Marko Mandaric: Founder & CEO, Bmmpr

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My Native Admission Statement: My name is Marko Mandaric, with a K. I'm a first generation immigrant to this incredible country and the only thing I was ever given in life was a pair of great parents who still support me to today. The rest I've had to earn through hard/smart work over long enough of a duration that opportunities presented themselves, or as I usually call it: luck. I also like long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners.

How did you get into the industry?

I actually started working on a project called C2C which was a turn key solution for renting cloud-based computing capabilities on the AWS backend, but built to help people in the VFX industry where I had been working professionally for over a decade at the time. That project/company flopped (I decided the level of commitment required to get a niche product built supported for a [relatively] small industry would not be worth it in the longer term), but because of my time with it, I realized that I could build a PoC that would do what I envisioned Bmmpr should do someday. In general, I worked tirelessly for over a decade professionally in VFX, and learned anything and everything I needed to in order to get ahead. That included rudimentary coding and understanding the technological landscape of the world in a very intimate sense.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

My wife and I were driving north from a job in VFX in Los Angeles to Seattle for some work I was doing for Microsoft at the time (I helped them with the sizzle video to the original Surface Book), and along the way we stopped at a seedy looking part of inner Oregon for a random late night craving my wife had. While we walked the isles of a grocery store a little before midnight that night, it dawned upon me just how terrible car alarms were. They go off and make a bunch of noise but never do anything to alert the owner that something's happened to their vehicle. Then and there I decided I had to do something about that, if anything just for the sake of making car owners lives better. I want Bmmpr to continue bringing daily value additions to our customers lives by leveraging existing technology that has been around for ages, just not in the way that it should be.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We're working on a long-term partnership with a large OEM in the Automotive realm. I cannot giveaway exactly who at this time, but they're enormous and we're super excited to be part of the solution in their eyes.

We're also starting to scratch the surface on the gen2 version of the main Bmmpr product, with so much more technology built into an already impressive package, it's hard to not look forward to the future.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

Funding it privately for the first 3 years. I definitely have learned how much hell you actually go through and that you have to be willing to go through if you’re determined to do something like this and accomplish it.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Hold on for as long as you can, then just one more day. Also, never trust anyone to do their job correctly 100% of the time.

What do I do best?

I'm specifically very good at paying attention to details that matter and letting my brain think about 14 things at once, while trying to keep them all in check and in relation to one another. Plus, I have this unabridged tenacity to just keep going, regardless of what's going on. Hopefully, when I talk to people, they get the passion with which I try to approach every day with.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I don't really talk about doing stuff, I just go and execute it. That and a very healthy (boarding unhealthy) dose of skepticism.

What are my aspirations?

Personal: I just want to leave this world a bit better than the way I found it, that may sound a bit cliché (and it possibly is), but I have achieved almost everything I've wanted to in a personal sense, and I'm incredibly thankful for that at only 34 years of age. It leaves a lot of runway for me to find new things to aspire to.

Business: Produce sensible products, that add value to people's daily lives, for a reasonable cost.

My Biggest Success?

That's super easy: There was this one girl I met, about 5.5 years ago, before I knew her name, she had a nickname for me (seriously) and I was smitten by the prospect of loving her from the moment I saw her. She stood me up on 8 dates, then gave me flack for never having taken her out when we would run into each other. She has always been a free spirit, and somehow, by some unimaginable will, I convinced her to run with me. Now, a little over 3 years after 8-6-16, I'm proud to wake up next to my wife every day. She is by far, my biggest success, as she gives me the base to work from and achieve the impossible every day.

My Most Challenging Moment?

There was a guy who I considered a good friend a long while back, in my former career in Visual Effects, that I had to let go and sever ties with. Looking back at it, it was a hard decision but one that had to be made. There's a fine line between frustration and sabotage, and when a relationship crosses that boundary, it's near impossible for things to not be damaged. It's a really hard thing to bide by your principles even if it means telling someone "Good Luck and Goodbye".

My Motto?

"Nothing worthwhile, was ever done, with little effort" & "DTF" (which, no, doesn't stand for what you're thinking, it stands for "Death To Failure".

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Role models are one thing in my life I've never really had. I never had anyone to look up to professionally, at least not in specific, so I just did my best to be proud of what I did.

On a personal level, the only people I've ever looked up to are my parents. Leaving their home country, with a home that they nearly finished (built by their own hands), and their 3-year-old son (me), walking away from their whole lives/family/friends, took incredible resolve. They're still together to today, through all of that. That is something truly remarkable.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I've been fortunate enough to travel the world, and nothing compares to home. San Diego.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

This list would span on for ever and ever and ever. So I'll just write up about the most recent product I picked up that really stood out to me: We were doing some high heat testing a few weeks ago in Palm Springs when it was supposed to be 114 degrees out, to make sure that our Bmmpr units would stay functional regardless of the extreme temps. It got up to 114 degrees outside, 138 degrees inside the footwell area of the car, and the unit itself was 152 degrees. Getting the outside temp was easy, the unit would report what it's surface temp was every hour, but the footwell area was difficult. I did a bit of research and found these really nifty little handheld temp sensors that connect via Bluetooth to your phone. They're not that incredible in general, but just do what they do so very well and easily that it's nice seeing another company execute an idea well, with intent. (SensorPush Wireless Thermometer)

My Current Passions?

Feeling "whole". It's something that I neglected as I focused so intently for the first few years working on Bmmpr, and have really been enjoying having the time/capacity to get back to feeling like I'm taking care of myself. That mostly revolves around taking the time to run for 30 minutes every morning M-F and eat well. Staring at yourself in the mirror while you sweat your face off, is a very deep and introspective exercise.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Check off a few things on my personal Asana to-do list.

Thought of the Day: Make today count.

Action of the Day: Make the wife laugh.

Deed of the Day: Make something.

Tip of the Day: Make sure you're eating enough protein in your diet for your body weight (for me that's 230g of protein a day!)

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The laid-back nature of San Diego, and how constantly it's in flux but not so much as a place like New York City.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Sweet potato, 2 eggs over easy, salt and pepper. Organic, of course (haha). 

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM - Still sleeping.

10:00 AM - Eating breakfast (in the gym at 9am).

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal? One hour into the office workday, lunch doesn't happen till 3pm or so, and when it does it's at home, and is a large salad.

7:00 PM - Just wrapping up the day at the office, hopefully filled with pride of the days efforts (I sleep 11 to 7, and work 11 to 7).

11:00 PM - Lights out (hopefully)!

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Protein waters (as I mentioned earlier, I'm supposed to ingest 230g of protein every day, 1 gram for each pound you weigh). 4 of those protein waters brings in 90g and the rest I get from a protein rich diet.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

My favorite app in general is the RSS feed reader that allows me to keep up with multiple sites in unison, something that used to be rather difficult before I got myself setup on a platform that allows me to swipe away stuff I want to read up on and clear stuff that doesn't interest me much. Current feeds are from 9to5 Mac, Engadget, and Jalopnik.

What should everyone try at least once?

Getting deep on your origin story.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

The curves of a good track, in a nice exotic car.

My Pic of the Day: Such lion. Much wow (actually, that photo is one of my favorite photos ever taken, it's called "Majestic Gaze" by Beverly Joubert).

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