Michael Jacoby (VC'99)

Q and A with Mike Jacoby - Visual Communications at LUCID Vision Lab

What is Visual Communications?

The short story is that I make things look “pretty” - it includes anything visual from graphics, videos, website design, to content writing and overall branding. Currently I do a lot of content creation online, which mainly includes creating graphics, formatting web pages to look “on brand”, and a little bit of writing. 

Sounds like there’s coding involved…

Yes! That is why it’s called “visual communications” and not “graphic design”. Visual Communications is the umbrella term - even trade show booth design is in there.

So what happened after VC? How did you get to where you are today?

After VC, I went to UBC, took classes all over the spectrum, and finally settled on a Fine Arts degree in my 3rd year. I was that one “art” kid in my grade at VC, but I wanted to explore other topics in my first 2 years before I committed to Fine Arts. After UBC, I quickly taught myself graphic design and started freelancing.

Freelancing led to a variety of clients, and I could see that some had winning ideas but some did not. As time went on, I focused on two clients and worked for them for almost a decade. One was a camera tech company, Point Grey Research, where I worked full time in their marketing department. The other one was a mountain bike event company, BCBikeRace, where I worked from home as freelance. After Point Grey Research was bought out by an American company, I moved to a new startup camera company called LUCID Vision Labs.

What are some things or causes that you are most passionate about? And how do they tie in with your career?

I enjoy working for startups and for the “small guy”. We took BCBikeRace from an unknown race to one of the top international races in the world, where it consistently sells out every year. Point Grey was a bit different as I wasn't there from the start, however, when I started there, the company had around 50 employees with no dedicated visual marketing person. By the time it got purchased, we had over 300 people working with multiple offices worldwide. Soon after that, I felt it was time to move on and give it a go at a younger company.

I guess for me, I am most passionate about helping my clients reach their fullest potential and working alongside my colleagues towards the same goal. I'm very grateful for being able to work with such talented team members throughout the years - visual communications is not something that can be done in a bubble - it takes other gifted individuals collaborating together towards the same finish line. That being said, I feel my job is done the moment they blossom and become self-sufficient.

Any words of wisdom for the VC community?

Working in the tech industry, I can say that creativity will be one of the last things automation can replace. So don’t feel bad if you are bad at math or the sciences! Keep working on those soft skills!

Also, experimentation is built into creative individuals. We are not new to failure… in fact, we probably fail more than most people. By experiencing failures, we become more forgiving to ourselves and also less afraid to try new things!