Great to chat with Quincy Edmund Lee, Founder & CEO at Electric Era, Electric Era engineers and manufactures AI-driven high-power storage systems for EV fast charging stations! We discussed the importance of feedback from customers, what is needed to build out EV infrastructure, the need to unblock power constraints and more!

To find out more about Electric Era, contact them here! https://www.electriceratechnologies.com/contact

https://carbotnic.com/electricera

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James

The unedited podcast transcript is below

James McWalter

Today we’re speaking with Quincy Edmund Lee founder and CEO At Electric Era, welcome to Podcast Quincy. I suppose to start could you tell us a little bit about Electric Era.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Thanks James good to be here how you doing today.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, electric era is a company based out of Seattle Washington we’re about a mile from the space needle our company focuses on building AI driven high power storage solutions for the ev fast charging market. So electric area is it’s an startup in Seattle Washington founded by myself. My co-founder Elliott Owen we are. About a mile from the space needle we focus on building an ai driven high power storage solution for ev fast charging stations. So specifically we sell a behind the meter high power storage system that lowers the load required the load capacity and power capacity for an ev fast charging station. So you think of peaks. Peak shaving. But for e fast charging stations. So we’re really trying to position ourselves in the market to be the energy brain of an ev fast charging station handling all the power flows and energy flows at a fast charging station so that the customer can lower the grid capacity requirements the demand charge costs. And operate the station intelligently. So we’ve we’ve built out a software platform and a hardware component that allows us to go and do those things.

James McWalter

So very good and what drove the initial inspiration to start electric Era. Yeah.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Um, yeah, it was it was about 2018 and I was working at Spacex and I was launching launching or watching a rocket launch and it was a deep space orbital entry mission. Um, and as the kind of rocket took off and and started to go into deep space to deposit the satellite. There was this earth-facing camera and showed the earth and it showed the earth getting smaller and smaller and smaller at that moment you know looking at that beautiful blue and green. Orb I realized I was spending all my time and energy and talents building technologies that were sending things away from earth when the problems on earth. We’re actually growing in magnitude. So you know that was kind of my existential moment. My aha moment hey I need to institute drastic and urgent course corrections for the the climate problem here on earth and there’s no better way to do that than a participant in the private sector as an entrepreneur so really started to focus my attention on. Problems here at home at that point and noodle on ideas ah around how you know I could contribute to the climate crisis in ah in a positive way. You know and stem the issues that are plaguing our planet.

James McWalter

Yeah I think it’s very similar to I think a lot of climate entrepreneurs where there’s kind of this default. Yes I believe in climate change the fact of it all those kind of things but had never really been maybe internalized to degree that the responsibility feels focus on oneself and I think ah you know. Talked to many many entrepreneurs and and also speaking for myself when it comes. It’s like it’s like a train that hits you and you don’t really you know it’s It’s nearly impossible to resist. It’s like oh I actually do need to make dramatic Change. You know career change focus change all those kind of things.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, yeah I think I think that’s right and I think what’s pretty cool that I see is there’s a huge wealth of talent of really capable motivated people coming from other sectors into the sector I think a lot of people recognize hey there’s this you know existential threat that I need to address. Um, but I think a lot of other people and just generally everyone participating in the process realized that this is a huge shift of Capital markets. So. There’s like a massive undertaking of wealth creation happening so like arguably like a really good industry to go into because we’re reindexing. Um. You know, value creation around solving climate problems and the capital markets are moving accordingly. So You know so selfishly I think all entrepreneurs should have both those things in mind of hey this is a um, a really big problem but hey there’s a huge amount of opportunity here. So like let’s go solve these issues and and create value for humanity and value. Um, for our shareholders at the same time.

James McWalter

Yeah, absolutely I think the best climate companies are ones where they’re very conscious at the beginning that the business model has to be tied to the climate impact in a very like specific and and direct way and I guess like so once you had you know this this you know step change in your kind of outlook you know and the underlying kind of emotions of that the the sentiment of like I’m going to. Yeah, make this change in my career in my overall direction. What was the next step. So.

Quincy Edmund Lee

yeah so yeah I started putting pen to paper I started building business models in the early mornings and late at night and reading about um ultimately the duck curve and and the the issues associated with onboarding bulk amounts of renewable energy onto the grid. So company originally started off with the idea of hey let’s like build load shifting batteries that have like vanishingly small dollar per Kilowatt hour costs and bulk onboard them onto the grid so that we can fill them up during the day and discharge them at night when renewables aren’t around and we realized you know that was that was. Was a big problem. It still is but the business case for it is probably not venture backable. We also realized that you know our expertise is our expertise didn’t really lend itself to making fundamental changes in that technology space. You know that’s like more of a chemical level innovation than it is like a product or. Mechanical engineering level innovation. So we kept looking around. We realized hey um you know there’s renewable onboarding and then there’s also clean vehicle electrification onboarding that needs to happen and what do you know? ev fast charging the big you know. £800 gorilla in the room of the electrification. The vehicle electrification process is not being really looked at or absolved um and and the more we looked into it the more we realized it was a huge impediment for people to adopt evs and I’m ah I’m a Tesla driver and even on the tesla network I find that coverage is actually kind of lacking. You know it’s it’s it’s still kind of hard to fastharge. So there’s there’s a very strong psychological need to have more infrastructure in the ground. Um and when we when we started digging into that we realized wow these stations pulled neighborhoods worth of power on one city block. There’s a clear mismatch there like literally thousands of homes worth of power. On you know, yeah, a single city block. Um, so when you dig into it. There’s a huge amount of cost impediment and time impediment to go and activate fast charging stations. So that was the genesis of the idea. Let’s build a high power behind the meter energy storage system that peak shaves. Load at a fax charging station and this and the software system that operates. It.

James McWalter

And once you hit kind of had that direction What kind of validation like who are the potential users potential customers potential clients who could be to yeah, come down the road as you kind of think in the long term about monetization but in in the short term like how do you kind of think walk through that validation process.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah I think any engineer listening or sorry any actually yeah, any engineer that’s becoming an entrepreneur listening should should definitely just pick up the phone and start talking to customers and you don’t need to go and try to sell them on anything you can simply schedule introduction calls and say hey I’m interested in learning about your industry and this problem. Etc, etc, etc. That’s exactly what we did we we read a few papers to start and we’re like oh yeah, this is like actually fairly wellresearched and there’s a lot of you know publications that have suggested that demand charges is an issue for this industry and that fast charging stations are power intensive. But the very next thing we did was really start calling a lot of people and connecting with them on Linkedin and scheduling intro calls and like validating directly from the customer voice that this was a problem. Um, and that was I mean that was immensely helpful. It validated the thesis that this was a big cost driver for the industry. Also validated the thesis that there was a need for high power storage systems and there was a validated the thesis. There was actually already purchasing behavior for batteries in general for fast charging stations. So we had a lot of good market indicators early on directly from the customer and that was I think the key first step that. In hindsight was the right thing to do.

James McWalter

And we’re running kind of surprising insights from those user research interviews that came out of that period. So.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, definitely? um I think I think a big one was that you know there’s multiple considerations that dictate the site economics at a fast charging station and power cost is just one of them. Um, we also got a lot of indications that. You know the current battery solutions are just too big and it takes up too much space and it makes problems for citing and that can add land lease cost so you can flip the entire economics on its head by adding a battery but you know given that you solve 1 problem but that you create another so we had a lot of. Strong market signals and customers telling us hey make sure this isn’t a huge big shipping container like it can’t be because we’re trying to put this in urban tightly dense areas and that drove a lot of product decisions around optimizing the footprint of our power node battery product. So the system that we built and designs about. You know four by four feet it’s pretty small and it’s got. It’s got 120 kilowatts of power in it. So you know it’s half the size of a parking stall and you know 120 homes worth of instantaneous are 30 minute power actually so we really want to you know condense the footprint.

James McWalter

So.

Quincy Edmund Lee

I Think the other thing that a lot of customers indicated was um, they were going to try to find other solutions to this problem other than storage and I think that’s actually really important for entrepreneurs to hear you need to not Over-index on your technology and think that it’s a panacea for the Market. Like you should not assume that that is True. You should try to find direct buying behavior from customers for your product and not try to force your solution into their problem because they’re they’re creative people. They’re creative buyers and they have a mandate to not spend money and increase I R for a station. So. Best way to do that is to find other creative solutions. Um, and that was something I think we should have paid a little bit more attention to at the beginning because it probably would have shaped our product earlier on in our approach but you know that was another surprising anecdote that we found.

James McWalter

Yeah, it’s its so interesting. You know the problem solution dynamic and ah you kind of mentioned the you know the and engineering soul of of your founding founding team and how building things is like very close to the the kind of overall ethos for engineers and and the like um whereas.

James McWalter

Think the best entrepreneurs who are engineers who move into becoming startup founders and and early employees. They become very very obsessed with that problem piece and they don’t to your point try to you know Square Peg round holele type solutions because you know what? what? If. Let’s say the solution was more of a um, just trying a random thing but like you know a chat bot didn’t. Tells people about the the closest free ah fast charter right? Like if you’re kind of coming to the space with like just kind of a completely open. You know like an open kind of map of where the possible solutions are I think you end up getting to a place that’s ah, better. But Also you’re also even within that you’re bringing to. Conversation your own context about Solutions. You’ve seen in the past and I think like that balance is where you get like really smart people coming from outside a specific industry coming in and disrupting it in in a kind of new way.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense I think um, any like any product solution or problem solution orientated person engineer or not coming into a space will look at a problem and say oh well here’s a solution for it. I came up with solutions but that might not be the right solution and it. Certainly might not be the solution. That’s moizable. So you know like your your singular data point and idea is is one of 1 of many in a constellation of ideas and you’re trying to find the one that’s monetizable. So like lesson learned for me is you know, think through product design in a way that’s within the framework of the customers.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Desired solution space and then push the product envelope all the way out out to the point of monetization. Um, and then ah yeah, validate validate validate get lots of feedback from customers.

James McWalter

And absolutely and and so then you you do start building. You have this validation like what was that first mv he looked like.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, so we given we developed a brand new product. You know brand new high power battery. We had to do a fair bit of you know r and d to build it and you know brand new engineering to build it. So um, the first and Mvp we had that we were charging cars off was like a lab demonstrator of our battery. Um, it was you know a small I guess like 60 Kilowatt Twenty Kilowatt hour battery it it didn’t even have an inverter attached to it. It was just something to get us operational and prove that prove the thesis that we could make high power batteries that wouldn’t burn up. When you discharge a huge amount of power. There’s a ton of amperage amperage creates heat heat destroys batteries. So we had to solve a lot of thermal fluidic engineering problems to solve it first. Um, and you know we just did an engineering development front runner as an Mvp um, but we slowly developed that and matrod it to what we have now which is. 120 unit. That’s operational and testing cars and charging cars in our lab. That’s our go-tomarket product. That’s our Mvp. We’re deploying that with customers later this year after certification and with another customer that we’re gonna announce soon that is. Buying a pre-certification unit for a demonstration. Um, so you know ultimately we we pushed the envelope. We got the the product operational and um, you know there at this point just thinking about finishing certification and scaling up.

James McWalter

So yeah, not super super exciting time and just on the certification point you know one of the in in the startup world. You know we like we like to move fast ideally not break too many things but you know there’s definitely like a mindset of try to. Ah, trying a lot of things seeing what works but whenever you’re touching atoms especially things that are you know charging multi-thousand pound vehicles down down roads and and and related and you’re using different types of chemistry. You start to have to adjust for the risk of those things and and kind of deal with certification bodies and so on. You found that process and um I guess you know are there ways that government can work better but especially kind of small emergence startups for figuring those kind of things out. So.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah I think um I mean it’s It’s like any sort of adamtom engineering or adamm entrepreneurship versus the world of bits and software is just going to be extremely hard. Our our approach is a hybrid of both. We do a lot of ah engineering and product development in the world of atoms and. You know with our high power battery system and then also in the world of software as it pertains to developing those solutions. It’s just time you need to add to your roadmap as it pertains to certifying those solutions. It’s even more time you need to add to your roadmap I would recommend like any entrepreneur going through certification do like. Early calls with certification bodies and and developed like the framework and the scaffolding of all the specific milestones along the way to completion of certification as early in the process as you can. Um I think ah I honestly pretty I’m pretty like not optimistic I guess around. Possible improvements. It’s just a slow encumbersome process. It’s with you know, fairly bureaucratic companies that are not really incentivized to move fast. The government has done and I guess the certification bodies have done what they need to do at this point which is create standardization processes and standardized certification requirements. Um. Honestly I think you know there’s actually probably a. There’s probably a business play in expedite math process I’m sure you can make a lot of money I know I would have paid more money to to help us go through it faster. But yeah I think you know the certification bodies They basically had done what they need to do I Think now at this point we need to just.

James McWalter

Right.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Push more companies through the process quicker um governments can probably help more broadly with standardizing utility interconnection I think this is this is like important for all distributed energy resources which fast charging is actually a distributed and energy resource. Um. But any time you’re interconnecting with the utility. It’s really Slow. It’s not necessarily clearly laid out um and having like a standardized process for permitting and interconnection. That’s more expeditious is is going to be hugely valuable for the broader energy. Industry because basically that’s what sets our time constant of energy transfer. You know like we’re going from internal combustion type technologies to clean energy technologies the rate of change between those 2 things is dictated by this fundamental interconnection Piece. So It’s It’s super valuable for the broader industry to do that I think.

1

James McWalter

Yeah, and I guess for the listener you it’s pretty much a hodgepodge of systems United States like at the state level at the multi-state. What’s called an iso level these are different types of what are called interconnection queues and and formats depending on how much energy you’re trying to put on or even sometimes take off the grid. And ah to give people one one idea like if you’re trying to build a large-scale project that generates a lot of electricity onto the grid in somewhere like Pennsylvania that’s taking offward of 3 years now to actually get get the process kind of through interconnection queues and so on. Um, so it’s absolutely like a massive problem and. And of a couple startups who are kind of working on like the information around the timing of these things but we absolutely do need you know some of the step in and at the kind of government and policy level and sometimes I do think it’s like you know can we have a whip around of a few million across a lot a cartel of startups and and other kind of companies to try to fund some of the speed and interconnection. But. Having looked into it a little bit. It’s actually less of a money and resource point. Well, it’s definitely a resource point of view but our issue but less of a money issue is just they’ve never had this such pressure to build so much as the last five years and you know has produced and that’s getting you know, increasing ever faster and just the hiring plans at these entities. Just are not ready for this. You know the massive increase in physical assets that are going to hit the grid.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s that’s exactly right? I Think if anybody has a good idea for a interconnection as a service business model with high-gross Margins I would invest in that because honestly, if you’re able to like deeply integrate with utilities around the the nation and help them solve this problem. They’d be Happy. They might even pay you too. You know like there’s there’s definitely a problem there that needs a solution and there’s probably ah, a good clean solution that can make a lot of money doing it.

James McWalter

Ah, see the podcast about my own startup from last week which is such upon some of that for the listener. Um, cool and so in terms of the so you mentioned you were kind of signing contracts with a couple different customers. Um, who’s the kind of ideal customer is it the car manufacturer who’s looking for their own network. Is it. You know I guess these kind of more emergent ev infrastructure focus companies some of which have gone public via spac over the last couple of years is is it a different type of entity right.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah that’s that’s a really interesting question. So um, as you know as we’ve seen it so far the automotive ilims haven’t really doubled down dael that much. They’ve kind of like half doubled down on adding infrastructure for the sale of their cars. Vw obviously being the leader there out of the obligation with the diesel gates scandal they funded electrify America I put like $2000000000 or something like that in that company. Um I think I think automotive oils that do not do that are going to be in a world of hurt and honestly I think tesla’s. Going to continue to kind of run the show until auto automotive williams take the charge the fast charging the public fast charging infrastructure component more seriously. Um, you know and and not to say they’re not thinking about it. But I think they just they need to think about it as part of their rdroadmap and product development roadmap. Um, because it is a clear leader for vehicle sales as tesla demonstrated basically. But now you know we haven’t we haven’t really made a whole lot of headway with automotive volumes. Our ideal customer is you know a grid constrained high value property. That’s trying to add fast charging as an a minute the augmentation so that can take a variety different fan that can be a seat a cpo like some of the charging companies that have sped that can be charging point operators sorry to use acronyms um, that can be a convenience store. That’s you know, trying to add. Charging grief fill to their property to keep driving foot track to buy their snacks um or it can be a utility. That’s you know, putting an infrastructure It can be a fleet that’s you know, charging their vehicles but then opening up the charging station at night. Um, for public usage ah or during the day for public usage for that matter so any of those you know customer archetypes actually are good fits for our technology. Um they they they use the technology to lower demand charge costs. They use it to defer or entirely avoid infrastructure upgrades and interconnection timelines. While at the same time adding premium a premium fast charging experience for their customer base.

James McWalter

Yeah it’s so interesting we’ve we’ve had a few folks who are looking at the kind of ev um, infrastructure space over the last on the podcast over the last few months and I guess the introduction of different types of business models to interact with the charging is one of the kind of really interesting pieces. And you mentioned one of them which is the idea of yeah fast casual dining or restaurants or you know convenience stores where people you know can set the the car and forget it for the fifteen twenty minutes whatever it may may take um and so yeah, so I guess. Speaking to that. Let’s say I did you know you know when your product is kind of deployed in the field later this year and I drive up to it and let’s say it’s at a convenience store for the sake of argument. What’s the kind of experience for me versus the status quo from using your product.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, so the world that we envision is a world filled with ubiquitous, highly findable. Ah high quality fast charging. You know we we need to as an industry think of this as a critical piece of national infrastructure and we need to drastically increase the availability and the quality of the fast charging experience. And by quality I’m using that as a proxy word to really indicate uptime I come from the aerospace industry and while at Spacex I worked in the telecommunication industry on the space starlink constellation and both those industries have you know success criteria measured in the 99.99 percent levels um and if you think about gas stations I mean it’s fairly rare. You go to a gas station and they’re not operational and like we as an industry need to be pushing the uptime availability quality of fast charging accordingly. Um, so your customer experience would be you. You know, discover electricera enabled station. Um, that’s in your neighborhood or along your route and you go to it and you you plug in and you walk away and you come back 15 to 20 minutes later with you know, 70% state of charge and then you go on your merry way and while you’re there, you spent. Ah, good share of wallet on buying a latte from Starbucks or a Taco From Taco Bell or whatever it is. You know? Um, but yeah you, you know? Honestly, we don’t really aim to be like a in your face. Front in brand we think of ourselves as the stripe of power management services for the industry. We just want to be like underlining technology the energy brand for the industry. We don’t care about branding ourselves or being front and center. So and that’s that’s intentional and that’s like part and parcel of our business model and go-to-mark strategy. But um. So honestly to answer your your question. You wouldn’t even know you were charging in a fast charging station and enabled by electric era if I had my way you know like we you would just be showing up and charging in a great in a great location on a great with a great experience.

James McWalter

And I guess just moving from a world with ubiquitous Well not even ubiquitous, but a lot of slow chargers to ubiquitous. Everything’s a fast charger right is the the kind of said.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, yeah, you know I think um, it’s definitely going to be a hybrid world. You know I opportunistically charge when I can like of course and I think most people will um so that leaves a lot of room for level one and level 2 charging which are as you mentioned slow charging. For the listener. But yeah I just think we need a lot more fast charging even for the tesla network I’m like man I wish I could charge my tesla at like a lot more locations. It’s like hard to find the stations. They’re all over the place and you actually have to fill up quite a lot because there’s just not a whole lot of mileage and a battery like that’s just the fundamental truth of it even for a 300 Mile ranged car. Um, so yeah I think I think if we really want this industry to take off. We need a lot more fast charging.

25:31.26

James McWalter

No absolutely and and you mentioned a moment ago. This idea that ev infrastructure is if I’m now but becoming a critical piece of national infrastructure and we actually had a fairly large infrastructure bill passed last year through congress is one of the the bill that did pass not the other bill that that. Back badder that that failed um but it had a fairly so large amount of money earmarked for building on ebch charging network I guess what? what are your kind of thoughts on how that will impact you know the grow to evev infrastructure um is the money set up in a way that’s. Yeah, optimal. Um, whether there you know any changes you would want to make and how does it get does it affect electric era.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, um, well yeah, first off shout out to the joint office the department of energy and department of transportation. They actually I think did a really good job of structuring that bill I think that they were really intelligent to allocate the majority of that capital to the development of alternative fuel. Corridors to establish fast charging on you know, transit routes for on routee. Sorry for corridor charging the bill is yeah you know there’s 5000000000 going to to the development of those alternative fuel corridors the the way that they specified the requirements actually have a lot of really good things in it 1 is that. There. There’s a mandate for fast charging. It’s you know the average station that they propose is for one fifty Kw charging stations which is like a lot actually um, the other thing that they they did well was they actually put language in there that basically. Fires slash recommends that utilities and construction agencies develop standard processes for interconnecting fast charging. So if we can use that as a framework for fast charging. It’s probably applicable to other distributed energy resources which solves that interconnection problem. We talked about earlier. Um I think. You know if I had my way I would say hey 1 recommendation recommendation I would make is you know push for um, monitor monitoring monitorable and measurable metrics of success around station interconnection timelines and station uptime availability. That are pretty good and high and that that didn use that as an economic forcing function to award the revenue or the the funding in that bill to people that are meeting that like high bar of criteria um, those you know like life’s all about of incentives. And I think that is like a really important incentive that we put into the industry and we specifically fund companies that have like high quality stations.

James McWalter

Oh that that that makes a ton of sense and I think it’s I think the best kind of government policy is when you do have those experts that you mentioned from you know department of transport and so on department of energy etc. You know working hand in hand with lawmakers and policymakers right? because the nature of any. Yeah Multibillion Dollar bill is that there’s going to be a lot of opinions in there and if you can get something that’s 75% good like you’ve done an amazing job right? And like if it’s if it’s directionally correct and I agree like in this case they seem to have done a kind of a bang up job and. I think it’s ah it’s a good framework for again. Some of the other bills that are pretty stalled or stopped completely but might potentially get get through over the next few years um and I guess you know thinking about yeah electric era over the next couple of years like what’s the kind of Target. Kind of your two year three from now.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, two years out we want to be deploying around 10 to 30 in a battery enabled fast charging stations a month we’re really yeah, like we’re really thinking. Okay, how do we scale this up as quickly as we can. How do we design the asset to be mass manufacturable and low cost.

James McWalter

Amazing.

Quincy Edmund Lee

How do we design the interconnection process to be quote Unquote mass manufactureurable and low cost and then how do we attach ourselves to the vast majority of vv fastch charging stations that are being installed over the next 5 to 10 years. So It’s for us. It’s you know the the products. Products here. The product’s working. You know we’re charging cars. The software is working. Um, we’re we’re pushing through certification and then scaling up Quickly. You know like that’s our next mandate. Um, you know we we really feel strongly about but ahholding that customer promise like we need to unblock power constraints so that we can add fast charging. So that people can participate in the fast the energy transition The vehicle electrification Energy transition. Um, so that’s what we’re doing.. That’s what we’re focused on and we’d love to chat with you about your application. It’s It’s very likely we can drastically decrease for anybody listening your interconnection timelines and you know. Deployment timelines toward your fast charging station and lower the cost for you and provide a better experience even during high periods of demand and usage. So yeah, give give us a give us a ring.

James McWalter

Yeah, and absolutely and we’ll we’ll put some contact details in in the show notes as well and I guess then you know in terms of yourself. You know you as you mentioned you you left Spacex looking at your your bio I think Spacex was your you know main company you worked out coming out of university and then you kind of went from. Ah, company. That’s fairly large I think at this stage you know, even though it’s so quote unquote startup ah to to founding something yourself. Um, what I guess have you learned most about or surprised you as part of that transition from you know someone managing a team within Spacex to you know, being the person. Ah the you know the founder the Ceo who has to.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Oh man where to start? Yeah I mean I mean space Spacex really put put me through the ringer. That’s a great company like what a great place to work and and learn. But you know the skills I acquire were really just engineering skills and of course as the Ceo you’re doing a lot more than just engineering. It’s actually rare that I do engineering you know like I get like I get to like boss people around and say hey that products should do this or that or like what about this approach but I’m not really putting pin to paper that that much in preventing canops anymore. So.

Quincy Edmund Lee

You know, growing the Ceo skills understanding the investment cycle process how to acquire funding how to market your company how to develop like a really strong corporate strategy and business model how to market and sell to customers. All those things were like major growth variables for me like very painful growth variables that I had to learn very quickly. Um, but ah yeah I think you know also the the really challenging part about starting a company is you don’t have any sort of embedded like cultural infrastructure.

Quincy Edmund Lee

You have to and you have to build that yourself like if you if you show up and you work for Apple you’re working at a company that has like literally 4 decades or 3 decades worth of like cultural heritage or at Spacex these yeah the Apple way or Spacex. It’s like everybody’s like drinking the coolid and saying hey we’re going to Mars you know and.

James McWalter

And the Apple way.

Quincy Edmund Lee

And literally they will go to Mars that’s definitely going to happen so that cultural infrastructure is not there at at a startup as as you you yourself know James you got build it and as its Ceo you have to manage morale and culture and cultural alignment and like bring in really key hires that facilitate that um and that like kind of. World building process is very challenging and something that um taught me a lot over the last eighteen months since I left Spacex.

James McWalter

Yes, I actually Spen to 8 years at a company a fintech company back in the day before we call ourselves a fintech company. We’re financial services back then but um I think there’s a I think a lot of founders will either. You know have a reactive or you know i. I guess proactive kind of ah adoption of their previous company’s culture in some way now of course as you said like as you add people, you know everyone’s kind of the all that early team even the type of product you’re building these all affect kind of culture over the first you know year or 2 um, but it is absolutely a process which I think the more. Conscious we can be of what we’re building and how we’re building it the better because one of like a mentor of mine was like if you ah you know if you like are in the room and you a piece of paper drops on the ground and you don’t pick that up and somebody sees that like those little elements all build in a way that like kind of affects. You know the actual. Culture out the company because especially in the early days basically culture is often just a mirroring of what the founders and the you know the first 5 employees are doing and you know and I think people sometimes want to shy away from that a little bit because it’s like oh we didn’t write down our culture document I was like no, it’s like your actual actions coupled with that later process of going through a culture document and so on um, is what actually. Makes people do the things that they should do in the right way from the the point of view of culture down the road and.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah, well well said that that makes a lot of sense That’s right on. Um, yeah, and and that’s that’s a big challenge and I think like pretty much no first time T would have experience doing so good luck. Anybody listening.

James McWalter

Yeah, no, Absolutely we and and when you make the mistakes along the way. Um, yeah, and you mentioned you had a few of these kind of growth trajectories that you’re kind of working on for yourself around sales. All those kind of things you need like particular you know heuristics or or structures for. Fast learning in areas that maybe you’re kind of have less background experience in.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah I mean I think ah I’m I’m pretty biased here but I would say try to go down to the axiomatic truths of whatever you’re trying to learn and explain from the bottom up higher order behavior that is emergent and observable. Um. So like don’t try to explain and inform mental models around the higher order behavior start much lower than that and learn like the first principles or the axiomatic truths of whatever you’re trying to learn and then form and then think for yourself and try to actually like develop you know your own mental model with those in mind around. How the system or process or behavior should work. Um, that second party super key because that’s actually like when you put the that’s when you embed the and information in your neuroplasticity of your brain. Um, so it’s it’s really about like. Learning the lowest level things and then trying to use them on a daily basis and then they’re just imbued into you and then it’s like then you can kind of churn it from an active prefrontal cortex type activity to something that’s more passive and more natural.

James McWalter

I Yeah no I Love I Love that I think that’s like a really kind of fascinating way of like adopting new knowledge figuring it Out. Um I think one of the other like somewhat similar to certain extent but just taking a step out and like looking at yourself from the outside not in a kind of judgmental way but just kind of noticing things. You know I think there’s a lot of um. You know intentionality as productivity elements. But there’s definitely something there where it’s like oh if I notice that I’m doing something like that doesn’t mean necessarily will change it but at least like I’ll have a better ah understanding what I’m doing and then I can you know, maybe sometimes even back out the framework for what is what is kind of leading to that behavior. You know, positive or negative. And again, especially when you are trying to build a company and you know initially you know your co-founders early employees then later investors then you know later as you get bigger. The media all these kind of things. Um, you know you have to kind of craft these different ways of navigating how you’re expressing yourself and communicating because if you’re not. Kind of noticing that like definitely other people are and yeah sometimes I think we can get get caught up in I Guess the wrong things as part of that process.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Yeah I think I think a lot of people um would benefit with the realization that everybody has their own unique worldview and if you can understand how they see the world and speak to them through that ocular view in a. And a language you know and a framework and in ah with a world experiences that they understand then communicating ideas whether it’s to the media or a customer or an investor or an employee or a future employee become much easier so you know just acknowledging people want to you know, see things in their own specific way and trying to mirror that and. And give them the information. That’s most digestible to them in a way that’s most digestible is a really big win.

James McWalter

So hunt was I couldn’t agree more Quincy. It’s been great I’ve really enjoyed the conversation. Um, before we finish up is there anything I should have asked you about but did not so.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Um, yeah I think ah you know our companies scaling up at this point we’re were’re adding a lot of customers to our pipeline and we’d love to chat with you about your application and get you in our queue, we’re got a finite finite demand or finite supply of of ah batteries and. You know we’re we’re lining up our our partners for the next you know 6 to twelve months so now’s the now’s the time to to chat with us and and really see how we can um, best help you in your expansion efforts. You know we’re we’re also hiring. We’re always hiring an electric era where we have a super hard. High barrier of entry into the company. We really want excellent people. Um, and you know most likely the listeners out there fit that mold so come to chat with us and you know we love. We love. We’d love to chat with you.

James McWalter

Amazing and we’ll include on those careers page and and other links in the show notes I Thank you Quincy Edmund Lee.

Quincy Edmund Lee

Take care James nice to talk.

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