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Gil Mayron is the Founder and CEO of Cobot Nation, Architects of Automation™ which takes us into incredibly exciting discussion about what he and his team at Cobot Nation are doing to change the way robots and automation advance organizations.
We cover industrial robotics, 3D printing, getting off the planet, making this planet better, and exploring the exponential opportunity we all have if we put our attention towards what matters.
Check out Cobot Nation here: https://www.cobotnation.com/
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Welcome back, folks. This is Eric Wright. I’m the host of your DiscoPosse podcast. And thank you for listening. And of course, thank you for watching too. If you’re keen on it, head on over to the YouTube channel and you can see the video version of this podcast. Go to Youtube.com/discopossepodcast. This is Gil Mayron. Gil is the CEO and founder of Cobot Nation. They’re doing really amazing stuff around automation, industrial automation. They’re changing the game of robotics. And Gil’s laser focus on solving big problems and really just first principles thinking. This is a fantastic conversation, a ton of fantastic lessons. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did. You’re going to hear about the impact of automation on society, society’s ability to leverage automation to make all of us better. And a lot of big picture turning into real tactical ideas and execution. Super cool. So thank you, Gill, for this great conversation. And also a huge thank you because the folks that make this podcast happen, that include our friends over at Veeam Software, I got to give a shout out because I actually just had a bit of a situation where I totally blew up one of my cloud servers.
But thankfully I was actually protected by Veeam. I’m not only a sponsored podcast, but I’m actually a client. I do use the platform. Very cool. So thank you, Veeam, for saving my cloud instance. Whether it’s your cloud or your on premises environment, cloud native, even things like Office 365, Microsoft Teams, you got to back that thing up. So head on over to vee.am/discoposse and you can check it out yourself. I highly recommend it. And speaking of protection, yeah, I travel a lot and many of us do. And heck, even if you just go to the local Starbucks, what you should be doing is you should be protecting your data. Because while it’s in flight floating around sketchy WiFi, you never know what’s going to happen. The world’s a difficult place. Bad people are hanging around those WiFi. So what do you do? Protect yourself with a VPN. And I’m a fan of ExpressVPN. I’m a user myself. So if you want to check it out and you want to protect your data in flight and make sure your identity is safe, then go to tryexpressvpn.com/discoposse. Because the network is scary, let’s make it less scary by using a VPN. It also helps you with advertising and all sorts of weird stuff like that. So pretty cool. Highly recommended. Go check it out. All right. And drink Diabolical coffee. Go to Diabolical coffee.com. All right. This is Gil Mehran. Enjoy.
Hi, this is Gil Mayron, the founder and CEO of Cobot Nation, the architects of automation. And you’re listening to DiscoPosse podcast.
I always say that’s like my go signal. It’s like when you here the iron man start line and you hear the big horn go, you’re like, that’s it, we’re going. So Gil, thank you very much. This is a rare treat because you’re in a very neat space and it’s exciting. But we don’t hear enough about what’s happening in it because it’s in the area of robotic automation, like true robotic automation. We always hear and I’ve had a lot of folks on about robotic process automation, or process, depending on which side of the 49th you’re from. I gave the American version. I’m usually say process.
I was born in Canada. I live in the US.
All right. Fellow Canadian.
Yeah, it makes no difference.
Exactly. Now, you see, now I’m totally going to derail because I want to find out.
I was born in Montreal. I moved to Boca Town, Florida, in 1996. I think I was eleven years old and everything went on from there.
Nice. Two beautiful places. I have a son who’s going to Concordia in Montreal, and..
I live in St. Luke. Yeah.
I got a family out there up in NDG. I love Montreal.
Yeah. Small world. Funny.
That it is. But speaking of small world, for folks that do not have a chance to already know you, Gil, let’s give a quick bio on you and Cobot Nation. And you’ve got a really cool history. So we’ll start with now and work our way towards now.
Yeah, no problem. So my background is in 2011, I sold the first consumer 3D printer company. It was called Bot Mill, and I sold it to 3D Systems Corporation. They’re publicly traded on NYSE. That turned out to be their consumer division. And I ran all the business development and corporate development in that for a number of years and pretty much until my acquisition terms were done. Once that was done, I left the company and I was recruited quickly to go over to a company called Graphene 3D Labs. They were making conductive materials, obviously with Graphene for the 3D printer market. I joined as chief marketing officer. I left within a year. I didn’t really like how long it would take to get certain deals done and move my family over to Las Vegas. A lot of reasons for that. The anticipation was to start another business once non compete and all that stuff ran out. And also Las Vegas, there’s no state income tax. There’s a lot of good things happening here. There’s incredible amount of sports teams coming in, and of course, all the house prices are going up.
Yeah, that’s the downside is that.
Actually in Las Vegas, it’s the worst place you can be. The weather is horrible, actually. There’s not a cloud in the sky, probably 70 degrees right now outside. It’s phenomenal. With that being said, once my non-compete ended and I did do a few things after Graphene 3D, when I was in Vegas, I sat on the board for Mosaic Manufacturing for a little bit of time. They make a 3D printer hardware device that splices filaments and makes them into one filament of different materials or different color, and then you can print the full object without really having multi novel. Another company that I did work for was Polymaker. They’re probably one of the largest companies in the world right now for filament for 3D printing. I know them quite well. And then once everything ended, I did some work also for HP, where we released their printers. These are industrial printers, probably the only ones that compared to injection molding that anybody knows of. We have one here at Cobot Nation, which is good, and we’ll explain why and what. And then, of course, all that leads into Cobot Nation. So Cobot Nation, the reason why we came to automation was very similar for the reasons why I got into 3D printing.
So before bot mill, I had a few other companies starting from just before college to after. But more so, what happened was my older brother and my father had introduced me to at the time was a very large full color 3D printer. My older brother was either in his PhD program or already a professor at a local university. And I put up the Google alerts and then RepRap came up. The RepRap project. RE-P-R-A-P. Once that came up before there was even over a page on the site, maybe there was a one page thing on there, probably not even a form yet. Once that came on board, I contacted Adrian Bauer, who was the guy who started it, and I was able to get the rights to make the first fully assembled version of the next machine that he was coming out with, which I don’t remember what could be Mendel, I don’t remember what the name was of the machine. Anyways, with that, we had a huge backlog. We had to hire some engineers to come help and finish some of the instructions and things like that. There were some differences from an open source printer.
I think it had something like 1800 moving parts on a different nuts and bolts. The whole thing was nut and bolts and 3D printed parts and all that stuff. And so we had a huge backlog. And with that backlog, my only competitor at the time was MakerBot, and everybody who’s within the industry would know who MakerBot was at the time, they were probably the ones who kicked off the Hype. But more so in the comparison I want to make here is that the reason why we got into 3D printing is because the industrial patents were expiring. On some of the core processes for the filament based type stuff. The layering with the filament and call it a 3D printer or call it whatever you want. Whoever out there decide to call it a 3D printer, and we rocked with it, no problem. The same thing happened in robotic arms. So a number of years ago, you had a PhD student in the Netherlands who then started a company called Universal Robots. They are absolutely the leader in collaborative robots with the amount of robots that they have out there in the field. Cobot Nation runs a completely different business, and we’ll get into that.
But that really is why we got into Cobot Nation. We saw the exact same business pattern. We saw a lot of fragmentation within the business processes. We understood what it takes to introduce a new technology into Fortune 500 companies. We’ve done it before. Very few others have done stuff to this degree where you’re really pitching a brand new thing and you have to really make a win out of it in order for somebody to pull the trigger on a million dollar check. And so with that being said, all of the boxes checked for going into collaborative robots. So the way that we do Cobot Nation, and I’ll be brief with this, too, and I’m sure you want to add some stuff. But the way that we do Cobot Nation is we’re the only collaborative robot company that manufactures everything. So we engineer, design, manufacture everything. We go directly to the customer. We do not use distributors, resellers, or integrators. All of our engineers are hired full time. The majority of them are master mechanical engineers. And if they’re not master, they’re pretty much there. They all are wizards in CAD. So much so that anytime we go to an onsite with a customer and we leave the onsite in order to then make our proposal, our workflow, and quote and everything else, typically within 24 hours, we turn around and we give the customer 3D CAD of the entire project of what we’re doing.
And that’s something that nobody else. So we do a lot of weird things. But the more important thing is that in the market, you have all of the large companies sorry, the light just went out here. All of the large companies. There’s no way for them to scale across hundreds of facilities if they’re going through a value added reseller chain, you won’t get the support. And if you do, it won’t be the same. You won’t get the same payment terms. And that’s only on the business front. Imagine what happens when something happens with the robots. Who are you going to call? The integrators? The integrator is going to call the distributors, going to call the manufacturer. The manufacturer is going to say, well, you guys installed it, and it’s going to go right back down and right back up until somebody decides to fork it up. Here at Cobot Nation, with every single order, we offer a three year support plan. The three year support plan is very low cost. It’s $4,599 period. Doesn’t change, doesn’t go up, doesn’t go down, doesn’t matter what we’re doing. That is what it is. The reason why we’re able to do this is, first off, we have control over all the engineering that we do. We make everything. We have all the equipment here to make everything. CNC’s, 3D printers, the whole deal. And so for us, we’re able to really move ahead with a customer in a way that nobody else is able to do.
So if any of the large companies call us and they all have and they say, hey, we’ve tried to do automation, it hasn’t worked. We’ve used X, Y and Z company, some of them I may or may not have mentioned already in this podcast. And these companies, unfortunately, they get these robots, they’re not installed properly. And if they are, if it breaks down, the integrator may or may not still be in business. If you have an industrial robot, like a Fanic robot, good luck and support for that thing. And if you do that’s a very difficult thing to program if you don’t know what you’re doing. On the other hand, our guys at our company, not only can they program everything that we do, we can program everybody else’s robot as well. So the support program, we can also put onto other robots if we feel that they’re up to speed. Not only that, we have the ability to take unused equipment off the machine floor in order to make room for some additional automation processes. So we really have the entire thing covered for an enterprise type company. And in our opinion, that’s the way that you go about introducing this stuff.
If you can’t perfect it with the largest guys, don’t go perfecting it with a little CNC shop where you expect them to do all the installation and everything. They don’t want to spend the time doing it. They want to make sure that the thing is done. So we don’t allow any customer to do the installation. We do all of the installation. Our payment terms are completely unique from anybody else. So if it’s a new customer, it’s 10% down. That’s it. At our facility here in Las Vegas, we have 10,000 sqft. We call it a collaboratory. So that’s a mixture of collaborative and laboratory. We were just talking about synergistic words off air. Everything is -.ly and whatever. Who knows, maybe somebody owns the term slot.machines. When you walk into the office here and I’ll get back to the business, but when you walk into the office, it’s a very Las Vegas theme. You see couches. It’s a loungy area, almost like a Wooly Wonka type thing. I mean, you can even see from my office. You’d have no idea that we do anything with robots. And so this was done, by the way, by my wife.
She’s a great designer. I’m sure everybody can go on Instagram and see all the different pictures and things like that. But with that being said, at our facility, we do all the prototyping over here. So it doesn’t matter how big the customer is. We will produce higher manufacturing line, not the whole facility, but at least main line. At our facility, we’ll automate everything. The customer gets a chance to come over here, or they can do it by video for whatever Covid, or whatever the reasons may be. And only once it’s approved by the customer fully. So it needs to work 100%. Then they go with the next payment of 40%. Then we install everything. We train everybody. We make sure it’s running for a number of days. We don’t just leave you. And then, of course, then we’ll invoice for the last 50% if it’s a repeat order, which is the majority of customers that we have out here. So they’ll do one sell. And because we’re working with large companies, they probably have a few hundred more of those. And so with that being said, on secondary orders, it’s usually 50% down 50% upon completion.
And we haven’t seen any issues over there. Everything has worked out perfectly for us and had prototypes. And once the prototype is approved, any 3D prints, parts, we may go ahead and get machined and so on and so forth.
So the interesting thing is how you’re able to do it. And I think we’re going to probably see a lot of references to Elon Musk, so no one get mad at me because I’m using Elon Musk as a comparison.
My head might go beyond the screen.
But sometimes he’s a difficult figure to call upon because people have some strong opinions on him. But in his approach to engineering and business, he did a great podcast recently with Lex Friedman, who is an MIT researcher in robotics and AI.
I watched it. Yeah.
And ultimately his theory is this idea that if the goal of everything he does is to look at raw material costs and get as close, he says we can get us asymptotically close to the raw material cost through manufacturing. That’s what we want to do. That’s the goal.
Regardless of what you do in every company, right?
Yeah. But everybody else is like it’s incremental change and the true sort of zero to one type of innovation, first principles thinking can’t live in that world. So it was very interesting to see that. And ten years ago he was just that crazy guy that’s rich from PayPal, and then all of a sudden he was that guy who, boy, I can’t wait to watch till he goes out of business because he’s spending money in these goofy startups. Now he’s a gazillionaire. He said the largest amount of tax that any human has ever paid in history, the largest single donation he’s given in history. Three companies that have defied convention. And it’s incredible. So I think take that concept, that style, that approach. You were early to the market. You’ve lived through multiple organizations and seeing it play out. And now you’ve got a chance to basically take the Etch a sketch and shake it out and say, okay, what do we really want to accomplish? Right? And owning the supply chain, owning the deployment, owning the support. Because that’s the only thing when you get to support it’s not even just like the up and down of the ISPs and the support folks, whatever.
But at some point there’s a secondary market for support contracts and they sell it to a third party, and then that gets sold to another party. Next thing you know, who knows who’s actually responsible for that contract because it’s been washed out.
Well, there’s also another thing. So the reason why we’re able to offer the support the way that we do with the amount of engineers that we have in the company. So we don’t have hundreds of engineers that are scattered around the country. We have a number of them, but not hundreds. And so why we’re able to do this is because for the majority of our customers, we’ll make a custom dashboard. And on this dashboard, they can see every robot and machine that they have on their machine floor. And so everything that we integrate to the robot, any point of sale system that they want to integrate to the robot to help with the flow, everything we’re the only ones that we know of that’s made such a dashboard for the customers. At some point we’ll have it released to the public, likely in the next month or two. But for right now, we’re only using it for certain customers because it’s that valuable to us. For example, if there is any sort of a data spike that we see anywhere, usually that’s an indication that we know something before the actual operator or before the machine breaks.
And we can always say, go take a look at X. Or we could just come out there and do a preventative sweep and do what we need to do. But having the preventative maintenance is a massive cost saver, not just for us in doing support, but also for the customer in support. So for us, we built the business based on what we would want if we were one of our customers, how it would work. And then we just built it out from there. And it just so happened that it made sense for us to make all of the hardware. It made sense for us to make all of the software. Because ultimately, the way that I believe to push a business is the following. So in 3D printing, you can pedal push sales like anybody else, no problem. Get a list and email and see what happens. You can pay for advertising, no problem. You can brand and all that kind of stuff. And you can hope that certain people see you and they come in and they buy some of those machines. They see the benefits and all that kind of stuff. I don’t like to deal with hope whatsoever.
I think it’s absolutely ludicrous to go beyond that line. And so the way we see it here at Cobot Nation was a go after big players because nobody else is, and they cannot. And we did that, and we did that very quietly. We wouldn’t be on the podcast with you if we wouldn’t have already completed it already. So we wanted to make sure that we were in a little bit of a stealth mode before we started to come out there to the public. The other way that we can go about it is so obviously we can reach out code to customers, get meetings, and go from there no problem. We can hope that they find us no problem. Or we can make the entire supply chain. So we have all the hardware, we have all the software. And when you put it together, we’re actually a massive competitor for some of our customers as well. Now, the customers we have, we’re not there to compete with them. We’re here to make the robots. However, we do have a business forward program where we’re making full businesses. These full businesses are completely automated with one person operating the entire thing.
This could be a full pizza joint. And that’s just an easy example to give to an audience, which we are working on, and some other food products as well. But that is what we’re seeing. And so one of the ways that we can go about this, we can release full businesses and again, hope that some people come around to doing it, or we can also go out and acquire or start our own and do what we need to do. Most people or people in my position would be quiet about that. We want to be a little vocal about it. We think it’s important for people to understand what’s going on. The deals that we’re doing will instantly delete 20% of a workforce, it could be mor. And nobody knows these kinds of things. Nobody knows the kind of scale that we’re dealing with right now. And it is going to happen so fast. The rise was pretty big, and the drop is going to be even bigger. And so it’s one of those things where you’ll have typically it’s an aging demographic, and we’re talking about the people now who are going to be displaced.
It’s usually an aging demographic, usually ones who typically do many things with their hands. And there’s really not much else required there. So the manufacturer will not require them to actually put any thought into it. This is what you’re doing, and this only. And those are the processes that we’re taking over in a day. So it’s very easy for us to go out and replace a human in a lot of those things. And we know of some very large businesses out there, some publicly traded ones in the billions, who have very few humans in their manufacturing facilities, yet they do $2 billion in revenue a year.
And if you think about the most common thing that comes up is the replace versus displace versus replant I guess in human capital. It sounds kind of gross to say it that way, but like a human resource, a person that works for a company that is no longer doing something that the human instinct is to say you just took away that person’s job. But flip it over, go back to what we’re really doing. We’re reducing the risk on that person’s life because they’re doing a mechanical repeatable thing that’s probably going to lead to them having a repetitive stress injury.
That’s right. We get a lot of that. Yeah.
They’re exposed to other environmental concerns that when lengthens are caused degenerative physical problems.
I can say yes so. Many times when we get a lead, it’ll start out very what we call soft. So my guys are getting injuries, and I want to see what this automation does. It always ends with the exact same thing. They only care about throughput. And of course, because of throughput being increased by automation, all the other stuff is just a given. And so safety will be increased and all that kind of stuff. So here’s what we’ll say. When we’re phasing out a project for a customer that really wants to do full automation, you can’t do it right at the beginning. You’re going to phase it in. There’s going to be a way of getting it done. There’s a method to the madness. You’re not just going to put down $10 billion and get your entire 700 facilities done. But the way to go about getting some of these things done, and again, one of the slogans that we have is Cobot Nation supports the human vacation just to dig in a little bit deeper with all of these things. So when we’re doing a phased approach, it does start with where can we put some of the people in order to help the robots with their jobs?
And that could be for a specific reason. So it might be because we didn’t make a certain indexing device yet. So we put the robot arm there. It’s taking care of a crucial point, but maybe the garments you have shirts and pants right now, they’re in one bin. Maybe we move the people to removing some stuff from the bin and indexing it that way for the robot. And even in that case, you’re already getting rid of a certain amount of people. Once we get to the point of throughput, the company is no longer sitting there talking to us about the people that they’re getting rid of. We never hear about that. All we hear about is how can you increase our throughput after you’re done with this? How can you continue to optimize because they see an immense amount of benefit on their site. First off, they know exactly to the decimal what their throughput would be, which means they know what their margins are. They know where the margins are going to increase with their suppliers. They get excited to renegotiate supplier contracts. They get excited to go back to the customers. And even if they give them a 10% savings, they’re like, oh, my God, I’m already making another 200%.
So what do I care? And so it looks good for everybody. And so everything starts to increase. But there’s also another warning that comes out there as well. It’s not just what we do for an individual company. It’s what does that company do to other companies in their field once they have even one process automated? And here’s what I’d like to say to your audience. If you have a company down the street that does the same thing as you and they have a process automated right now, the first thing that they should do is go after your customers 100%, go after your customers and say, Look, I have a better deal, I’m faster, I’m better, I’m cheaper, whatever the case may be. And that would be the end of it. And so you would probably have very little time. Not only that, there’s a sales process involved here. And if you don’t call a company like Cobot Nation and you call anybody else, there’s going to be a timeline there. With us, we do have an awareness as to what’s going on. We know how fast things are moving. We only care to supply the robots and to do all the hardware and software, let everybody else run the business.
So even if we were to go out and acquire one day, it would just be to accelerate automation across an industry. That’s really all we care to do right now. And whatever that leads to is what it leads to.
Yes. The question is, do you make your own coffee? How much of your day is automated? Here’s the fun part, right. Making this business live and thrive, you must have an incredible amount of stuff that you need to free yourself to be able to do.
Sure. Yeah. No, absolutely. So internally in here in the office, we have about twelve people full time. Out of the twelve people, the majority are mechanical engineers. We do have our creative director. We have the marketing team that she handles, which includes also our front and facing UI type stuff that gets done over there for a lot of the customers on the dashboard. And not only that, within our facility here in Las Vegas. And you can imagine I’ve been to an immense amount of schools and facilities. I’ve seen the best of the best. And what they claim, I can tell you right now, we have the best of the best here. We have every high tech piece of things you can ever imagine. If we don’t have it, we can make it, and if we can’t make it, we’ll get it. We really have an opportunity here to push forward without waiting, and that’s important to me. So the last thing I like to see is things getting stalled due to a company looking to squeeze more margin, more profit for the shareholders. I absolutely couldn’t care less about that. I think that the more people that get to automation, the better off things will be in the end.
Your robots dance, though. This is awesome dynamic, right?
What I really do like about the broader industry and I call on that example because it got a lot of people to laugh about robots. And I think if nothing, what they’ve done and what society has learned is that if you put the right music over, it can be equally scary. Like somebody did that really video and they put like horror movie music over
Like the Family Guy episode, yeah.
But if you look at the innovation that’s occurring, this is stuff that has an incredible second and third order effect. And we really struggle sometimes with like, what are you doing right now, not seeing the vision and you’ve got to have a very long view yourself and of course your old team. Because a lot of what you’re are doing won’t actually be real for quite some time. The amount of research and design and iteration is incredible.
What I can say is this, first off, the mechanical engineers that are coming out of the university today, they don’t have to do certain things that they did even a decade ago. They can pick up a Raspberry Pi, they could pick up an Arduino. They can start to find an immense amount of ready made templates and things online that help them guide them in the direction. And for the most part, anything that we’re building robotic with Motors and other things, it really does come down to some basic things that we do in the end. So there’s really a very big similarity in the program. It doesn’t matter what robot we’re making. We can be doing a sign robot with no robot arm, a gantry system. It doesn’t matter. All of it will play a part. But our design process is very quick here. And that’s one of the reasons why when we did raise money at the beginning of last year, we did a seed round of a few million dollars. We were very successful very quickly. I think everybody understood where the vision was going here. And actually when we see long term, our long term is like 2025.
So we have all the customers right now. The only thing we’re doing right now is executing on the business that we have. And so with that, that’s why we’re going out and starting to explain about the thought leadership and explain about some of the things that are out there. We don’t see the problem that a lot of young people are getting into apps, and it’s been going on for a long time now. And NFTs no doubt we’ll see what happens over there. All that stuff will play a part. But the older generation, the one who’s in manufacturing, that’s a rough one.
But even on the NFC’s things, I explained this to somebody yesterday, and they somehow didn’t capture the humor and irony that I said. Do you remember when there was a day when somebody talk about the humor of the fact that somebody had, like, a monkey and they trained like the monkey just threw it on a canvas coin started. Yeah, somebody sold this monkey poop thing but didn’t tell you it was made by a monkey. And some art collector bought it for people like those idiot art dealers. And you just paid $1,000 for something that Gary Vee wrote on the back of a barn napkin and he took a picture of it and you bought an NFT of that picture of a napkin of a turtle. Like, remind me how the monkey poop buyer was weird.
Or the other thing that I heard where if I’m standing in front of a Museum and I take a picture and I’m in the picture, but that picture is owned by me. But there’s the Museum.
Yeah, there’s very weird stuff that we get sort of hung on. And that’s why when you get into advanced innovation and we get into human function displacement, we really, as humans, get hung on weird stuff. We are still sticky on the long term effect. i-Robot was a terrible movie, but it makes a great cover. Like, the cover art from the i-Robot movie has gotten way more play in blogs than it ever did at blockbuster because it introduced this idea of robots gone wild. And I’m a big fan of the old Ed 2000, Dead or Alive, you’re coming with me. We have all these memories of these, like the memes and the archetypes of the robots gone bad. But meanwhile, what’s it enabling is the research that you’re doing that also translates to folks that are going to do like human integrated robotics and prosthetics. And every innovation we’re doing in 3D printing coming as far as it is, it’s an amazing world we’re in right now, and it’s moving fast.
Well, in 3D printing, aside from maybe a few chemical methods that might be coming out, the only way to speed up an inherently slow technology is through automation. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with our printers here as well. So we have the HP multi jet fusion printer here in the office. It’s the only printer that we know of to compete against injection molding on quality and quantity. And of course, price as well. We use it for an immense amount of fixed string. And so that’s one thing where, again, people are going to be surprised when they see that we’re able to pump out 10,000 parts in two days with our printers, it starts to get interesting.
Wow. Yeah. And when you get into discussions of, again, sort of bold discussions about off planets terraforming, we’re not going to be sending out stuff from Ikea. We’re going to be sending the bloody robot to build the Ikea furniture on the other side. I only hope that we call it, like, Sven and Gunter, and we give them appropriate names for whatever the Mars based printer furniture looks like. But this as an innovative thing, the hardest part we get is that it’s not tangible to a lot of people. Even today, 3D printing, they don’t see, like, in home application yet.
It may not happen. It’s one of those things where it needs to hit the industries that require it the most first, and then hopefully it will transmit over to the home. I think when I started in 3D printing, we marketed out as well. This could be a home 3D. It never was. It was never a home 3D printer.
Yeah, it would be for the tech nerds that got a good equity payout from an acquisition that decided to spend it on a 3D printer. And that’s like the old somebody the Pancake bought fun things like that. It takes, like, 14 minutes to make a goddamn pancake.
But speaking of the pancake bot, because I don’t want to forget about it. So if anybody goes to our Instagram at Cobot Nation, they will see. We went to a local school here in Las Vegas, and we made a pancake bot. The only difference, though, is our robot picked up the batter in a cup, poured it in, dropped it off, got the spatula, did the whole thing, flipped it, and then I put it onto a plate, did a little wave to the person, and did it right over again. Like I said, it was a lot faster than 14 minutes.
That is awesome.
And I think this is where innovation is unseen until it’s broadly steam. And it’s a weird thing. You’ve been doing this for a long time. What drew you to doing stuff that no one is going to believe? It’s already real.
Yeah. So I think I was brought up with some sort of a knack for believing in what I can accomplish. And I think that as long as I see the logical steps to get to the end, no matter how long it is, then I’m going to push as far as I can as fast as I can to that point. In 3D printing, I did the first licensing deals in 3D printing with Viacom NBA Star Trek. You can take a picture with a webcam on the front inside of your face, mesh the whole thing together, put it on a Star Trek body, make some components, and send off to the 3D printer. And then all that. We did very well with those things, especially because we were publicly traded at 3D systems. And so I think that with all these things, it’s just about having a belief that they can get done. And understanding that what you have is way better than anyone else. And why on Earth anyone else has not moved on this? That’s what really gets me. And right now, Cobot Nation, we’ve been operating right now for over two years. So we’ve been doing this sight unseen for a little while.
And it allowed us to go excuse my language, but falls to the wall with absolutely every single facet of the business the way that I would have wanted it if I would have known how to do business the way I do it today when I was 26 years old and sold the 3D printer company.
What do you think is the greatest potential right now at the consumer level for this stuff? Obviously, what we talked about already, the idea that manufacturing can get margins down, maybe bring it local, which is a competitive offering now where US-produced items can now be US sold. I think that’s fantastic, but there’s got to be, some what are some other things that are truly consumer affecting that you really see the opportunity for?
Yeah. So there’s a few things here that we need to recognize. First off, in history, and I think it’s 100% of the time, I think the audience could correct me if I’m wrong, but when you see a shortage in inventory start to happen, like, what we’re seeing on the shelves and in every single industry, the consumer sees it. No doubt. We don’t see it in the advertisements because you can’t blame the business for saying, oh, we’re fully stocked. But then you get to the store and they’re like, they don’t have paint. They’re the largest paint seller. What’s going on here? So one thing that people should be aware of in history, when you have inventory go down, what follows it is actually a demand that goes down. And so when inventory goes down and then demand goes down, well, it’s actually not a bad thing for us to be automating in order to level that playing field, in order to make sure that things are still flowing. So with automation, number one is the throughput. The throughput affects everything and mostly affects the price. So the price will go down substantially because payroll is the biggest substantial thing in a company for the large degree, as part of the operations cost to a massive degree.
And so when you start to eliminate large percentages of that, you start to see some radical changes in companies. And so we have no doubt that we will see massive disruption in different industries, and it’s probably going to be spawned by automation. So that’s one thing that we know will affect the consumer, whether it’s positive or negative. That is something that’s happening now. That’s something that’s going to affect them, and they should be aware of it. But, yeah, I think other things that they would end up seeing will be the quality of the products that they get. You’re going to see an immense amount of consistency. You’re never going to have to worry anymore that when you open something, something’s not there. Let’s say you go to McDonald’s and you go through the drive through and you get those two, you get home, one kid has a toy, the other kid doesn’t. That’s a problem. So you’ll never have that problem. And that just creates a lot of smoothness going out there. And it makes for a lot of humans to have to find something else to do to get an occupation out there. It’s going to change politics.
It’s going to change everything. And like you said, I think originally you will see an even playing field. So it does open up for the US to do manufacturing here in the US. But ultimately, once things start to condense, maybe 10-20 years down the line, big time. But once for industries are automated, at that point, I think you’re actually going to see a lot of manufacturing probably gravitate towards the raw material parts of the world that affect them the most. Because now we’re talking really into the future, but not that far off. That’s where we expect things to be, because right now with logistical stuff, people are seeing right now what happens at the raw material level when even they can’t get parts for their machines or people to run that stuff. At that point, it affects everybody else, including me and you.
I think the other problem we bump into is the bigness of the problem, then it feels unattainable as a solution to a lot of people. So there’s an unwillingness to put effort towards it. Right. That’s why climate change and all these things are you got one side of there’s a lot of bold opinions, but very few bold solutions. And even of those bold solutions, very few people are enacting those bold solutions. It’s a big risk, because if we don’t do this and now on the other side where they’re saying, like, I worry, I watched this movie called The Truth About Killer Robots, and they hear all these things. They read the dark side. They’re like, we should resist automation. And they’re like, no, you understand, but the alternative, it’s already occurring. Right. So it’s going to happen elsewhere in the world. So especially if you look at the North American market, if we want to stay relevant.
Well, that’s exactly. You actually just touched on the biggest point that I wanted to blur it out. It’s going to happen elsewhere in the world. And a lot of people. So just look at today’s news with Russia and Ukraine, right? Yeah. I don’t know what’s happening. It could be withdrawing, maybe they’re not withdrawing. Who knows? And so all of these things play a massive part. What happens when another country has automated before the other country? You’re going to see major issues in tariffs, which we already see with China. And by the way, I can tell you right now, China has more robotic arms installed than any other place on the planet.
Hands down, no doubt, 100%. And so these are things that people really need to understand because this is going to be the next wave of security and other things that come up. It’s where are the products being made? How are they being made? How do we know that being made a certain way? And people are going to want to know that you don’t have a human presence in certain products.
The direct example I have is this one here. It’s an Epiphone Les Paul. So it’s basically the lighter cost version of a Gibson manufactured. I don’t know exactly where it’s manufactured, but it’s perfect because it’s generally machine made. If for the most part, there are certain handcrafted pieces of it, but it’s for the most part, it’s all machine made. Now, if I take the Gibson version of it, significantly more money, I could probably fit change for a dollar between the neck and the body on every other one. Like, they’re physically different. They’re handcrafted. There is the artisanal nature of it is why we kind of like it. But it can’t be made at any scale. And so if Gibson wants to stay in business, they got to make some machine guitars.
And what you got to do, no matter what, you could still make those great artists, all the other stuff, but you still need to do what you need to do.
Yeah. I often talk, so it’s a beautiful advantage to it. And so there will be that sort of that handcraft buyer, there will be that person that wants that human touch on something. But for the most part, most of what we’re doing, like I said, this is not about me wanting to hold onto this hope that humans build everything. Like some 48 year old guy that still wear in his high school football jacket. Like, he’s active. It’s already occurring elsewhere. And we have a rare opportunity to use beautiful, localized innovation and to do other things. Like I said, I’m always thinking about what is the second and third order effect of this stuff, and that’s what Metaverse. Yeah.
So automating and making manufacturing in the mid averse and products get made there, which then turn up in the real world. That’s something that it’s being explored. I’ll put it that way. And it’s a really interesting concept, whether it’s done somewhere like that or not. It’s very interesting to see how metabolic or Omniverse or whoever ends up getting the share of that pie at some point.
Yeah. Who owns all the stuff I look at?
Yes. That’s going to be tough part is like, are you going to the medaverse today or are you going to the Omniverse then going to go to the Omniverse in the morning, then go to the Metaverse in the afternoon.
It’s actually much more effective on robotics. It’s much more effective for a company like Cobot Nation. We prefer to look at that than metaerse, because Metaverse is a little more consumer oriented to me. Doesn’t mean other one isn’t. It just means that the other one has a little more ability.
Totally. Yeah. And isn’t funny if you think you went back like even five years and you said stuff, people are like, hell, you guys talked about it’s like broadly used. I’ve actually referred to the Metaverse and the Omnivorous three times in the past week on podcast, because we’re there. This stuff is occurring. It’s just that it hasn’t hit sort of mass market consumption yet. But it’s like people will say, well, the Metaverse isn’t actually there yet. Well, it’s always there. People are terraforming it right now. Effectively, they’re letting industry in first, which is interesting. Like the consumers are going to be the last ones that arrive. They are building the mall and then selling the spaces to the stores, and then they’re going to open the doors and cut the ribbon. That’s right. You’re not letting the people walk around the open lot and saying, what do you think we should build here? They’re like, It’s going to be built for you, Dragon.
No, but speaking on that five year thing, imagine if you said to somebody five years ago, hey, by the way, Facebook, they’re going to change your name. Here’s what’s going to happen. And that is what it’s going to be. And Metaverse, I’m not sure that I think it would have had the same weight.
Yeah. On the consumer level, if you don’t mind, I’d like to tap into what are the real positive consumer level product innovations that are happening in the 3D printer space that probably make it really accessible and valuable for people to literally get a small consumer level hardware in their home.
I’ll give you a very good example. So Invisalign. Invisalign those retainers that are on the mouth, and I just had an implant done. So I have one, which is why I’m giving the example. It’s what came in my mind, obviously, but basically with Invisalign, they may not use this process 100% anymore, but there’s definitely a combination of this process. But for example, with the HP printer, because you’re looking more of a chemical process, so heat doesn’t affect it as much. Well, now I can print, I can vacuum form, and now I have an unbelievable array of end products that I can make, which are mass customized, which are unique to the individual person on each one. That’s pretty powerful. That’s pretty heavy stuff. So, yeah, you’re going to see an immense amount of that stuff. And actually, that’s what they’re doing already in local dental offices. You’re seeing less of some of that design stuff and more of, oh, they have an SOS machine or they have something in there, a resin machine that they’re printing and doing a little bit of vacuum forming and stuff like that. With HP, we can vacuum form over and over again.
Nothing will happen. So there’s a little bit of a difference there. But those are things that I think the consumer is going to start to see is 3D printing in itself is inherently slow. 3d printing or metal 3D printing. If it’s not powder, it’s garbage. It’s not going to do anything. And the materials are probably not even approved for consumers anyways. Like, it’s not going on a Boeing aircraft that the consumer is going to go on. It might go on like a test something. Powder, on the other hand, that’s different. And with powder 3D printing, you can still do a number of things. And so that allows you to increase speed, that allows you to do multiple things because you can fill up a whole bed in 3D and not just the first layer over there. And so I think with that, we’re seeing more people gravitate to having a comfortable ability to make materials in those things. And that also came about because we’ve exhausted the materials that we make on Filaments. I mean, come on, there’s really not much left that we can melt and let me make a hotter extruder and then melt something else.
There’s not much more we could do there. So it makes sense that the methods that we do are going to be where we see some of the differences, but it’ll be differences that are going to be beneficial to the consumer. They are going to be more geared customized to the consumer. And that also is what automation does for them as well. Automation doesn’t just mean repeat of the same product. It could be repeat of the same process in manufacturing, but it would absolutely allow you to make different products if you had the right method over there, especially if you’re doing vacuum forming, something like that. So, yeah, those are things that we think are going to come out. And by the way, it’s not just dental stuff you can do with vacuum forming. My wife and I, not too long ago, we made a small company where we’ve been doing chocolates and the chocolates.
I saw this. Yeah.
Pouring the chocolate and poof MGM buys a bunch from you.
So that literally is what happened.
And then, of course, we realized that you can’t really ship chocolate across the country from Las Vegas in the summer is a pretty tough task.
Yeah. All that beautiful printing you do, suddenly these people get a chocolate blob at the other side.
Yeah. But the reason we did that business is because that was the transition to automation. So we did Sweeter words or chocolate stuff because that involved 3D printing and involved vacuum forming. And the only way that we would be allowed to put that in any sort of a commercial kitchen facility is if we automate the whole thing because they did not want people around that stuff. Right. And so that is where a lot of stuff came as well.
And I think that brings up a very important piece, which is a split in challenge and in benefit. Regulatory boundaries that we are facing because unfortunately, regulatory boundaries are generally not made to create innovation. If anything, they say dominantly will stifle innovation. But there’s a good example where because of a regulatory boundary, you are able to immediately get the solution right. You can immediately create a business. You can immediately create a product because you eliminated stuff that would have been risky because of commercial kitchen regulations.
But on the other side of getting around. Right.
Yeah. But on the other side of it, where you do want to be able to, say, create children’s strollers or something, that’s a safety equipment. It could take a decade to get approval for something that won’t even need to exist by the time it’s approved. And so it really stifles a lot of people attempting it because they’re just like, I don’t want to fight this fight.
I don’t know. Imagine if Uber had to wait for approval before they start. I don’t know if they would be around right now.
No. And you know the tough part about Uber, if Uber was run by a really friendly person that did the same thing, it wouldn’t have been a problem. It was a douchebag. That was the problem.
Yeah. A little more than that. Yeah. And by the way, if he ever hears this, I hear that he claims to be one of the top Wii Tennis players out there.
I have heard that.
Let me throw something out there that I’ve never thrown out there before. You’re going to love this. I created way back in the day, the Virtual Tennis Tour. And with the Virtual Tennis Tour, I was the first and only person to claim the number one Wii tennis title. So this guy claims that he’s the best. He clearly has not played in a Virtual Tennis Tour tournament.
There you go. The gauntlet has been thrown down.
My stuff is documented. You can see it. It’s on YouTube. It’s real.
And it’s funny. Again, I talked about Elon. We mentioned sometimes polarizing figures. And in a way, I think we even do need polarizing figures in order to get there. As a founder of something, my only goal in life is not to one day be referred to as embattled. That just seems like a thing you never want to attach to you. But there will be people that will have to sort of throw authority into the sun and just say, God damn you. And they’re going to be even athletes. Like I would tell people all the time, don’t meet your heroes because you’re going to be disappointed. Right. You’re just going to get kicked in the stomach emotionally by somebody because the reason why they’re fantastic athletes, they have no time for humans wasting their space out in order to get that way.
Right. They kind of don’t want to really spill the secret out to anybody else.
Certainly I’m not forgiving the negative behavior that occurs, but there’s a personality trait that’s paired with excelling at something in those cases. So what can we as a society do on the regulatory front to make sure that we are preparing that for what needs to happen to advance this innovation?
Yeah. So there’s a few things. So first off, when you think of collaborative robots and anybody out there who sells collaborative robots, I think of it in the same way as a consumer 3D printer, which could have been called a personal manufacturing device, for all we know, or Hawk glue gun transport machine. So it’s whatever the case may be. So when I look at collaborative robots, the way that we look at it is the same way that we see materials and 3D printing, there literally is no regulation whatsoever. So when somebody says this is safe to be with humans, I say, wow, that’s a statement. I mean, if I run into a robot that stopped, that could be detrimental, that could be a problem. And so we put an immense amount of safety for our customers. And not only that, that helps with support as well, because less people around certain things, more processes to go through, which makes you a little more aware as to what’s going on. And again, with the others, there’s no process. There is no regulation. There’s not even a recommendation to the customer like, oh, hey, put some perimeter sensors or get some curtains from here and they attach directly to our robot control box.
You don’t have anything like that. And so we take pride in doing those things. And those are things that we think are extremely important. Same way, for example, in 3D printing, it hasn’t happened yet, but it needs to happen where I can make any filament I want right now. I could package it up, I could put it on Amazon, somebody could buy it. I can have graphene in there. I can also have something that could be illegal within that material as well. And there is no regulatory body whatsoever that goes through those processes because these companies don’t need to be ISO certified. They don’t need to have any of that kind of stuff. They could be somebody with a syllabus at home and just making some filaments and throwing it out there. And what gets scary is if you see people do that for powders and if you see people do it for resins and other things, that starts to become a problem because you do want a consistency in the future products that come out there. So regulation is good in some areas and it’s not good in others, where, for example, maybe Uber is a great idea, where there shouldn’t be regulation there at the beginning, but maybe it was there just due to the taxi crawling or whatever the case may be, but certainly wasn’t safety.
It just depends on what the scenario is.
Exactly. That thing, right. Where there’s going to be a point where stuff goes in and there are requirements for regulatory protection for certain things. Right. But it also becomes a joke on the other side, like California, I forget which proposition it was. Whatever it is, the one that tells you that basically everything in California is going to give you cancer. So you walk into Starbucks and it has a placard on the wall. You get a chocolate bar, it has it like my playing card in the oven, every single building as a placard saying that some or part or many or just the meat building. Something around here may or may not be contain cancer causing ingredients. And you’re like, is it the coffee? Is it the wood on the wall? I don’t understand what it is. So we basically become blind to the actual risk because we’ve regulated the notification, not the actual risk reduction. It’s just bizarre. So then I look at manufacturing. Like I said, you could just take the stuff home, print it, fire it on Etsy, and you’re cancer to a bunch of people. I don’t know what the end result is.
I’m not saying we don’t do it, but there’s a mix of the right amount of protection and safety that we have to make sure is present there. Luckily, you’re going to be laser focused on that, especially at the level that you’re working.
That’s where the view is very iterative. We have overhead conveyors right in front of me in one of our Collaboratories here. And so, yeah, we care about safety probably more than anybody else. And not only that, keep in mind our customers, they need to be up 24/7. And if something goes down and again, safety is included in throughput. And if something goes down, that’s a massive issue. We could be affecting their projections and everything else. So we want to make sure that we’re right on target with everything that we’re doing in safety is the most important thing to us. That’s not just a claim that we’re trying to make, it’s because it actually does make a difference.
It’s also a false pretense that gets attached to things like automation, where CNN will have a thing saying that a Tesla was in self driving mode and it crashed because the guy that was in the front seat was on his laptop and playing poker and dribbling a plate on his nose like whatever it’s going to be. But the headline is Tesla self driving car crashes in autonomous mode. And I’m like, you know, there were 14,000 other car crashes, 2000 of them were fatal today in California alone. Right. That wasn’t in the news, but they are really fast to race to the headlines with the fact that a Tesla crashed.
That’s right. No, it’s pretty incredible stuff. And we fully expected over here. I think I have thick enough skin to deal with it.
But, yeah, I think that beyond the clickbait of that type of thing occurring. The good news is that the people are still willing, you included, right, to continue to innovate, to continue to drive. Safety is top of mind. When we look at the statistics, we understand they’re on the right side of things. It’s just there’s this transition period where it’s like, this is crazy. This is risky about the car.
Right. When the horse and bug, I’m going to stick to my horse.
Exactly. And even Tesla V, the world, right. This whole thing, everybody’s like, now we got to be careful. We got to figure out how to regulate them out of business. And then all of a sudden we’re hearing all about Ford and Hyundai and all these companies that are making groundbreaking moves with electric vehicles. But over there, we’ve been doing this for 20 years ago.
Suddenly you had to wait for somebody to do it, to say, okay. And it’s a mixture between a lot of these companies do have the ability to do the innovation, by the way, you don’t need a guy like Elon to come out with a Tesla in order to do it. The problem is, though, is that, again, you have other things that play in there. It could be inventory, for all we know. Maybe they have a certain amount of inventory out there, and it affects a certain number in the stock for what, I don’t know. So there could be a whole bunch of other reasons why they wouldn’t want to get something out there yet. And also, when you have certain competitors, sometimes they try to keep things stable, so they actually work quite well together sometimes.
If you look at your example earlier and we talked about not just the supply chain, but ultimately the deployments, the support, everything that you’ve got, the fact that you own the process from start to finish gives you an inherent advantage in that process versus another company that has been in the game in semi autonomous stuff or in semi robotics, where they’ve dabbled, but they’ve got non autonomous stuff and non robotic stuff, but they still this massive commitment to support for. So it’s hard for them to adjust. It’s hard for them to pivot. It will take longer. But somebody comes along and say, like, I got no history here, but I got this great idea and we’re going to do it. And that it inspires innovation in those big companies, and it kind of reinvigorates the innovative process that got them started, right. Ford was once Tesla. Tesla will be that old fuddy Duddy company that just didn’t pivot. In 2041, they’ll be like, oh, man, that was the year that like you said, you have to respect both sides of that innovative coin and how it comes together. It’s hard to have that view sometimes.
But hey, I may be a little bit closer to it because I’m like diving into these stories all the time and diving into the tech and the personalities. So it’s exciting. But the truth is, it’s going to continue to happen mostly quietly. And then when it makes the big splash, it’s kind of already been there for a while.
Well there’s a reason why it’s quite. For example, we have a case study coming out with one of our customers probably in about a month, and that was pretty difficult to get. And there’s a reason for it. So many of the larger companies, some of them are unionized as well. And so they need to be unbelievably quiet about what they’re doing with us until they find it to be absolutely perfect for installation. And then once we do that, they want to know, how fast can you do everything at once? Because we don’t want anything, if you only do a third this year, what’s going to happen with the other two thirds? So that’s what we’re experiencing right now. And I think it’s going to continue without a doubt. And that’s the main reason they’re being quiet. They’re being quiet for a reason. But once it starts to get out there, you’re absolutely right. It probably would have been there for a few years already.
Yeah. And the turnover. Same with autonomous vehicles. Ultimately, the risk to autonomous vehicles on the road is the non autonomous vehicles. There will be a point where it becomes normal, just like cars with roll up windows. Like I grew up as a kid and used to have to roll up windows need to pay money for automatic windows. I don’t think there’s a manual window company. Like, no one makes cars with manual windows anymore.
Somebody said, yeah.
There will be a point where it’s just default. And I think that’s what we’ll see is that especially like you said in manufacturing, anybody that’s read Eli Gold Rat, right. Like the foundations of the theory of constraints is that there’s going to be a pain for a period of time where they adopt these processes and find the constraints. And so you spend all this money on this 1st third of your manufacturing line, but if it then sits idle 60% of the time, that’s no good. Your shareholders won’t allow that.
And you shouldn’t have done automation. Right, right.
Once you start, you’ve got to start rolling downhill.
The good thing is that once you start, you actually start to see it opens up the door a lot for the companies to start first. So if I’m in one industry, I don’t know, I get fish at sea. And part of the process, when I bring it in, there’s a lot of manual processes, whatever the case may be, maybe unloading a bin. And so now we have robots doing these things. But no, we’re seeing a lot of these processes that are just going to be turning out to be permanent. Yeah.
I, for one, welcome our robot overlords. I look forward to it. Yeah.
Inside a Cobot Nation. I call myself the Cobot King.
I could spend all day digging into a lot of stuff, and I really appreciate you taking the time. The architects of automation, Cobot Nation’s doing some fantastic stuff. I really look forward to more noise being made about what you’re doing because we can come out of the quiet mode with a lot of things. So I appreciate that. I got to be one of the early ones to share some of your story. And I look forward to more success at the same time. So if people do want to reach out, of course, we’ll have Linked to all the places where they can find Cobot Nation. If they wanted to get in touch with you, Gill, what’s the best way they can reach through your robot and get to you?
Best way would be through LinkedIn. So you can find me at Gil Mayron or through my company directly. Just you can go to the contact form, and somebody will get something over to me if it’s addressed to me. No problem.
Perfect. Excellent. Well, thank you very much and many successes ahead for Cobot Nation, for sure. Yeah. Now, question, do you do any facility walk through, or is there any like that?
With every single customer, we always do a facility walk through. We had a few times during the major Covid period where we took videos, and they did turn into deals. But then ultimately, we still have to do a walk through because we really need to understand how we’re going to make the floor plan again. We’re not just selling the robot. We really want to make it work for the customer.
I’ve been lucky. I have a good friend, Missy Young. She’s the CIO of company called Switch down there. Yeah. So I’ve gotten walk through their stuff, but there’s a lot of gentlemen walking around with AK 47, and you’re not allowed to take a camera. But I’m thinking one day when I get down into Las Vegas, once the world opens up a little bit more over here, I would love to come down. And even what little I’m probably legally allowed to put in video. I would love to just do a quick.
No, you can video everything. We close off the Collaboratory rooms. Actually, we print the glass. So again, when somebody walks into the office, it’s like Willy Wonka’s Beautiful lounge, Las Vegas club type feel. And then industrial robots and squeaking and individual rooms.
All right. Well, I’m waiting for the world to open. I’m going to come down. I definitely do want to get folks and be able to see it from the inside. Would be great to see the collaboratory, or at least get next to the collaboratory and see where it all happens. So, Gil, thank you very much.
Sure Eric, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.