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Tom Jenks PostManager
Hello! I am a graduate marine biologist heading into a specialisation of marine mammals! Here at Conduct Science I am lead of Team Kilo, we produce articles and The Conduct Science Podcast hosted by myself and Mitch. Come listen to us talk about a whole variety of topics, new episodes every Thursday! I also host an interview series called Under the Microscope where I talk to scientists from around the world in many different fields about their experience, work and methodologies. And as if that wasn’t enough content every Friday I release a short form podcast called The Method Section, this is aimed at scientists old and new looking at the community, methodologies and many other topical and interesting science news!
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Tom Jenks PostManager
Hello! I am a graduate marine biologist heading into a specialisation of marine mammals! Here at Conduct Science I am lead of Team Kilo, we produce articles and The Conduct Science Podcast hosted by myself and Mitch. Come listen to us talk about a whole variety of topics, new episodes every Thursday! I also host an interview series called Under the Microscope where I talk to scientists from around the world in many different fields about their experience, work and methodologies. And as if that wasn’t enough content every Friday I release a short form podcast called The Method Section, this is aimed at scientists old and new looking at the community, methodologies and many other topical and interesting science news!
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Entrepreneurship is not for the feint hearted, it takes a lot of resiliance that must present itself in many different forms. This must be even more so when you are one of the first companies in the world to be venturing onto a select course. Derek Edwards and Christain Lent are doing just this with BehaviorCloud. For many years Edwards has had ambitions to combine research methods with more efficient technology but it is not until recently that the technology has caught up enough to allow this to happen. With The Cloud becoming more and more open and effective people are finding more and more uses, BehaviorCloud uses the superior computing power, storage and efficiency of the cloud to enhance research tasks.
BehaviorCloud focuses mainly on cognitive and behavioral research tasks, tackling many different areas including: behavior coding, optogenetics, electrophysiology and even human studies. By using “The Bridge” it allows any piece of hardware to be hooked up to the cloud based system and controlled remotely. This means a lot of tests can be operated remotely, consistently and efficiently, reducing the error margins and increasing the amount of repeats. More than this the cloud storage of data allows for much better organisation and even real time data flow to the user. Just as The Cloud is looking like the future of computing, it might be the future of research.

Tools

  • LinkedIn: As a startup company networking is a top priority for making new connections and potential clients. LinkedIn being a remote service where you can contact many people allows you to be easy to reach and allows you to meet many people. Edwards said “it’s not even really about selling. It’s, it’s just, it’s awareness, you know, just tell them“.
  • Organic connections: While LinkedIn can be a powerful tool it is not necessary to hunt people down and throw your product at them. While work is very important, Edwards said “…not completely going underground and cutting yourself of from, from these conversations and random lunches because I’ve found that they, they’re actually so critical to building the right partnerships and the right connections“.
  • The Bridge: While making connections is important so is your product, BehaviorCloud sells all sorts of things but what makes them so special is The Bridge. This piece of technology allows researchers to hook up many lab based tools to The Cloud, the implications, applications and uses of this are far reaching and this is just the beggning.

You can listen to Under the Microscope by using the player above, searching for “The Conduct Science Podcast” on any place you listen to your podcasts, using any of the links below or  you can download this episode HERE! You can also read the transcription down below.

If you would like to find out more about Derek Edwards and BehaviorCloud follow these links:

Derek Edwards
Today's Guest

Derek Edwards

Today’s gues is Derek Edwards, entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of BehaviorCloud and Talio. From the age of 12 Edwards was working with software and technology and influenced by his parents to not work for big companies he ventured into the career path of entrepreneurship. BehaviorCloud is Edwards sixth start up company, who he co-founded with Christian Lent, at first a side project to help with his wife’s research and now a world leader in research technology. Using the cloud to manage and store data, manage experimental apparatus and to calculate and stream the data real time to the researcher is such a huge advantage and allows everything to run far smoother, far quicker and far more efficient. Check out more at behaviorcloud.com!

Episode Description

Tom is joined Under the Microscope with Derek Edwards, entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of BehaviourCloud and Talio. BehaviourCloud aims to bridge the gap between technology and research taking advantage of the cloud, Tom and Derek explore what life is like setting up your own business, how to face the challenges along the way and take an in-depth look at BehaviourCloud and how it came to being. Join us on Under the Microscope. You can visit behaviorcloud.com to find out more! Music by: Joakim Karud – https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud.

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Transcript

Tom:                      Hello Ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another episode of Conduct Science’s: Under the Microscope. I am your host Tom Jenks and today we are throwing something slightly different at you. Normally we interview scientists from around the world and various different fields and get their kind of take on everything that they do and science in general. Whereas today we are interviewing an entrepreneur, Derek Edwards. He is the CEO and Co founder of BehaviorCloud and as well as Talio, but BehaviorCloud is why we’ve brought him on today. It is a company that meshes together cloud based computing and behavior tests, whether through mazes, behavior coding, optogenetics, electrophysiology and well the list goes on but I thought this would be just such a good and interesting opportunity for you guys to see how an entrepreneur comes into the science tech realm and makes a business out of it. The inspirations that he has, the ways that he did it. And more than that, it’s a way for everyone to kind of see how this technology could influence research. And if you are someone who does research how maybe even could help you. However, I am not going to ramble on any more. So without further ado, take it away.

Tom:                      Hello Ladies and gentlemen and welcome. I am your host Tom Jenks and today I am under the microscope with Derek Edwards, entrepreneur, cofounder and CEO of BehaviorCloud and Talio. So once again, thank you for joining me today, Derek. To start, why don’t you just tell us a bit about you, your background, your interests in stuff like that.

Derek:                  Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Um, so I started out really, um, I’ve, I’ve long had an interest in, in technology and software. Um, I had the opportunity very early on to actually work for a company owned by some family friends of ours. Um, and that gave me the opportunity very early on to get my hands on software really development, uh, working on hardware, doing product design, um, from, you know, really a very early start. It, it was, I think I first started doing work with them when I was 12 and it was really, it was kind of an internship type of a thing that evolved into being a, a longer term full time position. And um, so it was a great chance to really get to know what I enjoyed, what I liked doing, and the technical side. And uh, from there it really served as a launching off point to do software development and other kinds of software engineering across a handful of different industries. Um, so that’s been the bulk of my time over the last 20 years or so at this point. Um, part of the way I’ve been doing it for that long. But uh, yeah, that’s really kind of how I got my start.

Tom:                      Yeah. So what made you kind of decide then when you were learning to do this stuff that you kinda wanted to go down the entrepreneurial route rather than, and become a CEO rather than work under someone?

Derek:                  Sure. Uh, I’d have to say that my parents certainly had a fair bit of influence there. They, they were really ones to encourage me from pretty early on to explore what kinds of things I wanted to build on my own, and, and, and kind of discouraged me from going down the path of, uh, working for larger companies. And in the end I really had an a chance to experience a little bit of both. Um, and as it turns out, I really did enjoy doing, doing my own thing a lot wider than working for somebody else. Uh, so since then I’ve probably the better part of the last 10 years or so, I’ve been doing something, um, in the realm of entrepreneurship, whether it’s starting something completely independently on my own. And in a couple of cases I’ve, I’ve joined very early on part of a startup team and help them build things from the ground up.

Tom:                      Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Is that, um, kind of what happened with BehaviorCloud then? Can you walk us through maybe not like the entire process I might have that would be a long story, but kind of like the general process of starting up a business like BehaviorCloud?

Derek:                  Sure. Um, so with BehaviorCloud, we, I guess even to give you a little bit of background on how that came to be. Um, so actually that the very first job that I had, uh, working for that, that friends company, it turns out that that was actually life sciences instrumentation company. They built a lot of hardware and software for doing behavioral research. And, uh, I found that I enjoyed the space. I felt that there was a lot of interesting potential on ways to improve research and accelerate discovery. Um, but technology at that time was not really advanced enough to do some of the things that I wanted to do. I always had an idea for wanting to pull together different kinds of instrumentation and instead of having things live entirely in the lab, actually take better advantage of, of the web and, uh, the whole idea that you can access things from anywhere. Um, and so it was sort of funny how it worked out when I came to actually me and my wife. Um, it was several years down the road after I had since moved on and was doing a lot of other things that she was in behavioral neuroscience and doing a lot of research. And, uh, as it turns out, she was actually using one of our competitors, pieces of equipment. But, uh, but it was interesting kind of re-immersing myself in that and seeing how little things have changed in a lot of ways. So there was a lot of motivation to not only kind of figure out ways of helping her advance her own research, but um, but really looking at the space and seeing, okay, are things really at the point where we can start to do some of the things that I wanted to do several years ago. And so initially it started out as just this experiment really to see could we build a proof of concept that, uh, that was able to use a really simple off the shelf, you know, android or an IOS device, stream video back to a cloud and have everything analyzed there without having to involve a PC or a software or anything like that. And it was something that, you know, initially it took a little while, this was just a total side project of ours that we were just saying, could we do it? And, um, I think after a few months of initially prototyping this thing, we actually had something that was working and we sorta did some initial tests internally, just, you know, playing around using one of those, uh, uh, I can’t remember the name of it. And like one of those little whirly ball kind of things you would toss in the side of a, like a space. And usually it’s like a cat toy kind of thing. Um, but we put that inside of an arena and just let it track that and see what it could do. And, uh, after we had enough confidence in that and we’re like, all right, well, let’s see if you know if my wife had actually started using this and some of our research and sure enough, after a little while, she had a chance to, uh, begin tracking some of her information collecting data that way, and that actually, uh, turned out it was working far better than the existing software that she had. So once we sort of had that, that bit of confidence in what we had done and we’re like, well, all right, let’s see if we can actually turn this into something. And, uh, um, and so, you know, I sort of roped in one of my long time friends and, and now co-founder, um, Christian who is my CTO. And, and as it turns out, you know, we’ve, we’ve worked together in a lot different projects before and we’ve known each other forever. Um, but, uh, you know, we kind of put this thing together and started to actually put it out there for public consumption. So we open it up for signups from some early Beta users. And, and, uh, before long it was, it was funny we started getting these requests, people signing up and they’re like, all right, well just to caution you, it’s very, very, it’s like very, very Beta stage. It’s still so fragile, but you know, if you want to try it and knock yourself out. So, um, so that’s really kind of how, how we got our start on this. And uh, after we got some of that initial feedback, we decided to kind of jump head first into building this as a real venture.

Tom:                      Oh, that’s really cool. It’s really cool to see. I think the parallels almost between the entrepreneurial mindset and almost the scientific one may maybe even influenced by your wife to some degree. Having the, the proof of concept as you call it, equating to maybe a hypothesis in the scientific world and then how you move forward from that. That’s a, that’s a cool parallel that I have not come across before even thought about not being entrepreneur myself. That’s cool to see how that works. Um, so as you’re saying, BehaviorCloud then uses the cloud as a, your name suggests to in combination with like mazes and stuff you produce as well. Right? So is it through your wife’s work that you really came to identify that this might be a good area for business? Because it’s, it seems to be one of the only companies that I’ve heard of that combines tech and like this heavily with cloud computing and all of that, which really seems to be the future when we’re looking at computing in all areas.

Derek:                  Absolutely. Yeah. I think that there’s, there’s certainly a lot that, a, a lot of opportunity that we see, um, and, and leveraging different aspects of, of more modern technology. You know, there’s, there’s this whole trend around Internet of things and, uh, and combining that with the power of the cloud. Um, you know, really where we see things going from a bigger picture perspective is this whole idea that any, any instrument that’s out there, um, you know, across different fields of research should really start to, um, start to look and operate as if it’s a completely kind of autonomous, uh, operating device that can, that can actually generate data. It can connect to, uh, connect to one or more different, uh, data repositories in the cloud. Um, it can actually intelligently receive commands. It can, you know, generally status and send that back to a central repository. Um, you know, that’s, that’s really where we see the future of things. Um, but right now obviously a lot of the hardware in this space is designed for more of the, the late nineties, early two thousands kind of windows era where it’s very, very, very PC centric. You have, you know, a lot of these USB based devices and sometimes, sometimes they might take advantage of, uh, of some local, uh, networks within a given institutions, uh, buildings. But oftentimes you still have to have a lot of that hardware living, uh, in the lab. And, um, and so really what we’re doing at this point, we thought that there was an interesting opportunity to, uh, effectively cloud enable these devices. And that’s really where beyond the web aspect of the platform, we have the whole idea of the bridge, which takes any one of these devices, whether it’s USB or surreal or, uh, some kind of network based interface and turning that into more of an internet of things type of a device that can independently connect to the cloud, it can stream data back and uh, and really operate in more of this intelligent manner.

Tom:                      Yeah. So you have the bridge, this device, as you call it, the links everything to the cloud and provides data in real time, correct?

Derek:                  Correct. Yeah.

Tom:                      And how at the moment, autonomous, can you make it, do you just kind of set it up and leave it for the whole day and it can go or is there still kind of like some person that needs, needs to be on standby or?

Derek:                  So when it comes to the device itself, uh, it can operate pretty independently at the moment obviously when, um, if you’re talking about different kinds of experimental protocols, if you’re running, say an elevated, elevated plus maze or a, an awful object to kind of a test, something like that, there’s still like human element, uh, involved where somebody has to go and, and retrieve a subject, put them into the arena and all of that. You know, that’s, that’s something that we’re not really addressing at present. Um, although we’re, we know that there are some solutions coming about to start to enable more automation even on that front. Um, but really where we’re hoping to take it as at least the idea that, um, especially if you’re doing a longer term studies with say a home cage, uh, and you have instrumentation that’s measuring different kinds of outputs, whether it’s temperature, heart rate, um, you know, activity levels that all of those things, you can basically let it run passively in the background and at any time you can check, uh, check in on that data, whether you’re in the lab or whether you’re at home or you know, you’re on the road. Um, and really at the same time you can make that data available just as readily, readily to any other collaborators if they’re across other institutions.

Tom:                      Okay. That’s really cool to see it come about. And also I’ve just gone through uni, so you’ve got all, you know, everything’s done on papers, you’ve got to read all the journals and getting hold of that data is super hard and you have to extract it manually a lot of the time. So seeing it come about in the light of cloud computing or tech is very exciting for me at least.

Derek:                  Yeah, I think that there’s a lot of a bigger picture. As soon as you start pulling this data into one place.

Tom:                      Yeah. It makes a big difference. I think it will do anyway. And one of the things I was, I went on to the website how to look at everything and I was quite very impressed with the amount of applications that you guys cover. Cause not only do you cover the big areas of, uh, academia, Pharma companies and contractual research stuff, but underneath that you, have got loads of different types of mazes or experiments that you cope for. So like behavior coding, optogenetics, electrophysiology and behavior all the way to human based research. So how did you settle, whereabouts in this timeline of the company, did you make the decisions to be that varied from mice to human research?

Derek:                  Sure. Yeah, that’s a great question. Uh, we, so the funny thing is that we obviously had a very early focus on behavior. Um, it’s a space that we know it’s a space that we were familiar with. We knew that it was, it was kind of a low hanging fruit in a lot of ways. And, uh, you know, because we were so familiar with it and had so many connections in that space, we could get an early start there, kind of establish our niche. But at the end of the day, we know that there are so many, you know, even people that are focusing on behavior, different PIs in that space often are not doing just behavior. Um, you know, they more often than not still have to do some kind of research related to, you know, they’re doing something with optogenetics. They may be doing something that involves some kind of physiology. Um, so it’s, it’s almost, you know, behavior almost never takes place in a, in isolation. There’s almost always some other component to it. And as we got into it more and more and people were using the platform, we knew that really to, to establish this seamless experience, really ensure that you’re not having to collect your behavior in one place and then hop to another platform to collect your physiology and, and try to stitch these different pieces of data together in some form, which people are having to do right now. We wanted to really, uh, provide more of this, this unified experience where, uh, you can collect data, whether it’s behavior, whether it’s, um, you know, physiology, whether it’s optogenetics and, and, um, and do that without having to really leave that, that singular experience. So the idea for us and then in terms of what we’ve selected as early targets are kind of the adjacent fields and what are we seeing in terms of our own users, what are they wanting to do? Um, so we’ve let them largely guide where that has gone and, and what we’ve targeted as in terms of other adjacent, um, types of instrumentation and use cases. And part of that, what we’ve seen is that many of the people that we work with are in the end trying to do some kind of translational research. While many of these studies start out focused on a purely animal subjects and you know, trying to get the best guess as to some of these pathways and some of these connections based on, you know, animal bottles of human diseases, um, in the end you still need to be able to, to validate that, you know, further down the the chain. And so that’s really where, what led us to the idea that, well, you know, obviously our focus is still very heavily, uh, in animal model oriented. Um, but we want to start to enable some of that downstream data collection as well as some of these translational studies so that they can, uh, from end to end essentially show that connection between well this is how it was validated on the animal bottle side and this is how, what’s validated on the human side. Um, so that’s, that’s really what’s leading and driving most of that.

Tom:                      That’s cool. So by having this cloud computing and all the different, maybe remote controlled sensors on the same experiment, you can offer different looks, either at the same data that’s being collected and validate it or possibly even perform multiple experiments on the same behavior, looking at it from different angles. Which normally I think most experiments are to looking at one side of things, aren’t they?

Derek:                  Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, that’s what we’ve seen. And, and really, uh, so part of, part of what we’re hoping to accomplish in all of this is to enable people to do these, these kind of multidisciplinary or cross disciplinary studies. Um, you know, some people have figured out ways of, you know, kind of creative hacks of pulling together different kinds of data from the same experiment. Uh, but you’re right, it’s, it tends to, um, it tends to occur right now somewhat isolated. You know, these tests happen independently of one another, which when it really comes down to it, it’s not, not valid. Uh, you know, it’s usually you can make some, some, uh, you know, some assertions and, and, uh, you know, hope that, yeah. These things are actually, these two different studies are correlated, but at the end of the day, unless you’re, you’re measuring that same subject at that same point in time, it’s, it’s hard to necessarily conclusively say that, uh, you know, one set of data is really, you know, is really tied to this other set of data. So, you know, part of what we’re hoping out of all of this is now that you can collect data from different types of sensors during the same test, at the same point in time that, uh, you know, you can do true cross disciplinary research.

Tom:                      Yeah. And almost in real time essentially. And that’s the, that’s the power of the cloud, I guess, isn’t it?

Derek:                  Yeah, that’s, that is certainly, uh, you know, that that’s what we’re aiming for. The more, the more and more that we can really enable the, all of this take place in real time and provide not only, uh, the visibility, but even you’re starting to see some of the analyzed data come out of this in real time and have a sense of, of, is this working? Is it not working?

Tom:                      That’s super important because the sooner you can look at something and go, oh, this is working or it’s not, the sooner you can change it or adapt the research in some way and it allows you to get more repeats or allows you to repeat the experiment much quicker.

Derek:                  It’s funny, we see that a lot. Uh, you know, if you look even even in some of the, from a startup side of things, we sort of, uh, use the mantra of like fail, fail early and it’s like fail, fail early, fail fast, kind of a thing. And, and uh, um, I think really it, the more that you can sort of have the mentality in terms of a lot of the scientific studies as well, um, you know, as long as you have the visibility, as long as you know, when it’s failing, then it gives you that opportunity to iterate it and quickly, um, kind of adjust and make sure that you’re putting things on the right course. Uh, and I think it’s especially, it’s especially important when you’re looking at some of these CROs [contract research organizations] and Biopharma type of use cases where it’s there, they need to gather a lot of data and these are big expensive studies and assuming that they can have a, an idea that something is not working quite right, uh, it’s certainly a huge advantage for them to be able to course correct and make sure that they fixed whatever needs to be fixed.

Tom:                      Yeah. Cause then that sense of failure is the fact that you’ve spotted that makes it not a failure, doesn’t it? Uh, so you can move forward from there quicker.

Derek:                  Absolutely.

Tom:                      Is there any surprising ways or any very interesting ways that the you can speak about that BehaviorCloud’s currently being used for?

Derek:                  So funny funn you ask. We, I think in many ways the, the applications haven’t, I guess we’re never shocked, but at the same time we haven’t seen anything that’s too, too pie in the sky. Um, I, I would say that one of the interesting things we heard about recently as a, this lab that using behaviour, doing cockroach, research, um, they, they’ve really invested pretty heavily in doing research and to utilizing cockroaches as more of a, you know, model for behavior. Um, because they are very unexpensive, um, you can readily readily obtain cockroache for doing this kind of research. Um, you know, the, the actual instrumentation for measuring their behavior is relatively inexpensive. Um, and so it was funny because that wasn’t really a use case that we had planned on. Uh, most of what we had built has been pretty, pretty tuned for use with mice and rats and more of your typical, uh, kind of animal models. And, uh, you know, we, we came across, uh, uh, this particular client of ours that we use using it for cockroach research. I was like huh, well alright, well, and apparently it worked beautifully and this is all without any, any, uh, work on our part to specifically try to tune it for that. And, uh, so it was, it was one of those pleasant surprises that’s like, oh, oh, I’m glad that, uh, glad I worked for this use case. And it seems like it works beautifully.

Tom:                      That’s good. It must show the, in in at least that case, it’s a intuitive product then, which even on the user end, you can tailor to your own needs.

Derek:                  Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we, even though we, we’ve sort of tuned it for some of our own use cases and, you know, what we know and what we’ve worked with, you know, we, we tried to make it pretty, pretty straight forward to really adapt it for, uh, however you’re trying to use it.

Tom:                      That’s an increasingly important part of app development in this era, I guess, isn’t it?

Derek:                  There’s certainly a higher, there’s a much higher bar from a usability perspective compared with how, uh, how it used to be. I think you could, you could put some software out there before that was, uh, you know, frankly a little, a little hacked together, had a lot of rough edges and uh, people don’t havea choice.

Tom:                      And a manual like a foot thick. [Laughter].

Derek:                  [Laughter]. Yeah, yeah. Right. Annual that was, you know, 500 pages thick. And uh, nowadays you can’t, uh, can’t really get away with that as much.

Tom:                      No, thankfully I will add. [Laughter].

Derek:                  [Laughter].

Tom:                      In the ideal world then, what are your hopes for the future of BehaviorCloud? Is there anything you would love to see it take part in or are you pretty open the whole thing?

Derek:                  Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, we, you know, the bigger picture for us, uh, our hope is to now that, that we can pull together data from all of these disparate sources and have one central place for it to live. It’s really the first time I think that this has been done. Um, and one of the big advantages when you have this big data set and you can look at tests in the aggregate, all these, all these protocols, all these tests, you can start to do some really interesting things when it comes to machine learning and building building models for AI. I think what we’re aiming for in the bigger picture is the idea that this massive, repository of data can start to inform really the direction for new drug, uh, drug development, pipelines, new therapeutic development pipelines. Um, and, and more of the academic, I can start to inform new areas of research. Um, you know, you can all of a sudden instead of, instead of treating all of these tests as completely independent and, um, only having these little small pieces of data, you have enough that you can commit to an informed decision as to, oh yeah. Nobody was really looking at this specific aspect of the data before. But, uh, but actually, you know, from what we see looking at, you know, thousands upon thousands of tests, there’s something interesting going on here. We don’t know what it is, but, um, but there’s something worth investigating further. So our hope is to, uh, is to really enable more of that, uh, uh, informed decision making, doing some predictive analytics around, you know, there’s an area of research over here that’s really worth pursuing. Um, and we can help really guide new areas of development and new research.

Tom:                      Yeah, that’s, I think especially coming into as technology progresses, using technology to highlight areas where focusing the effort is going to be super important, isn’t it?

Derek:                  Yeah. I think that there’s a lot of, you know, especially when it comes to both academic research and, um, and certainly biopharma use cases as well in talking with different people, we, we were sort of astounded at just how much data gets thrown away right now. You know, you have all of these, these basically negative results and while there are certainly some push for people to start publishing more of their negative results, the fact is that in most cases the data just gets tossed. And, um, and it’s a shame because it’s, it’s time, it’s money, it’s resources. Um, but all of those added points are still useful. They still form a bigger picture. And um, and so the hope is that between both positive and negative results, we can start to pull together all this data into something that can really help everyone, um, and start to, uh, start to enable people to make more informed decisions on where to take research and development.

Tom:                      Yeah, that’s a really good point. I think you brought up about publishing the negative results. I did a, the whole episode of a podcast, I say it’ll be last week by the time this comes out on being wrong and publishing negative results and having the data in a cloud or in a massive database where okay, even if you don’t publish, but the data is still available for everyone is going to be huge both for researchers on the academia side to big Pharma, as you say, the company sponsoring it and even the journals publishing or not publishing the data. So that’s, that’s a really, it’s a really good point actually I think you brought up.

Derek:                  Interesting.

Tom:                      Something I wanted to ask you is as a entrepreneur then maybe a lot of people haven’t been through this kind of life cycle. Was there ever a struggle for you to find like motivation and in those moments, what would you say to yourself now? If you could go back now, what would you, what would you say to yourself in those moments?

Derek:                  Sure. I think that, uh, I think really one of the most common things that I’ve come across, especially this is for me, um, not the first startup that I, I’ve been a part of. This is probably number six or seven. Um, and, you know, it doesn’t, it’s one of those things that doesn’t really get any easier with like with everything that you do. Um, I think that probably the biggest thing that, that I have struggled with and even still struggle with is just, uh, is really doubt. Uh, you know, it was just, you know, are we, are we pursuing the right thing? Uh, the people, you know, it’s always one of those questions you have for yourself. It’s like, do people really want what it is that we’re doing? Are we really on the right path? Um, you know, are we wasting our time or are we, you know, as this, is this thing really going to survive and thrive in the long term? Uh, and it’s one of those things that’s always, it’s always tough to pin down. Um, you know, whenever, whenever you have any kind of even smaller kind of defeats when it comes to, oh we didn’t get, you know, this, this partnership, or we didn’t get this, this client, or we didn’t get this grant or this funding or something like that. And, uh, you know, and it’s one of those things where, especially when you’re largely bootstrapping something on your own and it’s a small team and you’re all, you’re all kind of relying on these things to, to happen along the way that, um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s that much harder when you do have kind of these, these pieces of bad news. Um, but you know, obviously the, the challenge is really just, uh, staying focused, really kind of keeping, keeping your eye on the ball, the, you know, the bigger picture of things. Um, and really seizing on the ones that you do have. Uh, I think that’s, that’s really where we’ve, what we’ve been able to, to latch on and then hold onto those things to make sure that we stay focused and stay on the, on the path to really realize in the bigger picture vision of all of this. Um, so I’d say that that certainly, you know, for me and, and I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, I feel that that’s one of the biggest struggles is just, uh, you know, dealing with, with those, uh, you know, defeats along the way and doubt.

Tom:                      Yeah. That must be, I think as you say, being able to take a step back, um, is something that’s not always easiest to do in the, in the moment, is it to be able to take a step back and say, okay no you are doing the right thing, you are on the right path. It’s just a, a bump in the road that you’ll, you’ll get over it snore and be able to stay focused on your, your goal guess, isn’t it?

Derek:                  Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. It’s not, not always easy to do in the moment.

Tom:                      Yeah. Nah, I feel you. I feel you. As an entrepreneur then in the science. So tech sector, I guess you are, you blur the lines. What are your boosts useful tools? Does it all come down to like networking via linkedin or medium or any other app or is it some software based or is it in the stuff you’re actually building rather than networking? How does it work for you?

Derek:                  Uh, I’d say that the bulk of, um, uh, the bulk of what I’ve found to be useful and I really is networking in various forms. Um, it’s, it’s funny because, yeah, there, there are tools out there. Um, and LinkedIn is certainly useful when it comes to connecting with folks and trying to build, whether it’s partnerships or establish client relationships or, uh, potentially, uh, funding sources. Um, and so there, there are certainly mechanisms out there. You know, linkedin is useful for that. But the funny thing is I’ve really found that many of the more interesting connections, uh, whether it’s partnerships or clients that, that have been made, um, seem to happen pretty organically. You know, they were, you know, either I was just catching up with some other, some existing colleague of mine and, uh, just kind of telling them about where we are and what we’re doing. Um, and you know, just something clicks and they, they’re like, oh, you need to talk to some, you know, some friend of mine. Um, yeah. And, and at the same time, you know, there have also just been a lot of these, a lot of instances where it’s just kind of happened serendipitously. You know, somebody’s introduction was made to me by email and you know, lined up a coffee and it turned out that, um, you know, some, somewhat recently it was the former CEO of, of a fairly major local Biopharma that, um, you know, that they’d took an interest in what we’re doing. And so it’s, it’s a lot of these things that I, I found it like as much as you try to push in certain ways that so much of it also just seems to happen organically. Sometimes it’s just a matter of staying in touch with people, keeping those conversations going. And um, yeah, I think the, the funny thing for me is always just balancing, you know, what I need to be doing, you know, kind of nose to the grindstone, building what we need to build, but at the same time not kinda completely, not completely going underground and cut yourself of from, from these conversations and random lunches because I’ve found that they, they’re actually so critical to, uh, uh, to building the right partnerships and the right connections.

Tom:                      I think that’s something is so important is not only not becoming a hermit, I mean, so dragged down in your own work. It’s also, as well as staying in touch with people, communicating about what you are doing it’s not like you need to call everyone up and be like, Hey, I’m doing this, but just it’s out there. Because if it’s not out there, then no one’s gonna be able make those connections even for themselves, for you. Or maybe even you won’t make those connections sometimes. So it’s a communication. It’s such a massive thing, especially with the, the growth of the Internet nowadays, it’s such a massive thing and be able to market properly is so key, isn’t it? I think both in building a business like you and in science in general.

Derek:                  Exactly. And it’s not even really about selling. It’s, it’s just, it’s awareness, you know, just tell them. Just sharing your story, telling, telling people about what you’re doing and what you’re aiming to do it with a bigger picture. Um, you know, really, you know, so much like conversation we’re having now. Um, you know, it’s just, uh, it’s just really being on people’s minds and, and hoping more than anything cause it’s all about catching them at the right time and the right place. Because while what you’re doing may not be front of mind for them today or six months from now, but if you happen to kind of come across them, uh, down the road and just a casual conversation and, um, the hope is that you catch them when, when it is something that’s applicable to them and it’s actually interesting and then you can, you know, kind of build things from there.

Tom:                      Yeah, for sure. So I have a final question for you that I’ve asked quite a lot of, well, everyone I’ve interviewed so far and whether it’s relevant to their field or whether they feel qualified to answer it or not, is debated and, but I think it’s a good perspective to see different people’s industries and what they they think of the question. So it’s a bit of a big one, but, as a entrepreneur, how would you define time? What is time to you? So I’ve asked an evolutionary biologist so far, a marine biologist, a psychologist, and they’ve all given wildly different answers. I’m very interested to see what you think of as time.

Derek:                  Interesting. Uh, you know, that that is the a, it’s a deep question. I, so for me, I, um, for me, I really generally speaking defining time by, I guess, experiences. You know, I think that there’s, it’s funny because it’s all, it’s all too easy, especially doing, you know, building a startup in many things along those lines. Uh, it’s so easy to just, to really find that the days fly by, you know, you’re just just building, building, building and cranking along. And, uh, you know, it’s easy to see six months go by or a year go by. Um, and, uh, and it’s funny because it’s seeing me have fun, have fun while you’re doing it. Uh, but it’s also, it just kind of, it’s, it’s all too easy for that time to just pass by so quick away. And, um, and so I think certainly for me, I tend to look at time through the lens of, yeah, what experiences have I had. Um, you know, I personally love, I love going and seeing new places, trying new things and, uh, um, big, big foodie. So I always love trying new kinds of food, new cuisines and things like that. Um, and uh, and so I really, you know, for me I define it through experiences and, um, the chance to really share, share those experiences with the people that, uh, that are in my life. And, um, you know, all goes, kind of goes back into the idea of not really being a hermit when you’re building things like this. I think it’s all too easy to do. Um, so yeah, for me that, that’s really kind of how I, how I personally define time.

Tom:                      Oh, that’s good. That’s a very good answer. I mean, that’s the thing. I think it’s a very subjective question when it comes down to it. Of course you could answer it by saying, Oh, it’s the second law of thermodynamics. But, uh, I think the more pragmatic and subjective answer is a often a bit more interesting than, than that. Thank you for indulging me in that very off the ball question I purposely didn’t prepare you for. Is there any way that people can find you and your stuff online? Any links you’d like to put me and my like me to put down in the description or something like that?

Derek:                  Uh, absolutely. So, um, yeah, anybody, at least for most of the things related to where I’m focusing with the bulk of my time these days, they can find that behaviorcloud.com. Uh, but they, um, they can also find me on the, on linkedin. Uh, it’s just a linkedin/in/derekbedwards, um, certainly woke up and welcome anyone to reach out and uh, and connect and, uh, happy to answering any questions or providing the advice that I can.

Tom:                      Alright, amazing. So I’ll put both of those links in the description to the podcast episode and if you’re listening on our site, I’ll put it on the page as well. But once again, thank you so much for joining me and taking the time out of your day. That was a, are just really happy you could make it.

Derek:                  Absolutely. Thanks again for having me on. This is always, uh, always fun and to, you know, look forward to any opportunities in the future.

Tom:                      And once again, that was Derek Edward CEO and founder of BehaviorCloud. And what interesting conversation, I mean I love speaking to scientists and getting all of the inside knowledge that they have, but getting this outside perspective on the world of entrepreneurs coming into the sector to try to help scientists in their research is just a just really, really interesting. And um, I’m so glad we managed to have that conversation. So another huge thank you to Derek Edwards there and I look forward to speaking to him again in the future. Any of the links that he mentioned, I will try and fit in the description of this episode and if you’re listening to this on our site you’ll be able to find hyperlinks to them down below. That is to the BehaviorCloud site and to his linkedin profile. But yeah, I mean if you guys enjoyed that, please do not be afraid to get in touch with us. You can find us either on our site, conduct.com you can find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching @conductscience. And if you just want to get in touch, have a chat, see what you thought, suggest a guest or maybe even a topic for the main show. Ask us a question. All of these are completely valid options. Please use the #ConductScience. We’ll be checking that every day too. Yeah, just have a conversation with you guys. That’s what this is about at the end of the day. If you guys are new here, if anyone is new here, please feel free to listen to any of the other interviews that we’ve done. You’ll find them titled Under the Microscope or we’ve got the method section series, which is kind of me just rambling to myself for about 15-20 minutes about topics within the science field and then of course we have the main podcast this week. We spoke about paradoxes last week was intelligence both absolutely fantastic episodes, so yeah, checking out if you’re listening on iTunes, Spotify, PodBean, stitcher, Google play, wherever, please drop pay rating drop he follow. It really, really helps us out, especially as we are a fairly new podcast, and I hope you guys are enjoying the content, but that’s it from me this week. So I shall see you guys… A next Time.

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