Philipp Köhn, Co-founder and CXO of twelve x twelve, began his career in advertising and fought his way up the corporate ladder, determined to build a name for himself in the field of product development and marketing. After ten years of hard work and the arduous process of navigating all the hoops and loops required for a career in the agency world, he looked ahead, wondering how to address a relatively new issue in the music industry – the suffocation of musical professionals’ revenue as a result of 21st-century music streaming and thus, twelve x twelve was born.
The music industry has been riding high over the last few years. Revenues are rising, earnings are increasing, and everything is going swimmingly. But Phillip insists that we take a closer look… The revenue structure and money entering the industry do not benefit everyone.
Phillip goes back in time in this article, explaining why they had to wait for the right moment to launch their startup, the challenge for musicians in an era of affordable music streaming, why you don’t need to know everything about Web3, the power of intuition, and how twelve x twelve will change the industry.
Phillip and his co-founder Jan Denecke waited for the wave’s peak before jumping on board, and they are still riding strong, transforming creative ideas into digital collectables, and generating value and visibility for all creators.
The search for the C word
In the startup world, there are several C-level management titles, each with their own set of responsibilities and activities. Determining your roles and responsibilities at the outset of your startup helps define who does what, relieving the stress of wearing too many hats. You both understand where your obligations begin and end, which increases the effectiveness of your organization.
“In the early stages of startups, I’ve always found these titles to be unclear. If we’re being really frank, as a founder you wear every hat making it difficult to find a term that accurately describes everything that you do.”
Phillip felt that the CXO title accurately reflected his multifaceted contributions to the company in the areas of communications, marketing, public relations, product development, and potentially even business culture and Investor Relations.
“As the CXO, you’re firmly seated on the brand to ensure it is portrayed correctly to each stakeholder.”
Falling down the crypto rabbit hole. When does it end?
Towards the end of 2015, Phillip started to peek down into the rabbit hole of Blockchain, quickly falling in love with everything Blockchain and the potential it holds.
“I saw this huge potential of granting digital ownership in a copy-and-paste environment. I could see that blockchain was and still is the solution, even if it’s a long, long way off. You must standardize how metadata will be kept.”
“This is where we started, and when I first became aware of blockchain technology and the possibilities it presented.”
Since the very earliest iterations of Bitcoin and Aetherium, Phillip has continuously read about, researched, and tracked the development of blockchain technology.
“Now in its third generation, with a polygon and Solana, and with all the excellent blockchains that are appearing in more applications, increasing accessibility and mass adoption possibilities.”
Do you know how your email works?
Web3, blockchain, and crypto as a new and coming wave of innovation driving web 3 development in tandem with us and virtual developments.
However, the strategy has never been the subject of significant controversy and the science behind it, including what the best choice is and how it differs. Phillip shares how we should think about this.
“You need to be aware of what it is you want to accomplish. We at 12×12 will tell you how we can reach our goal, and we’ll take care of any legal, ethical, or regulatory concerns that may arise.”
It is much and such the same as any other high-end career. Take heart surgeons for example, they are required to have any knowledge of the organ they are operating on; you, the patient, must simply have faith in the surgeon you’ve chosen. All you really need to know is that they are specialists in their industry.
From Windows 95 to Windows 10 overnight – Breakneck Speed advancement
Usability. Phillip tells how the Web 3 user experience was comparable to Windows 95 only one and a half years ago.
“You have to set up a wallet on your own right, asking music fans, who set up a meta mask wallet 18 months ago, get some Aetherium, go to open sea, and then buy this NFT from Scooter – that actually developed really, really quickly. During this time, it seems like we’ve leapt from Windows 95 to Windows 10 in the span of two years.”
Phillip tells how many generations, including millennials, Gen Z, and everyone in between, are dependent on ever-evolving technology to share and learn new things (think: smartphone internet vs. the days when books were printed, for example).
“As a result, technological advancement and requirement cycles become shorter and shorter. It is argued that the latest generation may be the last largely stereotyped one that we can identify, due to the future being a vast mesh of creation, with smaller and smaller breakthroughs.”
The power of a founder’s intuition: learn to thrive on uncertainty
Intuition, or the ability to comprehend how intuition is formed, is what Phillip tells as crucial when a founder. Making choices is what you do and you will be making that many choices every day. Furthermore, you’ll need to make snap judgements, thus trusting your gut is essential for every business.
But isn’t intuition just a collection of facts and a past of making mistakes?
“If you’re trying to make a choice and you have a gut feeling about it, you should visit that place to fully understand and deep dive inside of yourself to see why you’re inclined to make this choice – this is where you will hear your intuition.”
“I think there is a limitless quantity of data available, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to make the most informed choice. There comes a point at which you must make a choice, and if you don’t do so immediately, without also delaying every other choice, the situation will only deteriorate worse.”
No unicorn status without months of sobbing and 100 hour weeks
One should never undervalue the importance of being completely truthful with themselves about their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.As the old saying goes, a jack of all trades but a master of none. Phillip advises his fellow entrepreneurs to stop dilly-dallying and start focusing on what they’re good at, while also surrounding themselves with people who are, rather than wasting your time on them.
Also, resilience, tells Phillip. “There will be challenging times. We have had plenty. I believe that when I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs, particularly extremely successful founders, everyone has those periods. You have to be resilient, and sometimes it’s just a matter of keep going.”
“Get up early the next morning and get it done; there must be a way, there always is. And you need to accomplish this with the right partner. This will provide you a lot of comfort.”