Andrea Tellatin of LedWorks: “The world is changing everyday by itself”

The world is changing everyday by itself, but Twinkly can make it more colorful! Jokes aside, the main change Twinkly can bring to the world is how our Computer Vision algorithms can transform any bulb positioned randomly and without any specific logic over a daily object turning the lights into a hypothetical flex screen. Users […]

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The world is changing everyday by itself, but Twinkly can make it more colorful! Jokes aside, the main change Twinkly can bring to the world is how our Computer Vision algorithms can transform any bulb positioned randomly and without any specific logic over a daily object turning the lights into a hypothetical flex screen. Users can project a video or any content anywhere simply by wrapping their Twinkly string lights, mapping it on our App, and seeing the lights come to life. It is simply magic!

As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Tellatin, CEO of LedWorks. He oversees the Italian startup whose mission is to bring software innovation to the world of consumer and professional lights. Tellatin is an experienced business professional with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. His strong business development skills include knowledge in Embedded Hardware and Software, Management, Start-ups, Product Development, and Research and Development (R&D).

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was working as a CEO of different technology startup invested by the Venture Capital, I met a visionary person who asked, “Andrea, do you want to change Christmas with me”?

In many years of business, I have never been involved in lighting, so I just answered smiling, “What, do you want help Santa deliver gifts faster?” After listening to him, I understood it was time for me to bring the right people together to bring a new era of emotions and lighting experience to every home. That person is now my friend, partner, and President at LEDworks, Marco Franciosa!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Having built more than 6 startups from concepts alone, I could really talk about many unforgettable stories — but I would prefer to mention the two most recent since I have been driving this company that have touched my heart, my mission, and part of Twinkly’s success.

The first was when a customer shared the story of their father’s illness and a picture of his glasses reflecting Twinkly lights on the tree they built together. His face was smiling, and he said, “Thank you for bringing a moment of happiness in his life.” For me, that made every moment and effort I have put in worth it. It was in that moment that I understood we achieved the company’s initial mission and I will keep that picture in mind for my entire life.

The second one was when I receive a call asking if Twinkly can work in space. While I cannot say anything further, our team has a new mission!

Can you tell us about the “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

There are several cutting-edge patented technologies in our products. The main benefit, as it usually is when it comes to technology, is to make difficult tasks easier. Twinkly helps users in creating light emotions by themselves without any specific teaching or external support, shaping them in a very wide range of daily uses.

How do you think this might change the world?

The world is changing everyday by itself, but Twinkly can make it more colorful! Jokes aside, the main change Twinkly can bring to the world is how our Computer Vision algorithms can transform any bulb positioned randomly and without any specific logic over a daily object turning the lights into a hypothetical flex screen. Users can project a video or any content anywhere simply by wrapping their Twinkly string lights, mapping it on our App, and seeing the lights come to life. It is simply magic!

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

As a company, Twinkly’s biggest fear is the Grinch. When the day comes and all Christmas trees will be connected by Twinkly, the temptation to turn them all off on Christmas Day will be irresistible, and we have little time to take the necessary steps to defeat him!

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

In addition to the mapping technology I mentioned earlier, I realized this was the way to go after seeing the amazed and amused expressions of everyone who sees Twinkly in action for the first time. All of the colorful effects that magically spring from a Christmas tree at the touch of a finger are one of those few things that can put everyone in a good mood.

However, Ledworks approached this idea in this market at the right time, with the right team. For many years the Christmas market was dormant, and all the companies involved in this market optimized their power of buying big quantities from China rather than developing innovation. In doing so, these companies become more of an importer than a developer.

Ledworks on the other hand started from a team of tech innovators-none of which had been in this market before. With a fresh set of eyes, the mission was clear and clever. Our team shaped the company over what the people were looking for through innovation. I personally believe this was the real breakthrough.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Mostly, time. As all lighting revolutions are unstoppable, like the one from Incandescent to LED. This is the era of Smart Lighting. In a few years this technology will be so popular (and the prices per LED so low) that we can really light up the entire world. We have a 5-year roadmap ready to implement — what is in the market now is just the tip of the iceberg!

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

We have a great marketing team at Ledworks, but fortunately the key part is that the product speaks for itself. If you see a simple video of Twinkly in action, you immediately get the point and say, “OK — I need this!”. Of course, the world is huge, but social networks and other digital channels are helping us to spread the word quickly.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When we started this company, we decided to shape it as people see it from outside. We are growing based on specific human profile joining the Twinkly family (we call them Twinklers).

We blurred the lines between the inside and outside, between the boss and the junior staff. The team and the retailers are our power.

I can’t count the number of early adopters who had defective product that still needed improvement. Instead of complaining, they asked to be part of our testing team because they want to be part of this story.

I will never forget when we had been called for the first time to install lights on the main strip of London … and product was not ready for this type of installation. I was naturally hesitant, but an employee said “Andrea we need to be there! Because when we are there our company and our family will change.” Our team worked all day and through the night to develop the installation. Working in the middle of the night while freezing, and it coming together being part of the success. Seems illogic? Maybe yes, but I can tell you this is real and the only help an entrepreneur is looking for is a team that pushes you. You can have mindset, but nothing can happen alone.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Our lights are often a way to spread joy. We have participated in various charitable initiatives — and will participate in the future — by donating lights and Christmas trees.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Trust your team (and if you don’t, get a new team).

  • Your team are your arms. They must be connected and move with the same pulse. You cannot force a decision or try to convince the people you are right. They must be in tune and you need to trust them. You cannot implement a mission without the trust.

Never start a task if you don’t have the clear picture in mind.

  • Everything has to move like a river. Build a small island in the middle of a current and it will be swept away. Look at the big picture and start to build to be a part of it. Do not start investing in anything that may take away from the big picture.

When you have made a decision don’t look back

  • If you want to be innovative, you can only begin to work with your flair. The market can be tested but cannot be validated until your vision is there. Many people will see it in a different way and if you change your mind every time someone is sharing his vision you will never take off. Falling down is a possibility, but this is the only way to take off.

If you knock your head on the wall, don’t do it again because sometimes it will not fall down and you could have soon a headache

  • Many times, we fail in the execution of a task and simply re-try without ask ourselves if what we did was correct, just repeating the task in a sort of “try again until it happens” way. Often though, we will find out too late that it will never happen in the way we did it from the beginning. We end up paying a much bigger fee by not thinking after the first failure.

Bring your mission at every level of the company

  • If your passion, brand, vision, and goals are also part of your team then everyone will be part of the interest, listening, developing, and understanding. Vice versa, a huge setup investment is needed and the procedure will often suppress the flexibility needed in the start-up phase

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Not to be a fanatic but getting everyone in the world their own Christmas tree — for free if they can’t afford it –would be a dream.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

An old business teacher always told me, “We are paid to make things happen and not to justify why they didn’t happen.” Not easy to understand and even more difficult to accept. We are humans and we often select the road that requires less effort and without not planning in advance. Anything can happen before reaching your promised delivery and choosing to find a way to cover the mistake is a natural instinct, but being responsible for the result is key. It was not easy for me to switch my way of thinking, but it has been a business success starting point.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Twinkly is a revolutionary LED light string that brings the most advanced technology to the Christmas decorations. It combines bright, colorful RGB LEDs, a Wi-Fi controller and a state-of-the-art smartphone application, ready to perform amazing animations easily and quickly.

Twinkly brings the best effects and animations ever at your fingertips. What one day was only possible in big installations, like the ones that can be found at Christmastime in big shopping malls or amusement parks, now is possible at your own home.

Twinkly offers a wide variety of stunning effects, ready to be played and customized, and full access to the online gallery, where new animations are always available for download.

Thanks to our patented technologies, anyone can create amazing decorations and have incredible results in minutes: Twinkly Computer Vision maps tells the app the exact position of each LED bulb, letting you wrap any shape you want and apply amazing effects with pixel-perfect precision.
 All this allow us to see the product from a completely different perspective, destroying the pillars of the basic cheap lights and expensive installations. Twinkly has opened a new market and we are part of this smart lighting revolution. No longer a light experience, but a limitless experience with the lights!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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