Today's entrepreneurial profile covers Paul Berberian, CEO of Boulder-based Orbotix, maker of the Sphero robotic ball. The Sphero is the wildly entertaining toy/robot that teaches you the tech industry is far more than programming and utilitarian apps; it can be simply awesome, as well. Paul talked to us about everything from childhood to college to business ventures, and his outlook on entrepreneurism.
The Sphero robotic ball has three main parts. First is the roughly 3” diameter ball, which is smooth save for slightly elevated, stylized swirl marks on its sides, glowing with a small array of colored LED lights when it’s in use, charging, or in need of being charged.
Second is a relatively plain black wall adapter, which connects to the third piece, an inductive charging dock. Equipped with its own blue LED, the dock blinks when it’s in the middle of a three-hour recharging cycle, then goes solid blue when the battery is full.
What the ball is meant to be is hard to describe – essentially, it's a robotic toy that can be controlled by your smart device, or can even control your smart device itself. Whether play golf with the ball over your phone, swimming with the ball, or even controlling a device video game by tilting and shaking the ball, the Sphero can do it all – which is awesome.
The plan now is to refine the hardware platform that the Sphero is based on, create and sell innovative games, and see what evolves at the intersection of the $20 billion mobile apps space and the $80 billion toy industry. Paul's company has even been approached about using the technology to position airplanes on aircraft carriers.
Here is Elite's interview with Paul Berberian:
In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
Tell me about your first entrepreneurial experience growing up.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
What does a day-in-the-life of Paul Berberian consist of?
What were you like in college? I mean, were you as hungry then as you are now? Was it more of the typical college experience that the Average Joe has, or were you hustling away, engaged in business endeavors?
What is your take on college in 2012? Many successful entrepreneurs are skeptical of how much college actually prepares students for the real world. Would you advise an entrepreneurial-minded youth to go to college today?
Was there a turning point in your life, an event that led to your current venture?
What are your 3 tips for success?
What are the hottest market, tech, or social trends that you think have the best potential for an entrepreneur to capitalize on?
Have you had any setbacks that almost discouraged you from the risk-filled world of entrepreneurship?
What advice can you give a young entrepreneur who is in the midst of turning a concept into a business? What are those first critical steps that need to be taken?
What is most important aspect of a company that determines its success?
What plans do you have for your career that we would have never suspected?
How do you plan on expanding your business, keeping it relevant in the future?
Looking back, what's one thing you would do differently?
5, 10, 50 years down the line, when you’ve achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?