Derek Sivers intervista. “Tutto quello che vuoi tu” è il titolo del libro di Derek Sivers edito da ROI Edizioni, focalizzato su 40 lezioni pratiche per una nuova specie di imprenditori. Derek Sivers è musicista e creatore di CD Baby. Un’intervista ricca di spunti e suggerimenti per affrontare al meglio la digital transformation nella consumer age. Spesso i business model si fondano su semplici meccanismi. L’intervista è in lingua inglese.



Who is Derek Sivers? Could you tell us something about your career?

From the age of 14, I was an abitious musician.  I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, then moved to New York City to be a successful musician.

I was somewhat successful, enough to buy a house with the money I made doing music, but then started a little website called CD Baby, to help my other musician friends sell their music.

CD Baby accidently became the largest seller of independent music online.


 Why did you decide to write this book? Who is a digital enterpreneur?

I learned a lot of surprising lessons while starting, growing, then selling my company.

I wrote this short little book – (you can read it in under one hour) – telling only the interesting lessons I think you will find most useful for your own work.

A digital entrepreneur is really almost everybody now, unless you just have a little shop with no website.


 While trying to reach your musical dreams, you managed to create a business company. What considerations can you make on the basis of your experience?

You don’t have to do it the way most people do it.

You don’t have to do it the way Silicon Valley does it.

A business is your little part of the world where you control the rules, and get to make everything the way you think it should be.


CD Baby is a very simple Business Model, a mix of Digital evolution and traditional experience of a music shop. Big ideas are usually simple ideas. Can You explain your thought?

Thank you for noticing that.  Yes, it was really just the old idea of a little music shop.  But online, because for small independent musicians, maybe they only had 20 people in the world that want to buy their music.  But those 20 people were in Mexico, India, Canada, Finland, Australia, etc.  So it was a better way to reach the potential fans.


You understood very early the importance of user experience. Today experience marketing is a trending topic. How do you understand people and engage them with your business idea?

Ignore all of the hype and advice, then only imagine how you wish companies would treat you.


Why a big portfolio of small Customers could be an advantage?

For the same reason that a table with 12 legs stands stronger than a table with 3 legs.

Your business is much too fragile and breakable if you are depending on one or two big customers.


Summer 2003 has been a milestone for indipendent music. What’s happened?

Before 2003, the hundreds of thousands of independent musicians in the world were kept in a separate corner of the internet, like on CD Baby.

After 2003, all of them were available at iTunes, Amazon, and all future online music stores, thanks to the boom of digital distribution.  But it was a rough start, thanks to Steve Jobs, and you can read about that in the book.


Why did you sell CD Baby?

Like a painter who has been working on a mural for many years, or an author who has been writing a book for many years, I finally did everything I wanted to do with it, and felt finished.

Seth Godin helped me see that if I remained the owner, while feeling finished like this, that I would be hurting my clients.  So it was my duty to leave.