Re-Compose Co-Founder Roland Trimmel: 'Entrepreneurship Has Always Been in My DNA'
Roland Trimmel is a serial entrepreneur with more than 10 years in tech & Internet. After college he started work at an Austrian high-tech company where he led +50 teams of software developers and delivered two of the company's largest projects on-site as project manager in countries abroad. Living abroad, getting to know the local culture and learning the local language stirred a lot of entrepreneurial energy and interest in him.
Having moved on to a new venture after completing a business course, he joined a team of four talented individuals and came with some months short of launching a regional airline in Poland, eventually being outrun by a competitor who was quicker to start their services. Fast forward to some years later, he's helped a number of startups move to California - where he also spent most of the past 3.5 years - and put his hands on getting traction. Failure and success have always been part of the journey: most recently, Wappwolf - a cloud sharing service - gained overnight success and quickly ran up to 100k users, only to see the business go South after having taken the wrong path.
Roland now runs Re-Compose, a music tech startup that develops algorithms which enable a computer to create listenable tunes. Through the movement of your body in fitness, you create your own music that is tied to your pace and environment - 'musical augmented realities' that keep you entertained and make you go longer, higher and faster. The company also makes an intelligent songwriting tool for DJs, producers and composers called Liquid Notes which has been highly praised.
In today’s interview for Magazine MN, Roland shares his lessons learnt being an entrepreneur, tells us about his activity at Re-Compose, and provides valuable tips for startup founders.
Magazine MN: Thank you, Roland, for accepting interview. Roland, why did you decide to become an entrepreneur ?
Roland Trimmel: I didn't really decide per se, it's always been in me. I always loved the excitement of doing something new, jumping into the cold water and figure it all out. My experience in working as strategy/management consultant for blue chip companies and large telco operators only confirmed this - I want to build things from scratch, and shape them. It's a big driver for people like me.
Magazine MN: What have you learnt from your first endeavors ? What is the benefit of starting entrepreneurship in the young age ?
Roland Trimmel: Failure only makes you try harder, and smarter. It's hard to accept at first that you made errors, that your idea maybe is not a fit, etc. - you quickly realise how much there is, and how much you have to learn. The earlier you start experimenting with ideas, the easier it can be for you to build relationships, acquire knowledge and skills, etc. Age is not a limiting factor, you can start at any time.
Magazine MN: What is the key to building extraordinary business relationships ?
Roland Trimmel: Being honest and being yourself. Relationships is all about people, so the secret is to treat them as such and make them feel good when doing business with you.
Magazine MN: Do you trust your guts when it comes to making decisions ?
Roland Trimmel: Absolutely. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. We all have developed a 6th sense when it comes to making decisions - it gets better the older you are.
Magazine MN: What strategies should startup founders embrace to build a great product ?
Roland Trimmel: Engage very closely with the people whom you build your product for, and listen carefully to what they have to say. It helps you navigate the waters. Different strategies will help you get to these people. There is no one strategy fits all model.
Magazine MN: In 2011 you obtained a position of General Manager at Austrian music startup Re-Compose and together with other team members you refined the overall company strategy. This resulted in significant improvements in all areas of its operation. Furthermore, at 12th SF Music Tech Summit Re-Compose was named one of 10 Notable Startups to watch out for. Do you believe that great teamwork determines tech-startups success and helps to spark creativity and innovation within an organization ?
Roland Trimmel: Team usually ranks highest with investors. You can have a great idea, but you need to be able to execute - it often matters more than just the product. The better you execute, the higher the chances of success for your venture. Our team had the baseline established already, my job as an outsider was to get them on the right track. It was a concerted effort, still is and will continue like that. And yes, it definitely helps those sparks fly and be creative.
Magazine MN: Liquid Notes Software is the 1st product released by Re-Compose, and it has already won hearts of a large number of customers and got lots of positive reviews in high-class magazines. What differentiates Liquid Notes from other software for songwriters and composers available in the market ?
Roland Trimmel: Liquid Notes comes with a clean, fresh user interface that is easy to operate. This is possible because we have developed intelligent algorithms that can read a song like an expert composer does, and make those algorithms like an assistant - they provide suggestions to later the song by the simple twist of a button or moving a slider. Other software is usually highly complex and requires a steep learning curve. With Liquid Notes one not only can do more and reaches his/her goal faster, but also makes better music in the process. And that's what our customers love so much about it.
Magazine MN: How does Re-Compose manage to provide an outstanding customer service ?
Roland Trimmel: We not only go the extra mile for our customers, but also invest a lot of time in making sure they are happy with our services. And, we are very honest in our communication and listen to what our customers have to say. After all, we build Liquid Notes for them.
Magazine MN: In one of the blog posts on Re-Compose website you wrote, "We love product reviews. They give a good reflection of where we are at, and what is missing today that may be added tomorrow as a new feature.” Thanks to such approach, major improvements in Liquid Notes enable users to enjoy the process of composing and songwriting to the full. What new features should Liquid Notes users expect in the nearest future ?
Roland Trimmel: There is a long list of features we have in our development pipe for Liquid Notes. Most importantly we want to improve the workflow for our users by a tighter integration with Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), the main workhorse for songwriting today. At the same time we're working on an entry level version of Liquid Notes that is targeted at beginners - i.e., more focus on the educational qualities of the tool, with a different user interface than what is there today.
Magazine MN: What advice would you give to the first-time startup founders ?
Roland Trimmel: Listen carefully to your customers, and surround yourself by people who can help you make the right decisions. Never give up, it's a marathon you have to run and you don't even know where the finish line is. Set yourself small goals that you can achieve, it will give you an immense motivational boost.
Roland Trimmel was interviewed by Natalie Myhalnytska
Re-Compose website: http://www.re-compose.com/
Roland Trimmel on Twitter: https:////twitter.com/rolandt25
Roland Trimmel on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rolandtrimmel
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