Ever heard of Faraday Motion? Are you familiar with ‘Personal Electronic Vehicles’? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but either way I have something to tell you about them. It’s a story about a dream, goal setting, and teamwork. And of course, goals are not without obstacles which we we will also shed some light on!
Seeing as my latest scope is focused on entrepreneurship and personal development; what better way than to talk to actual entrepreneurs? I decided to look for people who are still in the startup phase but have a very unique idea and a tremendous amount of passion for what they’re doing. I realized such a person was already in my network, and he goes by the name of Constantin Colac. He and his team have worked together on a shared goal; the creation of personal electronic vehicles. But this is not all, they also want to give anyone who is willing to practice access to their open source software. This allows every person on the planet to start tinkering themselves and become inventors. You have to admit, that’s a very admirable vision and mission right there.
In the past week I have interviewed Constantin and he gave me some insights into the work he has been doing, and what they have been working on to accomplish. Let me start at the beginning as we take part in their journey.
The name Faraday Motion sounds very interesting, how did you come up with it? Where does it originate from?
Well it wasn’t me who came up with the name, it was the founder of the company, his name is Sune and I think why he chose it was that Faraday was the guy who invented the motors, the electric motors. The motion part is because we are all about movement. So with a combination of those two we created it. Actually, we kind of gotten used to it and we like it!
Who and how many people are you working with currently?
Right now it’s four of us, but we have people helping us out. Sune is the founder, he came up with the technology about three years ago and he built his first prototype; the Hyperboard. Also, he was very intrigued by 3D Printers and printed these skateboards. I still think he is the only one who has done that so far. So he did that, and at one point he decided to get a team. I got into the team through one of my friends who met Sune on the street while he was driving his board. Then I got a talk with him and went to his apartment, where the workshop is, and we had a few talks, he told me about what the company could be and what his vision is and I decided to join him. I definitely liked the great variety of things to experiment with and create new things and make a change in the world of transportation.
As you can see here, the road to success and making a change in the world depends on these little opportunities in life presenting themselves to you. It is up to you whether you take them or not. However, if you pass them up, don’t expect them to come back ever again. Be ready for when these chances might make themselves visible for you, because in some way it will require some starting funds. As Mr. Napoleon Hill said in his book on the Laws of Success; start saving as soon as possible, put down 20% of your income into your savings account and use it for these opportunities. He even mentions a man who worked as a lowly printer boy but managed to saved $900 on his account (In 1920 the $900 would be about $11.000 today) and heard about his company and the coming bankruptcy. He went to his boss and was told that they needed about $924 dollars to make it through the month. The man offered his savings to keep the company afloat and after a couple of years, this man was a shareholder and had more than $25.000 on his account. Can you see the importance of preparing for chance encounters and opportunities? Most involve some form of monetary participation, so be ready for it!
What is the vision of Faraday Motion, what are you trying to achieve?
We want to ‘make more makers’ meaning to grant people the ability to tinker around with pieces of technology that they purchase. We specialize within this mobility industry where personal transportation is very much limited to either your bike or your car. We believe that electric motors and batteries, as well as the advancement in battery technology, for example what Tesla Motors is doing, that people can have these personal electric vehicles like the Hyperboard but at the same time be able to tinker with your own devices and improve upon them, or add customization. We are an open-source company, all our three models are free to distribute and use and alter, the same goes for our hardware and software. Currently we are at a stage where we have published our 3-d models and our code and some of our hardware, but we do this to everything we’re using. So the vision is to motivate people to get a personal transportation vehicle and rebuild it. You can even use it for kids as a project to initiating him or her in the field of technology where they have to configure their own motor. Or maybe they can 3-D model or print a mount for a GoPro or your phone. So it’s really about empowering people within the world of transportation.
“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blue-prints of your ultimate achievements.”
Can you tell me a little bit more about the product; can you do tricks with it since it carries the skateboard name?
Hmm no, so basically, sometimes we call it a skateboard or a longboard or the Spine or the Hyperboard. What it really is, is a longboard that has four wheels, the Spine has one motor while the Hyperboard has two. There is distinct difference between them which I will get to a bit later, but right now we’re using a deck that we get from the US sometimes we find materials in Europe but it depends. So we buy those and then Sune does the design, the initial stage, and I do a little bit as well as I’m getting into 3-D printing, trying to design the front of the board. You can actually do tricks with the board, it’s not impossible, I did get some slides which you can see me do on our Youtube channel and Twitter account, I have a video posted there where I slide the board. I actually fell one time while trying it out and ripped my pants because I overestimated my balance and underestimated how slippery it was on the ground.
Trying out your own product is vital if you want to prove to your audience that it works. And yes, trial does not go without error so be prepared for that. The famous people you see on TV like Steve Jobs made many, many mistakes before they became as good as they are now. You only see them in the media when they already reached a pinnacle level, that’s when the media notices them, they didn’t start out as masters of their craft. Hard work in the shadows, that’s what you have to get through first. Wasn’t it Harvey Specter who once said “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary”? To receive, you first have to give, and that will be blood, sweat, and tears no matter how corny it may sound. There simply is no way around it.
“Is it not strange that we fear most that which never happens? That we destroy our initiative by the fear of defeat, when, in reality, defeat is a most useful tonic and should be accepted as such.”
So my obvious next question will be; how do you make money if everything is open-source, practically giving away your product?
This is something we are exploring in a lot of ways, for example we look at Tesla Motors as they are also open-source but still sell their own products. It just means that people who want to tinker more on their bought Hyperboard or Spine can do that without limitation, they still need to buy the basic product though. If there would be someone who built upon our design and then sold his/her version, based on our technology, to someone else we would have received royalties or licence fees. But we would love to see all of our customers upgrading, tinkering and supporting us.
What is your specific role in the team?
All of our roles are overlapping a lot. What we have is, Sune is the hardcore coding guy, he’s doing stuff like C++ for the microcontrollers, so he programs those little pieces of electronics. We have Frederik who’s mainly focusing on marketing and communication, he’s our marketing musketeer and we’re very proud of him. I’m more a jack-of-all-trades. I try to do everything, I do coding, right now I’m getting into coding of the microcontrollers so I’m learning C++. I’m also doing maintenance of the website, Adobe Premier for the editing of our published videos, but my favorite part is that I know everything about the Spine, every single part. I know the weight, the measurements, everything. Also, I do all the shipments of the orders, I make sure that all the orders are packed and this is my passion, nobody gets into that, the Spine is my baby. All Spines that have been sent out have been approved and packed by me. Actually, I also did all the documentation for the Spine and some 3-D designing but I’m still getting into that. And in general, I’m a tester. Sometimes I make parts that we need, for example a USB input so I solder one. So I tinker quite a bit myself on the Spine.
With Faraday Motion, what kind of obstacles did you encounter so far?
We have had a few which are common in the technology market for example, we create a new piece of tech, okay that works, did we test it? Yes that seemed okay, should we send it? OK. Shall we ship it? Done. Okay but now we have really big bugs. So actually we published videos of what happened and what went wrong. Unfortunately, these things happened quite a few times, but yeah, technology has always been like that, but our customers understand it, they are usually techies like us. This stuff sets you back a little, but they are meaningful obstacles. So we look at it again, redesign it a little bit and test it again etc.
“Failure shouldn’t be called failure, but temporary defeat”.
The road to success isn’t an easy one, but as the people at Faraday Motion have proven, all you need is imagination, self-confidence and a lot of patience and determination. Nothing is impossible (within bounds of reality of course). And keep reminding yourself that when you tell someone about your dreams. Most people who snicker at your ideas or tell you it’s not possible, is because their mind is already closed off to such opportunities, broken down by society they are afraid of your big thinking. They become intimidated by your ideas, seeing themselves as a lesser person because they do not have the will to do it themselves. If you feel like you can’t live your life as a consumer but only as a creator then go out and create! Do it with a solid plan, step by step, and I promise you, you will get there.
People study what they want to be good at, so if you want to be successful I suggest you start studying success. Some books I recommend are;
The Law of Success – Napoleon Hill
8 Best Success Lessons – Jim Rohn
Henry Ford the Biography – Vincent Curcio
The Mind in Making – James Harvey Robinson
Interested in staying up to date with what Faraday Motion is doing? Check out their channels:
Facebook; Faraday Motion
Twitter; Faraday Motion Twitter
Youtube; Faraday Motion Youtube