TheCconnects: Can you tell our readers a little about your professional journey & how did you come to your current role/position?
Andrew LaTour: After getting my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, I worked at a couple of biofuels startups that both failed to commercialize. Seeing those startups fail firsthand taught me some important lessons that I felt would give me an advantage over other first-time entrepreneurs, so I decided to give my own start-up a try. Seven years later, my sustainable manufacturing business has expanded globally and is competing with major metal powder producers around the world.
TheCconnects: Who has influenced you the most in life and why?
Andrew LaTour: While there are many people who have had a positive impact on my life, I think the most influential people would be those closest to me growing up– my parents, family, and childhood friends.
TheCconnects: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your life & how did you overcome them?
Andrew LaTour: Mental health is notoriously difficult for entrepreneurs, and I would say this has been my greatest challenge. As I’ve accomplished things in life, my standard for success has always risen faster than my achievements. It’s hard to filter out the negative emotion, but when I do, I see that wherever the seeds of hard work are planted, success begins to grow.
TheCconnects: What lessons have you learned from your professional career?
Andrew LaTour: Overcoming major challenges requires a willingness to invest time and effort into new knowledge and skills that are the prerequisite to innovative solutions. If you want to learn how to do something that is extremely difficult, you will need to learn how to tolerate failure so you don’t give up when things go badly. In contrast, you will also need to be sufficiently frustrated by failure so you are highly motivated to find solutions to your most urgent problems.
TheCconnects: What do you see as the biggest challenge for brands in the digital space?
Andrew LaTour: Cybersecurity. This appears to be a growing problem that is increasing in both size and complexity. Another big challenge for brands in the digital space is differentiation. There are always opportunities for innovation, but with so many great products on the market, there can be this terrible illusion that everything important has already been done.
TheCconnects: How can your product/solution help to resolve the pain points of your customers?
Andrew LaTour: MolyWorks’ Greyhound recycling system shortens lead times on replacement parts by as much as 90% and allows our customers to upcycle their old materials for new part replacements on demand. Most businesses that use equipment need an inventory to support their predictive maintenance plan. To keep equipment online, you need spares when something breaks, and it’s not always possible to keep spares of every part that can possibly break. So, sometimes you end up with long lead times on replacement parts, and your equipment is offline, causing you to lose money. We solve this problem by converting old parts into powder and 3D-printing new replacement parts on demand at the point of need. Our distributed recycling technology solves numerous logistical problems, it is environmentally friendly, and the applications are almost limitless.
TheCconnects: Do you have any advice for those who want to become a chief innovation officer?
Andrew LaTour: I can’t comment on what it’s like to be a CXO in general, but as for founding a hardware company: It’s difficult, and it takes a heavy toll on your health and relationships. I recommend reading as many books on the topic as you can before proceeding, then finding an experienced mentor or peer group of CXO’s to learn from as you go.
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