Last September, Live Design published a Q&A article with Mats Karlsson to talk about his new business venture, Intendor, a product innovation consultancy designed to helping other manufacturers evaluate new ideas, clarify their business cases, and find the right technologies, methods, and resources to realize their products, on time and on budget. Essentially, what he calls, “product management on demand.”
Karlsson has now announced another new company, StageSmarts, which has debuted its website and will make its first trade show appearance at Prolight + Sound in April. Live Design chats with him about his new adventure, which he has been working on quietly for the past 18 months.
1. What is the relationship of Intendor and StageSmarts?
StageSmarts is an independent company, separate from my consulting business. I do enjoy the consulting work but I always have ideas for new products and sometimes the only way to realize them is by footing the bill yourself. That is why I started StageSmarts, with Erik Davidson, in 2015. We’re old acquaintances and had worked together on some major projects in the past and our skills are complementary.
2. Will Prolight + Sound be your first trade show? What products are you showing?
Prolight+Sound will be our first trade show. The main product will be a range of innovative and ‘smart’ AC power distribution units that we believe will set a new standard in rental and staging market. Aside from that we will show the smartBrik LED display module that fills a real gap in market with its unique form factor. See the PDF on our website.
3. Do you have a mix of self-developed products and those from other companies you are reaping?
Yes, our main business is our own developed products—some of the engineering done by us, other parts with external resources. We will be complementing this with a range of complementary products from like-minded manufacturers.
4. What is in the pipeline for the future in terms of product development?
We have identified four key areas: power distribution, staging hardware, cabling, and LED. It’s quite a mix but we base this on our core skills and areas where we see scope for serious improvement. Nothing is set in stone but I dare say we won’t be developing consoles, moving lights, or trusses! We have quite a few ideas in each area but we are very picky about what we choose to do. Mainly because we don’t want to become a “me-too” company but partly because we need to focus our resources so that we have a few world-class products rather than a large amount of OK ones.
5. Any other company news you’d like to share?
We recently entered into a partnership with UK cabling experts Clarke Cable. We will be distributing their hybrid cabling solutions here in Sweden as well as supporting each other in the sales and marketing efforts. We have the same philosophy to build things right or not at all and our products literally mate with each other and share the same client bases so a real win-win for both of us.
A lot of hard work and lots of traveling ahead but very excited about it!