Fans of business success stories know the familiar arc they follow:

Hero-entrepreneur dreams up a great idea, finds a sidekick or two to help it come alive, clashes with and defeats the entrenched incumbent, and rides to glory as the credits roll.

The story of Sonos might seem like that, from a distance. Its four founders – John MacFarlane, Tom Cullen, Trung Mai, and Craig Shelburne – conjured a daring vision based on technology that didn’t exist at the time. Fueled with the insight earned from success in the first phase of Internet-based business-building, they chose as their next mission a new way to bring music to every home – wirelessly, in multiple rooms, from PCs and the Internet, with awesome sound. They hired an amazing team who built amazing products from scratch, and music devotees all over the world found a new brand to fall in love with.

But what about a closer look?

What are the frustrations and failures they experienced on the journey? Are there larger lessons to be learned? The story of what Sonos did and is doing might be familiar to many. With first-ever details, what follows is the story of how.

John MacFarlane moved to Santa Barbara in 1990 to get his Ph.D. from University of California-Santa Barbara. Instead he saw the promise of the Internet and built along with Craig, Tom and Trung. After merged with in 2000 to create Openwave, they moved on to figure out together what to do next.

Whatever was going to be next, they knew they wanted to stay together, and stay in Santa Barbara, due to the roots they and their families had begun to establish there. It was, perhaps, the beginning of a habit of unorthodox choices to add both a degree of difficulty and a fresh perspective to the work.

Showing all 8 results

  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos Playbar

    Two-in-one. Adds full-theater sound for your TV. ...
  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos Sub

    Adds dramatically deeper bass to any Sonos speake...
  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos Connect Amp

    Brings music streaming to your favorite indoor or...
  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos Connect

    Brings music streaming to the audio equipment you...
  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos One

    Sonos One blends great sound with Amazon Alexa, th...
  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos PLAY:5

    Fills a large room with pure, brilliant sound. Bo...
  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos PLAY:3

    Versatile. Fits perfectly in tall and narrow or s...
  • Sonos Wireless

    Sonos PLAY:1

    Mini. Fits in any space, fills any room. Mighty. ...