Search Interviews:

Chad Franzen  9:51  

So how does it work then? Is FlowingEdge like an email address or what do you do once you start wanting to utilize FlowingEdge?

William Vablais  10:00  

So with the flow to actually register yourself into a system, it creates a username and a password. And then you can download the app, you will download the app and then on the on each device that the app is registered and actually creates its own encryption, public encryption key. And then it knows similar to, when you’re going on to a TV set and you want to run, you want to stream Netflix and you go to the website and you don’t on an on your TV, it comes up with a with a number on there, right? Numbers, emails, all this stuff. Without you don’t have to do any numbers, no IP addresses, no, nothing, you go to the device, install it, and it automatically starts itself. And that’s it.

Chad Franzen  10:51  

So in order to, in order to let’s say, somebody is sending you a file, and they’re using FlowingEdge in order to receive it, that person must also be flowing.

William Vablais


Chad Franzen

Okay. Okay. How did you what, what was the kind of the genesis like, you know, how did this kind of really start to materialize?

William Vablais  11:12  

So, we were working on a product, the three of us, and we said, you know, how one of our engineer had been working on a completely disruptive environment that had no centralized system at all. And it wasn’t ideal. And we said, well, let’s, let’s try and reformulate that and get a much better handle on what what we can do with it. And because I worked in peer to peer in the past, it was a much easier way to navigate through some of the loopholes that we have had in the past. And so we started developing, FlowingEdge around about a year ago, today. Well, this week, actually, it’s kind of an interesting one there. And in that year, we have basically created a demo that’s just built up and built up from the basic unit, which was an agent’s running with a piece of code that actually can be ported for any platform. And so the interesting parts of it is the code is very, very small. And we optimized it for IoT devices, actually. So that it’s ready for the next generation of, you know, the tidal wave of data that’s going to hit our networks as well. Because really, if you’re talking about, you know, IOT, there’s no way that, you know, an IOT device can keep sending it up to a centralized server by uploading and downloading If you want real time connections, right? So there is no real easy solution to do that, especially with an API associated with it as well. So I think we’ve covered most of the bases for us for now. And we’re very excited about showing it off and showing what we can do. We’re actually just sending 300 megabyte files between phones between here and Garner, and here and India, with with no latency at all. I mean, it’s real time, you get to see the real time progress on a progress bar, as it’s leaving the device. And as it’s coming in from from other people as well.

Chad Franzen  13:26  

Wow. Have you always, you know, most people like me, or most people in the world for decades, I’ve just accepted that. You know, this is how you send files. I mean, the fact that you can even send files was, was probably a new development, and everybody was happy about that. Have you always been kind of like this? Somebody who recognizes a problem and then tries to figure out a way to solve it?

William Vablais  13:51  

Yeah, pretty much. You know, I started. I came over to the US about 30 years ago, for Microsoft, actually. And back then it was CD ROM, that was the big media move, and multimedia and things like that. There was an issue with being able to play that technology in a PC and then taking it out of the PC and putting it in a domestic player, because it would blow the speakers if it couldn’t consider the data playable. Right? And so that was a problem. So I was able to, you know, have the time and the resources and the energy. You know, I was 30 years younger though. But, uh, to create a new type of technology based on something called CD plus. And it became an industry standard, because it wasn’t around so when it’s not around, I try and figure out a way to build it and create it. So that’s what I’ve been doing all along my career actually.

Chad Franzen  14:52  

What was the first time you ever remember doing something like that? Even when you were when you were a kid? Did you have this instinct?

William Vablais  14:59  

Yeah. My mother’s got a really, you know, sad tale that, you know, she was pushing me along at age four. And suddenly the pram handles came off, and I was holding the bolts because I was undoing them as they’re going down the road, you know, so I was already sort of tinkering with things as well. So I suppose that was a, either a good sign or a bad sign that I didn’t get run over back then.

Chad Franzen  15:24  

So you are a, you’re kind of a serial entrepreneur. What, what are some other entrepreneurial endeavors that you’ve been involved with? I think just looking at some of your history, FirstWave3D Corp was one of them.

William Vablais  15:35  

So FirstWave3D Corp and interesting technology as well. So we started off in the first wave of the COVID, actually, to create next technology masks. And with those, we created an app that we said, you know, again, going back to first principles, you know, there’s got to be better than having a mask that’s created for people that’s made out of 90s technology, which is basically an average of 1000 people, right. And then you get this face piece, which is like this big to cover all the bases. And it’s hot and sweaty and nasty, and you’re weary, and it doesn’t really work that well. And really, at the end of the day, if you have a mask that’s leaks, it’s not a mask, it’s just something that you stick on your face, right? So it’s okay, it’s got to be a better way of doing it.

So we created an app on you can go to the App Store on iPhone and download it and it literally downloads into an iPhone and you put it in front of your face, it uses time of flight. So the same technology is that when you take a photograph, and it basically scans your face, and calculates all the points where the mask face piece that we’ve designed, will touch that those points are all calculated on the phone, so that we don’t end up with a database of scanned faces, or, you know, escaped convicts or something like that, you know, that anyone can see, you know, get get all bent out of shape, you know, the GDPR or anything. And it sends it to us, we do a bit of post processing on that. And we drive a machine that we created. It’s a four axis machine that actually has a hot wire, and it cuts through the templates that we’ve placed in the machine, and it creates the the contour of where it fits, then we put in this ledge piece around it, and you’ve got your mask that then you could connect into produced masks that we produce as well. So that was the first one because we had to figure out how everyone’s face is different. It’s not you don’t have a standard face. I mean, you have a standard standard. So we need a non standard way of capturing people’s faces, but also capturing the contours, everyone’s contour is different. Everyone’s nose bridge is different, and so on. So we had the software built, it took three engineers and a mathematician to build that up. And so that was four months worth of work. We started about two years ago, we’ve we’ve just started selling the first of our masks, which we went through a number of iterations, we went all the way to the moon, you know, put Bluetooth in stuff, you know, noise cancellation, all that stuff. And then we had to come back. And then that was a bicycle, because of the, you know, the supply chain issues. And we said, well, if we try and do too much, then we will not be able to produce anything because we can’t get the chipsets, right. So we ended up with a very compact mask that fits on your face. And it’s all washable. Even the filters are washable as well, you just put it into the base of a washing machine. And off it goes. And I’m doing that in parallel with this slowing edge thing as well. So it’s kind of very interesting. One’s very tactile, and lots of production, you know, manufacturing issues, all that stuff. The other one is completely virtual. It’s software to two beasts. Definitely their issues, but they’re very exciting, very creative at the same time. Very interesting to see how people react to those as well.

Chad Franzen  19:29  

Yeah, amazing. Hey, are there other endeavors that you’ve been involved with where you kind of you recognize there was maybe a gap, a big gap or a problem with the way everybody does things? And you’ve kind of built your own thing?

William Vablais  19:44  

Yeah, there’s a whole bunch of ones where we did the peer to peer technologies back then. When Napster got shut down and then we came up with a way to send and receive files and share them around that was a peer to peer that we’ve gotten into very early on around something called Morpheus on that, more recently been working with a really great company, based on in, in Greece, actually. So that company is called Ionics and parts of Astrodynamics. They, they’re interesting, because throughout the 90s, if you had gone into a reception area of a building of any company, right behind the reception, this would have been a wall for the little flashing lights. And that’s where all the all the wires came to their extensions, right? You know, and if you had to have an extension to put it in, you’d have to call an engineer, and they would come out, and they’ll charge you at least $1,000, you know, just to look at it, you know, is that it’s more, it’s more expensive than plumbing really. And then they would have an extension put it in, right. And so that’s where all the technology of the day would end up. Right in this big patch panel box. And so throughout the 90s, they said, right, we don’t like this anymore, it’s too expensive. And it makes too much noise. And it’s taking up too much space out. So for the first few years of the 2000s, they started ripping it out and replacing it with these virtual phones, you know, the IP phones, right? And so they’re all in the cloud, and they’re getting IPs and, and your phones and IP phone. Wow. And yeah, so there’s they ripped all the stuff out, then they went on to the cloud. And for about 15 years since then, you know, everyone was like happy and happy as punch because they had IP phones and didn’t have to worry about it. And all that stuff, except the services started getting a bit wonky, because they were one eye on the internet and the internet is getting a bit saturated from time to time. So also, it’s allowed lots of people to listen in on your conversations. If you’re avoiding your conversations. Now you pick up the phone and your conversation immediately goes to the cloud, someone could actually the same night, right? So it’s much easier than it was before. So now companies are sort of pulling back and saying well, how do we get control of that. So ironically, this Greek company actually has little box, produces a box with their own NOC that you can have as your little small business and medium sized business. And on that knock, you can put people on different channels and all sorts of other things. It does compliancy records, it sends people, you can see what people are whatever it is, and it puts you back in the driving seat as well. And it’s back in the office again. So after ripping all those things up now and putting it back in the office again. So they’re the only company that I know, that actually is doing that, which is kind of a cool thing, because what seems to be old is now New again, you know, we’re sort of going around this whole circle of fashion, you know, and everyone’s going back to, you know, got record player over there. And, you know, old LPs and things like that they’re in fashion again, right? So why not? So that’s what I’m involved in as well. So that’s kind of exciting. And then, part of giving back to all of this is that I’m involved with a high school here in Franklin, Tennessee. And they have, you know, high school full of students who are being taught startup and entrepreneurial skills, and they’ve called the EIC, the Entrepreneurial Innovation Center. And it’s the first of its kind and it’s like completely gone bananas. I was involved in the very early stages of it, and there that it’s just incredibly successful that they got to building they’d set it all up and, and when you go to do the judging of the products at the end of the year, and all that sort of stuff. So it’s very, very exciting to see young people actually coming out of school with more entrepreneurial skills than a lot of students coming out of university actually. Sad really, but that’s really exciting.

Chad Franzen  24:18  

You know, there are certain types of entrepreneurs. There are some who you know, maybe you’re a restaurant franchisee or something, you buy an already established restaurant, maybe you open your own restaurant, but you’re doing things that nobody, nobody, maybe people have tried, but they’re they’re not out there yet. Like what gives you the confidence to you know, like my dad was an electrical engineer. He’d solve all sorts of problems and unique ways around our house, but he didn’t promote them worldwide. What gives you the confidence to be able to do that?

William Vablais  24:50  

Well, I can’t say that. It’s just me. So the confidence really is based around the people you bring to the table. All around you surround yourself with really good people. And you can’t really go far wrong with that, you know, good engineers, good salespeople, good marketing people, whatever it whatever it takes. Because I don’t have all the answers, I can only sort of guide people, you know, I can’t be arrogant to think that, oh, yeah, it’s me, I’m doing that I can, I can have a say in something, and I often get shot down, right, if someone can’t come up with a good reason for my idea, then they will do it, you know, but if they can come up with a better one, then we go with the better one, right. So it’s all about listening, actually, as you get older, you sort of tend to listen a little bit longer, because you know, you’re not running around as fast. So basically, the, the, the sound waves can can actually get to you quicker, you know, before you’ve actually gone to the next stage. And so that that’s helped a lot. And I’ve got phenomenal world class people around me doing what we’re doing. And we, we couldn’t have done it in a large organization. Actually, the other thing, because I have a small team, and I’m part of a small team, we’re not bogged down with, you know, corporate culture or corporate this or, you know, who’s going to have that we always have the discussions about how would this project look in a large company, because all of us have been in large corporations, right? And we’re with, we’re sort of having these conversations about, well, you know, there’s probably gets bogged down in what color they’re going to paint it before they’ve actually designed it, or, you know, who’s going to manage it, you know, on the post sale support before it’s actually been manufactured or things like that. So, you’ve got so many moving parts, and so many agendas in a large corporation, that we’re not affected by that when you’re small and nimble. And so that, that also gives me a lot of confidence as well. And the other thing is, you know, no one’s written the manual on this, that’s a good thing about it, you know, no one can say, well, you’re doing it wrong, because no one’s done it before. So it’s kind of a nice place to be really.

Chad Franzen  27:12  

Have you ever had any ideas that you were certain they would work, but but maybe your your team, or whatever, told you not to? Or you just didn’t, you just didn’t couldn’t figure out how to how to get it going? And maybe what were some of those ideas? If there were any.

William Vablais  27:28  

I’ve got plenty of those. But none of them come to mind right now. Very early on, we had lots of ideas about, you know, having a different UI or something like that. And, and after having lots of conversations with users, actually, they generally cut through, you know, all the, you know, the, the belief that you’re doing so right, and then they come and shoot you down in like, a second. Because you said they say, but have you thought about this? And then you think, oh, I haven’t, I didn’t think about that at all, you know the way that it would be. And then just looking at users in general, the way that they operate, and they they would use a product, it certainly opens your eyes in the way that a product is used and downloaded. For example, first of all, you know, very few people that I know, want to read a manual, right? So they’re more likely to follow a video set of instructions, right? So we have to do all that. So and then you think that someone’s going to go through the process, and they fall off the edge of the cliff because you know, they didn’t see an email coming in or something like that, that needed to be verified, or whatever it was. So you know, those types of things, you know, you have to keep locking and hardy, filling the holes in as you go along. backfilling it all so it’s that’s very exciting, too. But, you know, products that I’ve come across that I thought, Oh, this is going to be a really good idea. Yes, probably quite a lot. But I can’t really say on air, because it probably wouldn’t be good to talk about.

Chad Franzen  29:21  

Understandable. Hey, so what are some of your goals with FlowingEdge then moving forward?

William Vablais  29:27  

Oh, gosh, well, FlowingEdge has got the ability to be a paradigm shift, and how people get to send files when you don’t have any limits on the file system, right. You can send literally any file you want. You can send the entire Atlantic Ocean through it, except you got a little straw to send it through. So it’ll take a bit of a long time, but there’s no limit on what you can send through that opens up you know, all sorts of possibilities right. So now you can send instead of sending you know, on tick call some of these other social media sites where you know, you’re limited to a certain size or three minutes, or it’s a grainy, you know, text message video that you’ve been sent by someone, you can’t even see what it’s doing, like a bunch of pixels dancing around, you’re going back to the 70s, or something, you know, now you can send them 4k resolution for video of someone’s wedding for an hour, you know, because it takes 150, 200 megabytes, right? And you can send easily these are between phones between devices. We’re seeing engineers now sending you know, architectural drawings, 3d prints of, you know, large devices or large parts to actually print that couldn’t be sent normally, they’re all being being sent free FlowingEdge, because that is it, you literally, if you can select a file, you know, just select a file, you need know how to drag it, and you know how to drop it, you’re good to go. And our way of seeing this is to see everybody use it, we want as many people to use it as possible, we’ve, we’ve dropped the, we’ve we’ve got a price, which is very disruptive. So we, instead of paying a monthly cost, it’s a one year cost for $30, $29.95 for the whole year. All you can eat, all you can send whatever you want to do. And I think that’s a pretty reasonable approach to take. Basically puts file sharing, or file delivery in the rearview mirror, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. You don’t have to spend time chopping up files anymore. It’s just really easy to use.

Chad Franzen  31:52  

How do you overcome the necessity to have two ends in terms of sending and receiving?

William Vablais  32:00  

But you put two ends anyway, right? When you when you buy a product these days, and you need to have like, if you say, well, I like Google, you know, a browser or something or you have another product you’re going to download anyway, you know, because it doesn’t come naturally on the on the system. So I don’t think that’s going to be a barrier. Really, I mean, when you see that such benefits of it, which literally takes two minutes to install, you know, then I don’t see that that’s the barrier. The barrier to me will be more people trying to get their head around the fact that it’s limitless. File Storage. Oh, yes. You mean, I can send anything I like oh, yes, you can, you know, oh, I don’t have to upload it. No, I don’t have to wait for verification email. No, I don’t have ads, frosting my face when I’m sending it. No. So all those all those things lead to ease of use? And it just makes it easy to send. Yeah.

Chad Franzen  33:00  

Yeah. Sounds great. How can people find out more about it? I have one more question after this. But how can people find out more about FlowingEdge?

William Vablais  33:06  

We have a website. It’s called And you can register on that and enjoy using it.

Chad Franzen  33:16  

Last question for you, as you as you work with some of these young entrepreneurs or people who are studying entrepreneurship, what kind of advice or what kind of mindset do you think that they have to have that might be different from those who are maybe just out to get a job?

William Vablais  33:32  

Well, they’re already, you can see it in the schools that they already are on operating on a different plane than the other other students. They’re already thinking about, you know, products, and scaling and marketing and things like that. And, you know, they wouldn’t have come to the entrepreneur innovation center without that backing, and without that thrust of ambition, as well. They know what they want, and they’re going to get it and they’re going to be the next generation of entrepreneurs. There’s no question about that, in fact, I’m going to be meeting with them tomorrow. So, so students who have already graduated, right, they’re already on their way to college, they’re still in the innovation center over the summer working on products so that they can get it ready to when they can sell it to the students in in university. Now that’s pretty innovative already. And that’s pretty ambitious as well. So pretty cool to see that, you know, just because it’s a new, you know, new way of doing things doesn’t mean that that, you know, it’s it’s not available to everybody to use and they they, they they take the technology and they run with it and it’s just fantastic to watch. Very exciting.

Chad Franzen  34:58  

Yeah, it sounds like it. Hey William it’s been great to talk to you. I really appreciate your time today, it’s been great hearing your thoughts, your insights, your journey, and what you’re working on now. Thank you so much.

William Vablais  35:09  

Thank you. It’s been fantastic to be on it. Thank you very much.

Chad Franzen  35:13  

So long everybody.