth-shattering challenges and even those moments where you feel like you’re on top of the world. Music helps us reset our minds and keeps us focused on what we want.
Even though it sounds trivial, a music playlist is a tool you want in your startup toolkit.
Above all else, though, you must wholeheartedly, with every fiber of your being, believe in your idea. If you do, all the pain will be well worth it.
For me, my passion to marry content to causes naturally lead to my idea to found injii. I gained clarity and realized I wanted to create a place where every kind of entertainer can use their talent to improve the lives of other people, all while monetizing their passion.
My dream was, and is, to offer 24 hour a day broadcasting for incredible up-in-coming artists as they share their gift with the world.
Every live stream is tied directly to a charitable organization so that as we watch together, and engage with what we’re watching by commenting and sharing it, we can get involved with life-changing charities.
injii is all about creating a global connection so that together we can make the world a better place to be. Through our platform we allow people to contribute via donations as big or small as they’d like.
It’s a beautiful thing to witness, really. People coming together to give back to causes who’ve given others so much.
We facilitated this process by following a similar approach to that of the television broadcasting model. We have an open-sourced, time scheduled, real-time streaming showcase of media tied to a live crowd-fund for public charities.
An easy way to look at it as an online Charity Benefit Concert, but instead of focusing on a single cause or just a few artists, it’s countless artists contributing to global change through multiple charities. Pretty awesome, right?
The best part is that by integrating blockchain technology with Ethereum and ERC-223 compatible coins we will also create an ecosystem where users can earn an injii Access Coin (IAC) simply by donating to causes or by engaging with our content.
This coin allows users to attend our exclusive events like music and film festivals, concerts, live recordings or simply purchase memorabilia. The IAC serves as a pass to physically be in moment.
We’ve had a good deal of success thus far.
Since we registered injii in 2014, we’ve gained quite a bit of traction. In 2015 we graduated from the IBM SoftLayer Catalyst Incubator program and in 2016 we were accepted into the Gig Tank Accelerator program.
Today, we’re now an LLC and we’ve secured multiple seed funding to move us towards our goals. Our fully functional beta platform has been tested and is ready for the next step — live streaming via media partners like Verizon Digital Media Services and AOL One.
We’re also working with many partners in the blockchain space (keep an eye out for future blogs on this subject) and want to use it to optimize our services and increase the user experience.
In all this (wonderful) chaos, I’ve been lucky enough to have an incredible team on my side at injii. Getting to work with our crew has been pretty awesome. As we move forward, you’ll be hearing from them as they offer up their own take on mastery assessment in their respective industries.
We’ve come a long way to get to where we are. Despite existing in the crypto-currency space, we promise we are far from anything like you’ve seen before. Our white paper gives you a thorough look at what our company plans on doing and how we intend to change the world for the better. We hope you’ll stick with us on our journey.
Here’s to hoping you follow your dreams and join us in making the world a better place to be.