Mister Beacon Episode #117
How to Make Friends and Influence People in Automotive IoTSeptember 30, 2020
What could possibly go wrong when huge businesses try to engage with startups? What should startups expect when they try to sell to much larger companies? How would a partnership between companies like Bissell, Steelcase, and Whirlpool help avoid the issues that occur when entrepreneurs penetrate large enterprises?
Join us this week with Dana Lowell, Co-founder of Seamless, to find out the answers. Dana’s extensive experience also leads us to an exciting conversation about the future of automotive and IoT. We find out how the industry is transforming and how connectivity and the cloud are changing the automotive supply chain and vehicle functionality.
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The Mr. Beacon Podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, scaling IoT with battery-free Bluetooth.
Steve Statler 00:16
Welcome to the Mr. Beacon Podcast, really pleased to have you join us. And joining Dana Lowell, who is a friend and colleague who I've worked with co-founder of Seamless IoT. Dana, welcome to the podcast.
Dana Lowell 00:37
Hey, great, Steve, it's fantastic to be here. Glad to be speaking with you again. And thank you very much for having me on the podcast.
Steve Statler 00:45
But we were talking about what we would the theme of this podcast and you have years of experience in the automotive business through from General Motors through to Faurecia. And you've been instrumental in setting up an organization seamless, that helps bring entrepreneurs and, and the fable fish to use Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference that transfer between large corporations, they're much bigger than car companies and the small entrepreneurs. So you've been dealing with that ability to bring those together. So I thought we could call this episode how to make friends and influence people in the world of IoT, and automotive, and I'd love to talk to you about your experiences in doing that any observations you have about IoT and automotive and any other fun stuff that we get to on cars and where that technology is going? So first of all, let's get into this challenge of, you know, what are the challenges of that face large corporations that want to innovate on one hand, and small startup entrepreneurial companies that want that see these big companies as, as organizations they want to get into and partner with? Is that easy? Is that hard? What are the challenges?
Dana Lowell 02:24
Yeah, I mean, this is Steve, you and I have talked a lot about this over over our time together. I mean, the DNA of a large, multinational corporation or enterprise is very different than a startup in this analogy may get off track, but I mean, I kind of look at it like hippopotamuses and hummingbirds. And you know, that the hippopotamus is large, it lives a long time. It minimises movement or change to save energy. And it's, you know, it's more about incremental change and process improvement, while a start up is about speed, it's about it's about burning, lots of energy, short learning loops, and moving fast and ability to pivot quickly, depending on where it gets signals on positive signals of where it needs to go. And those are very different, you know, DNA to match up. And it's, you know, it's it's a challenge, I think, for every corporation to figure out how do I get innovation from startups and otherwise successfully partnering with startups? When you're in a corporate setting? You know, if you're in a big corporate, it's, I'm talking about budgets, and I'm talking about approval processes, and I'm talking about process adherence, you know, when the mindset in in a startup is about, you know, is it's fundraising, it's experiments successfully completed, it's where I'm getting market signals. So they're, they're talking about different things, there's almost a different language between those two organizations. You know, about my career on the corporate side, it's really about optimization of process optimization of footprint, risk reduction for the corporation. While you know, he talked to the startup about that they're talking about, you know, how do I get to proof of value and how do I scale you know, the different kinds of objectives and the objectives cascade and you know, how you get compensated with your, your bonuses and, and ultimately, your budgets. So there's different behaviors that are encouraged inside both organizations.
Steve Statler 04:40
So this is I think it's a great metaphor, you've got this kind of the the clock cycle, the metabolism of the hummingbird, you've got this hippopotamus that has strong, huge, very visible, moving but moving slowly and he really has struggles to move fast. So we'll get into what goes wrong when the hummingbird and the hippo come into proximity. But let's just kind of drill into, you know why. And I guess for the, it's probably obvious for the startup, you know, you'll use Brad and you're creating this brand new thing, and you're trying to want to scale I guess quickly. And you see the opportunity to sell lots of your stuff, either with or to the, this Goliath. Why is it worth it? Why Why do corporates even care about these startups? Is it? Are they a luxury? How important is it for corporates to work with startups?
Dana Lowell 05:48
I think it's critically important, because I think really, the innovation that comes to a corporate from the startup is really irreplaceable. I mean, I think in a corporate setting, you're looking at a budget that's 90%, today focused, and 10%, tomorrow, focus, while in the startup, you're looking at a budget that's 10%. Today, focus and 90%, tomorrow focused in bringing those two things together, you know, a company that has scale and ability and resources and, you know, purchasing ability and all the different infrastructure things that can be brought to bear from a corporate standpoint, in terms of access to market access to technology, bringing in the startup that has the ability to really focus on some of the growth vectors in the market signals that the corporate is not going to be able to, you know, respond to today, because it's focused on today. But the startup can focus on those weak market signals that really are going to be tomorrow for the large corporate enterprise. And so marrying those two things together, I think is of critical importance. I think that's the opportunity that exists for the startup to park find the right strategic partners in for the corporate, to have the fuel to get them to what tomorrow is going to be.
Steve Statler 07:14
I totally agree. And we've all seen those of us who've been around a while I've seen companies that seemed indomitable, they were indestructible, they was so successful, they had books written about their success, and then suddenly, they collapsed, because they just couldn't adapt. technology's driving change. And, you know, the Kodak's the, and a lot of the car companies, you see what the challenges they go through, and they've got to essentially eat their own babies, they're going to kill off these businesses, but the timing is critical on HSAs. You know, we've even seen big companies that say, look, we're just gonna kill you, and they're gonna spin off businesses that they think will just not be able to flourish, because they've hired people and they got the processes, and the DNA is just incapable of pivoting and adapting in the way that is necessary for startup. So I think we're both convinced that they have to work together. Why is this not easy? why did why did your employer need you to do what you do to bridge the gap between the small guys and the big guys?
Dana Lowell 08:32
Why I mean, I think why it's so easy is I mean, it's a cultural thing that you and I are already talking about men is also that the existing processes and practice in in a multinational corporation are based upon, you know, very high scale, you know, talking hundreds of thousands of millions of units. And the processes are designed to engage with companies that are able to be at that scale. And so if you take a startup, and you ask them to engage with something that's used to dealing with something that's in hundreds, or thousands or millions of units at scale, and a startup is still in the process of defining technology, team business model, those are just grossly out of sync with one another. So you need some type of a buffer mechanism to take up that slack. And that's been the rise of a lot of these third party organizations such as, you know, accelerated programs, incubator programs, whether they're independent or they're, you know, inside the organization built into the organization, and that's there's been a lot is third party kind of programs to help take the slack on or create the bandwidth to bring on a startup into an existing organization. The other problem is inside existing corporate is that you know, the payback in the bonus structure is is usually knot is tied to today's revenue and profitability, not what it's going to be five years from now, if this startup is successful, and this technology is adopted, so there's not the reward structures are typically not in place within the business groups inside a corporate to really foster in the need Foster, fostering startup success.
Steve Statler 10:27
Yeah, I mean, I think it's critically success. It's critical to the success of entrepreneurs in big companies, and in startups to understand this to survive. And, you know, one of the manifestations of this problem I saw a while ago is we were excited, and we're closing a deal with a really big company. And it came time to negotiate the contract, and we were given 100 page contract that we had to negotiate. And we're like this, if we do this, this will blow our entire legal budget for the entire year. We just can't afford to even get advice. Oh, you send us and like, Oh, yeah, let me give us a few days. Then we finally, oh, yeah, we were dealing with you in the kind of peer to peer manner. And we can probably dispense with most of this. So that kind of worked out. But I feel like, you know, there's a lot of collateral damage that's done by stuff like that, where you end up and, and, and let's say this startup and this big company, and, you know, they end up trying to make that work. And the the big company can push a whole bunch of costs, and slow down the smart smoke company. And so all the advantages of dealing with this company ended up being nullified, you end up, you know, getting the worst of both worlds, which is just a nightmare. So, how did serhat seamless come about? And how does something like seamless help solve this problem?
Dana Lowell 12:11
Well, I mean, seamless is one of those third party mechanisms. So I mean, it was created is a regionally ecosystem innovation ecosystem. And we were able to take some leading manufacturing companies located in Michigan, so you had a steel case, and you had Automotive in in persea, it will pull Amway, a couple of healthcare providers. In the system that were locally headquartered in the Michigan area, we brought them together, they were non competing, the idea was one to get rid of all the middleware, get rid of stuff, like, you know, you talk to one of the large corporates about getting an NDA, you know, that can be a month, couple of month long process to get an NDA for a startup, a startup isn't a time to wait for that, get them into the supply system, you know, your so that they can be paid. x might be a couple of months process. So you know, for a startup that's looking at what their opportunity costs are every day, it may not be maybe in the cash burn mode, you know, for them to wait three months before serious conversations can occur is not acceptable. So we took all that middleware, kind of put it in scenes, so we could do, you know, 24 hour turns on MBAs and get them into a payable system quickly. And then the other thing was to be able to provide different industrial sectors. So we could have, you know, for example, say Steelcase for persea. As an example, you have three different sectors, office furniture, white goods, home appliances, in automotive. And so for a startup, you're engaging with three sectors simultaneously. And you're getting to look under the hood of those three sectors in terms of determining what's the my fastest route to market? Where can I scale most quickly, which one of these market opportunities is giving me the strongest market signals? And then from the corporate standpoint, we're able to blend our resources and obviously costs to do that proof of value with the startup. So it really it's really kind of a lean, innovation startup corporate engagement model.
Steve Statler 14:29
Yeah, I think. I'm just thinking about what is given that we have entrepreneurs in big companies. Now our audience, we are entrepreneurs in small companies. And I think you have a lot of experience helping big companies get that system impulse, which is valuable. So the call to action of our companies is pretty simple. It's like, cool you and you can help them but what You know, what does a small company need to do knowing that there's this compatibility problem? I guess? Is it just look for us the fact that these organizations exist and look for the innovation team know that you're gonna have a better conversation? If you find someone who's actually prepared to talk your language and be responsive, this that'd be advice for for a startup?
Dana Lowell 15:26
I think for a startup, I think, you know, because we do invest in or we have done testing. I think that the thing when I talked to the startups is, where can you scale fastest, so that you can get your markets established if your market signals? And, you know, what's the chance of commercialization with that market? You know, so if you're looking at multiple sectors, what's the speed I can get through that sector to the commercial? In? What kind of probabilities do I attach to it? You know, does do I have the right relationships? Is the product fit really good? Am I solving a problem? It's very obvious, you know, and that's the market that you need to prioritize. I mean, I've always appreciated the Willie on EAP program, because I thought it provided discipline on both sides, really, in terms of what you were looking for, and also what you need it from a corporate partner. Most startups don't have it. Most startups are just really looking for, you know, a sale. And they tend to wonder about I what I really liked about your program is the EAP program, provided you know, it kind of a format of how we were going to work together in some rigor and discipline about what were the lessons learned in objectives to be achieved for both parts?
Steve Statler 17:00
Yeah, I think it is worked well for us. And I think it's something that just evolved out of necessity, we just realized that we were small, and there was so many opportunities, and how do we deal with that, and what we found, we actually thought that this was going to be a real turnoff to our potential customers asking for some money. Having this kind of process, see what without process, it's kind of racing Later, we'll get to do some designing, and we're going to do some prototyping, and then we're going to do some piloting, and this is what it costs. And we actually thought, Ah, this is gonna be a struggle. But what we found was actually the innovation teams and organizations like seamless were like, yeah, this makes sense. And it didn't slow things down at all, it actually was a really positive thing. So I and you guys, seamless was one of the first candidate that we work with in that way. And so we actually have you to thank data for encouraging us and mentoring us in and to kind of stick with that process.
Dana Lowell 18:11
Yeah, I mean, frankly, as a corporate guy, when I see a startup that isn't asking for money, you know, that tells me that they're not a very good startup, they won't be around. Right? either. All they've done is just signed up for burning their own cash and without an outcome. And that so that's, that, to me, is problematic and a warning sign really, in terms of the quality of service.
Steve Statler 18:38
Yeah, it's becomes, for us, it became just a qualifier, it's like, Are we going to end up as being one line on someone's status report? Or is this going to get visibility? We were asking for some money here. And so that means that, you know, leadership need to get involved, and we want that exposure, we want them to kind of show that there's real interest, they're going to be serious, and they're going to follow through, because the money's very, very valuable. But it's as much as anything, it's a validation, you can take to your boards to say, look, these people are serious. And it's also you just get better results from the partnership because they've thought about it. And someone had to do an ROI on making that in this. So, but I think it's, I mean, I remember I was in a startup years ago, innovation teams didn't exist, and it was a nightmare, getting involved with these big companies. And I see now that things have changed, and it's really important for people to know where to go in the organization. But I think what you said is beyond that. It's some real thought about how your offering is going to what it's going to or differences it's going to make to the corporation and The the ability to ramp or the many, many factors. So, I don't know, I feel like maybe now is the time for us to stick to this other subject area. And, you know, a lot of these engagements that you've been at the center of have been around IoT, I'm sure not all of them. What's what are you seeing in IoT and automotive? It's not always obvious to people what that intersection is we think about IoT and home automation, and maybe in some industrial context, but what what's the act of IoT on automotive? And where do you see interesting stuff happening?
Dana Lowell 20:46
I mean, I think like, if I think about the areas that are really interesting, I think, you know, the connected customer supply demand chain management is really interest. Because if you think about a tier one, or tier two, or tier three, automotive or any supplier, you know, you're making your thing, and you ship it to somebody that puts it into another thing that ultimately ships it into a consumable. in my industry, that consumable the vehicle, OEM his car goes to a dealership, and then it goes to a customer and it may go to another customer, you know, we lose sight of that, once it goes to the OEM for assembly. So the ability for us to now be able to understand who the end customer of our product is, and be able to look at things like functionality and performance, you know, when in an ongoing manner, is a tremendous amount of insight that really the power of that I don't think the industry is fully grasped yet. I think that the OEMs obviously understand it, but I think the tier 123 community is only beginning to get their heads around. Well, what can I do in terms of managing and knowing the customer better in terms of how they're using my product, because that's typically tied up, ultimately, you're getting feedback from the OEM in terms of performance, in things like warranty claims, maybe it's JD Power surveys, you're going to get that are like, you know, it kind of giving you an abstract view of how your product may be performing, but nothing really direct. So I think that that's an area that to me, was really exciting. And again, you know, it was something that we've we've talked a lot about, I think, I think another area that's really interesting, and you know, the one that's best exploiting it now is probably Tesla, but you know, over the air updates, be able to both fix and patch the performance of your product over time, even able to update it over time. Because in my industry, you know, a car depreciates 30% 40%, when you drive it off the lot, what if you started thinking about the car appreciating over time, because you're constantly being able to update functionalities in the vehicle. So that's really intriguing. You can think about things like, you know, obviously, upgrading some functions, but you can think about a winter set of features, maybe a summer set of features that can be changed, maybe there's special updates that begin given on when you're going to go on vacation, or when you're going to go out on date night. I mean, so this is a big opportunity in terms of being able to push and pull information from the vehicle to kind of customize performance, improve it as it as it ages, rather than just letting it be a large depreciating asset.
Steve Statler 23:32
This is a this is super interesting. And I think it kind of changed the role of the automotive company or maybe it doesn't, I don't know basically changes the way I look at it, they come even more of a platform player because I don't know as if you're a component supplier and you want to enjoy and offer the benefits of the over the air updates, uh, you basically at the mercy of the OEM, the, you know, Tesla's probably not going to make it easy for someone that makes a component to do that over the air thing. You're kind of do they have kind of the control of that gateway?
Dana Lowell 24:21
Yeah, I think that's something that's still going to be it's still a little bit of a to be determined ground. I think ultimately, it's going to depend on what's the value, we can deliver through those updates. And those updates, obviously be managed through the OEM. But if we can deliver value in that update, maybe we we now understand their comfort algorithm that provides better lumbar comfort or better heating regime for the vehicle or better safety setting. In terms of helping with alertness, I mean, if we can determine those things values and provide those values, then I think that ultimately, that end consumer will benefit from them. And the OEM will allow us to push some of that through whether it comes through their update or an update that we may provide. Yeah,
Steve Statler 25:16
yes, that's the value, then you probably get in line to have that. Enjoy some of the benefits of that. Pretty good. Yeah, a lot of this can be generally seen as so. Okay, if I can connect everything to the internet, what does that that mean, and the whole? I think the great thing about what you touched on the, the, the supply chain transparency, I think every business model is being held out to the lens of COVID. Now, isn't it? And you say, well, is this still relevant in the face of COVID? And I would say it's even more relevant now in the face of COVID. The, I don't know what you think about the impact of COVID on the on the supply chains.
Dana Lowell 26:03
I think it you know, that transparencies even more needed now, I mean, you need to understand where your products are coming from, and where they are in the chain. And then ultimately, their utilization of mythic although that the tightening of the supply chain for better control and quality. I mean, it's never been more important. And it's going to be more important, whether, depending on you know, on shoring versus offshoring, and those are all going to be critical decisions that I think are going to be more carefully evaluated in light of the pandemic. But not just automotive, I mean, I think about, you know, many other food supply and other areas, I mean, tracking and traceability is going to be really, really pretty critical.
Steve Statler 26:56
Yeah, becomes important. It seems like as things speed up, managing that supply chain is important. But if you have the connected component, it, it goes beyond tracking, and it includes this tracing this, what if something goes wrong? What if can I fix it over the air? Where did it come from? Who touched it, all that stuff. And I feel like the world has got a set of regulations, sometimes there are obligations around tracking and tracing and recalls, and so forth, that simply can't really be achieved practically, with paper and spreadsheets and that sort of thing. And that's one of the opportunities that I feel like that for the companies that really figure out how am I going to connect these components to the internet, so I know where they are. One of the things that will force this to happen and overcome some of this friction, is that, you know, there's actually a legal obligation to do this stuff that isn't being honored particularly well, but everyone gets away with it, because it's seen as being kind of almost too difficult to do, once a few companies show that oh, I can wire this car seat, this alternator, and or this airbag. And I can actually know who's where the fix has been applied or whether replacement happens. Suddenly the boss race for everyone and people that don't have that capability, then no longer able to sell this.
Dana Lowell 28:41
I mean, just think about warranty today, it's basically you you're going through a process of trying to find who owns the vehicle, and you get stuff in the mail. And it's a really haphazard, very error prone issue with very low percentage compliance of getting the warranty issues fixed. And so I think that, you know, obviously, Diamond T will help fix that. If you can trace the end product in terms of where, where that customer who their customer is. I think also I think consumers are going to demand more transparency on the products that they buy as to where they came from and who manufactured it and sources of the materials in the product. I mean, I think that the consumer of tomorrow is going to demand that to be more apparent, more, more transparent to them as they purchase the product.
Steve Statler 29:42
So how does all of this communication happen? It seems like the cars become this communications hub. And if we're going to get to the internet, in the Internet of Things, you have to get there through some route. What's generally In that, what are the options in terms of getting from the component up to the cloud and observations there?
Dana Lowell 30:09
I think in all your cars, almost all cars are turning into basically hotspots. And they all basically are hosting sparks mean, whether it's through, you know, Apple CarPlay, or Google Android Auto, or the each of the OEMs, that many OEMs have their own access into the vehicle. So the vehicle is basically a computer with four wheels on it. So the connectivity is there, it's just a question, do all the what objects inside the car begin become part of that network that can then communicate to the, to the cloud into the, into the internet. So I mean, it's, it's there that the technology and the hardware is there, it's just a portion of those objects inside the vehicle, and what information from those objects is going to be a value to have reported as part of your dashboard, ownership dashboard. And then the other thing that will happen is I mean, vehicles will gradually transition to be, I think, and we're in a little bit of a, this gray zone right now with the pandemic, but more shared mobility, more autonomous. And, you know, his dad evolves, and it's not going to be quickly. But as that evolves over the next decade or so, there's going to be different kinds of ownership models, rather than just I own my car, there may be you have access to a fleet of cars, or you share cars, or you use micro mobility as a means to get around. I mean, so a lot of those things are going to evolve. I think pandemics put a little bit of a curveball in some of that. But it's definitely the trend.
Steve Statler 31:55
Yeah, I the whole self driving autonomous thing is absolutely fascinating. I, I have one of these electric cars, and I look at the updates, and I just am fascinated to see where the changes are going to be how, you know, what's your view on us achieve it, I can't even remember all the various stages are in the in the in the kind of progression to Nirvana where you lose the steering wheel, but what do you see in terms of the pace of of change and achieving that Nirvana? Is it? Is it realistic? Is it going to happen? When do you think it's gonna?
Dana Lowell 32:40
Well, I think it's definitely going to happen. I, you know, you referenced electric, and I mean, I've been driving electric cars since 2012 2014. And if you'd have told me in 2012, that would still have 2% penetration of electric vehicles, 3%, whatever it is, it's low. In it, we're just now getting into more ramped up portfolio of vehicles from multiple OEMs with electric drive train offerings, and the infrastructure is beginning to get out there. So there's, there's more charging availability, or, you know, I always said it was, you know, I would have thought it would have happened five years ago. And I think likewise, with autonomous You know, there's some irrational exuberance in the autonomous and how fast it's going to be here. I mean, level two stuff where you can do smart highway driving Lane Keeping a smart cruise control, that's here, and that's going to continue to grow. But when you get into real day to day driving off the highway into cities and into congested areas, it's much more problematic. I mean, we've run an experiment in in Grand Rapids where seamless is located for the last year with with main mobility, which is an autonomous micro mobility shuttle. We hit we've had about 60,000 rides on it, I will probably, it's accumulated 50,000 hundred thousand miles. I don't know what the exact number is, but it runs a two and a half mile loop with 20 stops in the downtown city centers that are running for about a year and shut down due to the pandemic in March. I'm happy to announce that we just opened it up again, with partnership with planet M, which is the Michigan Economic Development Corp, the city of Grand Rapids, made mobility seamless and seamless as partners. And then also we brought in some new clean technology because of the concern as it relates to mass transit on safety. So we're partnered also with group ghsp which is providing some smart UVC technology and allyssa which is do an H 202. fogging of the interior to provide basically Six long surgical room cleanliness to the vehicles is at the beginning of the end of the ships and is back on the road again. But you know, it running it through the city, there's all kinds of issues that, you know, it can go from zero percent autonomous to 100%, autonomous, you know, obviously, weather, we really living in Michigan, there's snow, there's ice, there's accumulation of snow on the road, that is a big issue for autonomous. You can have, you know, there's a variety of things like construction, that can cause issues for autonomous, reckless driving around the vehicle or reckless pedestrians, bicycles around the vehicles can cause issues. You know, somebody parking your truck and wanting to unload furniture in the middle of the road, you know, there's, there's all these other behaviors that go on, to make autonomous in more congestion setting, challenging, and it's going to be all those edge cases that need to be solved for before autonomous can really happen. And level five in a common setting. Non control? So I mean, I'd look at that it's probably 10 years away, you know, before you really start thinking about autonomous taxis moving around the city free.
Steve Statler 36:20
Okay, let's get I'm just doing a mental calculation of what I'm going to lose it and whether I'll be able to still enjoy going to the beach and downtown. I don't trust myself drive. So I think I might just about be okay. Going back to the trial, though, can you explain a bit more? How autonomous is it I? So you had you request one of these cars? Is there an app or something and
Dana Lowell 36:49
Well, basically, it's integrated into the bus system. So it's basically the city circulator system that the bus runs, we've integrated these micro mobility vehicles into that route system. So there's a fleet of eight of them, and I think at any given time is for roam on the road, they run six days a week for about 12 hours a day. And they just pick up people at the bus stops. And they do autonomous functionality. This is a tender in the vehicle with the monitoring the vehicles functionality in there to take over if there's an issue with any any number of things, whether it be weather or different obstructions that may occur on the road. But the objective is to have it run basically in 100% autonomous mode and be basically transport people around the city.
Steve Statler 37:47
And can you say how far how close you are to that 100%? How often does a human being need to intervene?
Dana Lowell 37:53
Well, there's days and there's that it can be 100%. Autonomous, there's just there are also periods of time where there's inclement weather, there's maybe an incident happened, unplanned construction, say a sewer drain breaks. It was incidents like that, that require a driver to take over. And then therefore it's not autonomous during those periods of time.
Steve Statler 38:19
Amazing. This has been a fascinating conversation. Dana, thanks so much for taking time out. If someone wants advice or help, either, if they're on the corporate side or CEO of a startup that wants to pick your brains. How can I get in touch with you?
Dana Lowell 38:41
You get me at Dana at seamless iot.com Fantastic.
Steve Statler 38:48
Well, thanks so much for spending time with us. And it's always a pleasure. And I always learn stuff. And I really enjoyed it.
Dana Lowell 38:58
Thank you see, thank you very much.
Steve Statler 39:06
So it's got to the point in the show where they know I got to ask our guests about them. musical tastes and the construct is one of the three songs that you would take to Mars and I sometimes start this by saying is music important to you? But I think that's kind of a stupid question. Given that you have four Taz beautiful guitars hanging up on the wall behind you is what's what, what part does music play in your life?
Dana Lowell 39:38
Well, I mean, I love music is a way to relax, is something to appreciate. You're seeing people that are really talented music, you see real artists. So I enjoy it. For me. It's a way to relax. It's a hobby of long ago. Quit playing Seriously, I did it in, in college years, but Mauer really just about, you know, playing songs that I listen to and I hear and I go that be an interesting one to learn. And it's just a great hobby to relax to.
Steve Statler 40:16
What did you do in college?
Dana Lowell 40:18
I play you know, college bands and parties and places like that with a group. Alright, what what kind of music? Mostly rock and roll a back to my generation, right? Yeah.
Steve Statler 40:33
Excellent. Well, okay, so if you had, this is like the toughest part of our interviews, you've got three songs yet to take on a journey, what would the three songs speak for you?
Dana Lowell 40:45
I think the first song that I would bring would probably be Stairway to Heaven. And it's generationally tied right into me in terms of, you know, that was kind of a big song when I was late High School, early college. I also used to play in bands. It's got some great transitions, and it goes from soft to allow to some excellent lyrics in it. I think probably second to might be imagined by john lennon. In Eric's event, if I was going to Mars and thinking about building a new civilization, was just some really powerful lyrics to build that civilization offer. You know, maybe to go way back in time, maybe pick up stuff like Beethoven's Fifth, just the genius of human creativity. And in the collaboration that exists within an orchestra setting, I think there would be another song that I might like to bring. I was thinking about cliche stuff, you know, like, David Bowie, Space Odyssey or life on Mars or something, but it's too cliche. So those would probably be the three songs that get some diversity and have different rationale as to why I would pick.
Steve Statler 42:09
Great, great choices. So where did you grow up? Where where were Where were you when you're a kid?
Dana Lowell 42:16
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, went to high school in Ohio, and then I moved to Michigan, went to school at Western Michigan University and got my MBA at Open University in Detroit area.
Steve Statler 42:35
Alright. And I was in the car industry that Paul t there was What did your dad did?
Dana Lowell 42:42
My dad worked at national cash register, which is
Steve Statler 42:47
Dana Lowell 42:49
and he moved you know, he's in sales. So we moved a few times with that and ultimately ended up in the Detroit area and then if you're in the Detroit area, you end up graduating college and in many cases go to the automotive industry. And I went started my first job as a general motors in product planning and marketing.
Steve Statler 43:12
See love the automotive industry really, from from the inside? And how did you end up but Faurecia.
Dana Lowell 43:23
Faurecia ended up.. I we were at Johnson Controls a group of us and procedure one of the build a kind of a clean sheet of paper innovation organization. And I was recruited to be part of that organization. So we, we have the privilege of really helping establish on a global innovation process and teams and help them innovate in the different product categories. So it was really great, really great opportunity and great experience did a lot of global work for them. They're very international company. And I got the privilege of establishing technology listening posts in a variety of market and then innovation clusters in several markets, three different components. So it's good experience and was a fun process of building it.
Steve Statler 44:22
Yeah, it's, I think about my own career and the companies I've worked at and you know, you like to think you've contributed something and you have if you've been with Europe for CEUs for like 14 years. So that was something that was working very well that I feel like it's you know, you join a band and you get this trip with the band and you go to places you would never have imagined on your Europe own it's, it's a great privilege to be part of these brands that take you around the world and everything. Well, very good. fast. Thanks, Dana.
Dana Lowell 45:03