S02E05: Avinash Rugoobur, Arrival

Part of our Without Borders podcast unicorn series, in this episode we speak to Avinash Rugoobur, President & Chief Strategy Officer of electric mobility provider, Arrival. We discuss partnerships, portfolio diversification and communication challenges.

Following a recent €100 million investment from Hyundai Motor Group earlier in 2020, Arrival remains a very agile company. With only 1,200 employees, it is pioneering a new way of manufacturing transport, decentralising what is traditionally a deeply centralised process thanks to vertical integration of key technologies and the use of micro-factories.

How are Avinash and the team avoiding Silicon Valley-esque hype circles and what effect does the current pandemic have on the business? Listen to our latest episode to find out more.

The interview, as ever, was co-hosted with Russell Goldsmith of the csuite podcast.

Transcript:

Russell: [00:00:00] Thanks for downloading show 113 of the Csuite podcast, the 7th in our special series of episodes that we’re recording in partnership with the European PR Agency Tyto, around and their Own Without Borders podcast, where we are interviewing leaders of unicorn companies to find out about the key issues, pain points and challenges that startups face and how they can address them with a strategic approach to marketing and communications. My name is Russell Goldsmith and once again, I’m cohosting this unicorn interview with Tyto’s founder, Brendan Craigie and joining us both online is Avinash Rugoobur, president and chief strategy officer of Arrival. One of Europe’s most valuable unicorn’s, Arrival, is focused on reimagining the entire electric vehicle production process. So that’s probably where we should start this conversation. Welcome to the show, Avinash. Can you give us a quick overview of the business and just explain what’s Arrival is doing differently in the design, engineering and manufacturing for commercial electric vehicles?

Avinash: [00:00:57] Sure. And thanks for having me. So we were founded in 2015. And as you mentioned, the aim is to reimagine the whole process of how you make electric vehicles from the ground up. So not using any legacy, taking the best of technologies for multiple industries, adding our own. What we’ve essentially been able to do is vertically integrate all of the key technologies and components of the vehicle and then allow our products to be designed and built from the ground up using micro factories, which are low footprint, low capex production facilities that can be placed anywhere around the world. So we are decentralizing what is essentially being a very centralized process. And we’re five years old. We’ve got over twelve hundred employees. We’ve made huge strides in our goal of bringing a host of sustainable solutions to commercial fleets and cities. And that’s also been demonstrated by a few key investments from our key partners. So we had €100 million investment from Hyundai and Kia earlier this year. It was one of the largest investments in Britain’s car industry since Brexit. And we’ve had a strategic partnership with UPS, which is an order of ten thousand vehicles with the option to order more. And we believe that the bus and van that we’ve unveiled really help us capture a clear market opportunity. So electric vans, we believe, will capture a two million addressable market by 2025 and the bus over 100,000 units by 2025 as well.

Brendon: [00:02:25] It’s incredibly exciting. You kind of hinted at the investment you got earlier in the year from Hyundai and Kia. And I think that’s when you’re kind of unicorn status was marked. How has that changed the perception of the company?

Avinash: [00:02:38] I think it’s opened a lot of doors in terms of arrival as being a stealth company. So we’ve a company that’s predominantly very quiet. We like to talk about what we’ve done and show things that we’ve done. And so we’ve pretty much stayed out of the limelight. But obviously with that investment, it’s really brought us to the fore. But reaching unicorn status, it’s a great milestone, but it’s only a step in a journey. And the journey still is about getting products out there, helping improve cities and communities. And it’s something that the whole team can feel really proud of. That is the validation of a step in the journey. So the valuation itself is an outcome and it’s not really the goal of our success. And it’s great because it shows that a lot of people are excited about the company and what we’re doing. And I think it shows with the partnerships that we’ve got that both our technology is mature from the Hyundai and Kia side and the actual product itself is impressive enough and best in class for a company like UPS to purchase. But ultimately, within Arrival, we focus on keeping that bigger picture in mind of what we want to achieve and realize and spend the day to day on the engineering, the design, the development, our culture. And if we do that, then the rest will come naturally.

Brendon: [00:03:57] And I think something else that kind of really struck us in terms of kind of preparing for this call is the fact that you’re backed by a customer as well as kind of like other players within the automotive industry in terms of Hyundai and Kia. Was that kind of like a deliberate strategy on your part to kind of go down that route of kind of working with customers and partners from an investment standpoint over traditional venture capital route?

Avinash: [00:04:25] Yeah, I think, as mentioned, we’ve been founded since 2015, so we’ve had time to really develop the technology into a mature point. So our initial discussions have been with key strategic partners because that will help us set the foundation a grounding for the growth and the go to market that will be going through over the next 12 to 24 months. And so all of the partners that we’ve announced, they’ve all announced very similar goals to develop mobility solutions and sustainable services and also electrify their fleet. So the ambitions are shared and so those investments, as you mentioned, they are strategic partnerships and a lot of that is about how do we work together to accelerate this goal of bringing commercial vehicles into mass adoption around the world. And so we benefit from Hyundai and Kia’s global footprint and expertise they benefit from our novel technology and microfracture approach. And with UPS, as you mentioned, in terms of what they bring to the table is product itself undergoes continuous development with them as partners. So this is actually really unique to the industry. We don’t just create a product and say, ‘hey, everybody has to just, this is the product everyone has to get it’, with UPS they come in and they work with us. And that partnership goes back years and they’re helping to develop their own vehicle. And so that is something, I think, that these partnerships have really brought to us.

Russell: [00:05:51] I don’t know if that leads onto one of the questions we wanted to ask. You’re sat there with the buss in your virtual background there, and we were just wondering what sparked that decision to move into busses specifically.

Avinash: [00:06:01] I think to discuss that, I’ll just take a step back and talk about what we’re doing around how we design the technologies that we’ve got. And as I mentioned, we take a vertically integrated approach, which means we design all of the electric drive train in-house. We design the materials, which isn’t metal. It’s a proprietary material that we use that sustainable and recyclable. And the way we do the micro factories essentially allows us to deploy the production facility in local communities. So when you look at that, while we initially announced the electric delivery van, what we were doing and what we’ve done is created all the building blocks to allow us to create multiple different product types. And the aim here isn’t just for electric delivery vehicles, but it’s about creating a transportation ecosystem that can serve all needs of the community. And we are focused initially on the commercial segment. So because of that ability to create this multiple products and the transportation eco system and bring local manufacturing to local cities, one of the first conversations we have with cities and governments is, what are your biggest pain points? And a lot of it and a lot of focus is on public transportation. And with this flexible production model and this modular technology, we can combine that to create a bus. And so the electric bus market stood out as one that’s just critically underserved, similar to the auto industry. It’s dominated by a lot of legacy and manufacturers that really have to shift over to electric. And that was a unique opportunity for us to really step in. The long term cost benefit of EVs is becoming common knowledge with governments and the public transport agencies. And the shift to sustainable transport is really important to governments, it’s important to the communities and it’s important to the transport authorities. But it’s also a good business. So that’s that’s a win win. So a lot of studies have shown that that market will be worth and save up to 70 trillion by 2050. And so people want more sustainable public transportation. They want more from what a bus can bring. And so in terms of arrival, we’ve got unique features, screens that provide passengers with real time information. All the vehicles are connected. Information about that route, touch screens, contactless payments. But also on the other side, for the operators, it’s a connected vehicle that can help them with their fleet optimization, predictive maintenance on their vehicles, making sure that we can meet and track demand based on data. So we’re we’re really trying to look at this as a whole.

Brendon: [00:08:39] That’s really incredibly exciting. Just just going back on something you were talking about earlier in terms of the micro factories, which sounds very different to how things have been done in the past, is that kind of driven entirely around by kind of like a desire to kind of bring work skills, et cetera, to local communities? Or does it have what other benefits does it have in terms of the end product just because it’s just quite fascinating?

Avinash: [00:09:06] Yeah, I love that question by the way. The micro factory really sets a whole different path forward for the industry with the traditional approach where you put a large factory somewhere remote and then you take that vehicle and ship it around the world, you really isolating that skill set to one area. And so you rightly said when you’re going down this approach of micro factories, you know, we can put a factory near London, but we can also put one in Johannesburg. We can also put one in Tokyo. We can we can literally put these anywhere and we can bring these technologies now and the products to local communities. But the nuance there is you’re using the local talent to build a product, you’re paying the local taxes. You’re also able to put local engineering teams and support teams there. So that you can actually produce vehicles for that local community and because the CapEx and the OpEx of the micro factory’s so significantly lower. So it’s about, you know, for an equivalent volume, it’s about 11 times smaller footprint, about half the cost and about six times shorter commissioning time. So you can deploy these rapidly. You can get local teams going. And with the modular tech that we’ve created, we can configure them for local products. So now we are not building your vehicle, you’re building your vehicle. And that is a really different approach to what’s been done before.

Brendon: [00:10:36] Definitely picking up from everything you’ve said that this is about a lot more than just electrification, which is often what you see in the headline. But, you know, it sounds like the future of this space is much broader than that. And I think you’ve touched on a lot of those things. But is there anything else you would say in terms of like what you kind of think, what’s your kind of vision of the future in terms of how this is going to change stuff for people?

Avinash: [00:11:02] I think when we talk about electrification, we often make the mistake or limit ourselves to markets like the US and Europe and China. The reality is we don’t achieve the goal of sustainable transportation unless the whole world is able to shift to electric. So first and foremost, we have to bring the costs down and we have to make them price parity with the diesel or fossil fuel equivalents. Then there isn’t a burden on the balance sheet, whether it’s a government or local business or local large company to shift to electric. So that’s the first step. And a lot of that vertical integration is about getting to that cost competitiveness. Then you get the benefits of the TCO, the total cost of ownership, and that could be in reduced servicing and a longer life of the vehicle, because you can especially with Arrival vehicles, we can actually swap in and out the components so the same asset can last longer. So now you’re bringing an even greater TCO savings. That also doesn’t solve the full problem of going worldwide to solve that. As we mentioned, we want to bring the manufacturing local as well. So that’s a critical part of it. But the infrastructure is a key part to we have to also remove the barrier for how do you either upgrade the grid or if you’re talking to cities which have unstable electricity, how do we also provide solutions around that? So now we’re covering this as a whole. We’re saying obviously for us in Europe and countries that are established in that way already, that’s an easy shift. But we’ve got to make it easy for the whole world to shift. You know, you’re seeing the products today, but Arrival is bigger than just the products that we’ve announced. There’s a lot of work going on in-house about how do we bring that whole infrastructure and the whole ecosystem along with us?

Russell: [00:12:50] Listening to a lot of what you’re saying outside of just the whole electric vehicle side of things, the whole business purpose and, you know, you’re ticking a lot of the ESG boxes that, you know, investors are looking at. No, no. But for all the right and great reasons, I was just wondering if that had an impact on, you know, or helped with those those investments that you were talking about earlier, not just looking at the products, but how much of the whole business purpose around it was instrumental would you say?

Avinash: [00:13:18] I think to a point, ultimately, that’s why Arrival exists. So we exist to the people that, the amazing talent that Arrival has managed to to bring on and these brilliant people all driven by that same common goal and mission. And that’s a unifying factor regardless of investment or anything around unicorn or anything like that. That’s why I mentioned earlier. It’s a nice validation, but it’s just part of the journey. And a lot of I think the investors, they really they care that we have that mission. So it does it does factor in. But you still need to have the technology and you still need to have the product. I think that’s a unifying factor. But ultimately, the partnerships and the investment that we’ve got based on the fact that not only are we aiming to do that, we’re doing it in a sustainable way with the right unit economics, with the right product and a maturity level of the technology that actually makes it possible. So I think it’s it’s a balance between those things.

Russell: [00:14:19] Sure. So we’re recording this know it’s been a difficult six, seven months. It could be another difficult six, seven months by what’s currently going on in the news due to covid. We were just wondering what impacts, you know, the whole coronavirus situation and the current climate has had on your ability to drive the business forward and also the demand for electric commercial vehicles?

Avinash: [00:14:43] On the customer side and on the demand side, I think it’s only increased. We’ve seen delivery has been the only way a lot of us have been able to get goods and services recently. So from that side, it has driven, I think, more need for adoption of sustainable delivery vehicles and electrification of those. In terms of the business, the sad part of this is we’ve seen a lot of just people that have had to go through hard times and businesses that have had to, you know, whether it’s closed or really change. We have been lucky in that we haven’t had to lay off any staff or anything like that. We’ve been able to grow, thanks in part to our partners and our investors. And we’ve become very resilient. And in fact, you know, when we look at what covid means to how communities have changed and even viewing the need for, you know, back to the micro factors, back to the local production of goods and being able to serve the community just within the community, it’s actually doubled down on the need for something like Arrival and what we’re doing to really get out there and support communities. So it’s a very difficult time. It has been difficult to navigate, you know, one day all the teams in the office and the next day everybody’s at home. That’s not unique to Arrival that, we’ve all had to deal with that just like we’re doing this this podcast now. In terms of the need for the product, I think it’s grown in terms of what we’ve had to do it’s really be really creative and agile. You know, we’ve had to change the way the business works overnight. And I think we’ve come out of that exceptionally well, given how difficult it is for for many.

Russell: [00:16:27] Right. Moving the discussion onto the topic of communications, which is a key part of this series that we’re putting together. You’re a tech startup based in Europe or origins in Europe rather than, you know, Silicon Valley. So we were just wondering what your approach has been to raising awareness and differentiating yourself. You know, and I guess what must be, you know, pretty crowded space.

Avinash: [00:16:48] Yes, I spent a significant amount of time in Silicon Valley. I was based out there prior to joining Arrival. And it’s interesting, I think in Silicon Valley, you do see the hype cycles. You know, certain things are really hot for a certain amount of time and then the next things hot, you see sort of startups cluster around an area and then it changes and it’s a great working environment. You have a lot of, let’s say, support and help from other founders that will help you out and connect you and things like that. So that’s slightly different in Europe, you’re a little bit more isolated in that sense from that type of community. But at the same time, I’ve seen that people are really focused and I love that, you know, they’re not affected by the hype cycle. It’s just this is what we’re doing and we know why we’re doing it and we’re going to get to work. And that’s that’s been phenomenal. In terms of our sort of approach, we’re not a loud company as mentioned earlier. We’re in stealth mode. Even though we had really cool things going on. We weren’t out there really talking about it. It’s only after the investment that we really emerged from stealth mode. And it’s only when, like now that the technology and the products are reaching that level of maturity, that we’re comfortable to really talk more about them, that we’re out here speaking about it. So I moved on the strength of the company, the founder, the leadership team, the culture of the people. And yeah, I’ve really enjoyed my time doing that.

Brendon: [00:18:14] Not the weather?

Avinash: [00:18:16] Surprisingly, sunny.

Brendon: [00:18:19] And I guess just kind of building on what Russell was talking about. One of the challenges, I guess, of being in Europe and I mean, it sounds like you’re obviously operating on a global level, is kind of dealing with different languages, different cultures. You know, kind of how do you kind of view that challenge and how have you approached it?

Avinash: [00:18:39] Yeah, so this is something that’s critically important to Arrival, not just in how we operate the day to day business, but as we’re distributing these micro factories around the world. It becomes a key part of our business. How do we make sure we understand the local needs and local communities? How do we communicate across offices? So adaptability there is one of the key successes for Arrival. When we approach a new market, for example, our approach isn’t top down. We’re not saying this is what you have to do. This is a product. This is the way it is. As we discussed earlier, we take the time to really get involved and hire local people and really understand the nuance and the culture of what’s going to be needed in that environment. And in a lot of ways, let that environment design the product that’s needed for that environment. Part of the value of being able to understand that is to have a really diverse team. We have really different thoughts. We have different beliefs. We have different approaches to solving problems and sort of for our job, it’s to really listen and hear what’s being said and then translate that into, OK, what parts of the toolkit do we need to build so that we can let others build on top of that in the technology, but also in the culture. You know, the ability to hear different insights and those nuances and considerations from different cultures and different people, I mean, that is really foundational to Arrival and then it becomes translating that into the micro factories that go around the world.

Brendon: [00:20:15] I think we could probably talk all day, I would love to know what was the inspiration behind that sort of outlook that you’ve got, but also just in terms of culture and kind of really engendering the company with that appreciation of diversity. How do you go about that in a global environment where there’s so much going on that maybe even especially now when everyone’s working remotely?

Avinash: [00:20:36] I think it starts with our talent team, like in terms of reaching out or people that are wanting to join Arrival and then making sure that the culture is at the forefront every day. By doing that, you know, a lot of the ways when especially when we’re in stealth, a lot of it was on the common goal. You know, we believe in this. And you find that a lot of people believe in zero emission transportation and sustainable technologies and distributed assembly with local talent and products. A lot of people believe in that. And so that is probably the first level of sort of the funnel and to keep the company really focused around that. And then once you have that group of brilliant people, I mean, essentially my job is just get out of the way and let them do their thing like they always say, surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. And then we just try to provide the tools and the structures. That could be the way we think about what a meeting is, the way we think about how what communication tools we use. You know, all of those things matter. You’ll find with Arrival and it shows up in our products. We’re really focused on the details, like the minute details. And so those things matter. And as long as we can keep improving them, we essentially make everybody else’s lives and jobs easier. And so that’s really important that that culture set from the top. It’s if we’re not practicing what we preach, then the whole thing becomes irrelevant. Right. So it’s really important that we approach decision making in a certain way, that when we make decisions again, even as the leadership team, we’ve listened to a diverse range of opinions that we have. People have access to approach anybody in a company without worrying about what their title is or, you know, what the title, the person you’re approaching is like, all of that falls away. And that’s the type of environment that we try to create. And then when we’re doing that, when covid hit, that culture stayed with it. So even though it’s a little more tricky because you can’t meet the people in the office and you’re doing it over Zoom, it still means that you can approach anybody in a company. We’ve set that as part of the culture and so that bond then continues to form. If you think of it as a network diagram, it’s not just one directional, it’s everybody can be connected to anybody and that’s important.

Russell: [00:22:47] We wanted to ask that actually, because in terms of internal comms, how are you? So you mentioned Zoom, but you’ve got that need to talk to individuals, to teams and to the entire company. You’re in numerous different locations now, people working from home. But also there’s that, one of the issues that this current climate has created, numerous people have said, is that, yeah, you can have various different Zoom meetings, but what you’re losing is that those kind of informal conversations that you have on the way to the meeting room or around the coffee machine, how are you coping with that at the moment in terms of internal comms?

Avinash: [00:23:21] Yeah, and that is probably one of the trickiest things to work around those informal communications that often happen. So we encourage we have our own internal messaging tool, but we also encourage people, you know, call, jump on a phone. Doesn’t have to be formal. You can call anybody at any time sort of thing. We also have regular all hands meetings where you can ask the founder any question you want and he’ll respond. So that’s really important to get the whole team to come together, say what’s important, what’s happening in the business, but also, you know, keep that vision really as the fire behind what everybody is is here for. But those large systems aren’t always the most efficient way. So that open door policy that I mentioned earlier is really important. You don’t have to check off with a manager before you talk to a leader or something. Like you could just talk to anybody. And again, that’s a cultural thing. And then the one good thing I think about covid has shown is that there’s no barrier to geography for working in any location. So now you can look at it as we may miss something in terms of the informal types of communications, and we can only gain some of that back so much with have tools and calls and stuff. But the opportunity it’s opened is we can now view people who want to join Arrrival in anywhere around the world very differently, because I used to think okay they have to be in the office and we want them to be here. But the reality is we’ve shown that we’ve been able to run the business for six months and still hit goals. So why not if somebody is applying from a really remote location that we never thought would join Arrival if they fit the team. Why not? So it’s changed a little bit about, I think, how that sort of level playing field across any geography is now. So that’s, I think, one other positive. We’ve we’ve installed some some unique things, too. So, for example, with my team, I run a tell it how it is session where we have sort of like a no rank, no foul anybody on the team. We split things up into good, bad and what the segments and you can put anything on there, no hold back, you can put anything on whether it’s good or bad or you’re just confused about it. And then we work as a team to say, OK, let’s define some solutions to solve the issues and let’s reinforce what’s going well and let’s see if we can take the things that are going well and implement them in other areas. Right. So we’re having time in a way to get together in a team as a whole team and still operate in terms of that continuous improvement and driving change.

Russell: [00:25:56] You kind of smiled as you started to explain that, you know, any highlights that have arisen out of that process?

Avinash: [00:26:03] Yeah, it’s quite a fun process. I mean, like I said, you hear the good, you hear the bad, you hear the stuff that people are confused about. And the reason I’m smiling is, like we said, anything goes, so people might say, hey, lunch was great today, I like the lunch at Arrival its really good. Or now it might be, I miss the lunch. But it can get very deep, you know, and I encourage people to just say what they feel, even how we look at, you know, on on a one to one basis asking questions like how is Arrival, how is Arrival aligned to your personal mission and objectives and what can we do to help increase that? So it’s really a focus on the human side of this, I think. And I smile when I say it because I see a lot of human-ness in running that session. And so it’s a balance, you know, because the all hands is more of a sort of formal gathering and this is more of sort of unstructured communication tool where, you know, you can say whatever you need to say.

Russell: [00:27:03] Yeah. And switching from internal comms to external. I mean, how do you view your role as an external spokesperson and representative of the business and it’ll be interested in, you know, kind of what you’ve learned from before being at Arrival now, doing a lot of this kind of work for Arrival as well?

Avinash: [00:27:20] My role as an external spokesperson, I think essentially just distills into communicating the why. And why are we doing what we do? Why do people get up every day and spend so many hours on something? I’ve learned along the way that the leading indicators are much more important than the lagging indicators. So we can talk about profit and all of those things, but ultimately understanding how you get there and what are the behaviours and things that we should be doing? What should we be working on up front that leads to that outcome, I think is most important. And that’s something I’ve learned along the way, is to also communicate why are we doing things? What are we doing and how are we doing them? And I think that’s been something that as a gradual journey and continuous improvement for my own self in terms of how to to better communicate.

Brendon: [00:28:14] And I guess you kind of hinted at that when you, in answering that question. But have you always been a natural communicator or is it something you’ve had to kind of learn from some mistakes and formulate a plan around?

Avinash: [00:28:27] I’ve made many mistakes, I think, I think all of those mistakes are good stepping stones to improving. I came from a large family, so naturally I had to find a way to communicate or, you know, you don’t get the toys sort of thing. So from that perspective, I think that was instilled early, sort of an ability to just be able to speak my mind. But still, communication is a skill. I’ve got a great support team that helped me and just being very up front. This is something that can be uncomfortable sometimes and you’ve got to work your way through it and you’ve got to learn and you’re going to make mistakes. And sometimes you say, I should have said that, I forgot this bit and you just keep trying to get better at it each time you do it. So even though I feel like I can talk on a one on one basis, pretty well still learning like I’m still going through. And like anything, I just see everything’s a craft. If you don’t spend time on it, you’ll lose the skill and if you don’t spend time with it you can’t make it better. So like anything you’ve got to work on it.

Brendon: [00:29:30] And can you recall what’s been the biggest communications challenge you’ve faced in your career?

Avinash: [00:29:37] I think it’s simplicity as a broad construct. So a lot of what I’ve done has been around sort of technology and engineering, and sometimes these things are extremely complex. So how do you distill that into the simplest message, like they say, explain it like I’m five. Going through that process of just seeing the hole and then trying to figure out, OK, how do I distill that so I can explain it? That is the biggest communication challenge to me, because if we’ve got five hours, sure, we can explain it all in detail, we can go into all of it. But if you’re having to say it and get people to understand what you’re doing in a short period of time, that means you’ve really got to take all of that and just really focus on like, OK, what does this mean? Why does this matter? And that’s the challenge.

Brendon: [00:30:28] Yeah, I think a lot of people in the tech based jobs really do struggle with that. Has anyone along the way given you any great communications advice that you’ve kind of hung on to and you’ve really learned from?

Avinash: [00:30:40] I was once told by a mentor that everything happens based on human emotions. So while people may, well things are scientific, obviously, but while people may try to take emotion or the humanness out of things, ultimately, it still comes down to human emotion. So, you know, if someone’s upset, they’ll make a certain type of decision, if someone’s happy to make a certain type of decision, etc.. Right. That was great advice, because sometimes, I think it what helped me do is to not withhold from saying what I feel in a way, like what I really believe in. And, you know, we’re seeing even today with a lot of the social unrest like that, that stuff’s coming out. It’s mattered, and people maybe haven’t been able to speak up or it’s been sort of capped and now it’s like a bottle being shaken and we’re seeing it everywhere. And so, you know, that piece of advice, what was really insightful about it, it was from someone very experienced who’d been communicating and been a leader for a long time and ultimately said, in all my experience, I’ve always found that no matter what, everything ended up being based on human emotions.

Brendon: [00:31:51] That’s really insightful advice. Thank you for sharing that.

Russell: [00:31:55] Yeah, and it kind of leads on nicely to the final question that we’ve got for you and we’ve asked this to everyone we’ve interviewed, which is if you were to go back in time and speak to your old self, what guidance would you give about communications and what steps would you encourage yourself to take in order for you and the business to excel in communications?

Avinash: [00:32:16] Probably first thing I’d say is in March, twenty twenty go SIT on an island somewhere before you get stuck in lockdown. I came from a background where I had good mentors in my social circle, but not at work. It wasn’t something that was really encouraged when I was coming up through my career. I got lucky that someone sort of reached out to me by their own accord because I didn’t even know that that that concept existed. And one of the first things I’d tell myself is go and get good mentors. And it’s something that I think you have to be humble because you have to be able to take criticism and feedback and but also it’s going to allow you to learn from people from a wide range of different experiences. So it’s not just go get good mentors, go get mentors in areas you feel uncomfortable with. So I think being uncomfortable is another thing I’d say get uncomfortable as early as possible and take on the task that you hate, because once you learn about them, you may not you may not like them still, but you’ll understand when someone from that world is telling you something, you’ll understand at least where they’re coming from and why they’re telling you that thing. So one of the good things about starting your own business, for example, is you have to touch so many different things. And so that’s a skill set that, for example, when I when I joined Arrival, I don’t understand, you know, for example, all the legalities of something like to the nth degree. But I’m able to understand why that person may be communicating to me about what we should or shouldn’t be doing and having that early as possible, you know, get out there, get the mentors, go get stuck into things that you don’t like, spend your time on those things because the stuff you like, you’ll get good at. You know, that’s that’s sort of what I’ve learned. The stuff you like, you’ll do every day and you’ll get good at it naturally, stuff you don’t like can be left in the corner too long. And then when you really need that skill, it’s not there. And so, yeah, that’s probably a couple of things I’d tell myself.

Russell: [00:34:21] Nice one. Good advice to finish on. Avinash, it’s been really enjoyable. chatting to you, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.

Brendon: [00:34:28] Thanks so much.

Avinash: [00:34:29] Thanks.

Russell: [00:34:31] Another great interview, Brendon and that’s seven down now on the series. Thoughts on what Avinash had to say and how do his responses compare to the previous six that we’ve done so far?

Brendon: [00:34:41] Well, I mean, I think in this kind of area of technology and the unicorn conversations, I think the word disruption gets bandied around a lot. But I think what I really enjoyed and got from this conversation was just the kind of all encompassing nature of how rival is kind of looking to transform the commercial vehicle space, not just in terms of technology, but also how those vehicles are built. The culture of the business and things, it’s kind of like that all encompassing nature of how they’re disrupting one area just was incredibly powerful.

Russell: [00:35:20] Yeah. And the bit you picked up on as well about that local community aspect.

Brendon: [00:35:25] I thought that was really interesting. It wasn’t just that they’re kind of doing that just for the sake of it, but actually it has incredible benefits for the product, but also to the kind of the communities that can be using their vehicles. And be interesting to see whether that’s kind of like a model which will be adopted for other areas of manufacturing.

Russell: [00:35:45] Yeah, definitely. Definitely right. Well, that is obviously it for this seventh episode in this special series with Tyto, around. If you want to find out more about Arrival, their website is very simply arrival dot com. So that’s nice and easy to find. We’d love to hear your comments on today’s chat. You can share them on our Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter feeds. And those are all linked from the top of the website at Csuitepodcast.com, where you’ll also find all our previous shows and supporting show notes plus links to where you can subscribe for automatic downloads of each episode via the likes of Spotify and Apple. And if you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please do give us a positive rating and review. We’re, of course, available on all podcast apps. Just search for the Csuite podcast and hit subscribe. You can also subscribe to the Without Borders podcast from our partners at Tyto all the details on their website. So just head to Tyto PR dot com and click on the podcast link in the top navbar. If you are a unicorn leader yourself and you’d like to be part of the series, please do get in touch via the contact form on the website at csuitepodcast.com. And of course anyone can get in touch too, with any feedback you may have. And finally, if you need to reach me, you can do that via Twitter using @RussGoldsmith or you can find me on LinkedIn. But for now, thanks for listening and goodbye.

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Tyto brings you Without Borders, a regular dose of inspiration for passionate communicators, courageous creatives and entrepreneurial business brains. Expect candid chats with the wisest old hands, bleeding edge innovators and left field thinkers and doers.

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