Founder of Shazam

Start from zero
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About Chris

When I came up with the idea to identify music out of thin air, everyone said it was impossible. I then embarked on a journey to make it possible through not just one, but many innovations. I have continued to invent new things and learn from amazing innovators during 8 years at Google, 4 years at Dropbox and as founder of my new company, Guard.

I like to create magic

Shazam: Founder & First CEO
(Acquired by Apple in 2018 for reported $400 million)

www.shazam.com

I am passionate about impact

Guard: Founder & CEO
(Artificial intelligence to prevent drowning in swimming pools)

www.guard.vision

I love to collaborate with amazing people

Google: As the first Google employee focused on mobile, I created from scratch the carrier partnership framework for Search and Android.

I know how to roll up my sleeves

Dropbox: I joined this scrappy startup with just 90 employees to build their mobile business.

I like to invent things

12 Patents Granted
(Inventions for Shazam, Google, and Dropbox)

I love helping startups

Investor and adviser in various startups

I like to teach business and entrepreneurship

Teacher on four online universities

I am not shy of the camera

Starred in Super Bowl TV Ad and Renault TV Ad

I have learned how to overcome challenges

I struggled with dyslexia but still managed to earn a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, a Master’s degree from Cambridge University, and an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Chris Barton, Shazam founder
Founder of
Shazam
Inventor of
12 Patents
Pioneer at Google
& Dropbox
Three Time Tech
Entrepreneur
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About SHAZAM

Innovation at Shazam started with a breakthrough invention and then followed a fascinating 18 year journey across changing platforms, technologies, and business models. Ultimately Shazam was acquired by Apple for a reported $400 million, Apple’s 6th largest acquisition of all time. Shazam has had over 2 billion downloads and is one of the world’s most popular apps.

Shazam was the very first artificial intelligence application in history to become mass consumer (see Infographic).

Over 2 billion downloads
Jamie Foxx hosts TV game show called "Beat Shazam"
Investors include Ashton Kutcher and the VC behind Amazon
$140 million in funding
$300 million per year in music downloads
Over 200 employees
6th largest acquisition of all time by Apple
Learn about Shazam
Touch to Shazam
(More Facts About Shazam)

Speaking

Unforgettable Keynotes that Transform Organizations

Chris delivers inspiring and actionable keynotes that transform organizations by changing the way we think. He tells first-hand stories about creating Shazam when everyone said it was impossible. His keynotes are cinematic and rich with inspiration, humor, music, and emotions. See amazing facts about Shazam.

Keynote clients describe Chris’s “powerful content” that “generates talkability across the organization” and that “will stick for years to come” (see testimonials).

Chris has identified five ways of thinking differently. He calls them “Start from Zero”. They are fundamentally different than our default ways of thinking. Some of these methods were used by Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Leonardo Da Vinci. Disruptive startups use this thinking to reshape the future. So should you.

Chris speaks all around the world.

Speaking Topics

TECH INNOVATION

Bring Impossible Ideas to Life

Technology & A.I. are dramatically changing what’s possible in our world. Our challenge as we create new things is to dislodge from the comfort of what we already know. Chris created Shazam after being told by every “expert” that his outlandish idea was impossible. It was an idea far ahead of its time – eight years before iPhone apps even existed.  In this presentation, Chris helps audiences imagine and then create new visions for the future. He inspires with jaw dropping stories about creating Shazam. Audiences learn how innovation comes from not just an idea, but from a series of insights to overcome obstacles along the way. Audiences learn a new framework of thinking to create change through technology.

Technology & A.I. are dramatically changing what’s possible in our world. Our challenge as we create new things is to dislodge from the comfort of what we already know. Chris created Shazam after being told by every “expert” that his outlandish idea was impossible. It was an idea far ahead of its time – eight years before iPhone apps even existed.  In this presentation, Chris helps audiences imagine and then create new visions for the future. He inspires with jaw dropping stories about creating Shazam. Audiences learn a new framework of thinking to create change through technology.

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CREATIVE PERSISTENCE

Overcome Obstacles with Imagination

A great idea gets you nowhere without tenacity. True disruption requires both persistence and creative solutions. In creating Shazam, Chris faced obstacles many thought were insurmountable. Most would have given up, but he refused. Instead, Chris challenged every assumption about the obstacles he faced. He shares stories and actionable lessons that inspire audiences to pursue their dreams. Chris urges audiences to question the status quo and to sweat the details on the path to redefining the future. Audiences learn new mindsets to break past barriers.

A great idea gets you nowhere without tenacity. True disruption requires both persistence and creative solutions. In creating Shazam, Chris faced obstacles many thought were insurmountable. Most would have given up, but he refused. Instead, Chris challenged every assumption about the obstacles he faced. He shares stories and actionable lessons that inspire audiences to pursue their dreams. Chris urges audiences to question the status quo and to sweat the details on the path to redefining the future. Audiences learn new mindsets to break past barriers.

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FRICTIONLESS

Eliminate Effort to Unlock Explosive Growth

We all know simple is great so why don’t all organizations create amazing things just like Apple? The reality is that friction permeates almost everything we do. This “extra effort” frustrates our customers, partners, and colleagues. In creating Shazam, Chris moved mountains to make one thing very easy – identifying any song. Shazam changed the way the world discovers music. Chris combines stories from creating Shazam with his twelve years at Android (Google) and Dropbox to provide concrete examples of how we can all push boundaries to eliminate friction. Audiences learn to identify and eliminate friction to drive growth.

We all know simple is great so why don’t all organizations create amazing things just like Apple? The reality is that friction permeates almost everything we do. This “extra effort” frustrates our customers, partners, and colleagues. In creating Shazam, Chris moved mountains to make one thing very easy – identifying any song. Shazam changed the way the world discovers music. Chris combines stories from creating Shazam with his twelve years at Android (Google) and Dropbox to provide concrete examples of how we can all push boundaries to eliminate friction. Audiences learn to identify and eliminate friction to drive growth.

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ENTREPRENEUR MINDSET

Build the Vision You See, But Others Don’t

Entrepreneurs have passion, ideas, and desire but can get stuck on the difficult journey to achieving their dreams. They want to bring something truly new to the world, but need to learn how to overcome big obstacles, choose their priorities, and convince others of their vision. Chris inspires and teaches entrepreneurs using the story of Shazam’s creation including the scrappy and creative hacks that transformed an idea into a product with two billion customers. Audiences are inspired to embrace a mindset to create the next great companies.

Entrepreneurs have passion, ideas, and desire but can get stuck on the difficult journey to achieving their dreams. They want to bring something truly new to the world, but need to learn how to overcome big obstacles, choose their priorities, and convince others of their vision. Chris inspires and teaches entrepreneurs using the story of Shazam’s creation including the scrappy and creative hacks that transformed an idea into a product with two billion customers. Audiences are inspired to embrace a mindset to create the next great companies.

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Chris giving a speech
2 billion
downloads
$400 million
acquisition
Acquired
by Apple
1 amazing
story

What do you see that others don't see?

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Apple colleagues told founder Steve Jobs that the mouse was clunky and people wouldn't like it. Venture Capital investors told Airbnb founder Brian Chesky that people wouldn't want to stay in a stranger's home. Senior executives at Sony Corporation said to Playstation visionary Ken Kutaragi "we don't build toys here". Steve, Brian, and Ken all persisted because they had real conviction. They could see something that others couldn't see.

What do you see that others don't see?

Our nature is to respect barriers. Instead we should defy them.

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So many great innovations are never realized. We blame the barriers that we faced. However, our mistake was to treat those barriers as authorities and "respect" them. People that support us naturally suggest different routes instead. Sadly many of these routes are concessions that ruin the original idea. To realize our innovation visions, we must boldly challenge those tremendous barriers. Defy them. Don't respect them.

Our nature is to respect barriers. Instead we should defy them.

Ask yourself this when thinking about your next great idea.

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What could someone create that would make my idea irrelevant?

Go build that.

Ask yourself this when thinking about your next great idea.

Al History Test:

Do you know the very first Al product that eventually became a mass consumer service?

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The answer is Shazam! When we started Shazam in 2000, we had to invent a way for computers to do "something that normally requires human intelligence". We had to invent Al that recognizes all music. Two decades later, Al became a household word. Learn about product milestones in Al history from this Infographic:

www.chrisjbarton.com/infographic

Al History Test:

Do you know the very first Al product that eventually became a mass consumer service?

The difference between zero and one is infinite.

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An early Dropbox employee said this to me as he explained why Dropbox became so popular. All predecessors in document cloud storage had flopped. Dropbox changed everything when they created the "magic folder" that synchronizes with the cloud. Anything in your computer's Dropbox folder is also in the cloud. Predecessors such as Drive and iDrive had "one step" to upload or download documents. Dropbox has zero steps. The difference in the eyes of users ... is infinite.

The difference between zero and one is infinite.

The number one determinant of entrepreneurial success is persistence.

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If you are not prepared to go to superhuman levels that are beyond rationality to realize your dream, then your chance of finding success is virtually zero.

The number one determinant of entrepreneurial success is persistence.

"What model of iPhone did they have when you were a kid?"

(Kid's question to his dad)

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I know someone whose child really asked this question - it makes me smile! The perspective of a child reminds us how dramatically the world changes in just years. Most kids today can't even imagine how things worked without iPhones, iPads, and Androids. Similarly, future generations will forget the way we live today. How will you prepare for a future that displaces the way you do things?

"What model of iPhone did they have when you were a kid?"

(Kid's question to his dad)

Photos

Apple buys Shazam for $401 million

Contact

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I respond almost as fast as Shazam.

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