Statistician turned marketer with a history of delivering data-driven, actionable insights for building strategy and scaling businesses through insight-informed opportunities for growth. Passionate about technology-driven innovation and customer-driven business models. Internet industry experience at multiple VC-backed start-ups (SoundCloud, Betfair, MadBid), start-up mentor and advisor and recent MBA graduate of IESE Business School.
2010 - Present
Head of New Markets / SoundCloud
SoundCloud is the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.
In my new role at SoundCloud I am responsible for leading our international expansion into new markets including the strategy of new market entry, growth initiatives across multiple territories and the launch of new monetisation products. SoundCloud has hundreds of millions of users worldwide and my goal is to get that to a billion.
Previously, at SoundCloud, I have built up the Marketing, Growth & Insight teams and have been somehow involved across almost every function (such is the startup journey). I work with some pretty rad people and am involved in our company diversity efforts to ensure I work with a lot more in the future. We're hiring by the way (http://soundcloud.com/jobs).
So yeah, it's fun.
2011 - Present
EIR / Mentor / Seedcamp
Working with Seedcamp to support their teams and identify new opportunities in Berlin
2015 - Present
Mentor / Techstars
2012 - Present
Guest Speaker / ESMT European School of Management and Technology
Regular guest speaker at the ESMT MBA Programme on the topic of Growth Marketing Strategy for High Tech firms for Prof. Dahlander.
Adviser / Epiclist
Epiclist helps make dreams happen. I try to help them do that.
Mentor / Startup Wise Guys
Guest Speaker / General Assembly
One of the first tutors for GA Berlin on the topic of Startup Marketing
Contributing Writer / The Next Web
Back in the day, I wrote a few articles for The Next Web's Apps blog focusing on technology apps (web, mobile, desktop) and internet startups.
The Next Web is the best of the Web's news, views, startups and culture. Most of my articles are archived here: http://thenextweb.com/apps/author/thomcummings/
MBA Student 2010 / IESE Business School
Masters in Business Administration with focus on strategy, marketing and entrepreneurial management.
Helped to organise the Doing Good, Doing Well Conference - the largest student-run conference in Europe focused on making an positive social impact through business.
Led the Technology, Media & Telecom club, Cultural Club and was selected to represent the school in Global Venture Capital and Tech Consulting competitions.
Strategy Consultant / MadBid.com
Working directly with the founders/directors of this fast growing start-up, I consulted and implemented on product marketing, communication strategy, product development and user experience during a three-month internship. In addition, I developed management reporting and dashboards and worked on board/investor presentation for fundraising.
In July 2010, MadBid received £4m in Series A funding from Atomico Ventures.
Games Insight Manager / Betfair
Built the Insight team for Betfair Games (Poker, Casino, Exchange Games) providing data-driven, actionable analysis for marketing, product and strategic decision making. Developed analysis portfolio for new Casino venture helping to scale the business multiple fold in under one year.
Management Information Analyst / Lloyds TSB Insurance
Provided salesforce and competitor analysis to 300-person call centre team. Built data infrastructure and managed delivery of regular management information reporting. Developed forecasting toolkit and operational planning models to optimise performance.
Stanford University Graduate School of Business
Executive Education Course
IESE Business School - University of Navarra
Activities: Co-President Technology Media & Telecom Club,
Co-President Cultural Club,
Co-Organiser of Doing Good and Doing Well Conference 2010,
Venture Capital Investment Competition 2010,
Boston International Tech Strategy Competition 2010
University of Warwick
Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics & Economics
- Hue Bahn (A study of Berlin's colourful underground stations - huebahn.com)
- Kaleidoscrapers (A phone with kaleidoscope eyes - https://www.instagram.com/kaleidoscrapers/)
- In The Kingdom Of The Blind (A dual perspective - inthekingdomoftheblind.com)
Other stuff: hiking, reading, writing, table tennis, rock and roll
This is a party mix. Or, perhaps, not a party mix. Listen to the first two tracks and decide for yourself if you’re going to move your regular party location from the attic to the pool. After that, you can get down to rollin’ some cuban cigars and catching (or skipping) dreams.
We’re back! And so is Wendy James, formerly of Transvision Vamp, after decades in the doldrums. Alongside that return, we have a plethora of new talent from the charming Lucy Dacus to Weaves and Twin River as well as the new, bold sounds of Pillar Point and Kirin J Callinan - both artists who are narrowing in on a style truly of their own.
If you take one part Courtney Barnett and one part Angel Olsen, you may just end up with the wonderful Lucy Dacus (who, of course, deserves greater plaudits than a lazy X+Y comparison). Her song I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore is one of the tracks of 2016 so far and bodes well for an upcoming release. Speaking of upcoming releases, Twin Peaks are back! This time with a more countrified twinge to their unique brand of garage rock. The miscellanies keep rolling…
Getting back in the habit, at least for now, here’s a new batch of miscellanies for your week featuring a lost Bond song penned by the good chaps of Radiohead, a new track from Shuggie Otis of all people, covers from Ex Hex and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart as well as a few other new tracks to brighten up your day.
Another year. Another cosmic rotation around the great gramophone in the sky. Another list. Proudly presenting the seventh annual HotSpotMusic Best Albums of the Year list.
As is customary, a look back at last year’s musical themes reveals trends that, at least for this blog, are indicative of musical culture in the mid-2010s, namely: expectations. There were a number of albums this year that lived up to and even surpassed the crazed hype that was built around them (specifically the top two), whilst others didn’t quite scale the heights on album form that their early brilliant singles had promised (despite putting out very, very good albums Shamir and Leon Bridges come to mind).
You have records from Ought and John Grant, whose previous efforts were HSM Top 5 records, that while great in their own right, didn’t quite stick in the way that the previous ones did. Then you have brilliant records from artists you thought had gone away (Neon Indian) or were winding down into comfortable territory (Wilco) or took a huge leap forward (Susanne Sundfør). So a normal year I guess - high expectations met, lower ones exceeded.
So, without further ado, here’s the countdown….
25. Blur - The Magic Whip 24. Alabama Shakes - Sound and Color 23. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Style 22. Blank Realm - Illegals in Heaven 21. Ought - Sun Coming Up 20. John Grant - Grey Tickles Black Pressure 19. Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect 18. The Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World 17. Ghost Culture - Ghost Culture 16. FFS - FFS 15. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love 14. Max Richter - Sleep 13. Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People 12. Shamir - Ratchet 11. Neon Indian - VEGA INTL. Night School
10. Leon Bridges - Coming Home
The smooth soul of a young legend in waiting
9. Wilco - Star Wars
A welcome return to experimentation, noise and the sound of a group of incredible musicians having fun and pushing their boundaries for our pleasure.
8. Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too
Building on their previous effort with style, substance and, surprisingly, hooks.
7. Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott - The Chopin Project
One of the most sublime and perfect ways to spend an hour.
6. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love
Back with a bang, Sleater-Kinney were 2015′s most successful reform bands with a record that may just be their best.
5. Tame Impala - Currents
Trying something new with more electronics than guitars but still equally bold and psychedelic.
4. Susanne Sundfør - Ten Love Songs
Probably the biggest surprise on this list is the Norweigan artist’s collection of danceable, baroque pop pieces that just got stuck in the back of the head.
3. Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
A sublime record collecting different sounds, styles and poetic thoughts.
2. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
Probably the best single of the year in Pedestrian at Best, Sometimes I Sit… is Courtney at her best, witty, charming and rocking.
And finally, introducing HotSpotMusic’s favourite album of 2015:
1. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
Love him or hate him (and it’s clear that HSM loves him), 2015 belonged to Josh Tillman’s beloved Father John Misty character. From extravagant and belligerent live performances, to penning some of the most scathingly funny and yet heartwarmingly captivating songs, this oddball paean to love is infinitely repeatable.
So there you have it: 2015’s best releases in a nutshell. And now here they are in a lovely playlist:
We start off this week’s miscellanies with a new single from an artist that has been around almost the exact length of this blog (and puts out music almost as frequently), Wild Nothing. Getting To Know You seems to be quite a return to form too. But from there we take a large leap to Africa with a number of funky, erm, numbers from the Friimen, SK Kakraba and, arriving late, Bachar Mar-Khalifé from Lebanon, The world tour continues with Fumaça Preta before we’re back in the comfort of familiarity towards the end.
Rediscovering the Speedy Wunderground collection this week with a great collaboration between Warpaint’s Theresa Wayman and Guro Gikling (All We Are) and Sarah Jones (Hot Chip), yielding the funky and soulful I’m Down With That. We also see the impact of PWR BTTM and Ezra Furman with their unique takes on rock and roll…. alongside an rediscovered gem from Tunisia’s Fadaul.
Diving deep into the long lost catacombs for the cataclysmic, this is a belated Miscellany that should resuscitate the catatonic. We have Sports, Dopamine, Candy and Apocalypse…. enough to get the heart racing.
A truly eclectic mix this week moving from the throwback soul music of Portland legend Ural Thomas through the perfect pop of Sjowgren to Dam-Funk’s, erm, funk… we continue…. Car Seat Headrest supply some Jonathan Richman style indie sensibility whilst Ebony Bones provides the disco and Lastlings the dreamy vibes to send us out on a high.
The long forgotten miscellanies of this week are the long forgotten memories of some of the best new releases of recent weeks (including the new Ought track, Ultimate Painting returning for their second and a Beach House special) as well as some of the finest moments from Berlin’s Torstraßen Festival from a few weeks ago with standouts such as Zelf & Gurr brightening up the cloudiest of days. And to sign off with one final thing, Dan Auerbach’s latest project The Arcs have a beautiful new tune you’ll find tucked away in this mix. Happy Mondays.
We missed two whole weeks of miscellanies, FFS. But they’re back, Franz Ferdinand and Sparks that is on one of the greatest collaboration concepts of all time. Alongside that we have the superb new track from the Maccabees, a step up from anything they’ve recorded before, and a debut solo single from Friends’s Samantha Urbbani. More Mondays coming soon…
A Tom Vek remix is something that HotSpotMusic can rarely resist and especially when it’s on the beautifully haunting new Emmy The Great track, Swimming Pool. In addition we have new tunes from Protomartyr (hopefully a foreshadowing of a new record) and some great slacker tunes from Girlpool, Sego & Speedy Ortiz whose fantastic new album comes out this week.
Summer is here and we’re celebrating with Sun Club who have a catchy but perplexingly titled Beauty Meat leading the way. Also, we have the First Light from Django Django, the first release from their highly anticipated second album and Disraeli Gears….
This week sees the release of Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers’ second album White Men Are Black Men Too and so we’ll lead off with their droning, macabre yet unrelentingly catchy single: Rain Or Shine. The rest of the miscellanies are made up of some great new power pop and solid indie rock tunes with Lord Huron, Hot Shorts and Pfarmers the pick of the bunch.
The Australian scene just can’t stop pumping out great music at the moment and here’s Exhibit D: Dick Diver with a cut from their great new album, Melbourne, Florida. Also on this weeks miscellanies we have some laid back groove from Alex G then Grooved Out by LoneLady and much more…
This week is a bumper mix collated from the best new discoveries at SXSW via the ever-brilliant NPR Music’s Austin 100 (see all songs here: http://apps.npr.org/austin/#). Check out Chastity Belt, Makthaverskan, Wilsen and more. It’s a double dose of miscellanies this week: enjoy!
Hooton Tennis Club may have one of the most preposterous indie band names (see also Penguin Orchestra, the Octopus Project….) but their tune Jasper is a real sticker so that leads our miscellanies in the mind this week. Take yourself on a Stoned Soul Picnic with Chicano Batman and Bathe In Light with Gengahr but definitely don’t miss out on a stunning new track from one of my favourite acts from 2013, San Fermin who come back darker but as thoughtful as ever.
This week’s miscellanies is all about welcome returns from cult acts, a spark in the grey light. Unknown Mortal Orchestra play psychedelia, Joanna Gruesome play nostalgia, Lord Huron plays the fool and I’m from Barcelona are playing violins.
The wonderful Leon Bridges is back with a new track entitled Lisa Sawyer, another great preview of what is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated albums of 2015. Duke Garwood is another troubadour with trouble at his door and his latest record is superbly recognised by the title and title track Heavy Love. In other news, keep an eye out for new tunes from Toro Y Moi, Teen Daze and a swirling beauty from Howard.
Courtney Barnett is back with a barnstorming new track Pedestrian At Best and so that leads off this week’s miscellanies, swiftly followed by the masterful Mikal Cronin who also returns with aplomb. Charming, novelty song of the week this week is brought to us by Isobel Campbell’s cover of the Bee Gees.
Monday Miscellanies are increasingly becoming Random Day Excitement Miscellanies but fear not: the irregularity of release doesn’t imply any less of the good stuff out there. Here’s this week’s missive… new tunes from Dutch Uncles and Keep Shelly In Athens sit nicely alongside sprawling masterpieces by Cool Ghouls and Mdou Moctar.
Sonny & The Sunsets are always welcome on HotSpotMusic so they’ll kick off the latest batch of miscellanies with a new track. Charlie Boyer has disappeared himself from the Voyeurs (at least in title) but they are back with a new record soon while the ever-shifting Dan Boeckner (of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs fame) has a new guise: The Operators.
The return of the inimitable Courtney Barnett is something we’re very much looking forward to so we start this week’s miscellanies with a charming little teaser: her cover of The Lemonheads Being Around. Follow that up with the much hyped Public Access TV and Clarence Clarity as well as a reworked Radiohead track now being used in Johnny Greenwood’s soundtracking of Inherent Vice.
A Daughter / Warpaint double act starts off this week’s miscellanies with a bi-directional remix-off taking place. Swiftly following up is the Ultimate Painting and the Boom Biddy Boom of the one and only Freschard.
Ghost Culture’s new record is a dark, gloomy, Berlin-inspired masterpiece and that makes it a fitting lead for this week’s batch of miscellanies. Things get brighter with hook-laden Preatures and the madness of of Montreal but we’re comforted back into darkness by the dark Scottish overlords, Idlewild.
We’re going to sooth you into this weeks miscellanies with a modern slice of soul-pop frmo Bart Davenport who put out an excellent (but not picked up, by me at least) album last year. We’ll keep that groove going with Tobias Jesso Jr. who’s been tipped as one of the breakthrough acts of 2015 and Virginia Wang. Polishing off this collection is Juan Wauters who teams up with Carmelle to put out a typically charming and rambling 13 minute track…
The new year starts with a postcard from one of our favourite crooners, Jens Lekman, who promises to bring us something every week for 2015. Keep an eye out for that new material. Other ways to ease you back into gear include Dream Police’s Pouring Rain and the yin-yang of OK Go’s I Won’t Let You Down with Haerts’s Giving Up. Don’t give up folks, the year only just begun….
Another year. Another cosmic rotation around the great gramophone in the sky. Another list. Proudly presenting the sixth annual HotSpotMusic Best Albums of the Year list.
Before constructing the list this year, I went back to revisit the writeups of previous years and discovered that the unique observation of most years was, in fact, a recurring pattern. Consistently I noted the blend between fresh new faces being thrust into the limelight alongside long-time returning stars. And I guess that’s the way the music industry works these days with little room inbetween for those artists who take time to grow and evolve their music.
So, I’m excited to see not one, not two but three former HSM AOTY acts (2010’s Owen Pallett, 2011’s St. Vincent and 2012’s Kishi Bashi) return with new albums this year and make their presence felt in the list too. Other observations seem trite - we have some genre-busting new music from several different angles, we have simple music and we have complex music and the death of guitar music has certainly been overplayed (much like the renaissance of vinyl, it has simply morphed and matured).
One of the major themes cutting through this list is the number of acts honing or ‘finding’ their voice by making albums that seem to perfectly distil their essence (at this time) as an artist. A major contributor to this is the production environment and so it is that 2014 is actually the year of John Congleton, the producer who has worked on a great many interesting projects this year, including each of the top three records. Congleton himself has some of his own music slated for release in 2015 but for now let’s kick back and applaud his, and everyone else’s, efforts from the last twelve months.
So, without further ado, here’s the countdown….
25. Adult Jazz - Gist Is 24. Mac Demarco - Salad Days 23. Perfume Genius - Too Bright 22. Eagulls - Eagulls 21. Ausmuteants - Order Of Operation 20. TEEN - The Way and Color 19. Metronomy - Love Letters 18. Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal 17. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There 16. Sun Kil Moon - Benji 15. The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream 14. Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right 13. Spoon - They Want My Soul 12. The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers 11. Alvvays - Alvvays
10. Beck - Morning Phase
Smooth, ethereal, comforting music from Beck after some years in the wilderness
9. Owen Pallett - In Conflict
A bold progression taking the baroque pop sound found on HSM’s Album of 2010 and making it darker and richer
8. Sinkane - Mean Love
A veritable tropical salad of sounds and styles, Mean Love is the soundtrack to every summer, even when it’s not summer
7. Ex Hex - Rips
One of the simplest yet purest power pop records I’ve heard for years with tunes that stick in your head for a long time.
6. Future Islands - Singles
2014 was the year (for me as well as countless others) that Future Islands turned from indie dark horses to masters of synth pop
5. FKA Twigs - LP1
An incredible debut album that stretches the boundaries of R&B to create something distinctively sensual and enthralling
4. Ought - More Than Any Other Day
Anxiously nonchalant is how you could describe the taught, nervous, Byrnsian energy that Ought have packaged superbly on their first LP
3. Strand of Oaks - HEAL
Arena-filling intimacy is a hard thing to achieve but the powerful yet heartfelt Americana on HEAL is a heady mix
2. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness
And speaking of heartfelt, few things can pull the heartstrings of the soul like Angel’s voice which is front and centre on this record
And finally, introducing HotSpotMusic’s favourite album of 2014:
St. Vincent - St. Vincent
It seemed tricky for Annie Clark to top Strange Mercy, the beguiling masterpiece that was this blog’s favourite of 2011, but she’s done it. Not by pushing the strangeness but by honing it, harnessing it and whipping it into varied shapes of perfect songwriting. It’s smart rock music with something to say but it has a pop soul with almost every song as catchy as hell. If you saw her live this year too, you’ll know 2014 was the year of St. Vincent.
So there you have it: 2014’s best releases in a nutshell. And now here they are in a lovely playlist:
A week late and not even posted on a Monday, this week’s miscellanies are a Christmas miracle of sorts. And it’s a stocking full of punk rock with your and my favorites, Parkay Quarts (in this guise), leading the charge. They are swiftly followed, however, by some Sex Jams and Viet Cong (not to be combined). Also, hold tight for the final track which is a hidden gem - a smooth, charming track from Portland’s Ural Thomas.
In this week’s miscellanies it’s hard to look past the almost perfect slice of soul recorded by Leon Bridges: Coming Home. But look we must and on closer inspection there are interesting things to be discovered from J Fernandez, The Districts and power pop stalwarts Tahiti 80.
As winter finally descends upon Northern Europe we’ll need something to keep us feeling lively - Dinosaur Feathers’ infinitely danceable tune Zeitgeist should do the trick, kicking off this week’s miscellanies. Argentinean, by way of Brooklyn, Tei Shi sparkles her shoegazey magic over the tail end before we get lo-fi rockers Wildest Dreams doing their best Nick Cave impression on Last Ride….
2014’s producer extraordinaire John Congleton will release some of his own music on an upcoming album and if this cut, Until The Horror Goes, and his success of this year are anything to go by, it should be a good one. Other jammin’ tunes from J Fernanzdez, The Number Ones and White Sands keep the fun going before Rory More closes things out in a haze of Stereolabbyness.
Bookending the 111th edition of Monday Miscellanies are Haley Bonar and Emmy The Great - a new discovery and a welcome recovery. Alongside this we have some psych from Fever The Ghost and, as always, a number of lo-fi punk jams. Don’t miss Papernut Cambridge’s slow jam too. Jam all round.
We start the 110th cut of miscellanies with new tracks from Father John Misty whose marvellous Bored In The USA finds him in fine form, typically wry and wrought, alongside The Decemberists. But it’s not just old news, we have a few highlights from Spunk Records with Ocean Party, Bored Nothing and Emma Russack and more…
The tidal wave of new music has finally become too overwhelming and #109 marks a momentous day in Monday Miscellany history as we extend from 8 tracks to 10 every week. That backlog isn’t going to listen to itself.
This week we have some storming new tunes - my favourite new Australian band, Ausmuteants with a chaotic noise about the impacts of chaotic noise, a surprising but very welcome return from Sleater Kinney, Mogwai releasing one of their most accessible songs ever and an Eels cover version of Elvis because: why not.
Anything new from Angel Olsen is always going to make it to the top of the miscellanies in a week and here we have a typically beautiful cut from the deluxe edition of Burn Your Fire For No Witness. Alongside it we celebrate new albums from The Drums and High Hazels with catchy tunes and an outrageously entertaining find from Louisiana’s Bill Mountain which sounds not unlike an off-kilter Roxy Music.
We’re starting this week off with some Tuareg jams from Abdallah Oumbadougou (check out the full archive from Houda Amel Arfi for some real deep cuts from the desert) and then swiftly moving north to Germany with Chris Imler. Rounding out the miscellanies are a few singles from the new records from Mazes, Avi Buffalo and everyone’s favourite lo-fi troubadours, The Rural Alberta Advantage.
Berlin has found something it didn’t expect: that it is not defined like other cities by its wealth or its industry or its commerce, but rather surprisingly by its own fascinating complexity and contradictions.
Yes No Yes, I can do I can not be bothered but just talk. Was also, unfortunately, I can do too, but no one was any longer years ago happy doing just a few simple boy, boy ways. Thank process of repeat store are right at a press for hours together we press press the city deleted the voice message to, children, clock and 30 as
This weeks playlist gets a letter from the Queen as we boldly reach a century of Monday Miscellanies. And so it seems fitting that the slow-building but grand statement that is Queen by Perfume Genius kicks us off and we dive headlong into the miscellanies, ended by the King of the avant-garde himself, Brian Eno and his friend Karl Hyde from their great new record.
I’ve posted a century of playlists on SoundCloud, one every Monday, for almost two years. Not stepping yet, either….
SoundCloud is not just a service that depends on the majors only — although we do work with them and hundreds of their artists all the time, and we’d obviously love to have them onboard,” Toig says. “But there is a much broader creative ecosystem here and we’re really keen to represent that in a full and complete way.
A huge playlist of some of my favourite records of the year.
My 10 absolute favourites:
- Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness
- Metronomy - Love Letters
- Teleman - Breakfast
- St Vincent - St Vincent
- Owen Pallett - In Conflict
- Warpaint - Warpaint
- Future Islands - Singles
- The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
- Beck - Morning Phase
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Only Run
I think we, at a fundamental level, need to redefine the success metrics of capitalism. That they include three key ingredients: 1. Business, successful business, making money. The traditional form of success. 2. You have to be making a difference in the world, you have to be contributing in some way. 3. I think you need to be emotionally engaged in the work. You need to love the work. These three things aren’t, right now, considered the success metrics for capitalism
One of the best examinations of why one should be wary of “growth hacking” from a broader organizational and product standpoint.
Just because we use technical tools and platforms to spread marketing campaigns, doesn’t mean we have replaced human product attachment and interest with an algorithm. Last time I checked, we are still human. We have feelings and we like to feel emotionally attached to products. We like stories around why they are meaningful and make our lives better. We like personal narratives that impact our professional lives. This is marketing. It isn’t software development. Without the latter, we wouldn’t have the former. Both are key and they have their respective places in a business.
Neither of them, however, are a hack.
Why I insist on avoiding the term “Growth Hacking” as much as I avoid the term “Data Science”….
New disciplines created by the intersection of multiple other disciplines in today’s world need time to mature and to evolve, not destroy, what came before.