2013-03 CIMA lunch
2013-02 CIMA lunch
Geoffrey Nicholson, Director 2
Jon Brodd, CEO 1
Kelly Ingham, VP, marketing and business and development 3
It's a very different situation, putting the money into knowledge. And that's why we're so excited. We've been 10 years years now with money, research, and energy into this knowledge. Self assembly now of particles. Really, really exciting technology. But now we're conforming that, transforming that into revenues. And that's...it's a new phase and we're funding about 12 vertical channels in completely new markets that use these coatings. Everything from touchscreens to transparent keyboards, we can put the material in a simple piece of plastic and you can boil water by putting on current into this coating.
You know, it's completely transparent. It's brings a new level of conductivity and flexibility that really today, no other tech can do.
``Not only you can replace existing transparent conductors to be more efficient at a lower cost, but it can also enable new technologies like flexible displays, for example, to become more bendable, more robust, stretch. So the forward thinking people love it because it opens up new design freedom to what they can do.``
And conventional companies love it because they can lower the cost and raise their performance and lower the energy usage. It takes a lot of current, a lot of energy, pushed into a very modest conductor to drive a device. But if it's very, very, conductive, you can just use our assembly. It's cleaner, more efficient, lower cost, more flexible, a lot of usage. And what we've done is just a complete new way of approaching transparent conductors. Today, for the last 40 years, people use huge sputting machines that literally deposit atom level layers of materials in films. And it works, of course. The iPhone is working because of it. But it's a very costly way of doing it, and you're creating just one simple, thin layer of material. So you have to make it really, really thin, or the light doesn't go through it. So what we've done is, "let's go around that. Let's make a network and let the electricity go thro the network, and then just let all the light transmit through these open pores."
So the World Economic Forum recognized it as a clean technology, because everything we make, we can put on a film so it's a very, very clean way of making, very low-energy usage to coat these films, we're using conventional coating technology and then once you coat it, you can use it to make a lot of better solar cell, for example, and lighting, etc.
2: And Jon was invited to give the paper to the World Economic Conference.
1: Yeah, it was great because we met a lot of other innovative companies as well and compare notes and possible collaboration in the future. It's very well-received in terms of the core technology, and now that we have actually commercialized it, it's a very, very different situation from just having cool R&D in the laboratory. Now it's commercial product that can really expand.
> Does the company...?
1: Yes, we've actually started sales. We're going to have a press release on our Japanese coating partner in a couple of weeks, I think.
# Large format
3: Yes in a couple of weeks, around... One of the big markets that's pulling right now in this new transparent conductors is Large Format Touch. Windows 8. More and more people say, I want the same touch experience that I have in my iPad on my notebook. And the notebook right now is losing share. If you're look at the industry the first time touch has come, that notebooks have gone down and tablets have actually increased in sharing. So, they rapidly moving to saying we want a tablet-like response in our notebook. If you look at the new, like Lenovo Yoga and a lot of kind of expandable touch notebooks coming out, we need to have a faster response in order to have the same multi-touch functionality. And so the SID show and *** display shows, we're gonna do our kind of FS 200 generation 2 film, which is for touch, for showing today. It's going to be our kind of official product launch. We'll gonna be showing large-format demos with the film inside. We're in the speccing now. It takes a little bit of time for new materials, usually 6 months. So we're in the process now. We're doing designing of materials and so forth for this second generation. The first one is selling now for EMI showing.
> 2: Why are the customers reaching for it?
3: They're reaching for it because the combat today is ITO or indium tin oxide. And the challenging is to put a little chart there for later. ITO today, your cellphone is probably 200-300 ohms per square in terms of resistance. And that's fine for smaller size display. If you start going larger and larger, you need to have lower resistance to really maintain that same response level, that quick multi-touch. And for ITO, they have to base the coat, more and more ITO in order to reduce resistance. What happens is those films get brittle, they get very yellow, they hardly handle and they increase in expense. And so, to really define ITO less a 100 ohms per square is extremely difficult. I think Korea might have some, Japan. It's also quite expensive. So it really opened up a whole new market for very low-resistance, high transparency, transparent conductors. Then the challenge will come actually to make the film at low-cost. And that's why we're excited about Sante because the self-aligning, we don't have to print it. They see a line, and the conductor on the film, that's part of the overall technology. So we see ourselves enabling a very low resistance at very low cost, overall roll to roll method, and seen that's important for enable large-format touch beyond just flexible displays and transparent displays, large format.
1: And then you take this, which is more or less, we can enable this as you know it today…but one of the other features of this tech is you can format it in 3-dimensional shape. So you go to certain parties that we can name today, but you show them the three dimensional transparent conductor and suddenly the designers say, "wow, you can have 3D touch."
3: You can't make a ceramic 3D.
1: Now if you look at an iPhone for example, all this is wasted space [the non screen element], it's all mechanical. How boring is that. If you're a designer, they really want to push the end of the world here. So suddenly now, we have a material, which ITO cannot do, they can bend it, then can form it. And now, theoretically, you can have a 3D curved, touchscreen. So what does that mean? gaming iPhone, remove all the mechanical parts to the device potential...It opens up. And it allows our customers to innovate on top of the core technology that we bring to the table. And we welcome that. This is a group effort. Nobody ever invented everything by themselves. And I think Apple has a great example of that same kind. Come in, write the apps, we love it, we love the innovation platform. So you see that network of partnerships that we have, specially in Asia, that really welcome that approach.
> Exactly what space is this?
1: We're in the space that includes energy, electronics, we're testing on flexible bandaids. You can put the material, you can transfer it to silicone. And now, the concept is smart bonding. One of the key elements in biotech, but this is not my background, let's say an infection and bandaid, the first thing that an infection creates is heat. So now, potentially, you can have a sensor built directly into your wound dressing. Again, this is one of the many examples. It wasn't our idea. "Can you guys put this in this?" Yeah, we can. "Is it on our commercialization list?" "No." It's gonna take a long time. But it's something that we'll keep expanding so now customers are coming to us.
3: You got a technology platform that's all kinds of challenge is what we have to focus too.
1: I know, if you remember the story of a multi-layer. Multi-layer technology is led to 10 bln dollars of revenue for 3M for the last number of years. The first product we launched in this unbelievably complicated nano-scale, engineered, multi-layer film, was Barbie Doll wings. And we're taking this to the...and they looked at me and...a couple of other people walked in to the executive room and put a nine-size Barbie on the desk. That was the first product that we launched in multi-layer. And it was gorgeous wings. The colors are like butterfly because they manage lights. Since then, virtually every car in SG, some lots of buildings, gets reflects in infrared. It's in every notebook, it's in every ***. So this is the kind of approach that we're taking to multi-layer. Kinda transform the design and we're finally *** that as we develop, innovate, we show and tell, they come back to us, and say, "wow." Because we didin't think of nine-size Barbie. Mattel came to us and say. You'll never know where it's gonna go.
So a lot of people, I remember, telling one of your colleagues that 25 years ago, brought in to the newspaper business, somebody then connect *** skunk operation, where they're trying to create a flexible newspaper screen from which you have to read newspapers. And they said, we spent 5 million dollars. And we sort of "Wow." And then, 6 months later, they cancelled because it was too far off and it wasn't commercially viable. So people then, talking about this for a long time. What happen, what have you been able to do that so many people for so long have been trying to crack?
# Flexible display
1: As it specifically relates to flexible display, not much. We have not to date, we have not really focused on, "Okay, I wanna make a flexible display and therefore, I need to do this to the technology." That's gonna come later. What we've done is take the core invention of... let's just self assemble metal particles to make a useful transparent conductor. That's alll we've been focusing on until the last 6-9 months. All these ideas, if you can do this, think of everything you need to do, but don't try to do it all. Just narrow it down, make it just...Now, Monday, our Japanese team is going to Gen2. We've already been playing with the lab, we've been on the pilot scale, but in terms of commercial. In a couple of months, we'll launch Gen2. In the lab, we'll work on Gen3 or Gen4. So it is an hourglass shape. I think, that's a hard thing to do when you love innovation. You love invention. That's managing job, say, "that's great, that's great. Focus." Commercialize it. Prove it. And once your prove it, everything...inclucing capital. And investors like to have a return. And to have a return, you got to prove it. And you got to commercialize it.
And the employees like to have a salary.
3: Talk about the *** of enabling component for some flexible displays and future displays.
1: You have to drive all this current, right? You have to...it's a core component of every device. You got to get the energy in to activate the device. So being able to be part of that is what we really want to be. We're not gonna make flexible displays. But we wanna work with the Samsungs and the other smaller innovative companies and say "here's what we can bring. And let's talk about what other attributes or performance metrics you need to see to make that into a real product." So we're a component, touch, flexible display and solar cells, OLED lighting, and many, many described applications and antennas and smart bandwidths, the list goes on and on. So we're a component to work together, very, very critical collaboration to make that finished product for our customer.
Maybe it's a lousy analogy but when we provide the product, we don't build autumn bills but the species of automobiles that we do provide, like in iPhones, we don't make iPhones, but we provide a very important product that help the iPhone be what it is. We're not gonna make iPhones. That's not our business.
1: Just to make sure, we're not an iPhones today.
# Genesis of company
Can you talk about the genesis of the company? How it came about?
1: I was the program manager for the infrared version of 3M phone, and it's just hammered with a platform technology that we can do. At the time 3M was bringing in GE, 6 Sigma approach to innovation in running the company. This is all very, very rigid and controlled, and prove it before you can do it. So I left in about that time and basically looking for a new platform that we can really run just like a multi-layer, but hopefully with less expense. So I found this technology in Israel and at the time, it's a very noble way of making the nano material. That itself is quite more interesting, but more importantly, you got to see this first really rough concept of self assembly. That's it. You can make the material, fundamentally you can enable it, and now you'll have a very unique way of actually using it 'coz it's still the core invention.
I actually took that to Japan because at the time, in 2003, they were really ahead of the curve, understanding nanotechnology generally and of course, the market is very much in Asia. So we got a very, very quick response from Mitsubishi, their venture capital group, Nippon Venture Capital Corp, and then, a very dear friend now in Korea, who is also a visionary, came in with the initial funding. So right from the outset, we were really backed by Asian investors that embraced the technology.
No American investment?
1: I was pitching to one very, very famous VC, although I'm not gonna use their name. They wanted me to move everybody to Silicon Valley coz that was the center of the world. They didn't know a thing about Asia, they didn't know how to act in Japan, they gonna do the investment, and the partner, who is one of the most famous VCs in America, was sitting on one side of the table with me, and I think, 23 partners are on the other side, and he leaned over me and said, "Walk. We don't need this." I'm not gonna name names, but I'll never forget that. I just respected them so much. So we did. All of our further investments came from Asian investors. It has been great.
Then you go back to 3M?
1: Yeah. We don't head home to 3M, they're approaching us as well coz they know what we're doing and they miss the old day.
Hey, you called me. I was retired.
1: We just love to have motivated, fun, excited people to join the team. We just hired a gentleman who is at *** conductor. He was on the touch business, on the IC side and he saw we're doing it and said, "you got it." Coz this is what I need. He joined us 2 weeks ago. Parnetship*** enabling partner. And any one device, I'm guessing, at least 5 of the Big Guys do really make it happen. Samsung is the exception. But otherwise, we're all depending on each other.
Could you explain, elaborate on that?
1: OLED lighting, for example, you need different material sets, and it's different companies really focus on whether it's the IHL layer, the conductive polymer, part, and then different phosphors to stock up on them, you need the Tera Barriers to create this to be flexible on plastic substrates, you need companies like CIMA to get the electrode in there. So these are the consortiums. And oftentimes, informal that are really form, that if you trust each other, you can really, really go fast because you can sample back and forth and we're in a number of those today and this is how it works. You got to work together.
You said with the exception of Samsung?
1: Not exception, but yeah, that one company, they like to do it themselves. And 3M, they like to do it themselves. And they can, they do. For smaller companies, I think collaboration and partnership is, I think, critical.
3: It's one of the key advantages of being in Asia. When you look at some other competitors, people in this space, one of our competitor manager who works here, with their customers, and very closely in collaboration.
1: In their language, culture, timezone, what we really, really make an exempt to not bring any arrogance. This is not pure American. It won't happen here. Here, with you, everything you need, culturally. That opens a lot of doors. It's one of the *** components that a lot of people miss that I think have to be there. Here's Geof has been a great teacher over the years, coz he've seen it, he's done it.
Given your investors are in North Asia, wouldn't it have made more sense to be based there?
1: Yeah. But if you're in Korea the Japanese are maybe *** a bit. But in China, everybody's looking at you because you're bringing favor. We didn't want that. The tax rates there are nowhere near. IP protection for us is really good enough. When a new IP is generated, once we require it, is being patented in SG, it's a good hub and I know that it's a well overused word. It really works. Language, easy. My wife doesn't speak Chinese. We considered it. But I'm very pleased with the decision of bringing the building out here. It's easier to track people.
Is SG a good amplifier market?
1: The world is becoming so small, especially in what we do, it's a very small world. Everybody knows a lot about what other countries and places they're doing. Much, much more in 10 years ago. Geographically, the situation just don't matter much because...digital, communicating is so easy now. You just jump on Skype and video conferencing. I'm not sure if it's one of the huge benefits of SG, necessarily. This is geographically, it's great to jump off all the time.
3: We have strong teams. We have a team in Japan, a team in Korea. We've just hired another team member in Taiwan and of course with David in China. We're actually building our local teams as well. So I think that helps in kind of strength of having a hub in SG and have key people on the ground and in the countries they can do day to day with the customers.
1: In the US, we've seen a lot of ***.
You have a Korean office...what is the **** from the Korean company.
1: We're very excited about the new technologies. They're pushing us like crazy, they have to modify.
Do you have closed a sale so far?
3: We're quite a lot of *** right now for Korean market. So, they're very specific in what they want and you have to meet these exact specifications. It's very funny where one moment, they say we don't need it and then they said we want more film, and one more sample, and we'll talk to you again. It's **** who they're excited but they can't tell us.
1: There's a lot of cultural messaging out here. So we exceed sale in North America, Taiwan, and China.
3: Most of it in Taiwan.
1: In the last couple of weeks. We haven't literally and officially launched Gen1 yet. It's just, *** etc. It's relatively quick for some applications and for some, it's just takes a long time. So we're just now really getting commercial level quality out of the various companies.
3: In Japan...they actually taken Sante and put it in the windshield for kind of industrial, like forklifts. In Japan, they drive it in and out of the freezer space, it will fog up, they will put Sante in there and there's this heating anti fog application so it won't fog up in and out of the freezer space. And also snow poles, poles that are lit by LEDs, and these are actually cold light source. They don't have heat. And so, holes in the LED that make the snow warm and then people can actually see where to drive and so they put Santi in snow pole to light them up and the snow doesn't accummulate on the poles.
2: That's a problem in Minnesota. They put new LED traffic light. They forgot that it snow, it start to snow in the winter and all the traffic lights were clogged up with snow and how to heat it...never thought of it.
1: Even large German autocompanies were having the same problem with the LED. Plate, in fact that there's a windshield wiper to clear the snow off. Nobody wants that, so heating by itself is a fascinating...
3: Our current markets, we're talking about having 2 generations. The FS100, our first generation product, is for EMI shielding. Electromagnetic interface shielding. The easy application is if you've seen the latest Batman movie, the Dark Knight. They're on this motorcycles and the *** that's the *** gun, that's a false gun that shuts down all the electronics. EMP is different EMI, but what it does is it keeps the electronic and shield it from other interferences. It's actually a big challenge in these devices, and so, we found Santi, because the conductivity of the network is that we can shield and have transparency. One of our first applications is with G-TAP and they're large military notebook manufacturer, shield the interface in the notebook, and so it's actually shield it from interfaces and so forth that will go in and damage, or steal the light up from that notebook. Security. That's our market for our Gen1 along with the heater application. Whereas Gen2 is really focused on touch.
1: Just a massive...virtually, every electronic device needs to have this shielding. It's not very sexy if you talk about *** but it's a huge market. And we were approach just this past week by a large chip manufacturer coz they're not excited about the transparency by the optics, they're excited about how thin it is. 10 micro stick. That is a 10th of the human hair, and we can give them the shield and effectiveness they need. So again, customers are coming to us and this is why we're expanding and bringing in people, hire good guality T-shaped people coz we can't keep up with the demand for. Some of it will work, some of it won't. It's not failure, is it? It's a learning experience, but by following and engaging with these customers, it shows us how much opportunity there is. Some of them we have *** ourselve.
2: And that's a very important point because we've got to have *** customers as well. And then, when they have the imagination, there is some ownership, which makes them more likely to "we better do this." The ownership of the customer really helps a lot.
Basically, you started in? And how many people?
1: 2003. There's a handful of us. Roughly 12. It was this really company that really had, mostly Russians, that come in the 90s...especially scientists. PHD, really, really clever. So we started at 12 and now we're 46.
How many branch offices?
1: 6 countries. and we have China in the last couple of months. So 6 today.
How many people in SG?
3: 14, we hired 10 people in the last 3 months.
1: We have many. We don't choose one because that really is against the collaboration model and we're very upfront when I go to the S company. This is nothing is excused. We just can't put all our eggs in one basket. It's not the right strategy for us. It's a platform technology. So if LG needs it for something else, we're very, very comfortable to say there is no excuses.
You go to Israel, you come across the technology and think about commercializing it?
1: After I left 3M, I joined a nano company. The president bring some commercial direction to that company. That was owned privately. It's not going where my vision... so I took the nanomaterial component of that company and spanned it out. Very first, you see that in Israel, and *** said, this is great but we have something much better. Oh okay, come to Israel and I'll show you. So I go on to plane, right at the heights of the fighting between Palestinians and Israelites. I think I was the only person getting on that plane. And my wife said, "where are you going and why?" But they did, they found it. They got it. They had just this brilliant complete out-of-the-box way of making nano particles just by itself, really clean, and efficient. Almost too good to be true. And they showed me this very early idea of self assembly. So we actually acquired that company and made it into a combined entity into US corporation. What I have brought with me from the American side is, during the dust bin, is Israeli got it. So that's what we've really taken now, got Japanese investment, and now really moved most of our operations to Asia to be closer to our customers. We're collaborating with various coating companies today. The Japan is actually the first one to commercialize and we're very close with other regional players for coating. And now, application is where we focus most of our time.
# What CIMA makes
3: Jon, maybe talk a little bit about what we actually make.
1: We make the material itself. We have a factory in Japan. We have facorty in Israel, actually make the nano particles and put it in a very, very special fluids, we call inks, and the ink is what we bring to the coating company and we put it in our feeding system. This is very, very specialized with this nano material and the coating partner, uses all, in this case over a hundred years expertise in coating to actually put the inks onto the films. We also own the films after they coat it. So we pay them just for the coating. We own the materials, the feeding system and the films after they coat it. So we're actually selling the films to the electronics industry. It's a supply chain that we really need to control, as much as possible, just because it's such new technology, we really have to be along every step of the way to help with the implementation, coz no one is doing self assembly nano material. It's a very, very new way of approaching the film industry. And fortunately, we're able to use conventional coating technology so we didn't have to invest a lot of coating infrastructure.
This coating technology would be normally used for what kind of coatings?
1: Many different types--back plane filters...many, many things. It's a very standard coating. And we modify it, very, very subtle changes to the *** authors stable web, and repeat.
# Where is ITO?
1: ITO is a very, very high energy magnets, basically. So they evaporate the metal, and then they splatter in on the polyester. We have a wet coating so we can run much, much faster. So we can run coz we roll the film out, we put the wet coat on the film and off it goes. Self assembly process...is squirt on, 15-30 secs, it literally dries. And when it dries, the nanoparticles are pushed and pulled into this matrix.
3: We have a video in our website that shows it. You know they do, they draw down and see it making the...
1: The first time you see it, you'll think, "nah!" But then you look into the microscope, and see what was made, and that's what you'll think, okay, that's it.
3: We have a film here, too.
2: It's very unique. Just to me, it's so exciting.
How would you compare your experience in the early start and post of the program?
2: There's a lot of similarities. When I was involved in the post-it note program, I was in the middle of frustrations and challenges or whatever. The nice thing that me being involved in CIMA is kinda an outsider...that's right. What I see in the same challenges, which is good, but it's very similar. It was a tech platform that's larger than my phone. This company called 3M, when they did some research on post-it note, they said, if you're lucky, at maturity, you may globally sell 3 million dollars worth of part. They are off by 300 times. But that's what typically happens in the initial stages. These limits of visions and people don't realize just what...I had to go in this little statement that I have been making to some of you before, every good program is killed by at least 3 times by the management and I'll tell you, the post-it note is killed more than just 3 times. But we have that 15% that we can work on. What I'm seeing in CIMA is the same excitement and we got a tech platform here that's got so many applications, more, I know more than post-it note. I'm pretty excited. That's why I'm excited. It's nice to be part of it and at the same time, be supposedly retire.
1: 3M ever take this, it's really, really high tech. If you look at this under high-resolution microscope, there's ***. It's a really, really high tech stuff. Do you remember done anything else with *** and all apart from post-it?
2: I think the answer to that is yes, but compared to post-it drowns the whole rest of it. They come with variations. Let's call it the incremental as opposed to exponential. The first post-it note is exponential innovation. After that, you make purple ones and green ones and you have to constantly refresh. But at that point, the innovativeness was, let's say, minimal, incremental. We still, I think, in the case of CIMA nanotech, we got that fundamental tech, but still a lot of innovation is what more, technical innovation goes around that basic technology with all the different...because of different applications. Whereas in post-it note, we write it for posting notes to each other. We're talking about large screen touch, we're talking about...we haven't talked about ink jet printing. There's a whole bunch of potential opportunities in nanotech which will continue to need those more exponential type of innovation. But we got peole to do it. And we got an environment that encourages to do it.
1: Post it is pretty vertical.
2: It was. You wouldn't go into a transfer. The guy who invented the adhesive by accident, he tried to get people interested around these little tiny spheres because you know, guess what 3M is trying to do, we got a stronger, better adhesive. We stick airplanes together. We do. And I always hope we never makes it up, but this adhesive...It's an adhesive that when you put it down, those little balls will be squeezed and touching the top of the ball...that's why you can take it after 10 years 15 years. Stick a masking tape on your refrigerator and come back in a few days, you rip it off and the adhesive is left on the ref. Well, that's because it's viscus liquid and spreads out and wets the surface. If heat goes up, after 48 hours hours, it's flat out. Post-it note stick it down and all these sticks ****. Come back 10 years later and you can take it off. There's a lot of other things that coating technology will be explained to you in making flat piece of paper rather than rolled, etc. That's the way it should be. There's a lot of technical challenge we've seen in nano tech scene. That's good
Everybody is talking in SG about SMEs and across Asia, need for productivity, new ways of thinking things. So how does an SME, can you related that to your personal experience, when 90% of people are negative and from venture capitalist to management teams, all about, you must avoid failure rather than looking at it. How do you stay positive?
2: Believe it or not, I have visited Drew Spring, who really invited me in the first place. I visited many SMEs and I post that same question. The people in the lab are too busy reducing the cost, get consistency, selling the product, I don't have time to do this. And I say, well, does that mean you'll be out of business in 5 or 10 years? It's a survival issue, and I say, if you don't invent your own future or create your own future, somebody else is gonna create it for you and they are gonna take the business. And the business can go anywhere in the world today because of **** coming down, exporting, importing, etc. So, I really *** a little bit in saying that, you got to really take the time. You got to give people a little freedom. *** the other day, and the manager is too enthusiastic because of the kind of message I gave about the need for them in the process, not just in the product. It can be a net process and we can help them to improve the rate at which productivity, they get products through the factory. I don't have to be an expert in jet engines, but, I just know that unless they are focusing some of there activity in the future, they gonna lose it. Eventually, they're gonna lose it. So, it isn't easy. We just talked a little bit about the culture that makes it even more difficult because of the concerns for failure, learning experiences. I got to push that. It's gonna be about experiences because culture is not an issue.
1: On the other hand, I can empathize. When you're running a business, especially if it's a production business, you have a very brazen thin margins. The idea is risk taking, it takes a lot of courage. I remember about a year ago, we had this interesting concept of, "okay you can 3D form Santi, which means you can injection and mold it, to make it a 3D plastic part that conductive." So far, we haven't heard anybody making do this. We approached, through one of our investors, whose the chairman of the company here, he brought me in CTO of this plastic parts company. I showed them this prototype that we done in our lab. And the first thing he did, he looked up and said, "Oh, it's got scratch." Right then, I knew the meeting is over. It's not gonna go anywhere because the senior executive manager don't see this as cool, new concept. Okay, bye, fine, we'll not gonna work with you. We can't work with everybody. A couple of days later, I went to his competitor, and looked at it and say, "okay we're in. So what do you need?" I need a team, target, they're opening up to everything. We're in their lines, we're in their customers, they showed me their whole 152 customer list, which ones should we go for. Collaboration at every level. From the development phase. So again, we got to work together. We can't look at something new and say, it got scratch. Is that company be around in 20 years? I don't know, maybe, maybe they just focus on operational excellence and squeezing the last pennies out of that. I will not be arrogant to say yes or no. I know who I want to work with.
2: I'll give you another example. It has nothing to do with 3M. It just happen to be that I got to know the head of R&D for HP. Kodak and HP are trying to get together for printing photographs. They said, everytime Kodak will come and HP will show the latest, latest inkjet printing, Kodak *** without the magnifying classes. Oh, this is not as good as ours *** film. It was impossible to please them. And you have to say to yourself, when grandma is looking at the picture of the grandkids, do you think she weeps out the magnifying glass and say, "she's got a picture right there!" That's the customer. The customer in that case was the techies who have certain specs that they just couldn't see past them. They didn't say, I'm looking for customer like grandma at some place. They could see was, technically, this was inferior.
# Polaroid and Apple
1: It's a real threat to the ***
2: Let me give you another example. Remember Polaroid? They all died. Do you realize that Edward Land had his name on every patent that came out of Polaroid? What does that tell you? He never built anybody inside his organization to create the future. I have this list of top 20 most innovative companies in the world. Apple is no. 1, Google is no. 2, 3M is no.3, etc. Google came to 3M many, many years ago for 2-3 weeks and learn about our culture and how they do it. Google today has the same basic culture in their organization that the 3M used to have. But, and then they make the point of Apple, Steve Jobs, because the stock price is going from what? 750 down to 400? Because Steve Jobs was a controlling guy and he never built his organization to create the future. I hope they don't crash coz 3M sells a lot of products but we also sell to Samsung. It just shows you what can happen if you don't grow in for capability for people that are working in your company, to create the future. That's why it's important for SMEs to do that, otherwise, they don't do it, there is no future. I'm not sure if people would want to work for a company where they're not creating their own future. Other way, somebody else will take their job away.
1: I think it's in almost a hearsay to say this thing and that. I think Jobs always took the credit. He couldn't have been. It's not gonna happen.
Nobody's that smart today, consistently that smart.
2: The 6 phases of a budget program. 1 - enthusiasm, 2 - disillusionment, 3 - panic, 4 - search for the guilty, 5 - punishment of the innocent, 6 - praise and honors for the non participants. I've been in the slide of these great phases. The 2 slides in there, how to kill innovation and one of them is...there are 2 slides and I'll tell the guys in the lab, make copies of the slide, put them up on your door so everytime your boss works in the building, they'll gonna say that. There's one that's killing innovation and --- 2 slides. As for a 5-year business plan... I wish Mr. *** all the very best as a chairman as he tries to sort out the ***. But his background with GE was in jet engines. He didn't understand the laboratory, what *** was. He didn't know the 5-year business plan, he didn't even started the program. Most of the people then stopped, they started with *** and created into charts and grafts.
3: Going back to the SME discussion. Maybe we can talk about some of the support they had early on...World Economic Forum and how it helped it grows...CIMA and early stages.
1: I think it's all about finding people that have at least the level of vision that they'll gonna trust. They're looking for a big win, high-risk. Typically, the US venture capital system has really held up as a great model for that. I think it' the best venture capital system on paper. But I think the dot com industry have really, really *** coz they got used to very, very fast sharp turn response. So at the time, it was like "if you can't show us an exit within 3 years, we're not just gonna look at you." The longer term vision of the Asian venture capital has really been a big support to us, and of course, industy connection and again, relationships. It always goes back into that. Introduction. For a large company to look at your technology, they have to be excited about the technology, trust the management, but then they have to see that credibility that come from outside that. And a lot of that can come from those who are believing in you enough to cash. So the fact that Mistubishi have invested in us was just a huge door opener for a lot of collaborations. But I think, it all goes back to who you are associated with, in addition to you core technologies. There's a lot of it. Who's sitting next to you, who's behind you, so you know, to have a job with us, is a wonderful benefit both for the personal side and as well as the guidance. And also that credibility.
Meet the *** in the market and industry ***?
1: I will not take credit in thinking 10 years ago that large format printing will need a better conductor. Generically, you look at something and see where the world is heading and touchscreen is still in the push-it-hard kind of category. At the time where we were just focusing on the nano particle, again, Geof, went ot Egypt, there were a lot of excitement of putting efforts into making an ink, this nano particle that you can ink jet. We had a long collaborations with one of the large Japanese companies in that space. But the infrastructure couldn't keep up, and it was great for graphics. Beautiful films that makes electronics, you couldn't miss a draft or you wouldn't have a connection. So the infrastructure, just couldn't keep up. So we switched all of our focus to this transparent conductor. And the iPhone came, and then okay, this is really the future of where you can drive electronics interface. It's all about the human interface with electronics. So that time, we focus all of our attention to transparent conductors and we had a very good idea both for solar. So we are also putting a lot of effort on solar to make it cheaper, cleaner, more efficient. Some of these is just a sort of generally, where the industry is moving and try to have a platform that can meet that, but a lot of that, frankly is call it luck if you will, but giving a platform need, you can reach out and say, "here's basically what we can do."
You've seen innovation in Israel...SG if also planning to do the same thing. What kind of difference?
1: Yeah. We have a brilliant infrastructure.
2: I'm very confident that they can do it. The challenge is, this risk issue, they are afraid to take a chance. We got to change that culture thing. That's why, the pain in the neck and I realize that's why I keep saying, "learning experience." But, that's what to me is about. I think, the research that occurs in SG is absolutely superb. Outstanding graduates, post graduates, the base is there. That's why we're here. A lot of reasons. The base is here. The challenge is to get people to understand the culture that both encourages it and unfortunately kills it. And they got to understand that. And also, that's why I think you can get it. You know, you can do it. A lot of people that are do it, and *** hand, is absolutely on board and say, "we got to do it."
1: I'll gonna be in more detail. I'm putting it in three categories. 1 is innovation that yet ***, and I think there's a lot of really great technologies that are coming out in US... you can basically pay for that, whether track just world class professors, and attracting graduate students, is really, really working well. And I think that's where the genesis. Now, coming with this are spin-offs and starting a company, which is in the other category. And that, on the start-up side, I think one of the key things that is lacking today, and it's not a fault, it's just a fact, is that at this really stage, I think if there's a good funding and support given from the gov't. Now it works, I need a serious aid, real VC around. There's not a lot of VCs in SG, but it's not a question whether they are or are not here because there has been enough good stuff to invest in. Now I think unversities are starting to spin off companies, they'll gonna come, coz they're VCs, that's what they do. And the 3rd one is, within larger organizations, how much innovation do you see? And I just don't have enough visibility in the STs in the world to really know how much is happening inside those organizations. I think it's a broad to say that innovation...and it's easier to say, academic, small, start up, and SMEs and the big institutions.
Because it's important...have introduced to what is happening?
1: Oh absolutely, I think a lot are concerned there. I am worried about the culture, the fact that I'm the boss, do as I say, and never ever challenge the boss. Wow. If that happens, you're in deep trouble. Coz, no offense but these bosses have the answer for great ideas that so many people could come...they're just terrified. I am not in this organization to be able to judge. I'm not gonna judge at all. Maybe they're open. I don't know. But, having been in Asia for 25 years, there's a cultural component that's very, very strong and I'm not sure you want change either. The fact that you really are on your parents and you don't *** everywhere, I love that. So the question is, can you have it both ways? Can you have children that really want to create and challenge and still have this beautiful level of respect in everything that comes along with it. I don't know. It's interesting if you can have the best of both worlds.
2: Just another observation that I think would help and that is, building bridges. They look out here, big and nice laboratories and front ways around places in these great, thousands of, and stufffs like that. Did they ever talk to each other outside of the building? The answer probably is now. So, getting back to the sharing of...getting some fresh eyes onto these things and sharing technologies, I think is not done enough and I think we need to build more bridges like window. I mean, you've heard what Jon said. We got bridges all over the place. Well I think it's lacking. It still needs room for improvement and professor hand me and write in this book, to opt by exchange. You see, if you have an idea and you are concerned less... you know, I don't get a royalty for post-it notes, but certainly at least 3 guys that you could argue ***, but, these three people, now, if I have just kept all my stuff to myself, at the whole percent, why should I give it away? The fact of the matter is, that in fact, without of these collaborations, it doesn't happen. And therefore, you have to, that's why frankly, royalties don't necessarily turn people on, they turn them on for maybe a couple of weeks. After that, they just assume and accepted it. But the sharing is vital and the CIMA in particularly is whole about sharing.
1: This is just for the corporation. I'm thinking as a Singapore itself. I need those one of the real secrets. The benefits of Silicon Valley. And how many people can you look at the resume from a real Silicon Valley veterans that have been in one company. Not at all, they're moving around, spreading their ideas, meeting up at coffee shops, they go at the night club together. I think there's a lot of networking that goes there. Ideas that cross sharing, bouncing across each other. For innovation sessions, we like to have around the table right? It just works better in sessions. For architecting sessions, you really have to interact and engage. And that's one advantage of Silicon Valley. And in SG, I haven't had time to even know if there is a society for entrepreneurs or idea sharing or maybe there's something...is there?
I think the IT Industy Association...
2: Just building to what he said there, goes back to something I already said. Sorry, but people transfer technology. In my all reports you want in the world, people look at the first who paid and stick it out of the shelf. People interacting, telling stories, asking about, being curious, they're the ones who actually transfer ideas and things like that in technology. That's why you can't just do it your ***, people here tend to think, "Oh, I just wrote the report." Do you think that everybody read it? That's for the record. You need some of it. But it doesn't transfer technology and ideas.
The world of lighting, very similar. SG has *** and the government is alwasy talking about creating more artists...the fear failure is *** thinking of becoming a ***, struggling and things like that. But you have to have the courage...People encourage people to write and critique each other and give better ideas.
2: Almost everything you do is going to...you're life is always going to risk it. You can't get rid of it. You can't really get rid of failure either. Sorry. You really can't. That's life and you got to live with it. You have to learn to live with frustration when you're pushing a new product at the door. This is not easy. There's all kinds of frustrations that go with it, but I have to tell you, I want to go home at night and sleep ***
Are you looking to work with government?
1: At this stage of our company, we're just too focused on being a component in a larger system. One of our customer partners just launched a complete new wireless, new field communication system last week in Tokyo. There's a huge response to it. We're a component in that system. We're not competing these guys. Apparently, we're an enabling partner for the product. But we have to be realistic about how far out we can be.
2: You don't build it on ***
1: No. So, we are involved with different government funding programs and we're looking to expand that. I think that could be a lot of good value added, apparently nothing too much on cash, but because of the partnership with the establishment. China and Taiwan are doing really, really good jobs at consortiums, and we're really ***
3: The focus now is commercialization, sell products. Because small companies...
And you've got the opportunity to do it.
3: And we need to do it.
1: Right now, it's sales from the Wallstreet perspective. The revenues today is just proven. We have a very revolutionary technology. Prove you can make it, prove you can sell it. And then the capital comes in, and then again, you can expand and...That's good.
2: We have to prove it.
1: It's interesting, even in the financial market's perspective, Asia is one of the conservative. And you see the indeces here, you look at SG, Shanghai, when companies are looking into this when they go publish, and pretty much, what's revenue? Oh, it's a lot of revenue. We'll take you home. Whereas NASDAQ, they don't care about revenue. They care about what you can do in 5 years. That's a really different mindset in different companies and industries. I kinda thought it would flat out of it more, but it hasn't, it's still very much like that.
You talked about listing, when are you gonna list?
1: It's not my decision, for one. It's a board's decision. But we are looking at different options. We're getting into some legal guidelines here, so I'm not...
I can tell that it's stiffening.
1: Honestly, we're just focused on getting this technology on and the rest of it will come. That's the focus right now.
> Company like E-ink, that's kinda interesting, some part of it are similar specs. Now, people come along and use it...building product types. A lot of their effort are huge in...one side is E-ink and the other is CV. I wondered to what extent, as to what you do is also developing prototypes, do you find that people are kinda getting it?
1: Yes and yes, and yes. We do our own. We don't want to spend a lot of time and expense doing this [develop prototypes] because we want the customer to do that. So a lot of it today are done on the customer level, but there's also in the design houses who love to do this. Now, we're collaborating with independent design houses and we say, "hey, here is the concept and can you provide..." Again, because they're designers, they'll love it. They can create new 3D shapes, and flexible devices, with the technology. So we kinda do it ourselves and then design houses, and then the customer. So I think a lot of it, E-ink, everything is new. For us, as in the EMI shield, for example, they need to do the testing because it's their device.
> Disruption of the post-it note...people are up to that point of sticking things. Where is the disruption?
2: They used paper clips. I told them, paperclips, it's much cheaper and the convenience. It was a pretty low-tech for everybody but the mentality was, you can use this scrap of paper and use it.