I am a systems engineer, entrepreneur, husband and father living in Boston, MA, originally from the tourist swamps of central FL. I have many opinions but even more questions.
My formal training is in applied physics and my graduate work was designing and building experiments investigating the electronic properties of semiconductor nanostructures (so-called “quantum dots”). Working in a laser lab could range from mind-numbing (e.g. tweaking knobs for hours on end) to extremely engaging (e.g. seeing a never before seen signal jump out at you, once the knob is tweaked just right). Ultimately I chose to leave the PhD program with a Masters to go into industry, learn how new systems get built and scaled, and try my hand building a company of my own.
After getting married and defending a thesis, we moved up to sunny New Jersey so I could run rapid prototyping at one of the world’s leading suppliers of shortwave infrared image sensors. The goal at the company was to branch away from selling components to developing high level system solutions. It was my job to design, build, test and demo such systems…fast. In a little over two years I think we built and demonstrated two dozen different prototype imaging devices. I had the pleasure of traveling to demos with the Business Development group to industrial, government and military customers across the US, Canada and South America, including one stay on a Canadian Coast Guard research vessel hunting for icebergs. My favorite trip had to be an offshore rescue training that took place in the astronaut training pool at Johnson Space Center! A few patents were generated and a few led to revenue-generating product lines. I learned a ton but ultimately it became clear that leadership at the company was crumbling. It was time to branch out on my own, with a cofounder.
My son was born six months into the new venture, which we decided to launch in the Boston area, despite me living in Princeton, NJ. Needless to say these months of travel, building (product and company) and family was hectic. So far the most stressful time of my life. Today our team is > 15 engineers in Cambridge, MA and western Canada and we’re working hard to launch our first product in 2021. Of all the lessons learned over a hard-fought 5 years in startup land, I’m glad I took the leap. I’ll have much more to say on these topics and more in the blog, so please check in regularly.