Episode #5 – Glen Finkel from Pureti
In this fifth episode of the InnovaBuzz podcast, Glen Finkel of Pureti talks about the innovative products that Pureti have developed and commercialized from an observation made back in the 1960’s. Watch the interview to learn what Glen shared with us about Pureti on the podcast.
Listen to the Podcast
Watch the Video
I’m giving away a copy of my “Seven Website Design Secrets to get you MORE Sales” Workshop Video, Workbook and Resources Guide valued at $97. Just tell us, in the comments below, an innovative way that you can think of to use Pureti’s products on different surfaces and how you might achieve a unique outcome by using Pureti’s products in an unusual way. In few weeks I’ll ask Glen to swing by and award the prize.
Some of the highlights of this episode include:
- Pureti have developed a unique technology based on a discovery dating back to the 1960’s, by first solving a specific customer problem, then expanding the technology to other opportunities and applications.
- Pureti and Glen in particular, have been very active in educating customers, partners and potential users of this disruptive technology and that education process is critical to their success and to partnering with organisations such as NASA and major sporting stadiums across the world.
- Testing, case studies and proof of concept are critical to a new products future success.
- A good web developer will do more than just build a website – they will be an adviser in all aspects of your marketing.
- Pureti provide solutions, not products – e.g. Glen sees their future in providing things like infection control in hospitals.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Glen’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Watch the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be innovative – Listen to your customers and focus on their problems.
- Best thing for new ideas – Zoom in and zoom out, i.e. the ability to look at the big picture and also keep track of the fine details – apply the view that is most appropriate to the current situation.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Google is great, but more important is having a culture of innovation throughout the company and its people
- Keep project / client on track – clear, transparent milestones and timelines that all are fiercly commited to. And of course, communication.
- Differentiate – be yourself!
Glen nominated Jacques Touillon who’s the CEO of Alima – Jacques, keep an eye on your Inbox for an invitation from me, for the Innovabuzz Podcast!
Hint: to enter the competition, leave a comment under this video and tell us some of the innovative ways that you can think of to use Pureti’s products on different surfaces and how you might achieve a unique outcome by using Pureti’s products in an unusual way.
- How the Technology Works
- Working with NASA
- Keeping Stadiums Clean
- Book: Nine Lives by William Dalrymple (In Search of the Sacred Modern India).
Click to read….
Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to Episode No 5 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses with an interest in innovation and the Internet of Things become even more innovative.
In this episode, our guest is Glen Finkel from Pureti, an American manufacturer of light activated, water based surface treatments and Glen is going to tell us all about their innovative products that use sunlight to help clean exterior surfaces and sanitize interior surfaces. We are going to learn about what this technology does, how Pureti have met the challenges to promote a technology, that Glen himself has described as “too good to be true!” as well as the things that Glen and his team do to be innovative.
One of the things that really struck me in this interview, was how Glen and his team recognized opportunities and the fit for their expertise and know-how and how they quickly took action to take advantage of those opportunities. Glen says that “We all love innovation, but you can only have innovation if someone has the guts to go first.”. He explains to us how it came about that their idea ended up being trialled in a large way by NASA, how their product is being tested in large sporting stadiums across the world and how the same technology is now being used for infection control in hospitals.
This week’s innovation tip is educate your customers and other stakeholders. With any innovation, or indeed product or service you are providing, customers are interested in finding out about what the benefits for them are, before they decide to buy that product or service. The more you can educate your customers about the benefits of the products or services you offer, the more likely you are to have the right kind of customers purchase your products or services. As Glen points out in the interview, the Internet is a fabulous tool, to help with that education process.
Before we meet Glen, a quick competition announcement – this week’s competition prize is sponsored by Innovabiz – where we help smart, innovative business owners who need REAL, tangible results from the internet, transform their online presence into a business generation machine, that works EVEN when they are not working. The prize is a copy of our Seven Website Design Secrets to Get You More Sales workshop valued at $97. That’s a video series together with a workbook and resources guide, so stay tuned later on in the interview where you’ll find out how you can enter the draw to win that prize.
So stay with us, let’s get into the Innovation Hive and get the Buzz from Glen Finkel.
Jürgen Strauss: Hi, I’m Jürgen Strauss. Welcome to this episode of the InnovaBuzz podcast. I’m really privileged to have here with me all the way from New York City in the U.S.A., Glenn Finkel, from Pureti. Glen, welcome to the podcast.
Glen Finkel: Thank you, Jürgen, happy to be here.
Jürgen Strauss: Now, Pureti has some very innovative products that have the potential to improve our lives in quite a number of ways from reducing pollution to helping respiratory problems, to even enhancing infection control.
Before we hear from Glen about all those wonderful products, I’d just like to announce today’s competition. That’s a copy of my Seven Website Design Secrets to Get You More Sales workshop. That’s a video series together with a workbook and resources guide, so stay tuned later on in the interview where you’ll find out how you can enter the draw to win that prize.
Glen, before we get on to Pureti and the technology that you yourself have said is too good to be true technology, and learn more about that, let’s find out a little bit about you as a person. When you were a young child, what were your ambitions? What did you want to be when you grow up?
Glen Finkel: I grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It evolved a little bit, but I do recall wanting to be an astronaut at some point. Space program was quite exciting back then.
Jürgen Strauss: Yeah, it certainly was, wasn’t it? Going through the ‘60s, I remember sitting in school watching the moon landing live. Of course, that was the very early days of television.
Glen Finkel: Yeah, spectacular. Let’s get back there.
Jürgen Strauss: Yeah. When did you change direction from becoming an astronaut to going into science into the more fundamental investigative scientist, shall we say?
Glen Finkel: Well, it took me a while. I got distracted by the latter half of the ‘60s. My first career actually, I was a clinical psychologist which is somewhat scientific. I worked in community mental health. It was a fascinating experience.
Jürgen Strauss: Yeah, I bet.
Glen Finkel: Somehow, I made my way into Material Science, but that was only 15 years ago. It was quite coincidental. Steve Jobs made this statement to that famous Stanford commencement speech, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only do it looking back.” That certainly describes my path. I went from being a clinical psychologist, to a commercial fisherman, to working in the shoe industry 15 years, to being involved in material technology for the last 15 years.
Jürgen Strauss: How did you end up in material technology and how did Pureti then come about?
Glen Finkel: I ended up in material technology trying to solve a problem for a potential client. He walked into my showroom. I was a consultant at this point in time. They had a hack that was a baseball cap and on the brim, in the front, it lit up and said, “Show me the money.” This was when that Jerry Maguire movie was popular and I said, “What is this?” They explained that it was an ectroluminescent lamp. I said, “How does it work?” He said, “There’s a battery over here and there’s a little computer chip, and it … ” I said, “Stop. This is computerized?” He said, “Yes.” This was 25 years ago. I exclaimed, “All right, now I’m interested,” because I wanted to back then, be at the intersection of wearables and computers.
I was an early adaptor of PC technology and I’ve used it in the shoe industry, and I was interested in this idea of miniaturization and integrating computers into wearables. I helped these guys get started in their business. Then, somebody approached me and said, “You seem to know a lot about marketing light-related technology.” I said, “Of course. It’s my specialty.” That really conceived it by itself in that manner. I was invited into a project that had to do with the retroreflectivity. It was a cost effective alternative to 3M Scotch-lite technology which is a $7 billion monopoly around the world protecting people by making them visible at night.
It led me to do a project where we made retroreflective paint for bumpers of cars that led to a project where we focused on the active ingredients which were clear glass beads inside the paint. We shrank them back to miniaturization. We shrank them to the size to four microns, but that led to a sales trip to Hong Kong 15 years ago, in 2001 where we introduced this glass bead technology and were introduced to the early stages of what we’re working on today. That changed my life.
Jürgen Strauss: Okay. Tell us a little bit about Pureti and some of the ideas that you’ve taken to commercialization through that company.
Glen Finkel: What I was introduced to in 2001 was a technology that was already over 40 years, a technology discovered in Japan in 1968 at the University of Tokyo. One of those innovations, one of those Post-It note kind of discoveries they didn’t really set out to discover this, – they were trying to understand, at least from what I’ve been told, the story is they were trying to understand why paint fell apart in the sun. Everybody knew it was an interaction between light energy and a mineral in the paint.
The minerals specifically being titanium dioxide which is the white pigment in paint or the opacifier in paint. Actually, every gallon of paint whether it’s white or colored has at least a pound-and-a-half of Ti02 in it. People knew that something is going on between light and this mineral. There was an old expression, “Paint chalks.” You run your finger against the wall and it gets white. They knew something was going on that caused the paint to fall apart.
When these scientists drilled down, they came to understand that it was two chemical reactions that were triggered by the Ti02, that if maximized could be a tremendous tool for infection control and environmental benefit. That was the first eureka moment. That was their breakthrough – that was Honda and Fujishima. Today, there are over 10,000 patents in this field. There have been over 50 international conferences on the use of photocatalytic Ti02 to treat air and water pollution, and over 38,000 scientific articles.
When I stumbled on it in 2001, it was not quite that developed but fairly well established. There was a lot of commercial activity in Asia around infection control, specifically in Japan and a lot of commercial activity in Europe around pollution reversal, and virtually nothing going on in America. As an American businessman, that smelled like opportunity. We had also been introduced to a water-based version of the chemistry that had some fundamental flaws, but we could tell that the water-based version had its advantages over the earlier powder based versions.
The flaws were substantial. Anything you sprayed with this stuff back in 2001 turned yellow after two weeks. It has a problem in the coatings industry. Two weeks later, when the yellow wore out, you could tell that the product was applied somewhat blotchily. The fellows I was talking to on the phone, the bus company in Hong Kong, their busses turned yellow after two weeks, the yellow went away, and now the busses look like zebras. Not terribly attractive. Their problem was the cost. It was outrageously expensive.
The original interest was the opportunity to help the customer or take advantage of a growing industry that had no traction in America that had some potential if we could solve these problems. Fortunately, I had a partner who was a genius chemist. Our team went to work on it and three years later, we had some breakthroughs and filed patents, and spun this out into a separate company. That was the beginning of it.
Pureti is the name of our company. We’re an American manufacturer of light activated, water based surface treatments. Our products get spray applied to the outside or inside of building or vehicles, and on the outside, the buildings or vehicles stayed cleaner longer reducing the need for washing, reducing the amount of water and chemicals used in washing, and reducing the time to wash them. So for facility maintenance or vehicle maintenance, it saves a lot of money.
The wonderful aspect is that the same chemistry reverses pollution. The buildings that we treat actually break down harmful indirect greenhouse gases like NOx and harmful VOCs, and direct greenhouse gases like methane. On the inside of buildings, there’s not as much light but there is more than enough light to deliver what we call an indoor air quality benefit. We are spraying the inside of hospital rooms, hotel rooms, and rental cars, and getting rid of odors. In the case of hospital rooms in Spain, improving infection control scores.
We’re most excited about the health aspects of our chemistry. The air purification contribution is remarkable. We’re getting more and more proof points of that every day and then, more and more traction in the variety of fields every day.
Jürgen Strauss: That sounds really fascinating. Like you said, the health benefits are certainly an exciting aspect. What kind of testing do you actually do to prove the concept, because I know, you must’ve done a lot because I know that NASA has take an interest in this technology and has supported you with some project funding?
Glen Finkel: Yes, they’ve been terrific. One of the challenges with a technology like this is it sounds too good to be true. The testing and independent validation and certification are critical to bringing innovation into a reality. NASA contacted us. One of the researchers there was aware of photocatalysis. NASA has actually done research on the chemistry in the ‘80s. Photocatalytic Ti02 is used in the space station to purify air in the international space station, but they were using the earlier powder based versions, but they sampled all the requested samples from anybody that had a coating-type version. We supplied 2,000 glass slides to NASA. They tested them in their labs.
A year later, they called back and said, “Congratulations. You’re on the top of the heap.” We’d like to test you on our buildings. We went down and sprayed a couple of white buildings in Stennis, Mississippi. The issue for them at that time was mold growth on the outside of the buildings. This is post-Katrina and throughout that entire region of America, mold growth was out of control. NASA had all these two-storey white buildings from the ‘60s that they were having trouble maintaining. We did some real world tests and the results were terrific.
Their validation led to our winning six awards around the world. That’s also tremendously helpful in gaining credibility. We’ve done all kinds of testing. The first testing we did was safety testing. When you have something new especially if you believe it’s a healthcare product, you want to make sure you do no harm. Our solution is basically a mineral water. It’s 99% water, 1% mineral. The first testing we did was the aquatic toxicity test – take minnows, which are proxies for humans and dump them in the water, and if they swim for a long time, you have a safe mineral water. The fish seemed to love chemistry, so we passed that test.
The second test we did was functionality testing. How do you prove that something is self-cleaning? At the time we were looking to do this testing early, it was 2004, there were no test methods in America. There was no ASTM method. Nobody had ever heard of this. The only protocols in the world were in Japanese. We had them translated and turned them over to the National Sanitation Foundation. It’s a very simple test. You take two substrates, coat one and not the other, and then apply an organic dye, and under light you see the organic dye disappear if you have a photocatalytic coating. We did this testing with the National Sanitation Foundation. They were astounded.
The dye or proxy for disappeared in front of their eyes. They went and tested our treated substrates with germs. They applied the E.coli and staph which represent the world of germs- gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria and they were astounded. We were astounded that it killed 99.99% of the germs within an hour. It was a spectacular result and since then, we’ve done a zillion other tests. We’ve had a wonderful breakthrough in testing support in the last six months. For the first time in history, an independent laboratory that does nothing but test photocatalytic products and materials, and they’re in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
We’ve been sending them all kinds of tests and materials, and it’s been terrifically gratifying that they’re as excited about us as we are about them. We are outperforming our competition as we’ve claimed and now that they have proven it, that’s been enormously helpful.
Jürgen Strauss: Of course, you’ve done a lot of infield testing to prove that the product work in real life as well, and one of the fascinating ones, I know you mentioned NASA and all of us that grew through the moon landing, grew up through the moon landing stage get excited by NASA, and that gives you a lot of credibility. The other one, as a football fan that I found fascinating was you’ve done some work in the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona which is the home of FC Barcelona, one of the biggest football clubs in the world.
Glen Finkel: Yeah, it’s tremendously exciting that we have this ability to keep football stadiums and any public venue cleaner longer and save time, energy, water, and chemical use involved in power washing. One of our slogans is, “Stop power washing and start sun washing.” Our first trial in the arena or stadium space was down in Miami, Florida where the Miami Dolphins and University of Miami Hurricanes play football. It’s a 25-year-old stadium.
In Miami, between the heat, the humidity, and the beer, the mold growth was out of control. They would literally have to power wash after every football game. We did a trial for 18 weeks. Took six rows, cleaned them, treated the interior two rows, and they could see by week six that it was a miracle, that the dirty, treated rows were staying clean and the other rows were getting moldy, and moldy, and moldy. By week seven, they gave up and power washed the control. They couldn’t put up with it anymore. The test went on for 16 weeks, and we’ve now actually done that in that stadium, about two-thirds of it.
We’ve done a full football stadium and now, that’s a reference point, that’s opened the door for us with Nou Camp or Camp Nou, I can’t remember which is correct. We’re also talking to a couple of football stadiums here in America and we have some people talking about Brazil for the next Olympics. That’s an exciting market to be in.
Jürgen Strauss: Yeah, that’s fascinating, fascinating. How do you describe what you then in one sentence? If you meet somebody that doesn’t know you and they say, “What do you do, Glen?” What’s your elevator pitch, so to speak?
Glen Finkel: It’s really difficult. I don’t know if that I ever give the same one twice. I explain to them that I’m in the advanced, clean technology field, and that we manufacture a water based surface treatment that uses light to reverse pollution, clean the air, and keep buildings clean at the same time, and help people save on maintenance.
Jürgen Strauss: That’s pretty good.
Glen Finkel: It’s pretty tight, and for most of our company’s life, this has all been a professionally applied product. One of our recent innovations, and this occurred at the request of a customer is that we now have a do-it-yourself version of this chemistry. Sometimes, I’ll simply say, “I’m a manufacturer of a glass cleaner that also cleans the air.” They’ll say, “What do you mean?” I’ll say, “You clean your windows with this stuff like you would use any glass cleaner. We leave this magic mineral behind that uses light to eliminate odors and clean the air in your interior space.”
We are now using this chemistry inside cars. We just did a 1,200-car test with a major rental car company here in America and the results were astounding. We’re going to save them tens of millions of dollars through reduced cleaning. Instead of having to clean every time the car comes back, then can clean once a quarter and they have better results. The windows are cleaner. The customer satisfaction scores are higher because in addition to cleaning the windows, we’re cleaning the air in the car and they get improved odor control, I should say.
We’ve just launched with partners, our distribution partners in China. This product in China, cleaning windows in China, we are reducing formaldehyde in interior rooms in China. It’s a health benefit, an extraordinary health benefit. They have an issue in many rooms in China with unacceptably high levels of formaldehyde from various building manufacturing practices. Simply by cleaning your window, we can solve and address that problem.
Jürgen Strauss: That’s amazing, isn’t it?
Glen Finkel: It really is. I feel blessed to have stumbled on this chemistry and taken to it. It just seems to get better every single day. We keep discovering new uses for it.
Jürgen Strauss: I imagine there must also be a big market on solar panels as well where if you can keep those clean and reduce cleaning there at the same time, keep the energy output at a maximum because it would …
Glen Finkel: Yes. The technical term is derating due to soiling and we help with that. It’s actually more pronounced on solar mirrors. Solar mirrors suffer more from getting dirty. They get cleaned more often. It’s a bigger issue cleaning them because it’s a typically out on dirty, desert type places. We think we have a big market there.
We’re also involved in some advanced work in the area of a printable thin film solar. We’re working with a remarkable young company that is going to be building solar printing plant factories in a box. You got this box and it’s got the printer in it and it’s got the consumables to make thin film solar that you can put anywhere on the side of your building, on your shed, on the ground, and out comes electricity.
Jürgen Strauss: Wow, that’s exciting.
Glen Finkel: An aspect of our chemistry is going inside of that system. We’re very excited about solar as well.
Jürgen Strauss: What do you actually most of your time doing day-to-day, Glen?
Glen Finkel: I’m trying to keep up with it all and working with my wonderful partners and colleagues. We’ve got a great team. I’m more Mr. Outside. I have a wonderful partner, Brian Haas who is more of the inside and keeps the wheels running. I do a lot of educating and introducing people to Pureti. When you have something that’s this different, this new, this unbelievable, you have to convince a lot of people to get pull through demand. A lot of time is spent on that, and a lot of time is spent on trying to identify and focus where we can get most return for effort. There’s an expression, “When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
Jürgen Strauss: You spoke …
Glen Finkel: I’m looking for [inaudible 00:23:22].
Jürgen Strauss: I got a bit of a breakup happening there. Hopefully, that will get going.
Glen Finkel: You’ve heard the expression, “When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” One of our issues is we think we have forced a hammer in our hands. It’s a dizzying array of opportunities that Pureti represents. There’s literally no surface that light reaches that we can’t enhance and protect them, transform it to a self-cleaning air purifier. When everything’s an opportunity, you can’t get nowhere. You have to define where you want to start, where you want to prioritize, and we spend a lot of time on that, and that it make sense. Are we breaking up again?
Jürgen Strauss: No. We’re good now actually so hopefully we’ll be fine. What kind of things keep you awake at night? You talked about prioritization and being overwhelmed a little bit almost by all the opportunity that are out there.
Glen Finkel: What keeps me awake at night? Just excitement. I’m excited about what’s going to come next today. It seems like we’re opening new markets almost on a monthly basis. We had some recent publicity in some major magazines that’s brought attention from all over the world. By the end of the year, we’ll be in 10 new countries. We were an American manufacturer solely focused on America until two years ago. We’ve had this terrific global expansion.
If the question is, what do I worry about, not a whole lot. I tend not to be a worrier. I’m excited about the future of our technology. Right now, our chemistry responds to UVA lights which is 4% of the sun’s energy. We differentiate from all our competition because we need less light to work than anybody else, but we still need light to work. Outdoors, we deliver full self-cleaning benefit. Indoors, there’s not enough light for that so indoors, it’s focused on odor control and indoor air quality which is substantial. We keep on working on invisible light photocatalysis.
Ti02, that’ll respond to the full energy of sunlight. This is one of the Holy Grails of science today. There’s well over a hundred work groups chasing this. It’s kind of like the cold fusion story. Somebody announces they have it every other month, and they’ve had eggs on their face, for 10 years. I’ve had this as a Google alert for 10 years. Somebody, somewhere, will crack this! One of the things we spend a lot of time on is tracking this, making sure we’ll be there when somebody comes up with it, because we still think we have the ideal carrier chemistry or whatever nanocrystal could deliver this incredible benefit.
By the way, if somebody somewhere does have this, they should e-mail me at the end of the show. We’d love to talk.
Jürgen Strauss: We’ll get those details later on. Have you ever thought … My early career was in the photographic industry and of course, silver halide was the chemistry there that is light sensitive to visible light. Have you ever thought of incorporating silver halide coating and crystals with silver halide, or something along those lines? I guess we’re getting into a brainstorming phase. We don’t actually want to do that, but I’ll leave that thought with you.
Glen Finkel: Chuckles…There are a few people that combine silver with photocatalytic TiO2 to try to deliver an antimicrobial benefit and air purifying self-cleaning benefit. It’s an approach.
Jürgen Strauss: What are the biggest challenges that you face in building a business like this?
Glen Finkel: The credibility issue was a big one early on. It just sounds too good to be true, but I certainly experienced it when I first heard about it so we can empathize with that reaction. We seem to be past that, getting past that every day. There’s a lot of concern about nanotechnology out there. We don’t emphasize that we’re a nanotechnology. See, there’s a knee-jerk reaction in many place, nano is a no-no.
We’ve done extensive testing. We are safe. We’ve been tested in solution, we’ve been tested in spray form, we’ve been tested on the surface. We comply fully, but we do have to explain and overcome these legitimate concerns, but it takes time to educate people that there are safe nanotechnologies – they’re not all to be afraid of.
Jürgen Strauss: That’s a really important point there in terms of educating people, educating your client, educating potential partners, and end users of your product, and that’s something that every business needs to do well, isn’t it?
Glen Finkel: Very much so, and especially when you’re involved in disruptive innovation that’s literally creating a whole new industry. Just take buildings for example, we need to have the building owner understand what this is about. We need to have the property manager understand how this works. We need to deal with all the concerns of the maintenance company, and the actual workers themselves, and the people that live in or work in the building.
There’s a whole conga line of folks that need to be communicated to and fortunately, it’s a good news story. It’s a very hopeful story that buildings can now be health enhancing facilities for the humans inside them and also the planet on the outside. We really are involved in an extraordinary story that light can trans- …
Jürgen Strauss: We have a break up again.
Well, unfortunately the technology there let us down. Now, the video camera at Glen’s end, lost connection with the Internet or lost connection with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that when we reconnected, that the recorder was no longer on. We went on to continue our interview for about 30 minutes more. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recording of that. Now, I did frantically at the end of the interview when I realized this, scribbled down all of Glen’s answer and I thought the best thing I could do was to continue to present that to you in both video and audio format, and I guess you have to put up with my voice answering the questions as I recall Glen responding.
The next one I actually asked once we recovered that audio was, “Glen, when did you discover the web?”
Glen said that he had a few other businesses before that, that he’d launched with a lot of fanfare and they ended up a little bit with egg on their face because it was probably launched a little bit prematurely before they were really ready to go primetime.
With Pureti, they took those lessons on board and decided that they first needed to get it right before they launched the website publicly and launch the company publicly. It was quite enlightening. I think from recollection, it was 2009 or so that they launched the website for Pureti. An interesting story he relayed was that the first web developer actually refused to work on … develop the website until they got their branding right, and back then, they had come up with the name Tioxica which is like a wordplay on titanium dioxide but which of course, as the web developer pointed out, does sound a little bit like toxic, “That wasn’t going to work,” they said.
They came up with Pureti which they still use today and the web developer did the entire branding based around that as well as develop the site around that. I went on to ask Glen about examples of how he’d used the Internet in innovative ways and Glen pointed out that the Internet is an amazing tool as we all know, and that they probably use it most for education purposes which as he had already said in the interview today is very important to them.
Any time they’re launching … Anytime somebody is launching a disruptive new technology, they need to do a lot of education for all the stakeholders and the Internet has allowed Pureti to do that in a very quick and efficient manner, and also with a very broad reach.
I asked Glen with all that innovation going on and all that work at Pureti, how he stayed balanced? What he did in the time that he wasn’t working?
Glen pointed out that he is married. He has three children. His wife and children definitely keep him grounded. He also has a dog and that was interesting. We had the dog interrupt our first attempt at the Skype interview which we had to abandon because of Internet connectivity, but I did get to meet the dog. He also keeps Glen grounded.
Glen lives in New York City, so there’s a lot of opportunities there he pointed out. He loves to go walking every morning. He takes his dog walking every morning. Of course, in New York City, you have the theater, you have shows, you have the cinema as well as a lot of great restaurants and Glen certainly appreciates all those and spends time enjoying those with his family.
I asked Glen about any interesting books he’d read recently that he wanted to recommend to our listeners. Glen said that he reads a lot and he talked about a book he’s currently reading called Nine Lives by William Dalrymple, and it’s subtitled, In Search of the Sacred Modern India.
Now, Glen said that it describes the widely differing ranges of cultures, so basically, those nine lives that make up India, and it does that within a series of nine biographies of people who are living those cultures. He said, it highlighted to him that we’re all different and yet, in many ways, we’re also alike. That sounds like a fascinating book and that’s Nine Lives by William Dalrymple. If anyone’s interested, search for it on Google and I’m sure that you can download it from your favorite bookstore.
I also asked Glen that if he was able to wave a magic wand and fix one thing in his business right now, what that would be?
It was interesting, Glen’s response he said, Pureti has been an amazing journey for him so far and he said he felt so blessed to be on that ride. He said if there was anything that he wanted to fix with a sweep of a magic wand, it would be just to make things happen much faster. Clearly, things are all progressing well on track, but he would like to see them happening much faster.
From there, we went on to the Buzz which is our innovation round designed to help our audience who are primarily innovators and leaders in their field with some tips from the experience and knowledge of our guests, and Glen was very sharing here and had some interesting insights.
The first one that I asked is what’s the number one thing anyone needs to do to be more innovative?
Glen said, the key thing was to listen to your customers and focus on their problems. Don’t get bogged down in internal machinations. It’s the customer needs and problems which are the fundamentals, and keep focused on the fundamentals.
I asked him also what’s the best thing he’s done to develop new ideas and products.
He used the term “zoom in and zoom out.” I pushed a little bit on that and he explained that that was the ability to look at the big picture but also look at the fine details depending on the situation and what’s necessary. Don’t get stuck in one view. Don’t get bogged down in the details but at the same time, don’t stay at the big picture level. Do drill into the details when necessary and appropriate.
I asked him what his favorite tool or system for productivity and innovation were.
He said he really doesn’t have a tool although he pointed out that Google of course is great, and that they use that all the time for research and for finding things out. What would we do without Google? He said it’s important though that in the company, that there is a culture of innovation right throughout the team and with the people. He said that definitely is the case in Pureti and that they have a great team in place.
I asked what the best way is to keep a project or a client on track.
Glen said be very clear, very transparent, and fiercely committed to the milestones and timelines. He was very strong on that. Then, he added of course, communication.
The fifth point of the InnovaBuzz or the buzz round is what’s the number one thing you can do to differentiate yourself.
Glen was very simple with that one, simple but profound and that was, be yourself.
Now, it’s interesting. I’ve heard that before on a recent podcast I was listening to someone doing and I said the same thing, be yourself because nobody else can be you.
I then went on to ask Glen, what he saw as the future for him and for Pureti?
He pointed out that more and more, Pureti were seeing themselves as a healthcare company doing things like infection control in hospitals. He said that that was one big need and opportunity that they’re focusing on for the future. He pointed out that in the U.S.A. there are about 100,000 people each year that enter a hospital for a minor procedure and suffer hospital associated infections that lead their death. 100,000 people, I was staggered by that statistics. That is really startling.
Glen said, “We have the product that can dramatically reduce that incident of that kind of thing happening and it would be so simple to apply, and it’s cost effective and it works right now.” They’re very much focused on doing advanced trials in that particular area and that’s a big opportunity that he saw for the future.
I asked the bigger picture question which is what the future is for the advanced materials industry.
Glen thought that the advanced materials industry is the one of the next decade, so in the past decade or of the next decades. In the past, we’ve had I.T. as being the glamor industry but now moving forward, Glen sees the advanced materials industry as being the one that delivers big advances in technology and in our lifestyle.
He talked about having smart buildings whose surface is not only self-cleaning but also sanitize water to the point of providing drinking water from whatever water is surrounding us, that it produce energy that will sustain the energy needs of that building and the inhabitants of that building. He pointed out that there’s so much happening with all kinds of advanced materials and innovation around that space that it’s really exciting times we live in in relation to those things.
I asked him what kind of things he expected from the Internet of Things.
His response was, “Of course the Internet of Things also provide some fantastic possibilities but the key will be that we use it for good and not evil.” He said, imagine a hacker getting into somebody’s pacemaker remotely and shutting it down which is a scary thought. He said, “We need to be really careful and closely monitor future developments.” Clearly, the enabler also enables some devious things to be occurring and keeping track of that and making sure it’s used for good, is something that I guess we’re all really keen on.
At this point, I remind people about the competition. Again, today, I’m giving away a copy of my Seven Website Design Secrets to Get You More Sales. That’s a video workshop or a series of videos actually together with a workbook and a resources guide. What we’d like you to do to go into the draw, to enter into the draw to win that prize is leave a comment under this video and tell us some of the innovative ways that you can think of to use Pureti’s products on different, and I said at that time, not ordinary surfaces, so how you might achieve a unique outcome by using Pureti’s products in an unusual way.
Leave your comments under the video and I’ll get Glen to come by in a couple of weeks and award the prize. Glen, kind of laughed and said, yes, that’s interesting that I describe, that you, he said to me, describe our uses as already as ordinary and I said, we really want to get our customers to contribute new ideas to your pool of ideas. That’s the competition announcement.
Now, in conclusion of the interview part, I asked Glen what the number one piece of advice he would give any business who wants to be a leader in innovation and productivity.
He responded with that he was reminded of the saying of Winston Churchill that, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Keeping that enthusiasm through any failures that you might encounter is really key.
He also added of course that it’s really important to meet lots of other innovators which he has the opportunity to do so and to share stories, and bounce ideas off one another where he felt that’s a great source of new ideas or even enhance existing ideas. Talk to other innovators, talk to other people that are inside your industry and even outside your industry.
In terms of reaching out to Glen to say thank you for sharing his knowledge, he suggested that e-mail is the best way and his e-mail is email@example.com and I’ll post a link underneath the video, and of course the website which is www.pureti.com.
My final question to him was who he would like to see me interview on future episodes of the InnovaBuzz podcast and why?
Glen nominated Jacques Touillon, I hope I’m pronouncing that reasonably, who’s the CEO of Alima and they’ve developed some devices for constantly monitoring indoor air quality remotely through a smartphone and having alerts sent to your smartphone via SMS or via e-mail when the air quality levels goes outside a particular range. That sounds a really exciting development and of course, it’s a good kind of complementary technology to the products that Pureti are doing. Jacques, keep an eye up on your inbox – I’ll be sending you an invite to the InnovaBuzz podcast shortly.
I concluded with thanking Glen for spending time with us on this InnovaBuzz podcast. It’s unfortunate we didn’t capture the second half of the interview with Glen live. However, I hope I’ve given a good and true account of the discussion I had with Glen. I did thank him. It was very kind of him to share that time with us and to share his experience and the story of Pureti with us. I wished him all the best with Pureti. I’m really excited to see what they’ve done so far and to keep in touch and see what is going to happen with Pureti and the technologies that they have in the future.
Now, Glen also thanked me for the opportunity and said that this was a great initiative of mine and I’m really annoyed that I didn’t capture that on tape! That’s the end of the interview part even though the second 20 minutes or so was me reporting back on my discussion with Glen.
Jürgen Strauss: Well, I certainly hope you enjoyed meeting Glen Finkel as much as I enjoyed interviewing him and despite the unfortunate mishap with the technology that you got a lot out of that interview. There are some real gems in there and the story of Pureti is just fascinating, really fascinating. Now, you can subscribe to this podcast of course via iTunes and Stitches so that you’ll never miss a future episode. This particular episode, with all the show notes are going to be at innovabiz.com.au/glenfinkel so that’s G-L-E-N-F-I-N-K-E-L, all lower case, all one word and no hyphens, dashes, or underscores.
Now, everything we spoke about on the interview, the links to Glen’s e-mail, to Pureti’s website, to the book he recommended, and one or two other things will be there for you to follow.
Remember to leave your comments underneath the video to get into the draw for the prize which is a copy of my Seven Website Design Secrets to Get You More Sales which is a workshop of a series of videos, a workbook, and a resources guide. Tell us some of the innovative ideas that you can think of to use Pureti’s products on different surfaces and how that might achieve some unique outcomes and I’ll Glen to swing by in a couple of weeks and award that prize.
If you like the InnovaBuzz podcast, we’d really love you to give us a five-star review over at iTunes because that’s going to help us get even more listeners.
Until the next time, remember, if you don’t innovate, you stagnate. Think big, be adventurous, and innovate on!
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