Incident Tech’s gTar ineterview: App-Enabled Smart Guitar with iPhone, investment from Dropbox founder!

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Incident Technologies is based in California, They provide the App-Enabled Smart Guitar with iPhone “gTar” whose fingerboard shines. I was able to exchange messages with Incident Tech’s team, I summarize the main questions and answers.


1: What’s your mission and vision?

Our company believes that music and the creative arts are very important, but unfortunately, the technical ability required to create and perform music has dissuaded many people from ever trying.

Our goal has been to combine innovative technology and great design to make it easier for anybody (regardless of skill level) to create and play music. From a design perspective, we have always felt that products should be accessible for the beginner, but configurable for the professional, so that the product can grow with the user as they get more advanced.
 
2: What’s the  greatest strength in your company?

As a company, our biggest strength is probably being able to combine different things (hardware, firmware, software, design, and content) to piece together something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Our individual experiences are quite varied, so as a team, I think we’re quite good at combining our skills to build something that intersects our different interests.
 
3: What indexes do you think are important ? For example,number of users, sales, communication… And ,why?

We think the most important indicator of success for our product is engagement – how much our customers use the product. Since you need the gTar hardware in order to access the app and songs, we don’t worry so much about the number of app users.

Sales are very important from the business perspective, but we feel that if we provide a great product that excites and engages our customers, the sales will follow. Specifically, we tend to look at metrics like how many times the average user logs into the app, or the average number of songs played per week – things like that help us understand whether we need to do a better job making the app more usable.
 
4: Please tell me some informations about the founder!

Idan Beck is our founder and CEO – he was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and moved to the United States with his family around the age of 5 so his parents could pursue careers in technology. He’s been writing software and playing music from a very young age, so he was naturally very interested in making music with computers.

As a guitarist, he became frustrated that there was no good solution to transfer MIDI notes from guitar-playing into the computer. So, while studying electrical computer engineering at Cornell, he began to experiment with using multi-touch technology to detect his fingers on the neck of the guitar. Incident (our company) was founded in his garage soon after and after many experiments, the gTar was born .
 
 
5: When was the time your  entrepreneurship was tested?

We run into big challenges and problems every day and the way we overcome them all is really just being persistent and working at it every day. While the gTar was still a prototype in Idan’s garage, we struggled with figuring out how to bring this great idea to market as a finished product. It was difficult to demonstrate the potential that the technology had to investors because the product had not been built yet. It took many months of meeting people, who introduced us to other people, who introduced us to other people who eventually became our investors.

The most important thing is to never give up and constantly be improving the product so that every new meeting goes better than the last one. Eventually, without realizing it, you will accomplish everything you wanted.
 
6: What’s the turning point of your growth?

Well, we are still a very young company so we still have a lot of growth that we hope to achieve in the future. But so far, the most important moment for us was launching the product on Kickstarter.

We had been very quiet while building the gTar early on because we wanted it to be a surprise, so when we finally unveiled it at TechCrunch Disrupt and on Kickstarter, the attention and support from the media really materialized and it brought us a lot of opportunities, both in terms of finding customers and in terms of getting feedback on the product.

 
7: What’s your goal in the future?

The gTar is capable of doing many different things, from teaching guitar to games to creating and performing live music. Our goal is to help software developers create different applications to allow our customers to use the gTar in different ways.

We have an SDK for iOS at the moment and are working on a JavaScript SDK for creating gTar-compatible applications inside of a web browser as well. If any developers reading this are interested, please e-mail us at dev@incidenttech.com!

8:What was the main reason that you selected as the factory in Shenzhen?

It took a long time for us to find the factory that builds the gTars for us; the main factor was that they have a lot of experience building musical electronics. We knew some other companies that had worked with them before and their experience with building similar types of products was very valuable.


9:You funded $745,000 from Drew Houston, Keith Teare and Naval Ravikant. If there are exciting episodes, please share them.

I don’t have any exciting stories, unfortunately, but many people don’t know that Drew Houston is a very talented rock guitarist. If you watch closely at the end of our Kickstarter video, there is a hidden clip of Drew playing Smoking Along the Water with the gTar and a synthesizer.

10: Have you ever had an interest in Japanese manufacturing and technology?

We’ve always admired the products of Japan, especially the overall design aesthetic, but we haven’t looked into manufacturing the gTar there.

11: What music is popular in gTar? If you have data results which was particularly suprising on checking information of the app, could you tell me?

People play a lot of different music on the gTar – unfortunately, I am not able to share any data at this point in time.

12: Idan Beck was an aspiring guitarist, What kind of music or guitarist inspired him?

Idan started out playing classical and jazz music, but he later became interested in rock and eventually electronic music, which inspired the creation of the gTar.

13 : What kind of message would you like to say to the teenager entrepreneurs?

I think the most important message we could convey is to always be trying to create and build new things; whether you make art or technology or a community, there are so many tools at our disposal, so find what you are interested in and don’t be worried about how it will look – you can always improve it later!


Lastly, I have borrowed one photograph taken on July 2010 from Incident Tech . The photograph was taken at the garage of Idan Beck that was the start of Incident Tech’s gTar. This photo encourages us somehow.

Thanks for reading till the end! I write this blog about maker movement and robotics. And I’m also a contributor on the business media such as Yahoo News , Huffington Post, Business Journal. If you are interested in information exchange and business cooperation, please contact me through Twitter or Facebook messenger , LinkedIn.

By the way, Japanese version articles are here↓
指板が光るiPhone連携ギターgTar!Dropbox創業者から資金調達したIncident Technologies
【前編】Dropbox創業者からも資金調達した、iPhone連携ギター Incident Tech’s gTar へ独占インタビュー!
【後編】Dropbox創業者からも資金調達した、iPhone連携ギター Incident Tech’s gTar へ独占インタビュー!
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