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…
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.
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.
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.
On Friday 12th May NHS IT and communication systems up and down the UK were shut down as Hospitals and GP surgeries fell victim to a ransomware attack on their computer systems. Staff were presented with a screen stating that their files had been encrypted and demanded $300 in Bitcoins, an online currency, in order to make the data usable again. The virus spread quickly across the heavily networked but aging NHS infrastructure. Affected organisations gave the order to shut down all IT systems to halt the spread and large parts of the NHS lost all telephone and computer systems as they were returned to the world of pen and paper.
At my surgery in Nottingham, we were without computer systems for three working days. Being under “cyber attack” was an interesting experience.
The effect of losing multiple systems all at once was extremely disruptive. To make matters worse, our IT support and CCG also lost the use of their phones, email and computers at the same time. It was impossible to report problems upward, communicate with our colleagues or receive instructions about how to react or respond.
However, we in General Practice and the NHS are an adaptable bunch. It was only a matter of minutes before we were handwriting on the paper from our printers and dusting off the BNFs. Reception did a great job of recreating our appointment ledger on a white board. Patients were understanding. Staff turned to social media and news websites on their phones for information. Before long people across the system were finding alternative ways of communicating, using mobile phone numbers, facebook, twitter and personal emails to cascade information and coordinate our response. Our staff even drove around neighbouring practices to inform them of the instructions to switch off their IT.
It happened after I was facilitating a session at an event focused on supporting ST3 GPs as they transition into the workforce after GP training. A GP Registrar approached a colleague and I…
“We feel worried. We are looking to those ahead of us in our careers to see what you are doing about the government proposals for 8-8 working. We don’t see any action. Hospital doctors mounted a coordinated campaign against contractual changes. You don’t seem to be doing anything about it. Where is the resistance?”
I paused for a moment… I can calm his fears and provide some reassurance, I thought. It feels to me that in my area we have been doing a lot in anticipation of the push for 8-8 access. Of course, he probably just isn’t aware of it…
“Well”, I said, “Practices have come together and formed a federation. Essentially a company owned collectively by the practices. We have put together a proposal, based on available details of the likely service specifications, to tender for the 8-8 working. The intention is to deliver the service in a way that minimises negative impacts on practices and GPs who cannot, or choose not to, be involved, whilst enabling those practices and staff who are interested in being paid for the extra work to do so. Maximising the potential for improving patient access whilst minimising negative impacts on patients, practices and care.”
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.
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.
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…
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.