HUMANS OF LAUNCH22 #2: FAHEEM ZAMAN

Each week, we'll be hosting an interview with one of Launch22's many brilliant and inspiring members. We'll be asking them about their business, their ideas and their philosophies with a focus on the theme of entrepreneurship. Without further ado...

 Faheem Zaman, Founder of Bitbreaks

Faheem Zaman, Founder of Bitbreaks

 

HI FAHEEM! WHAT DOES BITBREAKS DO?

 

At Bitbreaks, we’re making software that helps people with no musical skill or knowledge to quickly and easily make their own original music. To be clear though, we are not teaching music! Instead, through smart design and machine learning, our software enables people to make full musical arrangements using only their natural sense of music!

 

Our magic lies in how our users play and arrange our software based instruments. We’ve thrown out the outdated user interface rulebook on how that happens and we’re developing new user experiences from scratch – all for non-musicians.

 

Clever artificial intelligence makes sure your music sounds natural and true to you. It also keeps things in key and in time, as well as helping you to quickly match different musical parts together.

 

We’re still experimenting and trying out some of our wackier ideas. People can register now at bitbreaks.com to try our open betas for iOS or Android when they become available.

 

IT'S AN AMAZING IDEA... WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE STARTING BITBREAKS?

 

I’ve been obsessed with technology and music since early childhood. I cut my teeth hacking, coding and lurking on BBSes and IRC [early internet technologies]. I’ve made music using synths, samplers, sequencers and other software and hardware since the days of Cubase on the Atari ST. I’ve also built electric guitars, analogue effects pedals and experimented with all sorts of circuit bending.

 

Professionally, I was a corporate and commercial lawyer before moving to Bitbreaks full time. In particular, I worked with technology clients like Samsung and Qualcomm. That understanding of the corporate world and the tech sector has been useful in my role as a founder.

 

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START BITBREAKS? WHY DID YOU 'TAKE THE LEAP' INTO THE STARTUP WORLD? 

 

There’s a lot of self-discovery involved in founding a startup. That starts from when you begin to ask yourself what you enjoy, what you’re good at and what you really want to do for a living. I enjoyed working in law but I wanted to build something from scratch that I could really get behind. Doing that in music technology seemed like a no-brainer.

 

FOR YOU, WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING PART OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? AND WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

 

Working outside my comfort zone is something that I have to do all the time now. It’s the most challenging aspect of being a founder but also the most exciting - it’s a bizarrely addictive combination of genuinely thrilling and outrageously stressful!

 

A highlight for me is thinking about customer orientation. Understanding and empathising with customers’ wants, needs and behaviours is incredibly important. I’m the son of a psychiatrist and a psychologist, so perhaps my interest in the human mind is not surprising!

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?

 

Having a great idea for a business isn’t as helpful as you might think. In fact, you don’t need to start with an idea at all. There’s a lot of tried and tested startup methodology out there. 'The Lean Startup' by Eric Ries is a book that many founders recommend starting with. I’m also a big fan of 'Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time' by Jeff Sutherland.

 

I’m a Cass MBA alumnus but there are loads of great resources online when you want to get deeper into the topic of starting a business. Chris Harun has an online MBA on Udemy and there are some great creators putting up content on YouTube and discussing startups on podcasts.

 

HOW HAS WORKING WITH LAUNCH22 HELPED YOU?

 

Talking to other founders and people involved with startups is invaluable when starting your own business. Launch22 has allowed me to do that and they’ve also connected me to experienced mentors. That’s been helpful for problem solving, motivation, confidence and inspiration. Of course, having a bright and airy workspace in an exciting part of London is also pretty useful.

 

--------------------------------------------

 

Feeling inspired? Launch22 can help you to launch your own business. Contact us at info@launch22.co.uk today!