Lessons from Disruptors: Game-Changing Start-Ups
It’s not every startup that revolutionizes an industry, changing and sometimes reversing the direction of a long-standing space. But some, like our panelists, have done just that — Jawbone in re-shaping mobile lifestyle; Lytro in changing the way we take and experience photos; and Nest in re-defining the thermostat. These game-changing startups will share their secrets of success and give insight to how they developed the visions that have guided them to be true disruptors. We’ll also look at how more established disruptors – Google, Apple, etc. – changed the game and maintained a leadership position.
Harry McCracken is an editor at large at TIME, where he covers personal technology for the magazine and TIME.com. Prior to joining TIME, he founded Technologizer, an award-winning ndependent blog, and spent almost 14 years at PC World, where he served as Editor in Chief for four years and in other editorial positions for ten. McCracken has won awards for his editorial work from American Business Media, Folio, and other organizations, and has talked tech on such media outlets as ABC, CBS, Dateline NBC, and the History Channel.
Before starting Lytro, Ren was on the fast path to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a professor. In fact, his seminal Ph.D. research on light field technology earned the field’s top honor, the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for best thesis in computer science and engineering, as well as Stanford University’s Arthur Samuel Award for Best Ph.D. Dissertation. The entrepreneurial spark came when Ren purchased his first DSLR camera and saw the potential to apply light field technology to capture pictures in addition to image generation. As a result, instead of continuing on a purely academic path, Ren decided to apply and extend his theoretical work by making light field cameras that everyone can use. That’s how the Lytro picture revolution began.
When the company originally received funding, Ren was running the business solo. Ren and a core team made breakthrough engineering innovations, setting a strong foundation for the world-class crew he’s now leading to produce light field cameras that make groundbreaking living pictures. The ambition and persistence that characterize Ren’s career are also evident in his hobbies – an avid rock climber, he is constantly striving to reach new heights. Ren holds a Ph.D. in computer science and a B.S. in mathematical and computational science from Stanford University.