Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode · 3 years ago

How to Find Success With Radical Innovations, Establish a New Category & Cut Through the Noise w/Michael Dermer

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The process of commercializing an innovation in a completely new category requires an approach that is entirely different to incremental innovations. When you’re trying to innovate in such a space, how do you get the messaging and positioning right? Why do you have to put a lot of time and effort into your sales strategy? What core capabilities does an innovator need to have in order to succeed?

On this episode, I’m joined by healthcare rewards pioneer, IncentOne and The Lonely Entrepreneur founder, Michael Dermer who talks about building the first healthcare rewards company, and his insights for innovators.

 

3 Things You'll Learn

  • How to move a market that’s slow to change
  • How to rise above the noise
  • Why focusing on product isn’t good enough

 

Influencing a slow and clunky industry like healthcare can be an immense challenge because you’re trying to turn a huge tide. A lot can be learned from the story of IncentOne, and how they were able to succeed at a time most healthcare organizations find the idea of rewarding people offensive. The secret is positioning and messaging, and more specifically coming up with a central theme that people can connect to, and playing in an area where only you can win, a space where no one else is. You have to marry the clarity of your vision with what it takes to actually get business.

 

Welcome to Coiq, at first of its kind video program about health innovators, earlier doctors and influencers and their stories about riding the roller coaster of healthcare innovation. I'm your host, Dr Roxy, founder of Legacy DNA marketing group, and it's time to raise our COIQ. Welcome back coiq listeners. On today's show we have Michael Dermer with us, the pioneer of healthcare rewards. He is the he was the founder of incent one, which he sold to well talk in two thousand and thirteen, and then more recently he launched a lonely entrepreneur and online learning community for business owners. Welcome to the show, Michael. Thank you so much for having me. Awesome. So I think you know, just to kind of level set with our listeners who maybe don't know who you are, let's start off by just telling us a little bit about your background and what you do. Sure be happy to you know, I started my career as a corporate lawyer in New York City, work for La Tum plot firm doing MNA, but I really wanted to start a business. Didn't know anything about healthcare and I just literally stumbled upon my business. Somebody showed me a staff that said every ten pregnant women that don't follow their prenatal care because the healthcare system a million dollars. M Like, Whoa like, why wouldn't we just reward these women? Are bribed these women to do it? And that was it. Left my prestigious law job after three years and started. We got to be known as the first company in the US to reward people for being healthful and very, very new concept at the time and through some very, you know, lean early years, footstrapping it and then eventually venture capital built the company up to about a sixty million dollar company by two thousand and eight and so we had kind of made it and then almost watched our company get destroyed overnight by the financial crisis. You know, our clients for the largest companies in America and as they struggle with the crisis, so did we. And then spent the next couple of years kind of battling, scrapping and clawing and started to build back up. And on the other end of the financial crisis there's all this interest in healthcare. We got approached five a bunch of investment bankers and got bought and was sold to well, talk in two thousand and thirteen. So worked out great, but it was an incredibly wild journey over the course about a decade. It's so interesting. I mean I think our listeners are just going to love hearing your story. Anytime I have a guest on the show who has an exit strategy that actually came to fruition, it makes for a real good story for our listeners. So you talked about this wild ride. So you know you kind of touched on it a little bit, but what was it like for you, especially in the early days of writing this wild wide of you know, roller coaster of healthcare innovation? You know, we really believe that we're onto something because if you looked at all the trends in the industry, there was tons of investments and trying to get people to manage their diabetes and, you know,...

...dot dot dot, and they just the universal theme was that nobody could get anybody to do it, and so the idea of using healthcare rewards made complete sense. But would you realize pretty quickly, and healthcare is, that just because something makes sense doesn't mean that people buy it and all that fun stuff, and so early on we had to marry the clarity of the vision which we really understood with how do you actually win business and how do you actually influence a market that actually moves slow and, as clunking, has a lot of hands in the pot? So, but it was amazing. It was basically me and then me and one other person and then slowly, incremmently, building over time and all the stuff, raising money, all the craziness that goes along the way and then selling into an incredibly complicated market with a not just a new product but, frankly, like a new industry. So it took an incredible amount of creativity to be able to do that. And you know, it's, like you said before, it's easier now to look back and go, yeah, we sold the company and we were brilliant, but at the time, you know, if you knew the number of doors we got in our face the day I used to tell my my private equity investors, the day before we sold the company I was a more on the next day I was the smartest gut in the world. So that's just the way or right, right, absolutely. So, you know, you hit on this. What was the year that you started incent one? Really, two thousand and one. Yeah, so I mean talk about early, you know. I mean it's really common today, but in two thousand and one it was. It was unheard of. I mean you were creating a new category. UN heard of. It in frank beyond even unheard of, but offence, like it was offensive to the healthcare industry that they would have to reward or pay a pregnant mom to follow her own prenal care or to give a diabetic and incentive right to go get an eye exam. So we weren't just fighting the fact that it was new. The whole healthcare industry was fighting against it. You know, they did not want to open the door to have to use their own dollars to reward people and we're like, listen, we've we would say, with all due respect, you know, you've been doing the same thing for fifty years and controlling one out of every six dollars in America and it's not working right. And every other industry out there uses reward try to drive behavior. So it was an amazingly interesting journey to try to basically shift the perspective of that of a very slow moving industry. HMM. So, you know, I work with a lot of people, whether it's official or inofficial that have different types of innovations that they're bringing to market. So sometimes it's just an incremental innovation, which is, you know, valuable in its own right, and then other times it's like what you did, where it's a real radical innovation, and I think that there's a lot of differences between those two. There's a difference in risk, difference in reward,...

...difference in strategies. Is that something that you can kind of look back and go, yeah, I knew that those were different and I knew how to do those, like I knew what was going to work for a radical innovation, or is it something that you just really kind of learned the hard way over time? Well, of course I knew it was going to work. Now of course we it's funny. In Our book we call it knowing what inning you're in. You know, I'm an old baseball guy. So it's really hard to do right because as as the entrepreneur and the someone who's had the vision for it, it's very clear you what exists today, which is that everybody's going to use rewards. But you really miss time that right because when you when you think about that and you say, Oh, it's just a matter of time before you do that. All the decisions you make right, how robust you make your product, when you go out for out croudside capital, and how much and how aggressively go after it, especially to influence a market like healthcare. So those were decisions that we probably overstepped ourselves by probably two or three years, and I think we would have been more patient, although it's certainly not my DNA to be patient, and then we would have been more patient and or deliberate about how we spent money and how we raise money, because you have to marry up your vision, your passion for and your belief in it with the industry that you're selling to and how what you're going to be able to influence it. So those were decisions that, if I had those over again, I probably would have shifted by a good amount of time. Hmm, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean I think that you're so right this this product. You know, we all we talked a lot about product. Market fit in, in, solution, problem fit in. You know, the Vision that the entrepreneur innovator may have may be slightly different with the the what, then, what the target market is really looking for and how they perceive the problem that they have. And you know, I think in healthcare in particular, with this probably just another industry. But let's say you have the perfect product market shit. MM. Still have a lot of hands in the plot that have an incentive for the market not to change. Yep, especially in healthcare. So you know, what we were finding was that health plans felt really vulnerable, that that they weren't delivering this solution, and so they were very wary about dipping their tell in the water. Right. So there's all these people that have I mean, think about it. Today, it should be really easy for us to go online and have all our medical records in one place. Yeah, right, we don't. It's not that the technology doesn't exist. It does, it's just the constituents in the healthcare industry don't want it to happen. Yep. So so that's that the true. That the true. And unfortunately it's hard enough to get product market fit. But even if you get that, you have to realize how to actually influence the market and create burning platforms and issues for them. Like, for example, you can go to health plans say this makes a lot of sense, it will save you money on your pregnant women and your diabetics. That's one thing. Or you can go into Pittsburgh...

...and you can say to UPMC and high mark, we're going to do with this, do this with one of the two of you, but not both. And and that doesn't really have anything to do with product market fit, right. It has just that do with how do you influence the marketing? Just learn those those techniques kind of over the course of time. That's brilliant, I mean just absolutely brilliant in and so you know, one of the stats that I talked about often is this ninety five percent of innovations that are brought to market fail to reach any adequate level of profitability or customer adoption. And that's an in the industry whether and then you kind of add the complexities of healthcare that you just talked about. And so the question that I had for you, one of them is how did you beat the odds? And you just gave us one of those strategies where you know it's it's super creative and it seems like you know you've got to get creative today. Yeah, so what really helped me was that I wasn't from healthcare, right. So when people and say to you this is the way it normally works. You settle how plan and they do a pilot and and it's a three year sales cycle. And I was like, well, why would you do that? Right, why would? Why? So I was naive enough, let's say, to say I'm not going to do that, and so I asked the question, and this has to become a core capability of innovators, is how do I influence the market to move? One are the factors that are going to make the market move? And at the time the things that made health plan moves, where they're big employers, like the big employers that they ensured would make them move. So I started influencing them and saying do you think help plan X, your health plan, should be doing this? And they said absolutely, we think they should be doing this, and so we started to influence them and that put a great amount of influence on the on the health plan. So I think the capability of innovators has to be how do we create burning platforms, burning issues, competitive risk, liability risk, whatever it is to be, actually get the market to move? And that's a skill that we don't talk about that often. We say it's if we have the cure to cancer, then it should be out there tomorrow, right, right, something. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I did you ever doubt yourself? And then how did you overcome that in your journey up until the financial crisis? Honestly, no, I really felt that. You know, if you save for every ten pregnant women, if you say the health dressers, the nine hundred thousand dollars, you've got a business there. Right. So, so I never doubted that. The problem was, you know, when the financial crisis hit, we are pretty sizeable company and all of our customers were the biggest. You know, my three biggest customers that the time, my three biggest employer customers were General Motors, countrywide financial and Washington mutual. And I don't know if you're no, but...

...two of the three of those don't exist today. Right, and General Motors is on the front page about over the wall streetjournal every day about needing a bail out from the government. Right. The problem for us, and you talk about doubt, is the fact that I didn't control those macro issues and and nobody gave a you know, gave gave a crap about, you know, a five hundred percent company. So that was very, very hard because normally you can plot a path there. You know, it wasn't that. You know, you'd walk across the street, decide whether to go left or right. You'd walk across the street and you know if the street was going to be there. So yeah, that was a found difference, right, big, different, huge, none of the normal things that worked about financing and all that type thing. Member customers are going bankrupt, customers not paying their bills, not bankrupt with us, but just in their own existence. Yeah, so that was just literally about you know, there's a famous Winston Churchill quote about, you know what was happening to London World War II, and he says you're going through hell, you just keep going and you just literally had to put your head down and focus on the task at hand. And I'd be lying to you if I told you there was certainty that we get out of it, because it wasn't even so much about the value of our businesses about what was going to happen in the on the planet right, right, of course, at the time and will. So we just free of that. The whole world, all of it, all of it with unravelings all the time, and frankly, nobody cared about healthcare at that point. So that was you know, you just had to put your help down and there was a ton of doubt. But you know, as many of you, I'm sure your listeners. No, no, your job as the leader is to have the right mix of ego and humility. Right, have the ego to do bold things and yet the humility to understand how you have to learn and grow and push. And, don't get wrong, it's a lot for people to take on, but you just doubts on the things. Lest I played college baseball, the best baseball players making out seven out of ten times. Right, right, yeah, you get still it. So it's it was an amazing journey. So it sounds like it was really important for you to really understand what you could control and then how you were going to, you know, wrap strategic planning and paths around that and then understand what you couldn't control and then figure out how to survive through it. Yeah, and that's one of the things. Of course, you know the famous quotes about working on things you can control. One challenge on our end was the fact that we didn't know where revenue was going to come from. You know, we'd comest from to make payroll and make payroll right. So you you have customers that you've spent years building up, you know, long term relationships with and now they're boring about whether they're going to be able to pay their own bills. So the hardest part about it was that you couldn't control what your revenue path was. You know, I remember a client calling us up and say no, no, we're staying with the programming, calling back a week later and said we can't do it right. So so it was...

...you certainly could control cost cutting. We tried to be super creative, like. We didn't let a lot of people go. We we chopped up jobs and for multiple jobs. No, we want you know. We just did whatever we could because our you know, our company have been built on the backs of these people. But yeah, I mean you really do have to when you're when you're an entrepreneur and innovator, you really do have to say, ill, I may take on the biggest challenges, that I have to innovate, but it's got to be things I can control. The only thing I would say is there's always a way. Yeah, there was. There was always a way, and that's what entrepreneurs lot time bring to the table is that you basically say, I don't care how it was done yesterday. Yep, right, and we look back at those businesses and go of course, of course, but at the time, you know, was hardly commonplace to do the chores of things. So, yeah, it's an ongoing journey. HMM. Absolutely, even today. So, kind of bouncing back to something that we touched on a little bit earlier, I want to talk more about your positioning strategy and messaging strategy around having a radical innovation, because I think that that's one of the pitfalls in the commercialization process is if a category doesn't exist, you know, how do you position it and how do you message it to where people understand what you have to offer when they don't have anything to compare it to? Yep. So there's two big, big things right. One is you've got to Baky, to create a theme that people walk onto. Nobody pays attention to the details, right, even we, somebody could send us a million dollars in our mailbox these days and we wouldn't even open it. Right. So you have to create a theme. And number two is you have to find a playground where nobody else is playing. You know, it's not enough to say that I'm going to have a unique value proposition. You've got to basically create a creetly through Preygoun. So I'll give you an example. For us, a theme right, was that if you have all these people, they're providing healthcare solutions, you know, for diabetes and heart disease and exercise. Would you get your incentive platform from them? Where you would you want to have something that's kind of the center of the wheel? Yep, and we painted that theme for our customers and it made sense to our customers, even though we didn't have the sales budgets. To the marking budget makes sense. Well, yeah, if I have Webindy and I have health dialog and I have this company for biometric screenings, why would I get an incentive program separately from all of those? And so what we would say is our theme would be we are your missers may not remember this because it's a wildo where the universal remote right that works on all. Yes, and so we could go into a sales meeting and draw a wheel with spokes around it and say the differences that if web and be authors are...

...to you, you're getting it from one spoke of the wheel, right, versus a model of you get it from the hub. Yep, yeah, and so that theme made sense to them and so they started to go to their existing vendors and say, is this the way you do it? It was selling apples to range. So that what I would say to everybody out there is you have to create a theme. They're not going to look at the details of your product. I mean think about when you buy a car. You don't go open up the manual right, right, right, or under the hood or under the hood. You get a feeling or a sense. And the second thing is finding a playground where nobody else is playing. For us, when we started our company, the average American was enrolled in twenty seven reward programs right, your hotel, your airline, right, all that stuff. All we did was be the first to apply at the healthcare MMM. So we just created a playground where nobody else is playing. The best most recent example of this is there was a super bowl add by bloodweiser in the last super bowl. That basically it's a whole medieval times thing where they deliver corn syrup the bloodweiser to the Budweiser Castle and Budwiser Says No, no, that's not for us, that's for Miller light or cores light. We don't use corn syrup. And they have now defined corn Syrup as the criteria for which you should use to buy beer. Let me ask you. Have you did you even know beer head Corn Syrup? No. Do you ever buy beer because it had corn syrup or did right now? No, it's not part of the decisionmaking process. Right. They have now defined that as a criteria that they win. In fact, cores and Miller light have sued budweiser over that claim now, which, by the way, is exactly what budwier wants. The point, yeah, the point is that they found a playground where they win, right. And so what I would encourage your listeners to do is it''s not enough to find just a unique value proposition or so you have to define a place where you're the only one. There could be a really small place, Yep, right, because then you define the rules, you define the pricing, you buy, you define the criteria for buying right, and that's where innovations can really take cold. HMM. So so that's that's wonderful. I know that that's going to be just amazing wisdom for our listeners. Is that something that was part of your strategy early on, that you found this piece that you could play in, and then did you expand out of it? And is that how you got to the sixty million? Yeah, so for us that fee made sense. We knew that were there are a lot of hands in the pot that we're selling to our customers every day. There were health plans, there was employers, there were service providers that were going to be much more well funded than start up. Remember, for somebody like me to leave a big law job in your two thousand and one was a relatively big deal. Now do it your scorned. Right, so right, different fact than there wasn't a start up ecosystem.

If you were a small company and healthcare, everyone was going to say, you're a small company. Why would I ever do business with a small company? So that theme gave us a criteria where we always want. So it didn't matter that we were selling against Etna or selling against health dialog or Webbin. They didn't. It didn't make a difference because we were selling apples to oranges and and that and Amember, we were doing it without a thousand salespeople on the street, without huge marketing budgets, but the ability to plant in our customers head we would say the following, whether you buy it from us or not, this is what you need. MMM. And so we were we were to your point. We were basically selling something completely different and we just said, listen, you decide which model is better, right, and we would say, even if you, let's say, to a health plan, even if you've built it yourself, this is what you should build. Yeah, and so we really started to have a different dialog where it doesn't matter how much money somebody is suspending on marketing. If you're talking about apples to oranges, you just put yourself in a much better position to be successful. HMM. How did you get in front of those key decision makers? And you know, one of the things that I hear all the time people ask me Roxy How do I rise above the noise? You know, it's there's an explosion of innovation. You know, hut thousands and thousands of companies. A lot of us are trying to sell our wares to the same people. You know, how how do I get in front of those decisionmakers? You know what was some of the strategies that you used around that. So I'll tell you what I did do and I tell you what I would do. So, okay, I literally, I littally used to sit down at seven o'clock at night for an hour and leave voice messages for CEO as a largest health plan help car companies in the country. I knew that they weren't going to pick up their phone in two in the afternoon. I didn't I wanted to be able to leave a message for the CEO of United Healthcare. That said what my second point is it has to be something that is burning platform on the CEOS desk. Yeah, right, if they wake up every day thinking about it, right, if it's what makes them lose their job, right, or get them but by Wall Street. I don't care who it is, they will call you back. So so if I pick up the phone and I said, okay, you, MPC in high mark, I'm going to roll out a reward program that's going to drive behavior and cost saving using your people. I'm going to do it with you and PC, or I'm going to do it a fie mark, call me back, I think right. The argument is, if you had that in your competitor didn't have it. It was be competitively differentiating. Yep, right, yeah, but it's got to be a CEO level issue. Right. It can't be about widgets, it can't be about product. It has to be out. What about it? If a help plan was going after the small business segment,...

...right, and you said you've got to be able to deliver rewards in the small business segment because you're going to lose one, two, three, and it's thirty percent of your book a business. And this is the economic impact. Whatever it is, you've got to be able to craft the message that talks to the things that are in the CEO's bonus plan. Yeah, right, absolutely. Why does he or she get fired? Right, right, Yep, if you do that, they won't. You'll get a call back the next day and they will go I want you to talk to the Selan. So, HMM, if you don't do that, if we said we've got the next great red dress, so the next blue widget, they'll let me tell you about all these features and functionality. Think about think about if you were the CEO of a large company, what phone call would you return? Yep, it would be only the ones that called me. Competitive risk revenue risk, reputational risk, right, and if you did, I'd be like, Oh my God, I'm going to talk to this guy or go. Yep, so Broll, you did a lot of it. We probably had six or seven out of ten calls back. Nice. There's amazing stick. Okay, so what's the other half of that? What would you do differently today? I just think that that same approach had to had to when you would get pushed to let's say, product people. Right, there's a lot of people in healthcare and product that work really, really hard, but we're working with an infrastructure that's really hard to move. Yep, you have to understand who's who is willing to be innovative, right, who can be innovative? So, in retrospect, you could have a go to market strategy that said, like we did, we're going to go after health plans first and then later after employers. I would actually have picked companies that shown a predisposition for innovation and doing things differently, because some health plans just like they're just not wired that way if you don't many. So it would have been much more, much more productive, I think, to say you know this blue cross versus that Blue Cross you know, some blue costs were participating in venture capital funds, they were doing acquisitions and investments and all those weren't doing any of that. You know, the big difference between you know can be a right and blue cross from blank right right right remain nameless. But that was the other thing I would have differently. I would have tried to predispose people that were already showing an inclination for wanting to innovate. Yeah, that's definitely one of the conversations that I have with clients, because I hear a lot of innovators where they don't really understand the diffusion curve. They don't understand that the innovators had that predisisition predisposition that you're talking about and early adopters versus the lagguards, and so they end up getting really discouraged. They go out into the market place and they're beating the door down and doing a lot of arm twisting with the lagguards and they also come back and say I'm too early, you know, or they I have a solution for them to solve...

...their problem and they just don't get it and the realize that they're focusing on the wrong part of the market. Yeah, yeah, totally, hundred percently. Yeah, so let's talk about your business model a little bit. Back then, you know, did your business model look the same when you sold the company? That it did from day one, when you first, you know, launched it? Did? What was interesting was that the whole quote unquote reward industry that existed, you know, in banking and airline and all these loyalty programs, the Lions share of profitability came from the actual reward. You know, your pharmaceutical sales rep and you hit your numbers and I you get a television. Right. Yeah, there was a lot of margin in those televisions. Nobody cared about the technology. You'll be cared about the analytics and, frankly, nobody wanted to administer cash. You didn't make any margin on cash. Right, right. So we flipped the model on a Ted and we basically said no, this is a software license business. We're going to license our software. I'm not software SASS. Right, we'RE GOING TO WE'RE gonna have subscriptions that will be paid for by health plans. I'm we don't care what we word you use. Right, we're going to have a great money off your insurance premium. Money and I'm rhs A, gift cards, debit cards, but you're going to be playing for the administration platforming capabilities to be able to do that. So we were, you know, seventy percent license, about ten percent transaction fees, a little bit of, you know, probably another ten percent professional services and another ten percent, we made a little spread on on remod but but because we said we're going to be kind of universal with respector awards, that very much was a different model than existed existed in the marketplace at that time. Absolutely so, you know, as we kind of start to wrap up here, a couple of other questions that I have for you is, you know, if you had to pick one, what do you think was the main decision that that you made in that commercialization process that most influenced your success by far? The the data architecture of our technology. Really Yeah, because what people said is every incentive program is different, which is actually true. You're a woman on the man. You're going to get rewarded for this. Igu went and and the one thing we said early on was will hold on a sec that's true, but the elements are always the same. Right, you have a behavior, right, they're going to get something for it. And so mode by far the most influential decision we made was to take the time to build out the data architecture in a way that meant that we could support any design of incentive programs, and that was the biggest thing, because then think about it. If you said I'm going to go after diabetes, right, will product for diabetes?...

Right, we're built a whole product. They gave pregnant women twenty five dollars or gave pregnant women gift cards, or those would all be what existed before, which is very customized solutions without scalability. So that, by far, was probably the biggest thing we did in the process, is to understand how the data architecture of what we do is going to influence the market. Yeah, it sounds like that would be either a big road block or a big runway for success. Hundred percent. Yeah, yeah. So, so why do you think some health innovators fail and why some succeed? I think it's always the it's always the sales process, in my opinion. I shouldn't say always, a predominantly the sales process, right, because it's just really, really complicated to sell into healthcare I think innovators spend too much time on product and not enough time on selling and positioning. And you hate to say that because you have to have great products, but right, but at the end of the day, the ability to help have a healthcare organization understand the economic impact you're going to have or some other impact that you're going to have is paramount. And so, and this goes beyond just, you know, kind of lean canvas or a minimal aisle the product. I'm that. I'm talking for beyond that, right. Yeah, I'm talking about I'm talking about when you wake up every day, right, and you say what am I going to do? Right, if you're not spending time on some of the things we talked about here with respect to selling, positioning and creating themes, hmm, you can create the best bridget in the world. I remember it struck me back then one of my developers, were a pretty big technology team, said to me, you know, I don't think this is true then now, but then they'd be like we hate Microsoft products, like we hate the Microsoft technology stack. Yeah, everybody uses them. Like, wait a minute, how does that work? Well, marketing and positioning and distribution are incredibly important and I think if you drew apply toward people probably spend ten percent on it and ninety percent on the product, where that should be much more like a fifty mix. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I was talking to someone the other day and they were year three and they hadn't launched yet because they were still working on the product. YEA, how in the heck do you even survive with no cash flow? By the way, when you show up them with the product, healthcare organizations are still going to say it's off right, right, absolutely, they're never it. So it's really more about the economic impact you have and how you fit into that economic impact. Or the other scenario I hear often is you know, I can you help me launch this innovation into the market. Okay, well, what's your budget? And it's like peanuts and I go okay, well, how much did you invest in the product? Five million. So what were you thinking when you invested five million in the product? But you want to go to market with twenty...

...fivezero. Listen, I would today if somebody said to me start a reward business and healthcare. I mean I call American Express and I would say, let's just wrap this into your reward program right. So, so and that has nothing to do with what technology exists. It just us to do with the fact that so I'll take a quick story. When we are starting our company, I went to one of my high school friends. His uncle was Harvey Gollup, who is the seeover American Express. Okay, went to them and said, listen, we're going to build this reward program but we really shouldn't. You already have American Express rewards. So one we form a joint venture. And we went really, really, really far down the road with them about forming a joint venture and it ended up blowing up at the end because they were concerned about their brand and how it'd be perceived and healthcare. We are really far think about today. A none of the reward programs would exist. You literally would get American discussed words for all your healthcare behaviors and they would own the world. They would own the twenty trillion dollar. What a missed opportunity, my goodness. So what do you have to say for those fellow entrepreneurs, healthcare innovators that are in the trenches right now today and different stages of the commercialization process? Yeah, number one is is positioning. You've got to be able to come up with this positioning. The themes were talking about the playgrounds that nobody else is playing. That is your most important thing that you can do. All your respect, nobody cares about you creating the next x of the next why? If you can't position yourself in a way that those two things, number one, creates real impact, economic impact or liability or risk or competitive impact, and number two, you know, does it in a way where you're going to stand out from member Etna, Signa United. Like there's thousands of sales professionals out there on the streets selling for really large organizations. Right. Your number one challenge is how you cut through that. Yeah, so to me it's your positioning in this, finding your playground where nobody else is playing, which is the most critical thing that you can that you can do absolutely so today, my last question for you. Today you are running the lonely entrepreneur. You are so, you know, just kind of communicate it through the Lens of the health innovators of what you're doing there and and what value they would receive. Yeah, I mean, well, we really want to try to do it the lonely entrepreneurs and try to empower people with the knowledge and skills they need, and we've mentioned a couple of them here, but today you know where you go to find that as you go to a million different places. You know if you walk into a starbucks and we work as a hundred people, where they get the foundational information they need, you get a hundred different answers. We really tried to do is to put that in our platform. We call it the lonely entrepreneur learning community and it's designed to be kind of a onestop shop for the...

...knowledge and tools and resources that you need, and we wrap around it support in the form of a community where you get your questions answered than coaching and and so we're trying to say to people, for those of you that can afford somebody like you or somebody like me to coach you one on one, which I know we both do. YEA, wouldn't it be great to be able to, for for us it's five hundred dollars a year, have access to all this knowledge and learning and also support system that hopefully can bring some of the ideas we've talked about here into one place that you can access efficiently. So that's what we're doing. I think it's very if thing is very valuable. Okay, thank you very much for having a fun trying to help everybody. Absolutely so. How To folks get a hold of you if they've got questions? A maybe about how to, you know, join the lonely entrepreneur or just, you know, questions about their innovation process? Yeah, happy to so anybody wants to reach out to me can reach tree at Michael Dot dermer at lonely entrepreneurcom. And about the lonely entrepreneur, just go to lonely entrepreneurcom and also the book is available on Amazon called the Lonely Entrepreneur, and happy to talk through you know, I've been through it. You've been through it. It's an incredibly rewarding but difficult journey and if I can answer a question or if you need more health happy to do anything I can do. Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time today, Michael. I really appreciate it and thanks for sharing your wisdom with our audience. Thanks so pleasure being with you. Bye Bye. What's the difference between launching and commercializing a healthcare in avation? Many people will launch a new product, few will commercialize it. To learn the difference between launch and commercialization, and to watch past episodes of the show, head to our video show page at Dr Roxycom. Thanks so much for watching and listening to the show. You can subscribe to the latest episodes on your favorite podcast APP like apple podcasts and spotify, or subscribe to the video episodes on our youtube channel. No matter the platform, just search coiq with Dr Roxy. Until next time, LET'S RAISE OUR COIQ.

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