January 27, 2023

Go Bigger: Oliver Chen & Sherry Chang from Neural Lab | Episode 24 of Twist of Fate 

Go Bigger: Oliver Chen & Sherry Chang from Neural Lab | Episode 24 of Twist of Fate 

Software developers Sherry Chang and Oliver Chen are CEO and CTO, respectively, of Neural Lab. Their company has created a touchless interface for a variety of verticals, inspired largely by the COVID pandemic. On the Twist of Fate podcast host, Douglas Younger III, they opened up about their journey, including their second-place finish in the NBA-sponsored Capitalize contest. 

Experience, Failure, and Innovation 

If you’re planning to start your own business, you can take different attitudes to the dismal statistics. You might convince yourself that you will be part of the lucky few. Or you might decide that the odds are too stacked against you. When Chang talks about her experience, she doesn’t wish she had more experience under her belt before launching, she wishes that she had started earlier. 

Because what does it mean to really fail as an entrepreneur? It doesn’t usually lead to destitution and homelessness, no matter how much that may scare you. Most of the time, it leads to something better: you’ve either made connections in your industry that lead to a better job, or you iterate on what you’ve already learned in your next venture. (In the podcast, Chang talked about what it’s like to create a product that doesn’t lead to sales immediately, and how she was able to shove past that hurdle to get to a better spot.) This is why Chang and Chen encourage people to go bigger. Going out on a ledge doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your safety net. 

Touchless Interface: Solving a Problem 

Do you know who last put their fingers on an ATM? Or how many people have touched the screen at a coffee shop before it was your turn? Diseases can spread so quickly, and surfaces are a prime way to catch anything from the flu to a stomach virus. Douglas Younger III was a product manager in technology for years, and he will tell you the future is touchless. The CTO and CEO of Neural Lab will start their products off in three different verticals: healthcare (a given), AR/VR, and consumer/retail spaces. Touchless interfaces offer truly priceless benefits to users, and they work on multiple levels. 

In addition to safety and security, Chang and Chen want to make sure these devices are used. Most people know what it’s like to teach people how to use a certain device, only to find that they never go back to the product. Or maybe you’ve used a device once or twice, only to have it sit in a drawer for months on end after that. Chen talked about how the gesture is a universal symbol. Your grandfather may not know how to operate an iPad, but he does know what it’s like to wave at someone to get their attention. 

Success for the entrepreneur is not hinged on their profit margins. It’s tied to the value that you’re offering people. Douglas Younger III knows how hard it is to separate the solutions bit from the money bit because they’re so deeply interconnected. However, he encourages you to make that distinction in your mind. 

Wins and Plans 

3STEPS4WARD is a proud sponsor of podcasts like Twist of Fate and pitch competitions like Capitalize. The latter is run through the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and it awards entrepreneurs with some cash, as well as marketing services for their company. Neural Lab may not have won, but they came exceptionally close at second place. It’s all a part of the momentum that they’re building at the company, particularly now that we touchless technology is a the precipice of explosion. 


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