Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode 86 · 7 months ago

How to build a better lemonade stand w/ Dave Whelan


Product-market fit can sometimes seem like an exotic term that no one can really define with any level of simplicity - until now.

When asked for his take on the subject, Dave Whelan, CEO of BioscienceLA brought a “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” approach to the table.

Using a simple lemonade stand as a metaphor for startups, Dave breaks down product-market fit using target markets, pricing, and product solutions in an easily digestible example.

His decades-long experience in many branches of the healthcare industry has helped him hone his unique and effective understanding of how product-market fit and commercialization work.

And on this week’s episode, he’s bringing that expertise to our viewers.

If you’re an entrepreneur and product-market fit has eluded or confused you - or you’re just not sure how to begin commercializing your innovation - this is your episode!

Here are the show highlights:

  • Why product-market fit is mission-critical (15:05)
  • Are you wasting time or money doing this? (23:15)
  • Myths, barriers, or pitfalls of commercialization (24:13)
  • How to run a successful “lemonade stand” (31:54)
  • This is what product-market fit looks like (36:37)
  • Next-level marketing strategy (37:53)

Guest Bio

David Whelan is CEO of BioscienceLA, a company with a passion for nurturing a vibrant ecosystem that will create new opportunities for all stakeholders.

A seasoned strategy, business development, and general management executive, Dave inspires entrepreneurs at the intersection of technology, health, and wellness.

His experience spans genomics, wearables, digital health, consumer health, wellness and nutrition, enterprise health services, and healthcare providers, among other areas.

Dave earned an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School, a BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, and has studied at London Business School and Carnegie Mellon University.

If you’d like to reach out to Dave, you can find him on LinkedIn at Dave Whelan, on Twitter at @djwhelan, or visit

You're listening to health innovators, apodcast and video show about the leaders, influencers and early adopters who are shapingthe future of healthcare. I'm your host, Dr Roxy Movie. Welcome back healthinnovators. On today's episode I am sitting down with Dave whalen, who'sthe CEO of Bioscience La. Welcome to the show, Dave Ray. Thankyou so much for having me. I'm so excited. Awesome. So let'sget started by telling our audience a little bit about who you are, whatyou do, what you've been innovating these days. Great so for for manyyears I've I've said that I am a consultant who basically inspires entrepreneurs at theintersection of technology, health and wellness, and that's been a journey that I'vebeen on for many years. I think of myself as a technologist. Istudied artificial intelligence once upon a time, a long time ago. He camea business for it was cool, so so much before it was cool thatI ended up becoming an it guy for a venture capital firm and then becomingan executive recruiter and eventually going to business school. So technology guy turned businessguy, turned turned health business guy. got into that through the the wearablespace and then spent some time in the world of genomics and before I knewto it, I was building businesses and inspiring entrepreneurs at this intersection that pullsin health data and new health technologies, sometimes on the biotech side, sometimeson the Medtex side, sometimes on digital health, and so over the years. I'm based in Los Angeles. I've lived in La for twenty years,but a lot of my time over over the past twenty years has been workingwith organizations and ecosystems and other places. So a lot of time in NewYork, a lot of time elsewhere, they area, things like that,and every time I came back to la I would say, or my wifewould say, it's like hey, why aren't you doing more of that kindof cool stuff here in Los Angeles? And thankfully a group led by LosAngeles County a few years ago was was kicking off initiative that became this organizationby a Science La, and so I joined last year as the first permanentCEO of by a science la to really lead the charge to grow the lifesciences and help innovation ecosystem sort of the innovation ecosystem in the Greater La region, which to me is growing funding, growing space, growing talent and thengrowing the entire messaging around that to create awareness. So what's happening in La? You know, are there's some different trends that are happening maybe there inthat pocket or market compared to some other their places across the nation or acrossthe globe? Yeah, I mean I think there's there's, you know,I Aliso, there's both a lot and still not enough. And part ofpart of what we have in Los Angeles is, you know, we,along with New York, as a lot of similarities and since I spent timethere, I tend to draw those. You know, we're both massive metroregions, huge populations, hugely diverse populations and you know, diverse from afrom a you know, ethic, you know, racial, socioeconomic background,but also diversity of industries. So I would say, you know, Ialways point to La and New York is sort of the two places in thein the US for sure, where you quite literally every industry exists here.So, you know, people think of Los Angeles as being entertainment, andit is, you know, it's also aerospace and it's also apparel. Andthen you go a little further afield, it's it's manufacturing of all kinds.Los Angeles has actually the largest manufacturing hub in the US and so and we'realso a huge transportation hub. And so... take all of those other industriesand you layer this growing life sciences innovation economy which is not just about biotech. So what I always would I always caution people, especially my board,is that, you know, we're not trying to create a biotech hub or, you know, Biopharma only that rivals the bay area or evils Boston.I think there's a lot of depth there. That's that's not what we will become. Our goal is, I do we become a better version of theLa that we have, which is this amazing mix of biotech and Medtech anddigital health. We have arguably the the greatest talent and technology around AAR andV are for digital therapeutics and again, part of that, presidentally ties backto the media entertainment industry that we have here. We've got great ai aroundclinical trials and then we've even got some really, you know, interesting leadershiparound you know, immunotherapies, the your Carti to kite your kite was foundedhere and now part of Gilead, and so we've got some amazing sort ofnot just pockets but sort of threads of innovation, along with some amazing academicinstitutions that produce some of the the greatest minds in the in the country,and now we have an opportunity to really help move them into some companies.Yeah, I like how you mentioned this potential convergence between the creativity of theentertainment industry in converging with the healthcare I mean that's so needed. Yeah,it's I mean it's you know, we and you know part of it.You know, I certainly use it for from the Los Angeles story standpoint,because what I one of the other messages I've been sort of sharing within thecommunity is if we want the world and all about what's going on in LosAngeles, we have to make sure that Los Angeles knows what's going on inLos Angeles first. And how do you tell your story so that your yourneighbors know what you're doing? You know, how do you tell a life sciencestory here such that those aerospace people and government people at academics understand what'sgoing on? But broader broader story about media. I think is so importantand you know, we've certainly seen you know, the the past. Obviouslywe've seen so many things over the over the past year, but I thinkone of the threads that is very apparent there is this idea of communications andengagement and awareness, and it's you know, I we talked a lot about accessto healthcare, but you don't even get to access to healthcare until youget to awareness to healthcare, which comes from the right messaging and communications aroundhealthcare. And if we could channel the media and entertainment industry is to actuallybe more partners in that, there's a huge opportunity not just for La,not just for the US, but for the whole world in terms of hownew innovations are shared, new challenges are shared and people actually take action.So let's talk about that a little bit. Let's just jump right into the meetof it right we talked a lot about commercialization here. How important,like what's happening from your perspective, around the communication in the media, inthe awareness, in the messaging and value props and all that stuff, andin what do we need to do about it? Yeah, yes, Iuse a couple a couple of examples and one is sort of, I'll callit, more on the the the consumers, the consumer side of health and wellness, you know, more on the wellness side. So if you lookat the past, I'm gonna said the past ten years, the companies likeNetflix have been, I think, very active in the in the documentary space. And you know, if you would add, you know, if you'dask me fifteen years ago, do people want to see a documentary about nutrition, I would have said I don't know, maybe, maybe one right. Andyou know Netflix. Netflix has produced... twenty five documentaries about nutrition overthe past, you know, several years. Hone last night and said he's nolonger eating seafood because he just watched this documentary on seafood. Last tipwith Netflix. One one of the one of the companies of advising just recommendedI watch that documentary. So it's very good. They're working on a cellcell based, you know, cell based Meat Technology, for for Bluefin Tuna, and they're developing this here in Los Angeles. Okay, so it's that'sin that space. Is another interesting we could we could talk about synthetic biologytoo, but on the media side. So you've got you've got communications,sort of from that consumer media side of thing, but you know, wealso continue to be in this mode of as as much as I think everyonethinks about, you know, we affordable care act and sort of you know, acts like that's been here forever, and sort of consumer consumer access andawareness to healthcare has been around forever. You know, we're still in theearly stages of that and it's continues to evolve. And so the more thatwe have consumers making decisions about healthcare, asking questions about healthcare, the morewe have consumers with access to you know, with access to phones with data,with access to wearables with data, whether they're consumer facing tools or morelike diabetes technologies, things like that. The more those are out there,the more there are questions coming from both patients and consumers, whether it's familymembers or just, you know, other consumers. The more we need tofind ways to get information in a timely fashion, in a in a sortof packageable fashion, to individuals so they can understand it. And some ofthat is some of that is how do we, you know, embrace ticktock or snap or whatever the you know, whatever the new technology the day is. You know, some of the here in La we have a fewcompanies, you know, one called impulse mobile that works a lot with textmessaging, so text messages that come from your physician or text messages that comefrom from a company like Medtronic to a to a physician or to someone withina hospital. That's helping to guide them and what they should be doing.We have companies that are producing video content for for patients, a company calledmody spark that's really about, you know, sharing these what they call sparks,basically these little bursts of inspiration or birthts of guidance that will help peopledo the right thing, which, you know, might be how do weeat today? It might be how do we exercise? That also might be, you know, did you take your meds or did you remember to goback for the second vaccine shot, or things like that. There's a lotthat we can do just in terms of connecting with people where they are,in the voice that they're expecting, which again is, as we talked aboutdiversity in Los Angeles. You know, that voice is is many, manylanguages, it's many many approaches, it's being, you know, it's beingin the right place at the right time with the right message and approach tohelp people make a better decision. Yeah, so, Dave, how important isthis to the commercialization process? And we're where we getting it wrong?Like where is it? You know, what are we doing incorrectly that weneed to like recalibrate or reset? Yeah, it's a great it's a great questionthen, you know, especially here in La because I see both.If you look at sort of the traditional called by a Biopharma is kind ofthe traditional side of life sciences innovation, and then digital health is, you're, clearly the newer side. Yeah, I think it's, you know,not black and white, but I would say, and you know, insome ways, you know, in some ways the Biopharma space is more ofthe old model, which is clearly trying... solve a problem, trying tosolve a problem in the end user, but not necessarily for the end user. So it's trying to trying to tackle a disease or something like that,but not necessarily understanding who that end user is, how they will respec youknow, how they will relate to it and stuff. You know, somethings like cost come into that, certainly, and you challenges around that. ButI think if you look at as things go more digital, we seecompanies that are taking more of this design, you know, design thinking viewpoint,is user centered viewpoint, and and that's not always that's not always right, because I think sometimes we end up with the complete other side of thependulum, which is we have technologist sort of working on you know, workingon the user and really understanding the user, but then somewhere in the middle they'vemissed you actually solving the problem. Right, so it's like we're miscomponent. You got the bus is correct. Yes, well, customers says theylove and they'll buy, but really they not going to. I right,right, not priable or feasible for the business. Yeah, yeah, exactly, and so I think, you know, clearly, clearly were we understand wherewe want to go with that. What what I think is great,that I'm seeing more of is some of those traditional companies, whether they're bya Farma, whether they're big device, you know and companies, are teamingup with the digital companies and finding ways to use some of the data comingfrom digital help to help inform the development process of things. Clinical trials isone where we've seen huge tries, huge strides in recruitment of clinical trials.And you know, companies like apple is involved in clinical trials through through theirresearch kit product, and companies here like science thirty seven are involved with gettinga better population of clinical trials faster, or even even virtual lot, youknow, virtualized patient data, randomized patient data, things like that. Allof that can help to move that process forward faster and start to start toget dissolutions faster and hopefully again. The past year so many examples there,you know, whether it's the move into telehealth, tell a medicine finally,or patients understanding that if they have if they have some kind of data,you know, and that data might just be temperature, might just be howyou're feeling. But now there's finally ways for a patient to take something happento them and get it to their physician that doesn't involve a fact machine anymoreand that's that's pretty exciting. That's that's a huge, huge boost of productivity. I hope that's a whole nother episode day the whole facts channel. Whathappened to the facts machine, or what's still happening the facts machine? Yes, it's ludicrous, but in some ways it can still be effective. It'sjust embarrassingly effective, right right, without of course, and now now thebiggest challenges on the consumer side is, well, how do you where doyou find a fact machine to actually fact something to the doctor? Right exactly? Um. So what if, from your perspective, what do you thinkis the the number one strategy that's really missing mission critical for commercial success?Yeah, I think this is this is maybe the maybe the easy answer,but I always go back to that early stage of you know, how doyou understand, how do you get to product market fit, which is reallyhow do you understand who that customer is, who the customers are, and thatyou know, again, that could be from on the enterprise level,you've got the financial customer, you've got...

...the, you know, executive decisionmakingcustomer, you have the customers actually using it and maybe you have the enduser patient. But really taking the time to understand who those individuals are,who those personas are, really understanding what their individual pain points are, andthey're probably different across those, and then making sure that the product that you'redeveloping is eventually going to address a lot of those. But it's also notgoing to address a lot of those on day one, because if you tryto do that, you're never going to launch this product. So where doyou want to go? And then, you know, move it back towhether you call it, you know, minimum viable product, or call itthe you're you know, you're you know early, you know, early data, you know, pilot sort of opportunity, but making sure that there's there's areal storyline there. Where do you want to go, where do youstart and how do you know that what you're building is actually going to helpdoing that? And I think that, you know, I work with,I work with a lot of companies that are sort of in the I'll callit the the venture or want to be venture future, venture backed world,and then I work with companies that are going through NSF and Nih, youknow, Sbi r grants and things like that, and you know, interestingly, the the NSF and particular, really has a strong process around that.Early data gathering, understand the market, you know, interview customers, thingslike that. And if you're going through a an accelerator program, a textours program or something like that, why combinator? They do a really goodjob with that as well. Sometimes, when you're an entrepreneur or three entrepreneursworking on a text start up and you know where you want to go,you think you know where you want to go and you start building it.Those are the groups that sometimes forget to talk to the customers, you know, until they're in front of the venture capitalists asking for, you know,asking for an investment in the DC. Says, well, how many,how many customers? Have you talked to? And they sort of look around andsay, well, I I mean, my brother would really love this product. Right, right, exactly. Oh my gosh, we talked aboutall the time on that on this show. That is like one of my soapboxes. So I'm going to ask you, so I face this more than Iwould ever want, is that you have the innovator. They are socommitted and somewhat obsessed with the innovation in the configuration that they will leave.They want that, they want to bring to market and you know they've hadsome conversations with people. Like you said, people say they love it, peoplesay they will buy it. This people right, but no hard datato validate the demand for it and they skip to you know, can youhelp build a go to market strategy and plan? Can you help with digitaladvertising so we can build awareness? What do you say? To, I'lltell you what I say, but I want to know what you say tothose folks that really want to skip all of these really key steps. Whatdo you say? Yeah, well, set and first of all I havea I have a little a side story, because I just I remembered this withsomeone I was talking to a week or so ago. I many yearsago, when I was graduating with my artificial intelligence degree and trying to figureout what I wanted to do, I was interviewing with an educational software companyfor, you know, it was for a product, product manager, youknow product, you know assistant, you know manager or whatever role, andI remember sitting across from the the interviewer, who was like the head of productfor the company, and, you know, we're in the heat ofthe interview and he says, he says, you know, Dave, if Iyou know, if I gave you a piece of paper, you know, could you, you, can you map out a product plan for anew a new piece of software, you know, a new APP WE WANTTO DO? And I of course, you know, I was I wastwenty one years old, and like, Oh, this guy watched I needto know how to do this. So...

I'm like well, yeah, Iwould, you know, and I started to like do something and he's like, it's like, Dave, no, you could not do that, likeyou do not have any of the information to do this, so do notjump into that. And I feel like that's what he's entrepreneurs are like sometimes, and so I really do, you know, tell them to stop,slow down and, you know, let's again. You know, understand.You know, do we know where we are today? Do we know wherewe want to go, and do we know how we eats? Think willget there along the way, especially knowing that ultimately, even if you havea really good plan based on data, based on customer feedback, invariably you'regoing to take a turn along the way because they're going to realize that somethingthat you even if you plan it really well, something you thought was correct, is not there. So, even if you plan really well, you'restill not going to take a straight line. Clearly, if you don't plan atall, you're absolutely not going to take a straight line and maybe yourline or maybe your line is going in the wrong direction. And so,you know, I do know you in good or something that nobody wants rightright, I do you know, I do send a lot of people backto the drawing board and I was talking to some entrepreneurs recently where they're inagain very, very passionate and they're they're talking, and this is all overhume, of course, so it's a little harder, but you know,they're talking about what they're doing. And then I was I was just likelook, there's there's clearly an opportunity. I know there's a need and whatyou're talking about, but like, I don't think you even have a producthere yet, like, like let's figure out, like we know there's aproblem. Now let's figure out what we're building that's going to address that problem, not just hey, there's a problem, let's get in there because we can, you know we can fix the problem. And I think that's thedifference between sort of, you know, if you are a if you area technology. Just sometimes there is that I guess it's the mechanic versus theengineer, sort of sort of mindset, right, and like sometimes technologists actlike mechanics and like we we need mechanics. There's great, you know, there'slots of places where mechanics are needed, but you don't tend to build acompany based on being a mechanic. You build a company based on beingan engineer, even if what you're engineering is actually something that other people useas a mechanic for their problem. But you still need to engineer a product, engineer a business, as opposed to trying to fix someone, you know, someone's individual product, product or yeah, probably, yeah, absolutely. So, you know, two things come to mind. One is that,you know, just acknowledging it's hard. Right. So it's so much easierfor us to give that wisdom to other people than to take it for ourselves, right. I mean I have, I mean like literally, or maybenot so literally, but like left a presentation that I gave on how importantit is to co create with your customers and then went into the rd roomand started innovating the strategy product that no one had ever validated, but Iwas so passionate and so sure that everybody was going to want it. Andit's like, oh my gosh, it's just hard. Yeah, yeah,as I like to say, I'm very good at giving this guidance to peoplebecause I've had had lots of personal failures where I've totally missed that. SoI definitely know what happens when you fail. They're right, right, exactly.You know. The other thing is, you know sometimes, you know when, and I'm sure you face this too, is that when you youget people that are just digging their heels in and they're so strong, youknow, you just have to say, well, then, I'm not theright consultant, I'm not the right strategist for you, because I am notgoing to I won't be able to sleep at night if I'm a if I'mpart of you pouring money into building an awareness campaign for something that I reallythink is has no chance of success,...

...and I'm sure you'll be able tofind someone else that will waste your money, but it won't be me. Right, I've definitely used that before. Then, of course there's the oneswho that like they look at that as reverse psychology and they say, Oh, wait, okay, wait, no, I will change my ways, Iwant to work with you. So sometimes it actually works in the end. Yep, YEP, exactly, you're right, it does. Sometimes itdoes it, and sometimes I'm like, all right, come back and seeme in two years. Yeah, Hey, it's Dr Roxy here with a quickbreak from the conversation. Are you trying to figure out what moves youneed to make to survive and thrive in the new covid economy. I wantevery health innovator to find their most viable and profitable pivot strategy, which iswhy I created the covid proof your business pivot kit. The pivot kit isa step by step framework that helps you find your best pivot strategy. Itwalks you through six categories you need to examine for a three hundred and sixtydegree view of your business. I call them the six critical pivot lenses.As you make your way through this comprehensive kit, you'll be armed with thetools, tips and strategies you need to make sure you can pivot with speedwithout missing out on critical details and opportunities. Learn more at legacy DNACOM backslash kit. Let's talk about some of them and you can kind of pick whichones you want to talk about. But what are some of the myths,barriers or pitfalls of commercialization that we haven't talked about yet? HMM, that'sa very, very, very good question. So I think I touched I touchedon a little a little bit, but I think it bears it bearsrepeating this idea that you, you know you need to understand what the fullywhat the fully baked products, and not even silly big PRIGUC I feel likea lot of a lot of entrepreneurs feel like they have to understand what versionthree, point Oh is it going to be, exactly before they've even launched, you know, Beta, zero, point one, and so I thinkis and again part of that might come from people like us talking about understandthe customer and plan and make sure you have this whole thing and they sortof take it to the extreme. And so part of it is you nobodyknows what version three point out is going to be, absolutely and so youknow have a North Star, which might be version ten. No, butthen you've got to work back and you're really focusing on how did you getfrom, you know, pilot to Beta to to launch, and so dream, you know, think big, but then plan, plan, small andincrementally. I think that's one of the things that gets the guest people hungup. Yeah, you know, funny that reminds me ahead of Frank Recattaon the show a couple of months ago and he was getting a lot offeedback, not necessarily from customers, more so probably from his board and hisinvestors. And after several years in he just he was looking at like hisoriginal business partner and said, you know what, this is really not eventhe business that we want to be in, like, what happened? How didwe get here? So they were listening, but listening to maybe someof the some of them, I don't want to see the wrong people,because they'd absolutely should have a voice. And then he completely pivoted about ayear ago and said no, I'm getting back to my North Star, I'mgetting back to the dream and the vision that I had originally, and he'sbeent doing tremendously well the last year. Yeah, exactly, and I thinkthose taking taking time to realize those and sometimes taking time to scrap what you'vebeen doing for the past month or the past year. It's it can behard, but it's also essential art. I think we know one of theother one of the other myths, especially with with early stage companies, isthat competition is bad or when you you know you're working, you're kind ofheads down, working on something that you...

...think is, you know, thisinnovative new mouse trap, and then you put it put your head up andyou're like, oh wait, they have a new mouse trap and they havea new mouse trap and some people look at that and say we're done,we shouldn't even be working on this. And you know that sometimes that's true, but I tend to use that example with with entrepreneurs, to say,well, first of all, this clearly means that there are people out therewho are looking for better mouse traps. So we are we're in the rightbusiness, like this is the right thing to be working on. And Iknow. And then it comes down to, you know, maybe they're not inexactly the same market, maybe they aren't even going to execute on this. You know, maybe they've just, you know, announced this vaporware thingthat will never come out. And so if we can actually build this anddo what, you know, do it the competition has now just gotten thethe public excited about, then we're going to be huge winners here. Andso that whole idea of like don't quit just because, even if it's exactlythe same thing, because sometimes exactly the same thing never comes to market,doesn't actually work, or eventually people don't like it and they like your product. Yeah, I mean that that is so true. I mean, look, McDonald's, burking and windy's some kind of way they carved out their mark, their space, their market, customer and a very commoditized market. Yeah, exactly exact. I think there's even more, and you know that,and that's that's a great example, because you've got those, but then you'vegot then you could put in like the chick fil a or KFC or whatever, and so there's these. Yeah, you know it. Are we talkingabout competing with restaurants? Are we talking about competing with the kind of foodproduct? And so it's like the you you look at, especially in digitalhealth, we have, you know, a huge number of product disease management, you know, tools, platforms, resources out there and more every day, and so that looks like a crowded market, but it's also there's continuingto be new entrance and obviously a lot of you know, Ma and shiftsgoing on. And then, you know, are we talking about chronic disease managementor are we talking about a solution for diabetes, a solution for obesity, a solution for living with cancer? And so you can take any oneof those. You could take the top level, you could take one ofthese niches within it. You can take that for a certain population, youcould take it for you know a certain geography. I think there's there's massiveopportunities if you find your right you know, find that right niche in a verybig market. Yeah, you know, I'm so glad that you brought thatup because I do think that that is a strong myth. I talkedto a lot of people that think that being first to market is there isthe winning strategy and they really overlook a lot of the advantages of being afollower or even being a late follower. I mean one of the advantages thatcomes to mind is you get an opportunity to see what worked well and whatdidn't work and then carve out your competitive advantage in that space. Or youmight even had someone that was first to market, that went through all theexpense of creating that new market category that you don't have to fork out now, right now at absolutely and I think you know I'm a big a bigapple user and apple fans a business and you know, sort of apple foras in it as innovative as people always talked about apple being. You know, in some ways apple is most famous for taking five or ten technologies thatare already out there, already proven, they package them together, they adda little bit of, you know, magical pizzazz around it, for sure, and then that's that's their product. And and and I think so manytimes, you know, the Apple Watch and that, you know, theiphone before it, and things like that were examples of this is already outthere. It's just nobody cares because it doesn't work quite, you know,quite well enough. And it's about that, you know, repackaging it with acertain you know, with a certain brand to it. And I dothink there's there's opportunities there where there's there,...

...there are products, their products thatare out there that are perfectly serviceable. Nobody is really complaining about them,or not loudly complaining about them. You can look at it and say, you know, if we just if we just added this little piece whichis missing, but nobody even realizes that it's going to open up a wholenew market. And I think those are the kinds of things where, asyou said, you know you can. You can look at somebody else's example, you can make sure you don't make the same mistakes they made or evenlike you can, you know, ride on there on their marketing dollars.I mean there's a lot of metals out there of just being able to.This company is spending a lot on marketing and they're making the the public,the consumer, the user, aware that this is an opportunity and that wecome in with a slightly better product if we don't spend any money on marketingand people love us because they now they're looking for a solution. Right,right, exactly. Yep, let somebody else put the bill for creating thedemand. Exactly. So you mentioned product market fit and one of the thingsthat I don't think we've ever really done on the show is really talk aboutlike what is product market fit? How do you get to product market fitand how do you know that you've gotten there, because, you know,it's kind of a real popular buzz word and these incubator right in the communitiesthat we are in, and I don't know that there's a real clear understandingof what that is and how to get there and how to know that you'rethere. Yeah, and that's you know, it's and you you kind of hiton all the key questions and challenges around it. And and I actuallydo think that sometimes there are probably investors who are sitting across from entrepreters saying, you know, you've got to get to product markets fit and they don'teven necessarily know what what that means. And I mean in my mind,you know, in my mind it says it's as simple as you've got somethingor you're building something that works, that needs a need and that the theperson that WHO's needed meats will actually pay for it. And Yeah, that'skind of I think that's the you know, the simplest term. I mean goto like a you know, a super simple business, you know,a kids you know, a kid's lemonade stand, right. I mean solike do you actually have the product? Like? I mean if you knowyou have a lemonade stand and you're selling iced tea or selling water, youknow you don't have the product, right, and then you know, is thereis there a market for it? Are People going to be walking byor people going to see it? You have neighbors, you have friends.And then even if you do, like if you have the lemonade stand andthe lemonade cost ten dollars, nobody's going to buy it, but if itcosts the dollar, people are going to buy it. And I think whenyou kind of make it in those simple terms, I mean clearly it's alot harder when, again, I think, to the point of what is theproduct supposed to be if the customer doesn't even know what the like,what they're missing? So you still just figure out what the product is.Yeah, the you know, is there a customer? Again, in theworld of healthcare, hugely complicated, because you have patients and physicians and administratorsand you know, the CFO and you have the the payers who are potentiallyinvolved in this. You have the government regulators, who are not necessarily thethey're not just starily the customers, but they're part of that. You know, the launch thing and then there's the you know, will they will theypay for it and how much will they pay for it? And, especiallywhen you're creating something that's that's brand new, it's it's a real challenge, youknow, especially, you know, especially in healthcare, when I've workedwith the Cedars Sinai accelerator here in La you know, the the easy thethe easy advice I always remind all of these entrepreneurs is, you know,a hospital is going to hospital is going to look at something and ultimately buyit if it's going to save the money...

...or help them make more money,and making more money is by, you know, delivering, delivering quality caremore efficiently, more effectively, so that there's there's more of that. Right. So there's not. That sounds really simple, right, either make moneyor save money. But then, you know, what does that actually meanwhen you're trying to insert something into an existing system and maybe, you know, maybe at scale, if everyone in the organization is using it, itwill save money for the organization. But how do you even get someone tolook at it? When? And the only way for it to get tothat point is to be installed across the entire organization, you know, tobe in use in every department or to be in use with every physician.And so that's where that's we're piloting can be so important. And finding,finding some early adopter, you know, find you know it. Does thethe Ed want to look at this, or does you know, your ologywant to take this on and, you know, and and test it?And if they get resolves there, that can lead to one understanding that productmarket fit. Sometimes understanding like your example a few minutes ago. Wait,we're in we're in completely the wrong business. Or you know, we the problemis what we thought. But like what we're trying to do is iscompletely you know what's completely wrong. Let's let's change dramatically and I think there'sa lot of opportunities if you get into the right accelerator program work with theright advisors. They can help guide, especially in health care, help guideto those solutions. So you're not out there trying to sell something that ultimatelyyou know nobody's going to buy because you know nobody wants to pay for it. There's no customers out there and in fact the product isn't even the rightthing. Yeah, yeah, exactly. You know, I love your eliminateanalogy because I think it really breaks it down and like I mean simple terms, right. You know, the whole idea of reality of healthcare is justso complex. But you know, thinking back about the eliminate analogy, Igo back and go, okay, well, if you shut down the lemonade stand, does at least forty percent of the people in the neighborhood care?If, if nobody cares that, you shut down the limmerids lemonade staying,you really lemonade stand not staying, you really don't have product market fit.Nobody cares whether you right, that's right, that's that's that's that's the best additionto that. Yeah, do people? Do People show up in the morningbefore you can set the stand up because they want it like that?Right? Yeah, and going back to your apple story, you know,you think about product market fit and all the people that were standing in linefor days for the next iphone and just, you know, man talk about productmarket fit and being able to confirm that you have it. Will sayas that I'm a huge Apple Fan, but I've never actually stood in linefor an iphone. So I guess I'm maybe I'm not. Maybe I maybeI shouldn't say that I'm not. I guess I'm not as big of anapple fan as I lead people to believe. Right, yeah, me either.I'm actually probably what I you know, I think that that diffusion of innovationcurve, we can kind of fit on that continuum based upon different,different scenarios that we're talking about. And when it comes to I mean,I'll be candid, when it comes to the apple phone, I'm a laggueredbecause I just got one like a year ago. I mean, I've beena droid fan, like a staunch droid fan, for so long. Theonly reason why I even converted it and I haven't, I hadn't've had amap act a laptop for years. But the only reason why I got theiphones because I wanted the Darn Apple Watch, and so I had to finally givein. that. See that, and that's that's that's the kind ofthat's the next level sort of marketing thinking that apple does, because you know, there there are and like you know, and there are. You know,in fact, you're right, and there are people who have who havebought Max because they started to use an iphone or something like that. Scally, I have a great way of doing that. It's a great product strategy, right. So, before we wrap...

...up, I want to just kindof give you a little bit of time to talk about bio futures and what'shappening there. What you know? What should our audience know about what's happeningwith that program that you've want, that you're launching? Yeah, and that'sI'm very, very excited, and we just actually just in a major announcementaround so in with within by a science la, within the La region especially. You know, long term, the the biggest driver of success in industry, I think, is is people and having having talent who can not justhelp develop your products, but help build them and market them and sell themand fix damage, the entire kind of talent spectrum of an organization and soand that's even more important. Again, I'm going to use my service,my third time, to use the example of over the past year, becauseyou know, we've gone from a healthcare crisis which has led to an economiccrisis, is which has been exacerbated or amplified by multiple social prices, andespecially in Los Angeles that is so visible and so interconnected, and especially aroundhealthcare. And so last fall we announced a program called bio futures, whichis a subsidized internship program whereby we're we're connecting with students from underrepresented populations,community college students, for your college students, bringing him through an application process,helping to connect them with life sciences health tech companies in the La Regionfor summer internships, and then we are subsidizing the the majority of the internship, because there are still a lot of companies that either, you know,don't or won't pay for interns, and especially start ups where you know everydollar is precious. You're like, we need help, but we can't.We can barely afford, you know, desks. How can we or wecan't afford it. That S for an intern, but that we want tomake that we want to make that easier. And so we we have students supplying. Right now we have, I think, students from almost twenty collegesin the La region who are part of our database down and we just openthe database up to companies in you know, here we are in mid April thatwe just introduce companies the database and there are already started to interduce studentsand our goal is to be able to bring hundreds of students through a programlike this over the coming years. With this idea of every dollar we're spendingon this is it's an investment in the student. Certainly it's also an investmentin their school, because the school is sort of getting credit for having thestudent. Yeah, that's kind of the workforce talent development side of things,but it's also an economic development program because we're also investing in the companies.And so I was talking to someone yesterday and said, you know, ifwe you know, if we're spending you know average of you know, fivezerodollars per per intern, if we have you know, if we have ahundred companies that are, you know, that are doing this over, youknow, over the summer. That's like bio science. La has made,you know, five hundred thousand dollars of investments into the start up ecosystem.Yeah, and so super excited about that. It's, you know, this isobviously very la focused, but we're you know, certainly there are alot of companies who are outside of La with operations here, and so ifthey if they end up hearing this, we're certainly happen it's happy to talkabout how we can maybe get an intern in there. Yeah, yeah,okay, so you heard it here. If you're listening, you're watching,and your company is based out of La, reach out to Dave and see howyou can get it all expenses paid. In turn. Very excited about this. And if just one of many programs were launching around sort of thethe entire commercializations back drom that you mentioned, which is all about how do wego from academic innovation to start ups, to early stage funding to later stagefunding to, you know, ipl...

...or acquisition or, I guess backwe should we should throw spack in there now, like everyone has their spackdream, but whenever it whatever it takes along the growth spectrum. Right,right. Okay, so I would be so we're at the end of ourtime here, but I feel like I would be remiss if I did notgive you an opportunity to share this fun fact about yourself that has to dowith shark tank. HMM. Yeah, so a few minutes ago we talkedabout I said a lot of the guidance I give entrepreneurs is, you know, from from failures and so, yes, so, so, several years agoI was working with an entrepreneur. He was in an advisy and Iended up becoming a cofounder and we had this amazing consumer health tech product andthis was a case where the market was clearly there's out the product was notthere. So we had we had a market, we have the story,we just didn't have a working product. Yep, as I so learned eventually. But we we pitched. I actually pitched pitched shark tank in Las Vegasduring the consumer electronics show and made it through that round, made it througha couple more rounds and we actually went to we were in dress rehearsals forshark tank, which meant that like like the following weekend we would have potentiallytaped for shark tank, and even if you tape for Shark tank doesn't meanyou actually end up on the air. But we were super close. Ieven have my my now ten year old son, who I guess was likefive at the time. He was going to be on there with us becausethis was a you know, it was it was a wearable thermometer, andso my side I got was put in the thermometer on my son and yeah, yeah, so we made a super, super close but did not. Andso this is kind of like the fish, you know, talking aboutthe the fishing trip or the fish that got away or whatever. Right,right, right. The fish was this big and I'll tell you exciting.It's so exciting. It was so close. But thankfully I've worked, I've workedwith some companies in the ensuing years who actually have, you know,have made it onto shark tank, and there's some very cool, you know, health healthcare related companies in La that have, you know, been ashark tank Latin investments on shark tank in those episodes. Yeah, that's great. Yeah, HMM, it could be, like you said, it could bethe ones that they did it and it just maybe didn't air. Yeah, and I'm not watching every episode either, but they do some good stuff there. They do you do? You do learn a lot about like there'sa long, a long document that I probably shouldn't talk about. The basicallysays, you know, if, if you, if we tape you,you might and might not make it on the show. Like you could getan investment and not end up on the show. You could obviously not getan investment and end up on the show because ultimately it's television and they're lookingfor good guys and dad guys and winners and losers and know everything. Soit's a fascinating process. Man. That's awesome. So I'd love to haveyou back on the show. I think there's so much we can talk aboutand maybe we'll be able to dig into more some of those learnings and thatshark take journey. So, Dave, how can our audience get ahold ofyou, if anybody wants to follow up with you after they tune into theshow? Sure, so, definitely check out by a science la dot Org, which is the my organization's website, and then on social I am DjWhalon, Dj Whela, and on pretty much everything except for snapchat where. I didn't get that and it's okay because I've never use snapchat. Sodo not, do not contacting on snapchat because I will not find you.So thank you so much. It's been a great conversation today. Thanks foryour time. Thank you, thank you so much. A lot of funand looking forward to coming back. Thank you awesome. Thank you so muchfor listening. I know you're busy working to bring your life changing innovation tomarket and I value your time and attention. To get the latest episodes on yourmobile device, automatically subscribe to the... on your favorite podcast APP likeapple podcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening and I appreciate everyonewho shared the show with friends and colleagues. See You on the next episode ofHealth Innovators.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (111)