- Garrett Hughes
2022 was a very humbling, rewarding & love-filled year.
Setting the stage
I came into the year off of a high from Mint Songs, raising a round in late 2021 led by some world-class investors. We'd grown the team to fifteen employees and were gaining traction as a market leader in web3 music. Lillie and I were now home-shopping around the Richmond, VA, area as we were in the process of letting go of our Airstream.
After a couple of years of travel, trying to buy a house in San Diego, the Airstream, and back to purchasing in the crazy home market, we finally could lock in a home we loved in downtown Richmond on the corner of Monument & Blvd. We knew we would have some projects ahead of us, being that the house is 98 years old, and while these have been arduous, they've been incredibly rewarding as well.
While Mint Songs didn't end as anyone would've likely enjoyed (more on that in the below section), some of the best memories I've had around music stem from the company and employees. From hosting and hanging sessions at the world-renowned Record Plant in LA to more sessions in NYC at another renowned studio, Quad to chatting with colleagues around the future of web3 in Denver. We had terrific off-sites meetings and engaged with each other in intimate settings.
I often get asked why I left San Diego to move back to Virginia, and really, it was to be closer to family. While I love San Diego (and always will), all of Lillie and I's immediate family is around a 4-hour radius in Virginia. What helped solidify this for me was after I read one of Tim Urban's posts, The Tail End, which I encourage everyone to read. Lillie and I were living apart as I was focusing every waking hour on working on Mint Songs, and once we were in our home, we were back to living with each other.
We were fortunate to watch multiple close friends get married this year. These moments are a firm reminder of how much love can bring everyone together. First, we flew out to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to see Erin & Seth have a beautiful wedding and meet with our San Diego friends whom we hadn't seen in person in years. Then later in the year, Lillie was fortunate to be Jess's maid of honor in her and Taylor's gorgeous wedding in Abiquiú, New Mexico, where we got to meet and hang with friends from our hometown and Tennessee & in between.
After taking about a month off in November, I was ready to look for my next gig. TCG and Electric were two close VCs that we'd talked to numerous times. When putting feelers out for new roles, Jared over at TCG said you have to speak with Brian at Rabbithole. Without hesitation, I took the call, and a few days later, Brian flew down from Brooklyn to work and talk in person. We did a work trial for both of us to see if I was ready to dive back into an earlier stage company and agreed to a four-week deadline. Within two weeks, we both decided it was the right move, and I came on as Head of Engineering. The next day we were on a flight out to Napa Valley to hang with iconic founders and investors at the Greylock Summit.
Mint Songs winding down
The most apparent low for me in 2023 was closing doors for Mint Songs. It was a slow burn that was tough to handle. We did a layoff, during which I learned many lessons and said goodbye to the remaining teammates in the coming months. For those curious, the short is that as the bear market hit, we saw artists become more risk-averse and consumer spending trending down. Pairing that with the fact that we had no path to profitability alongside our runway, the most prudent thing was to close doors and return the remaining investor money. I'm very thankful for all of the friends that reached out and the colleagues that took the time to send notes & for all the messages. This was not a fun spot to be in and an incredibly humbling experience.
2023 will be an epic year, and I can't wait to share more reflections there.