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May 04, 2014 | Tom Ballard

“First Friday Fanfare” features Platillero, Grosch

KECBy Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

It was another fascinating two hours May 2 when two executives – one at it for nearly two decades and the other for a few years – shared their work with a room full of entrepreneurs at the most recent “First Friday Fanfare.”

The monthly event is hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center at its Market Square location.

John Platillero, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of, shared nearly two decades of lessons learned. He was preceded by Kevin Grosch, CEO of Made in Network, a new media company and YouTube multi-channel network that is focused on music and the creative process.

Platillero’s Knoxville-based company provides a Web-based scheduling system to more than 500 major venues in 14 countries. During his presentation, he described the ups and downs since the firm was founded in 1998. His journey from a part-time promoter of concerts and full-time engineer to head of an international company was captured in two articles – story 1 and story 2 – posted last October.

Under the heading “What Have I Learned,” Platillero offered these gems.

  • Solve a real problem.
  • Get in front of your clients.
  • Watch your nickels and dimes.
  • Strive to work with influencers.
  • Treat your team well. People matter.
  • Your customer is your top priority.
  • Partnerships can be good, but they can also be a distraction.
  • Be ready to ride the storms.
  • Stay grounded.
  • Pray; you have to have faith.

The attendees ranged from active entrepreneurs to at least one individual with whom we chatted who is contemplating starting his own firm. To help those thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, Platillero offered these guidelines to answer the question, “Are you ready?”

  • Is your personal life in order?
  • Do you have a clear vision for the problem you are solving?
  • Do you have a clear path for how to solve it?
  • Are you being honest and realistic with your thinking?“They want YouTube to be the next generation television,” Grosch told the audience, comparing his new effort to a network of local station affiliates. Made in Network helps the various channels create programming, online series, and experiences focused around music.

Meanwhile, Grosch, Nashville-based entrepreneur, told the attendees about his new venture, launched in November, which generated 33 million views last month. The views come from 15 channels that currently comprise the network. The largest has two million subscribers, while the smallest has a few hundred.

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