5 lessons for Doctors from Elon Musk

Ask entrepreneurs and innovators who they most admire and one name invariably rises toward the top of the list.

Elon Reeve Musk

Elon Musk is a South African – Canadian – American billionaire technology entrepreneur. He is currently riding a wave of successes at his three main companies. If his form continues, he may well be remembered as one of the great figures of the 21st century.

  • At Tesla, Musk is disrupting the motor industry by making electric cars that are actually usable and desired by consumers. He has traditional automakers playing catch up.
  • SolarCity is making solar roof tiles and home battery storage solutions with the aim of eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels.
  • At SpaceX, Musk has dramatically cut the cost of sending satellites, and soon humans, to space by making reusable rockets a reality. He ultimately aims to make mankind an interplanetary species and establish a colony on Mars.

Not content to simultaneously revolutionise 3 industries, he has also found time to form companies to promote various other ideas, causes and concepts.

  • Supersonic intercity travel in vacuum tubes (HyperLoop)
  • Saving the world from rogue Artificial Intelligences (OpenAI)
  • Building a network of tunnels under Los Angeles to alleviate traffic congestion (TheBoringCompany)
  • Melding the capabilities of man and computer with brain-machine interfaces (Neuralink)

And he still has had time to father 6 children and inspire Robert Downey Junior’s portrayal of Tony Stark in the recent Marvel Iron Man and Avenger films…

Elon Musk makes a cameo in Iron Man 2

In fact it is difficult to write about Musk without feeling like a large man crush is being revealed to the world.

Musk also his his critics. He has been called a hyperactive, attention seeking, exaggerater. Former employees and colleagues will often describe a demanding and sometimes bullying darker side.

Such was my fascination with this figure that I recently read Ashley Vance’s biography of Musk.

I have tried to digest the information and distill some lessons relevant to my life/role as a GP interested in organisational development and technology… They may be of interest to you too…

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Anatomy of a Doctorpreneur 5/5 – The Pitch

When picturing an entrepreneurial pitch, most people’s minds will turn to the popular BBC TV show Dragon’s Den. Business owners braving the scrutiny of the rich, experienced and powerful dragons in a make or break attempt to win funding over 10, or so, awkward minutes.

However, pitching a company or idea can take many different forms. The audience isn’t always an investor. Other people also need convincing that your business will work. Key employees, customers, partner’s, family and friends will all need persuading at times. And, often this persuading is accomplished over many conversations, rather than a single event.

Some consider the reality of successful pitching more like dating. You need to show up, make a good impression, put in some effort and show passion. But, at least initially, leave them wanting more and give them a reason to look forward to that next date.

 

Our journey through this 5 part series exploring the world of entrepreneurs and medical startups is nearly at an end. We have travelled through the process of becoming a founder, finding a good service or product idea, assembling a winning startup team, and identifying sources of funding. Today, in this final installment, we will examine the important skill of delivering a good pitch.

In this post, we will explore general tips for delivering a good pitch and consider some of the building blocks for constructing a versatile “pitch deck”. A useful resource to support pitching to a variety of audiences.

 

Pitching your medical startup – General tips

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Transitions2017 Innovation on a budget

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a few weeks. No, I have not been off on an Easter holiday to the sun. I have in fact been hard at work on another project. Busy wearing another of my hats as Honorary Secretary of the RCGP Vale of Trent Faculty, I have been helping organise a day conference and then editing video and building a website to showcase the event.

My guest post on the ValeofTrent.org.uk explains how we delivered an innovative day conference along with a website to showcase the events and host video of talks, sessions and a promo video for working in our area. All on a tight budget.

Either head over to ValeofTrent.org.uk, or continue reading here…


 

The Transitions2017 day conference took place on 29/3/17. For many years the RCGP Vale of Trent Faculty has hosted this spring time event for ST3 GP Registrars with the aim of preparing our new GPs for the world of work and life after GP training. The event covers a range of non clinical topics ranging from resilience and technology to managing your finances and revalidation. This article describes how we built on our recent tradition of innovation at this event.

In particular, we are proud of our use of low cost video and web products to make the experience of the day available online, free of charge for existing and future GP trainees. We are also proud of our filming on the day for our “Choose GP, Choose Vale of Trent” promotional video.

Previously, at our 2016 Transitions event…

  • We introduced our first of it’s kind (to our knowledge) GP Speed Dating recruitment event. As in many regions, practices in the Vale of Trent can struggle to find GPs. With over 70 new GPs about to finish training, together in one place, we couldn’t resist inviting practices from across the area who were in need of new GPs along to a Speed Dating style recruitment event. The event drew the attention of PulseToday and GPFrontline and you can read more about it here.
  • We also extended invitations for the event to include First5 GPs. The day is a great opportunity for for First5 GPs, particularly those new to the area, to meet other new GPs and connect with the faculty, practices and other local support organisations.

Planning Transitions2017

At our annual faculty away day, we were determined to build on last year’s innovations. The Faculty Board identified a number of aspirations for the coming year, including…

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Anatomy of a Doctorpreneur ⅘ – The Funding

Your work in clinical medicine has given you a unique perspective and insight. You have asked the right questions and identified an important opportunity for improving care. You want to bring this innovation to the world.

You have the fortitude, ambition and grit required become the founder your own health technology startup. In fact, many of these qualities are what gave you the drive to succeed in your medical career.

You have researched your market and your competitors. You have developed your innovation from idea to a minimum viable product (MVP). The signal from potential customers is positive.

You are aware of the skills, knowledge and qualities that are needed to take the project forward. Your first key team members, advisors and mentors are in place.

You are ready to move forward, but something is missing. People, materials, equipment, stock, marketing… These things are going to cost MONEY.

Where will you find the funding to take things forward?

 

Welcome back to part ⅘ of my series of posts about the world of health innovation and startup culture. This series was inspired by the excellent Doctorpreneurs day conference that I attended in November last year (2016). If you have missed any earlier posts then please do catch up.

 

Why do health technology companies need investment?

Many companies have business models that require early investment in order to become viable:

  • A new medical device may be fantastic but require investment in further research & development to bring it to eagerly awaiting market.

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Twitter for doctors, physicians and other clinicians?

You’ve been keeping up with friends on Facebook for years. Email is pouring into multiple professional and personal accounts. Clinical tasks are piling up. Will you return that call to your mum? Invitations from colleagues to connect on LinkedIn, are gathering dust in your inbox… Maybe you actually need to meet with someone face to face?..

We are now expected to communicate using an overwhelming selection of different channels and networks. Many of us are already frustrated. So why would you want to use yet another social network?

Twitter is one of the more mature and well known social networks. But it is also one of the hardest to understand.

Why would a busy clinician use Twitter?

Twitter allows users to broadcast SHORT updates of up to 140 characters to the whole world. ALL other twitter users can choose to follow what you are saying and can find anything you have previously posted. You choose who to follow, but ANYONE can follow you.

It is this, brevity, openness and global reach which set twitter apart from the other social networks.

My path to Twitter…

I have a confession to make. I am a fairly new to using twitter regularly. As someone who identifies as being forward thinking and tech savvy, for a long time I had felt a little guilty for not being on board the twitter train. But like many people, I just couldn’t see how it would be useful to me.

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Anatomy of a Doctorpreneur ⅗ – The Startup Team

As a youngster, Saturday afternoon’s meant watching the A-Team. My favourite character was Hanibal, the ex-army colonel who always had a plan, and a cigar, to hand. The others all had some issue or another; BA’s poor people skills, Murdoch’s mental health challenges and Face’s loose morals. But, it was clear why Hannibal needed them. He couldn’t get the job done on his own. They had mission critical skills that he did not. He needed his team.

So you are a potential Health Tech founder. You have a great idea and a plan to make it a success. Now things get complicated. The next steps will involve forming a company, handling investments and accounts, developing software or physical products, marketing and dealing with staff… It will be impossible to know how, or have the time, to do all of these things effectively without help…

You need to form a team.


Welcome back for part 3 of my 5 part series about the Health Technology Startup scene. These posts are based on my notes and reflections from the Doctorpreneurs Day Conference held at St Thomas Hospital London on Saturday 5th November 2016.

Whether you are a medic thinking about developing a health innovation outside of the NHS, or simply looking for fresh ideas about how to implement change within the health service, there is a lot which can be learned from the Tech Startup scene. Please see the other posts in this series.

Today we will examine that most vital piece of the anatomy of a medical startup…

Assembling a winning startup team

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