It’s an exciting day at Lytro – we have appointed a new fearless leader! Jason Rosenthal joins us as CEO, bringing with him a treasure trove of strong operations, product strategy and engineering expertise. Jason developed a passion for visual storytelling at an early age when he started making stop motion animation films with his Dad’s super 8 camera and spent hours trying to recreate the attack on the Death Star scene from Star Wars in his back yard. Later in life, he worked on some of the earliest immersive 3D attractions at industry pioneer Iwerks Entertainment. As a photography enthusiast himself and as an early customer of the Lytro camera, Jason will help Lytro continue marching down the path of revolutionizing photography.
Jason comes to Lytro with more than 20 years of experience at important companies that helped shape tech history. He’s held leadership positions at HP, Opsware (formerly Loudcloud), AOL and Netscape. He also served as CEO of social media pioneer Ning, which was acquired by Glam Media. Jason joins Lytro from Silver Lake, a global technology investment firm, where he was an Operating Executive.
We are excited about where Jason’s talents will take us…and the future of light field technology. And we extend our deepest thanks to Charles Chi, who served as our interim CEO during our search for Jason and who will stay deeply involved and remain on our board of directors, representing Greylock Partners. Our founder and former CEO Ren Ng, who has transitioned to Lytro’s executive chairman, continues to focus his energies on the product roadmap and helping us advance light field science. Continue reading →
We could not be more excited to announce that today, our founder and Executive Chairman Ren Ng has been recognized by MIT’s Technology Review as a TR35 Honoree for 2012 and as the first-ever recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award!
Selected from a TR35 panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review (who evaluated more than 250 nominations!) TR35 recognizes the world’s top young innovators under the age of 35, spanning industries from biotechnology, computer and electronics hardware to software, energy, the Web, and nanotechnology, among other emerging fields.
Ren along with the other TR35 award winners will be profiled in Technology Review’s September/October issue of the magazine. In the meantime, be sure to also check out Tech Review’s feature video of Ren.
Ren will join other TR35 honorees in discussing their achievements at the EmTech MIT 2012 conference, taking place at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge October 24-26, 2012.
Lytro is going to SXSW! It’s that time of year to vote for the Lytro Team to be chosen to speak at SXSW in Austin next Spring. We have an amazing line-up submitted this year and are super excited to hopefully see all nine sessions in action, but we can’t do it without you! Please take just a few minutes to vote for the Lytro Team, and tell your friends and family as well. The voting is open until Friday, August 31st, 9:59PM PT.
If you haven’t already done so, sign up at the SXSW website here so you can vote. To vote, simply click the thumbs up button on each of the panels’ pages. There is no limit on the number of panels you can vote for, so vote today to see if we can get Lytro into all nine panels.
In 2006, I started this company with the goal of bringing my PhD on light field cameras out of the research lab and into the hands of everyday photographers. Lytro achieved that goal this year when we started shipping the Lytro camera to consumers. The last two years have been a very exciting and dramatic period of growth for Lytro. We launched the company out of stealth, raised approximately $50M, grew a team of over 80 people, and shipped a truly revolutionary product. The most rewarding part for me has been to finally see everyday people shooting their own light field pictures out in the world. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve and grow as CEO with this amazing team.
With these major milestones behind us, we have entered a new chapter for Lytro. I have decided to step aside as CEO and take on a new role that will let me concentrate on innovation as Executive Chairman. I will remain a full-time employee, 100% focused on Lytro. In my new role I will shift attention from day-to-day operations, to focus again on product vision, technology, and strategic direction for the company. I am very excited to have the opportunity to focus on these areas where I am most passionate.
Charles Chi will be taking over as interim CEO. Charles has been our Executive Chairman for the last two years, by my side every day, and he has perfect knowledge about the business. He is a close friend, and I am grateful to him for serving in this critical role of running day-to-day operations and giving me the opportunity to focus on my passions. I know that he will do an outstanding job.
And we are searching for a permanent CEO to take Lytro into the future! We are looking for a leader with the talent to amplify what we’ve started, the experience to lead our talented and ambitious team, and a desire to transform photography in profound and lasting ways.
Last week we shipped our first Lytro cameras, and this week we got to meet some of our first owners who brought their own cameras to San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Building. “It was an arrival point to look out at all these people with a Lytro camera in their hands…complete with wrist staps,” said Eric Cheng, our director of photography. Continue reading →
Later this week, the Lytro Team is headed to Austin, Texas for the SXSW Interactive/Music/Film Festival. We’ll be bringing Lytro cameras to show off and share, and some to give away too. Won’t be making it to South By this year? We’ll be live blogging and sharing living pictures of our adventures on Facebook and Twitter. If you’ll be there too, these are some of the places you can catch up with us.
Last year, we launched Lytro with plans to build an amazing new kind of camera. Since then, the Lytro team has worked hard to bring this technology to life and manufacture the world’s first light field camera for consumers. Today, we’ve proudly started shipping the Lytro camera to our first customers and are putting the future of light field photography in your hands.
I encourage you to spend some time with our new Learn Page, which has great videos, advice and picture challenges. These resources are designed to help you explore the light field, create your own living pictures, and share them online with your friends and family. Continue reading →
Our Picture Gallery features Lytro living pictures taken by professional photographers in our Pro Shooter Program, our Director of Photography, Eric Cheng, and our founder, Ren Ng. In recent weeks, we’ve also added pictures taken by Lytro employees. Many of them proudly claim photography as a hobby or creative outlet, while others on the team aren’t afraid to admit that they only take pictures for fun.
Member of Technical Staff Mugur Marculescu loves photography and rarely leaves home without a camera, favoring his Canon 20D paired with an L-series 16-35mm F/2.8 lens (although practicalities sometimes cause him to rely on his cell phone’s camera.) Mugur explains how he took this picture of a squirrel with the Lytro while walking through Union Square during a recent trip to New York:
“This shot is all about timing and the ability to refocus after the picture is taken. Since I didn’t need to worry about adjusting focus, I could focus just on the timing. I knew that if I approached, the squirrel would walk up to me in anticipation of food. The only thing left was to click the shutter button at the correct time. The entire event lasted about 5 seconds and I was able to capture 3 great shots. This is one of those shot opportunities meant for a Lytro.”
Mugur shared this, about his first time shooting with the Lytro:
“You can take a snapshot of anything just like with a regular camera, but to really take advantage of this new medium and create beautiful re-focusable images, you have to start thinking in three dimensions. It took me back to the time I first picked up a camera; it’s as if I was discovering photography for the first time—again.”
… and this, about how using a light field camera is impacting his style and technique:
“I now think about depth in a whole new way. I am constantly looking for layers of objects in a scene, complex three-dimensional shapes, lines and textures leading off into the distance and things like shiny surfaces and water droplets.
The extremely-quick power-up time and unique shape has changed how I shoot street scenes. When walking in a city, moments happen so fast—you have to act very quickly. I am able to take the camera out of my coat pocket, orient it and power it on in one continuous motion that takes about 1 second. The next moment, the shutter will snap without delay. These types of candid shots are nearly impossible with my DSLR—the focus and timing would just fail.”
We’ve submitted four panel proposals for SXSW 2012 in Austin and we’d like your votes. Our proposed panelists, including our founder Ren Ng, Director of Photography Eric Cheng, and VP of Marketing Kira Wampler, will share insider insights behind Lytro’s technology and business.
Time is running out - tomorrow Friday, September 2nd in fact – and we’d like your votes!
Yes, you need to register a free account in order to vote, but it takes only a minute to do so. Click on the title links to cast your votes:
When Ren looks up to the sky out of the corner of his eye, you know he has something cooking. Four years ago, he was working on the menu for a gourmet meal… Kinda hokey, but we thought it might be fun to share our story from the very beginning – a little primer on how to start a picture revolution.
Back when our founder Ren Ng was still a PhD candidate working on his dissertation at Stanford University, he saw the enormous potential for light field cameras. He also realized if he wanted to succeed at making a business out of his ideas, he would need a team with unique skills – plus, a triple-shot of persistence.
Ren’s Original Believers
Just Chillin' - Ren's Original Believers - Tim, Colvin and Alex
Colvin Pitts, Tim Knight, and Alex Fishman made up the initial team of engineers Ren hired at what was then called… (we know, we’re a tease – read more here)