Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to Flip the Switch

Disruption is a beautiful thing in business. Walk down the camcorder aisle in any camera store and you'll see video cameras that are smaller, smarter, and higher in quality than ever before. These are marvels of technology compared with a few years ago, but today one pocket-sized device has pulled the rug out from under them: the Flip.

A Flip video camera is the price of an iPod and has no features beyond record, playback, and delete. It's lightweight and the size of a cell phone, so it's ultra portable. You can strap it to your bike helmet or hold it while snowboarding down a mountain. There are no tapes to mess with, no settings to slow you down, just a big red button to hit record – and that’s all you really want to do. Playback the clips instantly (no rewinding!) or plug it into your computer to upload to YouTube and share it across the globe.

Just when it seemed the world didn't need another video camera, consumers are buying the Flip in bulk. Pure Digital Technologies, developers of the Flip, have sold more than 2 million since going on sale in 2007. Ro’s friend, Jane Vesty, introduced the Flip to her and Rebecca. Now everyone in the family has one and we all rave about the Flip.

We've come a long way since the 1960s when the Super 8mm film camera turned family moments into home movies. Of course, to do so you had to use the appropriate film speed, focus the lens, meter for light, develop the film, and then buy a projector to view it. Now, all of that has been reduced to the size of a deck of cards.

The Flip camera has disrupted the industry by giving us a video camera anyone can use. Simple, fast, and mobile is how sisomo works best. It's not just consumers that have taken to the Flip. Cisco Systems bought Pure Digital Technologies in May for about $590m in stock plus retention equity. Cisco CEO John Chambers is one of the smartest people in business I know. He believes that video, and more specifically high-definition video, will drive the Internet in the future. They call it “visual networking.” I call it sisomo.

The iPhone 3GS may give the Flip a run for its money among some savvier consumers, but not for everyone. The Flip will continue its revolution of joy and along the way win more love.