Yay, it’s (almost) Christmas!

The Christmas holidays are upon us. and with that 2020 is (finally) coming to an end. It may thus be a good time to reflect a little on what went by in the year that passed.

Forget Covid-19 for a second (I’ll get back to that a bit later); for me this was a year about learning and reaffirmation.

When it comes to learning there are a number of approaches you can choose to take; everything from ‘trial and error’ to consciously looking to broaden your horizon. And while I have been doing some of both, I think my main take away has been to just insist that everything, I have been working on, is essentially a learning experience too – and reflect as I go along.

My personal experience is that that approach has made a huge personal difference to me. For me the difference has been between trying to make sense of things in hindsight to actually have an efficient structure for capturing learnings as we move along – an open mindset so to say with a great dedication to ensure that no matter what happened, I would get wiser from it.

Seen from that perspective I have learned a ton and become even more ‘battle-hardened’. I have learned about other people, trains of thought and processes, and I have learned a lot about how I handle them myself, so I don’t loose myself in the process. It may sound rather flimsy, but I can’t overestimate the value it has for me.

Did I accomplish all the things I set out to do? No. But did I learn a lot about why many of those things were exactly as hard and ambitious, as I predicted – and thus had a good feel for – before I moved ahead with them? Hell, yes.

And this brings me to the reaffirmation part of what 2020 taught me;

I have long had a feeling that I have a tendency to involve myself deep into complex projects that are super hard to pull off. Sometimes for reasons of breaking with the norms, adversity from my surroundings or something like that. Otherwise just for the sheer complexity of it.

I know full well that it might not always be the best thing to pursue for me as an individual – that it challenges me deeply on personal levels, where it shouldn’t. But what 2020 has given me is the insight that not only is it what usually tends to happen. I am also completely at peace with it.

I know now that when I miss out on something it’s usually not because I did a poor job or didn’t try hard enough. It is because the things, I – and people around me – try to pull off are super hard. And things that are super hard to pull off has a tendency to award you several setbacks along the way.

The magic trick is to accept that things are hard, not give up and just keep pushing, pushing and pushing until you make it work.

So that’s what I have been trying to do (and probably also why this upcoming holiday is pretty welcome at this point :-))

Other than that Covid-19 (there it was) has also played in on my sense of 2020 as the year of reaffirmation.

While others have (understandably) been hugely struck by all the limitations and changes to their preferred way of life, I have gotten reaffirmation that those things many others crave, I can still function well without.

It’s not that I hate other people. I don’t. Absolutely don’t. I just have a deep sense of confidence in my own company that I have enjoyed getting reaffirmed, because I believe it makes me stronger and more robust in terms of dealing with challenges of all sorts.

Having been through all sorts of personal crisis over the years, I have a deep sense for how I deal and cope with them, and getting that reaffirmed this year has been a source of strength and optimism in a year that could so easily have been low on both.

It has reaffirmed my core belief that no matter the challenge, there is always an opportunity that things may turn out well – as long as you don’t give up.

And with that, let’s look forward to 2021.

(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)