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Perfect Pitch: Jeff Ericson

Founder, CEO, Jazz Musician

Current City: Pittsburgh, PA.

Current Job and Entrepreneurial Focus: CEO at RubyRide.

Notable Prior Jobs: Partner at Woolsey Studio, Design Director at Gray Development.

When I Started Performing: Late 20's.

Performing Arts Background: Sax and Piano in school up to college, but have always been passionate about music, especially jazz. I formed a sextet in Phoenix around 1997 with my friend Mark Taylor, a talented guitarist, singer and songwriter, and a true student of music. We performed in the Tempe/Phoenix area under several names (Cannibal Kitchen, Ericson-Taylor Sextet mostly) as a hobby until 2009. Most of what we played was jazz-centric - hard-bop, bebop, jazz grooves, jazz standards, hard funk... I have been neck-deep in starting a business, moving, raising kids (Miles and Django) since then. Now they both play sax and we're working toward a family band.

How did your performing arts background supercharge your entrepreneurship? 1. Rigor: There's nothing like practicing music to teach discipline and rigor. Play the measure again and again, then the phrase, the section, and back down. Then listen while you're playing. I know of no better training process for deliberate improvement. 2. Listening: In all music, but especially improvisational forms like jazz, listening to others is superlative. My business is based on understanding customer needs and serving those needs in a way that hasn't been done before. Listening for cues and ideas, then prompting the next steps, listening for recognition and then extension - it's intimate, powerful, incredibly satisfying, and leads to great things that aren't available anywhere else. 3. Thinking: I'm a visual thinker and ADHD, so music is visceral to me. That allows me to conceptualize new worlds that couldn't exist with just words. It provides frameworks that allow me to make sense of trends, actions, and systems in the world, and empower me to predict outcomes that aren't otherwise obvious. Experiencing the world as objects and spaces in interactive motion, and seeking patterns and beauty in those patterns is all music. 4. Execution: life is performance. Practice and preparation are great, but in service of performance, they are supercharged. It's given me a framework for quality - how much practice is good enough, how much is too much, what impact do we want to have? I find myself out in the world with people asking 'what's next? and I always know the answer based on what we want to accomplish. That's vision and focus, but the foundation is performance.

Favorite Performer: Hard Question. Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, David Byrne...

Follow this Performer:

Twitter - @jeffericson

Instagram - @mrwaterdoggy

Facebook - jeff.ericson

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