Episode #5 of Beyond Blueprints features Shiladitya Ghosh, COO and Cofounder of Mission Zero Technologies. He talks us through how scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere is a difficult but urgent problem to tackle that touches on many disciplines.
Listen in as Andrew and Shil dig into the detail of the key economic, mechanical and chemical challenges with performing direct air capture at scale, as well as the practicalities of getting a startup off the ground to tackle one of the biggest environmental challenges we face.
Hopefully you find the chat as fascinating as we did & if you'd like to feature or offer any feedback, you can reach us at email@example.com
On another note, if you'd like to read the transcript rather than watching the video, you can do so here:
00:00.00 Andrew Welcome to beyond blueprints I'm Andrew Smith and today we're delighted to be joined by Shiladitchia Gauche or shill who is the Ceo and co-founder of mission 0 technologies. Thanks so much for joining us today on beyond blueprints shill and and to start off with I wanted to ask you. What is mission 0 technologies all about what problem is it solving.
00:24.42 Shil Thanks Andrew great to be here and thank you for having me on this podcast series. Um, it's really great to be here speaking about mission zero what we're here to do really is to develop a form of climate technology that focuses on removing co two from the atmosphere around us. Something that global experts scientists and the public all agree on is that man-made impacts of climate change through co 2 emissions through industrial activities has reached a point where it has become unsustainable and we need to reduce that level in the atmosphere. Otherwise we're going to be facing catastrophic effects of climate change globally so one of the ways to do that for future and current emissions are of course through the energy transition through moving to renewables and other decarbonization approaches. But those approaches don't offer us ways to fix. The CO2 emissions we've made in the past before we realized this was a problem through the last one hundred years of industrial activity. One of the ways we can tackle those past emissions are through atmospheric carbon removal technologies like what mission 0 is building. We are literally cleaning up the mistakes of our past. Through a technology that removes cotwo when it, but from where it was produced into um this is quite difficult to do because a concentration of co 2 somewhat surprisingly is quite low in the atmosphere around this It's only 400 parts per million which at once is more than it should be.
01:51.98 Andrew Is this.
01:58.60 Shil But also really low to make it easy to remove and which is why this wasn't something that people knew how to do before but nowadays companies like mission zero are taking on this challenge to make sure that we have a pathway to sorting this out. Okay.
02:14.27 Andrew Okay, I mean it's fascinating technology to me and excuse my ignorance but in you know, simple terms. How does how does ah a dac ah system work. How does director capture work. How do you manage to get such a small proportion of carbon dioxide out of the air.
02:29.24 Shil Yeah, so um, when we realize that such a small percentage of see of the air on is is cotwo it senses a reason that to get any meaningful amount of c o two out of it. We need to play around with huge volumes of air. There's no getting away from that fact. And luckily we have technologies out there that are really good at moving huge volumes of air around. So unsurprisingly the first step in any carbon removal technology is air circulation through technologies such as cooling towers which are using industry very commonly in huge volumes to move huge volumes of air. To cool down processed liquids or other streams or materials and the very similar infrastructure can be used for the first step this is often used in 2 different ways. There are 2 flavors of how this technology is deployed in direct air capture one is to. Bring that air in contact with a solid capture material called a sorbent so this could be a synthesized structured material with high surface area and a active capture chemical on the surface of it. So when the C O two laden air passes through it. The co 2 gets in contact with that material reacts with it and is removed while the rest of the air flows out the other approach is to employ a liquid system which is what mission 0 preferred to use so a liquid system is just like imagining the ocean when you have air flowing over the ocean.
03:56.20 Shil You have water that evaporates and you have other things that go into the ocean. For example, contaminants in pollution and in a similar way in a cooling tower with a liquid system when your airstream goes over a liquid capture solvent the capture species targets the co 2 at the boundary of the 2 and 2 materials. And the C O two goes into liquid leaving the rest of the airstream free to go out and.
04:17.99 Andrew Okay, so so the Knac is. You're not grabbing it direct. You go via an intermediary and then you're able to release it. That's the kind of the knack to making dac work.
04:29.87 Shil Ah, it in a way from from ah from an infrastructure and footprint perspective. Certainly that is where most of the um ah land area or capex' size is devoted to for director capture technology. For example, any. Dak Facility or plant that you might see Visuals or renders of in the media most of that footprint is the capture process the contacting process of the air and the capture system because of that volume requirement. Um, however, that is not actually where the costs and the innovations. Are primarily focused on that is in the second stage of the processs which I'm happily going to touch on once you're ready for that. Okay.
05:11.34 Andrew Okay, perfect and so let's talk a little bit before we get onto that. Let's talk a little bit more my mission zero itself. So and you find it in 2020 so sort of mid pandemic but ah be making a bit of a buzz I saw that you were the only uk company to be awarded an initial $1000000 x prize which is carbon removal competition I mean how did that feel because that was within kind of 2 years of your finding that must have been a real real boost to have such a such a claim.
05:38.24 Shil Yeah, it. It was definitely a momenttuous occasion for our very young company at that stage. Probably our biggest milestone till date and and it of course felt amazing to be recognized that way but it also really drove home the responsibility and. Mandate that we have even as a young company that this global engineering and science and innovation competition with like over 1100 teams taking part.
06:08.39 Andrew Wow.
06:10.66 Shil We as a two year old company. 1 of the 15 most promising technologies identified by experts to potentially save the world to exaggerate a little bit so there's a little bit of pressure that comes with that but a lot of motivation that also comes with it that okay, we have such an excellent opportunity to to. Take this momentum bring it forward and never look back. There is no one ahead of us or almost no one ahead of us in this space. All of the innovation all of the success all of the ah proliferation of this technology can and should be led by companies like us and having that mandate having that recognition from. Ah, prize and competition like the xp prize that you just described and also through some of the fundraising that we've done through investors externally has really just brought home that message and and it's not a scene that we alone feel that we're going to solve the problem. We are only 1 of 15 winners. There are 14 other winners and probably countless others who are deserving. Um, which is just great news for the planet because no one knows truly how many of these technologies are going to succeed and how well they will perform if they scale up so we need all of these technologies to have the best shot they can have in making sure that at least 1 or 2 of them work out. So we're glad to be part of that equation as long as possible.
07:28.66 Andrew Amazing you You talked a little bit about kind of the you're feeling a bit of pressure because it's an important climate problem to solve I read in in a profile. You could tell me if you've been misquoted here shell but I love the quote it was really fascinating to be that you said you know your your the dream was to be so successful. And healing the climate that the industry you know, goes defunct which I guess is quite a unique kind of position to be in as a business that you know ultimately the goal is to move it completely and I'm just interested here your your reflections on that that it's and it's an interesting thing to have to juggle that what you're shooting for. Ultimately, the desire is not to be needed right.
08:08.25 Shil Yeah, it is a good point and I definitely still stand by that sentiment and I think my colleagues would echo that as well. However, there is um, a little bit of nuance to that because the way we see director capture technology being useful to society and industries actually in two ways. The first is definitely from the climate impact perspective of removing historical emissions like what I mentioned before and that is definitely the application in which we want to thrive and succeed so much so that there's no need for us anymore. However, um, that whole carbon removal function is. Always meant to be a temporary bandage solution while things like the energy transition and the circular economy can take hold and proliferate into our society as a long-term thing and there is room for director capture in that as well. Not just room. There is a scope that is uniquely. Enabled through directory capture there for example, using dac to provide sustainable sources of carbon for a lot of product synthesis routes or fuels or other valuable materials. There's no chance that our society is going to wean itself off these material needs. As we grow in progress civilization and currently most of those materials are manufactured using fossil derived products or Feedstocks and so once hopefully in the ideal scenario. We remove the climate consideration of global warming dac can still be around.
09:39.91 Shil Play a part in fulfilling those supply chains as a C O two feedstock provider for sustainable carbon if we are worrying about how that plays out then we solve this problem then I think we're in a great position.
09:53.37 Andrew That's a great answer I Love that as the the destination it feels like we're going to need it for a very long time anyway and speaking you you touched a little bit on this that you know you're you're pretty far ahead in this space and as much as you can say what is it that sets mission 0 Apart from you know the competition. What's unique about your approach.
10:14.63 Shil Definitely I mean when we started mission zero. There were probably around 3 or 4 dac companies out there in 2020 um I think last week we heard at a conference from investors and experts in the sector that there's about 200 of them right now. So.
10:30.41 Andrew Wow. Okay.
10:31.62 Shil It was ever more challenging for people to really comprehend. What is the difference between all of these companies who are trying to do the same thing. Um most often. The variance is in the specific chemistry or technology architecture that they one might be using over the other. Um, however. In the case of mission zero what we have so far which still stands true as you being unique is how we think about technology development and engineering activities in the company. Ah the way that mission zero s I p so far has been generated. For example is not through the usual. Um. Scale up root of say university r and d research or laboratory synthesis of a particular chemical or a reagent that initially is made at a test tube scale and then is proven to capture carbon under very controlled conditions publish papers. Then you get some investment that spins out you do benchtop scaling spend 5 years refining the material stability or the physical stability of something then you have some pilots then you go to scale and that's 10 years those are the routes that really important technologies like solar pv. To commercialize and scale up. They had the time to do that in carbon removal. No one has the time to do that. However, a lot of other technology players in this space are doing that approach and we do wish that as many of them succeed as possible but the way mission zero is thinking about innovation and r and d.
12:01.92 Shil Is actually looking at where do innovations that fulfill our specific needs already exist in other industries and applications that we can leverage for director capture. Um 1 illustrative but 1 way to illustrate this for example is.
12:09.50 Andrew A.
12:18.50 Shil Famously how Nintendo approached development of their gaming hardware when the game boy was developed in the late 80 s or early 90 s they didn't go out to build whole new architectures sensors circuitry motherboards and so on from scratch for a state of the art next generation gaming system. They went and look out for what components exist out there that have mature supply chains that we can just cobble together and produce a simple gaming system that still reaches our objective which is for people to be entertained and have fun and that is the philosophy. We're trying to embody here.
12:47.82 Andrew A.
12:52.90 Shil What are the technologies or the key components supply chains chemicals that already are produced at the skills that the carbon removal industry is going to need that we can connect together and fine tune to make a functional and cheap and effective directory of capture technology because.
13:09.10 Andrew So is is that is that it.
13:10.66 Shil Once you prove that it works. We need to then be able to build enough of it to make a difference.
13:14.73 Andrew So is it innovate innovate where it matters but don't reinvent the wheel if I was being very if I was condensing that dog. It's that what you say steel.
13:20.40 Shil <unk> basically steal the wheel from another sector is when we're doing seal a wheel from a different type of vehicle is what we're hungry for yeah, be really interested speak.
13:30.61 Andrew Don't reinvent the wheel take take it off the the mature one that's got on the road and really really interesting and and can you can you speak?? Um, at all to the what's question I'm trying to ask the the technology aspects then. Is the technology where some of your secret sources or is your is your secret source really in that how you're going to productionize quickly to get this to market.
13:51.83 Shil Yeah, it's at at this stage. It's definitely in a bit of boat. So what we've done what what I've described in looking at existing supply chains and infrastructure that we can leverage to put together technology. So then what the product that comes out of that the secret sauce for us is. Design thinking of how a system should look what it what each part of that system needs to be able to do to make a functioning and effective director capture system wherein the identity of each of those components are interchangeable for example in our capture part of the process. We. Have our system designed such that any chemical system that can do Xy and z things with certain numerical bounds on those is going to be a perfectly adequate material to use in ah in a implementation for our system. Which gives us a lot of flexibility because for example, if we're deploying a project in the United States there are certain chemicals and things that are acceptable for use in certain ways. There are chemicals that are prohibited and so we can implement one one form of capture solvent in a plot in the us if we do one in the u k. List of prohibited and accepted chemicals are not the same and so what we want to use there might not be suitable here. But the rest of our process is able to accommodate a change in that chemistry fundamentally that is part of the secret sauce but also simply the way of engineering that we have here.
15:27.63 Shil Gives us that flexibility which we don't see in many other dack approaches because they start building their technologies based on a fixed chemical or physical component that is unchangeable and is intrinsic to their Ip and so.
15:41.25 Andrew A very a very small demonstrator and then they've got the the problem of scaling whereas you're thinking from the outset of like high It's where it's going to be.
15:45.42 Shil Yeah, and they're always going to be tied to that material X and whether they're allowed to use that whether they can manufacture that or things like that because we're not at anyure that.
15:56.22 Andrew Okay, fascinating. Yeah, so that's a bit about mission Zero I Want to ask shell a bit more about your background because and you've you've got the quite kind of I Guess fun path of going straight from you know doing a Ph D in quite a niche aspect of engineering and then going. Straight into becoming a founder or I think there there might have been a slight overlap there. You were a founder before you finished your Ph D is that right.
16:20.88 Shil That that is right? There were quite a few things going on in the year before it finished my ph d um, not to not least mention the pandemic itself which made anything anyone was doing challenging if not completely unfeasible but in 2020
16:25.48 Andrew Must be.
16:39.59 Shil I was writing up my thesis and had my viva I also started and completed and part time and Mba and I started working on mission zero all the same time because there isn't enough time to do all those sequence what? that.
16:50.86 Andrew You put put your pandemic to good use. You put the pandemic to good use by the sides of it.
16:57.27 Shil That is true I think it was a very very thin silver lining on the cloud of that the pandemic was on all of our lives that it gave me the time for these opportunities and forced me to do them by taking away possibilities of other things that I could have been doing at that time. Um, so it was quite fortuitous and I'm I'm not going to comment whether I'm grateful or thankful that things pan out that way but I am grateful for where I am now and what impact I feel like and bring to this space and in this industry but you are right? so. There was an overlap between me finishing my ph d and beginning mission zero which I think helped also from the engineering perspective because I was still fresh in the thinking and the tools and skillsets that I was using during my Phd that was really helpful in starting to scope out a. Director capture company and analyzing different approaches optimizing things doing analyses tradeoff and investigations and just being in the technology mindset and research mindset to to explore this space so that was really valuable.
18:06.77 Andrew And was there the the other thing and this is maybe a a bit of a cheeky question excuse me but friends are in Academia. They're always in some sort of funding cycle or they have to go through the pain of the funding cycle. Do you think that made you bass already for going into a startup environment where I imagine that's something you also have to contend with.
18:26.80 Shil Yeah, it's It's True. Um I I was lucky or unlucky it depends which way not to be that closely involved with like funding cycles for academic R and D in University Ah, my funding was clear from the start. So I didn't have that barrier but I did see a lot of my peers. Continually have to adjust what they want to research versus what the funding said they're allowed to spend their research activities on and for someone who for anyone who likes technology and research and developing new ideas innovating being constrained is the worst feeling possible and.
18:49.58 Andrew A.
19:02.32 Shil Whereas if you're a startup entrepreneur trying to build a new technology when you receive investment at least in the early stages you have all of the flexibility that you want as long as you are still working towards the goal of whatever you pitched your technology to be doing. And we pivoted many times in our technology development journey from day one to even filing our first patent. Um, so that flexibility which we would probably not have faced in a university setting was really also instrumental in us finding the best version of ourselves till date. And I'm sure there's more iterations to come as well.
19:37.44 Andrew And did that that that transition between kind of finishing up your ph d the m the Nba everything else going into the startup full time did that feel like less of a steep learning curve did that feel like more of a a ramp up or how did you? How did you find that transition.
19:53.60 Shil But to be candid I felt as if I was coming into my natural environment rather than anything else and that was because something like doing a ph d. The experience of that and how that goes for people varies wildly some people really thrive in that structure and environment and um program some people don't do so well. I'm definitely on the ladder and I knew from my previous time as a student in undergraduate being involved in various activities extracurriculars all sorts of things. And I do really well when I am kind of almost overloaded with responsibilities and different types of activities to be doing so that my tension constantly shifts because when you're developing technology or you're building a startup you are not just working on 1 experiment or one area of research.
20:42.53 Andrew Here.
20:44.57 Shil You need to find time for an experiment. You need to find time to speak to customers to speak to investors speak to Mentors advisors um other peers who are in the startup space to get their ideas speak to the landlord of the office room you're renting the cleaning service the whole the whole gamut of things right? and that.
21:00.46 Andrew Ah.
21:03.18 Shil Kind of chaos is where people like me actually thrive so it felt very natural and comfortable for me to straight away jump in to working in a startup building a startup Even so.
21:13.57 Andrew It. It's I'm sure that is not a unique finder trait as well is that you have to never have has it been put more eloquently how much of a Multidisciplinarian you have to be to be to be a fighter and I wanted to to ask you? Ah I guess about a personal motivation. You know what. Inspired you into climate technology is that something you've been passionate about for a long time or was it a right place right? time in 2020 you you saw a new Avenue to go down.
21:39.80 Shil Yeah, um I think sustainability would be the umbrella that I've been passionate about since I was probably old enough to know what that meant in middle school because I grew up in Singapore which is ah near theropics. But it's an island country and so. Being and living in an island country. You are very acutely aware of the threats that the climate can affect on you rising sea levels storms all these things plus being an island country. You don't have natural resources so you are much more vulnerable to things like this so that made me make me more acute. Acute be aware than I would have liked to be at the age of 8 or nine years old about all of these problems but that did luckily turn into a motivation that whatever I do when I grow up I want to make an impact in sustainability that was the first step so in high school I did research projects for science fairs and things like that or my my. Um I did the international baccalaureate for for my pre-universy studies. So there was an extended essay project for chemistry where I looked at um, wastewater purification. Um to remove heavy metals because that was what seemed interesting to me and also manageable at that stage. But then when they came to applying to university in the Uk. Um, where they ask you like. Okay, prior your personal statement What do you want to do? Why do you want to? study course xyandz that really made me think okay I've got this experience of sustainability I understand some amount of what's happening with climate and the environment. What do I want to do two things that were catalytic here in shaping my.
23:13.89 Shil Interest in carbon capture. Specifically 1 was actually seeing um among universities that imperial college just that year which I was applying to had just unveiled a new state of the art carbon capture facility in my would be department which is a multi-story ah point source carbon capture. Facility that's sponsored by a b and a few other companies so brand new shiny toy if I go into this field that's something amazing. That's industry relevant I can learn about plus the second thing that was really motivating was um, maybe my kind of moral compass or value system growing up. In a place like Singapore even though it's small country. It is a very affluent place with a really high quality of living. Um, but I know that for many people life isn't like that especially from where my family is from for example in India and other parts of the world as well and feeling the privilege of having a really good education growing up with a good quality of life.
23:56.66 Andrew A.
24:11.49 Shil Good housing having all of my base level needs as a human being met don't even have to think for it and therefore being able to progress up made me feel kind of obliged to spend all this resource that society has invested in me to give back in future and one of the best ways I could see. To do that was through the climate because that is something that is everywhere and affects everybody equally whether you reach your poor whether you have food whether you have money or not it affects you and so that seemed like a really attractive way to make the impact as equitably as possible and as widespread as possible. That would really motivate me to focus on carbon capture specifically I wrote about that in my personal statement I think I probably did if I wrote it now I would definitely do that and got in Tim Imperial I did my research projects in the research group focusing on carbon capture got the taste for that realized that? yeah this works I get it I understand it I enjoy it. I want to work in this space.
25:07.79 Andrew Okay, amazing and really interesting origin story and you can see the passion coming through it. It's a lot of weight to put on your shoulders though you talked earlier but you feel the the pressure of you know, getting this funding coming in and then I guess you've got the you know you feel like you're doing it. For the planet does does that weigh heavily or do you just find it motivating.
25:27.85 Shil I find it motivating like it's a difficult things that get me out of bed. Not the easy things in general like even at University or school like I wouldn't go out to lectures if it was a topic that I felt I understood Well I would only go to the ones where I didn't know what was going on at all.
25:35.44 Andrew And.
25:47.69 Shil And same for like tackling challenges I always luckily or unlikeily there's always an abundance of really difficult problems to solve at a startup tackling a really difficult problem to solve which is carbon removal and so that is definitely motivating for me. It does feel like something this. <unk>s always the thing that's behind me that the clock is taking. We only have x number of years before it's too late to do anything meaningful about it. But that just gives more incentive. It makes sure we are always giving at least one hundred percent in everything we do and I don't speak just for me but also almost everybody at the company if not everybody at the company.
26:13.10 Andrew He.
26:25.20 Shil Feels that way and that's just a great space to be surrounded by people who feel the same way and have the same sense of urgency. Yeah.
26:31.19 Andrew Yeah, see if you've you've got a shared I guess Mission it's in the name right? You've got you've got a shared mission and.
26:36.60 Shil This is the place we have to grow up in and surviveance if it's not fit for purpose with our own problem. Yeah.
26:43.30 Andrew Yes, yeah, no one? Well I completely agree and you talked about the the the team there and I I'll leave it to you whether you could say you know high order of magnitude of where the team and you know scale Efficient zero is at.
26:50.93 Shil A winter practice isn to clear.
26:58.70 Andrew But I'm always interested to ask and especially you know is your co-founder how you balance that agility and ability to move quickly with everybody that's working with you aiming in the same direction always feels like there's a bit of a balance to be struck there.
27:14.60 Shil Yeah, absolutely. Um, so firstly we are a team of about 24 people right now including interns. Um, and most of our team is skewed towards science and engineering functions. Maybe unsurprisingly um. Because that is where most of the key leverage activities at our stage of being a company needs to be at um we are delivering projects over the next quarter to customers which is super exciting but all that is made possible by what you just alluded to making sure everyone is aligned to the goal.
27:33.18 Andrew It is.
27:46.83 Shil And knows exactly how far along we are on that goal how each of each person's work needs to feed into each other to make sure that everyone has joined a picture and pulling in the right direction and so what I alluded to at how mission zero started where everyone all of us founders are doing like the the small 5 minute things that. 2 hour things the ordering office stationary to speaking to investors and getting term sheets and all these things that is how things start and we do and we did needed to conquerize and and segregate out a little bit. So that there is clearly defined scope. For example, how do we approach science r and d versus engineering. They're both technical. They're both working on our technology but their functions are different viewing an um in mission zero is to take what we know for certain and try and make that a reality with our customers and our engineering partners.
28:29.53 Andrew He.
28:39.60 Shil And collaborators as far as possible while our science and r and d function continue to optimize and improve and find new things. We can do the next time we have to do that as an engineering function. Um, so there's a lot of information management that is required there a lot of change management. Both directions. So both. Ah, teams understand what is locked in for project Xy and z what is not locked in and is we have we are able to modify that until when can we do that which things seem like the most important things to explore changing until that date which things probably don't matter um, being ah on top of all of that. And not going to claim by any means that we have nailed the perfect solution for that. We're still working on it but the first step in that is everyone understanding that having that clarity and communication is really important and we have that part at least and we're working on breath.
29:29.95 Andrew Everybody having everybody having the same I guess source of truth becomes really important as you as you grow because I always think if you can look around a single table at everybody you're working with then that's a manageable number of nodes to just push out. But once you grow beyond a certain size. Yeah, you. You start need to be careful and ah related to that then as you've as you've grown to this you know team of a team of 24 high important in the your ways of working in the tools that you're using how important is usability in that.
30:05.64 Shil Ah, it is super important because we don't want our team members to spend time figuring out how to do something in an interface or in a software or in a document we are paying for their time and they are here because they're really good at doing whatever it is trying to do. Not trying to figure out how to make something happen. Um on an interface right? And so for example, there's a spreadsheet which um models say the performance of 1 um, component of our capture system and someone wants to implement a new change. That because they've got new learners from the r and d side. We don't need them to spend like an hour trying to figure out the right cells to change in that spreadsheet to put in information and then see if the information that results from that is useful or not. We want them to be able to do that without worrying about it and more spend time thinking about the output of that. What impact does that have who do I need to inform is this something that I should raise to someone else do I need to speak to a collaborator and let them know something change. Those are the important things that we want people to be able to spend their time on not how do I change the excel spreadsheet for example, which is how usually engineering is probably taking place in most parts of the.
31:17.93 Andrew Yeah, we we We we found a few interesting and discussions of the podcast by excel. Ah it the highs and lows of excel basically and I'm sure it's something that every engineer.
31:20.47 Shil Um, industry. Yeah.
31:33.97 Andrew Can relate to what starts off as something small soon balloons into ah into a monster and ah somebody needs to kind of chip it into shape and on on that question of ah you know you've you've said tools need to be really usable and you've got to be all pulling in the same direction was that. Ah, challenge for you because going from being kind of the engineer to then having to think about how we actually structure a team and get people pulling together in the same way has that been where the learning curve is from being really on top of the technical stuff.
32:06.37 Shil Yeah, it's It's definitely part of where the learning curve is for me actually right now as we speak as I move into company and business operations and a big because a big part of that is managing how people work effectively in the company. Not even like what they're doing.
32:16.17 Andrew A.
32:24.94 Shil And what resources they need or what chemicals they need on all of those kinds of things. But how do they manage information. How do they communicate each other effectively.. How do they record and capture things that other people can find them. How do they know how to look for things because the more. People come into mission 0 that problem becomes exponentially more challenging to solve as with any company and that is the problem that you do not want people to have to spend any time at all trying to figure out how to navigate so it has been a really ah challenging thing but it has been helpful for me.
32:44.23 Andrew Yeah.
32:59.64 Shil Firstly hire and excellent people that we can trust to take over on the engineering front so that me as a founder can step away and look at building the infrastructure that the company needs and the teams need to communicate effectively on deeply technical topics because as a founder. Initially, It's just you and your cofounders plugging away on the thing by yourself, but the whole point of hiring people in is to help you execute your vision and you are there now to enable them to perform their best as far as possible as leaders of your company.
33:28.38 Andrew Yeah, is it is it is it hard to let that go when you've been kind of there at the the technical co face to then it's great obviously because it's kind of growing bigger than you but is it hard to let go of that technical immediate connection.
33:42.61 Shil At at this stage. It's It's not being so much level because no matter how much I try I can't really escape it. There's always something that needs me involved at this age of company. We're at I can see probably in the next round of growth I will get isolated enough from that. But.
33:51.97 Andrew Yeah, hurt pulls you back in.
34:01.33 Shil I Think it is a fresh experience to not have to think about it and just knowing that I have these wonderful colleagues and people that we can trust to get that right knowing Also that I have armed them with the tools and infrastructure to do that in the most errorf free way possible. Um.
34:18.69 Andrew Yeah, yeah, good. Oh it's exciting. So and we always like to ask the next question and it's a little bit of a provocative one but and you know mission 0 today versus if mission zero was here in 1985
34:20.80 Shil Um, not saying that I have done that yet. But that's what we're working on.
34:27.94 Shil First.
34:38.47 Andrew Is the approach the same or has something fundamentally changed in that time that means no is the right time for mission 0
34:46.24 Shil It's a good question I wasn't alive in 1985 so I'm not sure how I was.
34:49.90 Andrew Well other other years we can go early early mid 90 s choose your choose your year thirty plus years ago. Let's say kind of door dawn of the internet.
34:57.98 Shil Yeah, you can go with with dawn of the internet. Um I would say perhaps the core approach to innovation would still have been the same emissions. It was born thirty years ago when the n internet came about. But definitely the speed at which we have since iterated and optimized and learned about our technology would have been far more sluggish. Um, not um, from 2 perspectives actually 1 would be simply at the rate of internal knowledge dissemination. And ah processing that would be possible in the computational systems of that time but secondly also the external communication and managing of information. For example, if we had a technology partner who we met this week and we gave them the latest results and then they went away and did some calculations. We would lose valuable days trying to go and meet them again. Say we got some new results on the Friday here's what's up things have changed and go and redo the work that you guys spendt money to Wednesday doing again and those kind of loss of man hours which were to my understanding quite unavoidable back maybe twenty thirty years ago are things that.
36:03.65 Andrew A.
36:13.30 Shil We have definitely managed to escape and bypass in the present era so it is a nice case of brings innovation into being at the right time for it to learn quickly enough and right now with the advent of um language learning models and Ai becoming widely accessible. That is also going to be a huge nexus for all of technology development and r and d hopefully not in other less palatable ways as well. But we don't know about that.
36:40.88 Andrew Yeah, yes, yes, that's that's a much bigger much bigger debate about where that's going to go and as we as as we wrap up and I always love to kind of finish on the kind of optimistic or what people are really excited for in the future and this can be about mission zero or it can be a bite.
36:45.67 Shil No.
36:59.44 Andrew Engineering more broadly. You know what are you excited for shell. What really kind of gets you ged up about where engineering is going.
37:06.80 Shil Everything probably a few different things. 1 thing that is particularly exciting is just how much more user friendly the tools for engineering are. These days that are available to all disciplines of engineers not just like chemical which is my portrayed or mechanical or software. Even um, all all trades of engineering now have really good tools that are easy to grasp at you start with and comprehend and and share. And communicate information via these are things that were really necessary because no matter how brilliant someone is an engineer if they can't communicate their analysis or their outputs or things to people effectively. That's a bottleneck in the process and so having all of those things much. Designed way better for what they need to do for not just the user but the other people involved is great. Um, the other great things about engineering is just the new ways in which other newer hardware technology development companies are taking on the philosophy of engineering itself. So. Way we talked about how we're doing directory capture technology development I like to think is it pretty exciting what bridge to do it but also in other sectors. For example, the newer companies that are developing space technology the approach they're taking is radically different to what the institutional space agencies of the past used to do and as a result.
38:26.17 Andrew And.
38:40.72 Shil There's a lot of things that they're able to do which no one thought was going to be viable simplyly because they chose to do something a different way. It's not that someone invented a new material and that unlocked something else. It's a way of thinking and approaching engineering that has shifted a lot more. Um, at least in the media and I hope that all of these will be successful. They come with their own risks but as long as we keep that in mind and innovate responsibly in this new paradigm of engineering globally then I think we're in for great things and mission 0 is keen to be a part of that.
39:11.40 Andrew Yeah, well I'm really looking forward to seeing where and mission zero goes and you know when when when can I expect to see one of these in the in the wild chill or is that a closely guarded secret.
39:24.85 Shil It's it's not that closely guarded I would say before or just after Christmas is quite lightly depending on how augustant is feeling um in the Uk you will see something about.
39:31.57 Andrew Oh wow.
39:38.94 Andrew Okay, oh what? a great tease to finish on and thank you so much. She'll gosh for joining us on beyond blueprints really looking forward to and seeing the future of ah dac technology and and yeah really is Barry to have you on today. So thanks so much for joining us on beyond blueprints.
39:52.81 Shil So no great grateful to be here. Thank you so much andrewgie for having me and ah, looking forward to the future episodes as well. Thank you.
39:57.83 Andrew Cheers. Thanks Very much.
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