Written By Tridiuum CEO Mark Redlus
(A Small Company Start-up Tale in Digital Health)
It happened fast. Not Bugatti fast, but for an organization, a company, or a group of people to coalesce around an idea…this was fast. Really fast. Everyone who has ever been, dreamed of, or is on the way to becoming an entrepreneur, participating in a startup, or bringing a new product to market has a fundamental understanding of how hard it is to bring something new to fruition. First, it has to start with an idea, then you have to test out the idea with family or friends, and if it’s still alive, you have to put idea to paper or iPad, so to speak. If it’s still alive, there’s a next step, and then another, and then another. And hopefully, at some point, you build a prototype, conduct a pilot, get feedback, calibrate the “idea,” and iterate to get it to a place where it’s minimally lovable (a term that my Director of Product Development has taken a fancy to when it comes to bringing products to market). There are so many possible detours, potholes, speed bumps, and frankly, construction barriers along the way, it’s a wonder anything new makes it to market anywhere, ever. But then, there’s inspiration. Inspiration creates lift and carries ideas, people, and funding with it. It creates clarity, mission, focus, and speed. This is the story of how inspiration grabbed me, seemingly, in the unlikeliest of places, and how that inspiration set a group of people on fire to build something special for another special group of people, breast cancer patients. What follows is a glimpse into what organic, real world product ideation and development looks like at a modestly funded start-up, and the power of inspiration in fueling it.
Like all great ideas do, it all started on a Tuesday. Tuesday, October 28, 2014 to be exact. It was one of those autumn days in the Northeast where the sun just doesn’t make much of an appearance. I had spent the better part of the morning in our Wayne, PA (just outside of Philadelphia, PA) headquarters, kicking off a full day effort with our science, product, development, and design team leaders. Their mission was to take our core product and shorten the user experience from a whopping 21 minutes per interaction to under 7 minutes. We had determined that, after 7 minutes, patients (our end users) would ultimately check out. To set the mood in our spacious, window laden conference room, I pulled up a movie clip. The one from Apollo 13. You know the one. It’s the one where Mission Control has to figure out how to design a contraption to get oxygen to the astronauts in the LEM with nothing but what appears to be vacuum cleaner parts in a milk crate. The stakes were obviously much higher for Mission Control and the astronauts, but the stakes were pretty high for us too. We had a product that had been scientifically designed without much thought to real usability. I had been on the job as SVP, Labs and Innovation for just over 4 months at this point, and the consensus between me and our then CEO, was that we had to transform this “science” into product, not only a product that customers’ would use, but one, hopefully that they would love. I played the clip, set forth the mission parameters. There were some uneasy smiles, a little angst, but there was also a lot of determination. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to sit in on this session. I had a Healthcare Innovation conference to go to, and I had decided that I needed some fresh perspective. Besides, the people who could do this were already in the room: our Science Director, Chief Architect, Director of Product Development, Chief Mobile and Design Architect, Clinical Domain Expert, and our Product Development Consultant, for good measure. They clearly didn’t need me. 7 minutes or bust folks. I left and began my rather uneventful meandering hour and a half drive to the Healthcare & Life Sciences Summit in Atlantic City, NJ. The rest of the day was going to end up being anything but uneventful.
Stay tuned for a little more each week…oh, and please let me know if you like this.
#Startups #Venturecapital #DigitalHealth #Digital #NewProduct #Tridiuum #wecandothis