Jake Levine

Founder & CEO at Electric Objects. Former GM at Digg & Betaworks

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 21, 2016

Discussion

Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
I'm the Founder & CEO of Electric Objects. We're building a digital art platform that lets you change the art on your wall from your phone. Electric Objects is an Internet-connected display designed specifically for art, and a suite of applications that help you discover, share, and display a massive collection in your home.
Jon Lax@jlax · Product Design Director Facebook
Hey Jake -- First time, long time. You chose to build EO in NYC. Why? full disclosure: Jake and I know each other pretty well and this is a softball question.
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@jlax Hey Jon. Thanks for being here. I chose to build it in NYC because that's where I live. But also... I'm building an art and media company, that happens to build hardware and software. Most of the people on my team are artists or curators or art fans, and I think our product benefits from their sensitivity to the art experience.
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Hey Jake! What's the last great work of art you've seen that had a strong impression on you in some way?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@lejlahunts A few weeks ago I walked into Rough Trade in Williamsburg NYC. In one of their shipping containers we had set up about 6 EO1s. Vulnicura by Björk was playing over the speakers. On each EO1 was a piece that Björk had made for Electric Objects, to commemorate the release of that album. Vulnicura is one of my favorite albums of the year, and listening to it in the midst of this incredible visual experience was magical.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
How was your experience at Betaworks? What are your favourite questions to ask founders you meet?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@bentossell betaworks is a magical place! I learned a tremendous amount from that crew, and am happy to count them as investors.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Jake - what inspired you to create Electric Objects? And what have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced setting up the business? How have you overcome these?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@ems_hodge This is a really heavy question! Here's a good place to start: https://medium.com/the-frontier/...
Collin Walter@collinpwalter · Tinkerer
Hey Jake, thanks for doing this. How do you see EO and the growing industry of smart art (ie, Meural, FRAMED, Depict, Canviz) transforming residential and/or commercial spaces? In addition to displaying art, do you envision digital frames becoming a new hub for personalized info (eg, your calendar, weather, sleep data, etc)?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@collinpwalter Good question, I'll start with the first one. Electric Objects will completely change the way art is distributed and consumed. It will unlock a new channel for artists to reach their fans, and eventually, a new way to monetize their work. It will open up the creation, discovery, and enjoyment of great original contemporary art to millions of people and artists who are today locked out of the art world. In the home, the "consumption experience" changes as well (animation becomes possible, among many other things). On the other hand, there's not much that's new about displaying art on the wall. We've been doing it for thousands of years — it is in many ways one of the most ancient modes of cultural consumption.
Jacob Schulman@jacobschulman · Product Marketing @ Spotify
Hi Jake - As a Kickstarter backer and fan, I have been part of EO1's journey since the beginning. While it is a major discussion piece with friends and visitors, I am growing frustrated with EO1's limitations. Are there plans to add things like automatic art switching to the software so I can come home to something new every day? Will there ever be an API that allows 3rd party developers and services to tap into this big, always-on screen hanging on my wall? I love looking at GIFs and other interesting art, but it does feel like there's a lot of untapped potential that hasn't yet been tapped.
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@jacobschulman Hey thanks Jacob ! Appreciate the kind words and the early support. 1) Playlists — Stay tuned... Like super tuned. 2) API — There's an unofficial one, the usage of which we're watching very carefully. https://github.com/harperreed/eo... 3) Art — I'd love your feedback here! We're investing heavily in new collections in the coming months, and any feedback is welcome.
Thomas Griffin@thomasle0n · CEO, ArtSquare
@jrlevine I've followed the EO work for a while now. I'm curious-- How do you source the art content? What are your strategies around this, and what do you see as barriers to participation on the supply side?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@thomasle0n Hey Thomas — My co-founder Zoë is doing a fantastic job curating new and original art for EO. She and her team are producing four collections per week. That's four collections of new and original art delivered into the homes of thousands of people every week. Electric Objects is a two sided market: artists on one side, and art fans on the other. It is our belief that content developed for a new platform is generally superior to content ported from other platforms. Our hope is that our editorial program will kickstart and help incentivize the production of new art for Electric Objects. It also helps establish a voice of the company and the brand.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
What's been one of the most rewarding parts of your job at Electric Objects, bringing art and tech together?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@katesegrin The idea that we're participating in the creation of so many new works of art (200 and counting), and bringing that art into thousands of homes... That wasn't there before, and now it is. That's probably at the top of my list.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
Who are some of the people who have made the biggest impact on your life?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@katesegrin This is my girlfriend's parents' dog. For halloween she dressed up as Woof Bader Ginsburg: https://www.instagram.com/p/9g-m...
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What is your target demographic for Electric Objects? Is any one cohort doing the majority of purchasing?
Arpit Gupta@arpitgupta · Product Manager
Have you considered the idea of making EOmini - a smaller version of the existing Electric Objects? Smaller size and more affordable pricing might appeal to a bigger audience.
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@arpitgupta Yes we have !
I get mixed advice on being in stealth mode when developing hardware products for consumers. What has been your experience with this? Is it beneficial to generate buzz around your product and brand early, even as early as prototype?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@dmurthy The point of a prototype is to test its interaction with a market. You can't do that if no one knows about you. I generally advise people to get over themselves and ship.
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
Thanks for being here @jrlevine. Didn't Bill Gates buy up digital rights to the entire collection in the Louvre in the 1990s? How do you deal with copyright? Does Electric Objects hold digital copyright to the works you use?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@mcgrawbridget The artists and organizations we work with own their work but issue a license to us so we can use it in the product.
Phil Nguyen@p_ngu · The Daily Water Cooler + Vettery
Hey @jrlevine - First off wanted to say thanks for making such a great product! I was one of the first to receive the EO1 and it's brought a lot of joy to me and my office. Two questions: 1) What is a feature that you wanted to have in the EO1 that you couldn't put in, either because of technical or cost requirements? 2) I think I saw that your team moved into a new office - what's your favorite thing about the new space compared to the old? What do you miss most about the old space?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@p_ngu Hey Phil! Thanks for the kind words, and for supporting us in those early days on Kickstarter: 1) Where to begin.... Nearly everything could be better without technical or cost requirements (bigger, more powerful, better materials, more art, better software experience), so that's sort of a difficult question. I guess the answer will ultimately manifest itself in the features we ship in the coming months :) 2) Easy: our new neon sign.
Stephan Ango@kepano · Co-founder, Lumi
Hey Jake! Why do you think New York breeds such unique and artistic startups? It seems to me like the companies that were built there (Kickstarter, Etsy, Foursquare, Tumblr come to mind) have a unique perspective on the world that you find nowhere else.
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@kepano I think people are inevitably influenced by those around them. I've gotten to know people at all of those companies, and their commitment to creative expression, to building companies that treat their employees well, that are motivated by more than just shareholder value... that rhetoric tends to rub off on you. In NYC, tech is the underdog. It's a city in which finance, fashion, and media play a massive role in the cultural landscape. I can't speak for others, but I like that. Technology in NYC is not the incumbent industry — I like that I'm part of a group that challenges the status quo, that can fly under the radar, err on the side of skepticism and mischief.
Chaib Yusuf@chaibyusuf · Creative Entrepreneurship Trainer
if you want a help to lunch your startup what are the helper specifications for being a co-founder or in the oter hand just a freelancer?
Chaib Yusuf@chaibyusuf · Creative Entrepreneurship Trainer
What are the most important lessons you've learned from lunching your project in kickstarter ?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@chaibyusuf Kickstarter is an incredible way to meet a large of community of early adopters interested in using new technologies to enable new modes of personal expression. You owe this community regular and honest communication, you owe it to them to be thoughtful and responsible about the commitments you make. That responsibility should not be taken lightly. It's also my company-role-model. When we grow up I want to be like them.
Jon Wirt@jon_wirt1
Hi Jake - Has Amazon Launchpad generated decent sales? If so - did you help promote it, or was it all organic in the Amazon ecosystem? Oh yeah, and here's the link for anyone curious about Launchpad: http://www.amazon.com/Electric-O... Also - outside of KS, what has been your best sales channel (organic from PR, paid ads on FB, AdWords, etc)?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@jon_wirt Launchpad has been great, not transformational, but an important sales channel. It has certainly proven more valuable than merely an alternative to our direct sales. Word of mouth and the content we create (and that our artists create) has been the biggest sales driver for us. For example, each week we release four new collections from four new artists. When the artists tell their fans that they can now enjoy their work on Electric Objects, it makes more people aware of this new category, and what it makes possible. We look at the app store as a good model for growth -- Instagram probably sold more iPhones than any paid marketing campaign.
akbar786@seo@akbar7861 · SEO
Hey Jake I want to create product to launch on Product hunt what should we do first for launching ?
Jake Levine@jrlevine · Founder & CEO, Electric Objects
@akbar7861 Make a product that people really like! And then make sure that the kind of people who like it hang out on Product Hunt.