In this week’s episode of the Full Stack Leader we’re talking to Matt Casella the president of Richtech Robotics.

Matt shares his incredible perspective on the evolving role of robots in our world and his leadership approach in navigating this change. As a leader at RichTech Robotics, Matt is focused on bridging the gap between hospitality and technology, aiming to enhance human interactions through innovations like Adam, the robotic barista.

He emphasizes the importance of balancing innovation with the core principles of hospitality and maintaining a human touch in customer experiences. Drawing from personal experiences and familial wisdom, highlighting the transformative power of authenticity and genuine connections in leadership. Offering profound insights into embracing true selves and navigating challenges with grace.

Top leadership tips from Matthew Casella

Below is a summary of the top Leadership tips shared during this week’s interview. Listen to the episode to learn more about the thoughts behind these tips:

  1. Be true to yourself
  2. Lead people in a focused direction
  3. Adapt and change your strategy
  4. Being able to listen, encourage and empathize
  5. Being comfortable with discomfort

We hope you enjoy the episode. You can find more Full Stack Leader episodes here.

Show Transcript

Matt Casella – President – Richtech Robotics

Ryan: Hello everyone. And welcome to this week’s episode of the full stack leader podcast this week. I’m here with Matt Casella. He’s the president of rich tech robotics, Matt. It’s great to meet you and look forward to our conversation. 

Matthew: Thanks for having me, Ryan. It’s it’s a pleasure to be here and looking forward to this conversation as well.

Ryan: Awesome. I love to start out the show by talking a little bit about where people came from. So maybe let’s start at your earliest place. How did you get into this entire career sector? 

Matthew: Yeah, I think it’s been a bit of a winding path, but it’s As I look back I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be right now which is a good feeling.

I started out I was, went to the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana and I was a finance major. So I graduated from the, Business school there with a degree in finance and then pursued that path for a while I was in, into trading bond trading, and then got into the private wealth management space for a few years and then had pursued the CFA designation and the chartered financial.

Analyst and through that work really got excited about being involved in a business and being able to be someone who could control the levers of a business that, that makes it a successful enterprise. And that really grew within me, it was through the studying and through analyzing companies is, was exciting.

But to me, it was more about how do you get involved in the operations of a business and and then, be able to help guide and lead a company to become a profitable. Enterprise. And through that, my next step actually brought me into the restaurant space. 

Ryan: That sounds like an amazing start. It’s always interesting to see people coming into the tech industry from different sectors like finance. What’d you do after that? Like, how’d you move towards this?


Matthew: the next step actually brought me into the restaurant space, which I joke that I did major in finance, although I think I watched more hours of the food network than maybe I did attend college. Finance classes while in college. It was an exciting thing, food and the culinary scene was always exciting to me.

after the, those years studying companies, I had the opportunity to join a new restaurant company called Life Kitchen. And Life was a very unique company in that it was a restaurant company founded in 2010 our first location was actually up in the Bay area in Palo Alto.

 It was a restaurant company. That was marrying my passion for for food with a very forward thinking company that was really one that was poised to take advantage of all the latest and greatest technology available in the hospitality space. So for me, it was a really important step where I got to get in on the ground floor of a new company, which allowed me to really be Be affecting those levers that I talked about of what makes a company profitable.

How can we, how can we move this company along? And then trying to take advantage of, the technology that was available, which was an interesting thing because we had a, a green field in front of us and we could take advantage of new technologies, but it was really through that process that.

I think I learned there seemed to be a shortfall in the hospitality space the technology that was being used or adopted or available in that space specifically, as opposed to what we were seeing either in our homes or in the rest of industry. And so that led to a few years where there were, I was involved in a couple of very early stage startups.

And was able to collaborate with some real industry leaders in the hospitality space and in the technology space to think about how, how we could bring more automation. more technology, more robotics to the hospitality space. And it was through, through pursuing that I actually was then introduced to the founders of Rich Tech Robotics, Wayne and Michael Wong and really was able to pretty quickly see that My previous experience and kind of what had led me what had led me down this path was really something that would fit in very well at Rich Tech Robotics.

It was something that I thought that they needed to bridge that gap of the technology world and how to really get it implemented in the hospitality and service sector spaces, which Has been long overdue, and I’m excited to be at Rich Tech Robotics now to be able to help to help bridge that gap.

Ryan: Yeah, it sounds like you’ve got a really great blend of industry and vertical insights along with actually having experimented with some of the Technical challenges related to it. I was wondering if you could go into a little more detail around some of the things that you were seeing in that kind of transition from life into the startups, like what were some of the breakdowns in hospitality at that time and are they still there?

Do you still see them? 

Matthew: It was I think they’re starting to go away, I’ll say, but I feel like there was a lot of technology, but it felt like trying to run a restaurant as a restaurant manager was. a Hornet’s nest for lack of a better term It felt like to run a shift you needed 12 different logins, right?

So it was like we were starting to get some technology some better equipment some better softwares, right but they were all disparate and really to bring all of those things bring all of those pieces of technology into the fold to make them easier to use, for restaurant operators to really receive the benefits of this technology.

 Uh, It just felt from an equipment standpoint that we were able to use really high level equipment, but it really felt like it was not an integrated environment. And I think we were all aware that, that there were a lot better technologies available to us. And there was also.

This kind of missing piece of, food preparation, really being able to be automated that I think we were looking for. And that’s really what I pursued with a few other. co founders very early on in these other smaller startups to really integrate how we can get an automated food production line and bring it down to to really be operable.

Within a restaurant, right? I mean, I think there’s a lot of automation techniques that are used in food preparation on a mass scale, but to really bring a lot of those techniques and capabilities into the four walls of a restaurant was something that was very exciting for us to think about.

Ryan: Yeah. That sounds amazing. One of the things that comes up for me around that too is when you’re thinking about food preparation, you have lots and lots of variations of types of food and environments that it’s being created. Did you find as you were looking at those problems, you were able to create things in a lab environment and take it out?

Or were you really looking at individual problems across different types of restaurants? 

Matthew: So we were really through that startups that I was involved in, we were trying to tackle it from a greenfield approach of, let’s take, let’s start from scratch. And how would we automate this full system, right?

Which I think really allowed us to get a High level view of the full processes within a restaurant that needed to be automated. And we were able to explore and come up with a variety of different potential solutions. But really, one of the most impactful things that I was able to benefit from during that time was having very high level meetings with a number of large restaurant companies and really take the temperature of.

That hospitality in the restaurant space as a whole. And it was something that, this is going back a number of years, back to the early pandemic, even that people weren’t ready for it at the time. And so it’s, I think the leadership across those companies, and I think it’s an issue where there was so much, there’s so much legacy when you’re starting to talk about restaurants, as far as the equipment that they have and the number of locations and really what change means 

Ryan: and the cost of the equipment, 

Matthew: the cost is such a burden and for them to think about it, you touched on it a little bit it’s easier for them to think about how do we automate this one single process within.

Our, the full restaurant operations, as opposed to thinking about how we might redo everything because that, is the cost of that has just been prohibitive. It was really interesting for me to see that. I think what, what you, the question you asked earlier, what problems are still around, which problems have gone away, I think we’re all acutely aware of.

Of the change to this industry through the pandemic, right? I mean, that was when you talk about absolutely the differences that we’ve seen and how we all interact with food and how we all get food just really the easiest thing to point to is the third party deliveries, right? DoorDash, GrubHub what they’ve done to the whole landscape.

You have to be on those platforms. You have to be able to offer your menu. As delivery, right? Even if you’re a high end restaurant, in most cases, people are now able to order food to go from any of those places. And it’s really been, did 

Ryan: you, did you on a side note, did you see the John Oliver like breakdown of this the other day?

I did not check it out. It’s worth it. But I think it brings up a good point on a related level, which is you were focusing on food preparation for these particular things. Obviously what rich techs focused on now I’m interested to get into it. I’m sure it’s a variety of different things, but there’s everything from in restaurant to delivery to all these kinds of different sectors that have innovation, that, Possible because they’re, it’s a really old industry.

Do you think that all of those are going at the right speed or are they going too fast in terms of innovation? 

Matthew: So I think it’s interesting to think about how things happened, the pace at which the change had to happen through the pandemic and where it should go. I think, you’re right.

Restaurant industry is a very old industry. It’s a resilient industry, right? And people find ways to make things work. And not only the restaurant industry, the hospitality ho, hotels, et cetera. They find ways to make things work. And what I think this may be, personal, it’s backed up by some anecdotal stories and conversations that I’ve had, is that a lot of the hospitality piece of it has been stripped away to allow for.

Businesses to remain in existence, right? For restaurants to remain profitable, to be able to survive, they’ve had to strip away some of that hospitality, which I think is is really something that I think. Offers a great opportunity for companies such as rich tech robotics. And I really think it is opening the door to what I like to call this new robotic hospitality space, which I think to me is meaningful.

And I think it touches on exactly what we’re trying to do, that we want to bring robots into the space. We want to bring automation into the space, but it still needs to be hospitality. At the end of the day, 

Ryan: Can you define that a little bit? So when you say robotic hospitality, what is the, like for you, what does the term hospitality mean related to that?


Matthew: hospitality is service and it’s how people take care of each other. I mean, that’s really at the core, what it is when you talk about restaurant operators, I think they’ve been so reluctant to step into. Robotics and automation because they were uncomfortable with it and they were uncomfortable with the way in which their Model their operating model, which is how they take care of their guests is going to be affected by this and their guests or their customers perception of what having a robot in the space means to them and I think that’s something that is really Important to how we’re going about it.

And I think how The industry as a whole will need to tackle this There are ways in which people will You People being restaurant operators or service operators will adopt automation and incorporate it into their operations. Some will choose to be very robot forward, right?

We’ll choose to have a robot In front of their guests and have their guests interacting with the robots. And that’s the stance that we’re making with Adam. Other people will have, some level of automation, some level of maybe robotics or automation in the back of house, and they don’t necessarily want their customers to be seeing it.

But they’re all thinking about. How they’re going to reap the benefits of automation and robotics. And I think it’s for me, robotic hospitality means, it’s a business that is stepping forward with robotics as an integral part of the operation and really taking into consideration how the full experience Will be felt by the guest and by the customer and by the co workers of the robot I think when you talk about automation a pendulum, right? Or a spectrum, I should say, at one end, very far end, we’re talking about vending machines, right? We’re talking about vending machines that are going to kick out some food or product.

And on the other end, you’re going to still have restaurants that have a chef walking around in his chef’s coat out on the dining room floor talking to guests, right? but maybe that chef still has some robot in the back of house. Thanks. I think that’s where we’re headed and there’s going to be people who are picking and choosing where they want to sit on that spectrum that allows them to provide the experience that they want to their guests.

Ryan: That’s yeah, that’s a great rundown. Thank you. That actually makes a lot of sense now just for my audience’s awareness Adam is a robotic coffee barista. Maybe you could talk a little bit about that. And then how you see Adam’s interaction with humans being, I saw Adam at CES and he was live in action and attracted a huge crowd.

Maybe you could share a little bit about that and how you see that fitting into what you just discussed. 

Matthew: Yeah, I think we Have taken the stance with Adam that we want Adam and Other robotics to be part of that experience. And so we want our guests to be able to interact with to be able to feel comfortable around and to be received some level of entertainment and enjoyment from Adam, right?

So Adam is our AI enabled humanoid robot. He is. Deployed right now serving coffee. He can also make mixed drinks and cocktails. He can pour beers. He can, we have our own Boba tea restaurant in Las Vegas called cloud tea where he makes Boba tea. So really Adam is positioned as a dynamic beverage making, and humanoid robot, which, is a fairly broad term, I think. He is, he does not look like a person, but he does have characteristics of a person. You can, when you look at Adam, you feel like, you’re able to envision where his eyes are and that he’s got a camera and that he has dual arms.

So he has two six axis robotic arms that he can wave and he can dance and he can interact with. And and we’re also, incorporating the AI capability that’s allowing him to understand the pose that somebody may take, or you can actually start to, make different poses that he will replicate those.

So that is building out the experience that Adam is providing while also being an important part of the production, right? That he is making a coffee or whatever drink it is that a customer may ask for. 

Ryan: How do people seem to be taking the experience of Adam?

I know for me, it was exciting and fun to watch. And I thought the presentation was as interesting as the coffee, although it was a very smooth process all the way through. But do you think that it’s scary for some people or people are generally excited to, to engage with Adam? What’s your thoughts on that?

Matthew: I think that I have been blown away by how positive the experience and the reception has been. It’s been people are excited, just like you said, you’re excited, you’re intrigued but at the end of the day, he’s also got to pour a delicious cup of coffee, right? That’s the.

The art of balancing this technology with how does it taste? How does it feel? I think there’s always, there’ll always be some people who are, who have, a difference of opinion, but I think it’s been overwhelming to me, really. I mean, we, met and talked to CES and, The reception there was very positive and we’ve taken it.


Ryan: It was very positive. 

Matthew: Continue to have them on the road. We were actually, we, because we use some some NVIDIA products within Adam the NVIDIA Jetson specifically. We were also at the NVIDIA GTC conference Where the reception was similarly very positive.

And whenever we take him around, people are thrilled to interact with them. They’re curious and then they get the coffee and they say, it’s a delicious cup of coffee. Which I think is, going back to the. My prior experiences. That’s always the question is how does it taste?

Is the food good? Is it as good as I’d get if a human made it? And I think we’re really starting to get past that being a significant barrier for a lot of people because I mean, look, we live in a world where robots are performing surgery. On people. And we’re allowing cars to drive around autonomously.

So I think, the idea that a coffee produced by a robot or, down the road food, a steak cooked by a robot, that would somehow be not be able to match the standard of a human prepared food. beverage or food. I think we’re all able to see that’s not a barrier.

Ryan: Yeah. We probably could spend another three hours going down this particular line of discussion because I think there is a, there’s a great perspective on What all these different ways in which it can be additive, but what I really want to do is I want to turn our attention from what you were talking about a minute ago around the main goal being the delivery of something of quality.

It’s really shifted for you, though, and leadership from being a place where you’re trying to. Maybe lead restaurant team members to deliver something now to where you’re trying to lead robotics teams to create something that can actually be scalable. How’s that shifted for you in terms of your perspective on management and leadership?

As you’ve gone more into the tech side of the world, 

Matthew: it’s It’s interesting for me because there’s been a lot of learning, right? This, it’s been a steep learning curve over the past number of years for me to become very familiar with the technology side of things. So there is a lot that’s different, that’s new.

And then there’s a lot that remains the same, that it’s about dealing with people and how to foster innovation and ideas and. Be able to support the people that you’re working with in meaningful ways that allows them to do their job, to feel empowered, to do their job, to do it well and to work towards a common visionso it’s been exciting for me because I feel like I’ve always had an, A very strong appetite, no pun intended to learn more and to learn about new things.

But I’ve also always felt strongly about the idea that.know, if you want to go. What do they say? If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go, if you want to go far, go together, that you need to build a team. I, I joke cause I used that line early on when I met Wayne and Michael.

And I said, we’re going to have to figure out how to to go fast together. And that was, that really is the. The new world, right? That we live in because the technology world, especially with all that’s happening with AI and what that’s going to mean for development is just, it’s mind blowing really.

And it’s, you can get carried away and you can get lost in all that it means if you don’t remain focused on what your vision is and how to keep moving forward and in the right direction. 

Ryan: That makes sense. Is there a difference in working with like an engineering first type organization versus, and actually, let me say a, in this case, an IOT or a robotic engineering first versus a food engineering first, because I’m sure you’ve worked with lots of food engineers over the course of time.

Are there a difference in personalities or the way that you communicate with people? Maybe say a little bit about that. 

Matthew: I don’t know that I’ve noticed a strong difference. I mean,I’m comfortable knowing that I’m working with a lot of engineers who have very different backgrounds than I do.

But I think at the end of the day, for me, it’s always about finding the right way to talk in the right way. Interact with any person individually, and I’ve never felt comfortable thinking that, I don’t know. I mean, I almost feel comfortable talking about leadership style because I feel like leaders need to be dynamic enough to know how to get the right thing or the right work out of people.

All of the people that they work with in the people that they work with and people that they’re communicating with, right? It’s really an interesting place to be at a company like rich tech right now. That is a very small and nimble company. Work closely with everybody. But also being a public company and now having a variety of other stakeholders that are also very interested in what we’re doing.

And so to be able to balance that and have the right conversations with the right people at the right time. Is really, I think what’s most important and, I’m. The work, the product that we’re delivering is a robot in most senses. But it’s also going to be the experience that people are having with that robot.

So for me, it’s really about how to continue to work with the individual people that make up your team and to keep them focused on on the task at hand. 

Ryan: That, yeah, that’s amazing in doing that and having them think about the problems that they’re trying to solve for an industry that, you know, incredibly well.

How do you get them to get inside of that a little bit and think about how the robot actually interacts within the industry? The hospitality space, do you guys go in and actually experience it yourselves or how did, how does that process work for trying to get the engineers, connected to the real deep level problems?

Matthew: Absolutely. I mean,

You can get a little bit burdened by some of the details and some of the details of the experience that act that is that the robots delivering versus, does it function? And I think there’s sometimes there’s a It’s been eye opening to me, I’ll say, to be able to think about things and talk with engineers about how they look at a problem versus how I look at a problem, right?

I think and this goes back, even before rich tech, but talking with engineers, and I would say this is how it’s done now. We just need to automate this. And they would, and they, their engineers are able to look at. The problem and say we don’t need to do it that way at all We could do it a totally different way and still deliver the same outcome and in many cases That’s an amazing way to open the door and to say, okay, absolutely.

Let’s pursue this and make sure that we can deliver the right outcome. And from the other side, there’s a lot of times when, the engineers will look and say I’ve done this. I’ve moved that cup from point a to point B and there it is. And you can look at it and say the way that happens, the speed that it happened, the motion was too jerky.

That’s. Conveying something to the customer who’s on the other side, looking at it, and experiencing it. And so you need to maybe slow the motion at the end so that it’s dropped, more elegantly. Maybe that’s the wrong term, but more in a more comfortable. Way in front of the guest, right?

So there’s things that the engineering side can say yes I did it. I we’ve done this task We’re able to do this and then you got to look at it from how is a customer perceiving that? And I think that’s really the match that i’m trying to help bring to this space, right?

This robotic hospitality space that it’s about how our guests and How our customers guests are going to interact with the robot at the end of the day, and I think that I think that’s something that continues to be part of the conversations that we have that it’s really cool to see the back and forth between, our engineering and our R and D group onhow we can fine tune things to really get the robot to be part of this hospitality experience.

I mean, I think what’s so cool about Robotic hospitality specifically is that it’s a place where a lot of non technologist people are going to be interacting with robots, right? I mean, we think we talk about robotics and you talk about AI and you talk about all of the benefits of it, but really, when you get into the hospitality space, that’s where the majority of, of people.

Of the country are going to be interacting or have the potential to be interacting with robots I think right. I mean, there’s a lot of places where in industry in warehouses, etc Where you see a lot of robotics, but that’s you know, that’s relatively confined, right? I mean you talk about amazon and all the robotics that amazon has My interaction with amazon is that I order something and you know The next day or later today even a package is dropped off at my front door You so there’s a lot of robotics and technology that happens for them, but I don’t see it. But if I want to now be somebody where I want to go and get a cup of coffee and now here’s a robot serving me a cup of coffee. that’s a whole different challenge. And there’s a lot of very specific ways in which we need to think about the design of the robots.

We need to think about how they communicate with people and how that experience is felt. By the customer. So really having those conversations, the iteration is just real time and all the time about, Hey, we noticed something, we’re out at a, we’re operating at them in front of.

At a convention and oh, we’ve noticed this. We need to think about how can we move that? How can we change the way that this cup is moved from point A to point B? So that it looks like it’s a smoother operation, right? How do we make sure that we’re not, misfiring a drink, right?

I mean, that’s basic stuff, but that still happens if it’s a Human doing it, but when it’s a robot, it seems. Even more out of place, right? So if, even though some drinks may be mismade by humans, when a robot does it now, it’s like, that’s a check mark, a bad check mark for a robot. So we need to think about how we can, eliminate those and get that error rate down to zero.

If we can. 

Ryan: It seems like to pull all of that off, you have to have people with a variety of different skills. And in some cases in the space, obviously very specialized skills. How are you Looking at recruiting people who can do this or training people. Do you feel like you’re more looking for robotics or are you bringing people in who have general engineering talent and you can train into robotics?

What’s your perspective on bringing the right kind of talent into the organization? 

Matthew: I think that’s a great question a lot of things at this stage of our company come down to, the improvisational comedy mantra of yes.

And right, we’re in a place that I think you’re probably completely aware of this, that talent is at a premium and we’re willing to get anybody on board that we think Has the right capability set to be able to perform. we’ve got a lot of R and D work that’s still coming and a lot of fine tuning, but as far as who we’re looking for it’s the right people who are interested in this space and Want to be a meaningful part of a company that is, has a big road ahead of us. 

Ryan: That makes sense. I want to go back to this topic of hospitality that is coming up because that’s the industry you’re in, but it’s also an ethos that I hear built into the actual devices that you’re creating.

How is the notion of hospitality built into your organization? And do you think about that as an applicable piece to creating the environment for yourself? For partners or like, how does that work with you guys? 

Matthew: I think that one is, that’s my wheelhouse. I would say that’s where I’ve always sat and been comfortable, even back to, the early days in the finance industry of being in, customer facing, everything’s about how you treat people. and that’s something that to me is, I wouldn’t go as far as to say frustrating, but people are ready to pit robots against people, right? That’s what you hear, right? Are the robots coming? They’re going to take over.

It’s gonna be, they’re not, it 

Ryan: is a big fear. It is a big fear. 

Matthew: Robots. I believe at least for the foreseeable future, and maybe there’s a time down the road when I’ll be wrong, but for the foreseeable future, we’re in a place where robots are tools that will help us convey a meaningful experience. And it’s always going to be about how we make other people feel, how our robots make other people feel, whether we’re talking about our customers or whether we’re talking about our employees who are, critical in delivering this product and I don’t think that we’re going to get away from that anytime soon I mean, I think it’s really going to be about how we continue To build a world in which robots are A meaningful part of different solutions, but it’s going to be about how we’re all interacting with each other. 

Ryan: Yeah, that makes sense. Whether you’re in a restaurant, you’re at the company or, wherever you are in life, I assume.

Matthew: Absolutely. 

Ryan: Matt, it was amazing talking all of this great perspective on how robots are fitting into our world coming, in, in the world coming up and how you’re leading through that and some of the spots that you’re really concentrated on as we head into the next phases of this industry.

So glad you could share that and and look forward to hearing your top leadership tips in just a minute Matt emphasizes the importance of balancing innovation with the core principles of hospitality. He envisions a future where robots are integrated tools that enhance human interaction. Realizing the gap between hospitality and technology, Matt helps lead Rich Tech Robotics with the help of bridging it for everybody.

Their flagship creation, Atom, the robotic barista, symbolizes their mission to blend advanced technology seamlessly to enhance customer experiences while maintaining a human touch. 

 Break One


Ryan: All right. Welcome back again. We’re here with Matt Casella. He’s the president of Rich Tech Robotics. And Matt, I’m really excited to hear your top five leadership tips.

Let’s start with number one. What do you have for us? 

Tip One

Matthew: So I’ve tried to give a lot of thought to this and I think it’s, leadership is such a, an important thing that. I’ve never really, as I mentioned before, it’s so many different things and it’s how you put them together and how you convey it.

And I’ve actually, I’ve been lucky that my wife is a leader and is actually very focused on these things in her profession and, also at the home and so she’s really good about being able to talk through some of these things with, and The one thing that keeps coming up.

That I think is the most important is to be true to yourself I don’t think that leaders are you know born and that’s nobody can ever become or learn how to be a leader, but I think all leaders, whether they’re born leaders or they learn to become leaders are true to themselves in all cases, right?

you have to really be comfortable with who you are, with what you’re good at, with what you’re not good at, and figure out how to bridge those gaps and figure out how to stay true so that you can help others and that others feel confident in your abilities and what you have to offer.

Ryan: Yeah, that’s a really good one. And then sometimes it’s hard because the industry will take you into spots where you’re like, am I centered on that important, my leadership quality or not? I imagine. 

Matthew: Absolutely. I mean, I think you can get distracted by a lot of things. And that’s okay.

There’s going to be a lot of things that come up and you can change your mind. I’m not saying that, when I say, you Be true to yourself. that doesn’t mean beast to be stubborn or to be or to be, thick minded about your way of doing things. But you need to be true with how you think through things and how you change and how you make decisions.

 That’s great. 

Tip Two 

Ryan: How about tip number two? What do you have? 

Matthew: So this one is but different enough that I thought it deserved its own bullet and that’s to remain focused. And this is really more of a, if number one was about an internal focus of being true to yourself, number two is about being able to lead people in a focused direction.

And that really comes from having, things like mission statements and things like, a company strategy that you can point to and say, this is where we’re headed, all of the decisions that we’re making need to continue to point us in this direction. And there will be, listen, there will be pivots.

There will be times at which you need to rethink some things, but if the vision, the longterm vision. Remains the same and remains focused. That’s that can help guide those decisions and can help make, pivot points more manageable. And You’re maybe more easily able to see the path. I thinkI think that’s Very important. And as I was writing my five points, some of them seem contradictory at times. Some of them overlap, but I think they’re all important that you continue to move down a path that.

You’ve set for yourselves that allows you to have some guide rails that you can make decisions within. And if you’re doing that, you can keep everybody on board and it’s easier to keep alignment across, your entire staff. 

Ryan: Yeah. I 

Matthew: love that tip. How about tip number three? What do you got?

Tip Three

Matthew: So this is what, this is the one I just alluded to where I said, some may seem contradictory. I think we’re still at such an early stage in our company that we need to be very nimble and to be able to adapt to things. So there’s strategy and tactics, right? So having a.

Having a clearly outlined strategy helps keep you focused, but then to be nimble and adapt and change the tactics by which you make decisions or the day to day operations being able to integrate new technology, to be able to iterate product design and. Move something forward, but not, take a hard right turn, but to be able to, move people from project to project quickly move to be able to say yes to meaningful projects to be able to think about, how we can stack projects and be able to keep moving things forward I think is important.

And I think that takes a real a real conscious effort towards being nimble and not being getting stuck on any one, one project or task 

Ryan: when you’re working with something as complex as hardware, how do you build the ability to stay nimble into the flow of the company? 

Matthew: I think that’s a great point.

I mean, we’ve talked about It’s important to have a lean supply chain that we can manage you know manage inventory appropriately to be able to think ahead on how we want a future product to look and it allows us to take advantage of technology that Allows us to move in that direction and then to build you know to build a product right now We’re focused really on adam, but we also have our delivery, cleaning, and then production robots right now.

Adam is the headline grabber. So there is a lot of emphasis behind that. And we have improved the cameras that are in Adam. we recently started using the NVIDIA Jetson for, is been a big part of the platform for Adam. It’s really staying lean on that supply chain and staying lean on the inventory and making sure that we’re able to adapt and move forward.

Ryan: But again, staying focused on what we want. A finished Adam to look like yeah, that might change in two years or 12 months a little bit. But I think we’re in a place where we’ve got a good idea of what we want the Adam experience to be and we can continue to deliver on that. Amazing. All right, let’s jump to tip number four. What do you have? 

Tip Four

Matthew: Tip number four. This one for me was about, was I think when I touched on a little bit about having. Direct relationships with everybody. I mean, maybe everybody becomes a hard thing when you’re at very large organizations, but with the right group of people.

And that’s about being able to be, to listen, to be empathetic and to encourage people. And I think that those things. Our critical, right? Everybody, listen, you sometimes maybe every once in a while, there’s a bad there’s somebody who doesn’t fit exactly in the organization for whatever reason.

And they don’t want to be there. But for the most part, and we’ve been very lucky with this for the most part People that we choose to hire that want to come work with us. We’ve chosen them for very specific reasons, right? That we think that they fit our mold, that they’re able to work in a dynamic environment that, again, as we are a public company, we’re still a very small company and that requires a lot out of people, right?

It requires a lot of all the things that we talked about. And to get the most out of people they’ve got to feel like they’re being heard and understood And then also encouraged to be able to be able to deliver on the things that they’re bringing to the table, right? I mean, I think It’s having you know An open enough mind to understand that we’ve got to lean on the people that we’ve got there are They’re our greatest resource right and our ability to get the most out of them requires that they feel like Their ideas and their contributions are meaningful and they are, they’re critical to being successful.

 I think every leader needs to be, listening and really be understanding what’s coming from their employees, their team, and and how to help encourage them To get the best out of them. 

Ryan: All right. That’s amazing. Finally, tip number five. What do you have? 

Tip Five 

Matthew: So this is one that I’m working on myself.

And it’s not an easy thing. I think, it’s easy being a people pleaser sometimes it’s easy, but really to be an effective leader, you’ve got to be comfortable with discomfort. And that is discomfort in conversations that need to be had. I mean, I think this doesn’t contradict the previous bullet point, but people need encouragement.

They also need structure and they also need real feedback. Real quickly, right? You need to be able to give feedback in a meaningful way. Sometimes that’s not comfortable, right? One on one conversations. It’s there’s things that need to be improved, but how do you have those conversations in a meaningful way that can be constructive, And can help encourage people, right?

How do you being a public company, as I mentioned, there’s a lot of stakeholders and, stakeholders come with their own ideas and opinions about how things should happen. And those conversations aren’t always the easiest, and there are going to always be.

Competitors and there will be challenges from customers and there’s a lot of discomfort and you’ve got to be able to Assess that assess the situation. However uncomfortable it is and how to Navigate through it and how to move it forward, right? this has been something that I’ve definitely had challenges with in the past of moving forward through the discomfort and how to get something.

Positive out of it and how to continue to move the ship forward. And I think for me that’s probably the best leaders that I’ve seen are ones that, whether they were people that I work directly with or heard about, it’s just an amazing ability to navigate through those situations that seem very daunting.

But they can, navigate through it and really make people feel like the resolution was the best resolution, whether or not it was the one that they wanted or not. It was, the situation was assessed and dealt with meaningfully.

Ryan: Yeah. The concept of discomfort is one that I think is under. It’s under discussed amongst leaders. And it is a simple one where we have, it really requires us to come back and look at our own reaction, our own engagement with specific things. I really appreciate that one. It makes a lot of sense.

And that’s something that you can actually directly work on within yourself. 

Matthew: Absolutely. I mean, it’s a, as a father of four kids there’s plenty of uncomfortable conversations that have to be had around the house 

Ryan: regularly. Lots of practice. It’s a good training, 

Matthew: good training ground.


Ryan: Absolutely. Matt, it’s been amazing. Thank you for your top five tips. They were really good. And I appreciate your whole perspective across everything you’re doing at rich tech, but also how you’ve really made a transition from one industry into a related one, but but a different flavor.

And I wish you and the team all the best. And it’s great to talk to you today. 

Matthew: Great. Thanks so much for having me, Ryan. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. Absolutely.

Ryan: Matt shared profound insights drawing from personal experiences and familial wisdom. He emphasized the vital role of authenticity, urging leaders to embrace their true selves amidst the intricate tapestry of challenges, both tech and otherwise. He illuminates transformative power of genuine connections and the courage to navigate discomfort with grace, offering a deeply reflective perspective.

On the art of leadership.