Why did you start Datanomix? What was it about the idea that makes it so important?
I started Datanomix because there is a huge opportunity to apply data analytics principles to help Precision Component Manufacturing in the United States become world class. I can remember back to the 1980’s and 90’s when large corporations were going offshore with their factories because they could aggressively drive down the labor component of cost of goods sold. That cycle continued for years and the loss of millions of jobs in America. With those losses, large investments in innovation and new technology to help those remaining companies dried up as well. Now decades later, we’ve learned that a dependence on foreign countries to produce critical components for aerospace, automotive, medical and defense-oriented products is a bad idea. Through resilience and perseverance, discrete component manufacturing in the US is thriving, growing and highly profitable. So how do we apply a booster rocket to that industry to keep it flying high? We apply machine learning software to give owners of these companies the mechanical advantage they need to see their production environments and respond proactively to changes in course and speed. We are building Datanomix to be that booster rocket!
When we started the company, we observed that our future customers were still using paper travelers and Excel97 spreadsheets to manage their business. Their perception of real-time information was “tomorrow”. We wanted to introduced them to “now” AND make an impact on their success. Through real-time data stream processing we learn what good production is for a particular part and machine, then assemble the perfect amount of context around a benchmark we call Fusion Factor. By watching production scores on parts in process and seeing trends and patterns in the data, we tell everyone from the operator to the owner what the pulse of the floor is and how to improve it every single day. Our software is a game changer for manufacturing engineers and production supervisors because it is prescriptive, not reactive. We know that our idea is important because we see productivity numbers go up and response times go down. We’ve made a positive impact.
What’s one piece of information you know now that you wish you had known when you started your company?
While not exactly in this company and not super profound really, the voice of the customer is so informative if you are listening. If you want to build something people will love, then you need to spend some time in their heads. Set aside the time to speak with them about the problems that they see getting in the way of greater success. Understand why these are problems in the first place. You will quickly learn that your customers are very smart, resourceful and passionate. That’s how they got to where they are today. Those customer inputs will serve as the magnetic compass for your development teams. You may think you know what the customer wants, but take the time to check with them as the product unfolds. They are your best source of roadmap input. Use them and reward them for their time. The power of profiling your buyer will pay-off huge dividends for years if done right.
What do you like to do in your free time away from Datanomix?
In the winter months, I enjoy doing home projects and recently completed the renovation of a home in Rhode Island. We literally cut the house in half and rebuilt it into a home that we hope to spend many happy summers in.
What I really enjoying doing in the summer is fishing for tuna and striped bass off the coast of New England. I’ve made several really good friends in the southern New England who love to fish and we’ve built a small club of people who share information on just about everything from migration paths of bluefin tuna to humpback whale feedings off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It is one of the most enjoyable and difficult things I have tried in my life. There is really nothing like it if you don’t mind being on a rolling boat for 12 hours, 100 miles offshore.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?
Right now, I admire Elon Musk because he has set a path with his companies, hired the best talent for the mission and achieved some pretty incredible things. (Yes, he’s controversial on Twitter (turn it off?)) I admire Musk, because he constantly questions the status quo and why things are. In doing that, it causes a ripple effect – a wave that travels, changing other things in its path. We need disruptors like him. A remarkable passion and drive for results. Yes, the road is bumpy at times, but I think history will view him as one of the true visionary leaders of our time.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by building with people and things. Extremely team oriented. I have always been a collaborator with the people around me. Never shied away from bringing in smart people to achieve great things. Always been super supportive of the people that work for me knowing that their success has a 10x multiplier. In doing that, I have built lasting relationships. People I worked with 20 years ago, still engage me in friendship. I’ve always felt that the lines between my professional life and personal life are very blurry. Why not enjoy the people you spend 10-14 hours a day working with.