1. What is your dream car?
I’m lucky enough that at this point I have owned nearly all of my dream cars: a Model X, Model S and the Model 3. I’m really looking forward to comparing the Rivian and Tesla pickup trucks as well, one of which will certainly be my next vehicle.
2. What is the worst car you’ve ever driven/owned?
I had an early 90’s SUV that spontaneously caught on fire in a grocery store parking lot while I was shopping. There was an announcement over the loudspeaker, “Someone with a white jeep, license plate XXXXXX please come to the parking lot.” It turned out that a heat shield had fallen off of the exhaust manifold and the wiring harness melted and caused an electrical fire.
3. What business or technology person do you admire most? Why?
I would say my father - he was my major inspiration in technology and business. He built a business around creating better technology for doctors to more effectively perform surgeries and implants in patients. His work translating doctors’ needs for surgical equipment into medical devices helped make huge advances in surgical techniques.
His guiding principle in business culture was creating an intense but enjoyable working atmosphere while being extremely disciplined in tackling problems as they arose. As a result, I grew up in an environment that was both intense and hugely rewarding. I learned a lot about creating a culture where people wanted to give 110 percent as individuals, but also collaborate in a team-oriented environment.
Also, working for Elon, both directly and indirectly for over a decade with Tesla, was extremely transformative, challenging and hugely rewarding. Being able to influence the transition to sustainable transportation was immensely fulfilling.
4. Which companies do you admire? Why?
I admire companies that are making societal impact. At Tesla, we were shifting the way society transports people, shifting the way products were made, and ultimately shifting the way society thinks about efficient products - making the most efficient cars that are also the fastest cars is the ultimate oxymoron in automotive.
There are very few companies that are making significant impact in making the world a better place. At Avinew, we will help enable the use of safer vehicle technology by educating people about it and by insuring semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles at superior rates.
5. Which area of technology excites you most?
Avinew will be an enabler of autonomous vehicle technology. Without Avinew or other technology-forward insurance companies, the economics and positioning of liability could stifle the growth of a market that should fundamentally change how humans spend their time.
6. What was your first job?
I worked in the family business (polymer design corp), manufacturing custom complex plastic parts for the Aerospace and Medical-diagnostic industries. The company, founded by my Father and Uncle, changed the way medical tools were manufactured, raising the level of patient care.
7. What do you do for fun?
I spend time with my family and center myself through surfing, sailing, snowboarding and mountain biking.
8. Do you have anything on your bucket-list?
In terms of sailing, sailing around the world is on my list. I’ve always wanted to push myself in everything I do to expand my comfort zone.
This is how we grow.
9. What book do you recommend to other business professionals or entrepreneurs?
The Long Way by Bernard Moitessier. He was a famous French sailor who was leading the first round the world single-handed race. While he was leading it he ultimately decided to drop out of the race because he was enjoying himself too much on the adventure. What I find often in successful CEOs and COOs is the ability to problem-solve in areas they previously may not have had experience in. Living within gray areas, being able to make good decisions in unexplored territory. This is a major part of what makes a good leader. A lot of very effective CEOs are serial adventurers and pretty intense ones at that.
10. What is it that excites you the most about working for Avinew?
What excites me most about working for Avinew is having the opportunity to change an outdated industry while also having the unique opportunity of sitting between the auto OEMs and consumers to help educate consumers on both AVs and EVs. There really isn’t a good resource right now for consumers to understand what active safety and semi-autonomous features exist for the various makes and models of vehicles and how effective they are.
Over time we will collect so much data on these areas that I expect Avinew to become a trusted resource in understanding the features within the next generation of automobiles.