#MCM: Micah Green
"I think the best piece of advice I could give would really be actually love what you do and, you know, the rest will kind of fall itself in place.”
At just 20 years old, Micah Green has made his dream come true by combining his two passions: robots and hospitality. It might seem like an odd combination, but Micah and his team have perfectly blended the two in order to create the world’s first housekeeping robot for hotels: named Rosie, of course (shout out to The Jetsons). “She really focuses on cleaning floors for bedrooms and then larger spaces like ballrooms, lobbies, and hallways,” says Micah, “so she’s essentially a self-driving car that just happens to clean. One of our big goals is to have Rosie the robot [become] a full-out humanoid who can do a lot of different things, maybe even make beds, fold laundry, things like that. And this is our first step in that direction.”
It’s safe to say Micah is fairly young to be the president and CEO of Maidbot, but entrepreneurship runs in the family. “The biggest influence I’d say was my grandparents,” explains Micah. “They started a summer camp in New York when they had, like, 20 dollars in their pocket. They did whatever it took and made it successful. The camp’s actually still around today after 60-ish years, and I actually kind of grew up on the camp over the summers so I really was exposed to running the business. It wasn’t anything huge, but it was really good experience, and then I did other companies on the side like video editing. I made some videos for people for weddings, that sort of stuff, and I actually started a smartphone app a couple years ago and it’s still around today. I just shifted focus and really became passionate about robotics. I wanted to bring that to life.”
Taking it back to the beginning
“Since I was about five years old I have been building robots. I have always loved them, so I started building like, kits, with my family and then friends, you know, very simple, but eventually got into more complex robotics and did some robotics competitions like First Robotics. I was just in love with it and really interested, especially with the idea, I think, that they taught us that robots are really, like, the next revolution. So I was in love with that but at the same time, on the complete other side, my mom was brainwashing me [into] hospitality. I was lucky growing up and was able to live with some host families and travel around and just experience different cultures and I loved it, [especially] the hotel side of the industry. So [my mom’s] brainwashing worked well enough that she actually got me and my brother to go The Hotel School at Cornell. You focus on [subjects] like hospitality, administration, and management. I really looked at it as like a business school, right, and so I was in love with entrepreneurship and really building something from nothing, starting something from nothing.”
The inspiration behind Rosie
“I actually got to work as a part of some of my classes in practicum, so in the hotel, we worked for hotel operations. Every place [from] front desk [to] working next to the chef, all the way to working as a housekeeper or room attendant to clean the rooms. I tried all these different things out but then when I was in the housekeeping department, which is usually the least appealing to the students, I was actually especially intrigued. I think it was just because I was blown away by how traditional and kind of old-fashioned it felt. I brought a notepad around and would take notes while I was working. I would literally time and clock things outs, and I’d also do interviews [with] the room attendants and actually ask them questions and engage. I looked back at my days at the club, and robots are built for tasks that are dull, dirty, or dangerous. Housekeeping encompasses all those traits because it’s repetitive, it’s definitely dirty, and then it’s very dangerous, so there’s just the perfect opportunity for [Rosie]. We didn’t want to, you know, just go in and start replacing people. We really are looking at augmenting and working alongside the room attendants there so we’re really out to build the world’s first housekeeping robot for hotels, which is more of an assistant to the room attendant.
“We realized through that process that we’re putting a computer in almost every hotel and other areas everyday, so why not collect a lot of information through that computer? And so we really shifted Rosie from a robot floor cleaner for commercial spaces to the first indoor mobile data platform that can turn any building into a smart building. And we collect a ton of data, so everything from [how] dirty certain areas are in the room [to] wifi signal strength. We partnered with Marriott at the corporate level and we’ve signed agreements with some other major brands as well, and we’re going to be partnering with some other groups like Hilton, Disney, all at the corporate level so [we’re] really, really excited about that.”
You’re pretty young, especially for a CEO, and I know you said you always liked robots and hospitality, but did you always picture yourself as a CEO at age 20?
“Yeah, since I was seven years old I’ve been building companies too, like on a very small scale, nothing to this degree, but [my] first company for example, or little business I should say, was literally going into my basement, getting junk out of my basement that I thought [looked] okay that I could actually get away with selling, and then using the cuteness factor to my advantage. Me and my friends just walked down the street, and we made like three dollars and fifty cents, I think. But that was my first introduction to it and then I kind of graduated into other things.”
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs, especially young ones, who might not think they can do it?
“So I always say it’s never too early to start. I think the biggest thing is, you gotta do what you absolutely love. It’s a painful process for a while, especially at the start, there’s a lot of things that come up. When people say it’s a rollercoaster ride, it is, but not just on a weekly or monthly basis, on a daily basis. There’s ups and downs and all that so I think I would say age is just a number, right? It’s really about the passion I think, ultimately. Like, if you absolutely do what you love you’ll put in everything and you’ll make the sacrifices, you’ll do what it takes, and you won’t get bored. You’ll get frustrated but you won’t let that own you, so I think the best piece of advice I could give would really be actually love what you do and, you know, the rest will kind of fall itself in place.”
Finally, if you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
“I mean, one person who really just pops into my brain almost immediately is Jerry Garcia. He was the figure head for the Grateful Dead and I’ve fallen in love with them over the last year. I’ve seen a lot of interviews and first of all, the music is insane, but I think what is most intriguing to me is the fact that he defies everything people would expect. You kind of have these standard assumptions and stereotypes and stuff, but he hated the idea of getting famous, absolutely hated it. He didn’t want any part of being known as ‘that guy.’ And [his] philosophy on music is, like, make incredible music and have a lot of fun. And you know, we’re not making music here, but that’s an awesome philosophy. Just do what you absolutely love, again, and have a lot of fun with it. One of my favorite quotes from him is ‘You don’t want to be the best at what you do, you want to be the only one at what you do.’ So I think that’s really cool, like, basically being that unique person that can only create and build that. And yeah, he’s just a really cool guy.”