Have you missed me? I've missed you. Really I have!
Where have I been? I've been in stealth mode the last few months to bring to life something truly exciting. Today, I launched my new company, Lytro. Lytro is revolutionizing the world of photography and visual storytelling with an amazing new camera. If you’re interested, here’s what the New York Times had to say about us today!
I joined Lytro as its VP of Marketing in mid-February after much soul-searching. I truly loved the work I was doing at Ant’s Eye View. But, the opportunity to create a marketing and product management organization from scratch for such an amazing company was too good to pass up. I am hugely appreciative of the team at Ant’s Eye View, in particular Sean O’Driscoll and Jake McKee, for being so supportive of my decision and for providing ongoing guidance as my professional journey continues.
So why was I so excited about the company? Lytro contains what I consider to be the magic formulation: super smart people + really hard problems + really big opportunities + core human insight + did I mention super smart people? = Kira’s fired up.
- Smart people: Our founder and CEO, Dr. Ren Ng, is the mastermind behind Lytro’s light field technology. Stanford PhD, winner of the ACM dissertation of the year award, all-around brilliant and nice too! Charles Chi is our executive chairman, and one of the smartest, most humble and most successful entrepreneurs I know. Our engineers blow my mind nearly every day, and I’ve been blessed to build the most fabulous team of marketers and product managers.
- Really hard problems: Conventional cameras haven’t fundamentally changed in years. And, that lack of innovation shows up with marketing trickery like “give mom the zoom she wants for Mother’s Day” and pet detection in birthday mode. Innovating in visual storytelling is no small task, and the team at Lytro is doing it. Capturing and harnessing the light field to take never-before-possible pictures is truly revolutionary, in my humble opinion.
- Really big opportunities: Despite this lack of innovation, the dedicated camera market garners $38B in revenue annually. That's $38 billion with a B! And, in the preaching to my choir department, nearly 100 billion photos have been shared on Facebook so far in 2011. All that despite the fact that taking, sharing and experiencing pictures is still a massive PITA. As one gal put it to me after she saw these amazing pictures of baby Kai, “I have a roll full of heartache” from shooting pictures of her niece at a playground the week before. And, she’s a semi-professional photographer! It should just not be this hard to tell our stories visually.
- Core human insight: Telling our story visually is hard-wired into humans. From cave paintings to the daguerroetypes in Paris in the 1800s to Instagram, we have an insatiable desire to capture our lives in a visual way and share that with others.
Roll all of this together, and you’re probably getting as giddy as I did when I started at Lytro. And, as I remain today.
All of this said, this role and the opportunity with Lytro could not have happened without the experiences, support and guidance I’ve received from each of you. From coffee chats that helped me overcome my own insecurities to late nights working on valuation projects at Fuqua to the day-to-day joy of learning from the best at Intuit to the myriad tweets, FB status updates and blog posts full of wisdom, I cannot thank you enough!
Last but not least, huge thanks to Jeff and the kids. These last few months have put the phrase “work/life balance” to a serious test, and, without the flexibility and love from home, I could not have made it.
So, please, go take a look at Lytro.com. A labor of love for everyone involved, including me. And, if you’re so willing, share it with the folks you know who care about taking great pictures and capturing the decisive moments in their lives.