I realized I had not posted an update about my employment situation in some time.  I have a job now.  It’s a contract position for a company called Premier Retail Networks, in San Francisco.  It’s a division of Technicolor (Thomson) with I guess about 250 people.  The company provides services for retailers who wish to advertise products on video screens in their stores.  Content compression, editing, distribution, the screens themselves, the whole bit.  If you see one of these screens (and it doesn’t have a DVD player attached, we don’t use those) it’s probably us.  But it’s an odd signpost in my career.

My early professional career started with the VideoVision card, enabling your computer to capture video and enabling you to send your computer monitor out to a TV screen.  It was one of the early entries at both, and and it was the best.  Then I worked on the VideoVision Studio upgrade, a JPEG add-on that allowed it to do full-motion full-quality video on a desktop Mac (with a stonking huge, fast disk array).  This was really cool.  The first one to do this on the desktop threw away a field (an important part of the video that makes the motion smooth — and represents half the image data) and compressed the daylights out of what was left; ours could ease up on the compression if your disk was faster  so someone with a good system could compete with the big editing and post houses.  This enabled a cottage industry of independent professionals to spring up, and I was proud of the role I played in that.

Then DV came along and I got involved in software codecs, and enabled ordinary humans to edit videos without elaborate systems.  This was also fantastic.  Oh, and while I was there I did some really good work at learning how to represent a company online, and designed Radius’ first public-facing site and loaded it with real information that really helped people get the most out of these systems.

From there I went to Adobe, to the Premiere team, where I continued to make sure that products changed the technological landscape for content creation.  I added a lot of innovation around metadata interoperability that will enable people to get the most out of the media they create.  I went to the Scene7 group, a service at Adobe which enabled small companies to have sophisticated imagery and video on their Web sites without the massive infrastructure costs and complexities of actually hosting it themselves.

And now, I’m at PRN.  What am I enabling here?  In-store advertising. I’m not enabling anything, really.  I’m not delivering power to people.  I’m not changing the world.

It’s taking some getting used to.

There might be opportunities for real innovation; I see some already.  But I need to accept that I AM IN ADVERTISING.