A lot of people often think that they want to change the world, but it is those who want to change themselves first who can actually make that change happen. By looking into your values, you can identify what your strengths are and use it as leverage to make that great impact possible. Combine this with confidence and solving problems will be easier. Take it to the next level and become a part of the disruption wave by working with people with the same goals. Leader in innovation and author of Disrupt You Jay Samit shares how companies can keep up with the disruption and why taking action around the idea has more worth than just having an idea.
We have what I think is going to be one of our most popular episodes. This guy is described by Wired magazine as having the coolest job in the industry and it totally becomes clear. I want to be Jay Samit. I’m so excited we get to talk with him. I’m so excited I got connected to him. I’m really grateful to the City Gala organizers, Oliver Talamayan and Ryan Long, because they have hooked me up with some of the coolest people who are going to be speaking at the City Summit come February 2018. They have got the coolest lineup of innovators and movers and shakers in the entrepreneurial world, and Jay Samit has been notoriously one. He is a leading technology innovator. He’s made hundreds of millions and billions of dollars for the overall industry if you look at the kinds of companies that he’s inspired and who have gone on to make even more. He’s worked with some of the biggest brands in the world like Coca Cola, General Motors, Apple, Verizon, and Facebook. He is the Independent Vice-Chairman to Deloitte Digital, which is just the coolest thing. He’s going to talk a little bit about what they do. They advise and consult with these companies that are finding themselves in the midst of disruption and don’t know what to do; they’re like panic. That’s where they bring them in. He has been a senior advisor to LinkedIn. He’s done so many things to help get us internet. When you read the book, you’ll realize that. He’s the author of this fabulous book which I absolutely recommend everybody read called Disrupt You!. It really is to master your personal transformation for disruptions. It’s really helping you learn how to be a better disruptor. I’d take advantage of that.
I think inherently because this is 3D printing, it’s a relatively new, continuing-to-grow technology. There’s always something new. There’s always innovation happening. There is creativity and there is disruption. Anybody listening to this podcast should be absolutely fascinated with this interview. Also, I highly recommend you listen to the wisdom and the lessons that Jay has about what makes a company truly be innovative and what tools that he’s going to provide you that you can use to be more successful in whatever your endeavor is. Your project, your mission in business or in life, your service business, your design business, whatever it is that you’re going to do because you’re a part of the disruption wave if you’re working in 3D printing. Acknowledging that and making sure that you are tapping into the full disruption you could be creating, is what is going to create more value for you. That’s where he’s really going to talk a lot about that.
The reality is these lessons are very useful to any kind of entrepreneur, startup, growing company, innovation based, inside or outside of the 3D printing industry. We were lucky enough to have Jay in to talk with you. In his book, he also has how to be an entrepreneur. He really talks about that mindset and the way that you work if you’re within a company, and how you can be a disruptor within a company as well. He won’t talk about that with us but definitely read his book if that’s your particular area of interest. Let’s get right to the interview.
Listen to the podcast here:
Forget Disruptive Technology, Disrupt You! Instead, with Jay Samit
Jay, thanks so much for joining us. I talked to you before and you said, “Read my book and you’re going to think that you wrote it.” I do. I think that I already thought this way but I didn’t realize that most people didn’t think disruptively. That’s what I’d love to focus on is, why some people think disruptively and other people don’t?
Here’s the bottom line. As you’re growing up, your parents, your teachers, well-wishers in your life want to protect people from failure. They try to steer you, “You’re not good at this, try that.” What they’re really doing is putting blinders on people and limiting their self-belief of what they can do. They’re doing it because of good intentions but in fact what it ends up happening is most people give up their dreams because they’re listening to people that gave up theirs. The old, “You need to be practical.” Then you wake up one day and you’re in the middle of your life and you realize and you ask yourself, “Am I living life or just paying bills until I die?” It doesn’t have to be that way.
The reason I wrote Disrupt You! is I got into the crazy thing called the internet and mobile and all these things. You wake up one day and dozens of your friends have become self-made billionaires. We didn’t go to the right schools, we didn’t have some special upbringing, there’s no secret handshake, and they have the same 24 hours in the day that everybody else has but they’re doing something differently. Disrupt You! teaches you how to break out of your limitations, how to see yourself differently. Once you find out that you’re malleable, that you can change yourself, changing the world becomes easy. Everybody thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing themselves.
We’ve experienced what you talked about your friends or family trying to protect you. That’s why in our careers for the last 25 years or so, with people who are a lot of them are inventors or entrepreneurs of some kind wanting to bring a product to market, we’ve always told them, “Don’t ask your friends or family their opinion about whether this is going to be ultimately successful.” You get yes man and no women. They are either really in support of you like, “You’re great because everything you do is great.” That’s not in service and/or like you said, they say no because they’re so afraid for you.
More entrepreneurs are ruined by praise than anything else. What I talk about in the book is something that I call a zombie idea. When you have a new idea for a business and somebody comes to me whether it’s students, and I’ve had students that had done $150 million the first year. When they come to me, I tell them invariably their idea sucks because it does. Any idea is just such a basic starting block. I’m not discouraging them but if you can find all the flaws with your business, if you can find all the holes before you start spending money, if you’re just iterating between your two ears, you could save a lot of capital and get there quicker. Like Jesus, you’ve got to find your apostles. You’ve got to find ten customers, ten potential people, and they don’t want to waste their time talking to you but you’re going to build a product to solve their need. All that an entrepreneur does is solve problems.
3D printing isn’t about, “Look what I can build.” It’s, “Look what problem I can solve.” My favorite example is this and this is somebody that I really respect. They took all the pieces that I talked about in Disrupt You! and applied it to 3D printing. Heaven forbid you have a small child born missing fingers or a limb. That child cannot afford to get a prosthetic because they’re very expensive until they’re around fifteen, seventeen years old because they grow too much. That means they go through their whole childhood not being able to play catch, not being picked on teams. Their whole outlook and their self-esteem goes down a path that you wouldn’t want for your child. For a moment, imagine you make a low-cost, under $100 prosthetic with a 3D printer. Now that child can do things. Take it the next level, and this is where most entrepreneurs fall off, instead of just being, “Here’s what you can do,” “What could you do to make it exciting?” This team went to Disney and they licensed Marvel and Frozen and Star Wars. Now you can have an Iron Man hand or a Frozen princess hand or a Star Wars Jedi hand. Now you go from being the kid that wasn’t picked to being, “I want Iron Man on our team.” How does that change the whole course of that child’s life? That’s 3D printing applied.
One of our episodes was about e-NABLE and how the prosthetics was already shifting. It was one of the early disruptors in the marketplace.
I have a friend that’s doing 3D printing at a larger scale with gantries and concrete. Originally, it was funded by DARPA and NASA for how would we build on Mars. That’s fine and dandy. I’m not super excited that I’m going to see Mars. The second you have a hurricane wipe out structures, now you can go with a large 3D printer and build multi-story housing with no architects, no skilled labors, just people that can feed concrete into a mixer. They can work 24/7 and have housing up.
We have a company we just did a replay on because they were so busy in the hurricane zone doing replacement parts. They go on the ground and they 3D print replacement parts. They need some extra funding so we agreed to do a replay episode on them because they couldn’t get enough signal to do another live interview. We rarely do that but we did that with them recently. It’s called Field Ready. There are lots of companies doing some amazing things in the disaster recovery or in zones where there’s economic development challenges. Power challenges is a big area.
There’s 3D printing for pharmaceuticals so that distant pharmacies don’t have to inventory everything under the sun. There’s human tissue, there’s organs, there’s all kinds of things. The tool is there. Just talking about, “What can a tool do?” It can do pretty much anything you want it to. Where you really have to start is, what are problems? What I talked about in Disrupt You! is how to find the next billion-dollar business. For anybody listening, I will tell you how to have more deal flow than any VC in Silicon Valley. All that you have to do is write down three problems in your life. That’s all you have to do. Let’s make it easy.
Jay, I have a good one for you. We must live. First off, I wanted to step back and say the reason why Tom and I have such a great mindshare with you is I think partially we were pretty lucky to grow up in a household with some pretty advanced parents. Tom’s mom was always on the cutting edge of computer technology and helped build the Hubble telescope. My dad has always worked in the oil and gas industry building billion-dollar oil refineries and things like that. We have some advanced parents and because of that we’ve had a lot of support for innovative thinking. Our daughter who’s eight is in the third grade here at Irvine Unified School District which shocked me to no end, she was given an entire project section on inventors. Her project that she just delivered was to come up with an invention idea. We sat down and we talked about it for two weeks. She wrote down, exactly what you said, list of all the problems. You’re going to love the problems she came up with. She came up with the problem that she cannot have pigtails and ponytails and a helmet at the same time, and her dad makes her wear a helmet to school when she rides a bike or a scooter. Her problem description ended up that a girl should not have to choose between good hair and safety.
Building a helmet that’s stylish.
That’s what she did. It was just awesome. The one thing she got was your problem analysis was great.
Back to teaching people how to do this. The first day, it’s easy. You can identify problems in two seconds. As a month goes on, you have to do it for a whole month or 30 days, you go, “There are no more problems.” You have to really start doing what you accept as the way it is. “I just got off my plane. Where did I park my car at LAX?” That’s a problem. What happens is you come up with these things and my favorite one from a reader who’s become a friend because I just think it was a brilliant example, is he was mid-way through the month, not a whole lot of problems. He’s about to take his medicine in the morning. The phone rings. He has a conversation, and then he stares at that bottle in his hand. Did he take the pill or did he not take the pill? Sounds like a simple problem. To make a long story short, he takes a Happy Meal watch, attaches it to the lid, so every time you close the bottle it counts down to zero. You look at your bottle, “It was open four minutes ago. It was open eight hours ago.” You know whether you took the pill. Then he made the next version with Bluetooth so you know whether grandma took her pill and you can call her and say, “Grandma, you didn’t take your medicine.” When she figures out how you know, she’ll stop taking, so you call as you should do. Solving two problems at once.
The next level that he took it is everybody is now putting Alexa and Google and everything in their home. Those things will start pushing in the future. They will recognize with the Internet of things that you didn’t take your pill yet and now your house will conspire to remind you to take your medicine. Final, you now have a bill going through Congress to mandate these lids because of drug efficacy. This would save $20 billion a year to the economy. It all started by just sitting there and go, “Did I take my pill or not?” Three guys couldn’t pay their rent in San Francisco and they knew Macworld was coming so they said, “We’ll just put it on Craigslist. We’ll get a bunch of air mattresses and let some people stay here for a few days and make some little money.” That’s called Airbnb, they’re billionaires. Two guys were sitting in traffic in Tel Aviv and said, “The phone company knows where my phone is. If they tell me to go left and the other to go right, there’s no traffic.” That was the basis of Waze. They became billionaires their first year. I can go on and on. Most of the self-made billionaires that you’re looking at right now in their 20’s and 30’s became a billionaire without ever making a profit.
We live in a world where that is the challenge though, is what happens after. That’s the world we have lived in. It’s like, “What do you do after when you have to figure out how to make those companies make money?” That’s been our role.
There are two things. There’s people that know how to scale and people that know how to operate. It’s very rare to find the person that can do both. I did a number of transactions with Steve Jobs. His bizarre, superpower evil genius was he could micromanage to a level that would just annoy everyone and look at the big picture at the same time. Most people don’t have that skill set. There are so many problems and now you have a technology that can be applied. This is where your daughter was so brilliant. She did a modification to something that already exists. It’s not, “How do you come up with a whole cloth?” Everybody thinks inventing is like Doc Brown and the flux capacitor.
I think they have to reinvent everything in the process too. When I was reading your book, that’s what I was really so thrilled at. You really talked about leveraging not just other people’s money but other people’s resources, other people’s platforms. That’s really a key there because if you’re going to reinvent a marketplace, the entry to the marketplace, all of that, that’s a tall order. It’s highly likely you’re going to fall short. The risk is too great.
The other part is most people think they have to build soup to nuts of the business. Instead of going after value creation, go after value capture. Just build the part that makes the most money and focus on that. Back to your daughter, I’m sure in school and it bugs the living daylights out of me, they taught her about Gutenberg, the man who invented the printing press, as if there’s some dude sitting around going, “I’ve got nothing to do today. I’m going to make a printing press.” Nothing could be further than the truth.
The truth is a thousand years before Gutenberg, they used to squeeze all of this by hand to make olive oil in ancient Greece, and somebody figured out if you put olives in the press and you squeeze them, you can make olive oil a lot faster. It took another 1,500 years or so for someone to say, “If we made a bigger olive press, we could put grapes in it and not have to stomp on grapes to make wine.” In the sixteenth century, everybody started making wines in Germany. They made more wine back then than they do today. Everybody went bankrupt because there was too much wine. Everybody had a wine press. Gutenberg was playing with his little piece of type and he’s looking out his window at all these used wine presses for sale and he goes, “I can take this invention from another industry and apply it to solve a problem over here.”
That’s really interesting because I think that it’s a really common misconception that disruption is abrupt. It’s the same thing with invention. They think that all of a sudden it’s just magic flash, it happens. It’s not. It’s a slow burn and it’s not quite that quick, is it?
The results are abrupt. Once something comes out and the genie is out of the bottle, you could buy another horse or buy a car. No one goes back to the horse. This is the advantage for an entrepreneur that’s listening, big companies and I’ve been a public-company CEO, they’re on this hamster wheel of every quarter showing profits. They’re not going to take a risk inventing something taking months or years to have it come out. They’d rather overpay and buy a startup that did that. Your opportunity is you’re one click away from six billion people. We’re a completely interconnected world. If you can just show the promise of that new market, there will be a tap on your door. There’s no shortage of capital. You’ve got crowdfunding. You’ve got ICO, the Internet Coin Offerings. You’ve got IPOs. You’ve got so much capital. No shortage of creations, no shortage of problems, no shortage of capital. You know what the shortage is? Self-confidence. Most people don’t believe that they can. If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
This book is now in six languages. The seventh one is coming out. I go all over the world. The only advantage that we have in America, and this took me a while to realize, we don’t have better schools, we’re not even the top ten or top fifteen. We don’t have all the money. The only advantage we have is we have a culture that celebrates failure. Let me explain this. My generation grew up with I Love Lucy. Today’s would be The Simpsons. Homer comes up with a get-rich-quick idea, he tries it, it blows up miserably, and life goes on. We understand that failing is part of the process. A child learns to walk by falling down and they learn what not to do. If you continue to fail, you will fail your way to success. The difference between failing and failure is failing is learning what doesn’t work, failure is throwing in the towel and giving up. We have this culture that, “That guy had the guts to start a business.” A VC would rather invest in somebody whose first venture failed than someone that hasn’t tried it yet. There’s no shame in trying. The biggest regret you can have in life is not taking chances.
I want to touch back a little bit on the 3D print industry. We’re at the bottom of the hype cycle. It feels like rock bottom for a lot of people like, “Why hasn’t it tipped yet?” That’s a question I get all the time “Why isn’t it getting traction?” We get this all the time, “Disruption should have happened by now and isn’t. Do you have any idea why?” We have hundreds of ideas why. We do episodes about it all the time. This is a common part of the hype cycle, of the whole trajectory of something. What’s on the forefront for 3D printing just classically?
If you look at the Gartner Hype Cycle, it’s exactly correct of where it is that things get overhyped and oversimplified. The big difference between people’s expectations and reality was most 3D printers don’t print at a speed that satisfies most of the simple ideas that people have. I’m going to set up a custom toy thing at swap meets. We all know it’s going to take 40 minutes to print something. On the industrial side of it where people aren’t noticing what’s really happening is the prototyping of parts, the making items instead of clay. One of my clients is one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers. It blew my mind that in the 21st century, every part that you see in the interior of a car, the seat, the shift knob, the steering wheel, the vents, the dashboard, all that is made in clay and designed in clay. It’s not designed in CAD/CAM.
We come from an experience in that industry so we do know that that’s actually the way that it is. It’s still that way in a lot of furniture design as well.
Tens of millions of dollars worth of clay each year shipping out, waiting for the model, “We’re going to make the same car model in Brazil or in China. We have to ship the clay over there. We have to wait to find it. The CEO wants to see three different designs. You’ve got to ship them from all over.” It is unbelievable. We’re now moving those people to designing in VR and AR. In other instances in the aircraft industry, people are rapidly prototyping parts designs in 3D printing right then and there to solve a problem that they couldn’t do before, they couldn’t rapid prototype. It is saving in time and labor millions of dollars. That doesn’t mean that the finished thing that you’re shipping or making is 3D printed, it is a tool behind the scenes. I think why people are still in the down part of the hype curve is they’re not seeing 3D printed things that they identify. They don’t realize that that’s what happened in the sausage making.
We’ve seen that for a long time because we’ve been using 3D printing in our design and prototype business for twenty years. It’s always been there. Sometimes it was good and sometimes it wasn’t. It felt more like foam models way back when. Now, it’s great and it’s super easy for us to use with our clients. It’s gotten to the point where the talk that I just recently gave in San Diego was about why it hasn’t disrupted retail, why it hasn’t become in people’s homes. The misconception is that its speed. It’s not speed at all. We’re faster than you could possibly get. Prime delivery might not be prime now but you could certainly get 3D printed parts in Prime delivery. There’s really not a reason to have to be speed. What it is is that the design process is not fast and there are no designers in the process anymore. Retail has gotten rid of design and styling and all of that. It’s gone from retail. It’s been gone for the last ten years.
It’s coming back.
It has to come back. There’s no choice about it. That’s part of it that’s slowly coming back. We have a skill gap that is slowing things down. We have a finish gap is the other problem that we have. It’s not what people accept as finished product. It doesn’t look like that yet.
I can’t address the finished part but on the design part, the other interesting thing is we’re living in this era of endless innovation. There are a number of exponential technologies that are moving forward at the same time, 3D printing being one of them, AI machine learning and augmented reality. What’s now happening at retail is retail will have virtual inventory that can be demo’d, that you can see, that you can see at scale, you can open a magazine cover or your furniture catalogue and see the piece in scale in your apartment, in your home. You can customize it and then just hit a click, and then it will be custom 3D printed for you, and you’ll get it the next day. You’re going to see it tremendously. I’m working with some of the biggest retail chains right now and we’re doing this.
What’s going to happen? What’s going to bring back the experience of retail? The reason to go into a store is to make an experience. What that experience will be about is a world that is more bespoke, that you will be able to have more customization of a wide range of things. As AR glasses become cheaper, you’ll be wearing them the same way you wear sunglasses or prescription glasses. Just to tell you how fast this is happening, in 2017 Americans bought 85 million pairs of glasses for more than $100 and all that they did was focus. If you had a pair of glasses that would translate any sign into English or it would have one killer app, it’s much the way that smart phones developed. I just love the idea that I can walk around Cambodia and every sign is suddenly in English, or I could be in Hong Kong and the menu is in English, or I can now talk to anybody in 40 languages with my augmented ear buds from Google. You’re going to see these things be the frontend for the backend which is custom 3D printed items. We’re seeing this in jewelry. We’re seeing that these programs are being designed so you don’t have to scale designers or aesthetics at a thousand retail locations. You can work with the best and the brightest to design this experience, which is then driven and handled by the consumer.
Jay, I’m curious about your thoughts on mass market retail. You mentioned that you’re working with some big retailers and making some of these changes, which I think is fantastic. We’ve had extensive experience with mass market retail. We’ve been doing that for twenty years, getting products on the shelf and seeing it sell through many, many years. These organizations are the kind of organizations you talked about earlier. Their public organization is just focused on trying to deliver a dividend to their shareholders. The last thing they do is really disrupt their processes. They’re very set in their ways and they’re heavily invested in this logistics infrastructure and warehousing of traditional stocking product for retail. While we all know and agree zero inventory, on-demand manufacturing, and last mile delivery of parts is where things are going. It’s been our experience that these companies especially existing ones, are not going to shift quickly. Maybe they’ll be on the verge of bankruptcy or already go bankrupt before they start to do it. Do you see it differently?
You hit on the key thing. I’ve been a disruptor my whole career. I’ve been doing this for all the big brands that you could think of for 30 plus years. Any company that is doing great doesn’t want to hear from Jay. I have yet to make a sale to a company that’s had a banner year. It is amazing how popular I am with CEOs around the globe when there are problems. 6,000 retail stores closed this year. People are really open to saving their jobs. The first rule of corporate life is self-preservation. It isn’t about shareholders. It isn’t about anything. A person worked their entire life to get to that corner office and then go, “They changed the rules on me.” They’re now open to that. The second thing that’s really interesting, this is why I spend the time that I do with the clients that I do, I have 225,000 consultants. We did nearly $40 billion this year. The interesting thing is retailers are lemmings. Everyone wants to be the first to go second.
Everybody wants to be Burger King not McDonald’s while figuring out the location. That’s exactly what the Costco buyer once told us, they said that exact thing. We have the best-selling office chair at Costco. It’s been ours for the last six years. When we went to go show it to them, he was really hesitant and he said, ” Costco never wants to be first. We always want to be the first guy that’s second.” That’s exactly the words he said to me. I go, “You can trust me. You’re way, way, way behind second because this chair follows the Aeron chair,” which was fourteen years earlier at the time at which we shared it with them.
I can show you example of this in every industry. What’s happening is before big companies had a huge advantage, they could control the media through spending. Now, everybody is their own broadcast channel. They had distribution. Everybody has flat distribution. The only thing that they can do is find somebody that solves the problem for them and spend on it. You’re seeing retailers buying up technology companies. You’re going to see some huge changes. You’re going to see some major retailers come out with their own cryptocurrency and compete with banks. While everybody is paying attention to this than the other thing, one of the most interesting things at retail this year took place in China. China did $5 trillion worth of mobile payments for products this year and 94% of that was two companies. They weren’t banks and they weren’t Visa or MasterCard. Complete disruption.
You think that Chinese buyers are that much different? No. What’s happening is these changes are happening so fast and it’s almost impossible for companies to deal with all of this change. The opportunity is look at where there’s a problem that you can identify, build the piece for someone else, and then you can make that decision. When someone knocks on your door and says, “I want to give you $1 billion,” you can be insane and say no, and try to turn it into a $100-billion company. Nine times out of ten, I would highly recommend let the dominant player, the person that’s spent a hundred years building a brand name, let them take it to distance, and you go on to your next invention.
I want to go back to what you said about the zombie idea because this is something that we come across all the time with both 3D print companies who think that their technology is so secret and with inventors. The most important thing you said about that zombie idea is to keep talking about it, to get it out there, to not be afraid to talk about it and not be so secretive about it. If it’s really worth it, they’re just going to let you do it.
I’ve raised hundreds of millions of dollars for startups. I’ve sold companies for $100 million. I’ve taken companies public. Probably, everybody listening is using some piece of software that I was associated with every day. There are billions of people using products that I’ve been involved in.
Plus the internet in general.
I can tell you for each one of these things, it’s a shout from the top of the tallest building, and take a thousand meetings to get anybody to understand the concept of eBay, to get anybody to understand the idea of social media, to get anybody to understand the idea of internet advertising, of using your credit card online, each one of these things. The whole idea of, “Sign an NDA. I have the cards of the universe.” Ideas are pretty much worthless. It’s the action around the idea that is worth something, especially in the making of things, patenting a process, patenting something very specific, absolutely. Too many people do useless patents. There was a patent in one of my past corporate lives, we tied up for $600 million because we had already worked out settlements from infringers for $900 million. There is a reason for patents, but 99% of the time, patents aren’t making anybody a dime.
It’s like 0.2% success rate and commerciability of patents in the US. It’s terrible.
I was on the Board of the School of Innovation at USC, and we looked at their patent portfolio. If you’re a professor and you invent something or a student, the university basically owns it with you. Managing that patent portfolio, they were losing $15 million a year. I said, “Here’s an idea that Stanford is doing. Stanford basically says, ‘Hello, professor. Hello, student. You invent something, you own it completely.’” There was a person that set up networking computers a couple of decades ago, to network all the computers on campus and wrote a bunch of codes. They said, “Scott, you go take this with you.” The Stanford University Network you know as SUN computers, when he became a billionaire, he donated money to the university. This whole idea of tying stuff up is the opposite of where we’re going in the 21st century. The whole thing of blockchain is no longer having all your information “secured” in a database, but having it out there with multiple copies so nobody can ever alter it. Get out there and tell everybody.
Here’s the other thing we need to tell everybody. You don’t know everything. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re sitting alone, which is why in the White House he sits by himself. What you really want to be able to do is share this because invariably, there’s somebody that knows something that you don’t that will take your idea to the next level. That’s where things happen. Every major company that you’re dealing with pivoted to get there. Half of all the profits of most big companies will be from products that they don’t sell today. Apple was a failed PC company. It could never get past single digit market penetration. Steve was desperate the doors were closing and said, “Why don’t we take what we do and try a different industry. Let’s try consumer electronics. Let’s come out with an iPod.” When he saw that he could do that, he said, “Let’s go after the telecommunications and come out with a phone.” They have patents for tennis shoes that I’m dying for them to come out with and say, “What’s that have to do with it?”
The worst part of an Apple watch is it has to be charged. The worst part of an iPhone is it has to be charged. What if you could take the kinetic energy of when you’re walking and every step you take in the sole of the shoe is charging a battery that wirelessly connects to your watch and your phone? Now, you never have to stop to plug in. You may have to go, “Hold on, mom. I’ve got to run a little faster, I can’t hear you.” Apple’s looking at automobiles. Apple’s looking at different industries. They’re leveraging the strengths that they have. Just as I talked about in Disrupt You! you have to look in your own internal value chain. What are your strengths? Where can you leverage at the most to make the greatest impact? The purpose of life is to have a life of purpose. Once you can figure out how to apply yourself to that purpose, you’ll never work a day in your life. You’ll be enjoying every day.
That is just an amazing thought-provoking idea that we all have the capacity within us. We’re just not even looking at that and recognizing it. I see that all the time because we see a lot of people who can’t even write their own bios or their own resumes because they aren’t even looking at themselves of, “I have these capabilities. I can do this.” They don’t have the audacity just to go out there and do it.
Here’s what most people don’t realize. You can actually rewire your brain. You can change your physiology. They’ve done twin studies, this is absolutely true, but I can prove it to the skeptics that are listening. It’s basically this, think of that schleprock. That person in your office that always comes in complaining and complains every day. There’s a cloud over him like in Charlie Brown. What you realize is that person has shut down. If the greatest idea in the world came in front of them, they wouldn’t recognize it because they’re not open to it. Yet, if you wake up each day as I do and say, “Today can be better than yesterday. I have the power to make it so.” That simple moment of those two positive affirmations lights up the synaptic nerves in your brain. It releases dopamine, the same way that cocaine would. You are suddenly more energized. Studies have shown the power of positive thinking isn’t some treehugging hippie thing. It will actually make you more productive, make you smarter, make you more creative, close more sales and be happy. Why wouldn’t you want to start off with a positive attitude?
Try 30 days without complaining and you’ll be as happy and as enlightened as the Dalai Lama. I’m not a tree hugger. I’m a complete capitalist pig, and I’m telling you the secret of this is really, “Why are you here? What do you want to accomplish?” It all comes down to the most basic that all philosophies were based on, which is when you help others, when you give, when you do that, it makes you feel good. As an entrepreneur, if you are solving problems, you’re making the world better. If you’re solving problems for millions of people, you’re becoming a multi-millionaire. If you’re making them more comfortable chair, if you’re making that prosthetic, if you’re making a product that makes people’s lives easier, if every little girl can wear her pigtails and safely arrive to school, you’ve made her smile. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?
You’ve inspired us and I’m sure you’ve really inspired our listeners. We’re going to have a lot of interest in this episode and a lot of action coming out of it.
I just look forward to what everybody creates. I am a huge fan of 3D printing. I’ve been in it since the beginning. I love the cool stuff that could be done and we’re just at day one.
On that note, we are going to get to meet you in person on March 10th at South by Southwest where we’re going to do a follow-up interview. It’s going to be a live podcast and we have not gotten to doing that. It was really awesome to be invited by South by Southwest to do this. I’m so grateful you’re going to be our guest there. This is the first announcement of you as our guest.
You’ll live 3D print a mini-Jay.
Actually, we probably won’t do that because the noise will drive everybody crazy. What we will do is we will bring you one of our 3D print ties because I think you’re going to like it. It’s a lot of fun. I would love to talk about so many broader things when we’re there because we’re going to be surrounded by so much cutting edge innovation and people that are just doing disrupting things already. I’m looking forward to your insights from that.
I look forward to it and maybe you can set up something for your community that we can figure out a where and when and just have a chance to meet everybody and answer questions and talk and grab a drink with all of your audience while we’re out there.
We’d love that. That sounds really great, Jay. We’ll work on that. Thank you so much for joining us.
It was my privilege. I look forward to meeting you in March at South by Southwest.
Forget Disruptive Technology, Disrupt You! Instead – Final Thoughts
I hope you caught that. We’re going to do South by Southwest and we’re going to have another opportunity to talk to Jay because I seriously could have talked to him all day. We could have gone on and on. This is my second conversation with him. I almost feel like we didn’t even cover half the stuff we covered the first time I talked to him. It’s like we just continued our conversation and you’ve got to come along for the ride, which was really fun.
I really enjoyed many, many aspects of that interview. One thing that really resonated with me was when he talked about when he was on the Board at USC and about how they handled intellectual property trying to own it all and hoard it. It was not a revenue generator for them. In fact, it was costing them $15 million a year to maintain all that. What that means for any of you that might not know is if you own hundreds and hundreds of patents, there are maintenance fees you have to pay the government over time in order to have those patents. There are lawyers you have to have on staff to take care of all those patents. The larger your intellectual property portfolio, the higher the cost of maintaining that is. It also makes perfect sense to me that the university is not going to take a lot of action in an entrepreneurial way to capitalize on their intellectual property. To see the difference of what Stanford has done with saying, “You’re a professor, you work for us or you’re a student, you invent something. You own it, go forth. Be successful. Make all the money.” They trust that that’s going to come back to them in endowment or in donations. New students who want to come and follow the model that their hero in the business world just made. That’s also a draw for them. It’s a recruiting tool.
I did not know that story about Sun Microsystems. I think that is brilliant. I want to step back though just to mention that Rembrandts in the Attic is one of our favorite books. This talks about companies like Xerox and Kodak and all these companies that have huge patent portfolios that are just basically sitting in their attics doing nothing but draining their business in terms of fees and other things. It’s not just schools. It’s corporations who have had this problem traditionally. Maybe those are good situations where they need the entrepreneur to find those gems and do something with them. As I was listening to this because there’s been so much talk lately in the news about trickle-down economics and this new tax law that just got passed, to me this is an example of a trickle-down economic structure with universities that they’re doing at Stanford that actually works and makes sense. When you do get successful, you do want to donate to the organization that helped you get there. Why aren’t you going to? The organization wants to tell how great their alumni are, so that works both ways.
I also think it’s just one of those cases. I just wrote an article about Battle Sight Technologies which is our friend Nick Ripplinger and his partner. They have done this with the government IP. They’re taking IP that’s just been sitting there and they’re utilizing it to help our troops. They’re utilizing it to help the military be more efficient. They’re using it because they understand the problems that happen when you’re in that situation, because these are veterans who have come home and had trouble transitioning to some cases into the working world and back home again because also they’re injured, many of them. It’s helped them be able to find a place by which they could really utilize everything that they learned and take advantage of all this tax money we’ve spent making this happen and turn it into something where everyone wins. That’s really what Jay was talking about. It’s really going through and saying, “Why not leverage all this information you have, all these skills you have. Leverage what you’ve got and really ride the wave of disruption.”
There are so many great messages in what Jay was saying, and part of that is just the difference between those that take action and those that don’t. That’s one of the biggest ones. We have always been movers and shakers, action takers. It’s compulsive, we can’t help it. To me the best lesson that anyone listening to this podcast can get out of what Jay was saying is that you cannot put your own ideas on such a high pedestal and think that it’s the thing, it’s the be all end all. Ideas are cheap. We deal with this a lot. We have a lot of inventors that come to us and have this great idea and they think somebody should pay them for that idea, and then they just go and think of another idea. Ideas are cheap. Nobody pays for them. They pay for people that take action on those ideas and make something of it. At the same time like Jay said, “Don’t try to do everything yourself.” That’s the mistake. It’s the reinvention way.
The 3D print industry is really full of that. It drives me crazy because they think they have to reinvent all the software. They have to reinvent everything. You don’t have to reinvent an entire business structure just because you think you’re an in innovative industry. It doesn’t have to work like that. In fact, it’s just going to take longer to be successful, finding a way to fit in. This is why we love Amazon. As a product developer, we love Amazon because this is the best testing ground for whether or not you have a good product. If it can’t work there, it won’t work anywhere without a whole lot of expense. It’s a risk indicator. If you can get it going there, then you’ve got a good idea. You’ve got something that hasn’t died. It’s still a zombie idea. It’s still a zombie product. I love that concept. We have always been the same way. There’s a reason to use IP protection, there’s a reason to do patents, especially when you’re small.
We believe in patents and we have a lot of them but it doesn’t mean that we patent every idea that comes into our head either. We patent it so we can talk about it freely and just say that. That’s one of the number one reasons we do it, just so that we don’t have to deal with non-disclosures or even approach that. It’s not like we care. We talk about our idea. We’re happy to do that. On the other side you get a resistance sometimes to like, “I don’t want to talk about this without you signing a non-disclosure because what if we’re developing something internally?” It’s such a mistake. We’ll be like, “We don’t care. We’re already patent pending.” We just operate in that mode because it loosens up that opportunity for discussion.
When someone comes to us and they want to discuss their product idea, their invention idea, their business idea, whatever it is, they’re wanting to get our opinion and our feedback on it, if they present us with a non-disclosure first, that’s really a non-starter for me. I’m not going to give you my mindshare if you’re going to have me sign a non-disclosure first. If it’s a paid consulting call then, maybe I’ll consider that. I still think the majority of time it’s a waste of time to have somebody sign a non-disclosure agreement. What are you going to do if someone violates it? You’d have to sue that as a contract in order to remedy that. That’s not fast enough for me. Business should be operating at high speed right now. There is no reason to be holding back. You need to be taking action and moving. If I have to get my lawyer involved before we have a meeting, that’s not a meeting that I want to take.
That was so wonderful of Jay to let us know about the 40-Page Workbook. Jay has written some amazing articles about AR, VR, AI, X-Reality, if you want to call about it like all these technologies that are included in that. I have been posting both in @3DStartPointand in @HazzDesign, our Facebook pages, a lot of Jay’s articles recently. Since I’ve been reading his column, it’s so fascinating I’ve been sharing that quite a bit. You definitely want to follow us on @3DStartPoint or @HazzDesign on Facebook. You can follow either. We tend to share in both places very commonly. There are things we post in @HazzDesign maybe it’s from Inc., that doesn’t always go to @3DStartPoint. We probably have a broader range of things we post on @HazzDesign. If you’re interested in a little broader than 3D printing, you may want to do that. Definitely, come to 3DStartPoint.com if you want to leave a comment or ask us a question. Certainly you want to follow us on social media to see what’s coming in March at South by Southwest to get more information on the time of day and exactly when all it’s going to happen if you want to tune in live.
Jay was offering that we might do something. We might have a Q&A session. This is an opportunity if you want to ask Jay some questions, if you want to send them in ahead of time, in advance of that. Or if you’re going to be at South by Southwest, make sure you attend this live podcast and we’ll do call-outs to the audience. Jay also mentioned that he’s speaking at CES on the 9th of January. If you are going to be at CES, you don’t want to miss that. He’s heading the North Convention Hall on the 9th. We don’t know the time, we just know the day, so you’ll need to check that when you get to CES, but that’s the second day of CES. If you get there the first day, you should be able to look that up. We’ll be there on the 9th as well. Ping us too if you’re in town and maybe we’ll bump into you in the 3D print section.
It’s almost New Year and so I just want to say to all of our 3D Print listeners and our WTFFF listeners, thank you guys for making such a great year. Thank you for your patience with us while our daughter got married and we took some time off. We feel really reenergized now that we hit the 500th episode mark. We’re excited about the way the industry is moving and the prospects in front of us in 2018. We hope you are as well. We wish you a really prosperous year. That’s our theme this year. We didn’t get around to actually printing any angels this year but our theme is prosper on our angel. For 2018, we wish you a very prosperous year. Keep an eye out because we’re increasing the amount of episodes per week. I don’t know if you noticed that but we’ve picked that up a little bit, trying to provide you with more content. We have just an incredible lineup of guests that we’re going to be bringing to you, as well as continue to have some of our own thoughts to share with you on and really deep dives on subjects in the industry as usual. Please reach out to us if you have things you want to hear from us. We’re all looking forward to a great 2018 coming up. Happy New Year. This has been Tom and Tracy on the WTFFF 3D Printing Podcast.
- Jay Samit
- Deloitte Digital
- Disrupt You!
- Field Ready
- South by Southwest
- Gartner Hype Cycle
- Rembrandts in the Attic
- Inc. article with Nick Ripplinger
- 40-Page Workbook
About Jay Samit
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