Innovators: Michael Hollauf, Co-Founder of MeisterLabs GmbH

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Innovators. They come in many forms. They dream big but they aren’t just dreamers. They form raw ideas into cool products with disruptive business models. They shatter entire industries and leave established leviathans running scared with their tails between their legs. The Innovators interview series connects you with the most driven people on the planet. What makes them tick? What advice do they have for tech founders? What tools do they use to get the job done? Read on to find out.

Michael is the co-founder and Managing Director of MeisterLabs GmbH, producer of web based productivity tools. The company’s flagship product MindMeister is the leading web-based mind mapping software with 1.5 million users world-wide and high profile customers such as the World Health Organization, Electronic Arts and SAP. Before entering the product market with MindMeister, Michael and his co-founder Till ran an outsourcing company based in Cluj, Romania and implemented several software development projects for clients in Central Europe. Previously, Michael worked as Product Marketing Director at knowledge management specialist Hyperwave where he developed several award-winning collaboration and portal products. He spent three years in Munich, Germany, then headed for the United Kingdom and lived for five years in south London. Before that Michael carried out research as a university assistant at the Institute for New Media at the Technical University in Graz, Austria. Michael holds an advanced engineering degree in Telematics from the TU Graz. He currently lives near Vienna, Austria with his wife, two kids and a cat.

What do you enjoy most about your work and why?

I love many things about it – probably the best thing is being able to create something new almost every day. Designing your products without having to answer to anyone else or justify your decisions against some board or other, that’s the best thing about it. Of course you should be able to convince your colleagues that it’s something worth doing, but even if they didn’t like it you’d have the last say. In the end, of course, your users decide how good your ideas were, and that’s who you really have to listen to. Other great things are the flexibility of being your own boss and freely allotting your time, plus the ability to put together your own team and work with people you really like and have fun with.

Where does your passion come from? What drives ...

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