Sonos - keeping it simple

The Sonos vision : play any song anywhere in your home

Sonos - keeping it simple

The Sonos vision is simple : Help music lovers play any song anywhere in their homes. The incredible thing about this company is that they have stuck to their vision of any song in the house and avoided the temptation to expand into garden or bluetooth speakers.

The problem faced by the Sonos founders was that in 2002 almost none of the necessary technology existed to allow that to happen. This was a vision that was pure imagination.

Their first step was to translate their vision onto paper - which took about 3 months and looked like the image on this blog post! This very basic sketch has been updated and enhanced since, but it remains part of the foundation of all Sonos products today.

The second step was recruiting talent, which also took about 3 months. Their first office was in Santa Barbara and their second was in Cambridge, MA. The founders had a reputation for technical expertise and an extensive network so together with their eye for talent they built a great team.

Nearly 3 years later, on 27 January 2005 Sonos shipped its first product. Reviewers loved the simple set up, design, reliability and great sound. Despite amazing reviews, but although sales were decent, they were not amazing.

“We were just sitting there going, ‘everybody loved this,’” recalls Cullen…“Why aren’t we going to USD 500 million [in sales] in a day?” Then, the recession hit the company hard. “The world stopped. After all, nobody needs a Sonos,” says Cullen.

Despite the recession, Sonos determinedly stayed the course relying on their instincts to anticipate trends and take advantage of them. The iPhone was launched in 2007 and Sonos quickly followed up with their app for iPhone users. Then in November 2009, Sonos released the PLAY:5, a truly smart, all-in-one speaker for USD 400, about a third of the inaugural price of Sonos’ original product, the ZP100 (which with speakers and controller, cost about USD 1,200 in 2005). Their hopes for sustained, strong sales growth were realised.

Amidst all this pursuit of technical excellence, Sonos has kept its eye on its mission to fill every home with music. As Mieko Kusano says, Sonos is “By music lovers. For music lovers.”

We also love the name Sonos - both a Palindrome (when a word is the same forward and backwards) and an Ambigram (same upside down or mirrored) - so cool!