David Hyman '89
Founder and CEO, MOG music streaming service
- By Megan Morley Thomas
David Hyman is as unpretentious as the nineteen-year-old who once loped onto UVM's Redstone Campus humming “Shakedown Street” under his breath. These days, he happens to be founder and CEO of what might be the next big thing: MOG, a cloud-based music streaming service that gives its listeners access to millions of songs, plus music blogs, a slider that automatically builds a playlist from your specialized tastes.
As a kid on Long Island, Hyman was obsessed with music and sound equipment. When college rolled around, he got into several good schools. The University of Vermont prevailed because he saw a “Steal Your Face” sticker in a residence hall window--he knew he would find other Deadheads like him.
As an economics major, Hyman immersed himself in the Burlington scene, even descending to the basement of Slade Hall to check out a new group called Phish. For The Cynic, he wrote reviews of national acts that come through town, the likes of B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
After graduation, he went to Europe and had a job selling audio equipment in Amsterdam and Stockholm. Years later, back in San Francisco, Hyman discovered Wired magazine and he enthusiastically approached them about being a part of their yet-to-launch ad-supported website, becoming part of the first sales team on the internet. For a few years after, his instincts led him in and out of many music-internet companies forming his reputation for amazing intuition and leadership.
"David has unbelievable instincts," says Fred Seibert, who was MTV's first creative director and now owns Frederator Studios.
At the helm of his own business
MOG occupies a converted warehouse in Berkeley, California. The office projects sleek professionalism layered over by start-up chaos. MOG has many facets--from ad-supported subscription sites to deals with BMW, but MOG's essential mission is to connect the world’s music fans through their personal tastes and to let people try/lease music without risk.
"Let me use the white board," he says at one point when describing his company's evolution. Then he glances over his shoulder at the blue-inked brainstorm already scrawled all over it, shrugs, "Nah," and picks up where he left off.
Which is music. Despite his high-power tech reputation never strays far from his first love. "I just can’t imagine my life without [music]," he says. “Everything we do,” he says of MOG, “makes music more important in people’s lives.”