The Future of Communication Technology: Jeff Laxson of VidDay On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up How We Connect and Communicate With Each Other

Even before the pandemic there was a need for digital interaction. People lead busy lives or live in different cities. And now, the rise of video calls and video messages are revolutionizing human digital interaction.

For example, social media promises to make us more connected. But that’s not really true. Saying “HBD” on someone’s Facebook wall to wish them a happy birthday has become acceptable… and so empty.

VidDay is getting people to snap out of this message-writing-coma. Unlike a video call, having a video recording creates a keepsake — a memory to relive. Your friends and family said some beautiful things to you that you can rewatch. You can see how they look and hear how they talk years from now. It’s like an archive of your friends and family.


The telephone totally revolutionized the way we could communicate with people all over the world. But then came email and took it to the next level. And then came text messaging. And then came video calls. And so on…What’s next? What’s just around the corner?

In this interview series, called ‘The Future Of Communication Technology’ we are interviewing leaders of tech or telecom companies who are helping to develop emerging communication technologies and the next generation of how we communicate and connect with each other.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Laxson.

Jeff is the Co-founder and Creative Director at VidDay, the video gift startup that has helped more than 1 million people connect with surprise video gifts.

As he’s seen VidDay grow in popularity, Jeff has noted one major key point about communication: it’s evolving. We progressed from paper greeting cards to eCards, and now he believes video cards will be a big part of our future.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Sure! I grew up with a condition called Hemophilia. My blood doesn’t clot properly, which means that injuries are often much worse than they should be.

Being a Hemophiliac led me to calmer activities as a kid, like drawing. My love for art ultimately paved the way for my career as a graphic designer. It was perfect. I get paid to be creative, plus it’s something I can do even when I’m injured.

I worked as a designer at a marketing agency for 10 years, where I sharpened my design skills and learned to approach projects with a marketing lens. But there was always a part of me interested in building a business.

When Denis Devigne, Co-founder at VidDay, approached me in 2015 with his idea for VidDay, I was intrigued.

I loved the idea of building something wholesome to make so many people happy, and knew I could help develop the business and the brand with everything I’ve learned as a designer.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

We sent a VidDay to an astronaut living on the International Space Station!

The astronaut spent the holiday season away from friends and family for the first time. We were able to work with the family to create a very special VidDay full of heartwarming messages from their family, friends, and even a surprise video message from their idol, Marvel actor Idris Elba.

It was a surreal feeling seeing a reaction video of the astronaut watching their VidDay while floating in zero gravity. Having created something that made it up to the International Space Station to make an astronaut happy is by far the most exciting and heartwarming story of my career.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

That would be a quote from Jocko Willink: “Discipline equals freedom.”

Jocko used to be a Commander of the SEAL Task Unit Bruiser, who now focuses on teaching leadership principles.

No matter what you create in life, the first draft will never be good. And in that case, the second or third either. I would often bring work home and continue to iterate solutions off the clock without being paid. I saw it as an investment in myself, in developing my skills.

Treating every project with this mentality takes discipline. It meant missing some parties with friends or get-togethers with family. But it eventually brought me freedom. It opened doors for me. I was able to be more selective in the projects I took on, and make the jump from employee to business owner.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

That would be my old Creative Director and mentor, Colin Whitney. More than just design, he taught me how to be authentic in a professional setting, and build an effective creative team.

Colin had a natural intuition on cultivating a positive work culture. He was the model of what it’s like to be a true leader.

Being a good leader can be difficult in a fast-paced environment, but it’s the most critical skill to master. To this day, as VidDay continues to grow its team, I often think to myself, “What would Colin do?”

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My team and I are working hard at building a company that’s good for people and the planet — to be a positive force in the world.

The videos we make at VidDay make people feel closer to their friends and family. We’re giving people a platform to express their love and appreciation.

Plus, we look for other ways to make a more significant impact. We plant a tree for every video sold. We make Get Well Videos for free to help support people going through a difficult time. All while giving people a way to provide an eco-friendly gift.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about the cutting edge communication tech that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

We’re seeing a shift in how humans are communicating. But why use video instead of just writing a message?

One study estimated that 93 percent of the interpretation of human communication is significantly influenced by body language, attitude, and tone. 7 percent relies solely on the actual words used.

It’s so much more impactful seeing and hearing someone talk.

When the world went into lockdown and forced to find new ways to communicate, there was this sudden mass-adoption of video. A video would be all we had if we wanted to see each other.

And we’ve noticed a change in response from asking people to record video messages. People are contributing like it’s part of everyday life now. We’ve been able to break through video-recording-anxiety and into a more meaningful way to connect digitally.

How do you think this might change the world?

Even before the pandemic there was a need for digital interaction. People lead busy lives or live in different cities. And now, the rise of video calls and video messages are revolutionizing human digital interaction.

For example, social media promises to make us more connected. But that’s not really true. Saying “HBD” on someone’s Facebook wall to wish them a happy birthday has become acceptable… and so empty.

VidDay is getting people to snap out of this message-writing-coma.

Unlike a video call, having a video recording creates a keepsake — a memory to relive. Your friends and family said some beautiful things to you that you can rewatch. You can see how they look and hear how they talk years from now.

It’s like an archive of your friends and family.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

VidDay is so wholesome, so it’s difficult to imagine a scenario of it turning dark, but let’s try.

Imagine a scenario where a person has friends who they’ve met online. They’ve never met in person. Everything is digital now.

Every year, they make a VidDay to celebrate their birthday. They get to see and hear them say kind words, and it’s become a tradition.

Here’s the dark twist… little do they know that these ‘friends’ aren’t real. Each friend is a different avatar that a major corporation has created to build a more personal connection with them. Since people often buy products their friends recommend, they use their avatar to sell products.

In the end, the main character discovers the reality and is left perplexed. The person has grown to love these “friends” and needs to decide whether or not to continue this false reality because they bring happiness to their life.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

The pandemic has been the tipping point that has triggered the widespread adoption of video recording.

We always knew that things were heading in this direction, but we would have never guessed that a pandemic would dramatically accelerate this.

Smartphones are getting better and better, and with that, video content. Internet browsers are more able to handle large file sharing. And the market share for online greeting cards is increasing every year.

The icing on the cake was combining these aspects and provoking tears of joy. That’s when we knew we had something worth sharing.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Our customers are our biggest cheerleaders. There is still some skepticism around video gifts and how complex this can be, but the more our customers share their own stories, the easier it will be to change the conversation around this.

Part of the reason why VidDay grew in popularity was because of how easy the platform is to use. You don’t need to download an app, have any editing skills, or go through the trouble or collecting multiple pieces of content yourself.

The more we can communicate how easy video gifts are to create, and the incredible impact they have on recipients, the more widespread these will become.

The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course is how we work and how we communicate in our work. How do you think your innovation might be able to address the new needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic?

As we gain lots of benefits from working from home comfortably, we start to disconnect from that warm team feeling we get from an office.

No more watercooler talks, eating lunches together, or after-work beers… in person at least. We can continue to do all these things with video calls.

When it comes to celebrating special occasions in the office, we can ditch the greeting card that gets passed around and make a VidDay video. Instead of having a card filled with written messages, we get to see and hear our co-workers and colleagues wish their best.

It becomes a time-capsule of your job — a memory of the people who worked with you.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. It can be lonely.

I’m fortunate to have a supportive team to go along this journey with me. But even with that, being an entrepreneur can take over your life and leave relationships suffering at times.

2. Being busy is not a metric for success.

Someone can be working 80 hours a week and not accomplish anything of substance if they’re working on the wrong things. Having a proper strategy and prioritizing tasks is critical for productivity.

3. It’s going to take time.

I thought that we would build an app, and it would immediately take the world by storm. It’s been a humbling experience as I realized that creating something of value is very much a long game.

4. If you build it, it doesn’t mean they will come.

Telling the world about what you’ve built is just as important as building. It’s essential to put time into what you’re creating while simultaneously putting time into the brand and marketing.

5. Get enough sleep (most of the time).

Getting the right amount of sleep is vital for staying productive. At a certain point, there’s no use staying up extra late if the work starts to suffer.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want people to rethink gifts. I love it when people opt-in for experiences instead of things.

People have enough stuff. When the gift is experience-based, it builds a stronger connection with the recipient. And at its core, that’s the whole point of the gesture.

With experiences, you make a memory, and memories are what’s truly important in life.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

There are few ways to stay up-to-date with me and VidDay.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-laxson

Website: www.vidday.com

Instagram @ ViddayGift

Facebook @ ViddayGift

Twitter @ ViddayGift

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.


About The Interviewer: David Liu is the founder and CEO of Deltapath, an award-winning unified communications company that liberates organizations from the barriers of effective communication. Liu is known for his visionary leadership, organic growth strategies, and future-forward technology. Liu is highly committed to achieving a greater purpose with technology. Liu’s business insights are regularly featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Tech Crunch, and more.