Intrapreneurship, Internal Incubation, Spinoffs, and IoT Product Development

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Many of the world’s greatest innovations emerge from intrapreneurship. Given the space to incubate tangential ideas, employees often create products that become the basis for successful spinoff companies.


In today’s episode, we chat with Bob Marshall and Joe McNulty from Whisker Labs — a company born out of intrapreneurship. Bob is the Founder and CEO and Joe is the SVP of Product and Partnerships.


We discuss:

- The origin story of Ting

- Intrapreneurship and innovating within a company

- Analyzing whether a personal mission has legs as a business

Any questions for our guests? Contact Bob at Bob@whiskerlabs.com and Joe at Joe@whiskerlabs.com.

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And that's that's a problem today witha lot of IOT devices, the fracture between the promise of what it's goingto do for you and the ability of the consumer to adopt it in theirhome easily in their home. You are listening to over the Air Iot connecteddevices and the journey, brought to you by vary. In each episode wehave sharp, unfiltered conversations with executives about their IOT journeys, the mistakes theymade, the lessons they learned and what they wish they'd known when they started. Welcome back to over the Air IOT connected devices in the journey. Myname is Ryan Prosser, ceeo vary, and this is luke will j productobficer buried, and today we're joined by Bob Marshall, founder and CEO ofwhisker labs, and Joe mcnalty, senior vice president of products and partnerships,and we're going to be discussing entrepreneurship, internal incubation, spinoffs and Iot productdevelopment. Bob and Joe, thanks for being on the show. Hey,great to be here, Ryan Luke having us. So, Bob, you'venow founded two detection companies that are designed for what I would characterize as riskmanagement. Can you walk us through you know your story and where you knowyou'll have an obvious passion in this area. Like to give us a little bitof your background? Yeah, you know, I'm engineer by background,but I've always been a data guy. So everything I've done in my careeris basically been deploying sensors in some form or another and trying to find reallysmall, tough signals in the noise. And you know, I'm one ofthe CO founders of a company called Earth networks and you know, at thatfirst company that I helped co found, we built the world's largest climate andweather networks and you know, we deployed sensors that were connected to the Internetall over the world and really that was like Iot, but it was actuallybefore Iot was even a word to be known. So cool. And sotake us from Earth Networks to take, for folks who don't know, Tingbasically designed to do one thing and do it extremely well, which is detectpresence with a potential for an electrical fire in a home. Is that right? Can tell us a little bit more? Yeah, definitely. So, look, one of the one of the networks that we created, an earthnetworks. And going back to Earth Networks, here was a global lightning detection network. So we had sensors literally all over the planet and they were,you know, electromagnetic sensors, so we actually sense the pulsive energy that travelsacross the earth when there's a lightning flash and we identified that and then weprovided and sold that data to people like NASA and, know, the nationalfootball league and everybody that was really concerned about safety, right safety and operationsand and that was, you know, very sophisticated sensors that were deployed andwe collected massive amounts of data in the cloud to do that. And youknow, it really was a you know, the catalyst for the the new company, whisker labs was, you know,...

...unfortunately, a catastrophic event at mysister in Law's house. So, you know, she experienced an electricalfire. It was a devastating fire. Unfortunately lost a pet. Fortunately noneof the family died, but it was a total loss and and you know, I didn't know anything about electrical fires at that time. You know,I do. You know, quickly looked into them a little bit and yousee that they start by tiny arcs or sparks that happen. Sometimes they're veryinsidious. They can be inside of the walls, it's a loose connection ordamaged wire. Turned out to be a cord in the basement underneath the couch, you know, in her house. And these things start out very,very small. You know, once you have a damaged wire or loose connection, it can only get worse over time and eventually it can start an electricalfire and they're the worst fires that impact homes and you know, so theyou know, my instinct was, well, can we solve that problem? We'vegot the best electromagnetic engineers on the planet. We're detecting sparks in thesky, you know, all over the world, and an arc and aspark in the skies in many ways very similar to what happens when an electricalfire starts in the home. But they're tiny, tiny, much smaller ordersof magnitude, different in size. So I challenged our team to say,can we leverage all of our experience and technology from the lightning detection that workand solve this problem? One of the things that like strikes me about Tingis you, like I said it kind of at the beginning of questions,you guys are solving a very specific thing. Just sort of the hall mark ofof successful technology companies. They focus on doing a thing and do itreally well. You guys have nailed that. But talk about like I know thatyou have an affinity for solving hard problems, looking around until you've foundan engineering problem that's really difficult it's worth being solved. But you also have, you know, kind of a culture for Kiss You keep it simple,stupid. How do you guys think about this, these maybe seemingly conflicting ideasof like elegance and simplicity and product development while also looking for hard, complexproblems? Yeah, you know, it's it. We've always tried to dothings that have never been done before at some level, right, and they'venever been done before because they're really, really hard at some level. Andand so we try to solve very hard problems. You know, from abusiness perspective, you know if you can, if you can solve something that nobodyhas solved before, obviously it's pretty hard and if you can do thatthen you're building yourself a mode, right. I mean that that is difficult forsomebody to replicate it. So it's always nice to have you know,core technology that is super hard to replicate, right, and that's what we didat Earth networks and certainly even by a long shot, that's what we'vedone with thing, because you know that problem and it can again. Weincubated inside of earth networks. I kind of stole the best engineers that wehad and we incubated the effort inside of earth networks and it took us thebetter part of two or three years. I mean it looked like it wason the wrong side of impossible to actually find these tiny, tiny little sparksignals in a sea of noise. I...

...mean everything in your home is producingnoise and putting it on your electrical lines and we had to find these tiny, tiny signals and it was it was just it really looked impossible. Wefinally had a Eureka moment Thanksgiving one year. I remember that weekend and saying,oh my Gosh, I think we've done it, we've solved you know, we think we can find that signal in the noise. And then itwas you know, then you really you know, we knew the problem wasbig. We we knew we had a core piece of technology that we thoughtwe could work but then it was really how do you make it simple,right? I mean I am a huge believer in that. You can't haveparticularly for something that's going to be for consumers. It's got to be really, really simple. It's got to be DIY, there can't be maintenance involved. It's got to be elegant. You know, in the end we justcame up with a plug, right, it did you and the end theproduct is very straightforward. It's just a plug. It's a super smart plug. You Plug it in, you connected to Wi fi and we sampled theelectricity thirty million times a second and send a bunch of data to the cloudand do machine learning and all that good stuff that you know we want todo in the IRT space. But it was a super hard problem and weneeded and the hard part was actually making it do it with one single plugto monitor the whole house and make it simple and elegant. That way.One of the things that that Joe shared in the in the pre interview thatI thought was interesting. You know, I think maybe at a further upstreammoment in your product development timeline, maybe I'm like not capturing this anecdote exactlyright, but like there was a more complicated version of the product. Thatsolved it. But you said, look at this isn't going to be technicallysolves the problem, but this is not going to work for the for thefurther customers and the customer base that we're cultivating. Can you talk about thata little bit? Sure I can. I can do that. I meanin your clothes, Ryan. I mean at the end of the day,we first develop the sensor that, you know, we thought well it wereon the main panel, were closest to all the all the wires in thehome. Right, every wire is connected at your main panel. If wecan get a sensor on there, it might be a little easier to monitorthe whole house. And it was just fraught with problems. Unfortunately, itwasn't diy. And there's you know, there's a percentage of homes that don'thave wifi down at the panel. Sometimes there's not even power at the panelright, there's not a plug to plug something in. It's terrible. Andfor that those reasons, in a couple more even after we know we hadinvested a lot of time and a lot of money in that, the versionof that sensor, and you know, just the conclusion was that that's justnot going to scale. It's not easy enough. We need to make iteasier and simpler for the consumer and ultimately we're able to make it work withjust a plug. And that's that's a problem today with a lot of IOTdevices. The fracture between the promise of what it's going to do for youand the ability of the consumer to adopt it in their home easily, intheir home right. It's so bob to your credit, you saw that fractureearly on and said this is not going to do that, we're not goingto be serving our customers well. I think you noticed that a lot,especially, as you kind of pointed to...

...point it out earlier, the consumerfacing products. There's a lot of complexity that goes into making hard things reallyeasy to use. I got to think about it like if you pull allyour eyephone you're like, within like two clicks, the biggest connected, updatedand working as a phone. That is a very nontrivial thing, and sois this. You take something as hard to do as detecting microarching on acomplicated grape with tons of noise on it, and all you got to do isplug the thing under the wall and boat it's going to tell you ifyou have at risks and it's a really elegant, really growing absolution. Yeah, I did. Definitely. It's, you know, it's definitely wasn't forthe faint of heart. I mean it it's tens and tens of millions ofdollars that have gone into making that thing work right. So it's abig investment of a lot of time, you know, and you know.But once you get there right, I think you know, we're solving animportant problem. You know, it's fiftyzero homes a year that are impacted byelectrical fires, the worst fires. It's billions of losses, thousands of livesthat are impacted by these things. And you know, and it's a globalproblem too. So we you know, we know we've got something that canyou know, you got to solve a problem right at the end of theday, you got to solve something that's important, you know, and that'swhat you need to have a good business. That's right. Yeah, so thenext topic that I wanted to bring up. I think people that there'sgoing to be a good portion of folks at home that will this topic isgoing to resonate the interesting, what interested interesting to them, entrepreneurship, youknow. So this this spun out of earth networks and think there's probably alot of folks out there that are at larger companies running initiatives and they're wonderingthings like how do I know if my initiative is right to be spun out? How do you innovate within a company that's doing maybe a tingentially different thing? So like lightning detection to you know, Home Electrical Fire? Obviously, Idon't know. That's a tangential technology in my mind, related for sure, but like, obviously it was different enough that you guys felt like itmade sense to spin it off. What can you talk about that, thatjourney from you guys as perspective, and maybe also share some anecdotes for thatentrepreneur out there that's listening, that's innovating within a company? Questions that maybeyou wish you had had answers to prior things you what you'd know then?Yeah, you know, and I think in many cases it's going to besomewhat unique to the company that you're originating in. But in our case,you know, earth networks had grown over many years to be a, youknow, midsize company, right. We had two hundredwo hundred and fifty peopleand and the business had grown and and was relatively stable and profitable and allthat stuff. And then, you know, this opportunity came along to to leveragesome core Ip and core expertise that we had and apply it to adifferent problem. And, you know, we were fortunate enough to be ableto invest a lot of money out of the earth networks, you know,and and invest in it inside of that company. And it was a skunkworksincubation, right. I mean we kind of literally cording our self off fromeverybody. We did nothing else but see if we could solve this problem.And we had the luxury to do that once we and again we made surethat there was an opportunity there to right...

...first. I mean, you know, before we actually spent money. Don't want to solve a problem just tosolve a problem. I mean, any is there a business opportunity there?Is it going to be something that people care about? And that that wasactually easy. I mean that, you know, there's Fiftyzero, it's billionsof dollars, right, and there's a lot of people that would like tosolve this problem. It's particular, especially the insurance company. So so thatwas pretty easy. And then that it was a matter of does this fitwithin the original company Earth Networks? Right, it's a new product, it's anew market, it's a completely different business model. And then we neededto actually you know, even though we had solved the core technical problem,it wasn't a product yet. So we still need to invest a lot ofmoney in it to bring it to market. And you know, we're we goingto raise capital inside of earth networks. And what would that thesis just didn'tfit and the capital structure of earth networks. And so we said theonly way to actually invest in it appropriately would be to spin it out asits own entity. Then we could raise capital on this one idea. Right, this is a different idea, it's a new business and we could focusthe capital. Would understand it that we're going to focus, we're going todevelop this product, we're going to make this happen. And that would havebeen difficult to do or probably impossible to do inside of earth network. Sowe decided to spin it out and that wasn't that's that's a pretty significant effortto write and spent out the legal work and everything else was not insignificant,but definitely I think in the end the right thing to do. If youwere sitting down for a beer was somebody that was thinking about spinning out,what's like, what are two or three questions you would ask them before,you know, you felt like you could advise them like what are two orthree key things they should be thinking about? or You'd be looking at to assesswhether or not it made sense or, if it did make sense, howto best move forward. You know, I think one, are the customersthe same right as the business model similar? Are you selling the samepeople as it is it going to be a similar business to operate? Andyou know, if it is, then maybe it belongs inside of that company. So I think that that's certainly there. And then that's number one. Andthen number two. I think it really comes down to, you know, the the level of investment in this structure, of the potential investment thatyou need to make. I mean, are you going to be able toraise capital enough and adequately to fund it inside of the existing company, oris it better spun out into a new company? And then you have tolook all the way down the road to the potential exit. To write.I mean who are the potential you know, where's the company going to end up? Right? You're going to end up being a public company, you'regoing to end up being acquired by somebody, and doesn't make sense to be insideof the original company. Or is it better? You're going to geta better outcome if you have a company that is very, very focused ondoing something well, and, Bob, I might add, from a humancapital perspective. Right, we talked about it before. You said you stolethe employees. I might argue that they came along willingly. Not only that, they raise her hand, said this is a really big problem and thisis really meaningful and I want to come along. Right, we did greatstuff in worth networks, but I'm going to move out and I want tocome with whisker labs now. I you...

...know, look, I think standour chief scientist story. I mean stand heck Dr Heckman from Mit. Imean he was literally the world's leading lightning expert. I mean he's known acrossthe world as the guy that knows more about lightning than anything and I thinkit was not even a remotely difficult decision for him he's like, I thinkI can have a bigger impact on the world by coming to whisker labs andsolving this problem. It's going to have impact, more positive impact, onmore people than than earth networks. It's interesting, even though your company,Earth that works, was successful and afforded you the opportunity to be able toinvest people on time and somebody to get this thing to a certain point whereyou kind of de rested enough to want to spin out a company. Iworked a couple of battery chemistry technologies, which are just world, you know, is notable for how hard they are to solve and how it's very hardto plan invention. And I'm and in what your chemistry world you kind ofhave to do that. And I'm wondering did you feel about the time youdecided to spin this out as a company? You know you were going to haveto invent the thing, like this was a solvable problem. It's justa really hard problem, but you have to invent the new solution to getthere. Yeah, we we. We had to get it to the pointthat we are confident that we could build a product right. I mean weyou know, we had to find, you know, the hardest part wasjust finding the signal in the noise, I mean, you know, andthat was the all lab work. I mean we're literally working in each other'shomes and creating sparks and got censors all over the place and, you know, doing the whole thing like you're in the garage, right. And thenonce we once we actually proved it and convinced ourselves that yes, we canfind that signal, we know how to find that signal, you know,then we could produce a product and that's when it makes sense to think aboutspinning it out. One of the things that we do at very is,you know, we and we make a lot of investments in technology companies,and often that investment will be not just cash, but we will, youknow, place people into that project on, you know, in a long termor indefinite basis. It could have sort of in kind investment, ifyou will, and that creates, that keeps our kind of leadership ranks movingalong because, like there's not this issue where at the top there's nowhere togo, so therefore there's no for the middle folks to go and so forth. was there any sort of effect like that at Earth? That works likewhen you brought people over. Did you guys find, expectedly or unexpectedly,that that created some dynamic changes in it over at Earth? That works interms of presenting new opportunities, because other folks had a chance to jump overonto this new venture. where. Is there any like team dynamics, surprisingor otherwise, that you can share? Well, I mean I there's definitelya couple of those cases. I mean a couple key folks that that atearth networks had kind of reached a level that that you know, you knowwas there. How much opportunity was there for them, but you know,when they came over here, you know they're they're now key, senior peopleright on this team and it you know, it's a different culturally. It hasto be somebody, you know,...

...that was willing to take a riskto I mean right, we if we didn't shut down that original piece ofhardware and product and we should have failed. I mean you know, and youabsolutely have a absolute chance you're going to fail and this company is goingto go away. Right, as soon as we untethered ourselves and we're onour own. I mean your job is at risk, right, if we'reeither going to sink or swim and you know, fortunately so far we've beenable to swim pretty well, but that's not guaranteed, right, right.So, so thinking about like seek versus swim or that risk reward kind ofthought process. When you were, when you guys were preparing to take thatlead, what technical challenge or nontechnical challenge were you most nervous about? Andyou were like this is the tall building that we've got to be able toleap if we're going to be successful. Can you talk about what that thingor things might have been? Yeah, you know, it's interesting in oneof the things where you know very good at is just gigantic data. Wedid that at Earth Network. So that was never a concern for me.I mean we collect terabytes of data per day, coming off as censors allover the place. That was fine. It was just really that that thesetiny signals, right. I mean this product is a life safety product,right. So we are, as we look at it, we are soall super passionate and internally we are responsible for protecting our customers in their families, in their homes. I mean that we we carry that as a greatresponsibility and ensuring that that works in almost all cases is a big, youknow, huge deal and and not easy and in fact, I always makesure to say I mean we cannot and will not prevent every electrical fire,even though essentially we've done that so far. You know, no product is perfectand you know we're responsible. So every day we worry about can wekeep pushing the machine learning algorithms, the signal processing algorithm on the sensor toget to that next level, Eke out a little bit more signal to noise, give ourselves a better chance to make sure we detect these little tiny problemsthat cause these horrible fires and also do it. You know, the otherside of that is do it without false alarms. To I mean you can't, can't cry wolf and tell a homeowner that they have a electrical fire hazardif you're not right. So for so far we've been right every time too. So it's really those two things. It's you have to detect the problems, not cause falsile arms. I can see I could tip being very expensive. Of all the sudden people start showing up and ripping open walls and houseare installed into. So yeah, that could be a like an none andwe're responsible. We send an electricians. I'd beyond US right, it's tobe a horrible experience. I mean, and that was actually our, youknow, you know, number one worry actually, once we could felt comfortable, we could detect the signal that we're looking for, how many times arewe going to think there's a problem and there's not? I mean not.That was actually the biggest worry up front, once we could detect the signal andthen, but that has turned out to be not a problem. Ithink are you know, fortunately, the machine learning does a great job.They're of distinguishing, you know, normal stuff, because there's arching that happensin the home that's normal, right,...

...all the time, and you know, but we can figure that out. One of the things that's really interestingabout Ting is, you know, because of the nature of fire, likeyour house is on fire, that you know it brings risk to your neighborsand your neighborhood and sort of the nature of fire. So like the morethings that are out there, the safer everyone is, you know. Solike there's a share, and I use the analogy of the key chain.Guys, what's their name? Luke, that apple is currently about to eattheir lunch tile and so, you know, you've got this tile APP and it'sgreat for finding your phone and but like your phone, is also helpingfind other people's tiles. So you've got this network effect. The more usersthere are, the more valuable it is for everyone. Can talk about Ithink a lot of people out there are listening and they are thinking, Hey, my product has network effects. I think people underestimate how hard it isto get to a place where that network effects becomes valuable and all strategies arethe same. Can you talk about, like tings kind of thoughts on networkeffects and how you guys have gone about trying to achieve success there? Yeah, I mean I think there's two. There's in network effect to me isgigantic. I mean I am like a huge, huge believer in overwhelming problemswith data, I mean and and having, you know, millions and millions ofsensors right now. Let's not literally the value of the network goes upwith the square of the number of sensors in the network. Right it's exponential. And you know, I think in our case there's network effects on thetechnology side and the data side, and then there's network has effects on thebusiness side and the marketing side. So on the technology side. You know, one thing, a single thing, protects a single home and prevents electricalfires. But as soon as the community has a network of things, wesee incredible detail on the electric utility grid. So we are detecting faults every singleday all over the country that are really bad power quality problems and inthe in the western states, these are the faults that cause some of thesedevastating wildfires that we've all heard about in California and all the western states.So we quite literally have the opportunity to detect these faults in very early stageswith our network of things, notify the utilities and all lot give them theinformation they need to get technicians out up and prevent these things from happening.And when you think about that, I mean these some of these fires likethe Campfire and Paradise California, right. I mean that's it was. Itwas unbelievable, right, the damage. It was like twenty billion dollars thatone fire and like a thousand people and it was like the worst ever,right, and it was a utility fault that was the cause for that.And you know, so we're going to you know, we are seeing incrediblehigh resolution data early detection of faults on the grid. And you know,the utilities are going to be customers because...

...they, you know, we havevaluable information for them and they need to have it. They need to havethat information. They don't have it today, and they benefit from the network ofthings. I think the toy is almost can't not be customers. It'slike reckless and somewhat irresponsible to not be a customer of that kind of dataaccessibility. I think that's that's that's really right look in the end, becauseit's they you know, it's a network that is just growing on its own. Right I mean the network, everything that comes to the network. Themachine learning gets better, the the monitoring the grid gets better. It's happeningwithout any input from, you know, the utilities because, you know,our primary customer are the insurance companies. State farm insurances are lead cut youknow, lead customer, and they're they'll give away a ting to any customerthat wants it, knowing that it's going to help prevent electric fires, butthen it's also going to contribute to the monitoring of the grid, feeding,feeding on that thread and then maybe following up a little bit on apple's morereset efforts to make your opting into having your data track and your data shared. I wonder have you seen any issues with that with your customers? They'rewillingness to be able to share their data and and how to have these thatthey bought it that whole sale, because it's obviously good for everybody, oris there been any pushback on that? Really is not been any pushback.It's a great question. I mean, it's because obviously everybody sensitive to privacyand privacy is a huge deal to us. I mean so, I mean firstand foremost, I mean the nice the nice thing about this product,you know, unlike some others, right, is I mean there's no camera,there's no microphone. I mean all we do is just monitor the voltage. So we don't even have much energy use and we just monitor the voltageto detect arcs. So so there's really nothing sensitive in that way, youknow. But the customers that you know, we do provide the information to utilities, right. I mean if you're if the utility that's serving the powerto your home is sending dangerous power to your home, it's also impacting yourneighbor's homes, right, and so if the neighbors and the community can cometogether to provide that information to the utility. It's in everybody's interests for that right. It's so the only information we will share with anyone, no thirdparty distribution of data is to our partners that are going to prevent fires atthe end of the day, right, that's the only thing we do onon the topic of kind of closing loop on network effects, are going backto that briefly. You guys have so we did our original pre interview backin February. It's now June. We pushed it because you guys had anexciting and announcement that you weren't ready to go public with at that time.Can you talk about this state farm partnership and you know it's impact on networkeffects and kind of how they're looking at it? They're not really looking atthis as a resell opportunity. They're seeing this as an opportunity to prevent homefires, therefore reduced claims, of course, which is fine. Everybody wins inthat world. But can you talk about the the partnership and how thishas come about with some of the goals are? Yeah, definitely. Whenstate farm has been a just a fantastic...

...partner number one. They've they jumpedon board very early on, went through a lot of testing. Obviously they'revery sensitive to providing anything to their customers unless they know it absolutely works.So we did, you know, just a lot of leg work with them. But at the end of the day, the insurance companies are really undergoing asignificant change in their business. I mean it's there's lots of digital insurancecompanies now, not the the you know, the old school companies have been aroundforever and you know the idea that that the insurance company is just goingto pay you after you've had some catastrophic loss. You think about in thein today's IOT world. I mean how does that make any sense? Right? I mean insurance companies ultimately the ones that are going to win are theones that are going to help their customers and prevent the losses, right.I mean then not just make a lot more sense than then, you know, just waiting till after the event. Mean what differences there make whether youget, you know, paid back from state farm or some other customer,I mean some other insurance company. Right, prevention is the key to the futureof insurance. I think. Yeah, reminds me of I think ten orfifteen years ago when they started the car insurance arms of the insurance companieswith those under dash plugins to monitor driving and give discounts to folks that weredoing things the right way. You view the I take it you view thisis kind of like the home version of something like that. It is similar. I think there's a couple small differences are but now it is I meanthere's those, you know, the car telematics companies. There is a numberof them, number one and and, and they're very popular and and thecustomers generally like them. I don't think there's a lot of data to suggestthat it actually reduces claims. You know, it doesn't prevent accidents. People drivethe way they're going to drive generally. But you know, in our casewe absolutely can prevent these devastating losses that families have to go through andthat's just a better thing, right. I mean, if you go backto state farms there, their slogan is like like a good neighbor state farmersthere, and in this case they're literally just trying to help their customers andthey believe strategically that doing the right thing for their customers is going to begood for their business in the long run, and that makes total sense to me. So stay farm, of course, is famous for their advertisements. Theyhave a lot of like big names, celebrities that they utilize, whereas youknow, Guiko leans more heavily on cartoon. If you could have,you know, a beer or glass of whiskey with any celebrity, you know, you're hey, you know, take our see farm, you know,take a look at this guy who out there at TV land, do youwish would be the next state farm spokesman that you might have a chance torub shoulders with? You know what I mean? I think, you know, it may be one of their existing smokes one, because Aaron Rodgers,obviously the the quarterback for Green Bay, is from California. He's from Chico, if I recall, and after that Paradise Fire I think he donated,you know, a significant amount of his own money to help the community thererecover. You know, I think he would be somebody that would be ahundred percent behind what the heck we're trying to do and I think it'd beawesome if he got behind our cause.

As a couple of bottom or natives, I really think we need to give them, our Jackson, an opportunityto maybe on this discussion that. I'm off for that. Yeah, goright, right. So my last question is around the personal aspect of thisstory, your products. I mean at very we're big fans of what youguys are doing. Our engineers like really hard problems solved with like elegant solutions, which is, I think, how we would view with you guys havedone. Too often what we see is people that come to us with anidea or a company borne out of something personal and they did very often ornot good, you know, because they're born out of that personal anecdote.If you were advising somebody or to those out there that have an idea ora company borne out of this personal moment, what are some things to be thinkingabout to help them take a like objectively look at this and say,is this legitimately something the world needs, yes or no, or is thisjust you know, your cat named Larry needed this one time, you know, but there is no market. How how were you thinking about it?How would you encourage others to think about it when there's this personal aspect?Mean and number one, I think the personal aspect is important in many waysand it is kind of something that has been a lot of success stories aroundthat right and in our case it happened to be my sister in law's houseand and the terrible experience that she had. So that really was the catalyst andit really makes you a passionate about trying to solve a problem when you'vegone through something and seeing a family go through something like that on the otherhandside you then you just have to be completely dispassionate right on the business side. I mean, is there a business opportunity or not? And in mycase I knew nothing about electrical fires, but it only took a few googlesearches to see that, holy cow, these things are bad and there's billionsof dollars lost and there's billions of dollars being spent trying to solve this problemand nobody solved the problem. So I said, you know, so itreally didn't. You know, we definitely did the market research and, onbeing running, Joe's done a lot of it too. I mean so wewe did that up front to know, before we went off and spent millionsof dollars trying to solve a problem, that that there was a real opportunity, but the passion, you know, I you know, just in termsof our team here, I would say, you know, a lot of oursuccess, I think, is just because it's not just me. Ithink the team just feels an incredible passion around solving this problem and helping families, right it it's like an incredible high every day that it happens, rightwhen there's a you know, we find a problem, we find it,we fix it and it would have potentially been a devastating fire that costs lives. Right. So that passion behind that is really, you know, motivatesthis every single day. Yeah, Bob, I would I would also add that, you know, it wasn't personal for us, right, so we'rea little bit separated from that, but...

...it's a different type of passion,right. So, you know, the business side you actually have to havethat business hat on, right, but when you've taken that personal experience,and the advice would be basically when you're talking with someone who's got this thing, it's very personal for them to turn it into something that's really a truenorth for everybody at the company, but you're actually trying to solve that forthe next person. So you're you're separating yourself a little bit from the personalexperience, but you're also turning that into kind of like your North Star,right, which is basically how do I do this for the next person,and not just next person but for everyone who is concerned about this type ofproblem? I think the it's personal to a whole lot of people in California. Now I can tell you that I lived through the past year when thewhole sky was orange for week that and people can go outside, can breathein, schools were closed like it was a very terrible experience. So Ithink they're there's nobody that's not going to appreciate the benefit and the value ofsomething like this. We appreciate that for sure. And it has been badand unfortunate. Looking like another potential bad year coming up, right. You'realready in a terrible draught. So Yep, yeah, and I shared with youpreviously. Are you know we're having our house redone and our contractor racedout of here last Friday because his house was on fire. It was anelectrical fire house, burned totally to the ground and you know, not relevantto tings product and and it, but you know, it may have preventedthat, but once it was under way, you know, it was just compoundingfailures. The Fire Department showed up and they didn't know how to usetheir to operate, they did not know how to operate their own fire truck, and so the house burned to the ground while the fire department was,you trying to get it going, which is just, I think, likea cautionary tail that, like prevention, is so much better than than solvingit once. It's other way, because fires are very unpredictable and it's simplyhaving a fire truck show up or, you know, catching it early isoften not enough. And so yeah, now that's right. And smoked it. You know, smoke detectors. Obviously it is a very important part ofany home safety plan and their essential. We always make sure all of ourcustomers know that. But they only tell you that you have a fire afterthe fact, right, I mean it, there's already a fire when they're goingoff. I mean the idea that you can try to prevent some ofthese things. If you can do it, it's obviously way better than having yoursmoke alarm go off. So we're moving to wrap here with this episode. I got two more questions for you quick ones. Number One, youknow, you guys are in the iote space. Where in the IOTE space? As you look across the landscape, what product or company out there areyou seeing that you're fan of, somebody, that you appreciate their work? Youlike a particular product that maybe others don't know about? What do yousee in that you like out there right now? Look, I like thesimplicity, you know, of the mean of the nest products. I havequite a few nest products in my my home, and and they're they're simpleright. They were simple there install and and the user experience is great,and you know so. I you know,...

...even though they've been around a longtime, right there, and nothing like a start up anymore, butthey still produce good products. Yep, agreed. I'm a nest user aswell. Well, Bob and Joe, I really appreciate your time. Iffolks wanted to be able to reach out after the episode with questions or thumbsup on things they heard here today, how can they find you guys?Yeah, obviously hit me up on Linkedin, or Bob at whisker labscom fire mean email anytime. And Joe for the folks at home. How canthey find you? Same thing, Joe, at whisker labscom. You can goto Ting firecom as well to check things out and hit me up onLinkedin, fireman. I always thought what you did there. What's up?What's up? Fire me an email. We saw what you did there.I I old have it all right, a little word plan it to playus out here today. Those at all. Thanks for listening, Bob and Joe. We appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on the show today.Hey, Ryan Luke, thanks, enjoyed it. Thank you. You shouldn'thave to worry about IOT projects dragging on or unreliable vendors. You've got enoughon your plate. The right team of Engineers and project managers can change apivotal moment for your business into your competitive edge varies. Close Knit crew ofambitious problem solvers, continuous improvers and curious builders know how to turn your ideasinto a reality on time and up to your standards, with a focus onmitigating risk and maximizing opportunity, will help you build an Iot solution that youcan hang your hat on. Let's bring your Iot idea to life. Learnmore at very possiblecom you've been listening to over the air, Iot connected devicesand the journey. If you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to hit subscribein your favorite podcast player and give us a rating. Have a question oran idea for future episode? Send it to podcast at very possiblecom see younext time.

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