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VOTF Episode 7: Captioning Real Life: How Wearables are Making all Conversations Accessible.

Host and Guests


Sam Zegas

Sam Zegas is life-long language aficionado, with years of study in linguistics and foreign languages, and now he can add “podcast host” to his resume. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Mike Williston, Co-Founder & CEO, Badger by Satellite Displays

Mike Williston is both a co-founder and the CEO of Satellite Displays. He is a results-driven entrepreneur who thrives in early-stage startups. As CEO, he is responsible for taking an idea to reality in his quest to transform the way we communicate. Satellite Displays’ created Badger, the world’s first closed captioning smart badge that converts speech-to-text and translations in real-time.

Wearing masks for the last two years made a face-to-face conversation a bit more difficult, but people with hearing impairments experience accessibility issues on a daily basis.  High-stress situations make clear communication even more critical, but hearing loss is an invisible disability, so it is not immediately obvious to the speaker when they are engaging with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.  There are multiple scenarios where clear communications are required, but none more serious than doctor-patient interactions, especially in moments of critical healthcare.  So wouldn’t it be nice to simply turn on captions for real life?  Badger’s Mike Williston made it a personal mission to do just that. Tune in to learn how wearables that provide captions can make every conversation accessible.

Read Full Transcript

Sam Zegas: Welcome to Deepgram’s Voice of the Future podcast, aka Our Favorite Nerds.

At Deepgram, we’re obsessed with voice, and this podcast is our exploration of the exciting emerging world of voice technology.

I’m your host today, Sam Zegas, VP of Operations at Deepgram, and our guest is Mike Williston. He’s the Co-Founder and CEO at Badger by Satellite Displays.

Mike, welcome to the show.

Mike Williston: Hey, Sam. Thanks for having me.

Sam Zegas: Awesome to have you here. So first of all, this is ‘Our Favorite Nerds.’

And so I’m wondering if you can tell us a bit about what makes you nerdy?

Mike Williston: Yeah. I love this question because it’s something that I love and I don’t consider it nerdy, but I guess it’s fitting.

So I’m an avid kite surfer, so I’m all about kiting, and it’s like one of my favorite things to do. So even in my bio, I always say, my favorite type of board meeting is a kiteboard.

Sam Zegas: I love that. That’s like a cool extreme sport. I always see videos of people doing that and I’m like, ah I wish I could do that. It seems really hard. How did you get into that?

Mike Williston: Well, it started with my sister got married down in South Carolina, and I was just sitting there for the wedding, and then all of a sudden in the background, it was on the beach, I just see a bunch of kite surfers go by. And I was watching it and I was like, holy crap I gotta figure out how to do that. 

So as soon as I got back to New Jersey, I just looked up some lessons, talked to somebody that was teaching it, and I just jumped in and I launched my first kite and went, like,10 15 feet in the air and I was hooked. I was sold.

Sam Zegas: You know, people who get really good at any kind of a sport or an athletic activity, they often talk about how it gives them skills for other parts of their lives. Have you found out with kitesurfing?

Mike Williston: Yeah. Absolutely. One of the cool things about Kiting too is the fact that, like, it’s a really tight community. And it’s actually a tight community of, like, entrepreneurs and business professionals.

Sam Zegas: Mhmm. 

Mike Williston: And one of the cool things about kiting is, like, you can relate it to your personal and business life. 

So it’s very wind dependent. So there’s been times before I lived by the beach I would drive, like, 40 45 minutes. And I’d get there, and I think it’s gonna be a really great day. And then the weather just goes skunk. And you’re like, oh no. Like, what am I supposed to do? And it’s just adding your control. 

And as an entrepreneur, you’re always trying to just get the upper hand and control everything. But in reality, a lot of times, like, it’s just out of your control and you kinda just gotta go with it. 

And it’s also an expensive sport to get in. So entrepreneurship, like, you’re always looking for capital. You’re always trying to raise money.

And once you commit to it and you really go for it, you’re you just you progress so quickly and you find that it’s a really struggle to, like, learn how to stay up wind. But once you get it, once you get the hang of it, you just keep going. And that’s kinda like the same thing with entrepreneurship and kiting.

Sam Zegas: That’s really cool. Well, someday you’ll have to give me my first kiting lesson and I look forward to that.

Let’s talk about Satellite Displays.

So this is a company that you founded and you have a primary project called Badger.

So I’m wondering if you could tell us about what you’re doing with this company, what the main product is, and maybe how your actual users would describe what you do for them.

Mike Williston: Yeah. Absolutely. So Satellite Displays purpose is to improve communication through innovation.

And we created Badger, which is the world’s first closed captioning smart badge that converts speech to text in real-time.

Badger can also translate in 50 plus languages, and we are inspired to help all people overcome communication barriers.

So I always like to say that communication is like a two-way street. So Badger helps both the person speaking and the person listening. So whether you are deaf, have hearing loss, speak a different language, or even wearing a mask, Badger can help.

Sam Zegas: That’s really interesting. How did you get involved in this kind of work at all?

Mike Williston: Yeah. So it dates back. I mean, it’s a very personal story, and typically, you need to have a problem to come up with a solution. And when I first met my cofounder Peter Sprague, he had come up with this idea about putting captions on people. 

And prior to founding Satellite Displays with Peter, we were both working on hearing-related businesses. And the reason I was working on hearing-related businesses, my grandmother is deaf, my dad has severe hearing loss, I have a minor hair loss, and so does my sister. So it’s very personal.

But when I was talking with Peter and he had said, like, let’s put captions people. I was kinda like, that’s a neat idea, but, like, where does it fit? How can it work? And I was trying to figure out, like, where I could put it into the marketplace.

Well, it wasn’t until my dad was in the hospital for 40 days fighting for his life where nurses and doctors, they just had such a difficult time communicating with him. that they would either not communicate with him or wait for my mom to be there to be like the interpreter.

And this really left him alone scared confused, not really knowing, like, what’s going on with his life. 

And it got so bad that my mom even said, like, hey, here’s a notepad you can, like, handwrite notes to him. And it wasn’t like the nurses and doctors didn’t want to communicate with him. It’s just they didn’t have the tools readily available or even the knowledge around how to communicate with someone that has severe hearing loss like my father, and they would actually handwrite notes to them and they did that. 

So there’s a couple of videos on our website where you’ll actually see raw photos of his handwriting notes to him. And that was when, like, that experience, like, the light bulb went off when I was, like, looking around and I saw that the nurse and doctor, they’re all wearing this badge. 

And this badge, all it does, it says, like, hey, like, Mike Williston, I’m the doctor or the nurse. And I said, why not give that badge digital powers? Bring it to life with a purpose. and that purpose is communication. 

So for the first time, without thinking, without abandoning your patient, a nurse or a doctor will have the ability to close captions on them just like you could turn closed captions on a television.

Sam Zegas: Cool. So if I understand correctly, the pain points you’re addressing are sort of in two adjacent spaces. There’s the pain point about literally getting your words across, but there’s also what you described in the story with your dad this emotional layer to it. You know that, like, if you’re in a hospital and unable to communicate, there’s a lot of stress and potentially fear and uncertainty that comes with having that barrier. And so the solution that you’re describing, it sounds like it can address both of those things at the same time.

Mike Williston: Yeah, absolutely. And with my dad, for example, like, it’s a very peculiar kind of disability with hearing loss. Like, if I was in a cast and I’m on crutches. You can see that I would need help up the stairs. 

But with hearing loss and even with the translations, like, if you speak a different language, it’s an invisible disability. So when I walk into the hospital, nurses and doctors, they’re not gonna note, like, if you had hearing loss or not. 

So being able to have tools on the person when you need it most is very valuable. So that’s where I think Badger at the littlest will at least bring that top of mind like saying, hey, there might be a disconnect from just the basic form of communication.

Sam Zegas: Mhmm. So from your founding story, it sounds like the initial use case was really focused on the medical setting. Is that really where you’re focusing today? Have you already started branching out from there? What else is on the road map? 

Mike Williston: Yeah. So we do focus B2B and medical is the first one. And the reason behind going it for the medical is one obviously, that’s where the idea kinda blooms from. But there’s the Americans with Disabilities Act actually requires that hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, they find ways to communicate with their patients and employees, and also customers.

And right now, the solutions out there are just inadequate. They’re underutilized. They’re time-consuming, and they’re expensive. So this is an easy solution to kind of say, like, hey, we’re doing something about this. We’re thinking about empathy and inclusion and all of that good stuff.

But in terms of where Badger could fit in, in the real world, there’s the B2C business that as well. So for example, if my dad has the hearing loss, when he goes to an audiologist office, he takes his hearing aids out, and then all of a sudden, he can’t hear anymore. 

So an audiologist would then have cap options available for him. After that sale, they might say, hey, that’s a pretty cool idea. Like, why where do I buy one of that? And that he’s gonna wanna buy one for my mother to use. And we actually do use Badger at our dinner tables, so we just dock it there. 

So when we’re speaking, Badger will be captioning what everybody’s saying, and he could follow along. So he’s able to hear, like, maybe 60-70% of the conversation. He can glance down at the captions to just fill on those blanks.

And then in other markets, you can say, like, imagine if you’re traveling and you go to a hotel Imagine if that hotel associate is wearing a Badger. There you’re gonna have captions and translations on that person. If you think about grocery stores, CVS, Walgreens, Walmarts. I mean, think about where there are badges. We’ll be able to provide captions for these employees to have better patient experience, better customer service, and better communications all around.

Sam Zegas: Yeah. There’s really a lot of different areas where this would apply and focusing on the medical use case for a minute. Maybe you could spend a minute making it clear to us what the pain point is. Like, what are we– sorry. What were we doing in the past to overcome this sort of communication issue? 

I imagine it had to do with interpreters or like an actual human who would come in to do some sort of a service, but what does this replace?

Mike Williston: Yeah. I mean, so just to kinda keep going off my example and my personal experience, but I’ve talked to enough nurses and doctors, and they just get it right away. They struggle with this. So the current solutions right now is either you talk louder, but sometimes with hearing loss that that doesn’t really solve the problem because when you lose your hearing, you’re not only just, like, losing the volume. Like, you lose the ability to comprehend. So being able to use other senses, like being able to read and listen at the same time is for better comprehension.

But for example, with the nurses and doctors with my father, they didn’t even realize that he wasn’t really getting what they were saying. So they would just speak to him, and then leave. And then he was just left there alone and confused.

Thankfully, my mom was there advocating for him. So she was constantly following up constantly reminding them about his hearing loss, constantly saying, make sure he understands, and then, like, left a notepad. So I’ve talked to a lot of nurses and doctors and they do. They use the old-fashioned pen and paper and they handwrite notes. And this is taking valuable time out of their day from helping and saving patients. 

And then for other, like, severe cases, like if they only speak ASL, like sign language, or if they speak a different language, they have to call in interpreters. So, how long does that take? And then the crazy thing is you’re communicating with somebody when they’re in a high stress situation and you have to physically leave. You have to go find somebody, you have to call them in. All that time is just building up. and it’s just providing a really bad patient experience.

When with Badger, you can at least lower everyone’s stress level by just saying a simple thing, saying something like hey, I’m going to get somebody to help. Don’t worry. And that lowers your stress volume. And then that provides better patient care just so you can, like, know, like, hey, someone is worried about me, someone’s making me feel included.

And then with the translations especially, I’ve talked to a lot of nurses and doctors where they use, like telemed where they’ll be calling. And then the awkward thing about that is I’m the nurse. 

Sam Zegas: Sorry. Calling into a live person. Right? There’s an interpreter on the line. 

Mike Williston: Correct. Yeah. So I’m supposed to be helping my patient. 

Sam Zegas: Mhmm. 

Mike Williston: But I’m talking to this third party. And then this third party is now talking to the patient. So it’s this, like, back and forth type of relationship.

Sam Zegas: Mhmm. 

Mike Williston: But you don’t build rapport. Like, you don’t have that ability to work one-on-one with your patient. And with being able to put translated subtitles on yourself, that will make you have a better connection with your patient. 

Sam Zegas: Yeah, it’s so it sounds to me like there are a lot of different ad-hoc solutions being used particularly in the medical context depending on how the provider is prepared to offer something or maybe what resources are available to the hospital and something that stood out to me in what you described there is that I think many people with hearing think in kind of binary terms about the ability to hear and see that that you are, you know, have functional hearing or maybe you’re someone with more total hearing loss, in which case maybe you were educated in sign language and you could use an ASL interpreter.

But the reality is there’s quite a broad spectrum of people who have partial hearing, maybe reliant hearing aids, some of the time, maybe lip read, but now they can’t do that because most people are still wearing masks in medical facilities–  

Mike Williston: Yeah. I have a– 

Sam Zegas: –in-between solution really serves that middle ground.

Mike Williston: No. And you’re spot on. I mean, you’re hitting all the points that I’ve been preaching for a while now.

And it’s funny when we first started this business who was in August about 2019 is when I quit my full-time job and said, I gotta go all in on this. 

Sam Zegas: Mhmm.

Mike Williston: And if you remember, we get our first funding around, like, November of 2019 and then all of a sudden 2020 hits and pandemic happens and shuts down the world. And I’m like, oh my god. What the heck am I gonna do?

But it slowed us down a bit, and it allowed us to really understand the market. And when you have hearing loss, you always so when you have hearing loss, you don’t know what you don’t hear.

So I have a minor hearing loss. but I never realized that my hearing loss was that bad until the masks. So every time I would go into a grocery store, I was basically useless because I didn’t realize how much I rely on the facial expressions. 

Sam Zegas: Right. 

Mike Williston: And that’s one of the key points of being able to put data right below someone’s smile because communication is more than just volume. It’s more than just hearing the spoken word. It’s all about the eye contact being able to see the smile, the facial expressions. And that’s why we want captions right below the person.

Rather than people looking down on their phone and then shoving it into somebody’s face. Like, obviously, that’s one solution, which is why we have the app, but also with Badger and the B2B world. We want people to have it hands-free, ready to go when you need it most. 

Sam Zegas: Really, really cool. This really resonates with me. I’m glad you guys are working on this. I wanna pivot for a little bit and talk more about the technology that you are using. So this is obviously a it’s a piece of hardware that people into their clothing as a badge. I suppose it has an embedded microphone in it. And then you’re looking for things that are you’re looking for a speech provider solution. Of course, we’re working together. So Deepgram is providing that for you. That’s able to give you high accuracy, but you also need real-time speed, I assume, because you want it to actually be producing results in real time as the person is talking. Is that right? 

Mike Williston: Yeah. Absolutely. And that all of everything that you just said went into decision-making of why we decided to partner with Deepgram.

And yeah. So the way Badger works right now is it’s an e-Ink display. 

It has 2 microphones. It’s bluetooth.

The second version that’s coming out by the end of the summer around Q1 is gonna also have WiFi in it. And what happens is when I’m speaking, it captures my audio. It sends it to the phone via Bluetooth. We have an application on the phone where it does the conversion and then it sends it back in real-time. And being able to have a provider like Deepgram really allows us to bring this to life. And one of our customers once said that Badger or sorry Badger by Deepgram, the speech-to-text once we upgraded it to your models is that it’s just more friendly. And it was a really cool statement when they said that and It’s because we’re trying to connect people through communications, and Deepgram helps us do that in a better way.

Sam Zegas: That’s great to hear. We definitely love this collaboration.

In the current version of your product, do you offer ways for developers to get involved in making their own customizations on top of this? Or is that not something you’re doing at this point? 

Mike Williston: We’re not necessarily doing that on at this point. I mean, we’re all internal working on it. So most of the work that you see done is with our small team here at Satellite Displays.

Sam Zegas: Cool. Yeah. We actually had someone at Deepgram, one of our team members named Kevin Lewis who had made something like this as just a side project but it was nowhere near as developed as what you ended up doing. And I think it’s really cool to see multiple people thinking about this problem space all at the same time. 

Mike Williston: Yeah. I mean, to me, it’s like one of those, like, no brainer ideas, like, why hasn’t this been done? And that’s kind of what, like, triggered us to get going. And with entrepreneurship and just like business in general, it’s all about timing. And I feel like with the pandemic, with everybody, trying to work on their diversity, inclusion, and empathy within businesses and really trying to connect people and being patient-first, customer-first, This just makes sense. 

Like, why would you not want to have better communications if there was a way? And we’re hoping that Badger will be that way. 

Sam Zegas: Yeah. You mentioned the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA, early on, in this conversation, and that is an evolving piece of regulation. Right? 

It doesn’t necessarily prescriptively say you have to use x, y, or z sort of solution in order to make things accessible to people with different levels of ability. But nonetheless, you could imagine this becoming a standard because it does actually overall improve the quality of experience the patients have or the customers have. So I love to see this evolution in the accessibility space through products like this.

Mike Williston: Yeah. of course, and one of the things with the ADA is they have to like, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, they have to find solutions or well, actually, the patient request. So if they say, like, hey, I would like a, like, a sign language interpreter or I would like someone like on the phone or video conference, they’d have to go and provide that as long as it’s in a reasonable price point. But if they’re not able to find something or there’s no interpreters available at that time, what do you do? 

And right now, they can claim, like, oh we tried our best effort. But then it just never really happens. So for me, what I always like to say is this is a low-cost solution where when that happens, where you can’t find someone that speaks, I don’t know, Japanese in the middle of night when you have Japanese patient come in, you can at least solve it right then and there if you had a Badger. 

So there’s really no excuse because it’s an inexpensive solution to be able to put captions on people for life and denying people the ability to communicate is just wrong in my opinion. 

Sam Zegas: Yeah. Yeah. I completely agree with that. I’m curious if you have any thoughts about the future of live captioning. So if you go out 5, 10… maybe even further where do you see Badger’s tech evolving or maybe more broadly? What trends do you see in the market related to live captioning?

Mike Williston: Yeah. I think live captioning is huge. I think smart devices are huge. At Satellite Displays, we’re always innovating and thinking of different products and where captions can be available. and improving communication. So obviously, larger displays. I like to say any surface we can make smart. 

So if there’s an opportunity to implement live captioning, why not?

And I just see it kind of, like, eventually like being in contact lenses or being in glasses, things like that. And I know there’s some folks that are have been thinking about putting captions in different displays. 

So I’m just excited to see where it heads, but I’m also excited to see how accurate it’s getting because when you think about when Siri first came out all the way now to Deepgram, it’s amazing to see how much better Deepgram is and all of these other solutions. And, now, I’ll tell you, I’ve tried every single one of them. And I just personally, like I said, Deepgram is just more friendly.

Sam Zegas: I’m glad to hear it. This is a trend that I am I’m personally watching quite a bit as well. Something that’s always bouncing around my mind as someone who is involved at Deepgram and also just as someone who cares about speech as someone with linguistics training.

Speech is the largest unstructured data set out there. You know, we produce tens of billions of hours of speech data around the world every day. And there’s a lot of value in that. For the most part, you know, if we are talking, we’re communicating something that’s worth hearing.

And the fact is that most of that data, some of it should remain private. Right? It’s not like everything should be analyzed by machines. But at the same time, there probably is value in somehow capturing a lot more than we currently do. in making it available for analysis or storing it so that people could access it in a different way or making it available real-time for people with different ability levels.

So that is a trend that I’m watching, and I think that Badger is definitely a part of the solution to making that trend a reality.

Mike Williston: Yeah. And to kind of based off of that a little bit. So while we’re waiting for the new WiFi adapters to come out, we’ve actually developed a lot on the app side. So we have been thinking about where else can just having the ability to transcribe your voice and so we came up with a couple different modes within the app. So I quickly explained the different modes. So there’s ‘Badger Mode’ which is the default. Basically, it’s I speak, captions come out, and it disappears, like normal conversation. So no recording.

‘Notes Mode’ is essentially the same thing. The only difference is it does record. So you can basically if you wanna just transcribe, like, we’re having a conversation right now and we’re talking about really, like, cool things, like, I don’t wanna sit here taking notes and handwriting notes. So, like, what I would do is just put on notes mode and it will transcribe my notes. and then it saves it, like, really easily within the app. And then you have the ability to share it, like, via email, text message, Slack, like, whichever way you really want to share it, but being able to capture that. 

And then this one’s a little bit unrelated to speech-to-text, but still very valuable in the communication world. It’s called ‘Type Mode.’ And ‘Type Mode’ came to me by a speech therapist.

So I was working with a speech therapist and she came to me and she asked me, she says, what happens if my patient can’t speak? And I kinda, like, chuckled in my head. I was, like, I don’t know. I’m a speech-to-text company. I don’t know how to solve your problem.

But me being who I am and always trying to, like, solve problems, I went to bed and then I woke up and I was like, how the heck do I solve this? And I was like, why not take the smartphone or iPad and turn it into a remote keyboard. 

So now you can type your message if you can’t speak. So for example, that scenario where a speech therapist had a patient who couldn’t speak. They would give Badger to that person who can’t speak. They would connect it to their phone, and then they could just type out what they want to say. And I’ve never lost my ability to speak, but I feel like that’d be really really scary and not being able to communicate easily would be troublesome.

So now if you ever lose your speech, you have the ability to put captions on you as well and show your voice.

Sam Zegas: Yeah. That’s a that is really critically important. And we’ve actually had other guests on this very podcast who’ve faced that sort of reality in their lives. So I think that I agree. I think it’s very relevant.

There are a few things that are really jumping out at me from this conversation as trends that I watch in the market. And so one of them is the idea that voice tech is developing into a way to improve customer experience and patient experience, and it does that for a number of different demographic groups. 

And this can’t be an exhaustive list. I’m sure that the list is actually extremely long, but one thing is that we have an aging population throughout the world. And more and more people as a proportion of the population will experience things like hearing loss over time.

But also generally just the circumstances of being in a world where sometimes people are wearing masks or sometimes you interact with people who speak a different language and need that batch translation.

There are more and more needs that the emerging, the bleeding edge of voice technology is helping to make the world more accessible and patient-friendly, and user friendly that way. 

I also think and this is obviously related, but just speech technology is really a force for an improved inclusion. And that is something that obviously has gotten a lot of attention in the last decade or so. But the ability to put your voice into different formats so that folks are able to access it on their own terms, I think, is a really cool development.

Mike Williston: Yeah. I think it’s 100 percent and I have a funny story about Badger and inclusion.

And it actually relates to one of your sales reps, John. Great guy, shout out to John. 

But we were at yeah we were at Display Week. And he came by the booth and was helping me with the booth and running it. 

And we had mistakenly forgotten to put a lunch reservation in, and we went to the really nice restaurant right next door. And when we got there, they said it was like an hour and 30, hour and 45 minutes. And we were all bummed out. We’re like, what are we gonna do? We were both obviously wearing our badge instead of the conference badge that they give you. So we’re wearing Badger. 

And the hostess was like, hey, what is that? And we gave the pitch. We told them what it was about. Turns out that they spoke Hindi. So we turned on Hindi. We start speaking Hindi. 

They were blown away. And I kid you not in, like, 5 minutes. They pull us they pull us aside. They’re like, Mike, John come here. And they’re like, what’s up? And they’re like, we’re gonna get you in, like, 10 minutes. 

So we jumped the line and I swear it’s because we made that connection. We spoke Hindi to the person that knew Hindi it provided that inclusion, the empathy, it really connected us. And that’s something that Badger and I think communication when you make that effort to communicate. When you go that extra mile, it doesn’t have to be 100 percent correct. It just has to show that, hey, like, I’m thinking of you and I’m trying to make sure that you understand what I’m saying. 

And I credit for us getting into that restaurant because of Badger.

Sam Zegas: That’s a powerful proof of concepts. I totally see it.

So, Mike, you actually have a Badger there with you. I’m wondering if you could give us a quick display or a demo of what it actually looks like to use a Badger.

Mike Williston: Yeah. Absolutely. 

So this is Badger. So as you can see, I just put some simple information, Badger, my name, closed captions on me. But now let me give you a quick demo. 

“So if you can’t hear me. You can read my captions.”

“So imagine if you have hearing loss and a nurse or a doctor was wearing a Badger. You would now have the ability to put closed captions on you.”

“Whenever I do demos, I like to put myself on mute so you can have the experience of having hearing loss.”

Sam Zegas: And if you’re listening to us without video here, Mike is still talking and the captions are just scrolling down the screen.

It’s very cool.

Mike Williston: So this is… Yeah, go ahead. 

Sam Zegas: I was just gonna say this is extremely cool. It was a hundred percent possible for me to read what you were saying. Even when your volume was off, I knew exactly what was going on, and I’m happy to see that there were no mistakes or at least something I thought in the–

Mike Williston: Yeah. No mistakes. Thanks to Deepgram. 

And just to give you a quick demonstration of Spanish. 

So “Hello. How are you?”

“What’s the weather like?”

So just imagine having the ability to answer somebody that doesn’t speak the language or has a hearing disability in real-time. That’s what Badger does and that’s the powerful thing about having captions on you.

Sam Zegas: I love that really interesting powerful tool and obviously very easy to use. Thanks a lot for showing us. 

Mike Williston: Yep. You’re welcome.

Sam Zegas: So I’m curious, are there any upcoming product releases that we should know about? 

Mike Williston: Yeah. So we’re, like I said, we made a lot of improvements where the app can be a standalone product, especially with ‘Notes Mode.’ And then also for those folks that kind of need captions now and they can’t get a Badger. So we’re gonna be releasing the app very soon…in probably about a month. 

So we’re looking forward to that. It will be on iOS. 

We do have the Android, but the Android would be coming out a little after iOS just because we’re focused more on iOS right now. 

Sam Zegas: Got it. And to our listeners, there’s probably gonna be a little bit of time between when this is recorded and when it’s released. So by the time you’re listening to this, it might actually be out. You should go check it out. Is this under Badger in the App Store? 

Mike Williston: Yes. It should be under Badger. It might be Badger Companion. It just depends.

Sam Zegas: Okay. And we’ll put some notes into the show notes here so that people can find it more easily.

Mike Williston: Yeah because I’m literally right now in the process of releasing it. So just going through some logistical things.

Another thing I do want to mention is the fact that we’re also actively looking for pilot programs in hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, hotels, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart…

If you are someone that works in any of those companies and is interested in signing up for a pilot program. Please get in touch with me. I would love to have a discussion on how Badger can help and where we could fit in. 

Sam Zegas: Sounds great. You heard of your first folks.

They are looking for partners. So go ahead and reach out to Mike. and we’ll provide a little bit of information at the very end here about how you can get in touch with them. So we’re almost at the end of our time here. 

Something we always do at the end of ‘Our Favorite Nerds’ is talk about a subject that reminds people just how far technology has come within our lifetimes as a way to reflect on how far technology will come in the next 10 to 15 years. 

Mike and I were talking about this before we recorded, and he had an interesting way of communicating with his mom via beeper codes that I thought was really, really fun. 

So why don’t you tell us about that?

Mike Williston: Yeah. So a piece of technology that no longer exists– I mean, I don’t know anybody that uses it anymore. 

Yeah. It’s a, it’s a beeper. And I must have been 10 maybe, maybe 11 or 12 at the time.

And my core group of friends lived in a development called Sentex, which was over a bridge, but, like, over the Turnpike, the New Jersey Turnpike. So a really busy bridge, and my mom was always so terrified of letting me ride my bike. And I rode my bike everywhere but she would never let me ride my bike over there, and I’d always have to wait for drive drive me around. 

But it was– she finally decided to allow me to go and she felt more comfortable when she gave me this purple beeper. And I used to have to ride around with it and show up. My friends would be making fun of me, but I had these different codes that I like, remember to this day where if she beat me, like, ‘1 1 1’ that meant, like, give me a call. ‘4 4 4’ meant, like, dinner’s gonna be ready soon. And then the really angry one was ‘6 6 6’ meant get your ass home.

Sam Zegas: I love that. That’s really right. Yeah. We’ve talked about beepers a couple times on this show, but that is a very specific use case there with the codes. 

Mike Williston: Yeah. It was it was incredibly ridiculous. I think it probably lasted, like, maybe one year until I mistakenly lost it.

Sam Zegas: I love that it was a purple beeper too, and I’m sure that was really popular with your teenage friends. 

Mike Williston: Yeah. I mean, it was not only just purple, but it was like see through purple too. Like, you remember, like, when that first, like, Apple computers, the back of it, it looked like–

Sam Zegas: Yeah iMacs.

Mike Williston: –Yeah. It was ridiculous. But hey, it worked and it allowed me to go to my friend’s house and I didn’t have to wait for my mom. So I love it. 

Sam Zegas: Cool. Mike, it’s been awesome talking to you. Thanks for being one of our favorite nerds. 

So to all our listeners out there, thanks for tuning in again. Come check us out for more information about Deepgram and about Badger by Satellite Displays. So that’s Satellite Display singular .com. And, of course, you can always check us out at and @DeepgramAI across all of our socials.

So with that, we will catch you next time. Thanks very much.