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Meet The Disruptors: Ken Davidov of Global Ionics On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Jilea Hemmings

We say with SpoonTEK the possibilities are endless. Our new high-tech eating utensil will allow food manufacturers to put less sugar and sodium in their ingredients for a healthier meal that can still taste great. And, by exciting the taste buds, we are hopeful that the health community may be able to use this technology for those who may have lost their sense of taste from an illness, medications or aging. That will surely shake things up!

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ken Davidov.

Ken Davidov is a 36 year veteran in design and product development. He is a founder and partner at Global Ionics LLC, focused on groundbreaking innovations using a patented booster circuit technology for consumer products, sensors, wearables, healthcare devices, smart phones, alarms, toys, solar, wireless charging, and anything that uses a battery. Ken’s import companies distribute a range of products, in a variety of categories, including plastics, metals, glass, ceramic, toys, electronics, textiles and furniture sold to Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store, Amazon, Wayfair and many other houseware, hardware, online retailers, and specialty chains. Ken is proficient in new product development, prototyping, all stages of approvals & materials accrual, factory certification (including ES, QC, Security), mass scale production and importing, and has brought over 1,000 products to market.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area. My Dad owned a small chain of 3 drug stores and my Mom was an abstract artist. My vision to develop unique technologies that bring a strong benefit for consumers comes from my Dad and my love for beautiful, vibrant colors that only nature can produce comes from my Mom. With this kind of upbringing, I was destined for a career in new product development, mass scale production and importing.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

For the past 10 years, I have been working on technologies that combine the human body, battery power and a mild electric current to introduce new products that can provide an incredible wellness benefit. All of our products are not only available to consumers but are disruptors in that they all incorporate our groundbreaking technologies. Hygenius toothbrush is a manual toothbrush with built-in electronics that pulls plaque and bacteria from the teeth and mouth like no other manual toothbrush. An upcoming available product called SpoonTEK will be the first commercial eating utensil with built-in electronics that excite the taste buds, enhances taste, neutralizes after-taste, and takes tongue sensory to a whole new level. LIFTiD Neurostimulation is a brain stimulation headset that uses popular tDCS technology for focus, attention, memory, productivity and performance. A LIFTiD stimulation session for 20 minutes, once a day, is a smart alternative to chemical stimulants such as caffeine, energy drinks, sugary snacks and performance enhancers.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

As an importer, it’s always nerve-wracking working with a factory for the first time. I produced 100,000 indoor/outdoor thermometers packaged on a blister card for Zayre Department Stores in 1987. Long before there were digital approvals and fast courier deliveries, I sent the overseas factory the artwork for our color packaging. I freaked out when the shipment arrived and the words on the packaging were not centered, and everything was off, which, I learned was because the factory changed the package size without providing me notice. I decided not to say anything, because the thermometers worked well, and I thought the consumer would not harp on a lousy looking package. Well, to my excitement, they sold out of thermometers and reordered multiple times. The lesson I learned from that one experience has stayed with me my entire career — spend the extra time going through “pre-production” approvals till both sides are satisfied. It will make an immense impact on your product and demonstrating to your manufacturers that you care will always strengthen the partnership in the long term.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

My Dad and I were complete opposites, but we found a way to work together for 30 years. He was a great listener, very conservative and never caved. He would hold the line when it came to spending and price, and justified every decision he made. I, on the other hand, started my career as a poor listener, an optimist x 10, and did whatever it takes to make a deal. That was a recipe for disaster. Over the years, I realized that there is nothing wrong with emulating people who command respect, show humility and are well liked. My Dad was quiet and reserved, but when he spoke, it resonated. He would be very proud today to know his son is a lot like him!

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruptive is a powerful word. I am always careful not to overuse it or even misuse it. I will give you a couple of examples. For example, when I developed LIFTiD, our brain stimulation device, we initially described it as a disruptive technology with a disruptive price. While this seemed on target, in reality the tDCS brain stimulation headset market is small and emerging. How do you disrupt a category that doesn’t exist? For the sake of buzzwords, it sounds cool when you say it is disruptive, but at the end of the day, we misused the word. For LIFTiD, groundbreaking or revolutionary is a more applicable word. In the case of our Hygenius toothbrush, we are disrupting the oral care category, and, in particular, the manual toothbrush category. Our manual toothbrush has built-in electronics, uses the human body and a mild electric current to easily and gently pull plaque from the teeth. The result is a superior clean from our unique one-of-a kind technology. That’s disruptive!

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

● “Don’t take a NO answer from someone that is not in a position to give you a YES answer.” That was my Mom’s favorite saying and I use this advice all the time. If you want something, it’s easy for someone on the other end to say no. Most of the time, people just say okay and walk away. That “no” is what motivates me to explain to that person that there is someone that will give me a yes answer. It doesn’t always work, but if you need to get that yes, don’t give up.

● “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth.” Be a good listener. My wife says this to me every time I leave the house. When I am in a meeting or in a call, and I’m rambling, this little phrase pops into my head!

● “The future is now.” I grew up a Washington Football Team fan and George Allen was our coach. It is never too late to re-introduce a great product. Maybe it had bad packaging, maybe the marketing message didn’t resonate, maybe it was ahead of its time? The future is now!

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We say with SpoonTEK the possibilities are endless. Our new high-tech eating utensil will allow food manufacturers to put less sugar and sodium in their ingredients for a healthier meal that can still taste great. And, by exciting the taste buds, we are hopeful that the health community may be able to use this technology for those who may have lost their sense of taste from an illness, medications or aging. That will surely shake things up!

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

There are 2 podcasts I highly recommend. The first is 9-Volt Nirvana from Radiolab. It is all about tDCS technology and one woman’s journey using it for sniper training. This podcast is one of the reasons I love this incredible technology that is backed by over 4,000 published studies on pubmed.gov. The other is the Invisibilia podcast called The Remote Control Brain. It is about a woman who has an implanted stimulation device to help with her battle with OCD — it is an extremely enlightening and emotional podcast. In our daily lives, we must recognize that other people are severely suffering for a variety of reasons and we should be much more sensitive and supportive to anyone that is experiencing mental or physical pain. There are cutting edge technologies on the horizon that can offer symptom relief and give people a sense of normalcy in their lives which gives me hope. Since developing LIFTiD Neurostimulation, we get so much positive feedback from consumers that our device is helping them get through their days. That means everything to me!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Good men are bound by conscience and liberated by accountability.” This quote has meaning to me both in my personal and business life. The first thing I do is always put the blame on me and never on others. If I get into an argument with my wife or kids, I always take the high road. I don’t like to fight and, by being accountable things improve quickly. The same goes with business. If something goes wrong, I find a way to channel the problem back to me. “Maybe we can find a better alternative or maybe we can bring in a new set of eyes to help us out”. I find this method is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Change your diet. I switched to a vegan diet over a year ago and it has changed my world. I no longer call it a diet, I call it a lifestyle. I have more energy, I am in better shape and everything I eat tastes delicious. Your taste buds change and you adapt to your new environment. It wasn’t easy. They say it takes 30 days to make a habit and 30 days to break a habit. “30 Days to a Happier YOU”. Give change a chance!

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can always connect with me through our social media sites: Follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with @getLIFTiD — we’re looking forward to talking with you!

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Thank you for letting me share my story!

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Jilea Hemmings

Jilea Hemmings

Founder Nourish + Bloom Market | Stretchy Hair Care I Author I Speaker I Eshe Consulting I Advocate For Diversity In Beauty