First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Nimrod Cohen : Thank god, I and my family are going through this period with a great belief that eventually the change that the entire world is going through is positive and will lead to positive things such as better work/life balance and better life priorities. True, it has its prices, people are losing their lives and jobs but if we try to look at it from a wider perspective, these times have the potential to fix many things in the social and personal levels.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined OnlinePianist?
Nimrod Cohen : Roughly 10 years ago I have decided to follow my childhood dream – learn how to play the piano. However, as a grown-up (I was 25 then) I realized that I actually wanted to play the songs that I love more than learning the theory behind playing the piano. A good friend of mine suggested I explore the web (back then mobile apps hardly existed) and while researching I found that on YouTube you have millions of people who are learning to play songs from videos. The method was just what I was looking for but relatively fast I found that learning from a video is nice but not good enough as the functionalities on video are very limited. So what we did basically was taking this method into the app world where we could make the learning process deeper and richer in terms of experience.
How does OnlinePianist innovate?
Nimrod Cohen : OnlinePianist was founded with the purpose of making it easy and intuitive to learn and play your favorite songs on the piano, even if your don’t have a significant piano learning background.
We developed a unique player and features that allow users to learn their favorite songs ion their own pace and based on their own personal level. These days we are working on a new and exciting learning experience accompanied by MIDI & audio sound recognition that will listen to the user play on his instrument at home and give him real-time feedback on his playing.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Nimrod Cohen : As a matter of fact, we were one of these verticals that were on the fortunate side of the pandemic. Naturally, when people are closed at home with not much to do, learning to play a new instrument sounds like a very good idea 🙂
We experience unprecedented numbers, the best in the history of the company actually, and we took this advantage to grow the company’s personal.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Nimrod Cohen : Interestingly enough, we have completed a significant redesign of our iOS application during the shutdown. We have worked on this version for a year and a half and were eager to release it, as the release date was continuously postponed. The tremendous numbers made us think that the new version will take these numbers even further, however, that was a mistake, and the launch of the new version halted the growth. The lesson we are taking from this is not taking such crucial decisions when things are not stable, even if the instability is in your favor.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and OnlinePianist in the future?
Nimrod Cohen : Not a “tech” answer, but as a religious person I try to pray three times a day, and although I don’t do it for that end, it is a great stress and anxiety reliever. It helps me get my head together and look at things from a wider perspective. As for the company, as long as we feel that the driver of the company is to produce greater value for the user, we feel that we are on the right track, even when the numbers are not what we would expect or want them to be.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nimrod Cohen : This is always a tricky question because sometimes you are competing for the same “eyeballs” with companies with completely different value propositions. Our vertical became very interesting in the last couple of years with some big players who are producing millions of dollars in sales (Simply Piano & Yousician to name a few). In order to “stay in the game” we always strive to better position ourselves in the market, for example, what value do we provide? what we do better than others? where we should improve? etc… In addition, we are one of the only companies in the vertical that is bootstrapped (and want to stay such), so I guess we have different goals and challenges from companies that are heavily funded. As I mentioned before, we believe that making a better product and providing better value for the user is the secret to stay in the game.
Your final thoughts?
Nimrod Cohen : Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise.
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