The Tennessee Veterans Business Association held a business plan competition this year in conjunction with their annual expo at the Knoxville Conventions center. The winner of the competition was Street Jelly developed by Frank Podlaha.
What is Street Jelly? Formerly known as "busking", Street Jelly streams live performances of street musicians. You see them in cities large and small. They are sometimes smartly dressed and sometimes rather raggedly dressed. They play jazz, classical, rock or reggae and they always have an open guitar case or pass the hat for money.
Street Jelly is your online live performance of music streamed from just about anywhere in the world. Sitting at your laptop at home or in a coffee shop with your hand held device, you can log on to StreetJelly.com and see who is streaming live. If they are off air, you can see a profile of the musician.
The man behind Street Jelly, Frank Podlaha, has a great background for this work. Frank grew up in Connecticut and joined the Army National Guard at age 17. Although he was originally a military policeman, after graduation from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, he became a helicopter crew chief.
With the military draw downs of the early '90s, Frank separated from the Army, and because of the flagging economy the only work he could get was as a bill collector for an aviation company. However, that was the beginning of the tech run up and Frank moved into software programming.
Frank has more than twenty years of programming in his background and is passionate about live music performance. And, with this marriage of technical know how and a love of real music, Street Jelly was born.
Street Jelly, Frank hopes, will become synonymous with the promising artist and, for Frank, it is all about the art. The Street Jelly mission is to support the independent artist.
When asked what lessons he draws on as a small business entrepreneur, Frank talked about repetition in Army preparations. Soldiers practice a field dressing over and over until it becomes muscle memory. When the soldier is operating at combat speed, there is no time to think, it must be done.
Franks says that it is no different when you start a business. The entrepreneur is bombarded with 500 different things at once, but must stay focused on the mission of the business. Practice and repetition lead to focus and mission accomplishment.