Founder, Consultant, Vocalist
Current City: New York City, NY.
Current Job and Entrepreneurial Focus: Conversational AI consultant to the Fortune 100. My hypothesis is the usability hack conversational AI so desperately needed will be found in artists -- empathy, creativity, and a refined understanding of dialogue. My mission is to help more of them find the industry & thrive once there.
Notable Prior Jobs: Co-Founder @ JoinMunch (acquired), AdSalience. Partner @ Zest. Tech accelerator mentor. Restaurant server. Middle School Choir Teacher. Co-Host of Homework Hotline (a weekly tv show in Houston where I helped kids answer math & science questions).
When I Started Performing: I came out singing. I've never stopped. It's funny to be sharing this on Valentine's Day. I remember singing R&B to girls over the phone in middle school. It was all choir through 12th grade. I didn't really get on stage until college. It's addictive.
Performing Arts Background: I just love telling a good story.... through song. I studied opera in undergrad (Oklahoma City University) & grad school (University of North Texas) but knew I would do some mix of musical theatre & opera all along.
How did your performing arts background supercharge your entrepreneurship? When I moved to NYC 14 years ago, I had big dreams of performing on world-class stages to world-class audiences, and it happened pretty quickly. My first audition (and gig) was an operetta, Babes in Toyland, at Lincoln Center. I was lucky enough to perform classical music (both choral & operatic) in Europe, musical theatre gigs up and down the East Coast, and plenty of both right here in NYC. I also learned that nothing was guaranteed. I spent the better part of five years alternating between performing and working in the restaurant industry. The highs were as high as the lows were low, but I look back on those times with humble gratitude. I learned how to read people, and to this day, I attribute my sales acumen to convincing casting directors to take interest in me inside of 2 minutes. I learned how to be persistent. You can get 100 nos before you get 1 yes. I credit my time developing characters and portraying them to an audience with my strong sense of empathy. I credit my comfort taking risks in front of large groups on stage with my time performing to large groups on stage.
Without my artistic background, my successes would be far tamer, and my failures would be far less courageous.
It's amazing how many of these skills have proven directly transferable, even if the traditional business world doesn't see it yet.
Favorite Performer: Thundercat! I saw him live with Herbie Hancock at the Beacon in 2019. My brother in law has industry connections, so I got to hang out with him a little bit backstage & watch them perform from the wings. That was a totally brilliant night in every way. Always meet your musical heroes.
Follow this Performer: Tony Ramos
Twitter - @tonyleeramos
LinkedIn - /in/tonyleeramos/