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Every Problem is An Opportunity with Russell Aldridge, CEO and Co-founder of SISU Cinema Robotics

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What were you doing when you were 11 years old? Whatever it was, do you think it was shaping the person you are today? Not philosophically, I mean directly. Was the 11-year-old you learning the skills you’d need to succeed in the job you’re doing now?

Very few people would answer yes to that question. Russell Aldridge is one of them. 

Russell has been a tinkerer and a builder his whole life, and eventually, that passion led him, like many entrepreneurs, to take a leap of faith.

“I said, ‘I’m thinking about quitting my job and starting a company in the garage,” Russell said when recalling the conversation with his wife. “‘What do you think?’ And she said, ‘Well, what’s the worst that could happen?’ And I said, ‘Well, we could lose everything and have to move back to Utah.’ And she said, ‘Well, we don’t have anything. And I’d love to move back to Utah. So go ahead.’”

There’s no doubt that the company Russell was starting was a gamble. He called it SISU Cinema Robotics and wanted to build robots that could do … well, pretty much anything. He’d had some practical experience, and yes, as an 11-year-old, Russell was learning the skills he’d apply to this company, but now Russell was a father and a husband. He’d already uprooted his family once to walk into the unknown, and now he was asking them to trust him again. 

What led Russell here? And how has SISU evolved from that roll of the dice idea into a company that is revolutionizing the film and television industry?

Find out on this episode of The Journey.

Main Takeaways:

  • Connections Matter: Who you work for and with is important. When you choose a business partner or to take on a company as a client, understand exactly the commitment you are getting into, what is expected, and how you can make each other better along the way. Additionally, try never to burn bridges. A company you once worked for and left might become a customer later on, and you’ll want to be able to fall back on the good impression you left.
  • Solve What Needs Solving: There are an endless number of problems in the world, and no matter how good your product is, it won’t be able to solve issues for every person. Narrow down who your customers are and what one big challenge they face that you can solve, then do that exceptionally well. 
  • Take The Chance: You hear all the time that you should follow your passion and it’s true. When you do the things you love, the hard times you face become more manageable because you have a “why” behind what you do.

Key Quotes:

“People would call in [to National Instruments] and say, ‘Hey, I love these robotics products that you guys have, who can help me integrate these, who can help me make these work for my business?’ And we’d say, ‘You know what, there really isn’t anybody who specializes in this right now. And so that’s kind of the niche that we left to fill. We wanted to help other companies be successful in the world of robotics, using equipment from national instruments.

“What is the worst that can happen if you quit your job to start a robotics business in the garage? Lose everything and move back to Utah? WIFE: Well, we don’t have anything, and I’d love to move back to utah. 

“You have to be confident enough to succeed in something but pliable enough to change direction…”

“One of the most exciting things about being an entrepreneur to me is, is about helping other people be successful. I think if you can be, you’re going to be passionate about helping other people succeed.”

Bio:

“Russell Aldridge is the CEO of SISU Cinema Robotics. Russell fell in love with technology at an early age and loved tinkering and inventing machines to solve problems. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University and was drawn to the school because of his excellence in engineering and passion for teaching students to serve others. In 2010, Russell started SISU out of a garage in Austin Texas with a mission to create custom robotics that would help companies grow their business. In 2019, SISU Cinema Robotics was launched to create robots for cinematographers that are fast to learn, easy to use, and simple to program. Now any cinematographer can create Hollywood-level content at a fraction of the time and cost.”

 

This season of the Journey is produced by Mission.org and brought to you by UPS. To learn how UPS can help your small business, go to UPS.com/pivot.

Episode 93