Futurized goes, beneath the trends to track the underlying forces of disruption in tech, policy, business models, social dynamics, and the environment. I’m your host Trond Arne Undheim, futurist and author in episode 18 of the podcast, the topic is the future of industrial operations. Our guest is Natan Linder, CEO, and co-founder of Tulip Interfaces, the manufacturing technology platform spun out of MIT Media Lab. We talk about fusing hardware, software, and design to create new product experiences. We touch on additive manufacturing, augmented reality, and the manufacturing industry’s image problem.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:00:46):
Natan, how are you doing?
Natan Linder (00:00:48):
I am good. How are you? Good to see you too.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:00:51):
Yeah, likewise. It’s been a while and it has been indeed. Alright, Natan. I am excited to have you on the show I wanted to this is typical with with guests are super accomplished your CV as long as like like no tomorrow, but it’s full of wonderful things. So I wanted to highlight just a couple of things and ask you about it. So you are from Israel and one of the things that you did before you came to the U S was you were the co founder and manager of the Samsung electronics R and D center. And I think that is actually crucial for some of the things that you did later. And I’ll want to ask you about that.
- Agile Manufacturing Summit https://massmep.org/event/agile-manufacturing-summit/
- MFG Works: https://mfg.works/
- New England Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) https://tulip.co/amhub/
- World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/
- Global Network of Advanced Manufacturing Hubs https://www.weforum.org/projects/global-network-of-advanced-manufacturing-hubs
Trond Arne Undheim (00:01:33):
But then you went to MIT and went through Media Lab, right? Two degrees including the PhD that you just finished up. You have founded at least two excellent companies that will get into Formlabs and Tulip Interfaces. Co-Founded, I should say in some cases, and you’ve been involved with a lot of other things that we’re going to get into, but, you know, I just listed all these things. The thing is that’s, what’s on your public record. What are some of the things that few people know about you or that are kind of clues to why you have been so immensely successful?
- Formlabs https://formlabs.com/
- Tulip Interfaces https://tulip.co/
- MIT Media Lab https://www.media.mit.edu/
Natan Linder (00:02:18):
Well, I don’t know if I can put my finger on one thing I think I come from a background of.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:02:27):
I was just asking you you know, some of the things that have been, I guess they’re also the most, most important in, in your background, you think in terms of shaping you.
Natan Linder (00:02:38):
Yeah. So look, I don’t think it’s that atypical for the kids, you know, a kid who’s growing up in the eighties, nineties, you know, with the computer revolution that went down, you know, Windows 95 and on and internet and being fascinated with all things, computers, learning to program, that kind of stuff
Trond Arne Undheim (00:03:01):
You would say that was your childhood, or that was your early teenage years. You were just into all kinds of things technology.
Natan Linder (00:03:08):
Yeah. But I grew up with a dad who was an engineer that basically build things. So, you know, my dad built a four meter a wide satellite dish that had like PLC controllers on it. So like, you know, it’s not like just programming, visual basic and things like that. Like I learned how to program control systems kind of like an early age and
Natan Linder (00:03:31):
There was a secret nuts aren’t I see, I never asked you this question before, and I knew that there was something in your background that I hadn’t gotten my, my, my wrap, my head around. So the reason I ask this of all my guests is that there’s always something, in an outstanding person’s career. There’s always, tell me though, you’ve done all these things. What are the things I wanted to ask you? You’re actually one of the very few Israeli you know, people you meet in the U S who doesn’t claim that they have been part of the Israeli top secret electronics forces, is that right?
Natan Linder (00:04:11):
You know, I, even if I was, I wouldn’t be able to tell you, right.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:04:15):
Well, it looks like you are the only one who actually was, because I hear that story a lot. And there’s so many that this unit must be like the largest unit in Israel, because basically everybody you meet who is in innovation and startups, they will tell you right off the bat that yeah. They spent significant time, you know, doing hush hush work that they can’t talk about. I just, I find it kind of interesting.
Natan Linder (00:04:38):
Yeah. But, you know, I got to disappoint you that I was part of the operational intelligence for the air force, but, but it’s, but it’s not that unit, it’s not those units. There, there are several units and it is, you know, it is a defining experience where you meet a lot of creative people and get to do many things that are you know, pretty high tech and intense and exciting. And I think, you know, if I tie it to the early experience I shared with you, I guess what, what if I tried to tell it to myself, it’s like, I don’t know how exactly, but at some point growing up, I realized that I’m attracted to where hardware and software coexist. And this is a place where a lot of value. Well, first before I thought about it, as, you know, pure value, the way entrepreneurs think about stuff, it was more about, Hey, I can just build like an amazing experience that if you don’t think about hardware and software together, you just, you’re not building. And that’s, that’s kind of like what brought me to MIT or, you know, my experience working on collaborative robots back in the day when Rethink Robotics started or building 3D printers, or of course, you know, the stuff we do now with Tulip. So it’s all kind of,
- Rethink Robotics https://www.rethinkrobotics.com/
Trond Arne Undheim (00:06:00):
And it says, this is really crucial for me because you said something, you know, where software and hardware coexist. And that really is the deep tech moment that we’re in. Isn’t it. So you’re saying that from an early age, this was kind of ingrained in you that it wasn’t just a game about software. It was both. And, one of the reasons I said, let’s start a little bit around the Samsung experience as well is you seem to have not only had this awareness and this kind of dabbling with, with hardware, but you’ve had it an acute sense of how this all had to be packaged in some way, and maybe I’m wrong. But I mean, Samsung, obviously it’s a product based company at the end of the day, as, as long, you know, as well as an R and D company, but they also, they take it all the way to product. Tell me a little bit about how long it takes to integrate all those areas, because as we’ll get into right, the companies you have started, they merge all of these things. Of course, you then have the media lab experience, which we’ll get into, but it’s not simple to merge hardware, software, and design, and then go on to create true products that people love.
- Samsung R&D https://research.samsung.com/global-rnd-network
Natan Linder (00:07:07):
Right. So, you know, for me, one of the most formative experiences, and this is sort of why I call it Samsung my real grad school, because basically I was, it was like a kid in a candy store, like getting exposed to how real consumer products are being designed and designed engineered brought to market sold. And you know, I think what you said about Samsung is very true, but, you know, I have a slightly different way to describe this company, which is, it’s like a giant integration shop. So they’re able to take all these technologies and put them together. And it’s interesting that you mentioned the product cycles or how long does it take and you know, two quick comments about that. So to make truly, you know, groundbreaking type products that people love, I think it takes a long time, but the companies who scale it, learn to do it on an ever increasing cycles and Samsung learned how to do that. And they did it in, I was specifically part of Samsung mobile and kind of like exactly pre iPhone era, a little bit of post iPhone era. And, and so we’ve seen , this comparison
Natan Linder (00:08:27):
Caught by surprise, right? I mean, they had to learn it kind of on the fly because they discovered despite all of their R and D arguably, or maybe would you see it the opposite way? They just got an opportunity to shine as well. I mean, it was sort of like a joint opportunity, the opportunity was created and then they jumped into it.
Natan Linder (00:08:46):
Yeah. But, you know, they had Samsung specifically had quite a few, touch screen devices. And you remember like all the hybrid Palm phones.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:08:57):
I’m not selling them short, but there was Apple.
Natan Linder (00:09:00):
I know, but the thing that I think caught everybody by surprise is the change of the business model, where the, you know wifi chips were like, looked at like a strange thing. Would we have it on our phones? It will disrupt the carrier model and things like that. And you think about it from a perspective of 15 years, and it’s like, this is ridiculous. And, and it shows you like how, while, you know, technologies come about quickly and you get excited with them, but for them to really assimilate into the mainstream and become something we all take for granted, it takes actually longer than people perceive. And, and you know, I lived through that quite a few times.
Natan Linder (00:09:39):
And on that, you know, what I, I can tell you, having this perspective from the inside, it made me I wouldn’t say completely fearless, but courageous enough to undertake hard- or software related projects and drive them through. And, you know, if you look at the past decade, you know, a decade ago, people didn’t talk about places like Shenzhen, the way we kind of almost take them for granted now what it does for speed of producing new products, the supply chain and all that kind of stuff. And that played really into it because that’s the backdrop of the last, I’d say, decade of hardware driven startups and what they did in bringing new revolutionary products to the market.
Natan Linder (00:10:22):
No, that’s true. I mean, you need that infrastructure. I mean, I would go as far as to say that innovators, you know, if you were sort of a coffee shop innovator that was sitting there, scratching your head, what are you going to innovate on?
Natan Linder (00:10:32):
You certainly hardware would be the furthest from, from your mind. Right. Just because, you know, you just looked at the face of it, you know, how would I get all these things together? And then how would I build it? How would I get even to,
Natan Linder (00:10:46):
how would you scale it? How would you, how would you scale it more importantly?
Trond Arne Undheim (00:10:49):
Yes. Let’s touch it for a few seconds on the media that we can’t just skip over that important part of it. I want to ask you a very pointed question. You worked at the fluid interfaces group, what are on the planet is fluid interfaces.
Natan Linder (00:11:04):
That is a good question.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:11:07):
So it sounds cool, but it’s very hard to kind of capture in a, in a sentence, isn’t it?
Natan Linder (00:11:14):
It is. I think, I think when I met Patty Maes, professor Patty Maes, who is my advisor, you know, very, very lucky, very privileged to work with her.
Patty Maes https://www.media.mit.edu/people/pattie/overview/
Natan Linder (00:11:25):
And she came from a background of classic artificial intelligence and contributed like, you know, seminal technologies that today also we take for granted like a, you know, software agents that help us like choose the next product on Amazon and things like that. And the, the idea that you could use these kinds of technologies, to empower humans, to, you know, to use better interfaces, to create better experiences, that they can be more productive, happy, remember things better, things that are more or less called, we call it in the human domain was, was the center of the appeal for me. So it was, if you think about what I did before coming to the media lab, it was like mostly around interfaces because mobile phones, yes, there’s a system, there’s a board there’s software. It’s hardcore, embedded engineering. Same is true for robotics, but how a human would use this very complex thing is where it’s at for me, that that’s, that’s what drove me to the media lab. And then
Trond Arne Undheim (00:12:37):
You said on the, on the LinkedIn profile of yours, you say you have a sort of curious action statement that I believe is similar to what you’re saying. Now, you as a fusing tech and designed to create new experiences. So now you’re bringing in the word design and experiences, are those the things that you learned then at the Media Lab to take it all the way, not just to the design, which, you know, kind of as the third leg after software hardware, but then truly to the experience, which of course, is a big buzz word everywhere in products these days. But, but it actually is something real, right? It’s something very real
Natan Linder (00:13:12):
Tons of research, like why design and specifically human centered design creates a lot of value, but I’ll, I’ll answer this through an example. Okay. So, so, you know, just before coming to the lab Patty introduced me to Rodney Brooks who, you know from MIT as well, he ran CSAIL. And he started iRobot and, and kind of created real consumer products
- Rodney Brooks https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Rodney_Brooks
- iRobot https://www.irobot.com/
- CSAIL https://www.csail.mit.edu/
Natan Linder (00:13:37):
And not only consumer also defense products for robotic platforms. And when I met him, he basically told me a story around how he believes that there should be a new breed of robots called them collaborative robots or cobots, and how the humans should have a new way of programming the robot, which when you think about it, it’s like it is a design and an experience problem. How do you, how do you take a human that would know skills and programming such a complex machine and give them new tools other than dependence and the classic ways of creating a program for a robot. And so I see that as it is a classic design problem, and I see, I see it, the same thing as when Formlabs, we took a very sophisticated, complex 3D printing machines, specifically stereolithography and made it such that anybody with basic experience, connecting an espresso machine and following instructions and clicking on buttons can start printing in like less than 10 minutes. And that, that is where design lives.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:14:48):
Yeah. And three D printing is of course, at least for many people a mega trend that people are looking at and saying, you know, these centralized production decentralize everything, but you guys have, have with Tulip, your more recent startup you have kind of elevated this discussion to a broader level than just printing the goods. So you guys are, and that’s, you know, today’s topic. We want to talk about the future of industrial operations, much more broadly. What does that mean? Can you unpack that a little for us, like in industrial operations is almost sounds kind of 1950s to me, but obviously, that’s because it uses the word industry and then operations, which, you know, operations to be sure to say has a tradition. What do you mean by industrial operations?
Trond Arne Undheim (00:15:37):
In fact, could you clear up the concept soup in this business because all right, let me just list them off for you. And then you clarify, what are the key terms and what do they mean? Additive manufacturing, agile, connected manufacturing, AR/XR, industry 4.0, digital factory. I’ve just listed a few, which of these matter, and what do they really mean?
Natan Linder (00:16:02)
Wow, there’s a, first of all, there was a lot of buzzwords. So let me try and go on a stream of consciousness here and do my best to kind of tie it all. I think they all fall, like if we’re trying to step away from the buzzwords in, you know advances in manufacturing technologies and the way they’re orchestrated you know, throughout our backend systems, software and supply chains to really enable companies to produce products and deliver them to customers, that’s at the broadest level. And, you know, I I’ll unpack, like before I go to unpacking the specific terms, which I definitely want to spend time on today. And cause I think there’s not enough critical thought applied to those terms so
- Rodney Brooks https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Rodney_Brooks
- iRobot https://www.irobot.com/
- CSAIL https://www.csail.mit.edu/
Trond Arne Undheim (00:16:51):
Well, because some of them are marketing terms and others seem much deeper or they are connected to something real that they just become used in such a loose fashion.
Natan Linder (00:17:01):
Right. So when, when we think about it, like, you know, humans are the technological memo. Like what we do is we create technology and then we, you know, fast forward to modern times, we make factories to make them so we can all enjoy them. And and then we do it again in factories, products have life cycles on the traditional. Now it’s like becoming sort of traditional, like these ideas of like industry around industry 4.0 that we went through, from the steam to the electrical, from the electrical to the connected and from that to industry 4.0, which is kind of like the mesh of all those technologies coming together with what the internet, on tap computation gives you to do smart things. For me at the, of the day, like I can give you a simple description of my decade plus of my past decade.
Natan Linder (00:17:54):
Plus like basically when you go to those operational environments where humans are there and they’re doing what we call frontline work, whether they’re assembling a product tending to machines, driving a warehouse, all that kind of stuff, the internet is you. And I know it. And as people know it, cause they’re, you know, a lot of people in our circles are what we would define knowledge workers, which means they would make decisions based on data, it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist in, in a way that is routinely available and meets the dynamic nature of operations. And what I mean by that,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:18:28):
What you’re saying is basically these things aren’t continuous in the sense that there’s no march from, from kind of the stone age to advanced and not everybody is advanced, but are you then talking about the management not being caught up or are you talking about the entire system, including–the frontline workers may or may not be a sort of industry 4.0 and the same is true for their managers and the same is true for the infrastructure. And it’s some combo of that that you actually need to assemble in order to even get close to any of these buzzwords in practice, right. In a factory,
Natan Linder (00:19:05):
Right? Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, in practice, there’s a really simple way to understand it. The first sort of 30 years of digital transformation, like if you take PC modern operators, modern operating system internet, here we are like, where did it go? It went to backend systems for your HR finance, marketing, and sales ERP and so on. And why did it not arrive at operations the way we see it in other places is because it’s hard because it’s the combination of digital and physical because you have people who are not behind desks and, and you have environments that are, you know, they’re less robust. If you want to move a people sitting in one environment to another environment office, it’s much easier than shifting a production line. And the thing that is missing from all the industry 4.0 super buzzword that you talked about is basically two big revolutions that happened kind of in parallel, but they’re, in the tech circles, are less spoken of, one is the quality resolution.
Natan Linder (00:20:08):
So like the idea that, you know, you have to think about quality as a big thing that drives manufacturing and the other is what it generally is called lean manufacturing. And as you know, very well started, like from thought at MIT went to you know, the evolved into the Toyota production system then went back, you know, got, you know, in the washing machine, six Sigma and many other things along those lines. And, but what are these, these are like ways of conducting operations that basically moves value to the customer. Now it turns out that to do that, you need data and you need to be able to, when do you move value to the customer? When you found new of creating that value now, how do you find that, you know, better quality, less waste, all those things. And the number one thing that makes that happen for real is data that you can act upon.
- Six Sigma https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Six_Sigma
- Toyota Production System https://global.toyota/en/company/vision-and-philosophy/production-system/
Natan Linder (00:20:58):
Now, if your ability to collect and act on this data is very limited because of rigid systems, you know, clunky, expensive that do not put humans in the center, then you’ve already lost the game. And like, this is a moment where we are, where you’re seeing the shift of all those trends. And again, I’m sorry for adding more buzzword to our soups here. Like, you heard this term, the citizen developer that, you know, because Tulip is doing you know, a lot in the ‘no code’ space, we’re letting people who are engineers, but they’re not software engineers. And we let them know they might be safety process, lean manufacturing, engineers, you know industrial engineers.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:21:38):
I love that term, the no code space. So you’re defining people in terms of whether they code or not code.
Natan Linder (00:21:44):
Oh, it’s not, it’s not just me. I think now it’s like I don’t think no code is fundamentally new by the way.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:21:51):
No, no, I understand. It’s just, it is still for me a funny term because, and it just proves that the people who get to create a definition state, they have the power here because, so, so for you, that really is a part of the enablers that we’ll talk about with Tulip, right? It’s, it’s the ability to get frontline workers into a position where if they may not be able to generate code, but they’re certainly in a different situation, but we’ll get into to two up in a second. I just want to ask you one thing when your manufacturing image problems disappear? Because there’s this discrepancy between this concept soup that operates at the world economic forum and in policy documents and to some extent among innovators. And then there’s the reality that you just talked about, the fact that you walk in to a factory and you see 18th century written on the wall everywhere. And you’ve told me this before, when you walked into a factory, right. It’s shocking. So the kinds of things you need to do is not to infuse them with AI it’s to get them to start counting, you know, being and, and, and you know products,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:22:54):
But when will this image, because things are changing as you pointed out, when will the image disappear that manufacturing somehow not only is backward, but will remain backward, which is kind of the real big question here.
Natan Linder (00:23:06):
So, you know, I’m not a PR expert, but you know, I have this funny anecdote about this question that I always when I’m asked this, I’m kind of thinking about that, you know, you walk into a classroom and you say like, who wants to work in manufacturing and nobody raises their hands. And then you ask who wants to work with advanced analytics, no code robotics control systems and software, that kind of stuff. And like, of course everybody raised their hands. So I think that the pressure, you know, and we’ve discussed this issue before, the fact that we have in the U S a skill of roughly 2.5-3 million by 2025 of professional hands needed to like, do work in manufacturing is, is a real thing. And, there are lots of manufacturing jobs.
Natan Linder (00:23:59):
And like, when you think about the workforce with like the silver tsunami, so, you know, baby boomers are retiring obviously. And and transferring the knowledge becomes very hard in the Millenneal, post-millennial generation, come in. And they’re like, what is this clipboard? Like, we can’t even do work here. You know, what, what, where is the touch screen? Like, why are we not working with analytics? And so I see the bottom up pressure, which is obviously a trend that we’re building on when, as we are trying to serve and kind of create value for our customers.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:24:30):
And that’s good, right? Without this bottom up pressure, because you can’t just stuff, technology down people’s throats. Right.
Natan Linder (00:24:39):
Absolutely, and now think about the top down for a second, because cause like, I think, you know, you and I are more or less, I think the same gen X era type people. And like when you, when you think about the decision makers today, you know, they’re know there are people like us and younger than us, even that come in and you know, they were born close enough to the internet or with the internet or with mobile. Their perception of what is considered state of the art is different. So that’s the top down pressure. Now when you put the two together, the real change will happen is, is when, you know, you could not build viable businesses. Otherwise it’s not a question like, is it cool? Do we need to do it? Or, you know, this buzzword, that buzzword, it’s like, it’s actually essential to be competitive. And with that, it’s like, if you, if you would go back in time, even 20, 30 years ago, probably GE is the most respected.
Natan Linder (00:25:29):
Like everybody wants a job there, you know, and they’re considered cutting edge and all that kind of stuff. And you know, what did they adopt? They actually adopted lean manufacturing. When you think about it, and I think that some of that, some of that is happening. It’s amplified. And we got, you know, we, I dunno if you want to go into the pandemic, you know, every, every conversation that we have now, like there’s some backdrop of, Hey, this is what’s happening in the world, but we got a pretty serious wake up call, you know, all the alarms went up when you have to go into manufacturing and, how does that sound like you need to press a button and change how the production line is organized. What’s is making how you’re training people, how you’re measuring it, what the FDA is going to come in and say, because now you’re making PPE or vaccine kits or whatever it is you’re making.
Natan Linder (00:26:16):
And if you’re relying on nothing or some homegrown software or some old school stuff that does, that is so rigid, then you’re not going to make it. Now, this is not a pandemic issue. This is what I’ve been explaining to and hearing from my customers and partners and like explaining to anybody who would listen. It’s like, this is actually the new bar for how you have to think about your product development and production cycle. And this is not science fiction. This is now, you know, and I have a great have a great anecdote on that if you want.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:26:48):
I I’ll take it. I have a question on COVID a little bit later, but I just wanted to cover something, but give me your anecdote. And then I’m going to ask you about some of the emerging technologies,
Natan Linder (00:26:58):
This small anecdote. And we can include the link to that. There was this company called Meter, which is a startup in, you know, in the advanced manufacturing space that when the pandemic hit, they, they started building a what’s called an emergency ventilator. So this is one of those teams that, you know, in three weeks, went through the whole process from design to getting ready to manufacturing because of their mindset, because they understand, they know the supply chain and build on available components that use tools like , online CAD and to Tulip to think about manufacturing and events and so on. So that’s, that’s, that’s a, that’s an anecdote of like how, you know, if you would try and think about that kind of product design, manufacturing process, like even six months ago, you would, nothing great. What are you smoking? I want some of that. And, but the stuff is, this stuff is here and now, and in the compliment, your anecdote, you think, you know, think about a company like Medtronic.
- Medtronic https://www.medtronic.com/us-en/index.html
- Rise Ventilator https://www.riseventilator.com/
Natan Linder (00:27:55):
So Medtronic put out their ventilator project as open source, of course they did it from a point of view of you know, helping, you know, helping the fight against the pandemic. And that’s awesome. And you know, I’m not trying to start, should we open source manufacturing? But the story is that we, Tulip took a tool open sourced it and as a public service, kind of put it on tool, it, put it out there. And then we started seeing teams from Africa, from Saudi Arabia, places that there are no Medtronic factories, there is no shore buddies. And they’re like, Hey, we need access to that. And that’s what the cloud based technology gives you today. Not in like 10 years,
Let’s talk about these technologies for one second. And then we are going to move on to Tulip. I want to talk about some of the concrete things you’re doing, but w and this rapidly, again, becomes a concept soup, but the, you know, they’re, they’re slightly more real as you’ve pointed out. The technologies that you are the most excited or worried about when it comes to applying them into industrial operations, what are they, I mean, we’ve talked about some of them.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:28:58):
I mean, IOT devices, definitely sensors. We haven’t talked so much about, and I know that’s crucial to a lot of you do at Tulip, but then you have, you know, all the clouds type of discussions, you have all kinds of wearables and devices, but then you have good old mobile phones that I know you use as well. What are the technologies that are already here and now, and, you can plug them into manufacturing environments and what are the ones that are more on the horizon that you’re sort of seeing this is going to start becoming relevant. Now, just give me a little bit of an overview of that and yeah.
Natan Linder (00:29:33):
The things that are here now, and, and, and they’re becoming very much, a reality is like really robust cloud infrastructure, you know, for your storage, you know, for connecting your assets for running multiple applications that deal with a lot of data that that’s, let’s call it, like the infrastructure layer, on top of that, you know, obviously we are all aware of the conductivity to, lower level systems, whether it’s the sensors or robots, the conductivity is there as well.
Natan Linder (00:30:07):
And so that, that is here to the things that are a little bit more, I mean, some of it is here. So, you know, people talk a lot about deep learning and AI, and like, I have a, you know, I have a love, hate relationship with those terms, as well as where they are, which, you know, I wrote my 250 page PhD dissertation on they are. And so we can, you can talk about that as much as you want and we’ll run out of time probably. But the point is like these, these things are are kind of, sometimes in the eye of the beholder sometimes are very real. So like, you can, you can, if you have the data and you have any of the models and the context you could teach computer could learn, okay. And you can teach them how to detect anomalies, predict a fault States.
Natan Linder (00:30:52):
You know, we’re doing a lot of work and w which we’ll get it out as soon. Like, you know, the place we like to apply, it is like, using a computer vision, like to, to help humans. And so more on the horizon is a realm of assistive, the user interfaces. You know if you have all the data about production, you can imagine what kind of what can you deduce on, on you know, how products are made, why they’re made a certain way and so on. Now, this is like I mentioned, it’s all this deep learning and AI is as good as your data collection, your contextualization of the data and your ability to have interfaces quickly built for people to actually act on it. And I’m not talking about the dashboards for the executives that, we kind of take for granted that any enterprise class product would collect data and show it to you in a meaningful way.
Natan Linder (00:31:44):
Otherwise, what’s the point, right? I’m talking about the people on the shop floor where, they need, imagine for a second, if you can, that you’re a production engineer and you’re in charge of a value stream with dozens of stations. And like, you have the full context of the line, you know, what you need to measure, you know, who you need to train, you know, where you want to deploy certain sensors, but you have to orchestrate it. You have to put it together. So what tools are you using? This is exactly what an industrial operation platform like
Natan Linder (00:32:14):
Tulip is doing. We’re giving you the tools to do that. So we’ll we’ll chat about that in one second. I just have one more question in sort of leading up to that. And that’s actually about AR so augmented reality, it has been on the horizon for a long time. It was very often confused with virtual reality, which is, I guess, arguably quite a different thing. And then you have, you know, XR entering, you know, the, sort of the extended
Natan Linder (00:32:40):
Reality. It’s like all kinds of ways to sort of try to say we are there, or we are at a fruitful kind of point right now. What is the situation really with, with AR– is COVID for instance, in this big shift, that’s going to finally make AR real in the manufacturing and in many other environments, or is a, are still a little bit of a scifi topic in your head?
Natan Linder (00:33:06):
Yeah. I might make a few people upset here, but that’s okay. I, you know, the way I see are fundamentally, you know, the ideas are out there. There’s pretty good systems, but at the end of the day above all, if you think about it from, for a second, from the wearable perspective, it is, a form factor problem. It is. Is there, a piece of equipment that you can trust that can reliably help you overlay digital information. And it doesn’t like make people feel very weird in the context of the environment. Now I’m not, I’ve been watching wearables mature for the past decade, so there’s been tons of progress. And there’s definitely leading use cases like, you know, for the service scenarios and companies are doing great things and we can register information in three D to an object and detect it, and that that’s all great.
Natan Linder (00:34:01):
But I think, you know, once we have the real consumer electronic giants, like an Apple or something like that, come up with a form factor, you would think about AR kind of more or less the way you think about your mobile phone. Now, I’m an AR skeptic to a degree where it comes to like the value of the classic see-through AR that, you know, you hold your hand to a phone and you interact with stuff. From two perspectives, one is like the content creation side, which I think is still a tough problem. It needs to get as simple as building a web application. I don’t believe personally it’s there. It’s getting there. But also because, really interacting with digital information through like an intermediate device, like a mobile phone sometimes is very cumbersome. Like you better.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:34:49):
Well, this is my real question, I guess. I’m having various people on the show about AR soon and one of them I’ll let him explain on the show, but the point is, his point is you can’t really do this on a cell phone. This is going to be its only form factor. So this is my point is the form factor that AR is going to take on an existing cell phone. Is that even AR or is it just something different? Because from what I understand, the true vision of AR requires its own device.
Natan Linder (00:35:23):
Yeah. I think there’s some, my answer is like through very sort of enterprise AR type use cases, unless the you know, cause you can argue Pokemon Go is like a pretty cool AR game that.
Natan Linder (00:35:36):
well sure, sure. In gaming that’s a little bit different just because people are also willing to buy the hardware for it to a much bigger extent right then than people might.
Natan Linder (00:35:46):
And the mobile phone form factor becomes part of the experience in a way that is adding value to the gaming and this and that. But like, is it cool to like, if you have a machine through a mobile phone and see the layers of the machine yeah. But can you actually hold your phone and the screwdriver together, like to fix the thing? Probably not. So like you’re trusting the brain of the human to switch between those States and this is where wearables come to play and you don’t mind
Trond Arne Undheim (00:36:13):
Google glass enterprise don’t tell me that’s another one. I mean, it is arguably yeah. Pretty interesting form factor. Right?
Natan Linder (00:36:23):
I think, you know, we, you would look at them, you know, from even a five year or a 10 year perspective and you would, and again, I’m saying it, I’m saying it lovingly it’s like, as if you told me like 30 years ago, look, the Atari is like an interesting form factor. And so there’s been an evolution and you know, now we’re in the Nintendo switch era. Okay.
- Atari https://www.atari.com/
- Nintendo https://www.nintendo.com/
tulip interfaces – natan’s startup
Trond Arne Undheim (00:36:42):
I think we all respect innovators, Natan. So we’re, we’re speaking here with with the context that we respect innovators, no matter what they’re trying to do. And some of that will fail not to the fault of the innovator, but just because they were you know, before their times, right. They were working on problems for which context they don’t control. Now, listen, we need to get into Tulip, because Tulip, you started in 2014. I have to say I was one of the first you lead into the lab. I was truly blown away. I remember. And I don’t know if I shared this with you, but when I walked out of that lab, Natan, I thought this is one of the greatest, for me, this was kind of the mother of all demos. I had not, you know, I have not been there for the demo of the internet.
- Tulip Interfaces https://tulip.co/
Trond Arne Undheim (00:37:26):
So I don’t know what a Douglas Engelbart did. I have seen the video, but there was something about how you showed me the simplicity of it all the fact that at least when I was there, you had hot-pluggable things. So you could buy at Best Buy. So there wasn’t really anything in the devices you were using. It was the way that you put it together, but it was more than that. It was the fact that you so quickly understood that a frontline worker could be up and running and could at least without really changing a lot of what they’re doing in their day to day could yield data from their operations that would just be able to self correct. And yeah, so that was my experience. Where are you now?
Natan Linder (00:38:13):
Well, now we’re, we’re in a very exciting point where we are scaling up. I think we you know, from an entrepreneurial point of view, I feel pretty solidly that we have created a new category with a very strong product market fit to define what is an industrial operation platform. Now, a lot of times you know, like like I mentioned before, and again, I go back to this from no code, cause the best idea, you know, the best ideas are actually kind of pretty simple. And like, there’s like really fundamental small things that you change and they make all the difference. So in our case is instead of thinking about a no-code as something that it would like, what would enable all this data I called you, that you described and the ability to create it quickly. It’s the fact that you give it to people that have different contexts, that they come with, understanding that they are in the production line and, they know what they want to build. Now, the hard part is like to kind of create an environment where it’s familiar enough to them. So we used really simple interfaced. And the key metaphor was like, something like, think about a PowerPoint, but instead of making a PowerPoint, you’re effectively creating an application who doesn’t use PowerPoint. And that’s how,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:39:30):
That’s what I love about it. You’re not alienating the workers because you’re, you’re actually validating their everyday experience. So that the point would be, if you said, you know, here’s this fantastic thing you’re going to put on your head here, all these magical gloves you’re going to put on, but by the way, they weigh like five pounds, you know, it’s like you weren’t inconveniencing people. And that was my, what I liked about it.
Natan Linder (00:39:50):
Yeah. And it’s, you know, it’s more than that and I’ll tie it to the comment you just made. It’s was like giving them super powers and saying, you know what? You want to connect this sensor to that and get some UI here and a form from the user there and like send stuff to your boss as a dashboard, you can do that. And you don’t need a system integrator and you don’t need like 15 RFP meetings with IT. And you can show the demo working tomorrow. And that, that changes the game. And like, if you tied back to what I said at the beginning where hardware and software meet in a human that is doing work in the enterprise context, come together, you unlocking value. So, you know, this, the classic example for that is, and this is a little bit rhetorical. So apologies to all our listeners. It’s like, is the world going back to paper-based design instead of CAD, of course not because computers and computer aided design is a fundamental better way to do that. It’s kind of like the same thing, you know? So it’s not because no code is cool or anything like that. It’s because you’re eliminating the cost and complexity of system integration. And you’re changing how manufacturing works on the floor and or operations for that matter.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:41:00):
You call it democratizing the shop floor. Yeah. That must be a very wide version of the word democracy. But I think I actually understand what you mean because you are at least empowering the frontline workers on the shop floor to as much as they, of course they are still going to be part of a manufacturing line and they’re not going to be the boss, but they, you are kind of giving them, like you said, some powers that they didn’t have, they can certainly be tracked and trackable so that you can trace back. I’ll give you challenges, but also good things that they’re doing, I’m assuming, right? Because you know, usually these things are controlled technologies, so they’re all about catching flaws. We have to stop the manufacturing line because Bob here did something wrong, but you’re also giving them, can you give me some sense of some of the tangible, positive things that you give back to these frontline workers?
Natan Linder (00:41:56):
Absolutely. That’s exactly what I want to talk about. So the reality is, you said about giving them things, but, you know, go back to lean, like the best lean teams scrum together, you know, software engineering and engineering in general, stole away, lean methodologies, from manufacturing, what does it mean? It means, you know, it means, you know, this term Gemba, like go to where work is done, ask the people, you know, talk to them, you know, you, you go to the frontline workers and you say, how do you want this software to work? And they tell you, you go to the frontline worker and they say, you know, I have three ideas and, the next day you can show them, Hey, here’s your idea in action. And then the last, these are generic, but they can become very, very specific very quickly, you know, you go to them and you show them the information and it’s not with a delay and with the weight or burden of the control or the tracking you mentioned.
Natan Linder (00:42:48):
So cause cause when you, the most energy, the anarchist version of Lean is like, there are no bosses whatsoever. It’s like completely run on its own. It’s all fully transparent. I’m not advocating for that. Of course. I’m just saying, that’s like, if you go to Lean theorists, like that’s what they would tell you that that’s the best operation because they, their self manages and their distributor and so on, and I’m not trying to oversimplify it. But the reality is information gives a lot of trust, creates a lot of trust between the people on the shop floor, the people who build their environment, the people who manage them and fund them, the people who need to sell the product and that transcends. And that’s like, you can go from there to like how our supply chains are configured because that transparency also goes across organizations.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:43:40):
So Natan, tell me, here’s how I’ve sold a meeting with you to probably 20 multinationals. And you know, you and I go back. And I have indeed sold those meetings. So you’ve, you’ve gotten those meetings. Tell me what’s good. And what’s not so good about the way that I characterized you guys back in 2014 and 15. So what I basically told executives is that here’s a software and hardware sensor system that without interrupting the worker can take you away from this situation that you and I think you were the ones showing me this, you basically just showed me like a list of 20 manual steps that a typical manufacturing worker has to go through. And then they have to cross them off manually, literally just ticking off what they did. And then with a little note, if something went wrong and that sounds to me really, really cumbersome, but what I saw in your lab and at least what I was selling to them was–that list is not possible. You know, you can’t optimize work when you have that list because you’re constantly stopping what you’re doing. Well, you guys provided is essentially a sensory environment so that all of those
Trond Arne Undheim (00:44:50):
20 things were ticked off that list by the sensors or the cameras that you installed
Trond Arne Undheim (00:44:58):
And the motion and international,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:45:02):
Probably both the interactions and the emotions were basically happening as you were doing them, as opposed to creating a separate task that was logging, so logging the work takes you out of the work context. Now this is how I sold it to people who had real experience on their own factory floors, this is the Holy Grail. To what extent were you able to deliver what I sold?
Natan Linder (00:45:26):
I think we’re on our way to delivering exactly that and we’re getting every day better. And, you know, we’re seeing what our users are doing and it’s like pretty phenomenal. And, we are coming in and we’re training the trainer. So like, you know, we’re, we’re able to kind of get dozens of engineers across multiple plants able to come up with their own ideas and effectively, this bottom up transformation starts occurring. And that’s not new necessarily for lean manufacturing. Cause that’s part of the principles, to give that power to the people, but we’ve became the tool to facilitate that. I think that the thing that is challenging, and I’m not saying like you did a bad job selling us like that, that’s good. If, you know, if this blog thing doesn’t work, you know, give me a call.
Natan Linder (00:46:14):
We’ll find something for you to do. But my point is, is that manufacturers have been promised from my T perspective, the stars and the moons. And when you think about manufacturing, operations, people like they are really sort of ‘show me how it works’ type of people. You know, don’t tell me stories. Don’t like, give me your big words on like how there’s a module for everything, you know, for the cat and the dog that I need to, and like how to all seamlessly connect, –IT projects die hard and like there’s a collective PTSD from that. So our, you know, the way I, you know, the reason I’m excited and what I think we’ve been able to deliver is this new way of doing things that avoid pilot purgatory that just like, okay, we’ll run a program and in three years, we’ll check in and we’ll find that, you know, we got three screens and $3 million, you know,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:47:13):
Natan, that ties into an anecdote that I’m sure you’re using, but I use a about you as well. I mean, we got this call right after we had introduced you to a corporation and, and you guys had been on the plane, you were basically there and implementing your, and I the, the bosses essentially of this factory called us up,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:47:35):
You know, where is, where is Tulip? Yeah. And I think the idea was you had already finished the task in two and a half days and were already on the plane back to the U S and I love that anecdote because it illustrates and I don’t, I, and I think it’s true because I was there and experienced it. It illustrates what you’re saying though. You’re, you’re not just saying that this is a fast implementation. It truly is very, very fast. And it’s shocking to people that something goes faster than you promise. So you, done a little bit of over-delivering. Do you know?
Natan Linder (00:48:11):
I have to tell you something about that. Yeah. We’ve done a few things correctly. Yes. The tech is great. The product is awesome. Come try it, do the code. Awesome. However, however, every time we were successful, there was some level of readiness from the team on the ground of the receiving organization that they were ready to change and truly, do something differently and it takes different challenges.
Natan Linder (00:48:39):
Can it be my follow up, Natan, because I haven’t really traced that example. Then I would be really curious to hear in that particular case, you know, are they still using it because, and it doesn’t really matter. Maybe they’re not, but, but to your point, and it’s not true, not everybody can do a good demo. Some companies are really good at demos and they can’t implement. What, what does it take to overcome this? I’m great at demos and truly implement. And then, you know, after that three day demo, make sure that you said, of course the company has to have certain preparedness and skills themselves, but what are the other elements that makes for a successful manufacturing implementation now?
Natan Linder (00:49:22):
Yeah. You know, from the startup perspective and, this is, you know, people forget sometimes to break SaaS or, you know, SaaS means software as a service. So it’s not done when you’re on the plane back and celebrating your great demo. It’s like maniacal customer focus where you’re, you know, every decision we make every system we build is kind of designed to increase the utility of the customer from the product and the service we sell. And we are only interested to put our systems where we effectively create, make money for our customer, not something in a year like to collect data, not none of that. But the thing is that when you’re living in this like rich data environments that we’ve been discussing today, like they actually count the return on investment all the time, because you can, you can, you can multiply the number of quality issues where the time you spent with what you spent into building the system or changing it and so on. And that,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:50:20):
Well, can you give a couple of examples of companies that you can actually name by, by, by brand name, where you are actively right now. I mean, I understand you can’t outline what you’re doing for them in detail, but thanks that you have written up already, what are some of the companies where you have actually crossed off the dots and the T’s and you you’re in their production line?
Natan Linder (00:50:40):
Sure. I can name a couple of the, you know, the public case studies. One of them is like actually behind me, this is, the premier contract manufacturer, you know, contract manufacturing is a high based complex environment. In this case, we’re talking about operations that are designed to do prototyping really quickly before they go into mass production. So you have, new product in production, new product introduction, process NPI that needs to ramp up very quickly. And like, but you know, one day you might want to build a network appliance and the other day you want to build a storage device. And it’s roughly the same thing, electronic box build, but you want to come in and press a button and change that blind completely. So, you know, that is a good example of like where, you know, Tulip comes to play.
Natan Linder (00:51:29):
I can give you another example, completely different area. And that’s like, where transcends? Cause humans are everywhere. And in fact, you know, in fact they’re not going anywhere that doesn’t matter how many automation, robotics we have, ut a company like Dent supply that is one of the largest digital dentistry vendors on the planet. And you know, we’re, we’re part of their production line and helping them with their quality operation. And it’s such a build to order. Cause if you think about it’s a product that could be a set of abutment and tools that goes into your mouth for a dental procedure. And you can imagine what happens if you don’t get it right. And you need to turn it around very quickly to get it to the dentist and so on. So having a full kind of end to end quality to ,lines, like that makes a lot of difference and allows them to get to I can’t really say, but very dramatic results on the quality, but not only that on the the training, that they have to do to get someone to learn all those things like this stuff has a mathematical space, the options that you can make their product, in the billions, you know, because of the number of procedures, number of teeth, the numbers of materials, the number of different tweaks to the process parameters.
Natan Linder (00:52:51):
And it’s really tough to teach people. And it’s really tough to write software to that. So this is exactly where we play.
Trond Arne Undheim (00:52:58):
But you said something that I paused at humans are not going anywhere. I mean, that is a whole debate, right? The automation does it replace, do the robots replace the people? So you have a very clear position on that. You think, no matter what technologists come in, there’s going to be ample jobs for people?
Natan Linder (00:53:18):
Yes. They’re just going to use their brain to do what humans are good at. And right now we, the robots are just not good at, you know, many things. I was just watching, the other day, robots replacing a human, putting boxes and bins or something like that. So clearly, you know, we have the technology to do that. And then it becomes like a weird calculation of a, you know, how much you invest like to automate this and what’s the ROI. So, but it’s clearly a job that humans should not do. So we should be okay with those jobs disappearing, but that human can fill in one of the 2.5 million jobs that humans should do today. That is not putting stuff in bins. It’s like understanding why a more sophisticated production line is not running on time, you know?
THE HOTTEST STARTUPS IN MANUFACTURING TECH
Trond Arne Undheim (00:54:06):
Yeah. And I mean, even in the robotic poster child case, picking right, picking robots is what you were talking about in Norway where I’m from, right., picking strawberries is a big thing. And it was a massive, massive issue during COVID right now, because, you know, they usually rely on foreign workers to do their picking. The point is good luck going out there and trying to pick strawberries because, you know, here’s a soft berry, that’s buried within a lot of other greenery now, you know, you can pick a lot of stuff on the agricultural fields, but picking strawberry doesn’t seem to me the first use case that we’re going to be replaced by. So anyway, even within picking there are challenges. Look Natan, I wanted to ask you you have such good visibility. What are some of the other startups that you consider promising in the I guess industrial operations space?
Natan Linder (00:54:57):
Yeah. we were just talking about robotics, I think you know, that that space is really happening. I don’t know if you’ve met the crew from Righthand Robotics, they have a really awesome picking technology that learns on the fly products and that’s critical for where, the next generation of warehouses and places like that. I’m very excited about one partner that we’ve been working with called Vention that you know, they’re up in Canada and great company. They basically have a different take on how automations and machines should be designed. And they give you like this nice CAD environment and you can design your own machine. And then it’s like, it’s kind of like IKEA for machines meets automation, you know? So like you get the kit of your custom machine. And the thing that this does is again, dramatically reduces the time that you get through iterations of getting the right machine and reduces the complexity of system integration. It’s again, it’s building on the same themes, you know, if you have a different experience that change how people work and that’s, that’s the biggest value
Trond Arne Undheim (00:56:12):
Looking ahead then, you know, startups. So always look ahead, you look ahead with a lot of your startups, looking at the next decade, what do you think will happen in industrial automation? Is this the big decade where everything will come to fruition? Or is this the prep for the decade?
Natan Linder (00:56:30):
No, it’s, it’s, it’s absolutely the decade and it’s, it’s, it’s happening now, you can triangulate it to like, from what we’re seeing in this pandemic. Right. But forget manufacturing, automation, all that for a second. Can you imagine going into this pandemic without awesome internet broad broadband, internet, cloud storage, all those, all those online,
Trond Arne Undheim (00:56:54):
It would have decimated the world economy, it would have decimated the world.
Natan Linder (00:56:56):
Yes. it would have decimated the world economy. So we don’t have to argue that long that these technologies are here and they’re widely adopted and everybody got the memo, now what this pandemic did. And, but I think it already started before the pandemic, just to be clear, it accelerated the digital transformation, you know, train and like the discussions, with early adopters, there’s never a problem, but like, we used to get calls from people who were like on defense on the cloud, but we don’t know this that suddenly, of course we’re doing cloud, so all of this is happening now and it’s happening in a big way. And I think this is where one of my favorite examples is like, when you see, like you can put the growth of the internet next to like the growth of open source and they’re correlated.
Natan Linder (00:57:46):
And the reason they’re correlated is because they force fed each other. You know, you had more people than network, more people contributed. There was more information. And so more products came out. And in a way, when we talked about democratization and things like that, this is what we’re trying to do. So if you look at things like manufacturing works, it’s like– share the knowledge. I mean, don’t give me, don’t give you the IP to your competitors. But if you have a community of people dealing with like, how are we making manufacturing process better, you’re going to get better manufacturing, manufacturing, manufacturing processes. And if you’re using similar tools, and again, there could be other tools, like Tulip or in the stack of the manufacturing or operation platforms that you might put together in a best of breed. And that is great. And you know, we have partners that we’re working on in that fashion. Then you’re helping your customers get the system they need, like gone are the days of you call IBM, sorry for my friends at IBM. And you say, Hey, IBM, come, come down here and get me this, that, and the other. And like, you’ll take care of all my, IT needs,
how to track trends in manufacturing?
Trond Arne Undheim (00:58:50):
Well, see, now you’re onto something, which is this idea that these things are really complicated, but you kind of have to know a little bit as a, as a customer. How do you advise my listeners, whether they are truly in the manufacturing field or they’re watching it, or they want to get into it as innovators? How do you track trends? How do you stay informed? I know you guys have put on this agile manufacturing summit and you’re active in something called, what is it, the New England Advanced Manufacturing Hub. There are some activities that you have undertaken. What are the most important places you should hit? You know, whether they be influencers like yourself, entrepreneurs to talk to whether they be, I dunno, futurists, a crazy folks talking about trends, or they are true networks of professionals and hubs of startups or where should people go?
Natan Linder (00:59:44):
So there’s no shortage, community, you know, the communities you’re talking about it, you know, I kind of strongly believe in the, in the, you know, while the internet is great. But the work we do is very much a local sport. There’s a lot of practitioners and like meeting them, there’s no substitute, and we’re now doing it obviously online. So that’s why the advanced advanced manufacturing hub is a great thing. And there’s tons of programs and things like that. I go to all the usual places, you know, like, like Reddit is, is awesome. Quora is awesome. T,there is there is this effect of like, when you’re starting to actively and I’ve seen it, I’m sure you’ve seen it too. It’s like the internet comes to you. So like, all these things come to you and that’s like, just the beginning of the search. But I,
Trond Arne Undheim (01:00:43):
I don’t, don’t discount that the internet is coming to you because you are you, so, you know, I’m speaking maybe from the perspective of someone who is tracking a lot of different technologies and no one’s really coming to them. Of course, the moment you hit the wrong website, they will come after you with their newsletters and stuff. But the point is you could drown very easily. I mean, I’m easily subscribed to something like 50 newsletters. And that’s obviously because I’m tracking, you know, some 15-20 technologies and the same number of industries, and I’m trying to advise others on how to do this, but what are some of the top newsletters in manufacturing that, or even just, I mean, you obviously have this MIT background. Do you track other places than the Media Lab for, for development and manufacturing?
Natan Linder (01:01:30):
For sure. I mean, manufacturing has really traditional, like organizations like SME and AQS and association for Quality Engineers, and like all these typical organizations, but there’s like kind of the new kids on the block. So there’s a, there’s a really awesome blog called The Prepared that is kind of tracking hacker community, that the hacker manufacturers, I guess, that, that, that is, that is a very cool blog that I follow quite regularly. And then, I dunno, what I find is like, sometimes you find the right individual and like, that’s the person you need to read. And that’s like the above the 80%. So for the, for AR I read this guy Carl Guttag, I don’t know if you’ve heard about him, but he’s really rich ER, background all the way from TIDLP days. And as has been a critique of Magic Leap and Microsoft Hololens, like it breaks them apart, thinks about the business. And you read that, , on the open source hardware, software ecosystem, like people like Bonnie Howang from MIT, you probably heard this thing before. He’s been doing all our, all the tear downs for Formlabs, you know? And so there’s like these people that, you know, if you see what they do and like tune to them that you’re just getting a lot of, a lot of, a lot of good stuff without the noise.
Trond Arne Undheim (01:02:57):
So here comes the coffee questions, slash sitting in front of the fireplace question. What are you onto next? You’re always onto something. You know, this is clearly a public forum, so you’re not going to give you your life secrets,
Trond Arne Undheim (01:03:11):
Any exciting startup plans, new board roles, product plans. Are you going to go surfing? You know, what’s happening.
Natan Linder (01:03:20):
right now. I’m like locked up in my house. So it’s like, I’m going many places in my dreams more than I would be like, go for Rio, which is a yeah, not simple. I, you know, really I’m, I’ve been, you know, I’ve been doing my own. I don’t, I don’t have more plans to start more companies like I’m very focused on scaling up Tulip and helping Formlabs gets to the next level. And that’s like plenty on my plate. I am trying to help the community and working with like really exciting entrepreneurs that I’ve been involved with as an advisor or investor. And they are all in the same theme, you know, like new, new biological, lab equipment, new processes for dental robotics, like all those things we discussed. So what other than, it’s nice to do some angel investments and try and like you know, help build great companies from like, just that perspective. What’s more exciting is work with like minded founders who are I don’t know if they’re fearless, but definitely they have enough courage to like, try and like, do this hardware software game in a meaningful way, which is not simple. And it’s just great to work with them.
Trond Arne Undheim (01:04:43):
All right. Well, that’s, that’s what I got from you. Thank you for that. I know there’s more to this story. There’s always more to the story, but I,
Natan Linder (01:04:51):
And we can do, we can do.
Trond Arne Undheim (01:04:53):
what do you call it? Like we can do a sequel. I was good at, I was going to ask it. Thank you for for volunteering. Thanks so much for today. This was fantastic. I learned a lot and I hope my life
Trond Arne Undheim (01:05:06):
We’ll continue the conversation.
Natan Linder (01:05:08):
Excellent. Thank you for having me try and it was a pleasure,
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You have just listened to episode 18 of the future podcast with hosts. Hi, futurist and author. The topic was the future of industrial operations. Our guest was Natan Linder, CEO, and co founder of tulip interfaces. The manufacturing technology platform is spun out of MIT media lab. We talk about fusing hardware, software, and design to create new product experiences. My takeaway is that manufacturing is about to change in ways that will make it unrecognizable from just a decade ago in the process, it will become sexy. Again, robots will do many tasks, but humans will in turn, take on other, even more fulfilling tasks. The key is to make technology seamless and unobtrusive, which is not easy. Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at Futurized.co or in your preferred podcast player and rate us with five stars. Futurized–preparing you to deal with disruption.