July 1, 2011
I’m a product designer inspired by Apple, Audi, Amex, and Amazon. I’ve never owned a PC. I worked at Apple for six years before getting the startup itch.
I am the founder and CEO of Posterous.
I worked on Final Cut Pro from 2002 to 2008. It was an amazing experience. The Final Cut Pro X project was just getting started when I left Apple. It was an ambitious and controversial move, but it made sense for Apple. Here’s why:
Apple doesn’t care about the pro space
The goal for every Apple software product is to sell more hardware. Even the Mac operating system is just trying to get people to buy more Mac computers.
The pro market is too small for Apple to care about it. Instead of trying to get hundreds or even thousands of video professionals to buy new Macs, they can nail the pro-sumer market and sell to hundreds of thousands of hobbyists like me.
Millions of people are buying phones and cameras that can shoot HD video, and many of them are looking for ways to edit. I know how to use Final Cut Pro because I worked on it for 6 years, but for most people it’s just too complex.
Apple doesn’t compete on features
In the early days of Final Cut Pro, the product stood on its own. It was the first truly powerful, software based non linear editor.
Editors had two choices: spend $50k on an Avid system, or $1k on a Final Cut Pro license. You couldn’t compare the two on features because the experiences and price points were vastly different. Every seat FCP won away from Avid was a huge victory.
But things changed in 2006 and 2007. Serious competitors to Final Cut Pro came from Adobe, Pinnacle, Sony, and others. People were choosing their hardware and software based on format support, or specific features they needed.
That’s boring. Apple doesn’t play that game.
So it was time to reinvent the video editor. And Final Cut Pro X really delivers there. FCPX isn’t defined by a feature chart. It’s not trying to do more than its competitors, it’s doing it better.
And once again, Final Cut Pro stands on its own. And once again, Final Cut Pro will expand the market of video editors out there, and I’ll be one of them.
Final Cut Pro 1.0 didn’t win over every Avid user, and Final Cut Pro X won’t win over every Final Cut Pro user. But they’ve laid the foundation for something incredible, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.