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How did you get to where you are today? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path? What inspired you to work on this startup idea?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
a lot of questions on one with, Ah, pretty interesting story behind it. I think, um, you know where How did I get to where I am today? Um, I think I was just Oh, is very interested in the science. Is there was Ah. Ah, science nerd. Very early on. Um uh, particularly in chemistry. I was loved fireworks and may have, ah built in many factors, some of my own back in the day. And, um, you know, it was one of the very early, um, participants of eBay buying and selling all sorts of science. Ah, type of equipment and things from from a early age. And I think I just really liked the cross section of science and business and entrepreneurship, Really making an impact with really interesting and cool things. Um, and I studied molecular biology at Yale. Um, and a lot of chemistry. I think I was just really just interested. Ah, in the general impact on humanity from the sciences. It and I think specifically biotechnology has a very straightforward and interesting angle at that, and it health care is the whole, um, and in terms of the particular startup idea of Val sure where working at and then putting a lot of energy these days is Ah, good friend of mine from college called me up one day and was telling me, Hey, listen, I'd take this anticonvulsant medication and ah, take it obviously, every month for many years and every once in a while I refilled my meds, and I just feel terrible that month. Get all these side effects relapses sometimes, and he's got great doctors and doctors. Tell him, you know nowadays, especially generics, which are most of the drugs. They're almost all made overseas in India and China, and it's hard to regulate over there sometimes. And there's a lot of just cracks in the overall system. Um, and it is what it is. So there's variability of medications Were nothing weaken do about it is doctors or pharmacists and ah, he obviously didn't like that answer and called me up from the technology development world, and we started toe learn more about this whole issue. Um, first of all, the fact that really the only time that the chemistry of what's inside of medication the only time that that's check is by the many factors that then sell it, um, and then self report this data to the FDA and the FDA. Really? It's jobs to go in and and look at the paperwork and the register of facilities that are manufacturing these products, not actually check what's inside of them. So the whole concept of Alisher was Hey, we should check. We should have on independent chemical check of what's in medications before they get dispensed to a patient and also make that very transparent, invisible. You know, we're all as consumers used to seeing, ah, nutrition labels on our food or gluten free organic. I mean, we worry so much about everything. We putting our bodies every day. And yet all you know about your meds as it comes in orange bottles got a number printed on it. Um, so you even have a kind of a certificate of analysis? Um, that is very boiled down. A straightforward to understand that comes with that batch that actual batch of medications was are socked to test and to make that transparency and visible measure of quality assurance, you know, along the way down to the patient. And so we developed a variety of technology are ourselves some laser based approaches that allow us to do this kind of analysis faster, easier, cheaper but still very high precision and accuracy. We added industry standard techniques and platforms and essentially took this laboratory, which is really where our expertise is and first attached it to a pharmacy. So we we've launched this validated quality assurance pharmacy with over 2000 drug products ah towards the end of last year, and I've been having a lot of impact since because turns out when you just do this novel crazy thing of checking, you find a lot of problems that we're the company behind, having found the whole Zantac and renew Deen issues, which have caused global recalls and even FDA now has agreed with this position of its an unstable drug and taking it entirely often American Market. This is a drug that used to be the number one drug in the world and has been on the market for almost four decades. Um um, it foreman recalls that are happening currently in in the middle of 2020 Ah, the number one diabetes drug again due to actually in this case, poor manufacturing practices causing carcinogens and the medications. So a lot of importance and showing the importance of this kind of quality assurance. And, ah, you know, our high level thought of doing this before the patient gets it is something that we're looking to scale now, even beyond our own pharmacy. We have multiple clinics that are using are validated products in their own pharmacies in dispensing their patients. And I'm gonna grow even more from there. So maybe a long winded answer to your questions, but hopefully gets a lot of background.

Can you walk us through your first few weeks when you started working on this project? How did things change over the next few months?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
sure. So I think you probably got the really long elevator pitch of, ah, voucher in the previous question. But you know, the quick elevator on unbalance sure is that were chemically analyzing what's in medications before they get dispensed to a patient and making that quality assurance visible all the way to the patient. And we're bringing this to patients directly through farmers. You, through an online pharmacy that's residents throughout the United States through wholesale and certification and growing this into the whole healthcare chain. Um, is really high level review of Alisher. And, um, the interesting question about the first few weeks and how did this change over the next few months? And I would say the next few years. Um, you know, the original concept of voucher came when that friend of mine Adam called me outcome was telling about problems, own medications and, you know, in the very beginning on I would say, it's certainly the first few months and even a few years, you know, when you're a hammer away, the socials look like nails. And so we from the technology development background we brought another ah leaders in the biotech industry that have strong background in technology development. We started attacking this from a technology perspective, he said. Hey, what we want to do is independently test medications, and there seems to be a technology barrier there. You know that the standard technology techniques for doing that are very expensive, lengthy, not just machinery, but even the process for calibrating and running. It is long, expensive, takes PhD scientists. And that's fine for the pharmaceutical industry where this is just, you know, part of the some cost of building out of facility. Um, however, if we wanted to do this Ah, high throughput, very interchangeable with dozens of different drug products we perceive we needed ah, different technology or that there's a technology barrier there. And so we spent the 1st 3 years of our own time money and energy actually developing this court technology. And what happened after we were successful is you know, we got this working. We thought patents. We got accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization. I s O. And we were very proud of ourselves. And we went around to, you know, the supply industry and ah, what we learned from from almost everybody was kind of this response of yes, we know there's problems in the industry and honestly, looks like the problem's getting worse. But it's not our problem, and so is somebody else's problem. And it's a $2 trillion global supply chain, and you point the finger in any one direction. And there's even this incentive to know anything more if you're not required to do anything further on drug quality. And so it was really interesting. Ah, revelation on our side, where we're realizing that there's actually a huge opportunity here. Everybody agrees there's a problem. Nobody wants to do anything about solving it. Um, but then the question is all right, so how do you bring it to market? You still need to make a business out of it. And that's when we decided that we're gonna take this this laboratory in technology and core competency of the science of what we're doing and attach it to a pharmacy so we can bring this value directive patients, especially patients in areas where they really kind of feeling and getting most affected by the variability and issues like the whole mental health world or any sort of psychotropic medication. Ah, epileptic medications antidepressants on more and more. Certainly these days you know, medications like blood pressure medications, where you could also feel some differences but have also been heavily contaminated. And people are very concerned about quality. Sire oId medications is there's a lot of particular areas that we wanted to have an impact in direct to patient. Um, and we also got saw the doctors becoming very engaged with it because they're very tuned into the quality care that the patients are getting. And our hope was that if we go to the patients and give a direct value, we also prove out the value throughout the healthcare ecosystem. And that's a lot of what we're seeing now as well. So it really was, Ah, progression of the core problems is the same, obviously the entire time, but exactly how we tackle it, um, has evolved and pivoted, I think is any Ah, good startup companies gonna be. You definitely have toe have that humility that you may think you know the answer, but the world has other thoughts for you and being able to ah, to pivot and and address those developments I think is important anything in life, but definitely in the entrepreneurial start up world

What were the challenges in building the initial team and how did you overcome them? How did the team's composition, dynamics, time, and resource commitment evolve?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
So that's Ah, we've specifically were quite fortunate in the fact that we already came from the biotech development industry. And, um, you know, had a lot of those relationship a lot of people that we'd already work with in the past, Um, both from the university side and from Thea, the biotech industry side. So the initial team, ah, was extremely cohesive. A lot of us that have worked together for many years, even at that time over a decade. Um, so And that since we were quite lucky. Ah, but ah, actually, once it came to the pharmacy side, it was much more of a challenge because none of us founders knew all that much about pharmacy. And, um, it was difficult toe really find who's gonna be the right chief pharmacist. And how do we build out, Um, you know, whole pharmacy system. And we have iterated through some folks to really find what's gonna be the best fit for the entrepreneurial environment that it really isn't for everybody, um, and for the specific culture and and focuses that we built out. So I think Ah, actually, with the important lessons learned there is that you have to reiterate, sometimes in areas of which you're not gonna have a friend or a colleague or somebody that you know for sure is gonna be an excellent fit or nobody's ever for sure, but that you have a lot of background with, um and, you know, in a start up entrepreneurial environment, you just don't have the time to, um, a sort of big companies often have the luxury of time to have somebody grow into a position. You have to make some pretty quick decisions on. Is this a fitter, isn't it? Um, and if it's not, you know, it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the person, is just not a right fit for this environment, and you really don't have the time to make ah, evolve that. And so I think, as founders, you know, it is certainly extremely important toe have a very cohesive founding team, and I don't know if there's any magic around that other than your previous relationships. And if you don't have any yet, you're kind of right out of college. Maybe working industry first before really trying toe put this together because it's also very heavily looked at one of the I'm sure when the question would be about investment and how to bring investors. Um, especially the early stage like you could have the coolest idea ever. But so much of the investment is based on the team on the team. What have they done before? Your ideas important? But there's a lot of great ideas out there, and a lot of the success or failure of early stage companies is dependent on on the team. You know, their ability to work together with ability to actually execute and put something and and and show results in milestones. Um, and if you have no history of that or nobody, your team is Any history of that? Um, it's very hard toe have ah company stand just in a on a new idea or even just on some initial data? Um, yeah, the team is super super important.

How did your venture get its first professional funding? What were the challenges and how were they overcome? How'd your fundraising efforts change in subsequent rounds?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
You know, funding in general is Ah ah, difficult arena for any early stage company. Ah, And in these days, with cove, it it's, uh you thought I was crazy before. It's only that much more crazy. Now, um, you know, you're inevitably gonna have to get six skin, but at the same time, you know, be ready for a lot of knows, But also, any time that there isn't no. You try and get some feedback because it's always an evolution. Ah, and is an evolution and everything. You know, Not just it doesn't mean they have to change your business model or everything that you do every time that you hear and know. But if you hear it multiple times, maybe something that you should consider, Um, and it may not even be changing a lot about the company itself. It could even just be changing how you message it. Um, you know, I think I see, especially in the biotech arena all the time. Um, folks that will have these really great ideas or concepts. It's just presented so terribly. Ah, you know, don't forget you're presenting two people venture capitalists or people angel investors or people everybody's a person. Um, and they're not just gonna be investing based off of some amazing idea that you have. Doesn't matter how amazing it is. You have to present it. Well, you know, there should not be on essay on every slide of a deck. And then there's all sorts of resource. Is these days about how to create a good pitch deck? Pay attention to it. Um, it's there for a reason. Um, very succinct points. You may know everything backwards and forward. You have to blow down everything to a maximum of three. Easy to understand points ideally to, um and ah, and I could be hard for a lot of individuals. Um, so I'd say a It is very useful to really get out there. You know, these kind of pitch competitions or events or one of these days when there actually are events person again. I know now they're virtual, which makes it even harder. Um, but go to a lot of them. You know, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars. There's plenty of cheap ones to go to. Ah, you're gonna learn a lot and you may have connections that get made and I'll say that, you know, it's really s so true that when even when you're doing with investment, you're dealing with people you're doing with personal relationships. If you don't know that fund or though that angel investor of those people is gonna take some time until that relationship evolves on grows. And so, ah, for your first sources of capital look a lot to your existing networks. Um, and I could be your university, maybe alumni of your university. A lot of universities have little investor groups or various entrepreneurial groups that are great sources where you already have something in common. Um, and maybe you have some of your friends that are successful in these fields or maybe investors themselves. Bringing them in in their network is all that we could be the most fruitful, the fastest. Um, you can build that up yourself, but again, it's gonna take time. So remember every investor, whether it's a firm or an individual, um, are investing just like anybody does. In any relationship, there has to be a relationship there. You have to build it out. You have to present Well, um, very little happens Office. Some brilliant idea or, you know, some amazing deck that just convinces everybody to invest. It's a lot of you with a lot of your team. Um, and the more you know, in the more connection you have to that fund or person or whatever, that's gonna be the most successful to getting the first money in, Um, and it's inevitably ah, group mentality. Once you start getting the first ones in, it's a lot easier to get more, Um, and ultimate eventually. Also, get venture fund, which now often you're even early stage. You're gonna need a lot of the initial attraction revenue, depending on what kind of business you're in. Um, so you know those air, even those kinds of funds, to be good conversations toe have. But dont get your hopes up of getting there early on or certainly first, um, but doesn't get a lot of conversations going in and really leverage your networks. Um, you know, I've seen a lot of people where they just goto website Seo so and so Ventures wants to change the world, and they really are excited about biotech. So surely they're going to give me $5 million to start off my idea, and I've never heard of that happening like ever. Um, it is just not how things are done and the few that you might even hear of it because they knew the professor and the folks for years, and they've done a bunch of other things and they decided, Just do another deal like it's you need to build these relationships, work on the ones you already have, and if you don't have them, start building because it's gonna take time inevitably.

How did you set the scope for your minimal viable product? How did you get to product-market fit? How did your product evolve over time?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
I think everything in our conversation kind of covered a lot of that. Um, where and you know, and it can also evolve definitely very important to get to the minimal, viable product. And that could be very different, depending on what kind of company you are. This is ah, biotech company. You know, that might still be a lot of just conceptual work or very least early data, but it is very important to have something. So do you. Just a concept, um, gets you almost nowhere or practically nowhere. Um, you know, Ah, at least file Cem patents if it's in biotech or you get some initial data. Um, with cove, it especially like everything's gonna get that much harder in the fundraising world in the startup world. And the more you have, that's tangible. Um, the better eso Ah, you know, if this is a software or something, that minimal viable product is super important and not just toe have it, but also to show some important feedback. So again, if that's just initial data and results of experiments that show that whatever you're doing is working o r, whether if it's a software package having initial customers use it. Um Ah. And that use is again important. Ideally, they even pay you for it. Big difference between somebody just running it. Um, and somebody actually paying you, You have not the full amount. Like, give him a great deal. Ah, but ah, very binary of if if there's money exchanged or not, um, and that product market fit. I mean, a foul usher is an excellent example of we had these grand plans and ideas in a technology based system. And then it devolved into a pharmacy and now certification. And you know exactly how your product fits into the market. Um, likely evolve inherently. Anyway, as everything changes. I mean, no bigger example have been coverted. Um, but ah is really important to take your best shot and then the open to it evolving and especially the beginning lead. You leave some knobs in there too easily. Tweak it if you need to. Ah, pivot this product

Who were your early users? What marketing channels, approaches, and marketing tools did you use to contact users? What worked and what didn't?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
So you know, Frost and Alisher that the first users was the pharmacy. Um, and I'll say that Ah, you know, there's a lot of very basic ways Teoh do marketing and any online platform. There's a lot of advanced ways to do it. I think most important thing is that you try something, Um, and try a few of them toe to show that initial traction or that engagement. Um, and I would also say that if we don't underestimate the value of PR, um, you know, we invested early on in a PR agency to understand how this system works, not saying that that's ah, great fit for everybody. But if you if you are in a highly PR visible news visible area, trying to get something out of that is very helpful cause also again, investors and everybody in this whole world are people and people read news. People get excited about things that they perceive other people are being excited about. Um, and having some element of news doesn't mean it has to be your entire focus. But a news angle, especially early on, is helpful. It's something also an independent validation of what you're doing something you can link for people to see. Um and ah, it's it's morale building for the whole team. Um, so I think I always keep in mind getting for those initial actual users and was very straightforward approaches to doing that as well. But use you know, some of these milestones is potentially OPR opportunities as well on and talk to experts in that. And, um, you know, some of these could be expensive, but you can even have Ah, there's a lot of start up world, you know, agencies that at least do some consulting with you. It is a different you know, is, ah, it's own world is what I mean to say Like you can't just call up The New York Times and have them pay attention to you and again, a lot of times, what you think is super cool isn't necessarily what investors when I think of super cool or certainly what a ah reporter's gonna think of super cool. And actually, there's a lot of parallel dude reporters and investors, you know, they get pitched all the time about all sorts of things that everybody thinks is the most amazing thing ever. Um and there's all sorts of strategies of cutting through that, actually, hopefully get them to pay for them to pay attention to you. Um, and that could be around events that could be around relationships that other people have. Um, so it's worth some amount of effort, I think, especially in the early stage, not just to get the initial users would be pretty straightforward on and obviously pay a lot of attention to those initial users. You want to make sure that it's successful. Ah, but at the same time, doing something on the PR angle could be helped.

What changes would you attempt in customer targeting, acquisition process, and marketing tools in the later growth phase? Why?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
so I think. Overall, you know this happens a lot and certainly with Val assures where you might have a base. Ah, customer group in our situation, their individual patients of a pharmacy. But as your value builds, there's often enterprise opportunities that could really expand your reach that much more. Um and, you know, be the open to those and those tools would be completely different than what you started with. Um, so getting the common theme of needing the ability to pivot and evolve um is super important in this arena as well. Um, and and sometimes you can't reach the enterprise level or kind of a next year of acquisition process until I already have that baseline of what you've created but have a mind towards it, um, and ah, especially in the growth phase. You know some of these kind of B two B type relationships, whether you started B two B or started to see, um, you can evolve to different tears of of groups to work with, or even just going from customers to the people that funnel into the customers already have their own customers, um, can be really important

How'd you hire, incentivize, and track the progress of your marketing team including agencies and part-time workers to scale user base?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
So that's it's a tough question is gonna be very nuanced also with particular business that you're in, of course, um and, ah, anything that you can again work off of your network or people that you already know is just inevitably going to be really important. Um and, ah, this is just how the world works. In many ways, um, I'm a big fan of, ah, modification of the famous quote, which is it's not what you know. It's who you know that knows, you know, it. Um, so, yeah, the network effect is important. Actually, having something to say to your network is also important because, you know, somebody doesn't automatically mean that they're the right person for the job. Doesn't make me that they give you money. That's not American mean, like all these kinds of things. Ah, but leveraging your network for ah, sales team is it could be really beneficial. The very least the managers or the primary drivers of that team is really important. Um and ah, all sorts of standard ways to incentivize a sales team. Um, but especially with an early stage company, um, you know, don't be greedy on equity. Um yet having equities part of incentive for even a sales team, which might be usually just based on sales. Obviously, percentage sales and those kinds of things is traditional. But you want people to be a part of your mission that it's not just another account or another thing to sell. Um, it, ah, tying to equity is the most perfect alignment of everybody's interests. Um, yeah, everybody needs to eat. Everyone needs to make money and get a salary and all those kinds of things. Um, but if if they have a piece of the company, um, it's that much more motivating to go the extra mile. And you know, not many people get rich off of, Ah, nice, reasonable salary. Um, you get rich or make a lot of impact, um, off of having a piece of something that does super super well and being a part of that thing, that the super well, so it's a could be a huge financial incentive. Be an impact incentive, obviously, depending on exactly what it is that you're doing. If you're trying to change an industry, especially in healthcare, ideally saving lives, improving human health, it could be a huge motivator and people really feel good about being a part of it. So don't underestimate the value of sharing in that equity. Um, and in general, don't not. Being greedy is is good advice and keep that in mind also in terms of the equity side of things.

Who were your competitors when you started and how did the competition evolve? How did you create a competitive advantage and a unique selling proposition?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
voucher. Maybe is not such a good example for that, Because quite literally, nobody doing exactly what we're doing. I was lots of online pharmacies out there, uh, having unique selling proposition, usually based on convenience. We are tackling the quality side. Um, but it's obviously very important to be cognizant of this. Um, and and also looking to the future. Um, So your competitors today may not all be the same competitors tomorrow. Um, and just cause you're evolving, don't forget they're gonna evolve to, um so, yeah, I think there's a lot of ways to tackle that to the previous question about how your overall growth strategy happens, and the enterprise side of Of how you do things, um can also affect that. Ah, that competition competitors might also be a good partner. Um, you know, we've certainly seen that adv Alisher. Especially in the beginning where Hey, we're a pharmacy. But our core values quote insurance. So we've had pharmacies reach out to us much bigger established companies that like Well, listen, are you trying to, like, burn down the whole pharmacy system and kind of re build it? Or would you I want to work together on this value. And we also see value and quality assurance and good quality medications. Perhaps we could work together, so Yep. Keep an open mind and all this and ah, you know, ah, competitors could also be a partner. Um oh, are not, You know, uh, also going into the enterprise side could could be very beneficial in building walls against competitors. Even if you're selling essentially the same product. If you have a relationship for much better if more efficient distribution of that product than your competitors, that alone could be a big leg up and something that you may not be able to do in the beginning. But as you prove out, the value of what you're doing is possible Down and down the road. Um, So again, you know, keep an open mind, obviously evolve and improve your product. But you can think of ways beyond that. Potentially even partner rings with partnering with those that you may think our competitors o are using enterprise angles. Thio more effectively compete against other competitors

What were the major exciting and memorable moments? Were there also any moments that almost got you to quit? How did you get past them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
that we have no shortage of its, um, way have, fortunately have many memorable moments. Um, but ah, it I would say, certainly one of them that's been extremely impactful was was our findings around Zantac and run editing. Um, you know, we kind of added, ah, last year, this capability, it's also analyze carcinogens. There's been a lot of problems of these Christians and contaminants in medications, and our overall mission is to look broadly and holistically independent analysis of all sorts of, ah, components of pharmacy. And so we weren't just gonna look where everybody else was looking. Um, we kind of ran this kind of analysis on and everything coming through our pharmacy. And I specifically remember that in the day that are our chief scientific officer kind of put towards my desk like look at this. Ah, chromatic grams of ah analysis on this riveting syrup that was prescribed for one of our co founders infant daughter. And you can't get a whole lot more personal than that and seeing this just huge spike of this extremely potent carcinogen. Um, and it was like after the first reactions that it must be something that we need to follow up on. Maybe something wasn't calibrated. Writer. Let's obviously check them like No, no, we checked that. We checked this and, ah, we kept checking. And it was just this I opening moment of we're onto a really serious problem here. Um and, uh, even how the story evolved, you know, we started putting together all the data and all of a sudden there was this just ah entirely we weren't ready for it. It's announcement by the FDA about hey, there's there some contamination in in re Nadine products, which we were pushing the whole time. That there's a fundamental problem with it is not just some minor contamination is an unstable drug that is breaking down potentially in the body, it at huge levels and eyes a huge health risk. Um and so he was September 13th Friday, the 13th. Funny how these things happen sometimes, um, of 2019 and it was like the whole company scrambled. We were, you know, driving ah in the morning to ah, to New York City to work with our PR folks and now on the phone with, like, CNBC and Bloomberg and everybody all at the same time and just a whole day of of Ah, something we didn't predict at all. Um, as happening that way. Um, and I think as an event, it was also just hugely, um, you know, ah, eye opening in terms of how much impact if something originally the very small can be, um, and the fact that people really are listening especially it's what it's related to health care and you can affect people's lives. Um, you know, there's obviously a few different angles of how to look at this, you know, contamination. There is a fundamental problem, and the press was listening. I mean, the New York Times even updated their story. And, um, it was, ah, a lot of concern about how to do this, right? And what are these issues, and especially in health care, it's just so important. Um, and at the end of the date of have so much impact and the potential to have saved lives and to take ah could be a pretty risky product off the market and to help people, um is huge, huge reward. Um, so that definitely stuck with many of us. And we've been fortunate. Have multiple of those kinds of high impact events in a very short period of time in a company like Voucher. Ah, but, you know, we, uh I spoke about it even before the United States Senate last month, and it's really important story that a lot of people have been listening to. And, you know, sometimes you just don't know where that could come from and could also be very stressful. You know that a lot of people, um, were not happy about this kind of data coming out there are questioning it. And there's all this back and forth and, um, you know, this high visibility, high stress and no, these kinds of events could come from anywhere. Um, and I think it's, uh, even when these kind of things turned negative. Ah, you got to keep in mind that things are almost always worse. Ah, to you seemingly then then they can really actually be, especially for founders there so intimately engaged in the company. Um, you know, relying your network and ah, if you quit, then for sure you'll have failed. And if in the end, you still fail, well, you're gonna learn for the next one. But yet You have to keep pushing it forward. Um, and, uh, yeah, it's ah, it can happen when you least expect it.

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle at work? What were the challenges? What strategies were effective in dealing with these challenges?

Based on experience at: Director Product Management, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
Yeah. So actually, before voucher, I spent eight years at a company called Ion Torrent that was eventually acquired by Life Technologies that didn't acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Um and, ah, the core idea of ion torrent was that we were going to sequence DNA on a microchip. Ah, radically different concept from what the industry was doing, Um, and has actually was based on a scientific paper that we spent ah, millions of dollars showing was just noise, which also happens sometimes in science and disappeared. The previous questions, you know, pivoting and being able to ah roll with the punches is super important. Um, but we actually had some backup plans and paths that worked out, and it turned into what is now the number two DNA sequencing technology in the world. Um and so I was I was originally had a chemistry R and D for that company, and as we actually got the core technology toe work and ah, myself and and another co founder of Voucher, you know, we were the chemistry department back then, um, and made some really great advances. That was Ah, huge. Um, endeavor and really exciting to be a part of like, we essentially invented a new particle that hadn't existed before for binding DNA and being able to sequence it now to create the entire system around it. A with the que a que si manufacturing and everything in between had to be create from scratch on. The only reason we even did it is that this particle was able to get us many times higher signal than what was available commercially, um, and has a huge interdisciplinary effort to be able to do it. So you really get something is really exciting projects in the start up early stage world. Um so it had a chemistry R and D, and then once it was actually working on, were the fastest selling the NSC concerned entire market. Ah, transition to ah, director of product management most recently is part of, um when we were at Thermo Fisher and I largely headed up one of our biggest projects and markets, which is non invasive prenatal testing, um, and largely out of China. So actually had an amazing opportunity to see kind of the globalization of health care and how different parts of the world in different markets treat the public health and ah and I pee. And there's so many different considerations when looking at things internationally. Um, and, uh, who's at that time that the friend of mine called me up about his own medication problems and you already heard that story?

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts?

Based on experience at: Yale University
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
So, um, certainly, obviously, the core education, um, at Yale University was was excellent. And, uh, many universities. We're gonna get you, Ah, great education in a particular field that you're in. But I think if you're thinking towards entrepreneurship and startups and and all that, really being able to lean on the university can be quite beneficial and different. Universities have all sorts of different programs, but ah, lot of them are doing more on entrepreneurship These days are definitely talk to the folks in your university. Um and I think beyond that for me personally. Ah, what was some of the most beneficial was the networks of people that you meet, um, at school. Ah, you know, some of some of the closest friends and programs and groups. Ah, you know that that I was a part of at Yale and and continue to be active with as an alumni going forward. Ah, were extremely helpful in building up all sorts of endeavors. I mean, the that company Ion Torrent, I met the founder at Yale. Um, hey was guest lecturing at one of the classes and, um, you know what's looking for interns, and I wanted to be one of those interns, and that's that's how we ended up knowing each other. So you know any of those kinds of re sources and connections? Internships. For sure you always spend time and on interning is is a really impactful way toe. Learn more about an industry, get to know specific people. Ah, in the industry that could be very beneficial for you outside. So wow, at university, always be thinking about the network that you're building and whether that's for co founders, investors, advisers, all of those things. Everything so much easier when you're all part of the same alumni network or university network. Um so definitely think towards that. Um, you know, the education is obviously important and do well in school, but beyond that you really be thinking towards the network. And I think that's ah, some of the most rewarding parts. Anyways, you know, it goes turn it to some of the lifelong friendships. Um, and from the business perspective, ah could be very helpful in creating anything you want to create. Going forward

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? Please discuss the stories behind these lessons, if possible. Stories could be yours or observed.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
um, life lessons. Yeah. Being able to ah, pivot super important any part of life. Um, And I think that, you know, even that phrase of it's not what you know. It's who you know that knows, you know, it, I think is really important, really speaks to the network effect. Ah, but ah also come with something for that network. Because you know, somebody doesn't mean that they're gonna be useful to you if you don't have something to show them. That is important. And, uh ah, intriguing. Um, and, ah, you know, third, um, I I guess, is Ah, the attitude that you bring to everything is always super important, you know, and especially the start up world. Don't be cut and dry. Everybody eyes looking at things from a personal and emotional perspective. To some degree, we're all humans. Um, and so, you know, be enjoy what you're doing. You know, it sounds like very cliche. Like, have fun. Um, yeah, but it's actually really important to be doing something, especially in the startup world. You're gonna be putting so much of your energy into it. Make sure something that you actually like and are happy doing and surround yourself of similar people. Um, you know, the attitude of of how you do what you want to do has a lot of impact everywhere.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 31 2020
so I think really important is Teoh. Try a variety of things at while you're in school. Ah, internships are just the best possible thing I think you can do. Um, I would say, you know, have a variety of internships also in kind of the big and small areas. What you're looking at, um, you know, there's a lot you can learn from a big established company and how they structure things. Um, and there's, ah lot you can really do in a smaller, you know, start up type company. Um, and And I really encourage people, especially in the beginning, and looking also for your first job. Um, you know, the start up a small company world, you really have a lot of impact. Um, it's it's obviously more stressful on more work and potentially not as much pay. Um, but, you know, you could really be a part of building something especially early on in your career. What's the worst gonna happen if it fails and you will learn something, and then you move on to the next thing? Um, you know, you have a lot less responsibilities and mortgages and Children and family and all that kind of thing if you when you're young. Um so definitely consider it seriously the entrepreneurial world. You could just learn so much that you can bring to any company or anything else you do afterwards and not to mention it successful. Um, you have been an integral part of building something really important. Um, that could be highly impactful. Career financially and everything in between. So really encourage people to, ah, to get out there, do a bunch of internships, be a part of his many programs as you can. But even in terms of first rubs out of university, seriously, consider doing something in the start up entrepreneurial space.