AGENT Q&A with Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, Founder & CEO Orbital SystemsLast Updated: May 1, 2020
“Our goal is to create a new paradigm shift in daily water use; transforming the way we use our most precious resource by bringing rocket science technology and design to an old and inefficient market.” Mehrdad Mahdjoubi spoke to AGENT about being in business at the cutting edge of water conservation.
While water conservation is one of those things that we all aspire to, Mehrdad Mahdjoubi set up a business, Orbital Systems, in order to help him achieve his goal.
Aged just 26, Mehrdad Mahdjoubi admits that setting up in business was never a goal in itself, but business happened to be the vehicle that would help him realise his vision.
When Mehrdad Mahdjoubi gets up in the morning, he is like most people in that the first thing he will do is take a shower.
However, whereas most of us will use up to 25 gallons (94 litres) of water, Mehrdad Mahdjoubi will use just 1.5 gallons (just over 5 litres). This is what his business, Orbital Systems, is all about.
Here, briefly, is how it works:
“Running my own business was never a goal in itself for me. But it made sense in order to realize this vision.”
The technology underpinning the Orbital Systems ‘shower of the future’ was based on founder Mehrdad Mahdjoubi’s work with NASA’s missions to Mars, and is its first application.
Operating on a system that recirculates the water while, purifying and sanitising it, the company already estimates that its commercial and residential shower units sold to date have helped to conserve at least 12.5m litres of water and counting, as of February 19, 2020.
And it’s not just about conservation, it’s about efficiency too, and user satisfaction. Mehrdad Mahdjoubi and Orbital Systems proudly maintain that their shower will enable you to enjoy the best shower you have ever had.
At a time when the average person will use 10 times the water they need every time they turn on a tap, while some two-billion people worldwide, are affected by fresh water scarcity, the Orbital Systems message has a clarion urgency.
Mehrdad Mahdjoubi and his team’s goal is to expand the Orbital Systems technology to all parts of the personal water-use chain and possibly even beyond. When we the giant leap to the stars that Elon Musk has made since the dawning of 2020, only a fool would write off the idea of Orbital Systems taking their technology beyond the gravitational pull of the Earth.
12 Questions for Mehrdad Mahdjoubi
Mehrdad Mahdjoubi spoke to AGENT about his career to date. A philosophical, ‘big picture’ thinker whose icons are Seneca, Epicurus and Khayyam, he offers few easy answers to everyday business preoccupations. His enigmatic advice to young entrepreneurs starting out in business today, is to “Buy noise-cancelling headphones”; and he proposes that any strategy for attaining work-life balance would first require answers to the questions: What is Work?; what is Life?; and What is Balance?
recalling his earliest experiences in business, his inspirations and role models, life at the head of his successful firm, and also shared some of the key lessons he has learned as a startup, for the benefit of young entrepreneurs starting out in business today.
1. Briefly tell us about your business and your business goals.
Our goal is to create a new paradigm shift in daily water use; transforming the way we use our most precious resource by bringing rocket science technology and design to an old and inefficient market.
2. What age were you when you realised you wanted to run your own business?
Running my own business was never a goal in itself for me. But it made sense in order to realize this vision.
3. Who are your business icons and inspirations?
Seneca, Epicurus and Khayyam.
4. What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you surmount it?
The biggest challenge has been managing a cross-disciplinary team; and I’ve surmounted that by surrounding myself with smart and ambitious people.
5. What gives you the most satisfaction in business?
6. Work-Life balance: is it possible? How do you achieve it?
I think it’s a highly subjective matter which raises the following questions, what is “work”? what is “life”? what is “balance”?
7. What is the first thing you do every day?
Shower for 10 minutes but only use 5 litres of water.
8. What screen saver picture is currently on your phone?
An Adélie penguin, waddling on an iceberg.
9. What is the most important app on your mobile phone, and why?
The phone app, because at the end of the day it’s all about connecting with other people.
10. What is the last thing you Googled?
Agent.Media (I bookmarked it).
11. What item do you never leave the house without, and why?
My iPhone, as a courtesy to the people who might need to contact me.
12. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out in business?
Buy noise-cancelling headphones.