Perfect Pitch: Anastasios Angelopoulos
Founder, Engineer, Composer
Current City: Berkeley, CA.
Current Job and Entrepreneurial Focus: Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, healthcare entrepreneur.
Notable Prior Jobs: Co-founder of an ophthalmology startup, early engineer at Hypernet.
When I Started Performing: 4.
Performing Arts Background: I am a composer, multi-instrumentalist (guitar, piano, bass), singer, and producer. Although I am not a full-time artist I am lucky to regularly write and record music with many friends who are working musicians, filmmakers (scoring their films), and so on. While an undergraduate at Stanford, I wrote hundreds of songs and three musicals, including Gaieties, and myself performed in several musicals, operas, and plays, both onstage and in the orchestra. As a child I began playing classical piano at four years old, then picked up contemporary guitar and bass in late middle school. My most formative musical experiences were going to various bars and festivals with my high school blues/rock band. I don't keep much of an active online musical presence, but I have posted a few songs on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/anastasios_music/breathe
How did your performing arts background supercharge your entrepreneurship? Music has helped me improve my focus, teamwork, creativity, and composure in entrepreneurship. By studying music I observed that consistent practice over many years led me to having a strong skill set --- I was able to play many difficult songs, listen to and reproduce the music I heard on the radio, and so on. Furthermore, my skill in music was rare amongst my peers, since most others did not persist through the process of consistent practice. That scarcity gave me some social value, as I could then play the guitar for others to sing, etc. This was an important general lesson to learn early in life: consistent and strategic effort on difficult tasks leads to rare and valuable gains. On a meta-level, skill-building is itself a skill; my early musical experiences gave me my first foothold on that ladder, which I have continued to climb. Along a similar line of thought, one must learn to build by building. One must learn to create by creating. Music was my first creative act and to this day remains a major element of my consciousness. Unlike scientific and entrepreneurial creativity, music is more about eliciting feelings in the listener by expressing one's own emotional truths. Creating powerful music is like a hot needle that penetrates the ice around the soul. One releases their own in order to affect others'. This act involves pain. It also involves grit, as I often find the process difficult --- I find myself asking questions like, "Is this okay to share?", "Is this any good?", and so on. The editing process can be equally strenuous, as one carves raw musical thoughts, often ruthlessly, into a song. Especially with the process of composition I've described, one must overcome many natural misgivings over the weeks it takes to create a listenable product. But in the end, it is always worthwhile, and over time it becomes easier. This actually taught me quite a bit about entrepreneurship, business, and science --- they are repeated, creative games that demand personal investment, but can be learned. I have a story to tell regarding teamwork. I was perhaps 14 in the basement of a club playing "A Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King with an old blues musician. Eager as I was, I was overplaying guitar licks between his vocals, sometimes clashing with the start or end of his phrases. At some point he had enough, yelled, "Listen!" and threw a large guitar pedal at me on stage (about the size and weight of a brick). As a musician, one must serve the song, not oneself. As an executive, one must serve the company, not oneself. That means listening carefully to one's surroundings and intentionally detaching from the pettiness of the ego. As a final note, I will say that music has been a sink for my anxious energies, which allows me to achieve a state of flow and calm. It is a therapeutic and meditative practice that has buoyed me through tribulations that may otherwise have submerged me. Having such a centering practice is rare and valuable. It makes me a more effective person.
Favorite Performer: Michael Jackson.
Follow Anastasios Angelopoulos:
Twitter - @ml_angelopoulos
Instagram - @ananukangel
Facebook - nikolas.angelopoulos.75
LinkedIn - /in/anastasiosa