In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Sobotka.
Dr. Peter Sobotka is a successful serial entrepreneur who built his first company from an initial investment of $700 to $130 million. He has since made over $300 million in direct sales and published over 20 research papers and books. He is the current Chair of the BPL Task Force for the PRIME Alliance, as well as the Chair of The Technical Committee of the National Electricity Roundtable in Canada. Peter holds a PhD in Applied Physics, with completed fellowships at Texas A&M University, and Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?
I grew up in the middle-class Slovak family of mixed origin; my grandparents resided in Vienna and Budapest and were of Austrian, Ukrainian and Jewish descent. My entire family hated Communism. The regime had nationalized my father’s small toy factory and my grandfather’s restaurant; another one of my uncles was in prison because he tried to emigrate. Given my family’s deeply rooted resistance to the Communist regime, I was raised to be free spirited and to challenge authority and the system. So, despite being one of the best students through both high school and university, I was always in permanent conflict with the Communist administration.