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Interview with Peter Linsener (LinPlug)

Muse Research's Bryan Lanser interviews Peter Linsener, Founder and CEO of LinPlug, based in Berlin, Germany. LinPlug makes some remarkable plug-ins, including the powerful RM-V drum module, and the incredibly impressive Albino, along with several others.

The obligatory boring question: what is your background (briefly, we don't need to know what color your crib was painted!) and what inspired you to start a company to create VST software?.

I was about 18 when I started playing music- that's when I bought my first instrument - a Poly 800 – and it just went on from there. Soon after that I discovered my second passion after playing with the first computers. Over the years, I've managed to combine these two passions more and more.

Later I received a degree in computer science, and after some years of commercially oriented work in the music software business, I started LinPlug. It's very inspiring to do something because you love it rather than for money.

Did you work for another company before starting your company? What are your thoughts about starting a company? Do you have any advice for people who might want to follow in your footsteps?

Yes, a few of the big names in music software. But I needed more freedom to decide where to go and what to do. If you have a passion, there's nothing that can stop you - that's my advice. Follow your dreams, be creative, don't try to be better than X or Y, just do what you believe in and do it well. If you aren't willing to do it as best as you can, it's better not to do it at all.

If your company made cars instead of software, who would you want to be?.

Hmmm... that's difficult. I think Porsche would be it – they do what they do with passion. At least many of the people there do, I believe.

What made you decide to support Receptor? What are your thoughts about the product?

You want some advertising now, yes? (joking) Well, you can get it. I'm supporting Receptor because I believe in the product and in fact the only thing that stopped me from buying one is that I'm not that much in music anymore- I just don't have the time.

I think its a great device because its just "switch-on, play". No long booting, no delays for the host to start up, no configuration hassles, loading problems, etc. I think it's great for just getting your ideas into some phrase quickly. On stage I think it's superior to a laptop because it's more reliable, I would never go on stage with a laptop. I wouldn't say they won't work on stage, but I would say I'd feel much better with a Receptor.

What do you think about the current situation with piracy, and what needs to happen to stop it? If you ever met a person who admitted that they stole your software, what would you do to them?

Actually the problem is the most maddening one that I can think of! The great majority knows it's there, the most ignore it and 80% of the "users" do actually cause it, but I don't think anyone thinks it's an okay thing.

It just so happened that a few times I have had the chance to speak to people who stole my software. Afterwards, all of them bought the product, I didn't force them, I just had a chat. I'm not into attacking people in any way, but I try to make clear that we are being honest when we say that we need every sale we can get. It's really gets down to an ethical thing: individuals needs to decide for themselves if they feel it's okay to get somebody's work without giving them something in return.

I'm sorry to have to do this, but I HAVE to know. If you were being sent away on a long trip with just a CD player and room for five CDs, what would they be?

Well, honestly I don't usually take music with me on trips. I'd rather listen to local radio stations wherever I go. I'm not a big fan of any particular artist, so I don't really need to have a particular kind of music with me wherever I go, so my answer would be "No CDs at all".

(Bryan comments: Man, talk about a clever way to avoid a question!)

What is the favorite product you make (or have ever made), and why?.

It's Albino. It can't be anything else, simply because of the human story behind it. My collaboration with Rob Papen has been the most refreshing experience I have had for ages. Yes, definitely, that would be it. What was most fun was all the learning that went on – both technical and personal. A great experience, definitely.

If people could understand just one thing about your company and its products, what would that be?

Well, what I really feel is important about understanding what LinPlug is about is that it's not only just following the passion of combining programming and music. It's that LinPlug should be a small example of how we should act in our lives. I mean, nearly everybody is moaning how bad the world is, how bad people are, and that we need more respect and understanding for each other. I try to put my beliefs in to action through LinPlug, treating people fairly, providing them with a fair value for what they give me, and by showing respect to my customers. I think its important to make a start - a smile on your face may make someone else smile too, even if they were very angry before.

Which do you like more, cats or dogs? Why? Do you own any, and if so, what are their names?.

Dogs, but I can't say why. It's just my feeling and no, we don't have any. But we have bugs, but they don't live very long around here :-).

What is the one question you wish I had asked, but didn't? (and please answer it!)

Well, that's the opportunity for some advertising, yes? ;-) I guess the question would be "How do I feel about the feature creep that tends to drive the development of software these days?" And here's the answer:

I'm not really a salesman, but I sincerely feel that a good product should sell itself. Of course, in reality this often is not the case, but I believe no one wins when there are great marketing campaigns and hundreds or thousands of people buy a product, only to discover the product is actually not very good. This is a key philosophical belief at LinPlug; we don't develop products with tons of shiny features, in fact we'll even delete a feature when we feel a product is better without it, even when that particular feature is en vogue currently. Our products are different from others in that they are solid, usable, and devoid of "features-for- features-sake".

You can find out more about LinPlug's fantastic range of products at www.linplug.com

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