After five years of using Leica products, I can safely say that Leica does make fantastic products, and expensive as they might be, they are going to last what seems like a lifetime. I bought my Leica SL, about three years ago. It was so advanced and perfectly built that even today, I find it at par with recent competitive products. The lenses — especially the M class of lenses — cost a lot of money, but I am leaving those for my godchildren. In other words, the very qualities that make Leica products expensive, make it hard for the company to monetize their customer base. With overall camera market shrinking, thanks to the rise of computational photography, like all its rivals, Leica must see the writing on the wall.
A friend of mine scored two tickets for a pop-up at the Ramen Shop by Osamu Tomita, King of Ramen in Japan. They say that the Rich Tonkotsu Gyokai Tsukemen (Dipping style of Ramen, Pork and fish base rich soup) by Osamu Tomita is to die for! With all the ingredients flown in fresh from Japan, it was everything they said. I caught the chef in action, busy creating our meal, a proverbial arm’s touch away. My tiny Konica BigMini did its best to capture the intense focus. It is not as beautiful a point-and-shoot film camera like the Contax T3, but I love how it feels in my hand. The film was the Fuji Superia 400 — not the best, but delivers in a pinch.
A conversation with Eran Shir, Founder, and CEO of Nexar, to talk about his company’s connected dash cam, how it works to improve safe driving, and what a world full of cameras + intelligence means for our future. Eran explains why computer vision matters and why it also can go wrong pretty fast.
Disclosure: Nexar is part of the True Ventures portfolio of startups.
Sankar Thiagasamudram is the co-founder and CEO of Audeze, a maker of high-quality headphones, which are all the rage with audiophiles and music professionals. Sankar, who started his life working for a high-end 3D graphics company, is an engineer by training and audiophile in real life. He co-founded the company with Alexander Rosson. They were pioneers in putting (a proprietary) planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets inside their headphones. I experienced the Audeze magic when I got EL-8 as a gift from a friend.
I recently caught up with Sankar to talk about their new gaming headphone, Mobius, and more importantly about Apple’s HomePod, computational audio, the headphone boom and how head-fi changing our expectations of music. He shared his tips on how to buy headphones, his thoughts on other headphone brands including fashion/luxury headphones such as Master & Dynamic.
Chris Michel, the founder of Military.com and Affinity Labs, is a well-known entrepreneur and investor. He is also an accomplished photographer and someone whom I call my photography guru. He is one of the quiet success stories in Silicon Valley, and his journey is chock-a-block of lessons. Michel sits on the boards of Dale Carnegie, Catchlight, Kixeye, and 3D Robotics.
His photos have appeared in the National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the New York Times, the BBC, Outside Magazine and others. His “Flying Emperor” photograph was the 2nd place finisher in the 2014 Wikipedia Picture of the Year. We share a love for Leica and its beautiful lenses and often go out to make photos.
After months of arm-twisting, I finally convinced Chris to sit down and tell me his story — his journey in life, his time in the U.S. Navy, his move to Silicon Valley and why he loves photography. We dig deeper into the meaning of life, accomplishment and how to reframe ourselves in a world that is framed by false proxies of success — money and fame.
There is so much I learned about him during this conversation, even though we meet for coffee every two weeks. I was moved to tears, and so inspired by our tête-à-tête. Have a listen –you will be glad you did.
March 2nd, 2018, San Francisco