Enno Vandermeer, Director of Digital Media Products, Meridian/Sooloos
Career History: Passionate for music and computers, Vandermeer has been an engineer and producer for recording studios; started his own record label as well as a Web development/Internet marketing firm. In 2004, in what he calls a “dream come true,” he and colleagues formed Sooloos, which manufactures a media server with a graphic user interface for storing and easily navigating music and digital media. Sooloos was recently acquired by Meridian Audio Ltd.
Greatest Business Achievement: “The thread through everything I’ve done is really team building. I learned from my first business partner to have many partners and few employees. Only work with most passionate people.
“One of the things I look for [when building a team] is people who are willing to take an unconventional approach, or to use their skills to do something they haven’t done before. What this has led to at Sooloos is an industrial design created by an award-winning architect, a user interface designed by a young painter just out of New York’s most prestigious art school, and a software platform developed by a team of programmers best known for their work on financial systems used by the world’s leading banks. The underlying philosophy is that I don’t just look for seasoned professionals and ask them to recreate their past successes; I want a team to create new successes through innovation, to build a better mousetrap.”
Advice: “There is some percentage that is going to disappear; customers that may have been more frivolous and impulsive before. But it seems there is core of customers with genuine interest in the products in our categories and they still respond to value delivered. It means that we have to redouble our efforts…We take the customer experience even more seriously now. Nothing we sell in this industry is cheap or necessary. Being able to communicate value-delivered is the most important thing.”