“The truth is that engineers are artists at heart.”
Artists start with a canvas and paint brush; engineers start out building in their garage. When I first met Greg, he was building quadcopters in his garage. At the time, there was no autopilot, barely anyone knew what a quadcopter was, and he was building stuff out of spare parts and using a shower panel as a whiteboard to write algorithms for flight control.
The best decision I ever made in life was to start Skyworks Aerial Systems with Greg. We often joked about our motivations, such as not wanting to go out and get engineering jobs as air-conditioner designers. Instead, we wanted to have the independence to create something of our own. Because the truth is, that engineers and developers are artists at heart. They seek the freedom to create and to express their ideas through design. They too, want to tell stories of their own and share them with the world. When I was young, my dream was to become a rocket scientist for NASA, OR — a rockstar! People would tell me that they are so different and opposite, that I needed to make up my mind.
We soft launched in Jan 2014 at Walls360’s CES Open House. At the time, Amazon’s Prime Air was still making a buzz and we thought it would be cool to combine wall graphics and drone delivery. We did it, and it was a defining moment for our start-up. That was what we now call Quark Senior’s first public showing, people’s reactions gave us confidence in the pursuit, and that was our first market validation. Since then, the open house is a must-attend event and anniversary for us.
Building a company is super hard. Harder than both Greg and I anticipated. We’d ask,“What did we get ourselves into?” We’d hear stories of hurdles, hardship, and struggles all the time. But they only become real when you’re actually in it. There are external metrics on growth that are measurable, such as revenue, team size, user numbers; but the invisible growth in the first 2 years is really much more powerful and often neglected. Yes, we have a product; yes, we have some initial customers; yes, we brought on some early investors. But what I value the most as an asset, is the founding team’s internal growth. We learned so much in the past 2 years, equivalent to years of experience and ladder climbing if we had taken a job somewhere else.
A metaphor came to my mind the other day – a typical band has a lead singer, a guitarist, a bass player, a drummer, and a keyboardist. Then of course they have a band manager, financial people, an PR people all behind the band to really be in business. Our team has the same dynamic. We have our brilliant CTO (lead singer), a mechanical engineer (drummer), an electrical engineer (guitarist), a software developer (keyboardist), and a QA engineer (bass player) all well-orchestrated together in creating our products (album to be released soon); and me, my CFO, CMO and PR officer craft the promotion. We are like an indie band at early-stage, where we tried different genres, wrote a couple of songs, gathered a small following, now finally defined ourselves, established our brand, and ready to go on tour!
And matter of fact is, the way we are making tools for dronesmiths, are just like instrument builders like Fender who makes tools for musicians. We are enabling dronesmiths, giving them the freedom to create, the power to innovate. And together, we will build a better world, where a seemly “cold” technology has the diversity and “warmth” of music.
A photo posted by Skyworks Aerial Systems (@skyworksas) on
Skyworks is a robotics company based in Las Vegas that specializes in creating products and technologies that empower, educate, and connect people through the use of emerging robotic techniques. Founded by graduates of the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering at UNLV, Skyworks took off when they were awarded the grand prize at the 2014 Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition. We’re a team of developers, engineers, and designers who are passionate about bringing down the barrier to robotic technologies for everyone and building an autonomous future together. Our Become a Dronesmith initiative is a mission that promotes a shared value approach to community responsibility and embraces the use of project-based learning to foster STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education across the Las Vegas Valley.
@walls360 printed this AMAZING wall sticker for us. #artmotel #lifeisbeautiful2015 #drones #art #technology A photo posted by Skyworks Aerial Systems (@skyworksas) on
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