Q&A: Jeremy Burkhardt, CEO, Soundcast Systems
A forward look by the new company ownerMarch 3, 2013 By Nancy Klosek
Jeremy Burkhardt: The first thing you do when you come into a new company is you have to “live” the company. You’re living the culture. I’ve bought a house three miles from the building, and am here all hours the building’s open, watching customer service and product development and how everything takes place, and analyzing how they sell and go to market. The next thing I’ll do is set new rep quotas and incentives so people can make more money and come up with new dealer programs so dealers make more money. So you’ll have reps and dealers making more margin. Then, we’ll formalize a training process, which is really important. Those are all big initiatives.
CR: Are there any personnel shifts planned at this point, besides Jeff Francisco joining as the new CTO?
Burkhardt: I’m adding personnel, very heavily in customer service, tech support, product development and sales. Jeff is the new CTO and Nick Berry is the new VP of sales.
CR: Are you planning any tweaks to the basic form factor of the Soundcast products? Are you pleased with the quality of sound produced, and with the ergonomics of the speakers (ease of use, ease of connectivity, etc.)?
Burkhardt: I can tell you that I’ve had a Soundcast for a long time, and I’ve heard everything from, ‘It looks like a trash can,’ to, ‘It looks like a pool pump.’ It’s got a lot to be desired in the way that it looks. We’re introducing new product here in the next couple of months – two new models by mid-summer.
I think that the product can be much more streamlined. Products should be beautiful. They should represent the best of the thinking we have going on in our day and age. If you look back at the Renaissance and what took place, so much was focused on making beautiful things. And I think in our mass-market consumer world, people have lost a lot of care on how good something looks, sacrificed to the ability to consume – such as a cheap phone that may hold 800 songs. You’ll see that we’ll be changing cosmetics to make the speakers much more stylized and prettier all the way around.