Harit Doshi is the president and founding CEO at Omniply Technologies, which is working on enabling sticker electronics and flexible OLED displays. Doshi has over 20 years of entrepreneurial, general management, product development, and R&D experience in the Displays and Electronics Industries. He previously served as Senior Vice President at AerNos, a semiconductor sensor company. Prior to that he was General Manager for E Ink’s Digital Signage Business Unit that he quadrupled in size within 2 years; Doshi has had various R&D positions at E Ink and Corning Inc., in advancing next-generation display materials. At E Ink he played an instrumental role in developing and launching the world’s first electrophoretic eReader display to the marketplace, that enabled the company to reach $1b+ in revenue.
Doshi has been deeply involved with Society for Information Display (SID); he was chair of Innovation Zone (I-Zone) from 2016-2020, during which time the I-Zone doubled in size and became one of the highlights for the annual Display Week event, which will be held in person May 8-13 in San Jose, California. He became Display Week’s exhibition chair in 2020 during uncertain times, to spearhead the transition to a virtual exhibition. In 2021 he became Convention’s Chair and helped Display Week 2021 break even despite 70% drop in revenues. SID hosts the best display industry event for display exhibition, showcasing the latest and greatest display innovations, platform for global collaboration, and technical symposium and training sessions all at Display Week. For more information, visit www.displayweek.org. To register for Display Week 2022, please click here. To view the DW2022 registration video, please click here.
Where did the idea for Omniply Technologies come from?
Prof. Chi Wan Lee at Purdue University invented the core technology that resulted in the formation of Omniply Technologies. He was then working with Prof. John Rogers at Univ of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. His research focused on flexible electronics with a dream of a world where any electronic device can be pasted, just like stickers, to add smart functionality to everyday objects. Applications of this technology goes beyond sticker electronics but the key industries that we are focused on include flexible OLED displays and semiconductor IC manufacturing.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As an entrepreneur, you can count on a typical to be atypical on most days. If you have this mind set, everything falls in place. My daily activities change depending on the short- and longer-term focus for the company. Whether it is fundraising, growing the team, training younger members of the team, customer project deliverables, R&D progress, and road map to planning for the company infrastructure. One constant in a typical day is quick daily sync meeting with key members of the team to review progress and hurdles. We implemented soon about COVID-19 in 2020 and it has worked well for the team to stay synced no matter whether the members are working in the lab or remotely. I focus on staying fit – both nutrition and exercise to stay productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It is important that the company culture supports an open mindset, collaboration and building & improving on original ideas to a point that it can brought forward towards commercialization. You need to have a critical mass of people in the company who believe in make innovative ideas come to fruition. Then, it’s execution, execution, execution.
What’s one trend that excites you?
What is most exciting is that the pace of the innovation has never been greater in the display industry. Where LCD is trying to stay relevant by continuously improving performance, OLEDs; particularly flexible plastic based, are enabling new applications and form factors that not been possible before. We are already seeing foldable phones, foldable laptops and tablets, this trend will extend into automobiles, industrial and medical applications. Whereas microLEDs shows a promise of ultimate display performance in the lab and the industry is planning to build fabs to support this technology. For the first time we are seeing that there may be multiple display technologies that will co-exist to give consumers the best display quality and experience.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Before going to bed every night, I review my key items to focus and accomplish the following day. Somedays, there are too many items that need my attention, so prioritization is key in making sure that you get the critical and important tasks. This helps me stay focused on important items, even when days are not going as originally planned. One of my mentors helped me to think about the prioritization based on the four quadrants method (focusing on my quadrant II activities reduces the fires in quadrant I, over time).
What advice would you give your younger self?
Work hard, stay hungry and driven. Find the right mentors that can help you see around the corners and help you realize your full potential.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You need to schedule time with yourself on a regular basis to step out of your day-to-day hustle to reflect on accomplishments, and gaps; how would someone else address if they were in your shoes. While this is not always easy to do, when done well and routinely, it can help see things done differently, more efficiently, or in some cases help you realize where one should change course.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Relentless pursuit for execution.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Truly understand customer pain points and how you can help them. Help your own team understand these customer needs and translate these into the products you offer. Be transparent, honest, provide value to your customers, and build relationships for the longer term. We are here because of the customer.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
To realize a full potential of one’s product, it is very likely that you must work with companies across the globe. Early on in my career, one challenge we had with a with large multinational company was their quarterly rating and assessment our company and project with them. The best ratings initially were “just okay”. They were politely telling us that we were failing. I learnt early on that one of the key challenges in a supplier (small start-up) and customer (large multinational) company is how to set the right expectations, communication in a way that both parties have transparency and can understand the key challenges and pathways to overcome these, and to build stronger working relationships for the longer term. Trust and relationships are a very important aspects that drives a lot of decisions and you must earn and build this one step at a time. We were able to gain customer’s confidence by executing on our deliverable to a point that this customer felt that there was not needed to provide a quarterly supplier rating any more.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Time is limited and with more options than ever fighting for our time, if you can help people gain time back or be more efficient, you will create something of great value.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Getting a subscription to the Blinkist app. It helps me get through the essence of a book faster and find more books that I may enjoy reading.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My notes app on Apple iCloud, it makes my notes; action Items and daily tracker, enables a seamless transition from my computer to my cell phone or tablet.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck – Carol shares her research about how to have the right mindset for realizing one’s full potential.
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff – This is a practical book that helps you understand how to present your product, idea, or company that it gets heard.
What is your favorite quote?
“Ideas are easy. Execution is everything. It takes a team to win.” By John Doerr.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” By Mae West
- Stay hungry, work harder than everyone else and find the right mentors to help you grow and push to realize your full potential.
- There are no shortcuts to building great products and bringing new innovations to market. Be patient, believe in the process and be resilient to overcome unplanned hurdles.
- Develop strong team and culture that would stand the test of ups and downs in a start-up environment.
- Have the right mindset to learn, teach and cultivate long term relationships with your own team, partners, and customers to bring ideas to life.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.