Nathan Harding
Karriere Level

“The ‘Thank yous’ that people are giving me all the time. They are thanking me, when I feel I should be thanking them.” The coolest part of Nathan Harding’s job refers to their product. Wearable robots that give people the chance to augment their capabilities. “As a CEO, you always want to be able to hire a 1000 more people and pay them 50 percent more. You can’t always do that. That’s where you feel the restrictions.”


Drei Ratschläge an Dein 14jähriges Ich!

You know I would say start as an entrepreneur earlier. You know it's funny like you kind of want to learn how companies work and just how teams work in your industry, kind of the things like that at first but the truth is I think later in life it actually becomes much harder to be an entrepreneur because you want to spend time with your kids and things like that. So I think if I was going to get myself any advice is probably to break into the entrepreneurial world earlier.

Was steht auf Deiner Visitenkarte?

My name is Nathan Harding. I'm CEO and co-founder of Ekso Bionics.

Was ist das coolste an Deinem Job?

The thank yous that people are giving me all the time. On the one handed it makes me feel a little uncomfortable because I don't... They're thanking me when I feel like I should be thanking them because they're really allowing us to do this great thing and it's their excitement that gets us to the next goal. So it's funny because we're kind of thanking each other but I mean I get letters and emails and stuff all the time from people who are just completely inspired. I get letters from a prison in Florida about how we've inspired their GED class in the prison to really learn their math and science. Just stuff like that is really cool.

Welche Einschränkungen bringt Dein Job mit sich?

I think as a CEO you'd always want to be able to hire a thousand more people and pay them 50% more and build as fast as possible and you can't always do that. That's kind of playing the game of holding yourself back to be responsible about your spending the way you're proceeding. That's kind of where you feel the restrictions.

Worum geht es in Deinem Job?

We're a human exoskeleton company. We make wearable robots that people wear to augment their capabilities. We're really at a core about augmenting human capabilities. The most exciting part about that is our medical mission where we get people up and walking who have no ability to walk without our human exoskeletons called Exo and in that market we've made a commitment to get a million people up and walking in ten years and we're at about 1500 people so far and we're adding new people every day. I'm incredibly lucky in that I lead a team of total geniuses. I mean, it makes a lot of my job very easy because they're so capable. Unfortunately for the most part what that means for me right now is going around raising money and doing the kind of things that go along with that. Just trying to present the company in the best light, get as many people to know about it is possible. So it's easy as it can be for us to see. I do quite a bit of travelling and we'll travel to places like New York and I will have four or five presentations during the day where I present to different people, the company, and what we're about and what we're going to do and why they might want to be part of the team. Unfortunately, I very rarely get involved in the technical discussions anymore and that's sad for me because I definitely love technology and that's where I came from. I'm an engineer and it's really fun when I do get to participate on that level but now we've got a lot of momentum and we've real sales and real product and there's a lot of other work to do and I've got extremely capable people to do that so unfortunately I don't get to do much of it myself anymore.

Wie sieht Dein Werdegang aus?

Okay so I grew up in Houston Texas. I basically took a part and put back together everything I could get my hands on and made crazy bikes and mini-bikes and all kinds of stuff. I worked in a machine shop there before leaving to go to college at Carnegie Mellon University where I studied mechanical engineering and economics. There I worked in a Field Robotics Center Under Red Widecker. We were building big six legged walking machines for NASA then I worked at a spinoff company from that lab in Pittsburgh called RedZone robotics and I landed in grad school in a lab at UC Barkley called the Human Robotics In Engineering Laboratory. And there people on human exoskeletons back then that was ‘91 when I started. But frankly I thought it was a little crazy. There were these gigantic gorilla robots that looked very dangerous and I went out in the industry. I worked at a place called Barkley Process Control where I was able to build a team that was very successful in making automated equipment. Unfortunately most of that automated equipment made optical fiber. So when the optical fiber market crashed we kind of all went our separate ways and I landed back in that laboratory at UC Barkley as a consultant. Was able to bring some of my old team in and the mix of students and consultants really got us to a breakthrough very quickly and that was how Ekso Bionics got started.

Ginge es auch ohne Deinem Werdegang?

Where my background really helps me is knowing the real limitations in the technology and what the hard things technologically are. And that helps me a lot. Of course I've had to pick up all kinds of education along the way for myself about business and law and things like that. I think you could probably do it the other way around. Someone who really understood business and law, if they really did a deep dive into the technology and they could get a grasp on what the difficulties are to move ahead and that would help them choose a path. I think you could do it. It would definitely be a challenge but I think people can do it.