Million Dollar Monday

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

October 11, 2021 Greg Muzzillo
Million Dollar Monday
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you have a growth mindset or fixed mindset when it comes to approaching a problem? Co-Founder and CEO of Lucid Drone Technologies saw an opportunity to use drones to create a safer and more efficient cleaning method. Andrew Ashur has been recognized on Forbes’ 2021 list of 30 Under 30 and discusses with Host Greg Muzzillo how failure is a springboard for growth.    

Chapter Summaries:

Key Takeaways: 

  • We went into that pitch competition with an idea, which was a drone cleaning building, but we really came out of it with a business idea and how we plan on monetize on how we wanted to monetize it and scale. It really got a good foundation for the company because of it.
  • So when we have the ability to introduce technology that could relocate those workers to the ground, that they can go home happy and healthy to their families after each day at work, that's really, really powerful and meaningful technology.
  • Only way to really thrive and survive through a lot of those early years, especially is having "can do attitude"
  • I think there are two types of people in this world. And it usually comes down to people that have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset and those fixed mindset.
  • The growth mindset people are like, I just have to seek out the opportunities and access to that, learning to that education.
  •  And I never knew flying a drone inside an NFL stadium was a dream of mine until I was there flying a drone in between the SBC football championship and then the Falcons game the next day. 
  • At Lucid, we think of these industrial sized drones that are capable of performing a meaningful, productive task, and basically affecting the world around them, plight cleaning.
  • The important thing for any startup company to consider is fundraising is what does fundraising do for you as a company? So I can tell you for us being young founders, one of the most obvious things is it gave us access to knowledge and experience. 


Resource Links:
Lucid Drone Technologies Website
LinkedIn | Twitter | Lucid Instagram


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Andrew Ashur :

When there's a problem. If there are two approaches to it, that growth mindset person will sit there and tell you all the ways they can make it happen. That's right . Fixed mindset people are typically the ones that will tell you every reason they couldn't happen or why it would be difficult to happen. And it all revolves around. How do you define failure? What we really say here at Lucid is like failure is never final. Failure is an opportunity to, to learn. It's almost a springboard for growth.

Greg Muzzillo :

Hello, and welcome to Million Dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream Proforma. That today is a half billion dollar company. Well, hello and welcome. I am excited and also a little intimidated to introduce my guests for today at the age of only 25 , he has accomplished already so much attending one of our nation's probably most prominent high schools graduating from three years from a great university while not just only studying, but holding down a number of jobs and playing a varsity sport and graduating in three years and is now a co-founder and CEO of a company we're going to learn a whole lot more about and through all of his successes, he's been named by Forbes magazine as one of the 30, under 30 , people to keep an eye on. I am excited to introduce you to Andrew Ashur, Andrew, thanks for joining us.

Andrew Ashur :

Okay . Thank you for having me and thank you for that introduction. Yeah,

Greg Muzzillo :

That's all true, man. You've accomplished a lot in your, in your very young years , so let's just get after it. Why, why did you want to graduate in only three years?

Andrew Ashur :

It all comes back to the company. So , around the start of my junior year two friends and I, we got together and really just set out to solve this humanitarian issue. We didn't have a background in drones, but we saw people hanging off the sides of buildings, trying to clean at great Heights from things like lifts, ladders, scaffolds. And we were just appalled. We asked ourselves, how has no one found a way to leverage existing technology to make this a safer job? And we just became obsessed with that concept of how could we use drones to solve this problem of cleaning at heights so we could people to the ground to get the same work done. So I , I was going to say there's a lot of meat packed into what happened in between, but essentially, you know, we spent a lot of time of evaluating the market, making sure this like actually had some legs to stand on. And then just started prototyping, trying to figure out if we could actually get a drone to clean a building. And chards towards the, the spring of that junior year, we won the school's venture fund competition and we were starting to get some interests from like local angel investors and some startup accelerator programs. And all those conversations were really exciting. Again , we were just bright-eyed college students and the one recurring message was, Hey, this is a great idea. It's got a huge market, lots of potential. It's not a good idea as a side project and to their credit. At the time I was doing two majors, I was playing a division one sport and I was working three part-time jobs on top of trying to start Lucid. But I was in this fortunate position, again, going back to my high school days where I had enough credits that I looked at my transcript and realized , wait, I don't have to make a compromise. I could actually graduate in three years, have both my majors and then be able to go focus all of my time on Lucid. And it ended up being the best decision I could've made.

Greg Muzzillo :

Give us some dates that we can get some perspective on. So you officially officially started the company Lucid drone technologies on what date?

Andrew Ashur :

So technically we incorporated in January of 2018, we started working on the idea in fall of 2017. And I finished all of my academic coursework in the spring of 2018.

Greg Muzzillo :

Okay. So you start the company almost a year before, at least six months before you graduate, you graduate. When was the business plan competition? Was that at Davidson?

Andrew Ashur :

It was. So it would have been in April of 2018. And I think that was really a catalyst for us as well. We were partnered with a team of local mentors that each came from a pretty impressive background in business startups, whatever it happened to be. And we just learned a ton. We went in like, it was almost another class and we were sponges trying to learn as much as possible. And the way we tell a story is we went into that pitch competition with an idea which was a drone cleaning building, but we really came out of it with a business idea and how we plan on monetize , how we wanted to monetize it and scale. It really got a good foundation for the company because of it.

Greg Muzzillo :

And , how much was, how much did it first place win you?

Andrew Ashur :

So we tied for place. And so it was a $25,000 prize we split,

Greg Muzzillo :

But you know, something when you're getting ready to graduate from college, that's just about enough gas in the tank to get you along to some of the first steps of making money. It's very, it's very meaningful money and well, congratulations. Do you remember any moment, like looking at people, climbing scaffolding or cleaning windows, do you remember a moment in time that you said maybe there's a better way?

Andrew Ashur :

Yeah, I mean, it was really just that I remember it was more or less on a stroll through Charlotte seeing people trying to clean these large buildings. And it was a particularly windy day for Charlotte, but I mean windy for Charlotte's maybe like 15 miles an hour of wind, and you could see this platform just blowing left or right. Kind of smacking against the building. And I'm, wouldn't say I'm afraid of Heights, but I also wouldn't want to be 200 feet above the ground. And one of those scaffolding platforms. And , unfortunately there are numerous stories of people that suffered life altering injuries or ultimately lose their lives because of trying to work above ground. So when we have the ability to introduce technology that could relocate those workers to the ground, that they can go home happy and healthy to their families after each day at work, that's really, really powerful and meaningful technology.

Greg Muzzillo :

So, okay. So you're walking down the street on a, not so windy day for most places, but nonetheless windy for Charlotte. You see some people on , a scaffolding or whatever. And had you, prior to that thought that someday you might want to own your own business. Had you had those thoughts prior to seeing that?

Andrew Ashur :

So I, think in a way I've always been an entrepreneur at heart. I always loved building things like growing up. I was a handyman around the house. If there is something to be fixed, I wanted to figure out how to solve it, so I've just always kind of had that practical approach to life. I'd say my truth business entrance probably started my sophomore year at Davidson. I worked as a research analyst for a venture capitalist and just got a ton of exposure to some pretty game-changing startup companies that I was doing due diligence on. So just learning about these founders and their stories and the real world problems they were solving, I think coupling that with my Jesuit education of wanting to find a way to be a man for others and create impact, I was like, what better way to find meaning and create impact than solving a really meaningful problem.

Greg Muzzillo :

So I'm a big believer in the law of attraction. I'm big believer that when you want to own your own business, cause there's only two responses to seeing some people on a scaffolding on a big, tall building on a windy day. One is, geez , I feel sorry for them, or I hope they don't fall. And it's something you forget. Somebody might forget by the time they get home for dinner. But for other people, I say like with their antennas up like tuned into the world, that brings us opportunities. That brings us ideas, a person like you. That's a very creative out of the box thinker would just see a couple people on the scaffolding and wonder if they're okay, but see an opportunity that in some ways kind of came to you through what I call the law of attraction.

Andrew Ashur :

Greg, I couldn't agree more at that point. And it's, honestly, one of the principles I run my life and company off of is I think there are two types of people in this world. And it usually comes down to people that have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset and those fixed mindset, people believe, everything's inherent. Like I'm not good at math. I'll never be good at math type of thinking. And then the growth mindset people are like, I just have to seek out the opportunities and access to that, learning to that education. And I'm capable of growing to acquire any skill I want because when there's a problem, there , there are two approaches to it. That growth mindset person will sit there and tell you all the ways they can make it happen. Fixed mindset. People are typically the ones that will tell you every reason it couldn't happen or why it would be difficult to happen. So I, really think that's a great point. You mentioned.

Greg Muzzillo :

It's a humongous that skill. In addition to the law of attraction, the skill to say, there's a way because to summarize what you just said, there's can't people and can people, and can people are like, can't people run into the mountain or a big building or a big blockade or something they think, well, we can't get around and we can't get over it. I guess we might as well go back home, but can people are like, no, there's a way around this. There's a way over it or around it or under it, but we can find a way. And that, really is almost a requirement for entrepreneurship because there are so many blockades, so many mountains, so many Hills to climb that are unexpected speed bumps that are unexpected, that the only way to really thrive and survive through a lot of those early years, especially is having a can attitude can do attitude.

Andrew Ashur :

And then you just got a one point that touch off there. I think it's a concept of failure and it all revolves around how do you define failure? And I think that's something that's really set me up well, is having a background in baseball where failure oftentimes is expected. I just learned to lean into that discomfort and I'm sure, you know, from your entrepreneurial experiences, you face so many hiccups and headaches with your original business plan and it is this never ending roller coaster with extreme highs and rewarding moments, very low lows that humble the heck out of you. And then how do you respond to those moments? And what we really say here at lucid is like failure is never final failure is an opportunity to , to learn. It's almost a springboard for growth. And my coworkers that may joke with me, they're like, you get oddly excited when there's a problem. And I'm like, yeah, because then that means there's a solution we can work towards

Greg Muzzillo :

That's right in my, business. So we tried to expand from an office in Cleveland, Ohio , to Columbus, Ohio, which has maybe a two hour drive. And we failed. We had identified a candidate that was going to be our first remote office. And we failed that the final candidate we identified , said, you know, I like you guys so much. I think I want to start my own business the same way you did. Most people would see that as failure, but I thought about it and thought about it, thought about it. And I thought, wow. I wonder if there are a lot of other people like him that would want to own their own business, but could lever off of everything we had to offer. And from that failure, if you will not be able to hire that person came the idea of franchising, our business, which has been a key, a humongous key to our success and , and helped us take a great turn toward success. All right. Lucid Drone Technologies, your customers include some pretty famous structures, including , the Atlanta Falcons, the Texas, A&M Baylor university. Tell us a little bit more about how did you sort of prove the idea then how did you get some of your first customers and where are you at today with the business

Andrew Ashur :

Kind of goodness. So , this will be a meaty answer here, cause there's a lot to that story. You know, when we first started, we thought let's take the path of least resistance and get a drone off the shell and try to build hardware and software on top of it. Now that was great because it was low cost and help us quickly prove out the concept of drone cleaning. But we eventually just had so many headaches with this third party partner, the technology wasn't that great. And we kept having these repeated issues and we eventually had three drones with this company and all three of them like the controller would not connect, one of them, the motor would not spin and it would take them on average five and a half months to fix these issues. So we got to the point in our business history, or like drone cleaning is a future, but we have to build our own drones. And essentially I locked myself in this attic above a garage of one of our investors neighbors. And for three months, all I did was read books on drones, robotics watched drone, building videos, read all these forums until three months later, we emerged with this drone that could lift three times the payload of the previous one we were using. We controlled every single aspect of that hardware and software. And from there, I'd say that's where like the truest vision for Lucid was born. Like, what we focus on at lucid is we build industrial drones for labor intensive tasks. Now, when most people think of drones today, they think of the smaller platforms with cameras that take cool pictures and videos and observe the world around them. At Lucid, we think of these industrial size drones that are capable of performing a meaningful, productive task and physically affecting the world around them like cleaning. And we understood that cleaning is a very difficult use case for grounds in terms of the technology we needed to develop. So by focusing on this modular platform, we could easily pick and choose different features to launch new drone applications with the ever evolving market. And that vision for the product is put to the test much earlier than we anticipated at the onset of the pandemic. We heard a lot of cleaning companies telling us everyone's sheltering in place this year cleaning isn't happening that much, but we're just overwhelmed with disinfecting. Is there anything you could do for these large facilities? So we were able to in a couple of weeks, take that core cleaning drone technology and put together a disinfecting drone and work with some really exciting customers like Mercedes-Benz stadium. And I never knew flying a drone inside an NFL stadium was a dream of mine until I was there flying a drone in between the SEC football championship and then the Falcons game the next day . But now I'm happy to say a factor really focusing on that cleaning drone , that market came back with a vengeance and that's really our core focus today is working with these exterior cleaning companies, helping them get more jobs done and less time with less liability.

Greg Muzzillo :

So I saw a video at your website, which was cleaning a roof and I found myself wondering, does the drone have enough strength to take a hose up with it so that it can spray the solution? Or does it have to come down and reload and go back?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So our drone is tethered to the ground and it's that hose that connects it to this on-ground tank, where you've got all your water and cleaning solution. The only thing that drone has to carry is that hose and the weigh of the solution inside of it. And again, we built pretty big drones. It's capable of lifting a lot of weight, say cleaning, something like a roof. That's no problem,

Greg Muzzillo :

Andrew. You're a young man and for such a young man you've accomplished so much. And I love hearing your story. Normally I ask people now that it's such a success, what are the plans for the rest of your life? But you have so much of the rest of your life. Let's talk about just let's talk about what are your plans for the next couple of phases of growing Lucid?

Andrew Ashur :

Yeah, so right now the big focus is how do we continue to delight our customers and just capture more market share with cleaning? You know, it's such a green space where there aren't other companies focused on this today and what people might not is cleaning. It's a part of our everyday lives. It's something that's regularly done, something that we expect. So we're just focused on dominating that vertical for now. But at the same time, we recognize what our technology is capable of doing. So we've done a proof of concept test with a painting drone also in the future. Maybe use our drones for firefighting, the ice scene . There are a whole host of these different applications that involve drones, that spray some type of solution. So that's really what excites us at lucid is continuing to find ways to provide value to the market by building these drones that can perform these productive tasks.

Greg Muzzillo :

If I read correctly, you guys have had at least one fundraising round or have you had more?

Andrew Ashur :

Yeah, we've had a few fundraising rounds. We raised a couple million to date and are continuing to grow the team, or we're roughly a team of 20 now. And I'd say that's been one of the most rewarding parts of the business is just getting to build a company culture and, going through the hiring and onboarding process and creating a place where people love to come to work and see the impact they get to have on a company like Lucid. I think the important thing for any startup company to consider is fundraising is what does fundraising do for you as a company? So I can tell you for us being young founders, one of the most obvious things is they gave us access to knowledge and experience. I have learned so much from my investor group, who I still rely on heavily to this date for just wisdom and insights and best practices. So I've gotten a ton of learning out of them, but then obviously you get the access to the capital. And the real thought is, what milestones am I hoping to achieve with this that I couldn't otherwise? And for us being more of a robotics company, it's capital intensive. You know, if we were building an app or more of a software only company, it might be a little bit different story, but we've got inventory we need to purchase. It was a frontier technology early on because we were doing something that hadn't been done before. We had to spend a lot of money on R and D to get it to this point and whatnot.

Greg Muzzillo :

You also, if I've read correctly, you've got a few, I think it might be three provisional patents on your technology.

Andrew Ashur :

Yeah . So we've continued to, to add to our IP portfolio it's something that depends on who you ask. It's either a valuable competitive moat or other people will kind of disregard it. So you always gotta be careful with who you ask for an opinion. When I get asked the competition question, I think that the truest answer on competition for any business is how well do you hustle? How well do you execute? Because at the end of the day, if you do those two things, right, that's what matters more than anything.

Greg Muzzillo :

I agree IP for a lot of people means , in this case, intellectual property or patents and things, other things that protect you from the competition. And so finally, you know, for those people that are listening, because our audience are people who are aspiring entrepreneurs may be somewhat on their way. Most of whom may be many of whom haven't raised money yet. How did you find the money people , that are now involved in your business?

Andrew Ashur :

It all comes down to networking briefly who you know is so powerful. And we were fortunate through that venture fund competition to one, not only meet alumni from our college that are involved in the startup world, but also members of our local community that are active angel investors. And one, we worked really hard to cultivate and grow those relationships. But then two , we frequently asked, well, who else do you think we should talk to? And we were, let's just say unapologetically, straightforward , asking for introductions to people. I think what we learned early on is the worst thing that can happen is somebody will say no, especially with asking for advice. And I think I've realized this as I've gotten a little bit deeper into my journey is now when people come to me and ask for advice, whatever it happens beyond on hiring on fundraising, I get so much joy for being able to share that knowledge. And I'm like, if I feel this way, how do other people feel when I'm asking? And I hope t hey f eel the same way a nd more times than not. When you ask somebody for some help, you're going to get it. Yes. Because people tend to enjoy it.

Greg Muzzillo :

People tend to love it. I, I was reading, I was listening to , um, oh goodness, who's the guy, Simon Sinek, you know, Simon Sinek start with why that guy, he was saying that actually, when you do something good for other people it gives you endorphins, almost like if you ran a marathon or something, it makes you feel good. And I heard him talk about that and I I'm the same way I enjoy it. And I think for all of those people who are listening that are wondering how they could build a business, just ask people. So many people love helping other people it's why, this whole Million Dollar, Monday video exists to get help to others. And so don't be shy to reach out to people because most people would feel honored that you asked. And most people would have a lot of fun sharing, some advice. And maybe a few of those people might even say they might want to invest. So Andrew, it has been great visiting with you. I am very proud of everything that you have accomplished. And , I know that at the age of 25, you have a brilliant future ahead of you. And I look forward to keeping in touch.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, Greg. I really enjoyed the conversation and I appreciate you having me on.

Introducing Andrew
Using Drones to Solve a Problem
Developing a Business Plan
Love for Entrepreneurship
Failure is a Springboard for Growth
Growing Lucid
Plans for Next Phases of Lucid
Fundraising & Networking