Take time for yourself. Meditate, read a book, do the things you never have time to do. Above all, consciously appreciate the good times you are having, and will have, in the future.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michel Ruiz, CEO and co-founder of KaviAR Tech, an augmented reality software startup. With a 30-year history of leadership and innovation in marketing, entrepreneurship and technology, Michel’s vision is to solve problems and increase clients’ business success with the use of augmented reality. Created by the team behind KaviAR Tech, KaviAR Gate is a new augmented reality application, allowing consumers to virtually visit global destinations through a virtual “doorway”, right on their smartphones. Simply download the app, select your destination — from the Andean Lagoons in Peru, the Lion’s Head and Table Mountain Peaks in South Africa, and the incredible Eiffel Tower and Seine River in Paris — position your doorway, and walk through the gate where you have “arrived”. KaviAR Gate is perfect for consumers seeking a relaxing and entertaining travel experience right on their smartphones — and a great way to reach new consumers for brands and companies. KaviAR Tech’s range of tools all harness the power of Michel’s groundbreaking technology, where one may add their digital content — an image, video, 3D object, or web link — and make it immediately accessible to users in real time. Prior to working in private industry, Michel has a long and distinguished military career in the French Army. Michel earned his undergraduate degree at ENTSOA Ecole National Technique des Sous-Officiers d’Active; and a Master’s Degree in Marketing from ISTEC, Ecole Supérieure de Commerce et Marketing. For more information, please visit https://gate.kaviar.app.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I’m CEO and co-founder of KaviAR Tech, an augmented reality software startup, and our new “virtual travel” app KaviAR Gate. I bring a 30-year history of leadership and innovation in marketing, entrepreneurship and technology, with a vision to solve problems and increase clients’ business success with the use of augmented reality. My career has two main chapters: the first chapter, a long career in the French military, working all over the world and especially Africa. The second chapter, in marketing and e-commerce. I founded startups that focused on innovation and problem-solving. I saw the power of augmented reality many years ago, a versatile tool with important applications. Today, as head of KaviAR Tech, we want to bring the use of this technology to companies and consumers all around the world. I believe the key to finding a winning idea — and becoming a successful founder and CEO — is a commitment to creating products and services that change people’s lives for the better.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, the legendary story of a battle between a fisherman and a marlin. This is one of the first books I read when I was a child, which I became interested in because I loved the sea. Over the years, I realized that all the keys to my life were written in this book. In life, we are often alone in our fight, but especially when making a decision or making a choice. We have to find the strength and resources necessary to continue moving forward and not letting go, even if it hurts our hands, body or mind. Being a company founder means overcoming challenges and solving problems.
Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- The strength of the collective. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all. Follow your local government’s guidelines to stay home and reduce you and your family’s exposure. Stay connected to friends, family and colleagues virtually.
- Our ability to adapt. Darwin understood how people and life adapt; we as human have a tremendous capacity for adaptation. For example, I love snorkeling and diving; never 30 years ago would we think a man could descend 214 meters deep by holding his breath as Herbert Nitsch, the world-record setting Austrian free diver, does today.
- The speed of information transmission. With today’s technology, almost anyone can instantly distribute information — from emails and text messages, to more complex information including formulas, patent solutions, and tools for IT development and open source. The medical community and patients certainly benefit from this speed of information in today’s difficult environment.
- The exponential growth of technology. Each year the number of patents explodes. It is going so fast that we are unable to predict with accuracy the power of a computer calculator even one year before production. The rapid advancement of technology will have many positive effects on our lives. That being said, we must keep in mind that this technology is a tool at the service of man, not the other way around.
- Our tremendous capacity for resilience. Above all, we must be kind and attentive to others, now and throughout life. In today’s uncertain times, wear a mask to protect others and yourself. Remember that alone we go fast but together we go far; caring for others is caring for yourself.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Know how to listen. Learn to listen to someone without being in a conversation; rather, simply to listen and think about what the person is saying. Active listening is very important in business and life.
- Laughter is the best remedy. Jokes and comedy are the best anti-depression weapon. Science has shown us that laughing is good for our health.
- Relax and enjoy your day. Don’t watch the news continuously and stress about endless negative reports. Instead, connect with one another; play games; try new apps on your phone.
- Learn something new. Learn cooking! My personal recommendation is to try French cuisine; it takes time, but it’s very good and not as difficult as people think.
- Take time for yourself. Meditate, read a book, do the things you never have time to do. Above all, consciously appreciate the good times you are having, and will have, in the future.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Understand that life has its ups and downs. We must accept the highs with the lows, and know that this is okay and natural. I would recommend Matthieu Ricard’s book Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
For me it would be “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill
While I was stationed in Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean just east of Madagascar, I worked with a guy named Arnaud, a young mechanic who came to my workshop. He was 35 years old and had never dived in his life and he dreamed of seeing a dolphin. I offered to take him by boat and showed him how to snorkel for the first time in his life. That day we encountered dolphins. When we got back he told me that it changed his life. I didn’t really take it seriously. A year and a half later, he called me to tell me that he had become a professional diver. It’s amazing the impact you can have without suspecting it. We must give to simply give, not necessarily waiting for something in return. The greatest gift is to give something meaningful to someone.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would recommend our new app, KaviAR Gate, to explore and discover the world right on your mobile phone. Created by our team at KaviAR Tech, KaviAR Gate is a new augmented reality application, allowing consumers to virtually visit global destinations through a virtual “doorway”, right on their smartphones. Simply download the app, select your destination — from the Andean Lagoons in Peru, the Lion’s Head and Table Mountain Peaks in South Africa, and the incredible Eiffel Tower and Seine River in Paris — position your doorway, and walk through the gate where you have “arrived”. KaviAR Gate is perfect for consumers seeking a relaxing and entertaining travel experience right on their smartphones, and a great way to reach new consumers for brands and companies.
I would also create a “digital idea box”, where all people could submit an idea — as long as it was for the betterment of society — in the form of a one-page pitch. All of these ideas could constitute a laboratory for large companies, who would pay to access it and learn what the community wants and needs. Everyone would submit their idea anonymously, but those whose ideas were selected would be rewarded. There could be digital workshops allowing an international collective to work and build new products. This crowd-source method could uncover new and innovative ideas from the communities in which we live and work.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Follow me on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michel-ruiz-marketing/. Check out Kaviar Tech here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/kaviar-tech/ and on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/kaviar.tech.sas/