Tough Tech Today with Meyen and Miller-logo

Tough Tech Today with Meyen and Miller

Technology Podcasts

This is the premiere show featuring trailblazers who are building technologies today to solve tomorrow's toughest challenges.


United States


This is the premiere show featuring trailblazers who are building technologies today to solve tomorrow's toughest challenges.






Mastering Billion-Dollar Tech Investments & Galactic Defense 💸🛰️👾 featuring Preston Dunlap

Standing up a space force within the world’s largest bureaucracy is not for the faint of heart. Preston Dunlap – former (and first) Chief Architect / Chief Technology Officer of the United States Air Force and Space Force and present CEO of Arkenstone Ventures – has developed a privileged view into the government machinations necessary to design, develop, and buy the right mix of tough tech capabilities. Mission-focused and multidisciplinary, Dunlap and the organizations in which he engaged at the most senior levels have commanded hundreds of billions of dollars in defense acquisitions. A curious combination of computer scientist, operations researcher, and international relations practitioner, Dunlap walks us through his approach to investing vast amounts of capital into companies and organizations big and small. We also discuss what it is like working within the government, aligning and mobilizing tremendous human resources to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the United States… which may or may not include actual space invaders. P.S. Tough Tech Today is now open to patron support, so we have launched a pay-if-you-can membership so you can help us bring Tough Tech Today to more folks! 🎧Listen: 🧠Relevant Links: 👏Credit Roll: Producers: Jonathan 'JMill' Miller and Forrest Meyen Guest: Preston Dunlap Hosts: JMill and Forrest Meyen Editing: JMill Transcript: Alan Yan and JMill Blog Author: JMill Art Design: JMill (Space Force emblem credit to United States Space Force.) 🔖Topic Timecodes: [2:08] What is Arkenstone Ventures? [4:58] Most exciting technology areas [7:47] Thoughts on government and VC investments in space [14:02] New emerging phenomena, e.g. unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs) [19:21] Bringing companies on board and helping them grow [25:25] How starting Arkenstone was different than joining another company [31:34] Biggest challenges as CTO of Air Force and Space Force [37:39] Staying up to date and knowledgeable about many systems and sciences [42:31] Does Preston spend time trying to predict the future of tech? [46:08] Dealing with setbacks [50:46] The name and ethos of Arkenstone Ventures [53:04] Preston’s closing thoughts 📖Transcript: Transcript is viewable here:


Tracking weather from space, featuring Scarlett Koller of Mithril Technologies

An early-stage startup will offer unparalleled weather data when it unfolds its orbital sensors. Captivated by the stars and focused on improving life on Earth, Mithril Technologies founder and CEO, Scarlett Koller, is venturing into weather awareness and storm tracking by launching and commercializing a large space-based sensor. In this episode, we have the privilege of learning how Koller and her co-founder are translating a new technology out of the lab and into a space business. Aviation, shipping, insurance, and defense industries are each keen to get better clarity on Earth’s complex atmosphere at any given place and time. Where we currently get a partial image once a day, Mithril's technology offers nearly a complete image per second, a significant improvement that could have profound implications for disaster management. Utilizing microwave radiometry and with an incredible ambition to create huge 100-meter-diameter orbiting reflectors, Mithril’s platform would change the way storms are tracked by providing real-time images of the whole internal structure of a storm. Such holistic data is not available today, as some of the best approaches over the decades continues to be the reliance on specialized flight crews to fly instrumented airplanes through a storm… a risky, imperfect strategy that only provides incomplete snapshots of a storm system. Likewise, satellite imagery to-date provides only slivers of a weather pattern. Though complex and fraught with challenges, the allure of space and its relationship to our planet inspires and drives tough tech trailblazers like Koller. With Mithril, she hopes to make an impact in the field of Earth observation and contribute to the realization of humankind's space dreams. P.S. Tough Tech Today is now open to patron support, so we have launched a pay-if-you-can membership so you can help us bring Tough Tech Today to more folks! 🧠Relevant Links:👏Credit Roll: 🔖Topic Timecodes: 📖Transcript: Transcript is viewable here:


Betting on Space, featuring Chad Anderson of Space Capital

In one sentence: The space economy is booming in more ways than one. Space-based assets are changing the way industries operate on Earth. Chad Anderson – Founder and Managing Partner at Space Capital – is one of those individuals who has a deep perspective on the what it is like backing the entrepreneurs who are launching the newest breed of space companies. An investor by profession and explorer by passion, Anderson relates to us how “the economy of the future” will be built on global positioning systems, geospatial intelligence, and communications. To paraphrase the title of a book by Ashlee Vance, the heavens have gone on sale. Anderson’s evangelism is perhaps not only warranted, but perhaps fully validated, as exhibited by his and his team’s early investments in mature startups such as Planet and LeoLabs and younger companies such as Quantum Exchange and Lunar Outpost. (Note that Lunar Outpost is Tough Tech Today co-host Forrest Meyen’s company, which we covered in episode 9 with the founder and CEO, Justin Cyrus.) We also learn about Anderson’s unique experiences concocting whiskey and mezcal in pursuit of adventure and cultural discovery. P.S. Tough Tech Today is now open to patron support, so we have launched a pay-if-you-can membership so you can help us bring Tough Tech Today to more folks! 🧠Relevant Links: Episode homepage: Chad Anderson on LinkedIn: Space Capital homepage: 👏Credit Roll: Producers: Jonathan 'JMill' Miller and Forrest Meyen Guest: Chad Anderson Hosts: JMill and Forrest Meyen Editing: JMill Transcript: Alan Yan and JMill Blog Author: JMill Art Design: JMill 🔖Topic Timecodes: 📖Transcript: Transcript is viewable here:


Orchestrating microbes, featuring Cheri Ackerman of Concerto Biosciences

In one sentence... The interactions of the microbial world within us has been incredibly difficult to see – until now. From the depths of our intestines to the surface of our skin, our bodies are host to trillions of microbial cells spanning thousands of species. While critical to helping us to fend off illnesses and digest complex foods, we know very little about the complex interactions among these microbes. The team at Concerto Biosciences, led by CEO and Cofounder Cheri Ackerman, has put in place a key step in advancing the understanding of ourselves: a system, the “kChip”, that enables measurement of the interactions that occur among a multitude of species. The result of Concerto Biosciences’s high-throughput, combinatorial approach includes new medications, better health outcomes, and the early glimpses into previously undiscovered relationships occurring in and among every living creature, with fascinating applications beyond therapeutics such as within agriculture. Building an ensemble of microbial species and orchestrating them for a particular purpose is non-trivial and previously unimaginable. Much works remains, as it is difficult to capture real-world bacterial diversity or environmental complexity, but the kChip platform and library of multifactorial interactions enables a robust foundation for new research and development. Dr. Ackerman and her colleagues have set their company’s sight on first addressing imbalances with the skin microbiome, with particular attention on developing a sophisticated yogurt-like topical treatment for eczema. We dive deep into how this all works, from the invention of the kChips’ droplets-based platform to how the raw technology is maturing past its origins in an academic research lab. P.S. Tough Tech Today is now open to patron support, so we have launched a pay-if-you-can membership so you can help us bring Tough Tech Today to more folks! 🧠Relevant Links:👏Credit Roll: 🔖Topic Timecodes:


Unveiling age-defying proteins, featuring Mark Allen of Elevian

In one sentence... Aging is malleable and there is a particular, mysterious protein of interest that may enable new therapies for age-related diseases such as stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Young blood in old bodies has been demonstrated in several studies to counteract some age-correlated ailments. Mark Allen, a medical doctor by training and an entrepreneur in practice, co-founded Elevian to understand and commercialize therapies using a recombinant growth differentiation factor known as GDF11, a ‘magic’ protein, as referenced by the New York Times. Dr. Allen describes how his team is developing new medicines targeting the aging process, rather than the prevailing approach of most pharmaceutical products that target individual diseases. Highlighting a surprising result, if humanity was able to eradicate cancer completely, the outcome would only increase the average human lifespan by an estimated two to three years, while doubling the incidence of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. With its scientific foundations beginning emerging from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the Elevian team is rigorously exploring GDF11 and its effective use while navigating commercialization challenges. Specifically, how can an age-related therapy be reimbursable when “age” is not yet officially a disease (based on medical billing code)? We discuss with Dr. Allen about Elevian’s path ahead and the strategies at work. 🧠 Relevant Links:👏 Credit Roll: 🔖 Topic Timecodes: [2:02] What does Elevian do and why dealing with aging matters [3:42] Initial research and discovering GDF11 [7:17] What does giving GDF11 do? [8:54] How Eleven strategically went about finding product-market fit with its GDF11 discoveries [11:17] Protecting their invention [14:27] History: from the lab to Elevian [20:33] GDF11 vs. GDF8 [25:17] Parabiosis model and common misconceptions of GDF11 [26:22] Recombinant protein manufacture and the biotech industry [30:03] Elevian’s hypothesis and why these proteins are exciting [31:44] More on how Elevian came to be: Mark Allen’s background [37:42] Malleability of biological age and Elevian’s role [40:36] Accessibility of Elevian, and reimbursement model [42:18] Stroke as the first disease for Elevian's commercial application of GDF [46:16] Experiments in mice to humans to widely available treatments: how far along Elevian is in the process [48:34] More on Mark’s background [51:44] Solving aging [55:21] “Anti-aging” [56:44] What do GDF11 and GDF8 look like? [58:39] Biotech collaborations and the industry [1:00:15] Mark’s final message


Creating new and better medicines, featuring Virginia Burger

In one sentence... Computational biology is enhancing our understanding of intrinsically disordered proteins, leading to exciting new medical treatments. Overview From videogames to protein discovery, high performance computing impacts how we understand and engage with each other and the world around us. Virginia Burger, CEO and Co-Founder of New Equilibrium Biosciences, epitomizes the value of interdisciplinary skills applied to a hunch that biology and computer modeling can lead to new medical discoveries. “[New Equilibrium is] taking a problem that a lot of people have looked at before and looking at it from a completely new lens,” observes Malvika V. Miller, our biotech contributor. With their own in-house datasets and simulation capabilities purpose built for drug discovery, Dr. Burger and her team have been pushing the boundaries of generative artificial intelligence well ahead of the popular recognition of the phrase. Show Notes Roll Topic Timecodes [2:02] What is New Equilibrium working on and what are intrinsically disordered proteins [3:17] Pervasiveness of IDPs [4:21] What does "intrinsically disordered" mean? [6:12] Commercializing the science [7:51] History of IDPs [9:26] Virginia’s co-founder and his book [13:10] Simulating IDPs & the computational wave [19:57] Quantum computing applications & algorithm design [21:16] Training data for AI models [22:55] Partnerships [24:41] Recent funding round & hiring [26:46] How to stay on top of the field [31:35] Virginia’s path [36:57] State of the field of protein folding [39:24] Biggest challenge for IDPs [40:08] The leap into starting a company [43:47] Being incubated at Petri Bio [46:19] Virginia’s advice re: startups [49:24] Virginia’s pitch to potential employees [50:45] What Virginia’s reading


JMill & Forrest's Epic Reveal: New Tough Tech Today Season, Monthly Groove & Upcoming Themes! 🚀🧬🔋

Join a tag-up among JMill and Forrest as we reveal something really exciting for what’s ahead: the launch of the newest season of Tough Tech Today! Plus, we mention work and babies. We set the stage for our new monthly cadence, with a new release occurring on the second Tuesday of each month. Each quarter (3 months), we focus on a theme. The next three themes are Biology (2023Q2), Space (2023Q3), and Energy (2023Q4). We really appreciate your support and enthusiasm for Tough Tech Today, and it is our honor to share with you our conversations with tough tech trailblazers on all the upcoming episodes! Stay tough! Episode page, transcript, and podcast listening links: Subscribe with your favorite podcast service: Watch this show on Youtube:


M12 bets big on the digital frontier with Matt Goldstein

————— Overview: Probing the cybersecurity of 3D printing, scaling the digital transformation of manufacturing, and developing quantum-safe encryption for the next evolution of the Internet, Matt Goldstein, Managing Director at M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund, shares with us the criticality of investing in companies exploring the frontiers of cybersecurity and infrastructure. “No one thinks their front door lock is obnoxious,” shares Goldstein, yet there remains a consumer hurdle in adopting baseline cybersecurity practices such as updating software, avoiding password reuse, and leveraging multi-factor authentication. Fear-mongering is one approach, but also “it’s up to us both as cybersecurity practitioners – call them lockbuilders – as well as the homebuilders, the application builders, to make their solutions and products inherently more secure and inherently less attractive to attackers,” tells Goldstein. Also discussed is Goldstein’s path from being a “bad software developer” to venture capital, including the workings of M12, its relationship with Microsoft, and ever-present opportunities for value creation among security startups. “Cybersecurity will never be solved. It is a fundamentally asymmetric problem. The economic incentives of attackers to get incredibly creative match the economic incentives of defenders to find newer and better creative solutions to their attacks.” ————— Show Notes:


Synthesizing High-Tech Food is TOUGH, featuring Kate Krueger of Helikon

In one sentence: “Synthesizing” and “food” are uncommon word pairings, but the engineered dishes they serve may be an appetizing feast for the senses. Overview: Climate change, a growing global population, and maturation of new biotechnologies are driving the motivation for – and means of – producing more food. Engineering is improving traditional agricultural means for food production, yet, in our conversation with Kate Krueger of Helikon, emerging synthesization techniques are bringing food from the lab to the market, with exciting and healthy results. Topic Timecodes: 00:59 What is "high-tech food" 01:57 "Cheese doodle" tech 04:06 Recombinant protein technology 06:17 Relationship between recombinant protein technology and climate change 08:07 Growth factors & proteins 11:58 Veracity of claims of cosmetic benefits due to wheat-grown proteins 12:38 Analogy to stem cells 13:04 Economic challenge of growing growth factors 14:42 Summary of mechanism for generating proteins genetically 16:50 Is eating meat bad for the environment? 19:01 Wildtype and genetically-engineered salmon 19:41 Taste of lab-grown meat & "fat tech" 21:02 Politics around meat-eating & environmental sustainability concerns 23:00 Potential for lab-grown meat 25:28 More funding for startups than universities & Kate's cross-silo experience in cell ag space 28:39 Helikon Consulting 32:01 Potential harms for "high-tech food" & regulation by FDA/USDA 34:43 Long-term effects on human microbiome due to consumption of lab-grown meat as opposed to more "biodiverse", from-the-wild foods 36:50 Red tomatoes & ethylene gas 38:45 Kid Kate & why biology/chemistry as concentration 40:01 Why consulting for Kate now? 41:10 Balancing industry and academic perspectives 45:40 Rapid-fire questions for Kate 47:45 Kate asks us rapid-fire questions 51:44 Kate's advice to audience Show Notes: 𝞣


Exposing cancer with bioengineering, featuring Cyriac Roeding of Earli

In one sentence: We can make cancer cells tell us exactly where they are. ————— Overview: Consumer internet entrepreneurs lack many of the skills for the life sciences revolution – or do they? Cyriac Roeding, CEO and co-founder of Earli, shows us what his team of bioengineers are accomplishing by applying fast-learning software development discipline to hard life science problems. Earli’s mouse and canine models are producing exciting results inducing cancer cells to expose their locations, enabling precision medicine to pinpoint malignant from benign many months earlier than state-of-the-art techniques. “I love the idea of having multiple shots on goal… rather than spending a billion dollars on small molecule development,” says Cyriac. As expeditiously as it has progressed, the Earli story is not without its difficult periods, including the death of a gifted co-founder. “First, I cried... I [had become] very close to him. As brilliant a scientist as he was, he was an even more wonderful human being. I loved this man,” shares Cyriac. “Our team rallied behind the whole situation,” and we learn how Cyriac, his co-founder, and the Earli team reinforced their commitment to save lives as quickly as they can. ————— Show Notes:


Jmill goes glamping while Forrest lands on Mars and launches a new company.

Just a quick Tough Tech Today update as we take a bye week and prepare for our guest in two weeks.


Google Maps for gold? AI-Assisted Mine Prospecting is Tough!

In one sentence: When the frontiers of geology overlap with the frontlines of contested regions, international collaborations help protect minerals core to our civilization. ————— Overview: There’s a world of minerals in every electronic device. Anything that cannot be grown must be mined, Emily King tells us. A global mining expert and founder of Prospector Portal, Emily shares stories and advancements in the finding, protecting, and stewarding of minerals. From digitizing and structuring disparate datasets sourced around the globe, to mobilizing with armed teams to identify and secure minerals critical to humanity’s future, our conversation takes a journey from the rocks beneath us to the rocks above us, where advanced space technologies further our understanding of lunar regolith, Martian soil, and frozen asteroids – as well as the legal and commercial implications of their mining. ————— Show Notes: → Episode page, transcript, and podcast listening links: → Emily King on LinkedIn: → Prospector Portal (company): → On the Rocks (podcast): → Watch this show on Youtube:


Unlocking new mRNA Treatments with Jake Becraft, CEO of Strand Therapeutics

In one sentence: Unlocking new mRNA treatments will save lives, but it's not as simple as that. ————— Overview ————— Jake Becraft of Strand Therapeutics is an expert in designing and programming mRNA, critical strands of genetic material that provide instructions for making proteins. As one suite of tools in the emerging synthetic biology toolkit, mRNA is a twenty-first century harbinger of life. Yet, with all powerful tools, there are risks of accidental or intentional misuse. It is this shared responsibility among the scientific, private, and public realms that Becraft advocates for thoughtful, anticipatory stewardship of these influential technologies. Stunningly, it's no longer science fiction to consider pre-making vast numbers of vaccines for every conceivable pandemic vector and their mutations. This, the 'Manhattan project for vaccines', is a matter of national defense, Becraft argues. We are joined by contributing expert Malvika V. Miller for an episode featuring a wide-ranging discussion on synbio, STEM advocacy, national security policy, and more. ————— Topic Timecodes ————— [01:04] What Strand Therapeutics does [03:24] Using messenger RNA technology for cancer and other rare diseases [07:20] What is unique about Strand’s tech and its therapeutic delivery mechanism [11:31] Targeting mechanism for constantly-changing heterogenous targets [16:18] Biohacking and open-source science [20:32] Biohacking security and regulation [24:46] Increasing importance of biotech security [29:33] Starting Strand Therapeutics [32:14] mRNA vs. DNA [35:38] Current challenges of synthetic biology field [37:56] Prioritizing at Strand across many use cases of mRNA, a platform therapeutic [40:41] Making medical developments more efficient and quicker [42:28] Cancer as a key focus at Strand & strategy outlook [43:20] Different perceptions of justifiable speed in developing consumer products vs. biotech [46:23] Perception that COVID-19 vaccine was “rushed” & trusting regulatory agencies [50:22] “Manhattan Project for vaccines” [57:13] Who supports and pays for such a defense project ————— Show Notes ————— National Strategy for Synthetic Biology


Freedom Without Fear - Making injections effortless with autoinjector tech to saves lives, with Conor Cullinane of Pirouette Medical

In one sentence: A needle shaped like a hockey puck is a ‘revolutionary’ medical device that can deliver epinephrine during a severe allergic reaction on Earth or in space. ————— Overview ————— EpiPens and other emergency auto-injectors have changed little for decades, though there are known limitations in their accidental (mis)use. Conor Cullinane, co-founder of Pirouette Medical, shows us his team’s surprisingly non-needlelike auto-injector that is shaped smooth, flat, and round, and easily totable so those at risk can have, in the company’s words, “freedom without fear”. Following a patient-centered design process supported by the founders’ expertise in human factors engineering for bioastronautics applications, the team is shepherding their medical device through the US Food & Drug Administration review process. We have a front row seat in how they are managing the translational process of medical device design and development. ————— Show Notes —————


Tough Tech Today in 2020 and Beyond (Year in Review)

A chat to review the first year of Tough Tech Today.


$2.5B Exit Entrepreneur, Sujal Patel, is Creating a Proteomics Startup to Upgrade Human Health

In one sentence... Human health upgrades may be unlocked by a data storage expert focused on probing the proteome. Overview: It’s not everyday that one hears about the crucial relationship between digital data storage and biology, yet this is core to Sujal Patel’s work leading Nautilus Biotechnology. By any measure already an accomplished tech entrepreneur, Sujal’s experience building Isilon Systems (acquired by EMC for $2.5 billion) became a perfect, if non-obvious, ingredient for disentangling the complexities of proteins. If successful in analyzing the proteins within thousands of cells, Patel, his co-founder Parag Mallick, and their team may discover new drugs for present and emerging diseases. Pioneering the birth of this new proteome sequencer instrument involves deep and broad interdisciplinary collaboration. Patel says, “On our staff are mechanical engineers, software engineers, electrical engineers, and biophysicists working side-by-side with biochemists, organic chemists, bioengineering majors – all these disciplines come together to build a complete solution.” Topic Timecodes: [00:00] Episode preview [00:59] Nautilus Biotechnology and why the need to understand what’s going on at the protein level [05:03] Isilon to Nautilus [11:23] Early stages of Nautilus [14:13] Tough stuff at Nautilus [19:13] Goal of Nautilus [21:14] How Sujal went about learning a completely new field [24:17] What exactly is Nautilus building [26:54] Broader landscape of proteomic analysis companies [32:17] What is unique about Nautilus Bio [35:53] Nautilus Bio’s relationship with customers [38:22] Nautilus and COVID-19 / other pandemics [41:37] Going faster at Nautilus due to high demand [43:51] Adjusting to life with COVID-19 at Nautilus [48:02] Priorities for Nautilus in the near-term [50:58] What’s been the most fun for Sujal in building Nautilus? [53:36] Shameless plugs


A moon rover startup gears up for launch, featuring Justin Cyrus of Lunar Outpost

In one sentence... Living on the Moon requires infrastructure that Justin Cyrus of Lunar Outpost knows can be helpful here on Earth. Overview Earth’s moon is viewed as the upcoming base of operations for humanity’s further exploration of the cosmos. Justin Cyrus, founder of Lunar Outpost, shares what it is like building a suite of technologies that not only meet space objectives, but also address terrestrial challenges. Incredible initiatives are underway to develop our moon into a pied-à-terre for humans on their way to Mars. These initiatives require concerted efforts between public organizations and the private sector to develop necessary technologies, revenue models, and other components that must work perfectly enough for our species’ spacefaring ambitions to come to fruition. Show Notes Timecodes 00:50 Starting a lunar rover company 02:27 What’s in regolith and how does this help us get to Mars? 03:45 Advanced instrumentation and robotics 04:42 The hassles of regolith 06:25 Tough Tech Today exclusive: 2021 launch date set! 09:25 What are valuable payloads? 11:21 Swarm robotics 12:46 At UC Boulder with a love for space 13:24 Improving Earthlings’ environments with lunar tech 20:26 Are there needs for space security services? 22:44 Instagram: @thelunaroutpost 25:17 When can we have rover races on the moon? 27:10 Working with family to build a company 29:27 What did your parents think about this? 37:01 Peeking twenty years into the future Tags tough tech today,jmill,Jonathan Miller,Forrest Meyen,deep tech,hard tech,startup,entrepreneurship,venture capital,tough tech,tough technology,technology,podcast,Lunar Outpost,moon,rover,regolith,ISRU,Justin Cyrus Transcript


When tough tech and dual-use ventures collide, with the U.S. Air Force Banshee Program

Banshees of the United States Air Force hunt for mission-enhancing technologies. The world's largest startup accelerator, MassChallenge, teamed up with the Air Force Labs to establish the Banshees training program. Members are U.S. Department of Defense acquisitions officers who are learning how to find tough tech and nurture dual-use ventures. Such startups are jointly serving the private commercial sector and the government as clients. Forrest and jmill discuss tech commercialization challenges and #protips from several stakeholders' points of view: as entrepreneurs, as investors, and as government liaisons.


Bringing heroes home, featuring Caleb Carr of Vita Inclinata

In one sentence... A helicopter rescue mission gone awry fuels this man’s mission to bring heroes home safely with drones built for aircraft load stabilization. Overview As a Black Hawk helicopter’s rotors whop-whop-whopped overhead in their fight for command of the winds amid a stormy – and ultimately failed – rescue mission, a teenage Caleb Carr had a life-shaping experience that led him, many years later, to launch Vita Inclinata, a mission-focused company pioneering aerial load stabilization. Whether for medical evacuation, construction, firefighting, or many other applications, tethering loads to aircraft has always suffered from issues. Pilots of rotorcraft and fixed-wing aircraft alike must balance opposing forces to hoist humans and cargo safely. We learn from Caleb about the difficult decisions he’s faced in building a tech company with one mission: bringing heroes home. Show notes tough tech today,jmill,Jonathan Miller,Forrest Meyen,deep tech,hard tech,startup,entrepreneurship,venture capital,tough tech,tough technology,technology,podcast,Caleb Carr,Colorado entrepreneur,Vita Inclinata,search and rescue,vita inclinata technologies,helicopter load stabilization,hanging load stabilization,drones,ducted fan,load stabilization drone,AFWERX,tech stars airforce


Bootstrapping mass spectrometry, featuring Mazdak Taghioskoui of Trace Matters

He built a mass spectrometer from scratch and reinvented it in the process! Bearing a smile, Mazdak “Maz” Taghioskoui says he immigrated to the United States from Iran for a good education and same-day shipping, two key features that have supported his focus on building – from scratch – a sophisticated next-generation analytical tool: the Trace Matters SPion mass spectrometer. Maz is the Founder and CEO/CTO of Trace Matters, and we sat down with him for show-and-tell to discuss how he and his company is reinventing the mass spectrometer to save lives here on Earth and to advance our scientific understanding of the cosmos beyond our planet. Show Notes Timecodes 00:54 A lesson in high school chemistry 03:44 History and benefits of mass spectrometry for space and medical applications 04:53 Screening newborn babies’ blood for disease mitigation 06:18 Instrumentation Startup: A tiny company in a world of corporates 07:15 Creating a mass spectrometer… from scratch 08:56 The fallacy of“if your system is complex and it’s working, you don’t change it” 10:11 How I built this 12:16 A case study in the 10,000 Hour Rule and brute force science 13:38 Seeing years of work finally come to fruition 17:24 Seeing SPion and the frog 18:53 Expediting mass spectrometry-assisted brain surgery 23:36 Show-and-tell in Maz’s lab 24:48 Inventing a lab-scale fabrication process 28:20 Following a vision or a wandering path? 30:08 Getting addicted to solving challenges 32:01 Immigrating to the United States for a great education and… quick shipping 33:26 The resources at Massachusetts’ Greentown Labs 34:37 Bootstrapping a scientific instrument company 37:32 A shift in how we build instruments? 39:36 Who could be first to benefit from next-generation mass spectrometry? 40:52 Integrating learnings into a tech roadmap 41:23 The Harvard Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program and COVID-19 42:12 Advice to a younger self: persistence, love, and remembering to eat Tags tough tech today,jmill,Jonathan Miller,Forrest Meyen,deep tech,hard tech,startup,entrepreneurship,venture capital,tough tech,tough technology,technology,podcast,Mazdak Taghioskoui,Trace Matters,Trace Matters LLC,Mass Spectrometry,SpIon,Spectrometer,Greentown Labs,Green town labs,Maz,NASA Mass Spectrometry,Mass Spec,Mass Spec surgery,NASA,Science,Physics,quadrupole mass spectrometer,how does a mass spectrometer work,how a mass spec works,meyen