It's easy to forget, when searching Google or clicking on a funny post on facebook, that websites like this and the slick products they describe are made by real people. Well, believe me, they are. In fact, Phorus wouldn't even exist if a crazy-smart guy named Dan hadn't had an idea about how to do whole-home wireless audio right. When he told a few friends about it, we decided to see if we could make it happen. We didn't do this with backing from a name-brand Silicon Valley VC in an uber-hip office in a converted warehouse. We did it from Dan's dining table, with big pots of coffee and a deadline to clean up before his wife came home from work.
Some of the friends were brilliant technologists. Another was an ace designer. Still others could write elegant software in their sleep. A lawyer friend made us official, and connections in Asia got a factory to help us make the idea come to life. Me? I ran the numbers, wrote up a zillion powerpoints, and scrambled for cash. I also baked blondies, stashed the discount office chairs at my house, and asked a lot of really dumb questions about routers.
We outgrew Dan's condo, and moved into a medical office building where our constant loud music and odd office hours slowly drove our quiet neighbors crazy. We try to be good, but it's hard.
Then, about a year after we started, the Little Speaker was born.
It actually worked! We were beside ourselves with joy. Not like engineers and developers and finance people: like parents.
If we were a team before, now we were a family.
That's the thing that is so addictive about working for a company that makes something tangible. An idea turned into technology that lives inside real products that people bring home and love and tell their friends about. You get that parental pride thing, and like they say, it's an awesome bonding experience.
Hopefully you can feel that pride in the personal thank you emails we send every new customer and hear it on the other end of the line when you call. "The speaker? Great! What can I tell you about it?" We are thrilled with every great review on Amazon (more please!) and troubleshoot any problems like crazy until they are fixed. In moments of doting silliness, we send our offspring out into the world, put funny outfits on him, take pictures, and post 'em all over social media.
It's a little much, we know. But parents are like that.
For me, personally, the line between being a mom at work and being Mom at home is even more blurred, because our house and our lives are filed with Phorus gear. There is a PR1 Receiver in the den, and another hooked into the main stereo. PS1 Speakers are in the living room, the bathroom, and the kids' rooms. I have a Wren V5PF in my home office, too, streaming away as I write this. That elegant hand holding the Kindle fire on the website? My daughter. If you are looking a lifestyle shot of our products, chances are you are looking at a photo from my house. Our long narrow place is a Wi-Fi nightmare, with multiple access points and a Sonos system (my husband, the early adopter...what can you do?) in there gumming up the works. The QA team tests new firmware from my kitchen, while the dog looks on, knowing that if we can make it work here, our technology should work just about anywhere.
In the same way, my office family has sampled pies I was baking for city-wide contests and bought girl scout cookies from my niece. We celebrate every birthday, walk to lunch in groups to get the early bird sushi special, and welcome new hires with open arms (and a pile of work). Even as we became an integral part of the larger DTS organization, our nuclear family here at Phorus has stayed tight and true. It's this family of exceptional, talented, funny, dedicated, real people, that makes the experience you get from our products and partners so magical.
The crew here is busy working on some exciting new additions to the Play-Fi family, which I can't wait for the world to see. But I have to say that, as a mom, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for my first born.
So, when my oldest son leaves for college in the fall with his own Little Speaker in tow, it'll be a bittersweet moment for me. At least, I tell myself, they'll be together.
P.S. We're celebrating Moms of all kinds this week, with a special deal in the Phorus Store. Treat yours to a home full of music. Trust me, she'll love it.
-- Sharon Graves, Phorus VP