May 18, 2017-Dalia Kalinin -Technology-English Translation
“I am amazed by Tel Aviv, to see technological innovation as advanced as Silicon Valley”
Photo: Omer Messinger
At the age of 50, James Pearson left a senior position in a thriving app to start everything from scratch. In a special interview for Forbes, he says what causes a person who has seen the technological revolution closely to bet on an idea based on futuristic technology and what he recommends to someone who is just starting out in the field.
How can we identify the next big thing that will change our daily lives among the thousands of start-ups that arise every year? If you ask James Pearson, the communications manager for the new augmented reality application, Membit, it actually depends on the consumers themselves. “I believe innovation stems from the audience, technology can not be just good, it has to be a new way to satisfy old human needs,” explains Pearson.
“I need a place to sleep, I want to know if this restaurant is good, I want to leave a picture here to leave my mark, I think the success of a particular product depends on it.” People who can not afford hotels need rooms to rent, and Airbnb has a market for it. If I meet a person but I do not have a business card to give it at the moment, I will add it to LinkedIn, it’s easier to use and when these technologies when they work.
He came to Israel last week to keynote the Innovation Conference of Tel Aviv University, which organizes the StarTau Entrepreneurship Center every year. The conference lasted three days and included more than 30 different events, including the start-up TLV Startup Challenge. “The community that I saw at the conference is creative, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” says Pearson, “I was very impressed by what I saw at the conference. “I’m amazed by Tel Aviv, to see technological innovation as advanced as Silicon Valley.”
Recently, Pearson left a senior position at Shazam and joined Membit, which is making its first moves in the augmented reality field. He came to Israel, among other things, to present his findings to the Israeli audience. “With the flourishing technology of augmented reality, we wanted to share the launch of Membit with a community like Israel, which is known for developing new technologies. I was not aware of the level of innovation that exists here in Israel. Its amazing to see – when you do not have a large audience and your investment and support capabilities are limited. Membit was described as Pokemon Go for your memories, which I think is one of the most accurate descriptions of the app.”
Are you going to look for investors during your visit to Israel?
“I’ve been approached by people during my visit here, so I would say yes, we are looking for global partners and ways to present our technology and our team. I think Israel is not only a place where Membit can find a venture capital fund and investors, but also an entirely new audience.
If you look at an environment like Israel, which has a lot of history, and not only from the point of view of investment or human capital.
You have these companies cultivating a technology culture here that is growing every year – and so are the companies, funds – and strong technologies that I see. I believe that Israel has a rich investment environment here, people here understand technology that works, and every venture capital fund I met in Israel was among the top 10% in their field. ”
In an age where every moment of our lives is photographed and documented, there are those who try to give meaning to these moments to preserve them. This is where the Membit application, founded two years ago, comes into the picture, allowing you to share location-dependent photos. Users can share their photos in a particular place and see the photos posted by those who visited the same place in front of them. “We always go on trips and want to communicate with those who come after us,” explains Pearson. “I believe Membit is a way to share our lives with someone without having to be with him in the same room.”
According to Membit’s ambitious model, in the future, a person can sit in his childhood home to watch himself take his first steps or to be photographed on the street with iconic figures taken in exactly the
same place. “Fifteen years from now, I believe Membit will be much bigger than it is today, and it will be used for different purposes, such as someone who keeps historical images or a construction company that uses us to locate the pipes that were placed years ago on their construction site. It allows us to leave part of our lives wherever we go and choose who can take part in it.”
Everything is digital
Pearson began his career in the communications world 18 years ago. “When I got to this world, there were no emails, no visual communication, and we could not be in several places at the same time.” He earned a degree in film theory and worked as a scriptwriter and producer with top executives, including Oprah Winfrey. In the early 1990s, he met Jeff Dachis and Craig Kanarick, founders of Razorfish. “It was when the Internet was in its infancy and one of Razorfish’s goals was to build a film studio, they convinced me that you could make movies online, and one of the films we produced was
Being John Malkovich,”Pearson says. “Going into entertainment was considered an extreme step at the time, but I saw it coming up. In addition, we had a successful IPO and we did it without a PR firm so I
had to do it myself. People did not know what a website was and why they needed it.”
In Pearson’s resume, key roles can also be found in Grooveshark and Bright line music app, until the summer of 2015, he joined Shazam and was named as vice president of global communications. “At
Razorfish we would say that ‘Everything that can be Digital will be digital,’ after ten years many people began to internalize this sentence. What will it look like in ten years of research and development? I believe that the importance is on platforms developed with the help of the communities that use them. The complete opposite way that products are designed for people, but applications and products are born out of people’s need. The biggest companies in the world, like Uber and Airbnb, have no real assets. ”
What has changed since you started?
“When I left Shazam, people were very surprised by my move, and I think that when they saw Membit, they understood that although Shazam is one of the most amazing apps ever invented – in a career like mine, you have to know when amazing technology arises and I think that’s the hardest thing. I believe I found the next big thing when I first discovered Membit. I realized it was a “killer app”
“The assumption that Coca-Cola has become a successful product because people identify with the brand is not true, it’s popular because a group of people made it so. When Airbnb started operating, they moved to another city and got one apartment for rent, until they had places all over the country, and now it’s one of the most vital companies in the world. ”
After a year and a half at Shazam, Pearson left the company and joined Membit. He genuinely believes that augmented reality works and adds something to our reality as we all want to leave something behind in the world.”
Salafi with Bibi – What is the secret behind the meteoric success of companies like Apple or Google?
In Pearson’s view, the answer lies in the people themselves. “The thing that is common between the founders of Razorfish and Membit is stubbornness,” says CEO of Membit, Jay VanBuren, who comes from Kansas, but he actually reminds me of my first boss, Oprah Winfrey. I think that if you look at people like Steve Jobs or Eric Schmidt, you’ll see people who all have one common feature – tenacity. You can be average in what you do or excel in what you do but – the distance from where you are to success is within having boundless stubbornness.
What is your work plan for Membit?
“I’ve seen a lot of companies using augmented reality, and we’ve created something useful, and if someone can share memories with our application, we’ll get excited, but if 100 million do that, we will have created a platform.”
“In the coming year, we are expanding our circle of partners, and because this is a photo app, we are talking with strategic partners who can provide us with historical pictures of cities and institutions that we can assimilate in the application. We will also be adding a version on Android and we will develop the application according to the people’s use of it, so I believe that with time we will see you using Membit everywhere. ”
What have you learned from the user experience so far?
“I have learned that the behavior of people with augmented reality is far different from what we imagined, and we are at the beginning of a significant turning point in the field.”
Most of our media is now on video, how do you see our interpersonal communication in the future?
“Video will definitely be part of augmented reality and change the way we communicate – right now one out of four people would prefer to text than communicate in person, so I think we’re going to see it in a way we’ve never experienced before. At one point we will go see Star Wars and be inside the film.
How do you see the field in 20 years?
“I think we will see a lot more applications that include augmented reality based on our needs in different sectors. Such as public health, the construction industry and business, its as limitless was our imagination. It’s such a diverse company and I feel surrounded by the smartest people in the world. When I communicate through LinkedIn it’s my connection with LinkedIn and its connection with the rest of the world. Just as Membit combines the past and the present.
“I think that in 10-20 years we’ll see changes that we can’t even imagine now. Technology does not have a geographic location. Membit is everywhere, but it’s also on your cell phone. I believe that in another 10 years I will be able to sit in the same room with myself and see what I have done, and it will look completely real.
Shazam and Mebmit are free apps, how do you recruit partners to invest in the application?
“If we see a fifth of the success of Shazam, I will be very pleased, there are many partners who depend on the way you use the application, and Membit has a historical, institutional and educational aspect as well. There are so many ways to consume content and receive information, and the human brain can absorb three different messages in one hour, and you are bombarded with 18,000 of them.”
What technological trends appear in 2017?
“If there ever was a time when technology reached its peak and consumers had a craving for technology, it was with the rise of the Web 1.0. Cars without a driver are perhaps self-evident but I do not think anyone understands how close to the moment we’ll see them. On the road, I definitely think we’ll see a lot more of the Internet, including the autonomous sector. ”
What do you recommend to someone who is starting in the field?
I’m 50 years old and I feel I’m just at the beginning. There’s an old saying that says ‘Treat your old job as your next job,’ as if it’s just the beginning. It’s like a first date, this initial feeling that someone cares about you and loves you. That’s how I feel about the technology I adopted, so for those who are just starting out in this industry, I would recommend doing what you like. I still feel that way toward Shazam, but I see a limitless future with Membit. ”
Original Article-Forbes, Israel