Chuck Holloway: You’re thinking about a partner, is this a founding partner, or you’re thinking about a partner in terms of somebody in the supply chain or the distribution chain or?
Nazila Alasti: Oh, the founding partner more. Yeah, and I also, just let me briefly say that I think, my experience in business school told me what I was good at, not was I was lacking. And so if I were to do it again, I would emphasize a lot what I’m lacking, so that that defines the type of partner you’ll be looking for. So more on that if the discussion goes that way.
Chuck Holloway: Okay. Will?
Will Price: Yeah, for me I think it was just a combination of a lot of different variables. But if you think about where we live today, right now, in this Valley, it’s almost like how could you not do it. If not now when. And this is, the whole ecosystem here is geared toward risk taking, testing yourself. There’s a whole obviously, a huge base of institutional venture capital support. Legal systems are here. And really it came down to, I remember doing investment when I was in the investment side about how to test semiconductors. And at the time there was, the state-of-the-art was testing a quarter of the wafer, and then it was half the wafer, and then finally this breakthrough to test the full wafer. And I feel like entrepreneurship is a full wafer test. It’s testing every part of who you are. It’s testing your passion, your endurance, your perseverance, your leadership skills, your sales ability, and I just felt that if I was 65 looking back on my career, I would never forgive myself for living in this environment, at this time and not testing the whole wafer. And so, venture capital is a great job but it’s literally — it’s a research job. And it’s a job where you make investment decisions. And I always felt when I met with the entrepreneurs, I’m like, God, these guys. I admire them so much, and it just got to the point where I couldn’t imagine not doing it.
Chuck Holloway: And once you jumped in, what was the biggest surprise?
Will Price: The biggest surprise was, it being okay that you don’t have all the answers, and trusting in process to help you get to an answer. Like I really thought, because as an investor you’re hypothesis driven. You believe that you’re making an investment based on the following characterization, a, b and c, therefore, d. And as soon as you start running a company you realize none of those hypothesis work, and because the venture guy, you’re paid to have an opinion. When they say, Will, what’s your opinion on this deal, do you have an opinion? And all the sudden I realized, like, shit, I don’t even know what to do now. And realizing that that was a very unnatural feeling because I’d find in myself of always knowing of you and realizing now that I don’t know. And we’ve basically, in the context of this is we had no idea how to make money, none. And like dealing with that and accepting that and then realizing, like, well how are we going to get out of this problem? And just deciding that, okay, I’m reminded of when Nick Saban won the national chair and he said that hey, we believe in process, not results at Alabama and what did that mean. What he meant was that if you know how to block, you how to play defense, you know how to do these things, you just play the game and then you trust the process to help you get to the result that you want. But, so rather than a random act of heroism where you’re going to have this flash of genius that’s going to make you rich, just deciding slowly, steadily, plod your way in a predictable way where you’re going and then trusting that that’s going to help you arrive at the right answer as opposed to a prior saying I have the answer, now we’ll just make that happen. That was a really hard transition from being an investment hypothesis driven thinker to a process driven thinker.
Mike Cassidy: Out of engineering school I went and worked at a place called Hughes Aircraft Company. And one of the projects I got to work on was a solar powered race car. And it was a totally cool job. We raced across Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. And this car, before we built this car, the fastest, again, this was a long time ago, the fastest solar powered cars were going maybe 20 miles an hour, maybe 22 miles an hour. And we built a car that could go 55 miles an hour forever, just on sunlight. Which is, from a knee jerk perspective like it’s an amazing accomplishment. And we won the race and we came back and I remember clear as ever my boss saying that’s amazing. I just want to let you know the average race at Hughes Aircraft Company is 6%, you’re going to get 6.5% this year. And just the feeling at that moment of your fate being in your own hands was like okay this is not going to work. I was also fired between first and second year at business school. I went to work with a consultant company. At the end of the summer everyone got an offer to come back except for me. And they fired me because I scowled at people senior to me in the firm. And they told me that I admired them for at least telling me that, but you know, talk about wanting to be in control, these are all sort of strong influences.