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VV Show #42 - Simon Daniel of USBcell

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Simon Daniel

The battery is an afterthought for most inventors. All the fun seems to be in developing a device, not in powering it. But when was the last time you cursed your phone, camera or podcast player because it ran out of batteries? Simon Daniel got fed up with his batteries, and decided to do something about it. He invented the USBcell, a standard sized battery (yes, it comes in AA) that can recharge using any USB port. This isn’t his first invention. Previously, he invented the folding keyboard and licensed the technology. This time he’s bringing the USBcell to market himself through the company he founded called Moixa (axiom spelled backwards). Though this might force you to think differently, don’t worry, we won’t play the podcast backwards.

1:00 Working at IBM’s scientific center at Winchester between before college

3:15 Went to Christ College at Cambridge University

  • Same year as Sasha Baron Cohen

5:15 Worked at Anderson Consulting (now Accenture)

10:00 Jumping ship to start a new venture and modern art

  • Came up with folding keyboard in mid-1990’s
  • Licensed to Think Outside

13:45 Taking action on an invention
  • “We tend to file a patent on the way to make something rather than the generic idea of something.”
  • “If you just write down the idea itself and don’t do the work, then the patents you get from just doing that stage aren’t that useful.”

18:00 Being too early to market
  • “It’s like having a very good joke which is really funny in two years time when there’s a political situation which is right for it.”

21:00 The company
  • “The word Moixa is the word axiom backwards.”
  • “Rethinking a fundamental assumption.”

24:00 Financing strategies
  • “Ideas should wash their own face pretty quickly.”

26:00 USBcell
  • On traditional battery chargers: “It’s somewhere you’re not.”
  • “It’s that kind of constrained environment that sometime you get an instant solution…”

36:15 Marketing
  • “There was no way we could create a budget to outspend the traditional battery companies.”

46:30 Entrepreneurship in the UK

49:15 Goals for 2007

51:15 Capitalizing on invention

  • “Timing is a thing you have to get right.”
  • “The value of the innovator keeping away is fundamental.”

Posted by Greg Galant on Jan 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

What a blowhard! He manages to use the maximum amount of words while saying the least possible, possibly a defining trait of a consultant (even scarier, a british consultant!). Take, for example, how he went on and on about google links and marketing. No one cares about your alexa ratings/google links or your marketing efforts! Maybe it's just his droning voice, spoken like a kid sucking air after running home and hurriedly telling a story, with no nuance or inflection. There were a couple of interesting snippets in there but overall Greg had a tough job with this one, he probably shouldn't have booked him on the show in the first place.

Posted by: Ajay at January 13, 2007 2:28 AM

Greg - I recommend that you quickly post your next podcast.

Posted by: anthropocentric at January 16, 2007 2:44 AM

yup, was pretty cold outside the pub when i did that cast on the last day before Christmas!, and avoiding some commercial data that is too interesting to talk about yet, sorry. Probably this IHT article today is a shorter summary http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/17/business/ptend18.php , and the snippets are important - as we're changing the world in a good and rapid way.

Posted by: Simon at January 18, 2007 9:04 PM

Greg,

another great podcast. Its really great to hear from entrepreneurs outside of the US as well. It intrigues me to hear how they have had to take different paths in realizing their aspirations. Its easy to forget how "spoiled" silicon valley entrepreneurs are when it comes to having the necessary resources close at hand. I'd also add that failure in silicon valley is often seen as a good thing. That same attitude isnt so prevalent outside the US and increases the stakes for entrepreneurs.

Thanks and keep them coming!

Posted by: Pumper at February 1, 2007 4:33 PM

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