Friday, August 22, 2008
Jim Schoonmaker: Down to earth
Outside the Box
Jim Schoonmaker is someone with big ideas and even bigger ambitions. The former CEO of Liquid Machines Inc. once pursued a career in space with hopes of becoming an astronaut.But these days he concentrates on planet Earth, which his venture-backed startupEveryScape Inc. plans to re-create
one frame at a time.EveryScape, which is based in Waltham, makes 3-D virtual maps out of real locations thatare accessible on the Web. People can virtually travel through cities such as Cambridge, New York City and Philadelphia, just to name a few.Schoonmaker recently talked with Boston Business Journal reporter Jesse Noyes about hiscareer pursuits as a spaceman, construction manager and, ultimately, a high-technology CEO.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
The best part of the job I have is to create something that truly changes the world for the
better. I think that’s sort of driven my passion over the years.
ow does EveryScape’s product improve the world?
I think the Web is a wonderful tool to help us collect and share information in ways that
weren’t possible before. But it does a really poor job in trying to describe the real world. The
ability to experience those places, which is really what EveryScape is about, is somethingthat we think can better inform people before they do the very expensive action of gettinginto the car and driving there.
You started in aerospace engineering
quite a different field from what EveryScape does.
What’s the connection?
Well, I don’t know if I see a connection other than my original career goal was to be anastronaut and that didn’t work out. But it comes back
to the things that kind of get megoing. While I was putting myself through college I started my first company, called CapeConstruction on Cape Cod. That really awoke me to entrepreneurship and how you couldreally get things done.