He’s Will E., the CEO. She’s Lia, the CCO (Chief Creative Officer). Together, this husband and wife duo brought the worlds of photography, (specifically DSLRs) and smartphones together into one. Based in New York with years of experience in product, design and photography, this power couple launched their very first commercial product, a wireless remote that can control a DSLR camera through a smartphone, called MaxStone, on Kickstarter. Portable, efficient, sleek and functional, this tiny device may not garner the attention from the layman photographer, but to the more avid enthusiast, this product is a must-have.
Having a solid understanding of his market, Will hits it on the nail when he simply states that “people really obsess with cameras’ photo-quality, but much prefer the intuitive and convenient screen and the operation of iPhone.” So true, Will…I couldn’t have said it any better! Raising more than triple their funding goal, MaxStone will soon go into production and make AT LEAST 3,674 backers’ lives that more awesome. Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing some insight into you and your company!
1) What are you working on?
Will: Between now and April of this year all my attention and energy is being focused on MaxStone. This involves the coordination of production, software development, distributors, and contracts. There is also the promotion and maintenance of our KickStarter campaign, among many other things. But I really like being in this busy mode, it’s what I love doing. MaxStone is just the beginning. Lia and I recently drew up a super New Products Plan, that we will strive our best to realize.
2) Where do you find inspiration?
Will: Well, Lia is an architectural designer and I’m a product manager for online products so we will often talk about design and technology. We both also love travelling and photography, and the design and experience behind Apple products also keeps us motivated. In fact, we’ve always wanted to make photography a little simpler so we tried a few products that were available but there was always something lacking. Eventually, we decided to create our own product: combining the ease of operation of the iPhone with the high quality photography of a camera – this is exactly what MaxStone is. In the initial stages of designing MaxStone, we just wanted to make something that is sufficiently simple. Whether it’s how to install it on your camera, the APP, the products outer shape, or the ease of mobility, we have strived our hardest to make it as simple as possible so those customers who don’t understand cameras can master it quickly and get snapping! I suppose you could say we find inspiration in trying to simplify the more complicated things around us in life.
3) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
Will: Luckily, I’m still working on realizing my childhood dream. My wife Lia and I were classmates in primary school. When I was 11, our teacher asked each of us to talk about our ambitions and dreams. I said I hoped to set-up a computer company that develops great products. At that time, I was already able to proficiently use every
￼type of Dos command, and was modifying computer games through PCTOOLS. Also, Bill Gates’ The Road Ahead had a huge effect on me in my younger years. So, since childhood, I’ve always wanted to be someone who creates through technology. If I do actually manage to make people’s lives better, I will feel extremely proud and blessed.
4) What do you mainly do in your spare time?
Will: Lia and I are people who just can’t remain idle. We have endless energy. We like to walk everywhere, enjoy photography, and love pets. We had a dog before but now we are raising 5 cats. Believe me, 5 cats can really fill up your spare time! We also like movies and movie reviewing. Lia is fond of cooking and seeking out great places to eat. I follow, eat more and become fatter!
5) How would you describe your job?
It’s a dream come true. Not long ago we launched MaxStone on KickStarter and received support from backers that exceeded our expectations. We have also managed to cooperate with many other businesses and distributors. Because of this, we are very happy and believe this is a terrific beginning. We have to say a special thank you to each and every supporter and to KickStarter, we appreciate it so much!
To create a product, it isn’t enough to simply have a good idea. There is a huge gulf that needs to be crossed over in order to go from having a good concept to having a good product. There are a lot of restrictions that will require you to continuously adjust the design and even compromise a little. So in this process there are many uncertain factors. Therefore, to create products we have to invest our whole heart. But I feel very relaxed with Lia by my side. We can ponder over and discuss things very well. This is one of my favorite ways of working.
6)What does your work day look like?
Over the last two months, Lia and I have adopted a SOHO work method, saving on the time spent travelling to the company. Each member of the MaxMax team has a common GTD (Getting Things Done) system. We arrange tasks to be assigned and then discuss the tasks’ requirements. When we encounter strategic problems we will talk it through together as a team. Most of the time our work efficiency is very high. When we’re tired we go out to relax. As I said, Lia and I have 5 cats so they give us a lot of love.
7) What’s your favorite post-work destination?
I love just being at home with Lia, eating snacks and drinks. It’s often from our own personal experiences that we will begin a concept for a product. Among these concepts we will put a small number of them into practice by creating a prototype and even releasing them. Actually one App of these managed to stay in the TOP5 Paid of Social Networking in AppStory for 10 consecutive months in 5 countries. Another thing I love to do post-work is take a trip on my motorbike, especially on those evenings with calm weather. Often the two of us will randomly ride the bike somewhere, with no end destination, and just talk and maybe stop by some small restaurants to eat. This is often a stimulant for creativity too.
8) If you could give some advice to your teenage self, what would it be?
Will: I would tell him to stick to his dreams and try to gain technical skills as early as possible. Try to get a broader understanding of everything, whether for business, law, technology, or whatever. Setting that dream into motion is very important!