When your husband, Doug, decided to form a music software company, how did you feel?
I wasn't surprised that Doug wanted to start a music software company. We've been together since high school, and he's always had an entrepreneurial side. Doug started playing guitar more than 10 years before Sonoma, was in a band, and was often the recording and live sound sound engineer for his and other friends' bands in San Francisco. I was a fan, and had fun going to the shows. When he became an audio software engineer, he often talked about ways to make the recording process easier and more fun. He explored some of these ideas at other companies where we worked together, like San Francisco State's Multimedia Studies Program and Be. Incorporated. Doug had a clear vision for RiffWorks guitar recording software, the means to start a company because of our success at Be, supportive family, the place to do it because we'd moved to Sonoma County for more space, and the help of brilliant friends. When he started asking me for marketing input, I was happy to help because I enjoy working with him, and believed in what he was doing. At the time I was running my own business that required me to be away from home a lot, and wanted to keep working from home because we started a family, so the timing was right.
Are you a musician yourself?
I played flute in school for 8 years, loved concert and marching band, took tenor sax lessons, and I'm learning bass. The first times I spent with Doug in high school were at marching band competitions that he'd come to watch. I was the musician first :) Music has always been a big part of my life, from growing up listening to my parents' vinyl collections, to choir and band in school, to going to live shows like Steve Miller Band, The Who, The Cure, U2, Al di Meola, Jazz Fests in San Francisco and New Orleans, Blues Fest in Chicago, and dozens more. Now I'm learning to play bass, inspired to play songs with Doug and our son, who is incredible at singing and playing sax and piano.
Tell us a little about the history of Sonoma Wire Works.
At Be, Inc., I was in Developer Relations and Doug was an engineer with a gift for explaining the technology we were selling to engineers at other companies, so he was often asked to travel with us to meet with partners. This led to networking with the leaders of several companies, which has been beneficial in developing partnerships for Sonoma. With this foundation of relationships and experience, Doug's vision, some private investment money, and plenty of space to work, Sonoma began. The first office was in an out building at our house in Sonoma County, between Sebastopol and Graton. Sonoma Wire Works was named in honor of Doug's grandfather, who started Appleton Wire Works, a historic paper manufacturing and wire weaving company. The ranch was simple and beautiful, with redwood trees, fruit trees, blackberries, wild flowers, and a cozy wood stove as the main heat source. That house served as the perfect place to start our family and grow friendships, and as an incubator for great ideas. Doug started Sonoma with Dan Walton and Dave Tremblay, who lived there at various times, and brought brilliant engineering and enthusiasm to the project. I'd say the first real break for Sonoma was the day they met with Line 6 at Summer NAMM 2003, where they started a deal with Line 6 to bundle RiffWorks with Line 6 gear. Then we launched RiffWorks Standard and started selling it from Sonoma's website. IK Multimedia became our world-wide distributor, and drum content providers started offering more InstantDrummers. RiffWorks podcasting and online collaboration features were cutting edge technologies that started growing an incredible community of musicians, and won a Best in Show trendsetter award at the 2009 NAMM show. Because of our good relationships with the people who made DrumCore and Discrete Drums InstantDrummers for RiffWorks, we acquired those product lines. When the iPhone craze began, Doug and Dan decided to create FourTrack (iPhone app), which was a hit, and got us rolling on StudioTrack (iPad app). Many users asked for the best way to plug a guitar into the iPhone, so we created GuitarJack.
What is your role in the company?
I manage sales and marketing strategies and efforts for Sonoma including communications, sponsorships, promotions, trade shows, song contests, music education outreach, our online store, music industry reseller and distributor relationships, developer partner program, office administration, and other hats, all with a lot of help from our incredible team.
Where do you see Sonoma Wire Works heading?
I believe Sonoma will continue to create leading edge products for musicians, will update current product lines, and will become an even more exciting and satisfying place to work. That's all I can say for now :)
What do you do in your free time?
I love to cook, run, travel, learn new things like bass and sewing, help my son with his school projects and music, take care of our Maine Coon cats, and spend time with friends and family.
Is there anything you'd like to say to your customers?
I'm grateful that we've always had such enthusiastic customers. Many of them send us emails thanking us for our hard work, which is so nice to see, but the best thanks from them is when I hear the music they make with Sonoma products.