The daunting 1st prototype

The last week or so I have been busy building the first simple prototype of our upcoming app – a pre-MVP – for the MedTech startup, we’re working on getting off the ground. We will be getting it out there to get early feedback just after Christmas.

It is a daunting process.

Not only is it daunting to try to find the different pieces that when stitched together could form a somewhat crude but credible first go at what we will initially be trying to bring to market to create value for patients.

No, the most daunting part is that youre airing your idea(s) and inviting feedback from real potential users. And doing so full knowing that they can throw whatever they want in the form of feedback and criticism against you.

The prospects of getting feedback from people – or worse yet; hearing nothing at all because no-one will try it out – is so excruciating it can be a real challenge to push that ‘Publish’ button and get it out there.

But there is just no way around it;

If you never launch anything – not even a very crude, embarrasing prototype – you will by definition have failed completely.

So, reversely, by just getting something out there for people to provide feedback on is infinitely better and an infinitely greater step towards any kind of potential future success.

So just do it.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Prepare for the digital health struggle

If you had the need for a piece of advice from a doctor, would you launch a super-app like WeChat to find one who could help you?

No matter what you say you would do, it is already happening in China, where WeDoctor is part of the WeChat overall experience. And working to be available “24/7 across the globe”.

Now, if you thought China and data protection was a dubious match in itself, think about how WeDoctor thinks about privacy and then think about it again when they start collecting your health information. Because, of course you will use such a service if it’s available, right?

Well, maybe YOU won’t. But many people like you will. Because we have developed a digital culture, where it’s so persuasive to just use what’s conveniently available here and now instead of truly thinking the potential consequences through before we act.

And not only for privacy. But also for trustworthiness.

That’s also one of the reasons why we have tons of regulation in place to ensure that even if you’re tempted to act before you really think, the risk is somewhat limited. But the good question then becomes what the real value of a lot of that regulation is if bending the rules is as simple as clicking a link in a Chinese app (or from some other less regulated place)?

Despite the efforts to develop regulation to fit the times, we live in – which I am all for – it will be interesting to watch the battle unfold between those who insist that we still have the highest bars for privacy, trustworthiness and ethics when it comes to peoples health and those that just want to commercially exploit an industry that is so ripe for new solutions.

I hope that trustworthiness, ethics and standards will prevail, as I remain absolutely convinced that outsize rules apply when you’re dealing with peoples health. But I am also realistic enough to know that the stakes and potential returns are so huge in this space that we will likely see an epic struggle in this space between good and…hhmm…not so good.

So buckle up and prepare. And remember to think it through before you just click that convenient link.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Wanted: Co-founder

Want to have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of millions of people worldwide and help them increase their quality of life?

Then maybe you should consider joining our new ambitious MedTech startup as a technical co-founder with an emphasis on software development.

We’re targeting a really big problem using innovative patent protected technologies, and we have already got the initial funding in place.

But we need YOU!

Who are you?

You’re an experienced software developer with a knack for developing apps and a few interesting and successful projects under your belt. You’re equally dedicated to the quality of your work, building a team to help you build it – and making a difference for our future customers.

Why co-founder? Because we want you to share the journey with us. And ultimately be very successful together. And yes, you will be compensated for it too.

Want to know more?

Book a slot for us to have an informal chat about the opportunity, you and why we might be a match made in heaven.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

A necessary read

While working to create a MedTech startup either from scratch or later trying to get the product to market, John Carreyrou’s book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” about the Theranos scandal should be absolutely required reading.

The story about Theranos is well documentet by now: Only the lies were bigger than the claims of what they could do, and it remains a fact that it is one of the biggest tech scandals of recent years.

Then why should founders and people working within MedTech read it?

Because it is a horror-story about what can potentially happen when a beautiful idea – and the idea was beautiful, as non-feasible as it was – gets overtaken by hype, greed and personal ambition. It inspires to make sure you always stay the right course based on fact and NEVER deviate from it.

Because it is a horror-story about what happens when you lose sight of what it is you’re trying to do; help people with a condition or at risk of attracting one (or whatever it is, you’re trying to do with your MedTech startup) and instead focus on yourself and own selfish, short-term needs. Indirectly it is a recipe for how to risk turning into a real a**hole.

Because it is a deeply relevant story about how MedTech – or HealthTech for that matter (although maybe not quite as much) – is different from most other types of startups in that there are rules, regulations, certifications, you need to abide by, comply to and get, because – yes – it is a dead serious business. If that’s too cumbersome for you, get out. And do something else.

And because it sends a sombre signal that even though you can fool some people some of the time, you can’t fool all people all the time – and never ever should even try to do so in this space, even if your surrounded with people who have too low of an ethical/moral bar to be in this space in the first place. Boot them out instead and get your moral compass back in order.

MedTech is not a ‘get rich quick’-scheme. Lives may literally be at stake. Yes, the potential can be huge for successful startups in this space, but that should always be the result of actual value delivered by putting people better off. Not by applying smoke and mirrors and perform actions on the wrong side of the law – moral as well as legal.

Speaking of legal: Elizabeth Holmes is at the time of writing this awaiting trial with her former boyfriend and COO of Theranos, Ramesh “Sunny”Balwani, on several counts of wire fraud.

Just sayin’ and highly recommending the book.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Media should take some cues from MedTech

The other day I was asked by Lars K. Jensen to contribute 3 tips on digital development as it relates to media to his weekly newsletter, ‘Digital Ugerevy’.

Naturally, I obliged and delivered as I try to do every time a good friend of mine asks for a piece of advice or some input. And I consider Lars to be a fellow crusader through many years in trying to breathe some new life into a super challenged industry. So I was happy and eager to help

But it also got me thinking about how different the media industry is from what I am doing today. And why it made a ton of sense to leave it for someone like me.

While there are many great things to say about the media industry, it is super hard to challenge and affect. Not because people in it have figured things out, but because they think they have figured it out – and are thus very resistant to real change.

Why? Because the media industry is an industry that puts too much weight on the ego and – more importantly – ego-driven decisions.

I guess it comes with the inherent opportunities for public exposure it offers those of its tribe that puts themselves forward and out there. It’s human, I know, but still…

In the media industry there is no real price for trying to solve a problem as seen from the end user or reader. You will likely die trying instead. Because media people just know better; they are always the smartest people in the room – or so they think.

Contrast that with MedTech which is where I am currently busy trying to build a new startup ground up:

Here there is every price for trying to solve a problem for someone who is experiencing pain, agony or whatever it might be that ails them.

Here there are no-one being smarter about how to solve problems, because those trying to do it are most often deeply invested into research where they actually value figuring things out and secure the validity of what they try to bring to market before they do it. Everything else is a ‘No go’.

Here there are no-one winning an argument with “…but we usually do it this way”, because it is essentially the same thing as saying that the underlying problem will persist, and what we’re trying to do is inherently futile – which again would lead research for better solutions absolutely nowhere.

Here there is preciously little gloating. There are few if any waiting and hoping for others to fail as we’re all on the same mission to try and improve things.

Here it truly matters what you do. It is not a game.

Here there are visions of what might be if we succeed instead of longing for the past.

And I could go on.

Honestly: Is there any reason not to say “So long, media” and refocus your energy from something futile to something deeply meaningful?

I think not.

But I am still glad to try to help out and kick the can when great people such as Lars comes calling.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Interview more, not less

Hiring for a key role in a new startup is both interesting and frightening.

You get the opportunity to meet great people, who have invested time and interest in what you’re going to do, and you really need to make sure you end up with the right one.

It can be tempting to just interview a few people for the role to save time and go deeper than you can with more people. But actually you should do it the reverse; you should run more 1st interviews, be a bit less deep and just form your impression as you go along.

Why?

Because it will enable you to get the real feel for who’s going to be the right candidate. Just as you know when you’re in the same room with the person, you will know when you’re not. And those moments will also help you inform what’s needed for someone to be the right fit.

I am following this approach for the role of Head of Product for MedTech X, and I think it’s paying off. I am meeting lots of people, and steadily I get more crisp about what the right profile for the role is.

As I go through the interviews I keep a spreadsheet for myself, where I write down my comments and score tha candidates. I do that based on:

  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Chemistry (don’t ever underestimate that – especially in a startup)
  • Impact

I give everybody an average score based on the above and I supplement with comments. In that way I always have an overview, but more importantly: I can go back and revisit based on the next interview I do.

In that way I can refine my opinion on candidates and what’s crucial for the right one to have as I go along and without ever losing the bigger picture. And I can use the investment I make in meeting quite a lot of different people to the full effect – and ultimately hopefully get the right one.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

I am looking for YOU!

Do you have experience in Product Management and – preferably – in MedTech? Then maybe you’re the one I am looking for to join our new MedTech X-startup at inQvation Studio?

I am extremely passionate and excited about this project. I have been working on it from different angles for months, and it is a super interesting case:

We have a big interesting problem, we’re addressing, in a space where there are no good solutions today. We are working with a team of experienced scientists on some potentially breakthrough-technology. And we are putting a killer advisory board in process.

I have worked on a lot of different things over the years, and I can safely say that this is by far the most interesting, worthwhile and challenging thing, I have ever done – in every good way.

It makes a ton of sense and feels 100% right no matter how I look at it. And we have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in peoples lives. No kidding around.

Sounds interesting or even exciting?

Take a look at the job post here: http://inqvation.dk/headofproduct

Or better yet:

Book me for a chat right here.

I look so much forward to hearing from you.

(Graphics: inQvation)