Hello Austin, again.

To quote Gene Autry, “I’m back in the saddle again.

As of a couple of months ago, I am back working in Austin. This time it’s for a Healthcare start-up called Wellsmith. For me, this is both a return to working in Austin and to the world of start-ups. For those of you who may know me, two questions may come to mind: What do you know about Healthcare and why go work for a start-up again? I am going to use the next few blogs to answer these questions. But first, what was it about Wellsmith that made it attractive to work in?

It’s about the people

One of the lessons I learned from Jonathan Schwartz, who was to become CEO of Sun Microsystems when we joined after the acquisition of StorageTek, was about who you should or should not go and work for. He advised people that you don’t go and work for a company, you go and work for a boss. It doesn’t matter, so the thought goes, how good a company you go to work for is. If your boss sucks, your job sucks. Conversely, if you go and work for a great boss, even if the company may struggle, you can still learn and grow as an employee and as a professional.

Over my last few jobs I have followed that advice and come to work for teams and bosses that I can learn from and want to be part of. Wellsmith may be a young company, but it is run and staffed by smart, forward thinking employees and owners, some whom I have known for many years.

At Wellsmith, we are organized around a single purpose: Improving the world’s health. Not only is this a noble cause, it is also sensitized to the modern work world. Any team that has a mission like that is probably going to have a modern work environment. That’s exactly what you will find at Wellsmith – well, it’s what I found.

What’s different about Wellsmith

It’s not hard to think about how technology and consumerization has changed some industries. Just think what Uber and Airbnb are doing to taxis and hotels. How Amazon has changed retail and Spotify has changed radio. We can all think of many examples. But are there any sectors of our economy that have yet to be reset by technology? Two come to mind: Education and Healthcare.

At over 17% of GDP in the US, it’s actually pretty amazing how little all the technology that is in use within Healthcare has actually changed healthcare. In many ways, the technology they have does more to isolate the patient than make them inclusive of the process. A visit to your Doctor or an ER, will have someone asking questions and typing into a PC, often without even looking at you.

The reality is that seeing a doctor is fundamentally the same episodic experience in 2016 as it was in 1916. Yes, more people have access and they can run more tests, but what actually happens when you get there is pretty much the same. Of course, you can look at your medical records on-line, but they aren’t your medical records. They are your doctor’s or your hospital’s. If you change provider, you can’t even take your data with you. And it’s your data!

It is of course fair to point out that there are lots of technology companies that are creating a lot of technology in helping healthcare provider companies do more. There are even healthcare companies buying consumer-based companies to help them better manage their patients. What has not happened before Wellsmith is a combination of all three of these domains – Health, Technology and Consumer – into one team.

At Wellsmith we have combined people who have domain skills in healthcare, technology (mobile, IoT, Cloud and Big Data) and consumer-centric design. Together this team can harness the dramatic changes in each of these industries to create something that lives at the intersection of those domains.

The first Clinical Trial of the Wellsmith Platform has already been completed and is having industry shifting results. What are we trialing? Well more of that at another time. It’s enough to say, well it’s ‘huge’! Before I talk about what we are trialing, I want to explore what the biggest issue for Healthcare is (and it’s not Obamacare).

More next time.


As to the question of why to come back to Austin, for those that don’t know this town, come spend some time here and you will know why anyone would want to live here. It’s just about keeping it Weird!