george mueller, R.I.P.

Very sad news: George Mueller, cofounder of Color Kinetics, has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 50, as confirmed by the CEO of Ecosense, another company also founded by George.

I had the great fortune of working briefly under George before he departed as CEO of Color Kinetics (check out my previous in-depth posts for CK’s 15th birthday and 20th birthday). Now in the third decade of my career in the lighting industry, in hindsight it was such extraordinarily good fortune for me to join a startup team that was like a V12 engine firing on all cylinders and quite literally a decade ahead of the moribund industry it was disrupting. George and Ihor did an amazing job of setting a huge ambition, then attracting the money, talent and time to achieve that ambition and to literally change the world. It wasn’t simply the revolution of LED technology that CK capitalized upon – as if that wasn’t enough by itself – but it was also the concepts of dynamic architectural lighting, digitally networked controls, new form factors, radical engineering and the marketing, sales & training needed to show potential customers, designers and the stagnant construction industry what was possible.

In the 10 years that CK was an independent company, George and Ihor took LED lighting from the realm of feeble little indicator lights to the products and systems that were capable of lighting world landmarks like the Empire State Building. CK’s early success and the proof points it created demonstrated the viability of LED lighting at architectural and urban scale, which directly drove the attention and investment in LED lighting around the world. What an incredible run, and what an incredible impact, George. Thank you for making our built environment so much more dynamic.