Derek Sivers

Not happy with existing venues? Make a new one.

Gary Jules was a musician in Los Angeles who wished there was a Hollywood venue more friendly to musicians. A place where people would come to listen, not talk over the music. A place to play, not showcase.

Because there were no venues like that, he decided to make a new one.

He noticed a little coffee shop on Cahuenga Boulevard. A perfect middle-of-Hollywood location that had no music.

He asked if he could play there on Tuesday nights, and bring his own crowd and sound system. They let him.

Soon he was inviting his favorite artists as opening acts, and hosting a weekly songwriter’s circle, too.

It was going well, so he left his PA system there full-time, and started booking great artists every night.

There was one big rule: no talking during playing. Audiences were warned not to talk, and performers would even stop the show if someone did. (“You can go anywhere else in LA to talk over the music. Not here.”)

Within a couple months, the coffee shop didn’t even open during the day anymore. They are now one of the best music venues in Hollywood, The Hotel Café, and world-famous artists play there every night.

To be clear: Gary only did this in 2002 and 2003. By the end of 2003, he had a #1 UK hit with “Mad World”. The Hotel Café owners, Marko and Max, deserve all credit for its amazing growth since then.

Anyway, the real point is not Gary or Hotel Café, but this:

If you’re not happy with any of the existing players in “the industry”, don’t limit your options to what already exists. You can make a new venue, a new store, or anything else.