Interview with Inly Alum, Maxwell Zotz ('02)

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We recently sat down with Inly Alum, Maxwell Zotz (class of ’02) to discuss what he’s been up to since graduating from Inly ten years ago. A graduate of BC High and Brandeis University, he is now a young entrepreneur in Boston and co-founder of eMuze Connect. Maxwell reflected on how his Inly education helped him become who he is today and discussed where he hopes his young company will go in the years to come.

To read the full transcription of the conversation, read on!

So Max, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Maxwell Zotz, also known as Pattyann Zotz’s (Inly Lower Elementary School Teacher) son. I went to Inly from 6th – 8th grade. I’m currently living in Boston and run a small startup company, among other ventures.

What have you been up to since graduating from Inly?
From Inly, I was very driven by sports. I went to BC High and played varsity soccer. I had an injury my senior year that lead me to Gould Academy for a postgraduate year. At Gould, I really matured and gained a lot of confidence. From there, I went on to Brandeis University. I chose Brandeis mainly because my father had worked there for 30 years but also because I had a great relationship with the soccer coach.

My first two years  at Brandeis were pretty much what you’d expect from a college experience but by my 3rd year, I started to realize what I was really passionate about. I started losing my passion for soccer and realized how much I loved marketing. I got an internship with the hip hop pop icon “Little John” and ran his Crunk!!! Energy Drink. I also oversaw college reps around the country and attended numerous spring break promotional events. I started putting on concerts at Brandeis and realized I had a niche for marketing. I asked a few contacts how to break into the industry. By senior year, I had a management company. I teamed up with one of my classmates, Brett, and came up with the idea of a social platform for performers. I successfully graduated Brandeis with a degree in international global studies and business.

When I graduated, I started working right away. My company, eMuze Connect, has been in development for over a year now. It’s a social platform for aspiring entertainers that aggregates their social media and presents it in a way that makes sense to the artist as well as the fans. We’ve basically developed an algorithm that ranks an artist’s interaction with their fans. eMuze Connect is for more than just musicians — it’s for all entertainers from actors to comedians to models. We put a heavy reliance on the fans. eMuze Connect officially launches this at South by Southwest as part of Twitter’s event there. I’ve been on tour 3 -4 days a week with artist called “5 & A Dime” (he’s an electronic dance music artist) and my other artist, Aziz, a popular hip hop artist, keeps me busy as well.

So would you say you’re really passionate about music?
I was actually more drawn to the music industry than to music. It’s funny because a lot of people warned me about the music industry being really harsh but truthfully, I’m so passionate about and fascinated with the interaction between the fans and the artists.  The marketing opportunities of the music industry is really why I entered this business and why I think I’ll stay passionate about it for a long while.

Where do you see your company going?
For an entrepreneur, it’s hard to see down the road. I’m hoping eMuze Connect launches and becomes a stable platform and that people all around the world can become professionals through using it. For example, if you’re someone from India or South Dakota and you don’t know anyone in the music industry or in Hollywood, by strategically placing yourself on eMuze’s site, you’re putting yourself  in good standing. The internet has really opened up the entertainment world.

How has your education helped you get to where you are today?
The Inly environment allowed me to pursue what I was most passionate about and excel at these things. Because I was really good at Social Studies and English, I was able to pursue them at a much higher level. I was never super strong at Math but I’ve learned that I can not only survive but actually thrive in the business world despite this. I attribute this to my education at Inly, which allowed me to focus on my strengths and take them further.

Inly at its core creates entrepreneurs. Everyone wants to know how to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. I say let your children free, let them explore their passions. They’ll get there.

How was it going from Inly School to BC High?
I chose BC High because I was interested in pursuing sports. I knew that the tests and grades were going to be different than at Inly so I guess you could say I was mentally prepared.

My time at BC High taught me structure and discipline. Also, I really appreciated the traditions at BC High. And the all male environment was really great for me as an adolescent.  I was girl crazy back then and it focused me and made me not down the wrong path or get distracted. For me, it made sense and worked.

When I left BC High, I went to boarding school and was able to excel on the athletic field and in the classroom, but I was also able to be social and find a balance between everything.

Tell us about your college experience and how you feel your early foundation helped you.
When you get to college, it initially feels like a free-for-all. No one is telling you to go to class, no one is making you learn. And there are consequences for sure, and they’re actually a lot more REAL than they’ve ever been before. I think a lot of my friends had a hard time with this at first but I knew what the value of college was when I got there and it reminded me of Inly in that it allowed me to take the classes I wanted to take and pursue my passions. I took businesses classes and then graduate school business classes because I craved more of a challenge and wanted to learn everything there was to learn. I appreciated that I was able to do this, that’s ultimately what college offers you — the chance to take your learning to the next level. College forces you to ask yourself, “Am I disciplined enough?” I didn’t get lost in college, if anything, I really felt like I owned my time at Brandeis. It was awesome.

What was it like having a Montessori teacher as a Mom?

When I was a kid, the reason I went to Inly was because my Mom went to the Open House with me and fell in love with the school and applied to be a teacher there. I ended up going by default but it turned out to be awesome. It helped me adjust to life at a new school and I felt like I was more a part of the Inly community.

As an adult, I really appreciate that my Mom is a lower elementary school teacher. She definitely reminds me to focus on the simple stuff.  She reminds me that there are a lot of early life lessons worth repeating, even now. I also love that she works at Plymouth Plantation.

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