The phrase “I have a million-dollar idea!” typically implies that the main motivator is of a financial nature. Bruce Bateman, a serial entrepreneur, the co-founder of several successful startups, and a public speaker on topics ranging from cultural differences between Asia and the West, machine learning, the metaverse, and the future of living for the elderly, cares nothing for the monetary gains of an idea. He prefers to concern himself with the task of looking at various problems and figuring out, step by step, how to solve them.
Having tried and failed several times in his endeavors, Bruce’s success story is multifaceted, and his work is tridimensional. First, he actively mentors approximately 15 startups from around the world in various topics and fields, such as machine learning, VR treadmills, location-based services for warehousing, medical devices, and medical learning. This component stemmed from his own experience being mentored as a young man; he now wants to help others in the same way.
“My advice to startups,” Bruce told the Sonophilia Foundation, “is always, number one: know the problem your solving… Build [the company] with people that you want to be around… [and] be honest with everybody… The companies that I’ve been involved in that have been the most successful are those that are most open, honest, and where it’s more like a family. The rewards will come if you can execute; it will become your passion.”
Based in Taiwan, Bruce also runs an innovation and startup platform reporting to the chairman of one of the largest contract manufacturers. In this role, he looks at where technology trends are going in the coming years, specifically focusing on the ontology of technological obstacles and how best to move forward with them. The last part of his work, and perhaps the most significant, involves research on areas of elderly care in the future and how elderly people will live and interact in future technologies, like the metaverse.
“People have called me a new name recently, and that is an ontology investigator, and ontology is the study of breaking things down to their parts. That’s really who I am. I look at problems such as how the elderly will work in a metaverse and I [dig deeper].”
In doing so, Bruce has a very specific vision for what he believes the future of elderly care will look like by the year 2030. He highlighted telemedicine as a high likelihood, underlining those certain technologies, such as blood and urine analysis, heart rate, EKGs, ECGs, ultrasonic testing, and x-rays will be available for remote diagnostics.
“Remote diagnostics and telemedicine [are often called] the internet of things,” he said. “It’s not just your heart rate, but did you take your medicine at the right time? Did you take the right amount of medicine? How can we monitor you? What are the technologies required to monitor you?”
He also firmly believes we should consider the safety and security of the transmission of data when it comes to elderly care, something which he says has begun to be addressed properly in Asia.
“Elderly care is a problem in all of our societies in that governments look at it and say: ‘Well, 2030 is two political terms away. We don’t know who’s going to be in government… let’s let those people worry about it.’ Only Japan has really started to think about this problem. Korea and Taiwan have also begun to address this. We’ve got to think about how we build things, how our healthcare looks, how we design products that can work in this environment in this elderly care world.”
This type of work undoubtedly requires a great deal of creativity, something Bruce believes stems from a “desire to solve a problem.” Like any endeavor, creativity blossoms from passion. It often requires a team, not an individual player, to get creative juices flowing and make significant progress.
“The person who has the idea is not [necessarily] the person who can solve it and you don’t need that person to be the person who solves it… When you say innovation, do you mean the person with the original idea or the person who improves upon an idea?… Innovation comes at all different levels and all different layers and getting people to be involved and really care about what they do.”
For that reason, Bruce is particularly passionate about the mission and structure of the Sonophilia Foundation. From being introduced to many kinds of people with vastly different perspectives to being able to engage in discussions about issues and ideas, Bruce loves listening to other people express themselves. Although he admits he has no particular knowledge about the arts, he finds special value in collaborating with artists and musicians to help spark innovative thinking. Essentially, it’s the family feel that he finds so refreshing.
“My area is in where technology can assist, how technology can provide you with better learning and better understanding, how, for example, Roman Lipski (Sonophilian), uses technology that takes his art and makes it into different kinds of art and then gives the artist inspiration… Whenever I’m hanging around the Sonophilians, I get this family feeling that everybody just wants to chit chat… That’s why I’m excited to be part of it. It’s not just about innovation. It’s also a very calming approach. It’s not about money. It’s [about getting creative together]. That’s the kind of soul I am. I’m more about the creation and less about the monetization of it.”