Thank you for finding your way here and wanting to learn more about us. In this post, I'd like to tell you a little about who we are and what our philosophy is around what we're doing.
My name is Eddie Lee, and I'm a cofounder and President of Podo Labs. I focus on defining our products, branding and marketing, and leading the team. The other cofounders are Jae Choi, our CEO who handles the business side of things such as fundraising, financials, operations and logistics, and Sam Pullman, our CTO who pretty much can do anything related to programming, and electrical engineering too.
We met at the University of California, Berkeley almost a decade ago. We knew that we wanted to start a company, but we just didn't know what it would be. We applied for funding anyway, and got accepted at a well-known Silicon Valley incubator called Plug and Play Tech Center. There, our investor told us he liked the team but not our product idea at the time. We had to think of one from scratch.
The first idea
Jae, Sam, and I sat at an outdoor cafe near campus desperately trying to come up with a million-dollar startup idea on the spot. Obviously, when you try to force something like that, it doesn't come. But what did come, was a Snapchat on my phone.
Snapchat and Instagram were both very young back then, in 2013, but snapping and sharing photos was already very much the trend. I've always been fond of picture taking myself, having always lugged around a Sony point and shoot with a Carl Zeiss lens. It was there at that table, after that Snap, that the idea came out for Podo.
Being as close as we were and doing something so exciting together, I was taking pictures of everything, constantly. But I would usually be left out of the photo, and if I used Jae's DSLR then we wouldn't be able to upload and share the photos until we found a computer with a card reader and hooked it all up. We realized we were having this problem, and the best people to solve it were ourselves.
First, we build products that we want in our own lives. Podo, Jack, and Belle were all designed to solve problems we were experiencing ourselves, so that way we would know best how it felt and what a good solution would do. Someone also once told us, "you're not special snowflakes. If you have a real problem, chances are millions of other problem will too."
And in that statement also lies another important idea—that ultimately, tech is about people. Being in Silicon Valley ourselves, it's all too common to treat technological progress as the one true measure of greatness, as the end goal in and of itself.
But to us, technology is a tool to aid the important things in life, which to us means making moments happier and easier to enjoy, together.
The best technology, we feel, is that which takes little or no effort to use yet makes the human experience more meaningful. Maybe it can be nearly hidden, or in the background (think Spike Jonez' "Her", versus Speilberg's "Minority Report"). Technology is great. We worry more about people's relationship to technology.
Technology should also help us be closer to friends and family. Maybe it's in the background so we're more present and less distracted, or maybe it's front and center like video chatting or sharing pictures or words.
In an ideal world, we'll be able to keep making whatever cool products we can think of and help people in line with our philosophy. The most fulfilling moments of this journey have been when you tell us how we've helped you spend valuable time with your loved ones.
Thank you for joining us on this ride. We are still just getting started.