The Unexpected Productivity Tool That We All Use But Seldom Name

Most of us online workers have a coworker that we don’t credit often enough for helping us accomplish more or less everything that we do. This is shoddy treatment for such a loyal companion, not only a colleague – one that never ever complains about workload – but a true friend that graciously allows us to unload all of our emotional and mental baggage while we plug along. I’m writing, of course, about music.


music feature


Whether streamed from a radio station, player of choice, heard aloud or privately, blaring from a stereo, computer, or portable device, nearly everyone works with some form of music playing. Too much silence, too much time alone, and the voices begin to speak (here you go again, Keith… Shut up! I’m working.).


Music keeps us company. Music provides us with energy. Already it joins us throughout our workdays. So, is it possible that we might ask even more of our ever-present coworker?


Symfoo believes so, by supplying us with the right music for the right moments to increase productivity. And what exactly does this mean? According to the website, “Symfoo provides a seamless, personalized radio experience by recognizing your activity and adapting the music stream to fit it without ever being interrupted during your daily activities.”


In theory, this means that the right musical selection could help us find the perfect frame of mind and appropriate mood to bang out our work.




Science has already proven that music affects us – can reduce stress, enhance focus. You’ve probably heard that classical music helps order thoughts. Personally, it’s always seemed to order my thinking into zzzz zzzz zzzz zzzz, but it’s not such a reach to believe the right genre/artist/song might unlock full potential.


Some of the activities that Symfoo will recognize include driving, working, and waking up. Supposedly, the app will align music with such activities that is both suitable for the moment and compatible with personal musical tastes.


This sounds like a lot to ask of any application, but I’m eager to give it a try.


What a little moonlight can do

“Reduce stress, increase productivity, focus better, improve performance, stay motivated.” Yeah, I could handle those benefits – especially if Symfoo finds a way to make it all happen by including bootleg cuts from Springsteen’s ’78 Darkness tour.


I’m a little frightened by the prospect of anything outside of my own head creating the perfect playlist for my daily routine (although this is surely ego talking), but not so much that I don’t want to explore the app or that it has kept me from dialing Symfoo in as this week’s Best in Beta selection. While eclectic, my musical tastes aren’t so mysterious that I can’t imagine them being orchestrated accurately…


The fact that we love music so much and that we all can identify with music’s ability to fix a moment in time and space leads me to believe that this concept has great promise.


My mind turns to the scene in City Slickers when the ice cream magnate is challenged to match the perfect ice cream flavors to follow any meal (watch the challenge on YouTube here). When Barry picks rum raisin to compliment a sea bass dish, Billy Crystal’s character asks: “How do you know he’s right?” “1,400 retail outlets across the country,” Barry’s partner, Ira, answers. That’s how they know.


Maybe soon Symfoo too will have a tune to go with the sea bass, and we’ll have no doubts that they’re right on the money.


Which startup is going to be the next big thing? Investors, bloggers, job seekers, and inspiring entrepreneurs everywhere are dying to know. Hundreds of startups enter private beta each month, and that’s far too many for any one person to keep up with. Fret not! Each week, I share one of the hottest new startups in this column, Best In Beta. Let’s discover the next big thing together!


Photo Credits

Symfoo | Matt Biddulph