Nicolas Rabault tells us how Luos technology is a tool dedicated to developers.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Nicolas Rabault: Fine. My family and I are geeks, and I think the pandemic was easier to live for geeks. We are more connected, and it’s easier for us to remotely see our friends and maintain social links.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Luos.
Nicolas Rabault: I’m a former roboticist specialist on critical real-time embedded systems. Fifteen years ago, when I began my career, I worked for a French company aiming to develop mass-produced humanoid robots. With this experience, I discovered how heavy and slow it is to develop and industrialize this kind of product. Everything is made from scratch and remade with any slight modification. Each update takes years, and you can’t just try things. You have to make them perfect first try (which is impossible).
Facing those problems, I started to develop a tool concept to make hardware flexible and modular. I created an association with other engineers from different companies facing the same issues, and we were applying those concepts to robots. A few years later, the Flowers research team at INRIA in France spotted me. I joined the team to work on my concept applied to the Poppy project, one of the biggest Robotics Open Source communities.
Two years later, I founded my first company with my friends from the lab, Pollen Robotics. In this company, we were developing robots for big companies, and we were using our modular technologies for it. This technology allowed us to make prototypes extremely fast. Thanks to it, we were able to try and fail fast to avoid mistakes and get the best product possible really fast.
After a few years, some customers asked us about this technology only for their products, so we split Pollen Robotics and created a new company dedicated to this technology, Luos.
How does Luos market its product/services online?
Nicolas Rabault: The Luos technology is a tool dedicated to developers. The way to market things to developers is really specific. In fact, you can’t really market things to developers. If you make some normal ads and try to sell things to them, they will ignore you and leave. But if you understand how they work and how to propose them useful things, they become committed and would like to pay to help you.
To do that, we have a core technology called Luos_engine. This technology is open-source, free to use, and really well documented, allowing easy onboarding. We advertise this technology with interesting blog-post about development and explaining our way to see and improve it. We try to publish the biggest values of this technology for free. This way, developers can test our tool, like it, use it, and become our best ambassadors.
We also created a community allowing users to exchange about Luos_engine and help each other.
So we can’t really call it marketing because we don’t try to sell them things; instead, we call it developer relation or “devrel.”
For now, our goal is to make our technology massively used. In the future, our users will become our customers.
At the same time, we are working on external tools allowing us to accelerate and improve our technology usage for companies. Those external tools will be paying.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Nicolas Rabault: Directly in the company coronavirus pandemic doesn’t affect our business. At Luos, everything is online and downloadable, we don’t really do prospecting, and our marketing is completely online.
But indirectly, the pandemic pushes some companies to consider our technology more seriously and to incorporate it directly into their product development strategy. Indeed, the components shortage is a big issue for them, and having the flexibility allowing them to change parts is now an essential strategy. Our technology allows them to do that.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Nicolas Rabault: We do some advertising on Reddit and Twitter about content.
I have already talked about It a little bit, but we are mostly making interesting content for developers. We have strict content planning managed by our head of marketing. Every person in the company has to share some content sharing his idea, difficulties, or reflection about the company or technical subjects.
We are 9 in the company today, yet we post one piece of content every day.
In our case, the best marketing is free teaching and pragmatic content. We need to be honest with our audience and try to give them really interesting topics and reflections. We try to explain our point of view, our idea, and our vision. Then we provide them with the tools to help them to go through this vision.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nicolas Rabault: The main concurrency we have are companies that have already internally developed a technology close to Luos. For example, SpaceX or Dyson has already developed something close. The most obvious example is Tesla. They have unprecedented flexibility in their cars. This flexibility allows them to boost the car’s autonomy, specifically for the Irma hurricane. This means that they consider every car feature as a connected edge feature. This is the vision of Luos.
Developing such a technology is not easy, and most companies are not able to make it. I can witness it because I spent 15 years of my life developing it…
Also, some startups developing tools are close to what we are doing. We make our core technology extremely valuable and free to stay in the game. Then we develop additional paying features on top of this powerful tool. Users of our core technology will prefer our tool to keep the ecosystem coherent.
Your final thoughts?
Nicolas Rabault: The world is about to change soon. The hardware will be as flexible as the software. We will see incredible machines adapting and helping us in the physical world. This pandemic just accelerated this tendency.
At Luos, we are at the center of those big changes to make the devices of tomorrow more responsive, more flexible, and more responsible. Our marketing is focused on explaining and helping developers with this transition.