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A Soundtrack to Start Up By Don't let Pandora tell you what to listen to. Here, we asked the co-founders of startup phenom Back to the Roots to give us the skinny on which songs keep them going strong.

By Nikhil Arora

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If there's one thing we've learned growing Back to the Roots, our Oakland, Calif.-based company behind the DIY Mushroom Kit and AquaFarm, it's that listening to music at work is a necessity. It keeps our energy flowing amid the countless ups and downs of starting a company. It's the soul of our startup. The soundtrack to our movement. The beat that keeps us going.

So naturally, we wanted to share our zeal for tunes with other startups. Here, we polled our team to come up with the following 10 songs that made our must-listen startup playlist:


Young Blood's "The Naked and Famous"

We first heard this at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride a couple of years ago and will forever associate it with people pushing the boundaries of what is humanly possible. It's also just a cool, upbeat song and the lead singer has a great voice that almost sounds like a synthesizer.

When to listen: It's a great song to play early in the morning to kick off the day, as it's not too aggressive. Yet it does get the positive energy flowing instantly.

Related: Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics Gets $500 Million Investment From Carlyle, Buys Out HTC


Flight Facilities' "Crave You" (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)

"Crave You," a.k.a. the dripping in gold song, is a favorite. It gets everyone pumped up, out of their seats, knees bopping, walls pounding! It always brings energy into the room.

We first heard this remix in the middle of the holiday season (our busiest time), after we had just introduced our newest product, the AquaFarm, on Kickstarter. Hearing it reminds me of my teammates' insane work ethic and how fortunate I am to be surrounded by that kind of energy and commitment every day.

When to listen: This is the song you play randomly, in the middle of the day, on LOUD, when you realize everyone could use a mid-day energy pick up. It'll get everyone moving.


Don Omar's "Hasta Que Salga El Sol"

You've got to keep your minding dancing, not working -- this does that.

When to listen: Tune in to this jam before a big meeting or presentation. No matter if you understand Spanish, it's a feel good track that makes you smile. It loosens you up and adds a bit of pep to your step -- and that little extra confidence and swagger is so important when heading into an important meeting.


Friction's "Someone" (The Prototypes Remix)

It's a smooth, electronic song with a great drop that always helps us kick our work into high gear.

When to listen: The perfect song for that marathon project where you're cranking by yourself, headphones on. Marathon-coding sessions? Analyzing complicated spreadsheets? This is the song for just such activities.

Related: Music Service Rdio Will Launch Free Version to Compete With Spotify


Bob Marley's "One Love"

You just can't be stressed when this songs comes on. In the crazy up and down rollercoaster that is a startup, this song has that magical ability to just ground you, make you smile and feel good -- no matter the stresses.

When to listen: This classic jam is meant for winding down. Play this song as you're shutting off at work or even getting ready for bed. It puts all the craziness of the day in perspective and makes you realize how good we have it -- being able to do what we love, with people we love.


Rudimental's "Waiting All Night" (Featuring Ella Eyre)

The intensity of this song puts us on our your A game Monday morning. It's hard to refrain from screaming out the lyrics and dancing at our desks, but hey, sometimes it just has to happen.

When to listen: Another amazing mid-day energy boost. Play this song in your office and just watch what happens.


Tech N9ne's "Fragile" (Featuring Kendrick Lamar)

This song draws out the artist in all of us.

When to listen: Great song to listen to on a long flight. It relaxes you, keeps you focused and gets you thinking.


Klingande's "Jubel"

This incredibly positive, calming song is a great background track for when you're cranking.

When to listen: This is a great song to have on in the background throughout the day, as it's high energy, but not too intense or distracting.

Related: A New App That Creates a Musical Soundtrack for Your Images


Jay Z's "U Don't Know"

Check out these lyrics. It's the entrepreneur's anthem: "Heh, I smartened up, open the market up One million, two million, three million, four. In eighteen months, eighty million more… I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell. I am a hustler, baby, I'll sell water to a well."

When to listen: This is the song to play when you're at the office late, as it oozes ambition. When in doubt, play this song to help you put in the extra work.


Carolyn Malachi's "Free Your Mind"

While this song is uplifting and high energy, it's also inspirational. Malachi herself is an amazing artist -- working hard to use her music as a force of good in the world. Knowing who is behind the song is a huge part of feeling good while listening to it.

When to listen: In a brainstorm session? This is a great uplifting song to keep you feeling optimistic and motivated.

Nikhil Arora


Nikhil Arora co-founded Back to the Roots in 2009 with fellow Berkeley classmate Alejandro Velez when they gave up offers to work on Wall Street to become urban mushroom farmers.

Their two products, the Mushroom Kit and AquaFarm, are sold in over 2,500 retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Home Depot, Costco and Nordstrom. Nikhil oversees marketing, product development and operations. The company has achieved triple digit annual growth over the past four years.

Nikhil has been named to BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25, Inc.’s 30 Under 30, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and CNN’s 10 Next Entrepreneurs to Watch.


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