Shota Takase explains how the idea behind creating the wearable camera came about, and how Blincam would change the way we capture photos with minimal effort
Blincam was made by combining “Blink” and “Camera”. It is a small camera device which attaches to one’s eyeglasses and it detects a strong wink (or blink) for shutter so that the user does not have to use hands to press shutter button; all you have to do is just to give a wink. It is a daily device to capture moments of your life and save what you see in your life.
Background and experience
I (CEO, Shota Takase) was born and raised in Japan. After studying in the university in the US, I had been engaged in system engineering jobs in a national bank and a government office branch. Through those job experiences, I had noticed the importance of technology and its systems.
Corporate management, business execution, customer relationship, supply chain, logistics and communication – all these business processes are running on IT and people are living on the system. I realised that what was important is to make efficient and effective system for them.
Also in one of the largest medical company, I was usually in charge of global project management. Through the experience, I learned that project execution was as important as technology and system.
Mash up MBA x Lean Startup
Besides, I gradually came to notice that technology, systems and project executions were tools or methodologies for businesses and individuals but what was more important was business development in utilising those tools. Since then, I began to attend business school.
I with many classmates studied a lot about business management and marketing strategy in order to expand my knowledge. During those days, I attended a Startup Weekend (SW) event which is a weekend program for young entrepreneurs who want to startup by educating and building the ecosystem. It was a shocking event for me, a mere business man who had never been in such an entrepreneurial community.
Since then I had been gradually got involved in entrepreneurial world. What I leaned in SW was a simple logic which is the essence of lean startup, “No Talk, All Action”. Whatever I make on the desk or at the computer, it is logic; unless it is tested in the market, I will never get its outcome.
If I create the business logic perfectly, I will tend to avoid risk and become satisfied with discussions before taking action. I met those situations before when I worked for companies and studied in business school. Whatever logic I make, it is still a hypothesis, so I should brush it up by executing and testing it in the market.
If I test the hypothesis in the market, the outcome would be different. On the other hand, SW has the passion and power to take actions. However, it is still a weekend festival which people easily lose their passion for after the weekend finishes; even though they are good at taking action, they are not always good at making business logic.
As this conflict between logic and action is likely a conflict between left and right brains, those who are good at one brain are not good at the other. Viewed differently, those who use both sides efficiently can make better businesses. Since I came to this idea, I began to plan holding SW in the business school I attend to make the school’s community is more entrepreneurial and yet practical.
Since I first organised SW at my school in 2014, I gradually got involved in it. I joined a global summit in Las Vegas where I met many organisers and friends from other countries, participated in an acceleration program which I paid by myself in Silicon Valley and leaned a lot about the ecosystem.
Solution for daily problem with IoT device
After graduating from the business school and getting my MBA, I was supposed to go up the career ladder of the company. However, I came to think of challenging myself with a startup.
Through observing the developments of the startup ecosystem, I realised that personal experience heavily linked to my past or something important for me was crucial for starting and keeping a business. For me, that experience was time with my child.
Having a baby, a young parent is eager to take photos of the baby. Because a child grows up quickly and time with a small child passes rapidly, each moment is very precious for the parents. I was definitely one of these parents. Until I had a baby, I only take several photos with my compact digital camera, except for when I traveled somewhere.
I bought a single-lens reflex and very often took many photos of my baby. After she grew up, I used the smartphone more often than the other cameras. I noticed little frustration when using this camera. When I see my child, I found her subtle expressions on her face cute. But even then, the smartphone camera isn’t useful to take a picture her face because I’d have to pick up the smartphone, launch the camera application, and hold the camera; so when the moment happens my smartphone camera is not always ready.
What’s more, a child always poses or show funny faces to the camera, which makes the photos different from I was expecting. In addition, when I take a photo, I always look at the screen of my smartphone and choose different angles instead of observing what is in front of me. In order to solve these little issues, I came to think that I wanted to “take pictures what I see with a wink”.
All I had to do next was follow the “No Talk, All Action” rule. I joined a SW which I facilitated and pitched the idea, eventually leading to Blincam. Although I unfortunately lost in the SW, I found my team mates and started the business and forming the team of Blincam.
Fortunately I met very talented members with big motivations and they could keep going until now. In my team, we have not only hardware and software engineers but also business developers, marketing staff, who are MBA holders, and creative staff. With them we have good experiences in different professions and the comprehensive ability to go forward with the business.
Collect and express the truth of the world
Blincam is for everyone. It is a daily tool to take and save everyday occurrences, not a good camera to take good pictures to share via social networks. Casual moments which we often miss should be the good memories of people. We are passionately developing this.
Pictures which have been taken in the moment seem to be only 1% of the world. The other part of the world, 99% has not been visualised. We are developing the device to save the 99%. It may be family conversations on Sunday morning, it might be the familiar neighbour you see when walking, it might be BBQ with friends, it might be a scenery when cycling or driving. The moments of life with smiles and laughter. It may mean nothing to other people. I may not deserve many likes or comments from friends on my social network, but I believe it is life. Blincam is the tool to save those moments.
Contrary, life is not always happy. There are difficulties and hard times in life. We will face those time happening in the world. Smiling is not only the element which consists life. From refugee camps, disaster locations, political demonstrations, we want to broadcast what is happening out there to the world. I want to make Blincam a media of truth and time.
I want many people to use Blincam and tell the views of many people through their eyes and our camera to other people in the world.
Want to meet the Blincam team? Come on down to Echelon Asia Summit 2016 to meet them and 99 other startups live! Secure your tickets now with an e27 reader special: Simply input promo code SUMMIT20 to claim a 20% discount. See you at Echelon this coming June!
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