Beat the Often Path

Beat the Often Path Podcast

Jhillika Kumar: Activating the Neurodiverse Workforce of Tomorrow – EP. 174

Jhillika Kumar is the Founder & CEO at Mentra, a neurodivergent-friendly talent platform that intelligently matches neurodiverse individuals with employers that value their strengths. Traditional talent and employment platforms tend to prioritize a certain kind of candidate, which can leave many highly-capable people without meaningful work. As our world changes, we have to realize that neurodivergence is not a weakness, but rather a strength for many mission critical roles. Mentra puts recruiters in front of candidates rather than forcing them to navigate through the challenging process of finding a job. How? Through humanistic AI and community-driven design. It’s an awesome concept whose time has most certainly come.
They’ve made a little plastic tray not much larger than the size of a playing card that makes molecular surgery affordable and scalable.

Sharon Kan: The CEO & Co-Founder of Pepperlane On the Hard Decision to Stop Her Start-up [Live in Boston] – EP. 172

“As a CEO, I have the responsibility for stakeholders, which are my customers, my employees, and my investors. And you would think that I could now talk about all the exits that I had, I can talk about how people really advanced under my own wings. I can talk a lot about that. But I don’t know what I learned from that. What I did learn is what success looks like when you have to put your idea to rest.”

Adam Molnar: Headphones That Read Your Mind [Live in Boston] – EP. 171

“The standards that we use for EEG have existed for decades, and we still use them as the 10-20 standard array. This is marking a somewhat of a substantial shift away from what has been known in laboratories to bring that out into the wild, and there’s a lot of inspiration from wearable devices where heart rate monitoring has existed in hospitals for many, many decades. And it’s just now that it’s commonplace to wear an Apple Watch or a Fitbit. But that’s also a device that tracks your heart rate. So to the same extent that we’re putting technology in an invisible way into existing form factors, that’s what we’re doing with our next product and future products.”

Sridhar Iyengar: The CEO of Elemental Machines on Life After a $260 Million Exit – EP. 170

“My parents are of Indian origin, and my co-founder, Sonny, his parents are of Vietnamese origin. And having parents of Asian descent, the advice we got was: ‘Stay in school, don’t skip class, study hard, go work for a big company.’ The absolute worst advice you could be giving somebody at that time, at that university. So we often joke about that, that if we hadn’t listened to our parents, we would have maybe ended up in Silicon Valley and done all that much earlier. But then I was really fascinated by academia. I wanted to be a researcher, I wanted to be a professor, I thought. So I had this wonderful opportunity to go to graduate school and I went off to Cambridge [University, U.K.] and did a PhD in bioengineering, and specifically in biological and chemical sensors. That way I could learn about life sciences and biology and still leverage my engineering double D background. And the work we did there, that was sort of the inspiration and basis for my first startup.”

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