Photo courtesy Jason Latta
Startups are born for many reasons. Maybe someone has a great idea for a product or a solution to an ongoing problem. In Jason Latta’s case, it was a little bit of both. Latta is the founder of Amazing Robot & Sons, which combines art and technology to create better advertising.
Latta’s story includes a lot of being in the right place at the right time. After college, self-taught coder Latta did what most people who live on the leading edge of technology do—he went to Silicon Valley to pursue his career dreams. While there, he worked as lead developer at two different startups. However, family obligations brought him, his wife, and two sons, back home.
When the stay back home extended longer than he had anticipated, Latta went to work at Power Creative as the Director of Emerging Technologies. Because he was interested in the virtual reality (VR) and interactive gaming, he began to think of new and creative ideas to pitch to clients that went beyond standard website content.
“I felt very strongly that VR [and augmented reality] was going to be a huge platform and that’s what I wanted to do exclusively.” He left Power Creative to begin his own company. “Surprisingly, things started happening even faster than I expected,” Latta said.
Because of his reputation—not just for being technically creative but also that he knew how to listen to clients to find out what they wanted—he was often referred clients by his former co-workers. His first job on his own was to create a 3,000 sq. ft. traveling VR exhibit in China. He lived in the country for six weeks while developing the exhibit.
His next clients were local—Woodford Reserve (he designed the VR experience for its website); American Air Filter; and FireKing, a maker of office security equipment that is located in southern Indiana. For FireKing, he solved a business problem: “They had a very heavy product and instead of having to move it from trade show to trade show, we created a VR experience,” he said.
The benefit of the virtual reality experience, Latta said, “is that you learn more in a participatory environment than you do by watching a PowerPoint presentation.”
Jana Gastinger, the VP at GDI (Gastinger Designs), knows that that is the experience many of her clients want for their products. “It’s great to have someone as well-versed as Amazing Robot & Sons in the emerging technologies space.
Over the past five years, GDI has partnered with Jason creating experiences that allow customers to interact with products and engage in demonstrations at an entirely new level. "From virtual games and factory tours to augmented product, we are incorporating emerging tech into a well-rounded marketing strategy for our clients,” he said.
Since being back home, Latta has realized that his talents are more valuable here (big fish/small pond), with the added bonus of having friends in the advertising business who could routinely recommend him). “What we were paying to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Silicon Valley went a whole lot further here. It let me have a house big enough for my work studio in a city where I feel good about raising my sons.”
Click below to enjoy a sample of Mr. Latta's work: