Spotlight on Michel Tombroff / His Pathway to Exit

We met Michel in 2010, when he brought his Young Bull firm SoftKinetic to our first White Bull Summit: Pathways to Exit. The company and their CEO were no doubt on to something. That year, Michel went home with his first Bully Award for what was clearly a cutting edge solution. … SoftKinetic DID do great things with their 3D image-sensing technology, including winning another two Bully Awards in two more categories as they grew over the following years.
 
But last year was the kicker. At the Pathways 2015 summit, on the final night Gala Awards dinner, the room was abuzz with more than just the usual happy crowd. Michel had made his debut, not just as one of White Bull’s first Minotaurs, bringing home his 3rd Bully Award trophy. There was another cause for celebration. On that very same night, October 8th, SoftKinetic announced their successful exit. Sony had seen the light, and acquired them, “with the aim of developing the next generation of range image sensors and solutions, not only in the field of imaging, but for broader sensing-related applications as well.”
 
It was a happy day for all. Perhaps especially, for Michel.
 
So, you ask, Where Is He Now? … We met up with Michel at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona just a couple of weeks ago. We were at GP Bullhound’s annual Tuesday night soirée, talking up a storm, when Michel approached me. “White Bull put us on the map,” he said. (YES we are bragging.) The youthful happy grin always looks good on him. We are PROUD AS PUNCH.

According to Michel, White Bull was the perfect platform for exposure and connection over the years to the influencers that made a difference for SoftKinetic in the end. Just after he received his second Bully Award, Michel was approached by several strategic partners and investors, who had been reading with interest about SoftKinetic. The award was a vehicle for him to showcase what made his company special. "The connections we made were invaluable to helping us make the right decisions about moving forward," he said. 

It's the kind of White Bull story we love to tell.
 
Still the same unassuming, warm and gentle, cheerful guy, 3-time Bully Award-winning CEO, Michel Tombroff, has gone on to more great things. Now, he’s taken on the role of CEO of “Jack.”
 
Jack appeals to a different kind of “sense” - an emotional one. The “Jack” is an electronic message – a text, an image, an audio or video clip – which can be opened only when the sender decides the recipient should view it. In other words, it’s as much about the anticipation of the message, as it is about its content. “It’s what the world needs,” said Michel with enthusiasm – the same enthusiasm, I gather, that will continue to bring him success.
 
Indeed, we live in a fast-paced world. Often thrust about in a physical and mental frenzy, driven by our own need to consume, generate, and share information instantly ... constantly, we forget to slow down and take things in one at a time. We forget to savor, to chew, to enjoy. Jack forces the user and the recipient of messages to relearn the joy of anticipation. We have a message, probably an important one, and we are forced to wait for it, until it’s time, until the story, or the picture, or the video is ready for our consumption. Imagine that – an idea that goes against the grain of the hasty world we live in … and is Revolutionary.
 
Imagine your time in this world is limited. Imagine you have something to say, but you don’t want to say it now. You want to send a message to your loved ones, but it has to be exactly the right time. It’s important. You send your message, and immediately the receiver sees “You have a Jack.” But there’s a sort of hour glass timer on it. It’s loading, a circle around your image slowly growing. You can’t read it until the circle is complete. But when? You’ll just have to keep coming back to it, to see. You’ll have to wait.
 
“I like it,” I say, remarking to Michel that goose bumps have formed on my arms. “I like it a lot.”
 
When we’re done talking, I go to my phone and send a Jack to my friend who will be celebrating her 60th birthday this year. And, I bet she can’t WAIT to open it.
 
Keep up the good work, Michel.
 
Hear more from Michel through his recent podcast interview with award-winning author and expert on “Slowness,” Carl Honoré.

Elizabeth Perry-Duvall