Disha Bheda is our coordinator for the San Francisco Breakfasts. She interviewed Carl Ludewig, CEO of Ludewig Multimedia and a frequent moderator at the San Francisco Breakfasts.
Carl Ludewig is CEO of Ludewig Multimedia. Carl wants to change the way applications are developed by empowering designers and business users. In a world where the cloud, mobile and desktop need to fit together, Ludewig Multimedia looks to take a holistic approach with the next generation of software design tools. Carl’s prior venture was the mobile advertising company Ad Infuse, which was sold to Velti in 2009. Carl is a software engineer and musician who believes
that creative talent is the key to success.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your background?
I’m a UC Berkeley computer science graduate whose first job was with the company that invented index funds and evangelized computer-driven passive investment strategies. I watched it grow incredibly fast and saw first hand how technology could create a whole new market. Since then, I have worked with a number of early stage startups, including a mobile advertising company I co-founded called Ad Infuse, which we sold in 2009.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what led you to found your company, what was the problem that motivated you?
My entire career, it has bothered me that many applications that seem simple are surprisingly hard to build. I believe that there’s a certain class of application that should be as easy to create as using Microsoft Word or Excel, and it should work across platforms and devices.
Q: How did you get started?
Rather than seek angel or VC funding, I decided to leverage consulting opportunities to bootstrap the business. I look for projects that teach me something I need to know and provide experience with the technology we’re using in our products.
Q: Can you give me a brief overview of where the company is today?
We have 3 employees and a technical advisor. Revenue has grown around 50% year over year. Although consulting still accounts for the bulk of the revenue, about half of our customers are subscribers to services rather than consulting clients.
Q: What are the two or three things that you have been able to accomplish that you take the most pride in or satisfaction from?
The number one is team building. The talent and enthusiasm of those who have joined so far is impressive and gives me hope for our future prospects. The other is that bootstrapping and customer development has allowed us to get started without taking on outside investment.
Q: What has been the biggest surprise?
Even after years of experience, I am still surprised at how difficult it is to develop software, which, ironically, is the problem we are trying to solve.
Q: What development, event, or new understanding since you started has had the most impact on your original plan? How has your plan changed in response?
I have needed to learn patience. Given that product development can take time, we’ve adopted a “sell what you have” attitude and offered hosting and related services in order to engage with potential customers sooner rather than later.
Q: Any other remarks or suggestions for entrepreneurs?
Know yourself and why you want to be an entrepreneur. Do you want to start and flip your company quickly? Are you building a business for the long haul? Your goals will guide you to the path you might take to get there.
Carl recently spoke at the “Working For Equity” panel with two other bootstrapping CEO at Silicon Valley 2011. See “Slides from Working For Equity Panel at SVCC 2011” for his presentation.
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