Interview with Florian Simmendinger, CEO and Co-Founder of Soundbrenner.com. Soundbrenner has created a revolutionary platform that empowers musicians to master rhythm better and faster than ever before. At the heart of this platform is the Soundbrenner Pulse, a smart vibrating metronome. It is the world’s first wearable device for musicians. Soundbrenner is headquartered in Hong Kong and has international offices in Berlin and Los Angeles.
Describe Florian in 50 words or less.
I grew up in a tiny village in Germany. Today I love living in a large dense city like Hong Kong. My passions are hardware, design, competitive video gaming, backpacking (love to go to the most remote corners of the planet). Most of all I enjoy hard work, striving for achievements and progress and putting in the hours to learn something new and grow my skills. In my daily life I crave justice, logic, honesty. Also ice tea!
How/why did you start Soundbrenner?
We’re all musicians at Soundbrenner so we know the pain of practicing with a metronome. However, we also know that using a metronome accelerates puts your skill growth as a musician on fire.
That’s why we wanted to make it easier for musicians to reap those benefits.
How did you spread the word to get customers in 74 countries?
Our initial launch on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo stirred up a lot of attention. We’ve got over 200,000 page views and people from all over the world know us today thanks to the crowdfunding launch.
That being said it was a lot of work and we hustled every day to get the word out during the campaign – it didn’t happen by itself.
Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.
I usually come in the office around 10 or 11am. I try to understand the most urgent challenges for the day and try to tackle those first. Afterwards I go through the e-mail. Living in Hong Kong means that a lot happens during night time in the US while you sleep, so sometimes I wake up to over 100 new emails. During the day I try to avoid distractions as much as possible, focus and produce as much work as I can possibly fit in the day. At 9pm I go to the gym. Most days I go back to the office around 10:30pm and have another work session until 1am or so.
What were the biggest challenges you faced building your startup?
The first and maybe the biggest challenge that every single startup has to face is to make a product that people actually want and love to use. If you get there everything else is easy.
Besides that I feel like what’s special about running an IoT company is that it is so insanely diverse. You need to somewhat understand electrical engineer, industrial design, mechanical design, managing a supply chain, manufacturing, firmware development, mobile app development, e-commerce, commercial distribution and literally 100 other areas. So it’s been a constant challenge to learn new things completely from scratch in a short amount of time. However, it’s also what makes our job so much fun.
What was your most memorable moment so far?
There are many: Feeling the beat for the first time with the first prototype, launching the product on crowdfunding, holding the first product from the production line in my hands, seeing the first customer reviews…
Big celebrations are abundant when you run a startup, it’s a rollercoaster.
In 5 years from now: How did your startup change the world?
Musicians all over the world use our platform to plan on the beat, be it in practice at home or in performances on stage. Spotting a Soundbrenner Pulse in a concert is nothing special.
Practicing rhythm has come from a tedious exercise into something fun and motivating.
What do you think of Hong Kong’s Startup Scene?
I love to be part of it from the early days and am excited to see it growing around us. I think Hong Kongs startup scene has a bright future and we will do our best to contribute to its success as much as we can.
What are 3 things you want consumers to remember about your company?
- We make the world’s first wearable device for musicians which is basically a smart vibrating metronome
- We just launched our product and you can buy it today on www.soundbrenner.com
- We’re always looking to hire outstanding, talented people who love building things as much as we do