It’s one thing to know your idea can change the world. It’s another to convince other people of that. On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, engineer and entrepreneur Florian Bohn shares the challenges of turning a revolutionary vision into a tangible product that changes everything.
During the last decade, engineer Florian has been developing a technology that transmits energy from space to earth. His tech would make power cords absolute and power the earth with renewable, clean energy. The application would be similar to WiFi replacing ethernet cables. Today, we walk around with WiFi in almost every location. With Florian’s technology, we could do the same without our devices ever losing power.
Florian first started this project with a world-class team at Caltech, but the idea wasn’t originally his own. He was pitched it by his former Ph.D. advisor. He knew it could change the world. Other people were not so optimistic. When he first started working on transforming the project from an idea into technology, he met a lot of opposition. People told him the project was too expensive, not feasible, even physically impossible.
But that opposition made him feel even more convinced that he was headed in the right direction. Almost every great mind, from Einstein to Stephen Hawkings, met resistance when they shared their theories with the world. The same goes for entrepreneurs. If you have the right idea, all that matters is you’re right.
Despite being the co-founder and CEO of GuRu Wireless Inc., Florian doesn’t see himself as an entrepreneur. He just sees himself as a guy who helps others. The most satisfying part of his career is knowing that his work will make other people happy. As the project has started to take shape, Florian transitioned from an engineering role to a marketing and business development role.
Florian’s team still faces several challenges to bring their vision to life, including trying to set up compliance standards for the application of their product and protecting the idea. But he’s confident that their idea will reshape the world of technology as we know it—and make annoying tangled cords a thing of the past.
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It's, it's gonna be the same thing as its Wi Fi. When Wi Fi came out, it was very clunky. And you have these PCM ca cards and it's expensive was slow and everyone was like, why don't you just plug in your computer? Now if you go to a Starbucks and you or pizza, whatever, what have you coffee bean, and you don't have Wi Fi? You're upset. You're like, What do you mean? Is this a stone age here? And it'll it'll be the same. It'll be the same and and no one no one yet can see this quite clearly. But you will be looking back in a couple of years it will be unimaginable that never was like that. It's going to be that experience that Captain Picard will have like, you know, he wouldn't understand what it means. What do you mean? My tricorder is out of power, you know?Steve Brown:
Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI online podcasts where we believe you. The courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is a place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Florian bond, welcome to the ROI, online podcast.Florian Bohn:
Hey, Steve, thanks for having me.Steve Brown:
So I was looking at all the information on you and you're quite accomplished. engineer and you've done all these cool things. And one thing you're trans been working on a problem of transferring energy from space on the earth. And that's, that's really interesting and great Nall, but I just like to be able to transfer energy from the socket to my cell phone without a stupid cord hanging everywhere and tripping over. Why can't you focus on something like that?Florian Bohn:
That's actually exactly what we're focusing on that guru. So the project from space that you were talking about, was the project that we worked on at Caltech. That was it's the same technology, except a different scale. But yes, we absolutely working on transferring your power from your socket to your cell phone, so you don't have to plug it in.Steve Brown:
Well, there you go. That I appreciate that. That's really something that I think I hate cords. I got cords everywhere, you can't wipe your desk down because the dust is under the cords. And when you do you knock stuff over. But imagine having to run a big extension cord from space to Earth? Where would you plug it in? What I mean, that's been a consideration has notFlorian Bohn:
Yeah, I mean, the the court and space so to speak, is plugged into the sounds of the project that we were working on that. And that's still an ongoing project at Caltech, except that I have left it to start the company. The plug basically was the sun. So the idea was to convert solar energy to microwave energy form a beam and be able to steer it to different locations on Earth. Mainly not not so much to charge people cell phones just from space, but more so to provide power to difficult to reach location. So for example, in disaster areas, and so on. So that's, that seems like a James Bond situation and just like a little dangerous, you couldn't fly a plane to that area because it would like slice you in half like some mega weapon. No, no, it's it's um, it's you can kind of think of it as the sun and the power density of the sun. So if you're flying through through sunlight doesn't doesn't cook you or destroy your planes. Solar Energy actually has quite a bit of power. So the the the power levels that would if you're talking about are similar, the advantage or the the the idea to do this with microwaves, you may as well why not just use the sunlight is so when you don't have sunlight, right? It's a sunlight, a lot of variation. clouds will block it. Exactly. You know, you have this this day and night cycle kind of thing if you're eating it 24 seven. And if you can determine or select where it's gonna go on Earth, let's say you have a disaster area somewhere, you gain a lot more freedom.Steve Brown:
Yeah, so I'm kind of being facetious, but so you are the co founder and CEO of a company called guru Inc, ci you are you Incorporated. And tell us a little bit more about guru and what you guys are developing over there. It's kind of cool.Florian Bohn:
Yeah, so at Google, we basically are developing this technology we have productizing it. The history of Guru goes back to Caltech, we started active developing a development of the core technology 2011 2012. I joined full time a little bit later in 2013. Right around when my daughter was born actually. And but the application so many folds, so you can think of large scale from satellite, but most most people care about their cell phones. If you ask people. Let's say you have this hammer, what what what can I do with it? Most people will ask, Okay, can I charge my phone? And can I charge my car, and the phone? Yes, the car, you can. But it's probably not the best way that there are better ways of doing it. So that it's phones, its sensors, it's there lots of things where it's actually very expensive to run cables, or it's really annoying, or both, or batteries. So that's those are the applications that we are mainly targeting.Steve Brown:
So for the audience that's listening, you know, what, what Florian is working on bringing to market is, it's similar to a Wi Fi router, there was a time where you had to plug in your devices to receive the internet. And then all of a sudden, this cool thing that you just plugged in to your cable coming in, and you can walk anywhere and have internet on your phone. And so this would be the Wi Fi version, sending a charging power to your battery operated devices, correct?Florian Bohn:
Correct. You're doing such a better job of explaining it. Yes, it's it, it's, um, I guess we kind of jumped right in. But this is exactly the right image. It's Yeah, if you have a router, instead of data, you're sending power, you have client devices that you want to get rid of having to plug them in, and those other recipients have power. And the idea is that you don't have to worry about it. And it's basically it present and your phone's always charged your sensor so is powered and so on.Steve Brown:
That's so cool. I've, you know, I've gone to like these conferences, you know, and, and they're all day, and you're checking your phone, and you're doing stuff and your phone doesn't last all day. And so everybody's standing around by some plugin by the bathroom, just to get another 10 minutes of power to make it through another 30 minutes. And it's, and I just see your devices being like this. Just this Aha, you'd want to go to that conference, because you never have to worry about plugging your phone in.Florian Bohn:
Yeah, it's a when we went out pitching for money. I have this facetious slide. I'm a Star Trek fan. So this is a Star Trek example. But it was Captain Picard showing off his tricorder to get some alien and say, you know, I would show you all the cool features, but I've just forgotten to charge it up. And the idea the idea that you know, if you're flying a starship around but your your tricorder doesn't work or whatever it is I silly. But it is not a century idea. Right? The the speed with which technology changes is is very rapid. If you think about it, right? If you think about, you know, your smartphone, when did that come to market that was in 2007. So you and I are old enough to remember what it was like not to Yeah, this thing right or not to have internet? I don't know about you. But I certainly remember the first time I logged into the internet and and seeing this change life essentially right? You kind of with these sort of like fundamental changes and how we do things you kind of get a feeling or at least I do, like goosebumps almost. You really see this is this is a step function and how we're going to be doing things in the future. And yeah, good.Steve Brown:
No, it makes total sense. And it's actually Yes, like, almost expected is it even though this is a great idea, and I'm glad to see someone working on him is like, Where are you been? What's been taking you so long to get this handled?Florian Bohn:
Well, the idea is actually older, right. So Nikola Tesla, certainly, I think was the first one to to actively, he was actively pursuing this idea. This idea of being in power from space, I think goes back to a short story by Isaac Asimov. So the idea is it seems very natural, right? Why do we have to handle this this this cumbersome cables and all of that different standards? The practical implementation is obviously a little bit tricky, because otherwise, I wouldn't be doing wow versus people having done this 100 years ago. So the but it's like many things today that are On the surface very easy to use, or just they immediately obvious but the what's under the hood takes a lot of takes a lot of time and effort and also some some developments that are just not under the control of the entrepreneur. I like advances in computing, power, material processing, and all those things. So right now these these all coming together, plus, we have a, we came out of Caltech. So we have quite a world class team of minds, having worked on this for a long time to make something that's practical and useful, and not just a not just sort of like more of a lab experiment, so to speak.Steve Brown:
Yeah, totally. So I'm, the folks that listen to this, Dave, you know, the ideas are easy. They've, everyone's has a great idea, I have a drawer full full right here that we can start to review. But actually starting to make movement and align resources means that you have to have some, some influential power to persuade people to buy into the idea to align and attract resources and to go through these challenges by bringing this product to market. Right. And so tell us a little bit about your How did you get from this concept of an idea to actually get people to start to focus in invest money, time and energy and expertise into this?Florian Bohn:
Yeah, it's, it's interesting, because I actually was pitched the idea myself, I didn't start out from the right from the start. So the idea was pitched to me by my former PhD advisor, and now co founder, Ali had you marry. And to me, it made sense. Um, it was a conversation in a sushi store. And I thought about it, and it took me took me maybe a day or so to say, okay, there are lots of things that have to come together, but overall sound, that's certainly not true with everyone. And I think that's a good sign. So many people you talk to will say, this is not, you know, they will come up with all sorts of reasons why this isn't works too expensive, it's too. It's not feasible, it's physically impossible. So the physically impossible we can, we can do away with that very quickly. And I think this is a good sign. Um, if you have the right idea, and also the right argumentation on arguments, why the your idea will actually work and such as something, maybe we have all sorts of ideas, right, I want to have a hoverboard, that, you know, being transport transports me to work or something like that, or beams me from, but but many of these just don't work. I'm the you meet a lot of people that will tell you these things. And and the ratio of you know, I want to say 10 to one I like out of nine people, not like you're your average person on the street that we said, this is a great idea. But I don't understand how what one would do this. But you do meet this resistant, I think this is this is a good sign of that you're on the right track. Because if you have the right idea, All that matters is that you're right, right. If you were Albert Einstein, you have an idea of how gravity works. Even if everyone else thinks you're wrong. At the end of the day, what matters is whether you can do it. Um, the way I would pitch it is that they're asked, they're sort of practical aspects and fundamental aspects. So we, we pitched VCs and 2017 at a time when it became clear that we can't just sort of work on it. In the research lab, we've made made tremendous advances, but you know, we needed to scale we needed to just solve some more practical problems. And some, some VCs will say, you know, this is not our cup of tea or this is not our our area but if you talk to enough people, you know, you'll find these people that that sort of get it right and or at least that's what you hope for right that you're right and and that those are the people that get it then and and you just work with that the same is true with with customers partners. There are many the many conversations that start out with no way or no. And in some way, it's actually good to hear that no first like you don't typically hear a yes first, right. You want to hear that no first because that makes the other person think that makes the other person say like, okay, you know, I have the freedom to this doesn't make sense to me. And then then it starts to make sense to a lot of people and again, I'm mostly talking about financing or customer partners and so on.Steve Brown:
So would you say you're more you're more an engineer or research scientist What? What do you what was your first? Yeah, iteration after cutting starting to see yourself in the professional world?Florian Bohn:
I am. Yeah, that said it's actually an interesting question. I'm I would not define myself as an entrepreneur. And I am an entrepreneur, I do not, I am not like a full time entrepreneur, I'm doing this because I think it's actually addressing a need. And if I didn't have anything else, I would be doing something else, I would view myself as sort of, I'm scientifically interested. I'm an engineer. I like things I like serving needs. So I worked at a company, close to 20 years ago, now we made we make components for cell phones, first, CMOS power amplifiers. And we sold about four and a million of these and the fact that there were at some point in time, you know, maybe a couple of hundred million phones out there with our component in there. And it served a need people wanted this for whatever reason, they didn't, most consumers wouldn't say, you know, we want this this particular power amplifier, but through the fact that they purchased the phones and the suppliers, provided them with those, it gives me tremendous, tremendous satisfaction to know that what I've been doing is useful to others. I'm very, very utilitarian that way, you know, doesn't mean that I don't do things that are just interesting to me, but professionally, I like to do things that, you know, make other people happy at the end of the day. So that's how I would define myself.Steve Brown:
Well, I like Bill happy. I like what you say, because I think more most so I believe that the invisible heroes of the American economy, especially our entrepreneurs, but I wouldn't believe most of them would say, Well, I didn't start off saying, Hey, Mom, I'm an entrepreneur. They were like starting a business because they saw a need and wanted to provide a solution and pay the bills, right? Yeah. And that's exactly the same experience that you're having, as well. But yet, let's be honest, you're having to start to change your self identity and to seeing yourself as, yeah, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm an engineer. But also, I need to be able to speak entrepreneur and and swim in those waters. No.Florian Bohn:
Yeah, it's, yeah, it's just a different language or a different the, you're trying to solve a problem. So maybe I view myself as a problem solver. I don't care what the problem is, it has to be interesting. And it has to serve a purpose. So at the end of the day, many things have to come together to make a successful product. It's not just engineering, right? You can have to, you can have the best engineer, the engineer and peace in the world. But if no one knows about it, because you're not doing marketing, what's the use of it, right? If you're sitting on an island, and so on, you need to have marketing experience, you need to have flex, you need to think about it strategically. And ultimately, I enjoy that I enjoy doing something that maybe pushes me a little bit out of my comfort zone. It's a lot of work. It's like, you know, it's not satisfactory most of the times, but you know, it's like, but at the end of the day is pays off, right? Because it's a real struggle. And and yeah, and you know, this, right, you many times you think, how am I going to solve this problem? Right? Right, I don't have enough time, I don't have enough money, and I don't have enough, I don't have the right people. But if you just sort of think about the most likely there's a solution and and after you've done it once, then you want to have a new challenge, right. So the, you know, whatever terminology or addressing people that are coming from a different background than you I think that comes naturally with that you just sort of pick it up as you go along. Right.Steve Brown:
So I think of an engineer, needing to start to step into being comfortable with marketing. Kind of like these in Star Star Trek where Yeah, these species are higher intellect trying to talk to humans, right. And so being an engineer is like having that, you know, this higher intellect in a way but now you got to speak marketing. How do you talk to us about that trans transition?Florian Bohn:
I don't think this is true. I know I have so there are many forms of like intelligence and and just because you're a great engineer or you know you're great in one thing doesn't mean that people who are great and very different Sort of like, like a different skill set. They're just the smartest, you just they just have learned something else. Right? So I think I think you just approach it with curiosity, right? But what is it? What is it that? What is the need that you're addressing? Right? Like if let's say, if we're talking about marketing, what's marketing? Well marketing as you're offering something, and you want someone else to buy it, but really, really what you should be wanting is you should be wanting to understand what the other person's problem is. Right? So one book, I've read a couple of books, and there's only so much you can get through books, there's only so much you can find out yourself, you know, so you have to kind of do all a little bit, but Eric Reese's book, the lean startup, that he had a very interesting thought in it, which was that the marketing process is really a scientific discovery process. Because you don't know what what your customers want. I don't know what my customers want. No one knows that. How do we find out we find out what works and what doesn't work, right? If we, we show them here, this is the best thing and they say no, go home. And then you then you have to think okay, what is it that I need to improve? What is it that works? And that's how you get to perfection of a product. Right? And and this is why it's so, so immensely difficult. This is why we advance as a society, if you look at it, the smartphone, right? It's so complicated, and there's so many things that are just dried. And on the surfaces, it seems like it seems obvious and easy. But it's the process of iteration right before Apple, let's say half the iPhone, there was was it the Newton work? Right and, and, you know, it just takes that so that thought that the marketing is it's really a scientific discovery process other than it's not loss of nature's just people's desires and fears and whatever pockets money spending habits that you're addressing, doesn't make it less of a scientific discovery process. And and so that's, that's very satisfactory to me, since I'm an engineer and scientist.Steve Brown:
That's cool. So in Peter deals, book zero to one, he talks about the process that you're going through that if you don't consider the marketing aspect of this product, in the design phase of this, you're setting yourself up for failure. And what's interesting to me, is how's someone, someone from your background, you would have never said, Mom, I'm gonna, I'm gonna also be really good at marketing, right? But, but there was this time it came, it was starting to be obvious to you where you got to go, mom, I have to figure out this marketing thing. When did that happen for you?Florian Bohn:
Well, for me, it happened, I guess, last year, where because we started the company, we found some marketing effort, but I basically I transitioned from a more engineering role to a out like a marketing role or business development role, let's let's call it that. It just has to be done. And it's it's, it's, it's happening. I'm hiring people to help me trusted advisors, you ask friends who have done this, and that's how you learn and But again, it's, you know, it's a learning process, and I don't know, these sort of things. I just find them naturally interesting. Let's say if let's say we have a customer conversation, that didn't go too well. Next time I know why this particular one didn't go too well. Most likely it was because the customer wanted something and we're just too boneheaded to to get it right. It's like I know we really care about this and this and and you know, if you don't I think there's no reason there's no point in like overthinking it, just do it right. Yeah, have fun doing it and and then after you might as well enjoy it and learn as you go.Steve Brown:
So now you're talking about sales. And this is another thing that maybe even if you realized you needed to be good at sales, you wouldn't like brag to my mom, I'm gonna be a great salesperson. Right? But but it's it's in play.Florian Bohn:
But But sales is actually is actually an interesting challenge. Right? If you think about it, the um it's actually something I would probably want to do if let's say I had infinite money and nothing to do just just sign up like get employed as the lowest salesperson for a mattress store right and just get that right you know, how do you sell a mattress to someone Even if they don't need one, right, and and, again, sales is, it's a kind of conviction, like you have to convince someone right, or you have to discover what they need. And and so that that's a challenge. And I like challenges. Yeah, I think again, I am not, I'm not like a one man show here at the company. So that and then people that helped me in there that areas that other people, maybe more maybe more experienced or better at. And it's important to have a team and that the team works well and, and that you sent the right person for the for the right job, so to speak.Steve Brown:
But the natural, even though you hired a salesperson that actually is probably very well, just that they haven't sold this product before, right? And so the natural tendency is to go, we got to bring Florian to this meeting. Well, now you're in a sales role. And you can't stay just on the technical playing, you need to be reading the room, you need to be understanding what's the real thing they're they're wondering about, instead of just do the technical dump of all the features that this thing will happen. So actually, you have to be the salesperson for a little bit until the people that you hire, settle in and feel confident that they can do this without needing you for backup. No.Florian Bohn:
Yeah, I mean, obviously, if there's an important customer meeting, it's it's up to everyone to make sure that we understand the the, the need and then do a sale. And again, I would I would call it more listening. Right? What is it that if someone talks to you it's they come in, they have something in mind, right? In the worst case, it's they they want to find out how they can whatever get from you or something right. But but that's again, the sale right? The it's finding out what is it? What is it that the other side? One was that we want? And how do you sort of get to the to the best outcome, and sometimes you don't make a sale? Now maybe it makes more sense to make a sale later. But it's it's, again, I think of it as a discovery process or just just understanding what what is it that where you have mutually beneficial interaction, right, because obviously, the other side will always get take something for free, obviously, you would sell for infinite amount of money. But that's not how sale happens. You buy something because you value your money less than the thing you get, and the other side values the money more than the thing they're selling you. And so it's a win win situation always and trying to find that win win is, is sort of the process. And yes, and that sense, I'm a salesperson.Steve Brown:
Want to pause here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called ROI quickstart Academy for authors. Every day, I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation and we want to grow our business. But the things that are in our way, our lack of knowledge about the specifics we should put in place, what kind of technology what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns and that problem exists for authors as well. And we just chill so good with authors because, well, I'm an author, and I understand everything that you struggle with, you have a great idea you have a great book, but what do you want to do, you want to get your book in front of more people, you want to make it easy for them to find you learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you hire you for a conference, or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the Quickstart Academy for authors? Imagine working with a small group of like minded authors, and the experts from the ROI quickstart team, it's a great way to get your messaging clear to be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book. To learn more about the Quickstart Academy for authors, you can visit ROI online.com or click in the link in the show notes below. And now back to this episode. So in the journey of developing this product from a prototype to actually in use, you think about positioning. Talk to us about in one of these sales conversations where you had an epiphany about you initially had envisioned that being used in this app But then all of a sudden, the person on the other end, asked the question that made the light bulb go off that maybe you were going in the wrong direction.Florian Bohn:
Yeah, I'm trying to and this certainly happened. This happens all the time. I don't know if I have like a, an example that specifically sort of brings out an epiphany, but yeah, you got you go into a conversation, you think, Oh, this would be perfect for XYZ, and then the other side doesn't think so. And, and they talk about something and all of a sudden, you think, oh, if it could do this, as well, or if we focus the the effort on this particular aspect, then all of a sudden, you have like a whole new product, or a whole new sort of added feature to it. Um, one of the, the technology itself that we're using, it can can send wireless power, it can do other things as well, for example, as part of the the, we sort of have some, some redundant sensing mechanism, because you want to know if someone sucks a hand into the phone, if you know the power is being interrupted, and so on. So there are things where customers have asked, oh, can I do this? Right? Like, can it? And I don't want to? Because most of these conversations are active, ongoing conversation. I don't want to give a yes, specific example. But it happens all the time. Right? Most of the times, it's, it's just hearing what people struggle with. You know, like, an easy example, I guess that, that I'm not giving too much away is how expensive it is, if you have let's say, a retail store, and you want to, you want to have electronic shelf label, so displays how expensive it is to change batteries. Or let's say you have our technology and you want to have a shelf label that only turns on when someone is actually looking at it, right. So that this is a freebie that comes with it. Because you can kind of detect, okay, or someone in front of it. So let's just turn it on, or maybe maybe detect how they're interacting with it. Right? Are they are they actively engaged, particularly for some of these shelf labels that are in high end electronic store, you have very sophisticated engaging customers. And so you think about how, like, these sort of things were an obvious to me, they're things like, um, I just wrote a byline for an automotive magazine, that wiring is 10s of pounds in the car. You know, it's so you actually if let's say a wireless power solution, and the you actually increasing the fuel efficiency of the car almost right, because the car weighs less, because you're replacing all the wires, then you have to dry you have less dragon and you have to lug less wait around and um, yeah, so that always always, you never know what what someone really wants until you talk to them. And then until you get get down to the down to the nitty gritty of the of the customer conversation.Steve Brown:
Excellent. So one of the things I think that leaders really struggle with is clearly communicating the value of what you have to offer or where the vision for the company is to go. Talk to us a little bit about your journey and first, conveying kind of getting down to what's called a logline. You know that one sentence about what what it is that you guys to, that's hard for the person that's up and close and personal. Talk to us about that journey of clearly communicating?Florian Bohn:
Yeah, I mean, wireless power will be as ubiquitous as wireless data, then five to 10 years for sure. You will not be you will not have to worry about at least for your for your day to day electronic devices. How do you plug them in? Do you have the USBC or the lightning? Or the whatever cable it is? It's just going to be all one standard. You don't have to worry about you don't even think about it. You don't think about how, how much battery Do I have to use? So do I need to change the batteries in my remote or want to put this camera up there how to wire it up, you just place it there and it gets gets its power? It's it's going to be the same thing as its Wi Fi. When Wi Fi came out. It was very clunky. And you have these PCM ca cards and it's expensive was slow and everyone was like Why don't you just plug in your computer. Now if you go to a Starbucks and you or pizza or whatever, what have you coffee bean and you don't have Wi Fi you're upset. You're like what do you mean? Is this the Stone Age here? And it'll it'll be the same it'll be the same and and no one No one yet can see this quite clearly. But you will be looking back in a couple of years it will be unimaginable that never was like that, it's going to be that experience that Captain Picard will have, like, you know, he wouldn't understand what it means. What do you mean? My tricorder is out of power, you know? Do it, you know, it's it's always powered and, and this is the world we're going to be living in. And our mission is to, to enable this for the company, does that mean that in let's say, 10 years from now, we'll be doing the same things that we're doing now most likely not the same, the same way. The companies that started let's say, building Wi Fi boxes in the early 2000s, that invented Wi Fi, they're not the ones that are supplying hardware right now. Wi Fi actually was used in stores initially, like this whole, like 802 dot 11 technology was used for mobile, mobile terminals, like cash registers, that kind of stuff. So that you can exchange some low level data, the idea that we would be watching, let's say, streaming video, and then all came later, and I don't have a crystal ball. I don't know what that there's thousands of applications that I have no idea about. The same way. No one knew what would the internet bring? Right? What, you know, when the internet started, you could do things right, he looked at news, so whatever it is, but you have cloud storage now, no one imagined like, Okay, great, you know, we're going to store all our pictures in the cloud, what is the cloud who knows right? And and we don't have to worry about it, you look at the same pictures across your devices, so that there's going to be lots of applications that once this technology really catches on, that people will think about that I have no idea yet what that will be. But I can think of a lot right now. And they're markets that have a really, really urgent direct need right now. And those are the ones we are focusing on right now.Steve Brown:
So as a CEO of a company with this revolutionary idea, or product, you would, what are we talking about? Is this, this is more of an idea? Or is it a product?Florian Bohn:
The product?Steve Brown:
Um, yeah, we can send power over air over several meters, several watts of power, you can send it wherever you want it you can you can, we have some videos, some we actually just put some videos on our our web page, you know, you can see a car running around, you can see like light bulbs, we haven't we put a power source on the robot, right? So the robot goes around powers things up as it as it finds them. So no, the technology is here. Maybe in some aspects, it's a little bit like the early Wi Fi, not everything is is super perfect, but it has a lot of applications already. And in the next decade, we will see the the sort of kinks being worked out.Steve Brown:
So what is your primary challenge right now? Is that communicating the value of that idea? Is it trying to set up compliance standards for the application of this product, protecting the idea, intellectual property, what is your,Florian Bohn:
all of the above. Everything is difficult and, and takes work. And there's a solution for everything. There are some regulatory there's some regulatory things that that happen. There's some let's say there's some application areas where regulators are more or less comfortable about, you know, because it's just different. If you're talking about sending, you know, kilowatts over whatever long distances, that's a different thing, then, you know, I don't know powering a small IoT sensor or something like that. There are challenges in in reaching the right people there. There are so many companies out there that have a need that they haven't thought about, and we haven't thought about and so making make creating that that channel and communicating this technology exists and have them come and say, Oh, this this solves a big problem. We had a few of those, right? We were We were at the Consumer Electronics Show on the show floor this this year and January, way back when the world was different. But we had people stopped by they're like, Oh my God, this this solves something. You know, this solves a seemingly mundane problem. You know, did you know in a hotel like what people call about us, this is the the remote isn't working. And 99% is because the battery is out, it's really expensive to every time send someone in fix battery of something, and then then have that done. It's a, it's a simple problem. But so the the solution, let's say, if you charge the battery automatically, wirelessly, it's not the cost of the battery, it's the cost of having to send someone having a customer that's upset, can watch whatever the game that they wanted to watch. And that's the price. Right? And that's, that's yourself. That's your selling point there that, you know, you can, your customers will be happy, they will never have to deal with this again. And so, yeah, I mean that there are lots of hurdles there. There's COVID. This is business. If business was easy. You and I wouldn't be doing it right. Now, what's the what's the fun in it? If you if everything was obvious when you when you when you start out? Right?Steve Brown:
Yeah, so So what? You know, you're getting you get to talk about these things, and people ask you typical questions you hear over and over. But what's, what's the one question you wish people would ask you about this product? Or the process? Or what's in your head? And where are you going?Florian Bohn:
I know the answer. The question is like, Is it for real? Yes, it's real. Yes, it will be here. And yes, I know. You don't believe it quite yet. But we are talking to people that are talking about shipping product next year. And the year after that, and and then the year after that, we've talked to all sorts of companies that have very clear ideas as to how they would integrate this into into their products. Is it gonna ship next year? Hopefully, um, maybe not. But it's going to be here like the year after that. Maybe you won't see it immediately. Because it's maybe in some warehouse or it's in some, you know, in some hotel room or on some, some store or bus, or maybe you're gonna see it very soon. Maybe maybe won't be charging your your cell phone all that much longer with ci and and again, there's this it's a new technology. So there's there's some some, I guess, some hurdle almost that you have to overcome there some practical things, let's let's pick cell phones, right? Apple named their wireless charging technology air power that they discontinued? And why did they name an air power? Presumably, because they have a vision of some sort that you just powered over the air? Is it going to roll out in cell phones, maybe, you know, cell phone, cell phone, for example. People may not need that. Or they may say well, I want the 50 megapixel camera, rather than this, this kind of thing. But it'll be in cell phones to keep up with yours. It'll be in cell phones, it will be in your smart, smart home devices. It'll be in your wearables, it will be in in your the stores for you. It says it will be in your cars, it'll fly your drones eventually, it'll it'll do things that are cumbersome now, and that in the future will just be a setup box. Just put the box there, you don't worry about it. It's there. The same way you don't worry about it, how that power gets to your outlet in the first place. Right? I mean, do you ever think about you know, how does that that power plant work? And who is making sure and it's complicated, but you just expect itSteve Brown:
and watch this document documentary recently where they brought in a 777 I forget airline, but it was really cool to watch how they disassemble the whole airline. I mean, the whole airplane. Did you see this documentary? on just listening to what were you doing this? I don't know. Maybe. But it's like, they took it all apart and looked at everything. But one of the things that shocked me was the amount of cables running up and down. That thing is like, how do you keep track of all those cables and where they're going but then while you're talking? I can see where you could replace miles and miles and miles of heavy cable and just an airplane.Florian Bohn:
Yeah, it's an airplane. Getting the power to the seats, where you have your screen or something is that already is pretty painful. I'm running cables through moving parts like like doors or Or where you have joints and stuff. It's painful things break and then then the sensor break and then someone has to crawl and find that broken cable. And, and yes, there's a lot of cables in an airplane. I know there are a lot of cables in a car. And I don't even I haven't seen that video. So I thought how many how much it was in the plane, but you can ask your savings there.Steve Brown:
I'll send it to you. But yeah, because you think over years and miles and miles, that would be a significant savings to reduce weight, especially when they're wanting to charge me a little extra for the stupid carry on. I'm I'm bringing on so. So what the? Where are you now? As far as the company? Are you still taking investors? Are you about? What can you share with me on the stage of your company? And and what what can we look for is like the first evidence that this is actually going to market?Florian Bohn:
Well, you'll probably see evidence sooner rather than later. Again, as I said, like you may see product stripping, as early as next year? Well, you may not, but you may at least see the indications of of this happening. We are working on we're working on deepening our our customer relationships we are talking to we have a pipeline and all of these sectors, to some extent we are discovering as we go along. What is the most urgent one, what is the sort of like lowest hanging fruit so to speak, because no one has that solution yet. But there's demand in all of these sectors, every cell phone company, every cell phone company, and I'm not telling saying telling you which ones we've talked to, but we've talked to some of them at least. Yeah, I've thought about this. I've seen resumes of engineers that said, yeah, we worked on this at this cell phone company at this and then it went off to, you know, headquarters or something and stuff like that. Every every high tech company has definitely looked into this. We, you know, I mean, we we talked to them. There are some things that they know, they're the many things that they know, there's some things they don't know, we are very actively developed and doing business development. We are I mean, I don't know, we're probably always fundraising. Not very specifically, but it doesn't hurt to you know, to to have that conversation started, even if you're not whatever raising this particular round. You know, it's a relationship, right? And most of this conversation, tell me where you're at. And, you know, keep me updated, and so on. And you tell them some things, you don't tell them all the all the secrets, and until you actually, you want to close around, but then it becomes much easier because they let's say if you're talking to a VC, they know, they've talked to you before. We are working on roadmap items and the technology we're already thinking about, okay, what do we need in one year, three years, five years from now, we may not be getting to everything all at once because we have limited resources. But all of these things are going on I when I started out like this is this is eight years ago, almost when I first thought about this, I didn't think about this like okay, this is some sort of cool gadget I after this conversation in the in the sushi store, I drove back home, and then I was living in the Bay Area at the time the conversation took place down in LA you know, I drove back home and thought about it. And but I had this, this sort of like, the let me use that word to use epiphany of seeing things what all has to come together to make this happen. And it's a million things. Okay, what is the number one thing that I need to be doing right now?Steve Brown:
Yeah. Right.Florian Bohn:
So let's do that. And, and so at any given point in time, I have a and this is why I see my role, let's say as a CEO, I don't necessarily see it as a salesperson or as a, as a engineer or as a marketing person. It's all of those things. I don't have to be the best at it. But it's all of those things. Yes, there are regulatory questions that our customers that are there engineering issues, there are operational issues. All of those things just have to be done with in the right way and in the right priority. And there will there will always be emails that don't get answered right away. There's always going to be something that you wish but it was, you know, not the most important thing. And and right now it's Yeah, right now it's a lot of emphasis focus on on ramping on qualification on on business development, those kinds of things. But again, that that's sort of like the the most important part of it.Steve Brown:
So what I'm curious if you're concerned about you, obviously, you have some intellectual property secrets. Are you? I would imagine, you might be concerned about the security of those are those being pilfered by some outside entity? Is that?Florian Bohn:
Yeah, I mean, so the most important secrets, we don't file anything, it's just like, it's just like something that, you know, again, we've been working on this for quite a while. So there were some some real problems that have to be solved. Just don't talk about it. You You know how it's done. The people who have to know how it's done, know how it's done. And that's a trade secret. We file some IP is always some, there's always a little bit of giving and taking, and I don't lose sleep over it. If someone I don't think someone can just sort of like it? Well, at the end of the day, it's a cost function. Really, right. So if you think about it, let's say whatever the big, big bad company wants to steal all your secret, because they really mean so their only purpose is to like get, get, you know, what it is that you have, and you have to be very productive about it, it becomes a function of money. And I mean, if there's a competitor out there that has infinite resources and can hire 3000, you know, whatever. This of the smartest engineers and the smartest marketeers Yeah, at some point, you you don't have really a chance, right? You just have to make it expensive enough that they say, well, let's just work with these guys. Right? Um, but that's always true, right? I mean, could you copy the the, whatever the, let's call it the Apple iPhone, of course you could, right? If you had a gazillion trillion dollars, and you got like 20,000 of the smartest people working on it, you can make a better copy of the iPhone, it's just very expensive to do. And so it's, you know, let's, let's worry about like what's in our control, and let's protect our secrets. Let's be a little bit tight lipped about what it is we're doing. But at the end of the day. Yeah, at the end of the day, it's it's a business risk that you protect in various ways. And, and you know, you shouldn't lose too much sleep over it. People have tried. I mean, people have tried to develop this technology. Some of them have given up. Some of them may try again. We have, we have something good to offer, we work on all aspects of technology. I'm an IC designer by training. So I've designed some of the integrated circuits that are on this on some of our ICS. We've done software development algorithms, em simulations. It's hard to assemble the team. And this is this is an advantage. I think that me and my co founder staff we have very broad, very broad like I can I can design the ICS design the right software for it, figure out how it operationally has to do I may not be the best at it, but I can solve all of this problems. And so can both of my co founders. And it's hard to if you It takes time to get to that point. And so there's some natural production there.Steve Brown:
Well, Florian, this been an excellent conversation. You've been a great guest. I really appreciate you being with us. Tell us if someone's really interested in learning more. Where can they connect with you? Where can they look this up?Florian Bohn:
Sure. Um, people can follow us on LinkedIn. They can follow me on LinkedIn, they can go to our website, guru.inc, g u r u. i n c, or guruwirelessinc.com. Our company was called Caspian calm, all of those things will lead you to the same thing. You can find videos of our CES presence on YouTube. reclining smart hope solver. So you can see some demos there. We have demos on our website and take it from there.Steve Brown:
Awesome. I'm gonna send you a free Kindle copy of my book The Golden toilet to see Read it and it'll help improve your chances of making it to where you're going.Florian Bohn:
Wonderful. Thank you so much. See, if I really enjoyed our conversation. I really enjoyed the questions from long answers. Those were actually very interesting questions. And he had a very good way of asking, making making my brain cells.Steve Brown:
Yeah, no, this was, this was fun. I, I appreciate you so much for being a great guest. And so that's a wrap.Florian Bohn:
All right. Thank you so much, Steve.Steve Brown:
Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI online podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat, and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better. Be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden toilet at surprise, that golden toilet.com I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI online podcast.