May 13, 2022
The Lytei founder has been busy developing a small but mighty team of ‘lighting cheerleaders’ whose mission is to tell stories and empower new ideas
Q+A: Sam Koerbel
Sam Koerbel, Founder, Lytei

What prompted you to start Lytei in 2019?

I got my start as a sales agent in Denver. I watched the LED revolution happen for nearly a decade, but the innovation stopped there—the sales channel and access to information remained unchanged. No joke, it was a bonus if we had a PDF price sheet we could search. I realized that transformation in our industry was inevitable, and if I didn’t jump at that, I would follow it. I felt the need for our industry to adapt, cater more to the young generation, enable the future of communication, and bring it all together with a digital hub of resources. To me, there wasn’t a company out there doing it all, so I took my passion for lights, education, photography and connecting with people, and combined it all into one single idea: Lytei. (That’s [Light-EYE]…you know, light ideas!)

How do you keep up-to-date with the industry’s latest news and trends?

It’s simple: we listen. Our industry spends lots of time talking to each other about what they have to offer—that’s a good thing, by the way. Fortunately, Lytei does not have anything of “our own” to share. To us, it’s all about the community, their stories and what they want to learn. We curate timeless stories that will be relevant for years, maybe even a decade. With 2,000 minutes of curated content across hundreds of videos, I think it’s all starting to come together.

In a world with seemingly limitless marketing options, what’s your strategy?

We believe that everything points back to why. Therefore, our marketing efforts consistently focus on delivering the right message to the right people in the proper fashion. You can have the most incredible photo, best video or a perfect story, but if no one sees it—no one cares. You can have the attention of everyone, but if the message falls short, is long-winded or not memorable—it’s lost.

We tell stories about lighting; the viewer understands them; and we save everyone time by making them on demand. We don’t force our audience to be available when we are; we broadcast to multiple platforms, giving the community the chance to engage any time they want.

Have lighting professionals done a poor job of explaining lighting’s value proposition to others?

Howard Brandston put it best when I spoke with him in 2019: we are just getting started. The lighting industry has so much to offer—lighting is a complicated medium, the practice of lighting design is highly technical, and how light affects humans is hardly known (compared to what we will learn in the next century). So, all that considered, we are right where we need to be.

What’s important is that this industry recognizes that change is upon us all and we must work together to support one another. We need to develop new client avenues and perfect the way we go to market with existing ones. We have to dedicate time to the community aspect of how good lighting helps everything and everyone. We spend too much time cannibalizing ourselves by giving up on good lighting and taking the easy way out.

What’s next?

For Lytei, this year is about being the change our industry needs by creating more transparency and creating better access to information. Beyond that, a series of Lytei Originals will be developed.

The lighting industry is in for a wild ride. There is a vast amount of consolidation on the horizon, and 2022 will be one of the most disruptive years in a decade as new ways to market are developed and/or proven. I’m excited, but I’m not holding the crystal ball. In any case, we all need to be ready for an accelerated rate of change.