Lee Martin

Develops websites for rock and roll bands and gets paid in sex and drugs.

Page 5

Dropping Calls and Drinking Beers at Hollywood Hack Day

Hollywood Hack Dayhack.jpg

First things first: Hollywood Hack Day rocked!

Rahim Sonawalla, Ryan Chisholm, and Abe Burns have truly created a premiere hacking event in Los Angeles. Kudos to them.

I had my doubts about the LA developer scene, but was quickly convinced otherwise. Just look at all the great hacks developed over the weekend.

io/LA also proved that their space is made for this shit. I really hope some of the winners utilize their free month here so I can pick their brains. I’m looking at you Travis Chen.

So, what’d I build?

Two things:

  1. Spectrogr.am 2
  2. Call Drops

Spectrogr.am 2

Chris Jahnle [1] and I sought out to make Spectrogr.am more social and get completely smashed two nights in a row. I think we succeeded at the latter a bit more, but the hack turned out nicely as well…

The spectrum analysis algorithm was completely re-written and we pulled in SoundCloud comments and commenting to...

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Robb Uses This

One of my favorite co-workers / friend / people in the world is Robert Böhnke. He let me sleep on his floor the first time I visited Berlin, and his lovely girlfriend cooked me breakfast every morning.

Robb is amazing.

SoundCloud hired Robb to help with our Desktop and iOS strategies. Have you seen those apps? They’re fucking rad.

Robb is rad.

So, how can you be more like Robb? Well… Robb, being the nice guy he is, shared some of his productivity tools on The Setup. Pay special attention to the Software section because there are some real gems.

Here are my favorite takeaways:

  • Sublime Text 2
  • iTerm 2
  • F.lux

If you’re in SF next week for WWDC, be on the lookout for Robb and if you see him - give him a high five and thank him for being awesome.

Update: A response from Robb.

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Hipster Stack

Hipster Nyan Cat

You probably haven’t heard of it.

Are you headed to Hollywood Hack Day this weekend? Well, you should be. It’s at the io/LA co-work space I started working out of recently. I’ll be there pitching the SoundCloud API, hacking something rad, and showing you how to work the coffee maker.

With that in mind, I thought I would share the development stack I’ve been hacking on lately. It’s a lean, mean, cross-browser friendly dev machine. It also utilizes some fairly new templating and styling languages, so my co-workers have dubbed it the hipster stack [1].

In my defense, I did use this exact stack to develop Stratus 2 and the upcoming update to Premiere [2]. Also, I’m not a hipster. I’m Cajun [3].

Prerequisites: Web Server

Before we can become hipsters, we’ll need to get a basic Node app running. If you don’t know what Node is, I’d suggest checking out this introduction.

But if I had...

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An Artist’s Guide to Reddit’s AMA Questions and Answers Series featuring Tenacious D

This is not The Greatest AMA in the World, no. This is just a tribute.

Tenacious D

Reddit, the self-described front page of the Internet, is a social network in which users submit links to anything interesting on the web and then vote (up or down) to surface what’s popular. Browsing Reddit is highly addictive, making it currently the 121st most trafficked site in the world.

In addition to user submitted external links, Reddit has plenty of exclusive community initiatives. The most popular being the AMA or Ask Me Anything questions and answers series.

I was recently given the opportunity to throw an AMA for Tenacious D aka Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Here’s a three-part cheat sheet on how I prepared for, promoted, and executed the event for the greatest band in the world.

I. Prepare the Band (and Yourself)

If you’re planning any sort of press for your artist, odds are you’re likely trying to...

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The Perfect Day

Want to start your day off with an overdose of inspiration? Check out this talk Johannes sent me of Robert Wong discussing Google’s CreativeLab and how to find a calling within your career.

The perfect day: going to sleep with a dream, waking up with a purpose.

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As I near the two-year mark of working at SoundCloud, I’ve decided to move the one man Los Angeles office from my apartment to the newly founded io/LA co-work space in Hollywood.

Founded by Donovan Leitch, Aber Whitcomb, and Chris Gartin, io/LA aims to create a space where entertainment, media, and tech converge; kinda like the inside of my head but with nice desks and a cafe.

I guess the only downside is I’m going to finally have to wear pants to work.

Wish me luck.

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My First Project in Music

Eight years ago I completed my first project in the music business. It was fifty pixels square, under seven kilobytes, and made of pure GIF. I was designing around one of the most saught after properties of Internet marketing real estate: The AIM Buddy Icon.

In the spring of 2004, Sonic Youth’s manager approached me about designing the buddy icon to promote their upcoming release: Sonic Nurse. I was required to include the following:

  • Artist name
  • Album title
  • Release date
  • Album cover

How the hell was I going to fit all that within 50px and under 7kb?

I was young. I was nervous. Any future I thought I may have in the music business was about to be put to the ultimate test. I paused Half Life 2 and fired up Adobe ImageReady.

I searched for inspiration on [Badass Buddy](badassbuddy.com), the 21st fastest growing website [1], and decided to pursue recreating the band as buddy icon peopl...

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I didn’t have the opportunity to work on many Beastie Boy campaigns while I was the digital guy at SAM, but their history surrounded me everyday. Thankfully, Ian Rogers schooled me on how the band pioneered the idea of music on the web. So it comes as no surprise that the web itself has collectively mourned the loss of MCA, and what better way to do that than mirroring one of the things the boys did best: Parody.

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After almost nine years doing whatever it is I do, I finally own leemartin.com. My apologies to all the other Lee Martins. You fought valiantly, but in the Game of Domains there can only be one king… Ahem, domain owner.

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Drunk Dialing 5000 Fans or How to Promote a Video

Say you have a new video, a large fan base, and a whole lot of nerve.


Wouldn’t it be cool if you dropped a Twilio powered call-in number somewhere randomly into the video? What if when fans called that number they were asked what their favorite part of the video was? Hell, you could probably use those voicemails as highly viral content pieces for your social networks to promote the video. And, you know what? Why not automatically SMS all those callers a discount code to your merch store. That should make them feel extra special.

And, let’s say you wanted to push this a bit further… How about calling all those fans with a pre-recorded message from said artist? That would rock.

Now let’s imagine that by the time you receive this pre-recorded message, you are well into a bar crawl. Maybe you stumble back to the office, order a Crispy Crust pizza [1], pop open a bottle...

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