10 Questions with Bill O’Farrell, CEO of Body Labs
Ohhh… You’re talkin’ to the wrong guy. I’m over 50. My new toy is a better tennis racket. Even better. I just bought a new surfboard. (Bill writes this off as an after-thought, but it’s a 6’6” Firewire… if you don’t know that means, he can actually surf.)
Well, I know there’s no more oysters left. I grew up on long Island, which is the eastern equivalent of New Jersey. It’s not like the hippest, smartest people are just in NY. It’s a giant metropolitan area, and there’s a lot of talent, interest, and a lot of potential ideas, and we want everyone to participate.
There are two things that warrant high fives. First, something that’s really cool just inspires a high-five. But a leaping high-five, or a leaping chest bump comes when that something that’s really cool translates into something that’s really useful to a consumer or business. So combining useful and cool is the giant high-five.
I read The Economist, historical novels, and I get a newsfeed that keeps me up to date, mostly on politics. I’m not the real follower of Twitter, tweets, or blogs.
I wish more people would read.
Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight blog. I think he’s the smartest man around.
WHO’S YOUR HERO AND WHY?
Both my parents were public school teachers. I think every public school teacher I ever had is a hero. It’s not a thankless job, the kids are just too young to thank you, and by the time they get older, they move out of town. Everybody appreciates it, you just don’t get to hear it.
WHO WAS THE MOST IMPACTFUL ADVISOR?
A law and society professor in college was by far the most impactful.
WHAT’S INSPIRING YOU NOW?
Let me give you a Preamble. I teach at Columbia Business School, and most of the employees at Body Lab are in their 20s and 30s. I just think what’s going on with the whole demographic change that’s happening — I just love listening to those folks talking about their hopes and dreams. I’m looking forward to the Gen-X, or Millennials, or whatever really shaking off all the criticism and really coming into their own.
WHAT’S THE LITMUS TEST TO INVEST YOUR TIME.
Is it cool? And can you get rich?
In business… I have other goals as well. I want to qualify that so I don’t just come across as a serpentine capitalist.
ASK OF THE AUDIENCE
Our first phase of consumer facing applications will be coming out in the fall. We’d love for people to use them and give us feedback.
ABOUT BODY LABS
Body Labs, Inc. is a start-up company deploying cutting edge body modeling software for applications in the apparel, CAD and video gaming areas. The technology is spun out of the Max Planck Institute and Brown University.
Contributed by: Gil Olsen