The number one thing is to have a passion for what you’re doing. And that has to be absolutely central. You have to love the concept. You have to believe in the concept to your core because the first few years, it’s not going to be the money that drives it forward. In most cases it’s going to be you as the founder that pushes this thing into reality. And in order for you to maintain the energy, the interest, and the desire to make a successful small business in America in 2023, it does require a huge amount of passion and love for what you’re doing. If you don’t have that, you’re in the wrong business. I hate when people use that expression, but it’s a fact.

I had the pleasure to interview Harrison Gross at the Lucyd VIP Launch Event in Miami, Florida.

Harrison Gross is the Co-founder and CEO of Innovative Eyewear. Prior to his employment at Innovative Eyewear, Mr. Gross served in various positions, including Chief Executive Officer and Media & UX Lead, at Lucyd Ltd. from August 2017 to August 2019. During his tenure, he played a key role in developing the company’s brand identity, overseeing general operations, and leading product development. Harrison is a graduate of Columbia University, where he earned a BA in Writing, and he also holds a BA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Thank you so much for joining us, Harrison. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you grew up?

Before I started the Lucyd brand, I was working in tech marketing and app development. My background is definitely on the creative side. I studied creative writing in school. I’m also a lifelong entrepreneur. My original love for writing and poetry eventually evolved into a tech marketing career which then led to a variety of circumstances to co-founding the Lucyd brand by trying to create the first mass market smart eyewear product.

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

So we were in an earlier stage of the business and in a tight spot financially. We were really concerned about how we were going to raise the capital to continue. Around that time crowdfunding started becoming really popular and evolved from the earlier formats of Kickstarter based crowdfunds to actual equity crowdfunding platforms where you could raise money for your company on the basis of giving out shares, and in some cases products as well.

The crowdfund we did in 2020 really helped launch the brand in a big way because it brought about 4,000 retail investors who were interested in smart eyewear into our community, and they helped fund the development of our flagship product. And in a sense, our main products are all developed in response to direct user feedback on smart eyewear and what they’re looking for.

Thousands of smart eyewear enthusiasts came together to help make this company a reality. That was a powerful experience that really informs how we operate the company today. Many of those investors became customers and helped evangelize our brand. It really informed a greater desire to have social equity in what we’re doing as a company. We want to give our customers positive experiences in helping them to improve their quality of life through our products.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech device that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our society. Which particular problems are you aiming to solve with your Lucyd smart eyewear?

There’s a couple of things that our glasses can really help just about anybody do. In addition to the fact that they are functional, comfortable optical eyeglasses that can correct your vision and protect your eyes from the sun, in the sunglass format our product lets you access information in a heads up hands-free format. You are able to take phone calls, listen to audio content, access voice assistants like Siri and now even ChatGPT on our glasses. What does that ultimately mean? It means that you can access information rapidly and in a more ergonomic format than looking directly at your phone.

The phone in our view is a transitional device. It’s not the ultimate mobile device. It’s just the best phone we have right now for gathering large amounts of information and communicating with others. But in our view, wearables will ultimately win out as the best way to access information because they are more ergonomic and essentially demand less of our time and attention to operate.

A key benefit is that pedestrians and drivers all over the U.S. are very distracted by smartphones and that leads to a lot more accidents. Even 10 or 15 years ago before smartphones were so ubiquitous, pedestrian fatalities were up about 60% since the popularization of the smartphone. Our product allows you to listen to music and gather information without distracting yourself visually or auditorily from what’s going on around you.

Another aspect of that is the open ear audio which allows you to listen to music and calls, without plugging in earbuds. It is a safer way to listen to audio especially in busy environments like New York City.

And then finally there’s a huge amount of people that need glasses to see. if you can enhance something that people are already using every day with additional functionality, there’s something really valuable in that. We’re not asking people to adopt a whole new platform or a whole new form factor. There is an inherent convenience factor in having headphones and glasses in one.

Boasted as one of the first ChatGPT-enabled smart eyewear on the market, how do you believe your eyewear can help individuals feel more fashion-forward while effortlessly staying connected to their digital life?

This is a major upgrade to the glasses and the Lucyd app, achieved by connecting the glasses to ChatGPT, which features a vocal interface. So what does that mean? That means essentially you can perform something that’s even more valuable than a Google search — a ChatGPT query on the glasses using only your voice.

And that truly allows you to tap into a vast amount of information, ranging from Wikipedia articles and recipes to business plans. It can assist you in writing your next email, entertain you with a story, and even help you improve your social interactions by providing social cues.

A pair of glasses that just corrects your vision and a pair of glasses that corrects your vision and gives you this amazing second brain that is able to pull information from all over the web and compile it into useful speech can really help guide you through your daily life.

Can you tell us what inspired you to feel passionate about this particular endeavor?

Overall, I would say when we first started the brand we really saw a desperate lack of smart glasses that were truly functional for regular people. We really wanted to bring this category and make it accessible to the average person. And it takes a lot to do that because smart eyewear is such a nuanced thing. It’s a fashion product, it’s a medical device, and it’s now an electronic audio device too. So there’s really a lot that we had to get right. It took many years of R&D — many successes and failures over the years to get where we are now.

About two-thirds of people in the U.S. require some form of vision correction, whether it be standard glasses, bifocals, or reading lenses. Additionally, around 220 million individuals in the U.S. own at least one pair of sunglasses. We recognized the vast optical and sunglass markets, but we also noticed a significant lack of technologically enhanced eyewear that truly catered to the needs of consumers.

Glasses have been around for about 700 years and all of the innovation in that 700 years has been the lenses. And there’s been very little change to the frames of eyewear. There’s still eyewear being made today that look almost exactly like those really early pairs that were made in Italy all those years ago. We saw an opportunity to truly update the temples of the glasses with new technology while maintaining the soundness of an optical device. That was what we identified as a huge gap in the market.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I think the glasses with integrated headphones are pretty innocuous. Bluetooth devices are just a more ergonomic way to talk on your phone and listen to audio.

But when you get into the realm of AI, we are letting machines do our thinking for us, and there is a risk in that in the same way that you rely on a calculator to do math. Eventually your personal math abilities decline. So there’s a risk that if we rely too much on technology to tell us what we should think and do, we’ll lose the ability to think for ourselves and in our own best interests.

So I think that is where we need to be careful and make sure that we use AI in constructive, positive ways and not in ways that allow us to be intellectually lazy. It’s not the hardware, it’s the software. We have to be really careful before we give too much autonomy to these systems.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “3 things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”?

The number one thing is to have a passion for what you’re doing. And that has to be absolutely central. You have to love the concept. You have to believe in the concept to your core because the first few years, it’s not going to be the money that drives it forward. In most cases it’s going to be you as the founder that pushes this thing into reality. And in order for you to maintain the energy, the interest, and the desire to make a successful small business in America in 2023, it does require a huge amount of passion and love for what you’re doing. If you don’t have that, you’re in the wrong business. I hate when people use that expression, but it’s a fact.

Number two is how you treat the team. The social equity of any business is how it operates internally and how it treats its employees and executives. As part of that mission, we’ve done a couple things differently than other Florida based companies. We have a $20 minimum wage. All of our full-time employees have medical benefits and stock options. So they’re actually vested in the success of the company which yields a completely different type of employee. When you have these policies in place where you treat your employees like family members and not like staff that just work for you, you’ll get much more value, trust and loyalty. My grandfather always says everything charity starts at home. One other thing we do is that we donate a pair of regular sunglasses or reading glasses for every smart eyeglass that we sell at retail. And that has been something that we’ve done to have more impact on our local community here in Miami. We recently made a donation of 4,000 frames to the Miami Rescue Mission, which is our local homeless and community services charity.

Every business has an opportunity where it can have a positive impact on the community, even if it’s only giving people good jobs. There’s sort of an impetus now to do a little bit more and have a little bit more of a focus on social equity as a company particularly because I think it reflects the changing attitudes of consumers. Consumers would rather deal with independent businesses than Amazon. They would rather deal with companies that they believe are having a positive social impact than companies that are just out to make a buck. And that change in customer attitudes I think is finally starting to be reflected on the corporate level.

How can our readers further follow your work and your smart eyewear Lucyd online?

We have a blog on our website You can view all of our latest product updates and launches. We also have an email newsletter that you can sign up to.

Thank you so much for joining us, Harrison. We wish you continued success.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.