Today I have the great pleasure of posting Part I of a conversation I had with an amazing, not to mention amazingly accomplished person, Bill Warner.
A graduate of MIT, Bill founded Avid Technology in 1987. With a small team of hardware and software engineers Mr. Warner created the tool that radically altered the way films, television and all dynamic media are created, the Avid Media Composer.
Avid had already started shaking up the editing world when I first met Bill back in 1992. The Media Composer was evolving rapidly, making strong inroads in the world of hi-end commercial post production. After seeing a demo, I had become obsessed with the idea of “editing on a computer” and not long after found myself assisting friend and fellow film editor Steve Cohen, working on one of the first long format Hollywood productions to be cut digitally on the Avid. The project meant a lot to the still young company, and Bill and several other key players from the original team flew in from the east coast to lend support, get feedback and generally observe how we were devising a new digital post workflow.
The rest as they say is history. In the next year the conversion to digital post was on. In 1993 Bill and And Avid were awarded an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the development of the Avid Media Composer. In 1999, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Avid with the Oscar® for its success in transforming the editing process in filmmaking. Bill accepted the award on the worldwide telecast.
But for Bill Warner this was just the beginning.
In 1992 he founded Wildfire Communications and designed the first speech-based electronic secretary, which he sold to Orange, PLC. in 2000. Since then he has shared his time between work with non-profits and a focus on helping entrepreneurs. Additionally, he has acted as an angel investor for thirteen startups, and three non-profits. The startups are in such diverse areas as 3D animation, email-based blogging, event networking, ad insertion for online videos, visual environments for nightclubs, shared calendars, and compensation design and management. The non-profits are involved with historic/current mapping of Boston for planning purposes; a film school, and an open-source mechanical design approach for new vehicles for people with disabilities. Recent angel investments include www.sparkcloud.com, www.marginize.com, www.posterous.com and www.zelfy.com
He is also working on book about entrepreneurship called “Intention and Invention.” It explores how to optimize the connection between what drives an entrepreneur, and how they go about making inventions that spring from that drive.
Mr. Warner has been a long-time trustee of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and has taught classes for entrepreneurs through that organization. In 2008, Warner created and co-chaired the MassTLC Innovation 2008 unConference. Now in its third year, the Innovation 2010 unConference will be held in Boston and has become the annual focal point of the Boston area innovation community. In 2009, MassTLC presented Warner with the Innovation Catalyst Award for his work with startups and the innovation community.
A true renaissance man, over the years Bill Warner has started these companies:
1975 – Bionic Control Corporation – Designed environmental control systems for people with disabilities. Turn lights on/off, change TV channels just using your own ability to whistle.
1980 – New England Handcycles – Manufactured hand-pedaled cycles from 1980 to 1990.
1987 – Avid Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVID) – Makes video, audio and film editing systems. Public company. www.avid.com
1992 – Wildfire Communications, Inc. – Designed first speech-based electronic secretary – Sold to Orange in 2000
1999 – FutureBoston, Inc. – Non profit – designs high-resolution mapping systems that combine past/present/future maps as layers. City of Boston uses the technology. www.futureboston.org
2002 – Warner Research, LLC – Software development company and angel investing. Ran the Collaboration Space at Warner Research – shared space for entrepreneurs until 2008.
2006 – Move With Freedom, Inc. – Non-profit focued on open-source designs of mobility tools for those with disabilities. www.movewithfreedom.org Move With Freedom soon to move the Morphing Handcycle into production. http://morphhc.posterous.com/
2010 – Anything Goes Investing – personal angel investing fund focused on new entrepreneurs, new technologies, and new markets
2010 – Anything Goes Lab – An accelerator lab focused on helping new entrepreneurs and new teams help each other and design products and companies that align the intentions of the founders with the needs of the marketplace. www.anythinggoeslab.com