Grayson Brulte

Grayson Brulte

@gbrulte | @gbrulte

Grayson Brulte is an Innovation Strategist and Co-Founder of Brulte & Company.

Brulte & Company is an autonomous mobility advisory and consulting firm headquartered in Florida. The firm provides strategic counsel to the world’s leading companies by applying our strategic thinking and political insight to help clients navigate what’s next.

As an innovation strategist and strategic advisor, Grayson builds trusted relationships with organizations, working together with internal teams to prepare clients for what’s next.

From developing strategies for autonomous vehicle programs to helping companies become the go-to resource for technology innovation, Grayson empowers clients with the foresight and intelligence to take on the world’s biggest challenges.

Sharing his insights into what’s next, Grayson hosts The Road To Autonomy Podcast and the SAE International Tomorrow Today Podcast, where he interviews high-caliber guests and leaders across industries, sharing his own unique perspective to deliver one-of-a-kind discussions.

Harnessing his in-depth knowledge of diverse markets, economics, politics, and technology, he and the guests tackle topics from autonomous vehicles and mobility trends to the financial effects of innovative breakthroughs and their impact on society.

Grayson understands the intricate relationship between politics and innovation, expertly navigating between these worlds and facilitating the impactful conversations between the two.

His comments have appeared in numerous publications, including: The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, and Forbes. Grayson has enabled forward momentum and transformation from a city to a national level.

As a former Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Mayor's Autonomous Vehicle Task Force and member of the city’s Smart City/Technology Committee, he helped Beverly Hills become one of America’s digital capitals chosen by Google.

With his perspective, insights, and opinions being used and shared by leading organizations and publications, Grayson continues to be a leading voice in innovation and autonomous mobility.

For speaking engagements, editorials and media enquiries please email [email protected].

Data is the New Space Race

Dr. Pippa Malmgren, Former Presidential Advisor, Economist, Best-Selling Author, and Policy Analyst joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss why data is the new space race.

The conversation begins with Pippa sharing insight into what her father, Mr. Harald Malmgren, a senior advisor to four consecutive U.S. Presidents (President John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson, President Richard Nixon, and President Gerald Ford) taught her about relationships.

My dad taught me how important it is to have trusted relationships even with people who are your opponents.

– Dr. Pippa Malmgren

When Pippa first joined the George W. Bush White House she called her counterpart who worked for President Bill Clinton to learn and develop a relationship.

Bipartisanship is something that is not very common today. Grayson and Pippa go on to discuss why bipartisanship is the way forward.

You are not elected to just represent one side. You are elected to represent the American public.

– Dr. Pippa Malmgren

Pippa has a talk to everyone policy which has allowed her to understand complex issues from different perspectives. With a new incoming administration, Grayson and Pippa discuss what the Biden administration should focus on as it relates to economic policy.

As America awakes from a COVID-19 slumber, entrepreneurs will emerge with new, stronger businesses that will create jobs and have a positive economic impact on society.

Americans now have increased savings, stimulus checks, and commission-free trading. This is causing consumer habits to change. The world is becoming digitized and consumers are investing in the stock market like never before.

While consumer habits are changing, Government habits are changing as well. The United States is printing trillions of dollars with no plan to repay the National Debt. Does the debt even matter?

Can the United States keep printing money? Grayson asks this question to Pippa and the answer might even surprise you – The United States can keep printing money indefinitely.

With a highly digitized society, comes security issues that can have a profound impact on geopolitical politics and the global economy. Pippa and Grayson go onto discuss data gathering and the U.S. Department of Commerce Entity List.

Data gathering is just the first step in capturing emotions.

If you know how I emotionally react, then you know how to sell to me, but you also know how to negotiate with me.

Facial recognition is really about deep insight into your thought process that even you do not know.

– Dr. Pippa Malmgren

What happens when autonomous vehicles start to gather data? Pippa shares examples of how that data can be used against consumers and why it could eventually lead to Surveillance Capitalism.

Grayson asks Pippa about privacy. What regulations are needed to protect consumers from the invasion of privacy? What happens if consumers are forced to show their medical history before entering a restaurant or getting on a plane?

This is a future that some individuals envision and want to see happen for their own personal and political gains. The big ideas coming out of California are not resonating as a record number of individuals and businesses are leaving the State in droves.

One of the places those individuals and businesses are moving to is Austin, TX. The movement is being driven by years of bad policy and over-regulation. This conversation evolves into a discussion about open communication and why individuals are done with being censored and de-platformed.

Grayson and Pippa discuss China and the current situation with Alibaba founder, Jack Ma. This situation raises the question of, who wants to do business in China. Does it lead to an exodus of foreign capital from China?

With the potential exodus of foreign capital from China and a revamped manufacturing industry in the United States, apprenticeships could make a comeback. These apprenticeships will lead to new high-paying jobs.

As the economy becomes more digitized and automated, Grayson and Pippa discuss the myth that automation will kill jobs. In fact, it is the opposite. Automation will create jobs. Pippa goes onto share historical contexts of why automation will create jobs.

You cannot say that automation equals unemployment because it’s just not true. Automation equals better employment.

– Dr. Pippa Malmgren

Automation requires semiconductors and software to operate. Grayson and Pippa discuss the growth of the semiconductor industry. The exponential growth of Taiwan Semiconductor and the geopolitical issues that this is causing in Asia.

Wrapping up the conversation, Pippa shares her thoughts on what new trends she sees emerging over the next four years.

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Recorded on Monday, January 18, 2021.

The Brand is the Experience

Roger Webb, Lifetime Student of the Restaurant Industry joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss why the brand is the experience.

The conversation begins with Roger sharing the story of how he first met Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy’s. Later he shares his experience of when he first joined Wendy’s as the company opened its third restaurant.

Today there over 6,500 Wendy’s around the world and the brand is known and loved by millions of individuals. From the VP of Franchise to a Wendy’s franchisee, Roger had an incredible career with Wendy’s.

Roger was the first Wendy’s franchisee to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge in 2016. Before joining the challenge, Roger had a company-wide energy policy.

We had a very strict policy, never have a light out.

– Roger Webb

Never having a light out is part of the experience of going to a restaurant. It’s an experience that consumers look for and one that the restaurant industry has to deliver on each and every-time.

The experience is the thousands of little things that have to be executed perfectly every time.

– Roger Webb

Expanding upon the conversation of the little things that make an experience, Grayson and Roger go on to discuss brands and experiences and why they are crucial to the ultimate success of a restaurant.

Your brand is the experience.

– Roger Webb

With a great brand, the future is bright and scalable if you are innovative and ahead of trends. Taking a look at the future of the restaurant industry, Grayson and Roger discuss the design of restaurants. Will they have to change with the growth of delivery and eventually autonomous delivery via delivery bots such as Nuro.

With an increase in delivery services, comes the need for new innovative packaging. Roger shares his thoughts on packaging and what needs to be done to ensure the french fries that arrive at your house are warm and crispy.

From drones to autonomous vehicles to delivery cars, the packaging has to be developed for the operating environment. The packaging used in delivery will be different than the packaging used for food picked up at a drive-through.

The drive-through is a booming business for the restaurant industry today. Roger explains how the drive-through operates and what the keys to success are for successfully operating one.

The drive-throughs of today might not look like the drive-throughs of the future. Chipotle is pioneering their Chipotlanes concept throughout the United States to great success.

Chipotlanes are Chipotle’s most-profitable experience because of the higher check averages. This raises the question: Is this the future of the restaurant business? Grayson asks Roger and he goes onto say restaurants are always evolving.

While restaurants are always evolving they must never stop building their brand equity. This lesson can be traced back to Sam Bronfman, Founder of Distillers Corporation who was always focused on quality and the appearance of his brands.

Discounting can impact brand equity in a negative way. Roger explains why discounting is something that should be done with caution.

Brand equity is what you do every day, every minute, every hour, and that should be a part of everything that you do when you are building a brand.

– Roger Webb

Looking at the current trend of Cloud / Ghost Kitchens, Grayson asks Roger how these types of restaurant businesses can develop a brand. Without a brand, customers will be unsure whether to try a new concept that they might never have heard of before.

For Cloud / Ghost Kitchen concepts to be successful, they will have to have a brand that customers know, like and trust. A brand combined with a bespoke delivery service and pick-up service will thrive in resort communities.

Wrapping up the conversation, Roger discusses delivery fees and the economics of delivery services.

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Recorded on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

Automating Fleet Optimization

Aarjav Trivedi, Founder & CEO of Ridecell joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss how digitizing and automating fleet management leads to increase revenue and profitability for logistics and mobility companies.

The conversation begins with Aarjav discussing the founding of Ridecell 1.0 in Atlanta, GA. The experience of waiting for the bus in the cold and not knowing if and/or when the bus would show up gave Aarjav the inspiration to change transportation.

Three years in a row this experience on an almost daily basis grinds into you this feeling – there has got to be a better way.

– Aarjav Trivedi

During this time, Uber had yet to exist. The iPhone was just being introduced and Aarjav Trivedi an engineer from Georgia Tech decided to change transportation by combining trust and payments.

In 2011, Aarjav moved to San Fransisco and launched Summon. Summon was the first on-demand taxi company in California to receive a permit and operate legally. While operating Summon, Aarjav saw that partners such as BMW and companies such as Google needed a fleet optimization management software solution.

The relationship and trust Aarjav developed with BMW during the Summon days led to BMW’s i Ventures team leading Ridecell’s $11.7 Series A round.

Most great investors are very focused on creating impact. If you create impact the revenues follow.

– Aarjav Trivedi

Today, Ridecell is a global enterprise operating in multiple countries around the world including the United States, Europe and India. Aarjav discusses how he manages a global team and understands local cultures and customs.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to pivot and embrace new business models. Aarjav discusses how Ridecell was well prepared for the pandemic as the company was well-diversified with digital-first solutions.

With digital-first solutions for fleet operators and the growth of e-commerce, Ridecell’s logistics business is growing as more companies around the globe adopt digital-first solutions. Aarjav explains how Ridecell’s software platform helps logistics companies operate more efficiently and profitability.

One of Ridecell’s strongest value propositions is being able to automate the decisions that increase revenue, decrease cost, increase yield, while increasing sustainability.

– Aarjav Trivedi

Grayson asks Aarjav, how the Ridecell platform can help optimize courier services for the delivery of goods. It all comes down to digitization and using the data to optimize the fleet to ensure optimum up-time. The courier also benefits from a comfort perspective. Before getting into the vehicle, the temperature and music are set for the driver’s preference.

What happens when the vehicles are autonomous? Grayson and Aarjav go on to discuss autonomy and Ridecell’s acquisition of Auro Robotics in 2017. Expanding upon the autonomy theme, they discuss the economics of autonomous vehicles and what the business model might look like in the future.

Grayson asks Aarjav if fleet optimization the key to achieving profitability with autonomous solutions. Fleet optimization along with the eco-system of operating a service is the key. From managing the health of the vehicle to in-vehicle entertainment. All the parts of the eco-system have to work together in harmony.

The core problem is to not let data live in silos so that decisions are made in efficient ways. The core thing is to connect the data from the vehicle.

– Aarjav Trivedi

Wrapping up the conversation, Aarjav shares his thoughts on the future of mobility and the role that Ridecell will play.

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Recorded on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

Thermal Imaging: Making Roads Safer

John Eggert, Automotive Business Development, FLIR Systems joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss how thermal imaging is making roads safer.

The conversation begins with John sharing his thoughts on the current state of the autonomous vehicle industry while looking back to 2015 when he first started his career in the industry.

[The industry] has become a lot more professional.

– John Eggert

Today, the industry as a whole is spending money more wisely. It’s maturing, but certain companies still do not have a path to profitability. Expanding upon this, Grayson and John discuss the economics of the autonomous vehicle industry and properly setting expectations for investors and the public.

Diving deeper into the economics discussion, Grayson asks John to talk about his experience of owning a Quiznos franchise in San Fransisco. John shares what he learned and how difficult it was to operate a business in San Fransico.

With John’s unique experience of having owned and operated a business in San Fransisco, Grayson asks John why the autonomous vehicle industry is determined to launch a service in a city that is extremely unwelcoming to the technology.

John explains that the talent pool is currently driving the decision, but that could change in the future as the reality of economics and regulation set in as the companies move to commercialize their services.

Could Miami end up becoming the Autonomous Vehicle Capital of North America as companies are fleeing California every single day? Grayson and John discuss why and what is driving the growth of the autonomous vehicle industry in Miami.

Looking back on his days at Velodyne, John shares some intimate stories about the early days of LiDAR including a meeting with George Hotz, Founder of Comma AI where he showed him the latest Velodyne LiDAR.

The conversation evolves into a discussion about Comma AI and how George Hotz understood the economics of LiDAR. At the prices, George knew that it would be impossible to scale Comma AI with LiDAR due to the cost of LiDAR.

LiDAR is one of the key technologies to enable full self-driving. The other technology is thermal imaging.

There is no technology in vehicles today more capable of identifying or classifying or detecting a human or any living creature for that matter than thermal imaging.

– John Eggert

John goes onto explain the safety benefits of thermal imaging and how this technology can be incorporated into automatic emergency braking systems to save lives. Today, thermal imaging is not included in AEB systems due to the cost.

Grayson makes the case that it is not about the cost, it is about saving lives and doing good by society. In March of 2020, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 76% of all 2018 pedestrian fatalities involving vehicles happened after dark.

This conversation evolves into a discussion around safety and how Volvo built a brand around safety. Expanding upon brands, Grayson and John discuss Zoox and their relationship with Amazon.

Grayson goes on the record to predict that Amazon will launch an Amazon Prime Mobility Tier in the future which will include unlimited Zoox rides.

Closing out the conversation, Grayson and John go onto discuss FLIR Systems and the many use cases for thermal imaging around the world.

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Recorded on Friday, December 18, 2020.

Disrupt Yourself or the Market Will

Chase Koch, President of Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), and Andrew Smith, CEO & Founder of Outrider join Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss automation, partnerships, and the power of the Koch network for principled disruptive entrepreneurs.

The conversation begins with Grayson sharing a high-level overview of Koch Industries and the company’s economic impact globally. Koch Industries is a private company that generates annual revenues of $115 billion according to Forbes and employs over 130,000 individuals in 70 countries around the world.

Following the introduction of Koch Industries, Chase explains the Koch Laboratory approach to entrepreneurship.

We can give entrepreneurs with a lot of upside a place to experiment, grow, and transform their technology and their business model to help them unlock their potential.

– Chase Koch

Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) vision is to be the preferred partner in accelerating value creation for principled disruptive entrepreneurs while helping to transform Koch Industries.

Koch Industries success comes in part from the company’s Market Based Management (MBM) philosophy which was developed by Mr. Charles Koch. This same philosophy is applied to Koch Disruptive Technologies and the Koch Laboratory.

It’s the whole Joseph Schumpeter model, disrupt yourself or the market will.

– Chase Koch

Koch incentives every employee to create value not just for their P&L, but for the entire organization. Expanding upon this conversation, Chase explains Koch’s Republic of Science approach and how it benefits founders who work with Koch Disruptive Technologies.

One of the companies that Koch Disruptive Technologies has invested in is Outrider. Andrew Smith, CEO & Founder shares his inspiration for why he founded Outrider and what the market opportunity is for Outrider.

One of the biggest market opportunities facing today’s business leaders is essentially to reinvent how we move things, power things, produce things to support higher and higher standards of living.

– Andrew Smith

While leading an expedition to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to witness the caribou migration, Andrew came up with the idea for Outrider.

Outrider is the perfect example of how innovation allows us to avoid unnecessary tradeoffs.

– Andrew Smith

Grayson asks Andrew, why yard automation. Andrew explains that there are over 10 billion tons of cargo moving around the United States on a daily basis. A majority of the cargo is moving over trucks and yard trucks are being used to move the trailers around yards.

Automation has become more and more a key driver for our transformation vision across all of our businesses.

– Chase Koch

The partnership with Koch Industries gives Outrider a massive path to scaling operations. Andrew talks about his working relationship with Chase and how their organizations are working together.

Chase expands upon Andrew’s thoughts and shares his own thoughts on the power of relationships and partnerships. Additionally, they discuss their mutual commitment to the environment and sustainability.

The Koch Industries vision is applied to everything that Koch does:

We want to create products, services, and solutions that are better than customers’ alternative but do this responsibility while always consuming fewer resources.

– Chase Koch

Over the past five years, Koch Industries has invested over $30 billion in technology alone. This investment in technology is only going to continue to grow.

Using fewer resources and being a sustainable company is one of the key goals of Outrider. Sustainability is core to who Outrider is as a company.

Wherever your gift is, you have to lean into it. Where passion meets your gift, you have to lean into because that is how you are going to unlock your potential.

– Chase Koch

Prior to founding Outrider, Andrew founded ATDynamics and sold it to STEMCO in 2015. During his time running ATDynamics, Andrew learned a lot and he shares his knowledge and how this experience prepared him for Outrider.

To succeed in transportation logistics, it’s not just about fancy technology. It’s about reliability, simplicity and durability.

– Andrew Smith

Andrew discusses why having the right investors is key to succeeding. The team at Outrider works closely with their investors including Prologis to ensure that the company is creating value.

Prologis is working with Outrider to ensure that their warehouse yards are designed for yard automation. Increasing the efficiencies of the yard benefits both Prologis and their customers.

Closing out the conversation, Chase and Andrew share their thoughts on the future of automation and supply-chain management.

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Recorded on Friday, December 11, 2020.