Meet Max Filin, CEO and Co-founder of WowCube, named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021, is the first-ever STEM-certified Rubik’s Cube-meets-game console encompassing 24 screens, 8 CPUs, 8 speakers, a 6-axis Gyro and 120 earth magnets operating as one system.
WOWCube Entertainment System was born from Savva Osipov idea at just 12 years old and Ilya Osipov, his father, brought it into life. Max became connected to them during the early stages and was appointed as CEO to make the product commercially viable.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Max Filin: Hey! My name is Max Filin and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Cubios Inc., a startup that invented and developed the WOWCube® Entertainment System, the world’s first twisty gaming console, and one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021. With 96 unique and patented neodymium magnet connectors, 24 screens, 8 CPUs, 8 speakers, 8 Gyro and G-sensors, it’s been described as “The Rubik’s Cube of the future.” Played by twisting, shaking, tilting and tapping the console, players can physically interact with the digital world, changing the geometry of the screen during gameplay on the device where your battlefield is on all six sides of the surface.
My background is 15+ years in manufacturing and global distribution of cutting-edge consumer electronic devices for the following product categories: Smart Phones, Tablet PC, Notebooks, Smart Home and Security Products, Portable Digital Projectors, GPS/Glonass navigation systems, DVR, e-books, DPF, MP3/MP4 players, In-car Electronics, FM transmitters, Drawing boards, Kids Tablets, CCTV Systems.
I’m also an R&D Design House and factory co-owner.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Max Filin: If the last few years taught us anything, it’s that companies have to be flexible in everything they do. With global business and manufacturing coming to a halt during the pandemic, and then slow to resume, it has caused some delays. For example, China recently introduced a mandatory daily PCR test, and now employees stand in line for 3 hours out of a working day.
The good news is, it reinforced that remote work could be nearly if not just as effective as being in person full time. Cubios was already operating across several different cities and countries before the pandemic, and going through this experience taught us how to be the most efficient from the places we each work.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Max Filin: I think this should be determined by each founder for their own business. One of the additional challenges that we encountered is the difficulty of choosing the right partner (whether it be an investor, adviser or a programmer contractor) in the context of the impossibility of meeting in person.
Behind the screen, it can be difficult to understand or get a read on people. I feel that meeting in person is generally very crucial to gauging credibility. So, among other things, I would advise businesses, and especially entrepreneurs and startups, to ensure they do proper due diligence when evaluating future partners.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Max Filin: If we talk about our target industry, the pandemic actually helped us: sales of game consoles, smart toys, gadgets for creativity, and family entertainment devices, such as board games, have increased exponentially.
WOWCube® Entertainment System combines elements of smart education and entertainment gaming gadgets for kids and adults, home decor, utility tools like weather and financial information, and more.
So our task is only to bring it to the market as soon as possible. But because the device is so new, unique and technically complex, we have to constantly face and solve problems that didn’t exist before.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Max Filin: When the pandemic started, the best advice to get would have been, “don’t expect this to end soon.” Now, it’s March 2022 and a lockdown has been announced in Shenzhen (where we have an office) again. For us it means that workers (electronic and technical designers) cannot get to computers on which licensed software products are installed. These versions are not available to them at home. For now, we are just hoping for the best outcome possible with the resources, learnings and information available to us.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Max Filin: It’s true that many businesses flourished by going online or improving their online offerings. For many that previously relied on physical, in-person commerce, pivoting to online solutions was central to their survival. But we’re now seeing a shift here as people return to work and everyday life. There will always be the need for physical products. There will always be avid readers who prefer the touch of a book or a print newspaper; musicians playing physical instruments, and the like.
In 2022, that will continue to be true and we expect that the public will give the WOWCube device a very warm reception. I know there are many who would have wished it was available to them while we were all sitting at home, but, just as many experiences are now hybrid ones, I expect people will enjoy the ability to bridge the physical and online worlds in our new product.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Max Filin: This is a sensitive issue, I’m scared to know myself! =) I like to say, “The sun never sets for Cubios, Inc.” The fact is that our team is spread all over the world: In the USA from Florida to California, Australia, Portugal, Hong Kong and Shenzhen (China), Mexico, Israel, Turkey, Georgia and Montenegro.
I wake up at 6 in the morning and get on my smartphone or laptop in which there is already a huge amount of emails and questions from Asia, where the working day is over, and from Eastern Europe, where the working day is in full swing. A little later, America wakes up with its time zones, and late in the evening Asia is waiting to e-meet with me, where it is already “tomorrow.”
I think I spend about 14+ hours in front of the screen a day…if I had to guess.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Max Filin: I think that the best motivator is in setting a personal example. No one will follow a leader who is not on the front lines themself. History remembers only success; success comes with persistence in achieving the goal. Quitters never win, winners never quit.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Max Filin: Almost every day we face new challenges. It’s hard to understand at first glance, but we are basically building several different startups at the same time:
- – Completely new mechanics – a mechanical device of a new form (I’m talking about unique connectors)
- – Electronics developed from scratch, in the form that has not been described in standard manuals before (8 simultaneously working computers without a single button, not even a power button)
- – An absolutely new operating system that maintains the integrity of the virtual space when changing the geometry of the reality
- – An SDK (Software Development Kit, Creative Studio and Emulator for this device
- – Developing the games and applications themselves
- – Building an ecosystem, app store, companions for iOS, Android, Windows
- – Designing and manufacturing different accessories for the WOWCube
In each of these, it is necessary to invent non-standard solutions. We look at this as both a challenge and an opportunity to be part of something completely new.
Right now our biggest challenge is in our ability to get all of our production needs met as we navigate potential manufacturing and parts complications from supplies abroad. We faced a component crisis. The production time for key parts increased many times, and the price increased many times, too – this, of course, affects the entire economic model.
In terms of software, not much has changed. It is not difficult, and it’s maybe even more convenient, for talented programmers to work from home. Meetings are replaced by e-meetings, which you just had to get used to. But hardware is different. Design, development and prototyping are not things that can be done remotely – you need to physically check the results. Physically convening focus groups and mechanical designers to discuss and improve results is so important, so we suffered in these areas, too.
We also have a need to raise additional capital, which we are doing via a StartEngine crowdfunding campaign, in which we have invited our most loyal and future customers to become shareholders and full-fledged participants in the product’s journey. In the meantime, we’re taking it day by day and doing our part to ensure we can bring the WOWCube to market as efficiently and quickly as possible.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Max Filin: I have been in the crypto market for a long time in terms of hardware and I have a good idea of how everything works there. As for NFTs, we have several projects in the works for how to use them in a WOWCube system, but this is a topic for a separate discussion. I’m now learning more about GameFi and DAO, and trying to figure out where the metaverse will possibly take us.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Max Filin: For any person, motivation usually consists of 2 parts: financial motivation and some kind of moral satisfaction or self-realization. It increases productivity.
Everyone is pleased when their work is recognized. It is very important! Each employee must feel that what they do is valued by and beneficial to the company. So, I would advise employers to say more kind words, to celebrate achievements with the whole team, to show where this or that part of the employee work is applied. For small teams, communicate in person more often.
The world was already transitioning towards remote work; this would have happened anyway. The pandemic was a powerful catalyst and greatly accelerated the transition, decentralizing work in those areas where it was possible.
Technically, the world changed quickly, but morally, for people, the transition usually takes longer. Modern man is a social being. And if you are locked at home for a long time, unable to often personally communicate with colleagues and managers, or to finish a particular part of a project, it is very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Over time, as a result, you feel like giving up, because you get the feeling that “nothing is happening.”
If you work in the same physical space, it is easier for the manager to read emotion – by intonation, by expression. If everything is “online,” being communicated over text, it is very difficult to understand whether the employee sincerely answered “yes” to the question, “is everything okay?”
Therefore, now more than ever, it is important to celebrate the contributions of everyone – to remind them that without their particular effort, there would be no final result! And always turn your camera on while Zooming!
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Max Filin: I know the exact answer: Better memory! This would solve most of my problems.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Max Filin: At a business level, we have spent the last 5+ years working on the WOWCube system, a device that we believe is unlike anything else in existence. Now that we are putting the finishing touches on the final product, we are gearing up to finally share it with the world, starting with pre-order sales.
Success for us will translate to WOWCube users who love the experience; of course, encouraging sales numbers; and demand to see more from us as a company. The technology we’ve built that makes the WOWCube possible is unprecedented, and we have ambitious goals for what we can do with it.
Recognition that we have done something that did not exist, and without too much humility I will say that we have created a new class of devices – despite the colossal number of force majeure events in 2020-22 that have occurred – is a success both from a business and personal point of view.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Max Filin for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Max Filin or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.