Produced by Silber Studios, the first in the NYSE Big StartUp’s “Unlocking Potential” series. Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Garage Technology Ventures and former chief evangelist at Apple Inc., recently sat down with Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin to extract advice for other budding entrepreneurs.

I had the idea for a show to get an inside look at how entrepreneurs, who have build some pretty big start ups, got to where they are. I asked Guy Kawasaki to be the host and after some bouncing ideas back and forth we decided to go for it. Our first stop was to talk to Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote (a great app.)

Phil makes some very important points, good advice to all who set out to build a business large or small, such as:

“If you’re an entrepreneur for the right reasons — and really there’s only one right reason, which is to change the world a little bit — now is the best time in history to be an entrepreneur”

Guy Kawasaki and Evernote's CEO

And that tells you why I decided to produce this show. You know from my series “Advancing Your Photography” that I love to bring real insight and tips from those who have mastered their craft. Now I’m taking that approach to the area of how to build a business. In fact the two areas join: A working artist is after all an entrepreneur in the full sense of the word.

Do I have stories to tell about how to get such a series launched! It is not easy, to say the least, you really have to believe in yourself and in your mission. Yesterday when I saw the first video published, I must say I was overcome with all the hard work, and persistence this has taken.

Stay tuned for more…






Chairs at Peninsula School by Marc Silber Chairs at Peninsula School

I was going through some old negatives, rescanning them and came across this one. What a difference an angle can make. Have a look at how this shot started out, when I took it way back,  of my 7th grade classroom at the Peninsula School in Menlo Park.

Chairs Peninsula school

Angles can make quite a point in telling your story. Remember to try shooting from different angles and heights. Then when you go back and edit the images you may be surprised at what pops.

Which do you prefer and why?

Santa Pau, Spain by marc silber

Skyward view of Santa Pau, Spain

Happy Holidays from Silber Studios
We wish you a very creative and prosperous New Year!

There’s a story behind this photograph: Last year traveling through Spain, we came across the very photogenic village of Santa Pau, perched on a hill, looking over the pastoral countryside above Girona. I photographed fervently for the hour or so before dusk, then finally I was out of light, or so I thought.  About to get in our car to drive off, I looked up to see those cloud formations and saw that I had a new perspective to shoot: UP. This afforded me a whole new view and new light.

So, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned for the New Year: Even when you think you’re out of light (or luck, fortune, or…) take a new look and see if you’ve missed a perspective, that may open a whole new view that otherwise would have been lost…

Marc, and the team at Silber Studios



Marc’s Fine Art Photography

If you’ll pardon my shameless self promotion…

These are Images of my life, photographs from around the world, spanning 6 decades, where I took my camera with me on countless adventures.

Some of the images you’ll see are Big Sur and the California coast, the remote Sierra Madre of Mexico, Paris and South Africa to name a few of the places I’ve had the good fortune to explore with my cameras (Roliflex, Nikon F, Leica M2, Nikon D2X, Canon 5D Mark II, etc.)

These classic prints are professional quality 8 x 10 photographs on Kodak archival paper (they say it lasts over 100 years) with great color or black & white depth. All prints are matted using archival museum quality rag and framed in clean black 16 x 20 frames with UV protected glass.

You can hang them in any room, individually or grouped to give your eyes a visit to images I’ve captured from around the world.

They’re easy to order, go to our store, and hey to get 10% off add the code, 2011prints place your order, and we’ll individually make these up for you and ship them out, ready for hanging.

We made this collection affordable, perfect for gifts, or you can pick a series and hang them together in your home or office and always have a view of some pretty special places…

What I learned from Steve Jobs, by Guy Kawasaki


My friend Guy Kawasaki wrote this first hand tally of wisdom learned from working with Steve Jobs, and generously gave me permission to publish it here (be sure to also catch my video interview with Guy)

Many people have explained what one can learn from Steve Jobs. But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced first hand what it was like to work with him. I don’t want any lessons to be lost or forgotten, so here is my list of the top twelve lessons that I learned from Steve Jobs.

  1. Experts are clueless.Experts—journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers, and gurus can’t “do” so they “advise.” They can tell you what is wrong with your product, but they cannot make a great one. They can tell you how to sell something, but they cannot sell it themselves. They can tell you how to create great teams, but they only manage a secretary. For example, the experts told us that the two biggest shortcomings of Macintosh in the mid 1980s was the lack of a daisy-wheel printer driver and Lotus 1-2-3; another advice gem from the experts was to buy Compaq. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.
  2. Customers cannot tell you what they need.“Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper”—that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can only describe their desires in terms of what they are already using—around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all people said they wanted was better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machines. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use—that’s what Steve and Woz did.
  3. Jump to the next curve.Big wins happen when you go beyond better sameness. The best daisy-wheel printer companies were introducing new fonts in more sizes. Apple introduced the next curve: laser printing. Think of ice harvesters, ice factories, and refrigerator companies. Ice 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Are you still harvesting ice during the winter from a frozen pond?
  4. The biggest challenges beget best work.I lived in fear that Steve would tell me that I, or my work, was crap. In public. This fear was a big challenge. Competing with IBM and then Microsoft was a big challenge. Changing the world was a big challenge. I, and Apple employees before me and after me, did their best work because we had to do our best work to meet the big challenges.
  5. Design counts.Steve drove people nuts with his design demands—some shades of black weren’t black enough. Mere mortals think that black is black, and that a trash can is a trash can. Steve was such a perfectionist—a perfectionist Beyond: Thunderdome—and lo and behold he was right: some people care about design and many people at least sense it. Maybe not everyone, but the important ones.
  6. You can’t go wrong with big graphics and big fonts.Take a look at Steve’s slides. The font is sixty points. There’s usually one big screenshot or graphic. Look at other tech speaker’s slides—even the ones who have seen Steve in action. The font is eight points, and there are no graphics. So many people say that Steve was the world’s greatest product introduction guy..don’t you wonder why more people don’t copy his style?
  7. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence.When Apple first shipped the iPhone there was no such thing as apps. Apps, Steve decreed, were a bad thing because you never know what they could be doing to your phone. Safari web apps were the way to go until six months later when Steve decided, or someone convinced Steve, that apps were the way to go—but of course. Duh! Apple came a long way in a short time from Safari web apps to “there’s an app for that.”
  8. “Value” is different from “price.”Woe unto you if you decide everything based on price. Even more woe unto you if you compete solely on price. Price is not all that matters—what is important, at least to some people, is value. And value takes into account training, support, and the intrinsic joy of using the best tool that’s made. It’s pretty safe to say that no one buys Apple products because of their low price.
  9. A players hire A+ players.Actually, Steve believed that A players hire A players—that is people who are as good as they are. I refined this slightly—my theory is that A players hire people even better than themselves. It’s clear, though, that B players hire C players so they can feel superior to them, and C players hire D players. If you start hiring B players, expect what Steve called “the bozo explosion” to happen in your organization.
  10. Real CEOs demo.Steve Jobs could demo a pod, pad, phone, and Mac two to three times a year with millions of people watching, why is it that many CEOs call upon their vice-president of engineering to do a product demo? Maybe it’s to show that there’s a team effort in play. Maybe. It’s more likely that the CEO doesn’t understand what his/her company is making well enough to explain it. How pathetic is that?
  11. Real CEOs ship.For all his perfectionism, Steve could ship. Maybe the product wasn’t perfect every time, but it was almost always great enough to go. The lesson is that Steve wasn’t tinkering for the sake of tinkering—he had a goal: shipping and achieving worldwide domination of existing markets or creation of new markets. Apple is an engineering-centric company, not a research-centric one. Which would you rather be: Apple or Xerox PARC?
  12. Marketing boils down to providing unique value. Think of a 2 x 2 matrix. The vertical axis measures how your product differs from the competition. The horizontal axis measures the value of your product. Bottom right: valuable but not unique—you’ll have to compete on price. Top left: unique but not valuable—you’ll own a market that doesn’t exist. Bottom left: not unique and not value—you’re a bozo. Top right: unique and valuable—this is where you make margin, money, and history. For example, the iPod was unique and valuable because it was the only way to legally, inexpensively, and easily download music from the six biggest record labels.

Bonus: Some things need to be believed to be seen. When you are jumping curves, defying/ignoring the experts, facing off against big challenges, obsessing about design, and focusing on unique value, you will need to convince people to believe in what you are doing in order to see your efforts come to fruition. People needed to believe in Macintosh to see it become real. Ditto for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Not everyone will believe—that’s okay. But the starting point of changing the world is changing a few minds. This is the greatest lesson of all that I learned from Steve.

Holy Kaw posts in remembrance of Steve Jobs.


My 48 Years of Photography

Chairs at Peninsula school by marc silber

Chairs Peninsula School, 1964

I’ve been at this a long time, and as today is my birthday, it’s easy to look back and see just how long this magical mystery tour called photography has been.

The above is my earliest published photograph, taken when I was 12 at Peninsula School, where I learned photography and learned that creating would guide way of life. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you by bringing you up year by year, I would, but my party is about to start and I’m stealing a few moments to dash this off..)

Marc Silber's famous "friends" photo

Friends jumping off sand dune in Morro Bay, 1965

The above is my most published photo taken when I was in the 8th grade, of my pals jumping off a sand dune in Morro Bay, CA. Taken at sunset with these guys backlit, it was easy to turn into a silhouette. Talk about capturing  the moment, one second later the fortuitous geometry would  have been a mess.

Photography has been part of my life and has opened more doors than you can imagine. It has given me entre to so many people and places that I would otherwise never have had access to. I could and should write  these stories and I will in this next decade ahead. But as I said, life is calling so I’ll close with a few later images.  We’ll talk more later.

Windows i San Pao Spain

Windows, San Pau, Spain, 2010

Polo Boots,Meno Circus Club

Polo Boots, Atherton, CA, 2007

School in the Medina, Morroco

School in the Medeina, Morocco, 2010

Cala Nans Lighthouse

Cala Nans Lighthouse, around the coast from Salvadore Dali’s home in Cadaque, 2010


Point Sur, Big Sur, CA by Marc Silber

Point Sur, Big Sur, CA

Do you long for magic and beauty beyond belief?  Big Sur will serve handsomely. Head south from San Francisco on the famed Highway 1, past Carmel, past Point Lobos, which Edward Weston called his “lumberyard” for creativity.  Keep going and you’re now passing Ansel Adams’ home, where we were damned fortunate to make our video.

This is the stretch of highway that Clint Eastwood sped up and down in his vintage Jag in the forever cool movie, Play Misty for me, the first movie he directed, and still one of my favorites. Go a bit further and you’ll discover the secret behind the name of his production company, as you cross over Mal Paso Creek.

But it’s not until you get to get to face Point Sur that you have your breath taken away. I’ve driven down this stretch since I was a kid and driven it myself since I was old enough to drive and it still knocks me out. Not because of the cliffs that drop away into the sea below, taunting each car that traverses that narrow roadway to to make that long slide,  crashing and tumbling down to the sea below. This is where you see the cars from Texas and the Carolinas, creaping along as if going slowly will save them, when all it does is infuriate the locals to no end.

This view of Point Sur is a magical place, and so in the fall of 2005, with my then state of the art Nikon D2X, planted on the top of my trusty Manfrotto tripod, I captured the above image.  At the time, I had a show of my photographs at the Phoenix Shop at Nepenthe, and the curator had asked me to capture a series of images up and down the coast. So after a great morning of surfing at my secret spot, where I had once caught a glorious tube, I set out on my assignment.

And there you have it. Only I will tell you that the colors are nothing like what you see in the print. Which now brings me the to the point of this story. Making the print.

Last Saturday, after months of urging from my wife to make prints for our house (yes this is the story of the cobbler who’s kids never have shoes) I finally packed up my drive and made a trip to see Brad Polt-Jones who is an absolute wizard when it comes to PhotoShop and Lightroom and high end printing. He runs Future Light Digital Workshops, where I had a the pleasure of giving a workshop with him last summer.

Brad and I sat down and went through a dozen or so images making adjustments with many of the options in Lightroom’s develop module: Clarity, Recover, Noise, Sharpen, and of course curves. Theen when it looked right he printed them on his Epson Stylus Pro 7900, with his wizardy software from Imageprint 8 from Colorbyte Software. The paper we used was Brilliant Supreme Luster, which really make the image sing.

The above print ended up being 24″ x 36″, now that’s a print! But, as it turns out I overdid myself and added this to the assignment  I was on and so don’t have an immediate place to hang it. I’m now looking for a home for it and if you’d like to apply, send me an email. We can ship it to you framed or help you get it gorgously frammed.

And that leads me to my next stop, to my  friend Mahmut Keskekci, the wizard of framing, seriously he is simply the best. He runs the Richard Sumner Gallery in Palo Alto where you my remember I had a show some years ago, which my friend Robert Scoble did a story about.

Stay tuned and I shoot a video showing the final prints, from around the world, beautifully framed.

Yes, I’ve taken you on a story as windy as the coast highway itself ,  but now know that my kids will have the shoes they deserve.

Eiffel Tower at night, 2005, Black and White

and in color…

We were talking the other day about the joy of black and white photography, and the next day I came across these two different versions of the same image.  Also, Allison had  her recent post on Paris so I thought this would be a good time to talk about  these images. Now first off, there’s always the problem when you are getting an image of an iconic location or landmark. This can really be a handicap as you try not to make it look like those damn postcards that are staring back at you all over. If it weren’t for them jeering at you, you’d get a shot like this one below and god home be happy with it.

But here we are trying to get a different angle on it so I went for the two above. For me it was the black and white, but  then looking at it again, I’m not so sure, perhaps the bit of color adds to it.

Speaking of angles here’s one more.  Yes, we’ll have to get into a discussion of the power of angles to create very different views of the same subject. Remind me to go over that if I forget.

Eiffel Tower looking up

Oh, BTW these were shot with my Nikon D2X when it was still the hottest camera around, but you can see these all have a lot of noise that you wouldn’t see in the D3 series, but this was almost 6 years ago and there’s been a lot of advancement since then

In any case, let me know which image you like best and and why?

And tomorrow we should have a big surprise for you so stay tuned…

Welcome to the premier of the Marc Silber Show where we bring you remarkable people who are a source of inspiration, innovation and creativity.*

Marc landed on the red carpet at the premier of Soul Surfer starring Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt and AnnaSophia Robb. Marc heard from the director Sean McNamara, Bethany Hamilton whose story the movie was based on and AnnaSophia Robb who played her in the film and Halfdan Hussey who heads up Cinequest. Each talks about the message of the film and their passion for filmmaking.

Here’s what – Michael Rabehl 
of Cinequest said about Soul Surfer:

Bethany Hamilton was born to surf. Growing up on the Kauai Coast, hers was a tranquil, surfer girl’s life—participating in national competitions and revealing her natural talent on the waves. On Halloween morning 2003, her dreams seemed to splinter when Bethany, on a typical ocean outing, was attacked by a shark and lost her arm. 

Bravely determined, Bethany fights to recover, supported by the love of her parents (Quaid and Hunt). And while on a trip to Thailand with her youth-group leader (Carrie Underwood) after the devastating tsunami, Bethany sees her greater purpose to help change the lives of others. With her resolve stronger than ever, she returns home to conquer, not only her own challenges, but also to help others do the same. 

Based on Hamilton’s book and featuring an all-star cast, director Sean McNamara’s Soul Surfer beautifully captures the spirit and strength of a young woman’s determination to overcome personal loss. Her strength drives her towards a courageous comeback, giving her the opportunity to take her loss and transform the lives of others.

Which Image of do you like?

Marc Silber's Image form 1964 of Point Lobos

Point Lobos, CA  about 1965

Marc Silber's Image of Point Lobos 2011

Point Lobos, CA 2011

Marc Silber's 2011 Point Lobos image

New  2011 Black & White Point Lobos

Which image do you prefer? I’d really like to know and why? But make up your mind before reading this.

They were shot decades apart under completely different conditions and circumstances: The top was taken on my Plaubel Makina, a medium format camera that I had just gotten for Christmas and loved dearly. My family was vacationing in Carmel and we were walking out on Point Lobos, the very place where Edward Weston lived near, and frequented with his students and famously with his model Charis Wilson.  He called it the “lumber yard” for his creativity.  But at the time I pressed the shutter I had not seen Weston’s own photo from this same spot. Right after I made this picture man a walked by and informed me, “that’s Weston’s photo”, for a moment I felt accused like I had “taken” his photo and plagiarized it. That feeling passed when I realized, it was mine and from my point of view, it was my image damn it, not Westons!  I took the film home and developed it in our laundry room turned darkroom. Decades later I scanned it, and now you see its digital version.

The bottom one was taken last Sunday out on a walk with friends, which the camera (Nikon D200) was borrowed from. I was not being a “serious” photographer, rather enjoying the walk and getting a few images along the way. When I came to this point of my previous image, of course I had to get it. The branch has taken a beating over the years, and I didn’t have the advantage of the dark and moody sky that I had in 1965.  And this time processing was not done in my darkroom, in fact I used Lightroom!

After reading your comments I went back to the darkroom, er, PhotoShop and worked on it again. This is a great way to do an online workshop, we should do that!

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