Interaction's Thrivalism

Creating Psychological Safety with Harry Singer, MD of Singer Instruments

November 16, 2021 Interaction Season 2 Episode 1
Creating Psychological Safety with Harry Singer, MD of Singer Instruments
Interaction's Thrivalism
More Info
Interaction's Thrivalism
Creating Psychological Safety with Harry Singer, MD of Singer Instruments
Nov 16, 2021 Season 2 Episode 1

In this episode, our Head of Marketing, Toby, catches up with Harry Singer, Managing Director of Singer Instruments, an incredibly interesting medical technology company. Harry is focussed on creating a workplace culture which drives innovation through psychological safety and encourages equality, transparency… and failure.

Show notes

Harry Singer on LinkedIn

Singer Instruments

Net Promoter Score


Thanks for listening! Check out Interaction's website for more workplace culture content and case studies (or just follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter).

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, our Head of Marketing, Toby, catches up with Harry Singer, Managing Director of Singer Instruments, an incredibly interesting medical technology company. Harry is focussed on creating a workplace culture which drives innovation through psychological safety and encourages equality, transparency… and failure.

Show notes

Harry Singer on LinkedIn

Singer Instruments

Net Promoter Score


Thanks for listening! Check out Interaction's website for more workplace culture content and case studies (or just follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter).

Interaction’s Thrivalism - Harry Singer

Harry Singer: If you celebrate every time that you realise you're wrong because you realise it's an opportunity to learn something and everybody else recognise that you celebrate being wrong. That goes a long way to help increase psychological safety as well.


Dieter Wood: Hi, I'm Dieter Wood, Managing Director of Interaction and this is Thrivalism, our podcast focussed on the art of thriving, flourishing and evolving under any condition. In this series, we'll examine how to create flourishing businesses, cultures, careers and places. We explore key topics such as workplace design and build culture and community sustainability and, of course, the future of work. 

 Join us and our guests as we explore how people and businesses can set themselves up, not just to survive but thrive. In this episode, our head of marketing, Toby talks to Harry Singer, M.D., of medical equipment revolutionaries, Singer Instruments. Harry is is obsessed with creating a culture of innovation through encouraging an atmosphere of psychological safety. They discuss what it takes to recruit top tier talent outside of London, why you should always celebrate failure and how to create equity for all in your organisation. It's a great chat, and I hope you enjoy it.


Toby Brown: Harry, welcome to Thrivalism. Let's start with the background of maybe Singer Instruments and how you got to be where you are. Can you just give me a bit of background on the company and your role there?


Harry Singer: Hello, Toby. Super excited to be here. Thanks so much for the invite. What's my role? Singer Instruments? I'm still trying to work that out. Good question. I'm technically I'm Managing Director, so I support the most amazing team of 55, 60 or so engineers, scientists, software developers, hackers, assembly engineers, an amazing bunch of awesome dynamic people


Toby Brown: And doing what?


Harry Singer: Good question. A lot of people think because we’re called Singer Instruments we've got something to do with sewing machines and we get quite a lot of ladies calling up, asking us about needles for sewing machines or support or fixing the sewing machines. And we do sell needles, which compounds the issue. We sell needles for a very niche bit of biological manipulation equipment. So yeah, we get some really confusing conversations. And once in a while we get an idea turn up at the front doorstep asking us to fix their machine. Then they say, Oh, you don't fix sewing machines, so what do you do then? So I have to explain it. So our mission is to develop laboratory robotics, to accelerate research for biologists who want to make the world a better place. And they're like, Oh, wow, that sounds interesting.


Toby Brown: How do I get involved? They say?


Harry Singer: They want a job straight away. No, they don't. They say, Oh, well, what do your machines do? And we have to tell them, Well, most of our customers, instead of doing biological research on humans or mammalian model organisms like mice and rats and monkeys and stuff, they do their research on organisms that no one really cares about, like yeasts and bacteria and fungus, and


Toby Brown: Now be really careful because there's a lot of big yeast fans who listen to the podcast, so they'll be quite upset that you've said no one cares about them.


Harry Singer: Oh, obviously we all care a great deal, but no one really cares if you cloned Dolly the yeast cell, there's no one outside the front with picket signs. Anyway, at that point, these old dears start kind of glazing over or asking more questions, and it just takes such a long time to disappoint them and tell them we can't fix that. Anyway, last time someone turned up at the doorstep with a sewing machine, she had a bit of a sweat on because she had to leg it up some steps and she'd rung the doorbell. And I just happened to answer the doorbell. And instead of going through that whole process, we just fixed her sewing machine. We thought it'd be faster.


Toby Brown: Plus, you're doing a public service, so in order to get you, those are ladies have to make quite a trip - you're fairly isolated, I think in terms of where your HQ is.


Harry Singer: We are. We are. Both blessed and not blessed to be in the middle of nowhere. We're in a lovely little village.


Toby Brown: If we could come on to the not blessed bit, this podcast is all about culture and attracting talent and stuff like that. I guess it's probably quite hard for you in a very niche industry with quite a niche business, a beautifully niche business to attract sort of talent you want. So you have to work quite hard to get people to your doorstep. What is the challenges you face there?


Harry Singer: Yeah, I think I think, yeah, quite astutely, you've hit the nail on the head. It's a it's a double edged sword. You’ve been in the Shire in the middle of Exmoor. There's a distinct lack of, for example, software developers. We recruit a lot of PhDs in molecular biology. There aren't many of those around here, so we have to recruit far and wide and we have to convince people that the Southwest is an awesome place to live and work. So, yeah, we have to focus quite hard on our on our culture and selling ourselves as a place to work such that that doesn't become a barrier to growth, which has been in the past.


Toby Brown: And you've incredibly hard on creating a culture and you've learnt quite a lot along the way. Can you give us a bit of an insight into what culture of Singer is like and some of the things you've done to create it in the shape it's ended up in?


Harry Singer: That's a really good question. I'm going to go Simon Sinek on you to start with. The most important thing is why you're not always going to love your job, right? So you need that, why you do what you do to get you through those rubbish days. Hopefully, most of them are fantastic days and we can all have fun. Ninety nine percent at work, but to get us through those rubbish days that way is super important. So in that respect, we are super lucky. The why we do what we do is to accelerate global biological research. We are supporting some amazing companies, doing some absolutely outstanding biological research, and some of it just sounds like science fiction. So a small selection of customers; we've supplied to Oxford and AstraZeneca, who don't need much of an introduction. BP biofuels. So they're hacking strains of yeast to more efficiently break down biomass into biofuels. We've got an office at Stanford University in California, so spin outs from Stanford include companies like Impossible Foods who are selling veggie burgers to all Burger King's in North America now.


Toby Brown: I'm really interested in how the purpose of that mission filters down in people's day to day and things you do to keep people engaged with it and keep their energy up on those days when it's hard.


Harry Singer: Yeah. So when you realise that you're supporting companies who are trailblazers and disrupting their industries in a way which is making domestic markets tangible markets leaner and really importantly, greener? Then that is great motivation.


Toby Brown: I guess a huge nature of what we do involves innovation and constantly looking for new ways to do things and refining, and to do that, you need to create a culture in which innovation is a safe thing to do. Can you describe psychological safety? What that means to you and how you create that in a business in order to drive innovation.


Harry Singer: That's a deep question, and it's something I've thought about quite a lot, but can be summarised quite simply. You can coach it, cultivate psychological safety by making sure you don't have any major dickheads in your business. So just don't employ dickheads. Or if you recognise that you have got some dickheads who potentially take the piss too much or slate other people's ideas in any way, just have a word


Toby Brown: Is much more to the point and transparent than I thought we may get as an answer.


Harry Singer: Yeah, I think, I think celebrating people who challenge, celebrating and encouraging anybody at any level of the business to challenge anybody else and rather than directly just addressing those challenges or being defensive, first reward anyone who challenges, that really helps produce psychological safety and make everyone feel comfortable to make mistakes as well. You learn best by


Toby Brown: … by doing, even if it's doing badly sometimes. In terms of the reward element for encouraging challenging, what might that look like? Is that just a verbal pat in the back or is there specific stuff attached to that?


Harry Singer: Yeah, I think just acknowledgement of it to start with and not and then potentially next level is to say brilliant. I'm well impressed that that you voiced concern or you disagree with me. I think I love it when people disagree with me. In fact, I think recognition that you're probably wrong about half the time is really important. If you recognise that you're wrong half the time, then you're much more open to hearing someone telling you you're wrong. And if you celebrate every time that you realise you're wrong because you realise it's an opportunity to learn something and everybody else recognise that you celebrate being wrong, that goes a long way to help. 


Toby Brown: That's science in a nutshell, really. Isn't it being proven wrong and taking joy in that proof constantly?


Harry Singer: Yeah. You're right.


Toby Brown: I guess that, you know, you mentioned don't employ dickheads. Essentially, how does this stuff filter down into your recruitment process? And are there any stages in that where you filter those people out? How does that stuff work for you?


Harry Singer: Oh, that's a good question. We're always trying to refine our recruitment process and work out ways of better filling the pipeline of prospective recruits. But it all starts with a chat to get to know people, and it usually start with a with a screening phone call. And if they pass the barbecue test, which is, do you think you'd have a good conversation with them at the barbecue, then you might invite them into for a face to face chat and you learn so much more face to face, not necessarily as part of the interviews, interviews and probing questions. Get to know whether they could fulfil the roles and responsibilities of a particular job, right? But my favourite part of the interview is things like getting someone on a table football table, whether they've played it before or not, you know, are they? Are they just are they keen to get involved when they're playing table football? What's the band to look like? Are they really apologetic for being terrible or are they really happy to be rubbish and have a laugh about it? Do they completely clam up and get really worried that they? Yeah, it's a massive range of different reactions to being put on a table football table, and it's not for everybody. So, so and it's very, very uncomfortable for certain people. So we might just go for a walk.


Toby Brown: I’m incredibly embarrassingly bad, but I really enjoy it. So what are you going to do? Apart from lose constantly.


Harry Singer: I got a good story. I was recruiting a PhD in molecular biology, and I went to Canada to have a chat with him. And I thought, rather than renting a boring meeting room, I've always wanted to go up the CN tower and do the spacewalk. So you can you get roped up and you dangle off the side of the CN tower, right? You're really, really high. So we did our interview. I did my interview with J. J. Yang, really excitable, amazing character who we employed. So we did the interview hanging off the side of the CN Tower, and he was way less scared than me, so we got the job.


Toby Brown: So you were getting interviewed as much as he was? Yes.


Harry Singer: No, totally. Yeah.


Toby Brown: At this probably feeds into that. Sounds like quite a stressful situation. So I'm going to segue gracefully into sort of stress and wellness. You've been recognised by the HSC as reducing stress and wellness in the workplace and being held up as a bit of a gold standard for that. There must be loads involved in what you've done to get that recognition. What sort of what sort of things have you done to reduce stress and make people feel more relaxed and comfortable and healthy in the workplace?


Harry Singer: That's a good question. So to start off with just recognising that mental health is a thing, recognising at the top of any business and getting that recognition throughout any kind of management structure that mental health is a thing is worth talking about because lots and lots of people suffer from it. It was made much easier for me to start recognising mental health in the workplace because I have some friends and family who have been severely affected by mental health issues. So that gave me a lot of exposure. So, when I was approached by someone, Ade, our workshop manager at and he wanted to look more into the mental well-being of our employees, when he approached me to ask me whether we had some budget for this kind of stuff, I was I was like, Oh my gosh, that's amazing. Absolutely. Of course we do. And so he started working with the HSC and some consultants to come in in an unbiased way. 

Pulse check our staff for mental health and then start a continuous improvement process. And it's a long process. It’s been really, really interesting and has got us a lot of recognition. But yeah, I was really lucky that I had some really proactive employees, namely Ade, who really took this by the horn and ran with it.


Toby Brown: And how do you think that objective, having the outside consultants come in to provide that objective level? Is that something you think a business could do purely internally if they dedicate the time and resources to it?


Harry Singer: Good question. Ade has actually gone on in a self-motivated way and gotten himself a degree in psychotherapy, right? So he has learnt a great deal in-house. But it is all inspired and seeded by the HSC, who came in and helped us a lot. I think it's very complicated area, unless you've got someone in house who's really, really motivated to learn a heck of a lot, then yeah, I'd always recommend an external provider to give you some support.


Toby Brown: And as a scientist, what are your views? Obviously, I'm assuming you like to measure track, have data. What are you finding in the best ways of using data and tracking to understand your culture are?


Harry Singer: Good question. So I think it's about 10 years ago, someone introduced me to the concept of Net Promoter Score. And it's such a simple, simple way of collecting data. Basically, the Net Promoter score, and you can apply it to loads of different things. So for example, if you were running a cafe, you could ask customers on a scale from one to 10 where one is rubbish and 10 is amazing. How do you rate products or services right? And the score is a tough score to get right because the theory goes that people who will vocally go out of their way to promote your business as a place to work or as a cafe or whatever, are those who score 9s and 10s they will big up your business, the motors, those who will go out of their way to slate your business as a place to work or a product or somewhere to buy sandwiches. They're the ones who score one through six and the score. Are those promoters minus those motors, and the score ranges from minus 100, which is the worst score you can possibly get up to positive 100, which is a very difficult score to achieve, right? But the score is kind of not the be all and end all. It's a nice little gauge of company culture, and it's useful because you compare your business to other businesses. But the most important thing is the second question. And the second question is what can we do to improve that score? And if you apply that internally to your staff, it's a great way to start a fantastic continuous improvement process. You collate all the data, you see that you know what 60 percent of the business are saying More barbecues are the way we can improve the culture at Singer Instruments or wherever you are. So you put on more barbecues.


Toby Brown: So how much of that process is driven from the top down and how much is driven from the day to day employees and people taking it and taking charge and driving it forward?


Harry Singer: Ultimately, it's always best when those processes are owned by people in the business who aren't management because there's complete and utter buy-in. But things like net promoter score, it just so happened that I learnt about it. I think before any of the other managers in the business and I put it in place and I acted upon the feedback. And once the staff saw that we were taking that feedback seriously and we were putting in strategic plans to address that feedback, then they buy in was relatively easy because they saw. I think if we didn't respond to the trends in that feedback, then people would think it was a complete and utter waste of time. There'd be no buy in, right?


Toby Brown: And what were some trends you saw that surprised you? Or have you learnt anything from these listening exercises that shocked you a bit or challenged what you initially thought about the way your culture was built?


Harry Singer: Totally. I think it's really important that that net promoter score feedback mechanism is anonymous because as much as you quiz people face to face about culture and what's important to people, we don't always tell the truth. 

We're English, we're afraid of the truth. We're often afraid of confrontation. So we quite appreciate a an anonymous bit of feedback. And some of us need it to be 100 percent candid. So as much as a third of my staff were saying, Look, I work here and I love the value and the culture here because of the global scientific impact I make. They'll tell you that face to face, but I wasn't hearing some of the negatives face to face. You know, the pay just isn't competitive. Yeah. I didn't start hearing that until I started seeing the data on that. And as soon as we started seeing the data on the pay gaps between salaries with us and the salaries you can earn in the cities, I didn't really take it seriously because no one was telling me, yeah. So we put in a five year programme to increase pay from where it was to pay that that's regionally and then nationally competitive. And now we don't get that much in the net promoter score feedback and we can concentrate on other things.


Toby Brown: So you've got profit share for nerds. Is it equity for nerds?


Harry Singer: Yeah, we started off. I want to cultivate a really transparent structure because relationships are all about trust and management is all about relationships. So to start off with, we opened our books up so everybody could see the profit and loss account, and we saw everybody in the company how to read the P&L sheet. And then we took it a step further and we took that to a profit share scheme called Profit Share for Nerds, where we all get together at the beginning of every year and decide what our target profitability should be. And we decide that any profitability in excess of that gets divided equally between the company for reinvestment and all the staff. So that went down quite well.


Toby Brown: You made that sound like that was a very easy organic process, but many businesses find it really hard. Did that have challenges that came with it or was it actually as a sort of smooth as you?


Harry Singer: I think for some people it would be, yeah, a real step into a chasm type thing. Quite a scary prospect, but I'm really inspired by especially the way Silicon Valley businesses operate. And it's common practise in a lot of Silicon Valley businesses. It's just not common practice. It's just not common practise around here. But I don't think we should compare ourselves necessarily to companies in our own backyard. We should. If you truly want to be global, you have to compare yourself to other global companies.


Toby Brown: Yeah. And what else is it that maybe businesses could steal that they're not stealing? What else inspires you about other businesses and the way they build their culture and operate. A bit of a pop quiz!


Harry Singer: That is that it's a broad question, isn't it? I think cultivating open mindset like you nailed earlier on is really important. I think agile kind of ethos of continuous improvement is really important. 


Toby Brown: Are there any there are any companies you look at and just think, Oh my God, they've cracked it.


Harry Singer: Are there any companies that I'm really inspired by? I think, yeah, on the marketing side of things, we're always looking at Apple. I look at Google quite a lot. Yeah, Google have got some great resources for culture as well. They're very data driven as well.


Toby Brown: They get feedback of both sides of that coin that they have being incredible and being having some practises, but might not be the most ethical in terms of their culture.


Harry Singer: No. Exactly. Yeah. So you can learn from their successes and failures.


Toby Brown: Are there any failures you've made, do you think that you've sort of learnt from and maybe moved agile around or pivoted around?


Harry Singer: Oh my gosh, I'm making mistakes all the time, but I'm really glad I've got a team that support me when I make monumental mistakes and help me pick up the pieces just like I helped them if they've made a mistake, yeah, it's I'd like to think everybody's got everyone else is back.


Toby Brown: Yeah. What would you like to see everybody doing that? You sort of do. A standard is a bit of a given.


Harry Singer: What I like. I'd like to see people enjoying their jobs. I would like to see people who aren't enjoying their jobs, do something about it, quit and go and work somewhere that you do like working for. That would up companies game, wouldn't it, if they couldn't employ anyone because they had a company culture, then they then they'd have to sort their culture out. Yeah, it makes me very sad when I speak to someone and they're complaining about their boss or who they work for. It makes me very sad. 


Toby Brown: I don't know if you feel this way, but I feel like people are more likely now to jack in unfulfilling jobs, given the nature of recruitment and being able to work anywhere pretty much at the moment. I think that's going to be quite an exciting time if that actually comes to fruition.


Harry Singer: I think so, too. Everyone's been re-evaluating their work-life balance and their values. I'm hoping there's a big shift of people moving away from cities to the countryside. We are so lucky around here I can. I can finish work at five, I can be on the beach at five past five. And if it's windy there’s kite surfing, if there's waves were surfing, if there's neither, you can go paddle boarding distances or you go hiking or mountain biking. It's so nice not to have to commute to your job and then the weekends or in the evenings, it's so nice not to have to commute to leisure. They kind of start blending into the same thing


Toby Brown: And completely free.


Harry Singer: Oh, it's so nice.


Toby Brown: Do you find have you employed people who have got backgrounds in bigger cities and stuff that have come to you? And that's quite a big change for them? Or have you got people generally from the region who it's not a shock for?


Harry Singer: It's a good question. Retention rates are certainly higher for people who grew up in rural areas, right?


Toby Brown: Ok. So what happens there, do you think?


Harry Singer: I think people miss the broad, the spectrum of culture that you can get in the cities. Obviously, the middle of Exmoor doesn't give you that spectrum of culture, but it gives you a spectrum of outdoor kind of sporting activities that you can't get in the city. So it is not for everybody, but it certainly resonates with a bunch of our staff who love the juxtaposition of that, you know, awesome opportunity for outdoors and sport and a high tech job.


Toby Brown: And in terms of those opportunities for doing stuff, you've mentioned your barbecues. Do you have any other sort of rituals or social rituals that you do on a regular basis so that you feel bonded altogether?


Harry Singer: So we've got like an event request form, and I don't think we've ever denied funding an event. The last request that was put in was just before the Olympics. Elaine, who's our customer success manager. Absolute legend. She said, Oh, we should have a big Olympics gathering in the park and we should do egg and spoon and have water bomb fights and table football and table tennis, and we should have a big barbecue. And so the next week, we spanked a load of money on doing exactly that, and it was great fun.


Toby Brown: Who won, who won?


Harry Singer: I was a little bit too tipsy at the end to remember who won. I think Elaine won a prize for just general awesomeness, for organising the whole thing


Toby Brown: Everybody won. Surely. That was it was I was probing for. All right.


Harry Singer: So let me try that again. Everybody was a winner.


Toby Brown: Nailed it. What’s next on the agenda for Singer Instruments in terms of business growth or products? Or where are you headed next or what’s on the horizon for you guys?


Harry Singer: We are growing rapidly and we want to remove all of our barriers to growth. One of them has been recruitment. So we're on a major recruitment push, always on the lookout for really smart engineers, software developers, biologists. Space was another issue. We ran out of space in our headquarters in the Shire, so we're just we're just fitting out a really cool space in Minehead. Right, right on the coast behind the steam railway. It's five and a half thousand square foot of hacking maker spaces and whiteboarding zones and breakout areas. Yeah, it's going to be a really, really neat space to hang out, build stuff, break stuff, explode stuff. And there's a big lab there. We've got a biosafety lab so we can test all of our robots in anger on real biology.


Toby Brown: I've got no idea what that means, but it sounds incredible. Really good fun. I got a quick look at your LinkedIn. I saw you had a Ph.D. in quantum chaos, was it? Can you just tell me what that is in a really simple way?


Harry Singer: Oh my gosh.


Toby Brown: Just in a nutshell for an idiot.


Harry Singer: Cool. So I studied physics. I did a Master's in laser cooling so you can use lasers to cool atoms down. And we were cooling caesium atoms down to the coldest temperatures in the universe.


Toby Brown: Like minus 20.


Harry Singer: It's three micro Kelvin. So three millionth of a degree away from absolute zero. So negative two hundred and seventy three point one four nine nine nine nine nine nine degrees Celsius or something like that. So we're cooling these caesium atoms down. And I was trying to store information on caesium atoms and do basic quantum computation, but it was really difficult. So I convinced my supervisor to buy a massive laser so we could kick the crap out of these caesium atoms and study chaos instead. So in a nutshell, what I was doing, you know, when you play snooker and billiards, right, you've got you've got you rack up the balls and you use a white ball to smash the racket balls. And no matter how well positioned the red or white ball is, and no matter how much you think you're hitting it in the same direction at the same force, something entirely different happens every time, right? So that is fundamentally chaos. And that is exactly what I was trying to do with these caesium atoms. Just break the pack, smash the shit out of them to see what happens to study chaos in this quantum system. Completely pointless


Toby Brown: Quantum snooker. Love it for. Well, at least I understand it now. Well, it's been really good to have you on. Thank you for that. Such an interesting chat. Where is the best place for people to find out more about you and what you're doing?


Harry Singer: But I can't answer that question. I can't let you go until I've told you about a company called Spiber. I'm super excited that we've just completed a deal with Spiber they're a Japanese company who are hacking genetic pathways from the silk spider into yeasts. And now, just like you brew an IPA, they're brewing spider silk, and they've worked out the mechanisms of how to spin it into yarn. And now they're selling to North Face, so they're really disrupting the fashion industry by making a renewable.


Toby Brown: Synthetic fabric vessels, super durable and super tough.


Harry Singer: How cool is that?


Toby Brown: That's incredible. How does that idea even begin?


Harry Singer: I think it was inspired by Spider-Man, obviously.


Toby Brown: Well, the best things are. So what are you doing with them?


Harry Singer: So I can't really say, but they is it to do these experiments requires a whole lot of manipulating liquids and colonies biological material. And if you had to do it by hand, it would take hundreds of thousands of years. So they have to rely on robots to do their screening to optimise their yeast strains. So we make the robots to help optimise their use strains.


Toby Brown: We often do audio clips of each podcast to promote it across social media. And I think we might just loop you saying optimising yeast strains for 30 seconds. That's so funny.


Harry Singer: I got to tell you about NASA as well. This is real sci fi stuff. So. So NASA are developing a portfolio of microbes of yeasts and bacteria. You can genetically engineer a yeast or a bacteria pretty much to break down any biomass into any chemical you like. So eventually, you can imagine brewing, replacing the crude oil supply chain, right? So a lot of chemical. You know, a lot of chemical, industrial chemical manufacturers are getting really excited at the prospects of this, which is why there's so much investment into it at the time, but much more exciting. NASA are developing an engineering a portfolio of microbes because they're really light, right? And they're self-replicating. So the payload is really low and you can send them to places like Mars relatively cheaply. And the idea is that they send a bunch of microbes to Mars to terraform pockets of Mars and get them ready for human habitation and to produce the raw materials we're going to require when we get to Mars to start sustaining life forms.


Toby Brown: So the microbes would arrive at Mars, eat some stuff and then just excrete tents and buildings.,


Harry Singer: But some of the building blocks that we're going to need to help sustain life in order to then make tents and buildings. So they, yeah, microbes in tents and buildings, send them up there with a bit of biomass so they could. They've got some stuff to live on on the journey.


Toby Brown: You need snacks


Harry Singer: And they're going to need a few snacks. You send them up there with some snacks. You make sure that they're nicely optimised to eat that snack and convert it into, for example, oxygen or nitrogen or another product. And yeah, eventually terraform these little pockets.


Toby Brown: Just for an example, what would a timescale for that be what they're looking at?


Harry Singer: You're talking long time scale.


Toby Brown: Yeah, 10 15 months?


Harry Singer: No. Yeah, tens, if not hundreds of years. I should imagine an amazing collaborative as absolute legend. Matthew Cheng from Singapore has made these probiotics and undergoing clinical trials at the moment, but a major issue costs the NHS a lot. Every year is diagnosing bowel cancer. Yeah. To diagnose bowel cancer, you have to have, you know, have to shove a camera where the sun don't shine and you've got to be able to see something. So it's usually mid to late stage, and it's not a comfortable prospect. Even thinking about he's developed a probiotic, which is one of those kind of yoghurt drinks, and he's genetically engineered the probiotic to sniff out. Bowel cancer or colon cancer, and then express a vibrant blue colour, so you could imagine in five years time point of care diagnostic, drinking a probiotic and your doctor saying, Look, if your poo is blue, you need to come back and see me tomorrow then. Now working on the next variety of probiotic, which is to treat that cancer broccoli has got some chemicals in it, which are very similar to some anti-cancer drugs, but they're not quite right. So they've genetically engineered some probiotics to metabolise broccoli and convert it into these successful anti-cancer drugs and then deliver them to where they're required. So the next stage, if your poo is blue, you get another probiotic and and your doctor encourages you to buy some broccoli. The magic and the drugs are made in your stomach and then delivered to where they're required.


Toby Brown: You're a human chemical mix vial for various colours of poo. That's incredible. It's the future


Harry Singer: Is the future. It's pretty far out there.


Toby Brown: Are there any other things? No, I'm not. Actually, I'm not going to go down that route of imagining what various colour foods you could have to tell you different things about your body going to edit that whole bit. That was so interesting, Harry. Thanks for that. It's really good to have you on. Lots of stuff to learn a lot of stuff from me to get away and learn about and lots of practical advice for people to, especially if they're thinking about their company culture. Is there anything you would like people to check out as a result of hearing on this podcast?


Harry Singer: Yeah, check out our website. If you're if you're if you're a software developer or an engineer who like the sound of the kind of stuff we're trying to do, build robots, break things biology, you know, we're all about 3D printers and laser cutters and fast prototyping. If that floats your boat, then check out the jobs and our job board on our website.


Toby Brown: Lovely, Harry. Thanks very much for being on Thrivalism.


Harry Singer: You're amazing. Thanks so much, Toby. Legend.