Headroom Episode 6 with iZotope CEO Mark Ethier: Innovation and Risk

September 21, 2017

Welcome to Episode 6 of Headroom with iZotope’s Director of Education, Jonathan Wyner. Each month, Jonathan and his guests discuss a fresh topic exploring the intersection of music production, music making, and technology.

In this episode, Jonathan is joined by iZotope co-founder and CEO Mark Ethier to talk about innovation and risk. Watch the full episode above, and check out some high level talking points below.

What does innovation mean? (Jump to section)

In this portion, Jonathan and Mark discuss whether innovation is something you can choose or whether it’s simply an outcome of the work we choose to do

When designing products, is it OK to take risks? What sort of risks?  (Jump To Section)

If you build a technically advanced tool that no one can use, it isn’t really useful. How does Mark think about making sure that what iZotope builds is usable, no matter how “bleeding edge” it might be?

  • Good sounding tools are as much about user interface as great DSP or circuit design

  • Sometimes the greatest innovations are in the area of how users actually use the tools

One way that Ozone was originally unusual and innovative was in marrying the spectral display and equalizer controls.

Are there new developments coming from iZotope that let users combine facets of their tools in new ways? (Jump To Section)

  • Mark discusses what’s coming next in how we navigate our audio problems and how machine learning may help inform the next versions of Neutron and Ozone.

Are the machines winning? (Jump To Section)

  • Mark talks about machine assistance, machine learning, and creative work. Does artificial intelligence and machine learning machines hurt or help the creative process?

  • Will the machine mix my record for me?

  • Does machine learning allow for creative mistakes?

  • Are dinosaurs roaming the streets of Cambridge, Mass?

Is anything really “new?” (Jump To Section)

In this portion of the webcast, Mark and Jonathan cover:

  • Why all innovation relies on what has happened before

  • iZotope philosophy of sharing research and thinking by sharing via white papers

  • Mark’s home automation project