Not many people in the Circle Optics ecosystem have had the benefit of working with such remarkable tech giants as Google, Lyft & Meta. Here is what we learned from Luc Vincent about his experience in those companies.
Technology and innovation are constantly evolving, thanks to the contributions of pioneers like Luc Vincent – a visionary who has overseen some of the most advanced computer vision and geospatial projects on the planet. Luc started his career working for Rochester based Xerox, leading out an R&D team for their Palo Alto Research Center. From there he moved onto Google, where he used his 20% time (time employees get to work on innovations outside their direct job) on building a project that would come to be known as Google Street View. Luc bootstrapped that program, transforming the way in which we navigate and explore our world. Luc would later go on to make sizable advancements at Lyft where he led their self-driving car efforts, and Meta, where he would work on advanced AR goggles. In this post, we delve into the profound insights Luc gathered along his journey, in building remarkable technologies that we use every day.
If were to draw some similarities and differences between these giants, Google, Lyft, and Meta, it would be as follows:
- Lyft: Mission-centric. They were about transforming transportation and reducing carbon footprints. It felt more personal, and decisions were often guided by this overriding mission. The agility of a startup was its main asset, and it had a clear adversary in the market to challenge and push its limits.
- Google: Innovator’s paradise. In its prime, it was the place where any dream project could find a place, backed by its 20% project policy. This led to incredible innovations. However, with size, a certain level of bureaucracy is unavoidable. That bureaucracy can sometimes slow down innovation and make things more process-driven than idea-driven.
- Meta (previously Facebook): Visionary. Their investment into areas like AR, VR, and the Metaverse is a testament to their forward-thinking approach. Their culture has been about connecting the world, and now they are moving towards creating a new world. With a cash-rich business, they have the luxury to be able to fund and fuel these massively ambitious projects.
Now, to any company like Circle Optics, here are some key learnings:
- Innovation is key. But innovation shouldn’t be just for the sake of tech. It should solve a problem, address a need, or create a tangible value.
- Mission drives momentum. If the team believes in the mission, they’ll push boundaries to achieve it.
- Risk-taking is essential for exponential growth. But the risks need to be calculated, and there should be a vision backing them.
To innovation leaders I get to influence, I always advocate the need to foster a culture where ideas are celebrated, where risk-taking is rewarded, where every team member, irrespective of hierarchy, feels they can make a meaningful difference. But also ensure that these ideas are grounded in reality, with a clear path to implementation. A company’s culture is its heartbeat; it plays a key role in attracting talent and keeping employees motivated. Cultivate an environment where people feel their work isn’t just a job but a key contribution towards a broader vision.
Expert Insight: Google Street View Founder Luc Vincent
Read more about Luc Vincent’s technology journey.