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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AiT & First5s – Get your dream GP job

Workforce issues consistently appear the near top of lists of problems facing general practice.

GP Trainees and First5s look their more senior colleagues and see some of them struggling to cope with workload and stress. The pressure to do all they can to find the right job for them, at the right practice, is felt keener than ever.

Practices are finding it difficult to fill positions, particularly partnership roles. Many fear that they may become unsustainable if they cannot recruit to replace those retiring or moving on.


In this video I talk to a group of First5 and ST3 GP registrars about the process of finding and securing a good post.

If you are a new, or not so new, GP searching for a job then I hope the presentation will be useful.

For practices looking to recruit, the discussion and questions from new GPs offer an interesting insight into the their concerns and priorities. These might help you also in your search for the right candidate.


In the video, we cover:

  • Deciding what your dream job actually looks like
  • Assessing GP job adverts
  • Informal visits
  • CVs
  • Covering letters
  • Interviews
  • Negotiating salary and terms

For more videos from the RCGP Vale of Trent Transitions2017 Conference, click here.

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NHS Cyber Attack! – 5 things I learned

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.

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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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Personality Profiling in (General) Practice

“Dr Ann Example looked across the meeting room at Dr Adam Fiction. Nice chap, talkative, lots of ideas. But, why do I find him stressful to be around sometimes?.. She pondered as she tried to think how his idea would affect her plans.”

“Adam paused for breath. Why doesn’t Ann seem interested in my idea…”

This post describes how we used personality type training at the practice to try and improve our effectiveness and reduce stress.

Practices are under resourced and under pressure. But the stakes are high and our decisions and results can have a huge impact on our patients. In this environment it is easy for friction to develop between staff. A large amount of practice time can be wasted dealing with conflicts. Sometimes people can fall out dramatically with destructive results.

To increase effectiveness at work, we know to invest in “hard skills”. These are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as how to process information, follow procedures and protocols and use equipment and software. When considering aptitude for hard skills, we often think of the (perhaps controversial) concept of IQ.

But “soft skills” are important too. These are less tangible, harder to quantify and include skills such as understanding motivations – our own and our colleagues, listening, small talk and building relationships. These are also vital for individuals and teams to perform effectively. These skills make up our Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

“EQ represents the capability of an individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use this emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s).”  – Wikipedia

Raising EQ can improve the performance of individuals and teams. An effective way of raising EQ is to increase awareness of differences in personalities and preferred ways of communicating and working.

Personality Profiling A GP Practice

Recently at our Practice, we designed and undertook a team building session based on personality typing. We used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) system. The aim was to help the team to better understand each other’s personalities, emotions and preferred ways of working.

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