Martin Siniawski and Juan Trouilh were two SABF organizers in 2006/7/8 y 2005/6 respectively.
After working for the forum, they decided to undertake something together with Richard Monte (jury member for SABF since 2006). The company name is Streema, a social network for radio listeners. In this interview, they tell us the whole experience…
1) What is Streema and how was it born?
J: Streema is a social network for radio listeners where anyone can listen, share and discover new radios from all around the world. It came up as a necessity that one of the partners had, who was looking for listening to his favorite radios in just one place and in a simple and fast way.
**M: **The really big problem we first dreamed to tackle down was to gather all radios in one place, without having to go to every single radio website to listen to them, and so to experience listening to the radio in a much more interactive way.
2) Which were the difficulties that you had from the very first moment?
**J: **A lot… to begin with, we had to learn “how” internet works. It’s a whole different thing to be a user of a product than to be a developer and, at the same time, generate a business. In the specific case of this industry, it is a particular one, because there are no written rules and, if they do exist, the ones that rule today are bound to stop existing tomorrow.
Second, to learn to build a company starting from zero, which means that you have to solve everything by your own: product, business plans, capital investment… there are a lot of specialties that normally correspond to one per person.
Third and most important, to develop personal qualities like: tolerance, patience, perseverance. Those are some of the must-have characteristics that one could have, but in a venture, you experience them 100%.
M: I agree. More deeply, in particular moments we suffered something like a change of paradigm related to the way we should face the whole project. Firstly, we were completely focused on the product; we were truly believers of “build it and they will come”, until we realized that is not always true.
We started to focus more in distribution, and at that point we figured out that finally we did it perfectly! This remain the same for a period of time until the simple fact of people using our product does not mean that it is a sustainable business, that’s why we began to focus on monetizing the product also. Today, we firmly believe that these three products are somehow like the three fundamental pillars in a company creation of a company that aspires to be successful.
3) What did your experience in SABF bring to the project and your personal lives?
J: A lot! We both think that it was the most responsible job that we had in our life before Streema so, it was fundamental to learn how to work in a team, be a Project leader and be completely auto responsible.
M: At personal level, as a participant and organizer, it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. It really gave me so many things that if I start mentioning them in this interview it will not end. Regarding something so hard and risky like undertaking I think that puts you on a most favorable situation to do it, from what Juan just mentioned to the people you meet, the ideas you are exposed to and the change of mind that happens inside of you.
4) What do you recommend to those who are starting their first own venture?
J: The truth is that it’s not easy at all, we won’t say that it is when it’s not, but when one is young you have the opportunity to take that risk because in general terms, there’s no other moment in your life where you are going to have such a great independence. We all think that is not true, then you have a lot of restrictions that you’ve never imagined that existed and if there’s a characteristic to do undertake, is that you need plenty of time, all you’ve got.
**M: **I have always defend the idea of undertake as soon as possible, if there’s a moment to do it, it’s now, because of the reasons Juan has just mentioned. There’s another reason that is related to something I’ve Heard once in a conference and that we use to tell the people who join for the first time the SABF organizing team.
At the moment of closing a conference, a speaker was giving the congratulations to the organizing team (also students, like in SABF) y made us meditate about something like: “When you finish university and look backwards, what are you going to remember? The way you present yourselves at exams on time and quietly or the fact of having built something like this?” I think that in the case of undertaking a company like Streema it’s the same but extended to reality, not only university life. What kind of memories do we want to have? A reflection like this, I think, it’s the best recommendation we can share to them.