In the previous post we discussed programming for OS X. In this post we cover the Flagship product of Figure 53: QLab.

How did QLab come to be made? What is its origin story?

After my year at Actors Theatre of Louisville I went back to graduate school to get some more edumacation about dem computers. Some of my buddies from the apprentice program went off to start a small theater company. They dropped me a line one day asking for a playback application that ran on a Mac. I thought I could just do a Google search and find them something, but it didn’t turn out to be that easy. I wasn’t really enjoying my research at the time, and I thought, hell, how hard could this be? So I took it on as a side project with a friend (Jesse Kriss). We churned that thing out in a matter of weeks. You’d never want to use that version now, but hey, it did the job at the time.

QLab 1 was incredibly successful very quickly what do you attribute that to?

Three reasons:

– It filled a massively unsatisfied need in the market.

– Much of the functionality was free.

– The quality of the product was pretty good.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment is with QLab?

The speed with which it was adopted as a standard tool in the industry.

(I was initially going to say the biggest accomplishment is the close-knit user community, but that wasn’t my accomplishment, that was you guys.)

The much anticipated QLab 2 recently launched to many designer’s glee, what do you hope to accomplish with this version?

To keep kickin’ butt? Seriously, though, version 2 is bringing in a whole new wave of users. I think it’s going to be the cornerstone of a healthy company, and will let me build Figure 53 into a slightly larger small company.

QLab has been accepted in the community theatre level all the way to Broadway and the West End who is your biggest demographic and why do you think that is?

My biggest demographic right now is live theater. I don’t know the breakdown within that category because so many people use it for free.

You made some great changes and additions to QLab with version 2 and I know you just shipped it however looking into the future what would QLab 3 hold?

I never know how to answer that question either. It’s impossible to predict software that far in advance. I’m lucky if I can accurately predict what I’ll get done by the end of the week. Do I have a few big things I’d like to see in the next big update? Sure. But whether I ultimately add those particular big things, or some completely different set of big things, I don’t yet know. And if I set one expectation today and it ends up being something else next year, someone would be mad at me.

I would like to thank Chris for taking the time to provide some extremely thoughtful answers to my questions. I am very much looking forward to what Figure 53 has in store for us in the future. Please come back here soon to see what I have in store for the future. Hint: more interviews and more about my life as a sound designer.