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Ean Golden helps DJs level up

Entrepreneur-DJ Ean Golden talks to Crave about his history designing DJ controllers, and his latest project, the MIDI Fighter 3D.

Ean Golden and Donald Bell at DJ TechTools headquarters in S.F.
Ean and I at DJ TechTools headquarters in San Francisco. In my hands: a custom-made MIDI Fighter. James Martin/CNET

I spent the better part of my twenties pursuing electronic-music rock stardom. Obviously, I failed.

I had some fun along the way, though, which is a rare achievement in a music genre that traditionally splits the duties of creating the music (studio-dwelling producers) and performing the music (fun-loving DJs).

Through trial and error, and many horrible shows, I had a profound realization. The secret to a great show as a DJ or electronic musician is to stop worrying about the audience having fun and focus on entertaining yourself. If an audience can see that you're happy and engaged in something you love, they're more inclined to have fun too.

This same philosophy can be found in the products made by San Francisco-based DJ TechTools. The company made its name by customizing existing DJ products with oversize arcade buttons, letting DJs wail on their gear in a far more expressive way than traditional controls allowed. Since then, the company has evolved its own line of DJ products, which continue to put fun at the forefront of the design.

Now playing: Watch this: DJ TechTools' Ean Golden

I had a chance to talk with the founder of DJ TechTools, Ean Golden, and take a tour of the company's office. Typically, these good-looking, successful types make me want to retreat into my nerd cave of self-loathing, but Ean's an exception. Underneath that DJ rock star exterior, he's a geek, a maker, and an entrepreneur -- all things we like to celebrate here at Crave.