It has been said that every person has a story to share—especially that social media has given us the unique opportunity to tell our own stories to the world. It’s as if we’re all given a stage and we’re sharing a piece of our reality with the rest of the world.
Helping us tell our stories are the songs we listen to. My fascination with music started at a young age since it was heavily influenced by my dad’s love for different genres. I grew up with an affinity for my Walkman, Discman, and eventually my classic iPod which I still have to this day. But of course, with technology, my trusty iPod with 160GB of memory has been replaced by my phone. My music discovery process has also shifted from waiting for songs on the radio to just checking out my younger brother’s playlist.
A recent favorite is called tapTrax, a music discovery app that has adapted the “quick, bitesized” appetite of today’s millennial generation. What set it apart (and probably the reason why it’s currently number one on the app store) is the fact that it makes music sharing an active discovery experience instead of a passive one. Previous generations have relied solely on “finding a song by accident” while millennials are actively looking for new beats to listen to immediately.
It has adapted Tinder’s “swiping” treatment but this time with songs. So just think, you can listen to a six second highlight of a song, like it, create a playlist, and immediately share it with friends. It is currently number one on the US App Store for Music Discovery surpassing Shazam, Spotify, and even YouTube Music.
But more than the app itself, what made it interesting is the story of the man behind it, Filipino American Chino Lex. Only 22, Chino has found success in the highly competitive world of app creation in the United States.
Born and raised in Chicago, Chino has always had that drive to be an entrepreneur who started when he started “flipping” items that his mom allowed him to buy on eBay when he was in middle school. Blessed with an inquisitive mind, Chino took a program called Running Start, which allowed him to fulfill his high school’s graduation requirements online while having the freedom to focus solely on his businesses. At 16, he had enough capital to start a clothing business, which he thought was what he wanted to do until an internship in Seattle for a small clothing company changed his mind.
Initially accepted at the University of Washington, Chino, who already completed several college classes through Running Start decided to defer admission and this is where life began for him, so to speak.
Chino would be the first to admit that the road to app development wasn’t one without challenges. In fact, at a young age Chino came across a gambling habit and overcame it by working for a carpet cleaning company. It was during this season that he came across an article about app development. For a couple of years, Chino went to work in them morning and worked on app development at night. He was only 18.
He decided against attending college, which was a difficult concept to grasp especially for his conservative Filipino parents but Chino persevered with what he wanted to do, even if it meant surviving “rock bottom” moments when he felt like he wasn’t going anywhere. His first 24 apps failed but instead of stopping, Chino persevered and went “all in”, investing all his money on app designs and development.
This was when things changed for him and his apps like guides for Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Survivorcraft, and so on finally created a following on the US App Store.
This was what opened the door for him. And in the period of 2012-2015, Chino has published over 160 iOS apps and 30 android apps in over 155 countries worldwide. 50 of his apps have reached top-ranking positions in their respective categories.
Looking back, Chino relishes in the journey and the lessons he has learned thus far, “Mistakes are made for learning. To be old and wise, you have to be young and dumb. Fail fast (or early) and fail cheap.”
It’s clear to see that the success of tapTrax is only the beginning for Chino. When asked about his success and how he relates it to being a Filipino American making it big in the United States, he’s quick to say, “ It feels great, but the best feeling is to be inherently different than the crowd, to have freedom, and to be just be myself. I had to master myself before progressing in business.
I could be wrong, but I feel it’s relevant to your question because it carries over to business aspects of my life. Something that I’ve noticed is that in most parts of the States I can tell that I’m not perceived in the same way other minority demographics. Let me explain. I appear racially ambiguous, not black, white, Hispanic, or mainland Asian in appearance.
So, no one can box me into any preconceived reservations, perceptions, or cultural
stereotypes; because there is no mainstream idea of Filipinos in America.
Believe it or not, some people still don’t know what Filipinos are; as a race, with the exception of Manny Pacquiao. That said, it’s important to be yourself. When you can be yourself, that’s real success.”
Know more about Chino Lex and tapTrax by visiting www.chinolex.com
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