Why Rap Genius Is Just Plain `Genius'

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July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Rap Genius co-founders Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman discuss the company's business model and the departure of co-founder Mahbod Moghadam with Pimm Fox on "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

How do you describe genius to someone who doesn't necessarily want to know the details of every rap lyric out there?

We were just talking about this.

It should be super easy.

What started as a site for people to dissect rap lyrics and breakdown the meaning of rap lyrics evolved into a platform of people breaking down tech of all type -- text of all type.

Before there were 10 rap songs on the site, there was a song by bob dylan.

Then a poem by emily dickinson did a few songs in french.

Now there are hundreds of thousands of text from sports to history to news and science, tv scripts where people like to break down the meaning in the back story of fortis going online buy wine -- going on line by line.

We soon found out that to get knowledge from across the world you need people across the world to contribute.

It works like wikipedia but there are points.

When you sign-up, you have zero iq.

You gain prestige, points, privilege and power.

Do you get profitable?

How do you make money with something like this?

Great question.

Right now, our goal is to become part of the fabric of the internet.

If you read an article in the new york times or lebron's statement on espn.

That is our goal.

As far as making money, we want to allow people to buy in on high annotation.

Someone would want to buy the annotations to shakespeare if that is what they wanted.

The seven ages of man speech.

Shakespeare talks about the pants you wear when you are in your justice or your old man phase of life.

Maybe you want to buy an annotation that says a modern justice would wear and one.

Maybe they would.

What about something like popular lyrics from a band called rum dmc.

What about it?

How would you get the lyrics and how would you go through the annotation process?

What would you learn.

You would learn all sorts of stuff.

It depends on what song you are reading.

What genius is about is trying the connection.

A run dmc song my reference another song.

It might reference some part of culture.

Maybe a references the bible.

You go to the bible and you see the bible references some other -- it's the rabbit hole of the internet.

This was the whole idea of browsing.

You realize two hours later you have spent an hour trying to figure out a particular line in a song.

You can go to one thing and see that it is connected to all different other pieces of culture.

We are going to stay connected because we have more to talk about.

More with the genius cofounders, ilan zechory and tom lehman.

Next on taking stock.

? this is "taking stock" on bloomberg.

I am pimm fox.

Wrapped genius has changed its name to just genius.

The cofounders of join me.

Let's talk about money for a moment.

I was reading the details of how you managed to land $40 million, and i have to say, the web giveth and the web taketh.

What do you mean taketh?

You have a third cofounder who was part of your team.

The internet can sometimes be a place where people put up great stuff and sometimes a place where people get them into trouble.

You are referring to our cofounder who is no longer at the company.

He helped us build the company.

He was instrumental in turning the site from nothing into what it is today, which is a giant, magical community full of excited people working on it.

But he left annotations on a controversial document, the manifesto of elliott roger, and his annotations were offensive to a lot of people, and that was a web taketh moment for us.

We miss him.

I bring it up because it does highlight that even though yes, everybody can contribute, you do need to be thoughtful about it, and some people will take offense and certain things are considered out of bounds.

The site has two functions.

One is to give you the meaning of everything.

The community comes together and tries to come up with the best annotation.

The other is when people can come up with annotations that are not verified by the community.

You can come up with whatever you want.

He could've gone on there and written verified annotations and if you are a public figure they would have to stay up.

If you're going to be a founder of the website, i work at the website, you can't represent yourself like that.

But we want to be a place where contributions can be controversial.

Could that also apply to people in the political world, people that may use the website might put their speech up there and obviously people are going to annotate it, but you want to make sure you are being accurately portrayed?

The state of the union was f one of the first nonmusical text.

The dream is to have people put together an encyclopedic explanation but below that have people put their view in their name.

It will not be a wikipedia file, but everybody gets their say.

$40 million in funding.

What are you going to do with the money?

We're based in new york.

We are based in brooklyn and we are building a company.

Are you are hiring.

We are hiring the best people.

We are very picky about the people we hire.

We are still a very small company but we want to hire the best people and pay them more than anyone else is going to pay them.

We want him to be happy.

The resulting with letters going back and forth between you and far away its and so on.

What have you learned from that fundraising experience?

So far in my life i have had three fundraising experiences area they have all been for genius.

They have taught me a bunch of stuff.

This ever was very interesting.

We headed off right away.

We started talking about quicken loans and the cavalier organization, other businesses he is in.

He is rebuilding detroit.

He started telling me about the challenges of communicating to all different types of people.

The company of 20 people, we are facing the same challenges that on a miniature level.

He invited me to come see him in detroit on monday and i went and talked about wrapped genius.

He was very into it.

For anyone looking for fundraising advice, build real relationships with real investors.

Get them excited about your product.

Hold your breath and try your best.

It happened and you took advantage.

You can't give up.

There are dark moments and then there are moments where you have to say and that of freaking out,

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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