Solo Music, a startup revolutionizing the music industry with blockchain technology, has a non-stereotypical co-founder and Chief of Staff. For starters, Meghan Andrykowski is a woman in one of the most male-dominated industries on the planet. She has plenty of experience in scaling and early-stage tech startups, but she doesn’t quite fit the mold of a tech geek.
“I am not your resident techie,” she explains. “I’m just a bookworm-level nerd that ended up seeing learning and opportunity collide at the right time.”
Andrykowski’s story doesn’t open with a young girl’s passion kindling a career trajectory against all odds. She didn’t feel an overwhelming attraction to technology, but she noticed how it might work to her advantage. Throughout her teen years and early career, she noted how agency and opportunity came hand-in-hand with tech-savvy, and she decided she was not one to be left behind.
“Whether you are trying to understand a whole computer language or just a few lines of code you need to edit your website, the dive into technology can be daunting,” admits Andrykowski. “Once you dig in and learn some of the principles, even something as new as blockchain becomes less intimidating and provides major advantages. I saw this over and over as a kid and young professional.”
When Bitcoin hit the blockchain to create a shared public ledger, when Ethereum brought sophisticated computer programs called smart contracts to the blockchain’s next generation, and when cryptocurrencies and NFTs gave power back to users in the form of ownership, she was paying close attention. The benefits of the new tech were clear, so she buckled down and learned what she needed to know. Each success gave her the patience to learn more.
As a girl in junior high, there were no female role models helping her figure out these emerging concepts. Those statistics didn’t change as she entered her first career. In technology companies, men were in the vast majority and held almost every management or high-level position.
Early on, however, Andrykowski had the rare opportunity to work directly with a female CEO of an HR software consulting firm. “It was incredibly empowering to witness a woman in that role,” recalls Andrykowski. “Her feminine qualities gave her such an advantage in connecting with her team. I watched as she engrossed herself in learning the software, and I saw firsthand the independence and success it brought her.”
During Andrykowski’s early work in the tech sector, she developed a reputation for approaching problems with the versatility of a Swiss army knife. Her solutions earned her an early seat at the executive table.
“I was often asked to join discussions as a sounding board,” she recalls. “As people sought my perspective in this high-stakes environment, it gave me the confidence I needed to bring value to people through my knowledge of tech as a founder.”
Solo Music, a music marketplace built on the Polygon blockchain, revolutionizes the way artists, fans, and industry professionals interact with blockchain technology. The marketplace allows fans to connect with favorite musicians and artists to monetize their creations through NFT sales. The platform will also be launching self-service tools for artists in the coming months.
Andrykowski says her involvement with Solo Music is all a matter of timing and opportunity. “I dug my teeth into learning about the blockchain industry about two years before founding the company in early 2020,” she remembers. “It wasn’t what I was looking to do at the time, but it was fascinating. I saw an opportunity to learn and immerse myself in this new field. Once I understood how empowering and life-changing this technology could be when utilized creatively, it ignited my passion for the space.”
Web3’s potential to create a thriving middle class excites Andrykowski. She sees how skyrocketing housing, higher education, and healthcare costs are working against struggling artists, but she also sees how the blockchain can put agency back within their reach.
“I want emerging musicians to have power over their careers because of what we are building,” she explains. “Technology is just the ‘how.’ My passion is for the people I impact. Knowing we are making a difference for the musicians building their careers fuels me. I’m up at night researching so they won’t give up on their dreams because of their bills.”
When breaking into Web3, so few women were in the space that Andrykowski constantly found people surprised by her attempts to talk about anything blockchain-related. However, she learned to use that surprise to her advantage.
“You can choose being in the minority as a challenge or an opportunity — and I hope I choose opportunity most frequently,” she says. “Whenever I’m tempted to feel imposter syndrome, I remind myself that I have been in this space for quite some time and have a perspective to share. The space is evolving so rapidly that as long as you stay in it and continue to learn, you’re not behind. Underrepresented perspectives of all kinds are needed in this space. Keeping the door open to others is critical.”
Andrykowski has found footing in the male-dominated industries of entertainment, STEM, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology, and she has advice for women who hope to join her. She encourages them to find allies and communities with the same personal and professional goals.
“The company you keep informs your thoughts. Surround yourself with women who are encountering similar challenges and men who value your input. You have a perspective that isn’t just valuable — it’s necessary.”
Inspiring women to pursue STEM and crypto-related jobs needs to start early. In Andrykowski’s opinion, conversations about future careers are often limited to what people think is typical.
“Limiting a girl’s tech dreams to working for NASA or in a lab isn’t accurate at all,” she remarks. “I personally love how STEM has become STEAM, and the arts are being included. So many technology companies are built from a desire to impact the people around us. Young girls can dream about creating products or services for athletes, artists, fashion models, teachers, and underserved populations. We can introduce them to the benefits of STEAM in our daily lives and its profound impact on so many fields. The industry is incredibly creative, and we need to keep moving in that direction.”