Perfect Pitch: Isa Watson
Founder, CEO, Musician
Current City: Brooklyn, NY.
Current Job and Entrepreneurial Focus: I am the founder & CEO of a tech startup called Squad. We built a platform that serves as a next gen social, interactive tool for sports fanbases, and are launching with select NBA teams fall 2023.
Notable Prior Jobs: Organic Chemistry Researcher @ UNC-Chapel Hill (in high school via American Chemical Society/Project SEED) Metabolic Diseases Chemist & Data Scientist @ Pfizer Vice President @ JPMorgan Chase Founder & CEO @ Squad.
When I Started Performing: 6/7 years old.
Performing Arts Background: This is an answer with a lot of weaving. As a kid I performed on the cello, piano, violin and clarinet. I started playing the piano and cello around the same time when I was around 5/6 years old. As for piano, I was originally taught by my dad; my parents saw I had a knack for it, enjoyed it, and signed me up for formal lessons. As for cello, I started performing in my elementary school orchestra in 2nd/3rd grade with the cello. I took a break from strings in 4th/5th grade, and then switched to violin in middle school. I started performing classical piano in recitals 2x a year in 5th grade. Once I got to middle school, I was playing 3 instruments: piano, violin, clarinet. For piano, I still had my 2x per year private recitals my instructor hosted at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill). For violin, I took lessons and performed with my middle school orchestra. And for just 2 years, I picked up the clarinet and performed with my middle school band. I didn't think much of it at the time, but now that I write this out, I think "wow that was a lot for an 11 year old." Once I started high school, I focused solely on my classical piano training and performances. I performed throughout high school, practiced a bit in college and early adulthood and picked up lessons again for a few years in my later 20s. I don't perform at the very moment, but I am re-integrating performance back into my life. A few years ago, I was working with Carnegie Hall to put on a debut concert. But my entrepreneurship duties took precedence, and I couldn't keep up the hours required to perform. But I will get back there someday. Performing arts is very much a part of my journey, story, and soul.
How did your performing arts background supercharge your entrepreneurship? Having a performing arts background taught me a lot about the power of discipline and consistency. There is no one on the planet with outsized success who did not work incredibly hard at their talents. As a kid, I'd have to practice 1-2 hours very diligently to prepare for my recitals. Often more on the weekends. But with my lessons only being weekly, I learned early how to set mini milestones between lessons to maximize my progress between them. This is a direct tie to entrepreneurship. Whether it's launching or managing a product, building a team, raising capital, or even standing up sales, entrepreneurship requires a bunch of little improvements over weeks, months, years. Over time it can/will add up to something that gets people saying to you "omg you're killing it!" But in reality, those 5am mornings, diligent planning and consistency over a very long period of time is what unlocks the outsized success that people usually see. Performing arts has also helped me to elevate intentionality. I define intentionality as where we use the potential of our minds and the power of our actions to live a life rooted in joy. Music was the first place I learned to express myself--my emotions, my feelings, my whole mood. And it was the first place where I truly understood the concept of joy. Music and performing arts--these days specifically classical piano--still grounds me and helps me center my joy in ways that many other things simply cannot.
Favorite Performer: Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma.
Follow this Performer:
Twitter - @isadwatson
Instagram - @isadwatson
LinkedIn - /in/isa-watson