Challenge Yourself, Leave the Comfort Zone – Often easier said than done. At the Fifteen Seconds Festival in Graz we took along many inspirational as well as motivational thoughts. But how can innovation be implemented in a corporation? And what needs a startup with a brilliant idea to become a successful business?
Silja asked Philip Inghelbrecht. Together with his co-founders he founded the music recognition service Shazam in 1999. Besides, he is also responsible for the enormous process of growth at TrueCar. Within one and a half years, 15 employees were becoming 400. Here is more about Philip Inghelbrecht.
1| IAAS AS A BASIS FOR THE BOOM OF SAAS
Together with Chris Barton, Dhiraj Mukherjee and Avery Wang, Philip Inghelbrecht has founded Shazam 1999, with the goal to provide a music recognition service. In our interview he has mentioned, that it wasn’t that easy to found a corporation after the dot-com bubble. Today everything is different, also thanks to the newest infrastructure services.
„Nowadays it’s so easy and so cheap to start a company. I mean you can launch an app tomorrow with all that backend services and the availability of APIs. None of that existed back when we started. I remember buying one terabyte of storage for 10.000 dollars. Now you can buy it for 15 dollars and rent it for a dollar a day. It’s crazy.”
Software as a Service (SaaS) got the chance to boom so much also due to flexible, individual and scalable hosting solutions. Only if the infrastructure is able to grow flexible, the possibility of scaling a SaaS product is given. With this in mind, you can even say, that developments in infrastructure are also part of economic and social changes.
2| DON’T TRY TO TRAIN YOUR USERS
„Shazam consists of only one button“, Alex Hofmann is summarizing in a discussion with Philip Inghelbrecht.
Smart design with a high usability – That is the secret of success of a product. Shazam is the paragon on how interaction design can be thought in a very simple way. Back in the 2000s, when smartphones didn’t exist, the Shazam’s service was already there. Via a text message to 2580, which is dialed vertically in the middle of the number pad, you have received the information of the interpret and the name of the track back.
„To use Shazam in that time, you had to dial a number: 2580. It’s always right down in the middle. So we didn’t train people to remember the number, we just trained them to write down in the middle 2580. “
The UI od an native app or an web app isn’t the beginning of great UX. Inghelbrecht’s example shows, that success of a simply interaction design begins with basic desicions: In case of Shazam, what was the choice of the number. Things should be able to be operated intuitively like this door.
On which side do I have to pull, where to push? Do you know the answer?
(Source: Jochen Koubek)
When starting a new customer project, Anexia’s project management team tries to think of UX as soon as possible. It helps, if you first think of clear processes bevor starting with the design of the UI. Doing so avoids a lot of trouble afterwards.
3| THE RIGHT INFRASTRUCTURE FOR YOUR DEMANDS
Individual and suitable infrastructure is the key, if you plan a new product. Every use case has its own hosting requirements, which have to be classified appropriately. The decision on which hosting is the best should always be an individual solution, which is proper to your needs. Philip Inghelbrecht says, that Shazam runs its database and software by themselves, because of specific reasons:
“Shazam’s entire algorithms have actually been written for GPUs – graphical processing units – not for CPUs, because graphical designed chips are just higher performing. You can repurpose them for things like Shazam, it’s almost a complete costume written application and it’s perfected to the milli second. So, could you run Shazam in the cloud? Yeah, you could. But it would be much more computation of power and of the service. So still today, it’s all in house on stuff that we’ve developed.”
This Shazam example is showing, that everyone has to find their own way – no matter if this means Coolocation, a total IaaS solution or a Hybrid Cloud. Individual infrastructure solutions, that are growing with the demands of the product are required. Especially flexible IaaS offers can nowadays be individually adapted for the developement of your business and products. Therefore, solutions can be easily offered, which weren’t thinkable years ago.
4| THINK BIG!
We also asked Philip Inghelbrecht, where he sees the biggest innovations the next five years. His answer might surprise:
“I’m very hopeful, that there will be a fundamental breakthrough. I see huge advances in curing cancer and that’s because of technology. Virtual reality is nice, but not a big one, it’s not fundamental. You can play games, yeah. Or IoT: Many have that futuristic view of homes, where your fridge says what it needs. But is that fundamental? I think like – this bottle in my hand is going to be tracked, so that in the end, you know the whole supply chain and where it belongs. That’s a fundamental change.”
Years before the launch of the first iPhone, Philip Inghelbrecht and the Shazam team have already had the future vision of cellphones with operating systems. And they were proved it right.
„Everything to run the service was build and tested for five years prior to the launch of the iPhone. I mean we hit the ground running. We were looking for anybody who had an operating system on the phone. So when Apple iOS was build, we weren’t wavering. When the iPhone did launch with third party apps, we were there.”
Maybe there are many sleepless nights, but if you want to be successful with innovations, you need to have a good nose for future developments. The only question is, if you could learn or train this instinct.
Thanks to Fifteen Seconds Festival, which has given us thrilling inputs within these two days. Also thanks a lot to Philip Inghelbrecht for the interview.
Anexia was also founded before the start up hype became famous. Regarding our 10 year anniversary we have summed up what we’ve learned so far.
And if you are looking for a hosting provider with individual solutions, check out our managed hosting offerings here.
Interview: Silja Andrej