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From Physician to SaaS Software CEO and Founder. Jason Reminick of Thalamus Shares How He Did It | Ep. 181 | Business Podcast

From Physician to SaaS Software CEO and Founder. Jason Reminick of Thalamus Shares How He Did It | Ep. 181 | Business Podcast

From Physician to SaaS Software CEO and Founder. Jason Reminick of Thalamus Shares How He Did It | Ep. 181 | Business Podcast

From Physician to SaaS Software CEO and Founder. Jason Reminick of Thalamus Shares How He Did It | Ep. 181 | Business Podcast
From Physician to SaaS Software CEO and Founder. Jason Reminick of Thalamus Shares How He Did It | Ep. 181 | Business Podcast

Summary

Jason Reminick, MD, MBA, MS is the CEO and Founder of Thalamus, the premier cloud-based, interview management platform for graduate medical education (GME) training programs. He shares a ton of tips for fellow business owners and Founders in this episode.

With everything going remote last year, Thalamus played a critical role in ensuring that thousands of medical students were able to schedule and complete these interviews (which creates the pipeline of doctors in the US).

He is passionate about medical innovation, education and technology, and his work has been featured in leading medical journals including Anesthesia & Analgesia, The Journal of Graduate Medical Education, and The Journal of American Medical Association.

He is the Director of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs Nashville Chapter and serves as an advisor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Dr. Reminick trained in the combined Pediatrics/Anesthesiology program at Stanford University. He graduated Alpha Omega Alpha from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, while concurrently earning his MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business.

He was recognized as a Physician of Tomorrow award recipient (2012) by the American Medical Association, was a member of the Stanford University Society of Physician Scholars (2013-2017) and was a Joseph Collins Foundation Fellow (2011-2013).

Links:

Thalmus

Hello friends.

Brandon:

Welcome to the Edge.

Brandon:

Today we’re talking with Jason Remnick, who is the Ceo and co founder of foulness and Jason was in medical school and applying for residencies and had an absolutely horrible experience and he took that problem that existed and he’s turned it into a software company.

Brandon:

You’re going to love this episode. He talks about how he did it, how he decided to not be a doctor after going through the entire medical school and how they’re doing it.

Brandon:

Jason round neck Ceo and co founder of the illness.

Brandon:

Welcome to the Edge podcast. Your weekly playbook about the inner game of building a successful business, making you a happier, healthier and richer business owner. And here’s your host, Brandon White. Good. How you doing today?

Brandon:

All right.

Brandon:

Mhm Sorry about that.

Brandon:

I thought I emailed the link and I probably in my mind emailed it but didn’t actually email it.

Brandon:

Yeah, it’s 20, So part I think, I think, I think I’m shooting par. Right?

Brandon:

Yeah, that sounds about right to me. So I know where he’s glad to be here. Right on. Thanks for joining. Uh, you’re in santa clara, aren’t you?

Brandon:

Um mm hmm.

Brandon:

Yes, yes, I am.

Brandon:

Well actually, today I’m in Nashville Tennessee.

Brandon:

Oh, well how’s Nashville?

Brandon:

That feels great.

Brandon:

It’s a good city Cool.

Brandon:

What’s the weather like there right now.

Brandon:

Uh today was about 80s sonny humans humid.

Brandon:

That reminds me of my East coast days.

Brandon:

Yeah.

Brandon:

Crazy.

Brandon:

Well it’s 50 56 cool here in Half Moon Bay. So, and I’m sure santa Clara is a little bit cooler and dryer.

Brandon:

But yeah, that’s cool.

Brandon:

Well, thanks for joining today.

Brandon:

You know, I think you have a really interesting story as I was reading about it.

Brandon:

You also have a lot of degrees that would indicate that you might have been a doctor but turned into an entrepreneur.

Brandon:

So I’m curious about your journey and how that all happened and then stillness, which I, you know, as I was thinking that I was, I said, well of course it controls all of the messages and all of the things that happen and happen in our body, which probably has some analogy to what you guys are doing their in their career in front in the medical field.

Brandon:

Yeah, for sure.

Brandon:

So, um I’m originally from Long island new york and it wanted to be a physician since I was about the age of 12.

Brandon:

Um unfortunately had some family members who were rather ill when I was younger, but uh you know, taught me that I wanted to help people and care for them and it was a good at science and math.

Brandon:

So I made my way to college eventually at the University of pennsylvania ended up studying biochemistry, Just start and then added theater arts on, on top of that.

Brandon:

Just sort of found it on a whim had like broadway shows growing up and uh really just wanted another outlet to sort of explore some creativity and uh from there I ended up getting a master’s degree in chemistry pen also, and then worked in pharma for a year, doing some cardiovascular disease research at Wyeth, prior to being acquired by Fighter um on the drug that was trying to replace the statin and uh, never made it through clinical trials, but that was quite an experience and it was sort of a plan uh to take sort of a gap year before going to medical school and made my way up to the University of Rochester where I went to medical school.

Brandon:

And uh as I was applying there and got in, learned about an M.

Brandon:

D.

Brandon:

M.

Brandon:

B.

Brandon:

A. Program and in college had gotten really interested about the social, uh, the proximal and distal causes of health and health inequity in the country.

Brandon:

And it really pushed me to just explore other avenues in health care as well, and wanted to be able to talk the talk and and sort of walk the walk on the business side of health care as well. So had a nice opportunity to do a combined MD MBA program there and I got really interested in in the NBA part in entrepreneurship and I think just defined something, I was for quite a while, you know, as a, in middle school and high school, I was buying video games at stores that were going, going out of business and selling them on Ebay in the, in the earliest days of Ebay and funding sort of my own video game hobby at the time.

Brandon:

But I think, you know, that was my first taste of entrepreneurship, but uh really started studying entrepreneurship, got involved with a really interesting research project doing telemedicine for Parkinson’s disease patients in rural nursing homes.

Brandon:

And this was way before any of the telemedicine companies existed, maybe american, well, was out there at the time, but we were essentially doing a Skype call to uh to help people in nursing homes with Parkinson’s disease who would normally have to have a family member, drive them to the nearest, we were the main health center for most of western new york at the university of Rochester and so they drive eight hours to bring a family member in.

Brandon:

So eventually decided to try and write a business plan for that.

Brandon:

Never really started a company with it, but did win a few business plan competitions and then, you know, I always really wanted to start my own business, in my own company.

Brandon:

Uh and then as I was graduating medical school and applying to residency and the next step of my medical journey got stuck in new york city during Hurricane Sandy.

Brandon:

Uh many of my residency interviews were canceled in a process I’m happy to dive deeper into, but that was the major catalyst for what became Fallon MS today, which happy to discuss that as well, but really live the problem that my company today is now solving in terms of helping to streamline a very challenging, costly anxiety producing process of applying for medical school into residency.

Brandon:

Uh and so um have gone on a pretty wild and wacky journey, but eventually made my way out to California, to stanford to do a residency in pediatrics and anesthesiology.

Brandon:

Um started thalamus at the same time, was doing it a little bit of a side gig as I was going through my medical residency training.

Brandon:

Uh and then eventually in 2018.

Brandon:

So it was growing pretty substantially and left clinical medicine to pursue it full time.

Brandon:

And I’ve been running it was the thalamus full time ceo, since that is my life story in a few minutes.

Brandon:

Well, how did you have any time to do anything else? I’m curious.

Brandon:

You know, you were studying chemistry But also doing drama.

Brandon:

Those are two significantly different kinds of people.

Brandon:

And it sounds like that was the purpose did that balance you or what was that experience like?

Brandon:

Yeah, I think it actually helps with balance a lot.

Brandon:

And that’s really one of my goals in business too.

Brandon:

And I think helps us be more productive as humans and or people in general in that I was, you know, be a few hours in the lab doing some microscopy research, staring at cells all day.

Brandon:

Uh and then would wrap up there and go to rehearsal for one of our shows, musical theater, straight drama or otherwise and provided a really nice balance. And it’s kind of no, even in your studies, if if you have a organic chemistry lecture and then you go to a uh intro to acting class or a history of musical theater class.

Brandon:

It provides just a really nice balance in a different way of thinking, which I think has helped me really well as an entrepreneur.

Brandon:

I tell people all the time that I think my theater degree is that has been the most useful in in being not only an entrepreneur, but probably physician as well.

Brandon:

And so I think, I think theater degrees in general are pretty underrated too, but it’s been a unique path, but at least in my mind every step of the way it made sense in each part of the journey, although I never would’ve been able to plan it.

Brandon:

What part of the theater degree, as you say, it was the most useful is that because you’re interacting with people, is it because you have to play a role?

Brandon:

What exactly is that?

Brandon:

Yeah, I think it’s a lot of different things when you, when you study drama, you know, you and you’re studying a scene.

Brandon:

I like doing a lot of musical theater in terms of acting, but I also like directing early mid 19 hundreds american drama.

Brandon:

I think that’s just great plays and when you’re studying scenes, you’re literally breaking down each action per character.

Brandon:

Word for word. Um you know, line by line, trying to understand people’s objectives, why they’re making decisions, things that they make is this in their characters, this out of their character?

Brandon:

How are they responding to emotional situations? And I think in studying theater, you learn a lot about human psychology, about empathy, about sympathy, about just understanding multiple perspectives on various situations. You study lighting design to understand how cool light versus warm light can affect people’s emotions and everyone goes to the theater and just stands in awe.

Brandon:

People who studied theater, go and look up at the sky and figure out what kind of lighting that they’re using. And so you learn a lot of this and you also learn how to connect really well with people, which is central to medicine, but I found that my theater degree has been really helpful in doing podcasts or pitching my company or other ventures were teaching people how to be an entrepreneur.

Brandon:

And so, um, it really has provided a nice balance. I have another friend who, uh, she’s also an entrepreneur and we met actually doing theater in college and she has a very successful company as well and we kind of joke about it all the time, but it’s been a really helpful tool to have.

Brandon:

How did you, I’m originally from the east Coast in Maryland and found my way to the west Coast through through an interesting journey, but I’d say most people on the East Coast really while they know the west coast exists.

Brandon:

You know 3000 miles is a really long way.

Brandon:

And when you grow up on the East Coast it’s not that California.

Brandon:

I mean I enjoy surfing and my brother was a skateboarder and obviously you’re connected to that California vibe if you’re in those things.

Brandon:

But if you’re not, the east coast is very east coast centric in the sense that you know, if you’re going to go to quote unquote a top school, you’re gonna go, you’re gonna go to the U penn’s, you’re going to go to the Harvard or Yale’s.

Brandon:

And if you go to the south, maybe you’re going to go to U.

Brandon:

N.

Brandon:

C.

Brandon:

You’re going to go to university of Maryland. You’re gonna go to Hopkins or these things.

Brandon:

How was stanford something that was in your vocabulary as an east coast person or it’s such a it’s such a long way away when you’re on that coast.

Brandon:

Yeah, it’s a it’s a great question because in my in my life I’d really never been outside the northeast.

Brandon:

Like I went two hours south of where I grew up for college.

Brandon:

I went 6.5 hours northwest where I grew up for medical school and that was that little triangle was the majority of my life.

Brandon:

Obviously traveled in such as well. I had no real ties to California other than that it seemed like an exciting place to go. I had actually applied to stanford medical school and got interviewed there and really liked the campus at the time.

Brandon:

But if you would have asked me in medical school, like where I was going to end up for residency, it was very likely going to be New York City. Um and I would have I would have probably put money on it that I would have wound up in New York City because I want to live there my whole life and I still haven’t lived in New York City. I grew up with, you know, grew up 45 minutes outside on the island. But what happened was I was I was I set up all my residency interviews and I started in new york and I had three interviews lined up at the Mount Sinai, N.

Brandon:

Y.

Brandon:

U. And Columbia. And they’re all in a row has planned it really well only had to make one trip. And that was when hurricane Sandy hit new york city.

Brandon:

All of the interviews got canceled.

Brandon:

Obviously most of lower Manhattan was in the dark and had lost power and some of it was underwater as was most of Staten Island’s. And you know the new york city marathon was canceled and I was fortunate on the upper west side we still had power. So it was kind of just like yeah another day where you’re just staying home and just uh sort of staying where you were and catching up on reading and such.

Brandon:

But uh all of those interviews were canceled and one of them was actually never rescheduled and the other two from which originally planned at the earliest part of the season was moved to the back end of the season.

Brandon:

So instead of interviewing in october, I was interviewing at the end of january which mattered as well because I ended up interviewing everywhere else instead of starting in new york.

Brandon:

And I interviewed probably 15 places or so around the country uh and have made it to stanford and you know, saw the campus that I really enjoyed seeing for medical school um and had just a really good connection to the faculty and the other applicants that were there met um and interviewed with uh a very well known pediatric pain physician at stanford is named the elite Crane who became my mentor.

Brandon:

Um we had just a very good conversation during the interview today and it just really connected clinically my clinical interests are in pediatric chronic pain.

Brandon:

So he was one of one of the world’s experts in it and throw in the fact that stanford was at a new coast, not to, you know, see the pacific Ocean and Half Moon Bay is beautiful and one of my favorite places actually.

Brandon:

Um and with the connection to entrepreneurship and everything that’s going on in the valley and I studied entrepreneurship in an area of upstate new york that called itself very entrepreneurial, but the valley is just another world and so got to see a few meetups that were going on there have a few friends that were in the area.

Brandon:

And so I just really saw it aligning all of my sort of interests and passions.

Brandon:

Also interesting.

Brandon:

Scampered has a humanities and medicine program and so I had met the person who the faculty member who ran that several years prior and connected with her again and we started talking about it could be involved with that during residencies.

Brandon:

So it really just checked off every single box for me other than location, which is interesting because we’ve done a lot of research in terms of geographic trends of how medical students end up in various residency programs and I’m kind of on the outlier of what the usual is because staying in state is actually the highest likelihood for anyone applying to residency.

Brandon:

So um yeah, I wouldn’t have predicted it, but it was kind of all the stars aligning and it felt quite right.

Brandon:

The other benefit was, I applied to a combined pediatric anesthesia program, there were only four in the country.

Brandon:

Uh and so one was at Hopkins, one was in boston at the Brigham Brigham Women’s in uh boston Children’s Hospital and one was in Irvine and then there was a stanford program and I like the stanford program the best.

Brandon:

So uh yeah there was just just, I don’t know, fates or just a lot of the stars aligning etcetera.

Brandon:

Well I have two questions.

Brandon:

One is how that this whole residency Thing works because it seems complicated and there’s this whole long path to becoming a doctor and I don’t know what age the average doctor is when they get out, but I feel like it’s 37 or something like that by the time it’s all said and done at least from friends who have been through it.

Brandon:

But I want to go back on on one.

Brandon:

one thing you mentioned before, we move on to that is you describe the valley as just another world.

Brandon:

Can you elaborate on that?

Brandon:

Because it’s really hard to describe unless you’re here the energy and there’s a lot of narrative right now that people are moving out of the valley and the valleys, you know, seeing it’s time or you know, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but we’ve had a few people, big people leave at least temporarily.

Brandon:

Um, but I haven’t seen any thing go down in the valley.

Brandon:

The energy, the people, you know, the news can write the story.

Brandon:

I think it’s ironic.

Brandon:

Some of the people that write the news don’t live here, but that’s probably a whole another topic.

Brandon:

How would you, your words describe just the, the ecosystem here that happens between just really smart people and the energy and entrepreneurship and even medicine and there’s, you know, it’s not just tech, it’s hardware, it’s actually I ride bikes with more people who I find her in the medical industry then I even ever imagined.

Brandon:

Yeah, So it’s a great question and I think it’s best to find really is as an energy and it’s a quick inside I think every year, every few years everyone’s writing articles that everyone’s moving out of the valley and this is the end of Silicon Valley and this is, and some of that’s probably true.

Brandon:

There are people, a lot of people from California moving to Nashville as well.

Brandon:

So we see that, but still there is such an ecosystem in the valley that there would need to be some incredibly seismic shift I think to disrupt what Silicon Valley is because it is ingrained.

Brandon:

I mean, you go to any coffee shop in Silicon Valley, there’s a VC during a deal at one table, there’s others talking about a financial model and trying to design a product and that’s just one Starbucks and then you go to, you go to pizza a few streets down and you find the same thing for you.

Brandon:

You know, you go to the one of the hotels and everyone’s meeting in the lobby just sort of, so it’s just, it’s just a very different ecosystem because everyone is living and breathing companies and startups and you know, there, there are pros and cons to all of that right.

Brandon:

Like if you’re, if you’re an actor Silicon Valley probably isn’t the best place for you and it’s almost unaffordable and unlivable in many ways.

Brandon:

But if you’re trying to start a company and I don’t know if it’s the best place to grow a more mature company because it’s very expensive.

Brandon:

But in terms of starting a company there is, there is no greater ecosystem.

Brandon:

And so the reason our company exists today is because I had an idea.

Brandon:

I had a slide deck.

Brandon:

I knew the problem.

Brandon:

I googled Silicon Valley startup attorney.

Brandon:

Um, it, I called the first attorney that I found in that search went in pitch.

Brandon:

The idea showed him the slide deck and said, We have this idea.

Brandon:

I’ve never started a company before, I’m just out of medical school, I have $3,000 in the bank And $300,000 in loans.

Brandon:

How do I do this?

Brandon:

And he goes live, I’ve represented companies for decades and so let me take a small piece of equity in return for legal services.

Brandon:

We’ll get this going.

Brandon:

Like founder was one of my mentors in med school and we started developing and found some friends who would develop the product and We had tried to start in Rochester, every attorney wanted 20 or $30,000 to incorporate the company and I have never seen $20 or $30,000 and as you know, as a resident, you’re making 60,065,000 a year before taxes plus you have to pay back loans and such and so you know that just that just that starting point, that was one of the only reasons that that the company exists today.

Brandon:

Otherwise there would have had to figure out some other way to fund it.

Brandon:

But we built an M.

Brandon:

V.

Brandon:

P.

Brandon:

And then it worked and then we were able to raise some money off of it.

Brandon:

But you learn you’re able to learn so many things there.

Brandon:

What is a convertible or a safe note and why is that beneficial to you?

Brandon:

Is that as an entrepreneur starting out?

Brandon:

How do you pitch to a.

Brandon:

B.

Brandon:

C.

Brandon:

You can go to a meet up five different meetups tonight which is all these entrepreneurs meeting to talk about various things.

Brandon:

You can go to these companies in the city that are having open housings uh just to get entrepreneurs to network and connect and you know new york has a flavor of that now in boston is very MedTech device driven as well and there are these pockets and even a nationally have an entrepreneurial scene that’s up and coming here and in Denver and Austin and but each has its own sort of culture.

Brandon:

The valley is just in its own world and you know, I often joke that satires is a great way to describe life going back to theater again and I do think HBO show Silicon Valley is actually very similar to living in Silicon Valley.

Brandon:

So I think it’s a great sort of lens that everyone can sort of learn what we mean when we say that.

Brandon:

So I think that’s a, that’s a, a great description of just the energy, that’s what I hear.

Brandon:

It’s the ecosystems so deep.

Brandon:

Like you said, I can think of the Starbucks off of Sand Hill that you’re talking about because I charge my Tesla behind their um, at the Starbucks there.

Brandon:

But all you gotta do is, you know, walk in there and there’s just people at the tables or talking about building companies like you said, I mean it really is, is that you can ride your bike on a weekend lined up at the top of Skyline Avenue and you know, you could, you could meet the founder or Ceo of one of these large companies.

Brandon:

I mean it really is that open and, and rich, I guess is the word.

Brandon:

Yeah, let’s talk about this residency experience because I mean, look, you’ve, you know, you’ve made, you’ve made the bar pretty high in what you’ve done and all that you’ve accomplished so far.

Brandon:

I’m curious, you talked about, it sounds like your story, you have a ton of passion and you were driven, sounds like as a younger person, buy some illness possibly in your family or close to you that really inspired you to be a doctor and you arguably, you know, came and did a residency at a school and a place that people would die for and you turned a corner to become an entrepreneur has.

Brandon:

did you have to wrestle with that sense of being a ceo of a tech company versus this story that you built in your head, Not only story, you executed this story and took out a lot of loans.

Brandon:

It sounds like 300,000 bucks to do this.

Brandon:

Yeah, I mean it is, it’s been a big wrestle.

Brandon:

Um, it’s when you take unconventional or you make unconventional decisions, right?

Brandon:

So There are people who decide to be a physician at 12.

Brandon:

There decide people who decide to be positions much later.

Brandon:

There are people who decide to be positions because they don’t want to be lawyers and so, and there are lots of reasons or your family members of position etc.

Brandon:

So I don’t want to be a position on this.

Brandon:

12 is really good at math and science, studied a ton of math and science.

Brandon:

Um, started doing theater all of a sudden and everyone in my science courses like, what are you doing?

Brandon:

Like we’re on the lab doing doing research and you’re going to pretend to go do something.

Brandon:

And I said, no, it’s more than that.

Brandon:

And then, you know, my theater friends, some of them were in the, in science.

Brandon:

So like we found a commonality there.

Brandon:

But then, you know, I’m humanist, I’m passionate about just connection in theater.

Brandon:

And then all of a sudden I wind up in business school and so you show up in business school having been on the medical school path and show up the first day of business school and I’m the least well dressed person there, I’m wearing a hoodie.

Brandon:

Everyone else is wearing blazers and suits and such and then you go to business school and then you end up in medical school then and then I’m all of a sudden one of one of the best dressed people in my medical school class and then you get labeled in medicine is oh your business focus, your business minded, uh you just want to make money, you just want to be an administrator and that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Brandon:

I was, I went to business school because I was curious about the the social causes of disease and how we could develop other systems to have those conversations in medicine and going to business school gave me a very different perspective and a lot of people would ask why didn’t you know masters in public health and like isn’t that degree more suited for that?

Brandon:

And in some ways yes, but you get, you get many of those tools in business school to study a lot of statistics there can model and and with with and do research etcetera and you learn the rest of that medical school.

Brandon:

But there’s, you know, a lot of people ask if you’re going to medical school, is there any benefit in getting an MBA.

Brandon:

And my answer to that is always, it depends on the person if you if you know what you want to do with your MBA.

Brandon:

Getting an MBA is going to help you.

Brandon:

It’s going to give you a perspective.

Brandon:

It’s going to uh teach you things you wouldn’t learn otherwise.

Brandon:

Like I think that’s the reason to do it.

Brandon:

It’s not not to make more money, it’s not because I want to be an administrator, you can be an administrator at the hospital without an M.

Brandon:

B.

Brandon:

A.

Brandon:

But if you want to learn about operations management or or statistics or or just understand balance sheets, better be able to have the lexicon to have the financial conversations like business school is going to help you there.

Brandon:

But then if you go to business school you’re You’re fighting a stigma that exists in medicine and that the only way you can be a great doctor is to devote 100% of your time to being a clinician and I can subscribe to that theory.

Brandon:

And I think that’s one of the reasons burnout and medicine is so high.

Brandon:

I think doctors are incredibly accomplished people.

Brandon:

We make tremendous sacrifice your sacrifice in your twenties, you’re going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and you’re doing it for something way more than a job is a calling.

Brandon:

It is a profession, it is a living and you’re committing to something and I love taking care of patients and that’s something I miss every single day that I’m not practicing medicine, but you get labels and going to business school as someone who’s a risk to medicine and eventually going to drop out.

Brandon:

And I thought that throughout all of medical school because every single ounce of my being wanted to practice clinical medicine and so I made my way to residency and as you grow, your personality changes, your life plan changes for whatever reason.

Brandon:

And I had this idea and this experience fall into my lap.

Brandon:

I was a big problem that’s affecting everyone in medicine and so the connection will be there in just a second.

Brandon:

But I found a calling and a passion there and when it started to take off and it started to grow and grow and grow and it got to a point where it was, well, I need to make a decision.

Brandon:

Either I’m going to stay in medicine and give up the company, sell the company, find someone else to run the company for me or I’m going to take this opportunity that presented itself and see it through.

Brandon:

And what do I risk if I go down that path?

Brandon:

And I wrestled with this.

Brandon:

I spoke to every single mentor advisor I’ve ever worked with the medicine and outside of medicine and I would say That 97% of people told me to stay in clinical medicine um, including my parents always joke about, you gave up, you gave up the salary of being an anesthesiologist, you did most of it, how could you do that?

Brandon:

My parents are super supportive.

Brandon:

So we we joke about this also, but there were 3% and The 3% who told me to do it were other physician entrepreneurs who either made the decision and saw it was great, were stuck with clinical medicine and 100% capacity let the other opportunities slip away and then severely regretted it.

Brandon:

And so the calculus for me was 10 2030 years from now.

Brandon:

If I don’t do this, am I going to regret it?

Brandon:

And if I go do it and I fail miserably like what does the alternative look like?

Brandon:

I’m fortunate of course that my business helps place people into residency and medicine.

Brandon:

So the alternative was go back into medicine and most entrepreneurs don’t have that choice point.

Brandon:

So like that’s that’s right, That’s a great fallback, right?

Brandon:

And that’s why a lot of successful entrepreneurs who have failed will tell you.

Brandon:

Yeah, but I was able to get a good job in industry, build up whatever resources I needed to then try my next venture etcetera.

Brandon:

So I did have that buffer, you know, my co founder was also uh in medicine as a residency program director.

Brandon:

So that was the plan plan Z.

Brandon:

If I couldn’t go anywhere else, she would be happy to have me come back to where I went to medical school and practice there.

Brandon:

So yeah, there was a lot of struggle and people still ask me today like did you make the right choice?

Brandon:

And I think right now I can say yes, my company is succeeding to to a certain extent we’ve grown, we’re continuing to grow and hopefully completing a raise soon.

Brandon:

And you know, if, if, if it works out great, I hope it will feel like it will, it seems like it will, but if it doesn’t, then it’s just finding what the next challenges.

Brandon:

And so I have never as, it hasn’t become clear already in my life, been able to pick any five year span where you could have predicted five years later what I would be doing.

Brandon:

And so I never really liked that as an interview question either because it’s very hard to predict all of this and you know, you plan and life laughs.

Brandon:

So I think it’s, it’s, it’s all made a lot of sense to me.

Brandon:

Certainly it was not decisions I made easy.

Brandon:

I think that’s a big question for any entrepreneur.

Brandon:

Like when do you jump into this full time?

Brandon:

When do you take on that risk and then uncertainty and when is comfortable and for me that that was the choice point?

Brandon:

Well, was there an exact moment Jason that you can look back on right now and say I was driving back from stanford down sand hill road or somewhere under your way back to your place and you said, OK, I’m going to make the switch or did you set a goal in the business because you’re really doing it as a side hustle, which I don’t know how much you sleep.

Brandon:

I hope you sleep nor now.

Brandon:

But you know what was that?

Brandon:

Yeah, I think it was really a conversation with my co founder Suzy who’s she is a practicing clinical anesthesiologist still in, heavily involved in graduate medical education and we were just talking right.

Brandon:

And so she cheese thanks around 14, 15 years older than I am.

Brandon:

Um she had several kids at the time.

Brandon:

I have one child now, but not at the time that I made this decision, which was also allowed me to make the decision, but we were talking and we were just talking about life and she had known me and she knew about my interest in the theater and come to see some of my plays and that I have acted in or directed and just knew me as a person.

Brandon:

And she’s also, you know someone who’s outside the box but also plays very well inside the box.

Brandon:

And so we were, we were just discussing life and one of her mentors who’s now an investor in our company, also an anesthesiologist who was uh entrepreneur and jones uh we owned a ski chalet or something and several others just really interesting businesses.

Brandon:

He, he said he’s like, yeah, you should just quit your job like do it, just take the plunge and it was just a series of discussions we had plus, yeah, it was driving up and down Sand hill road, it was driving up and down Sand hill road every day to go to the hospital, to get onto to 80 to drive down to santa clara and it was just uh this is fun, you know, it’s, I know it’s going to be hard work, but what I’m doing right now is hard work and it’s just something I’m super passionate about, it’s, it’s the greatest feeling in the world to take an idea, build it into a product, have someone use that product and have them find benefit and, you know, we’re helping solve a problem, probably a good step to jump into next.

Brandon:

That is a really big problem for every single doctor in the history of their training, They’ve gone too many years of school and now they need to search for their first residency position, they’re interviewing all around the country, it’s costing a lot of money, it’s costing a lot of emotion time, It produces a ton of anxiety and they’re working really, really hard to land this residency position to then go work really, really hard for the next 3-7 years of their life.

Brandon:

And so this process for better or worse is is sort of the stepping stone into medicine and it’s burning people out financially and emotionally in many capacities, you know, google it online, the residency interview process and you’ll see many articles about how challenging it is to get in, how much of yourself you have to give.

Brandon:

And so we really feel that we’re helping doctors match to the right places that were helping land them in the right clinical environments which ultimately affects patient care.

Brandon:

Like Yeah, it’s a little bit of a jump from there.

Brandon:

But anyone, anyone who’s listening, if you know, a physician asked them about their residency application experience and you’ll just hear incredible stories and after you get over the initial, why would anyone want to do this?

Brandon:

You’ll see really what it took for them to become a physician and and why it is more than just a job.

Brandon:

So Jason what exactly, let’s get specific what, what exactly is the inefficiency, You’ve described that when you applied that uh three people counseled because of Hurricane Sandy and than one never rescheduled.

Brandon:

But what exactly is broken in the process?

Brandon:

Yeah, it was broken back then and it’s become more broken.

Brandon:

So I applied in 2012 and it’s got more broken over time.

Brandon:

And basically what has happened is you have, you’ve worked your whole life, you’ve taken very challenging exams, you’ve applied and got into medical school, you passed your licensing exams, you bet really everything on becoming a physician and now this is the step to get to the next point.

Brandon:

And so when you describe applying to residency and the match we can get into as well.

Brandon:

That’s the process of getting into a residency.

Brandon:

And so it starts in your fourth year of medical school.

Brandon:

You are applying through a common application service.

Brandon:

In most cases called the electronic residency application service or us you are submitting an application which includes your grades in medical school, how you doing your licensing exams, letters of recommendation, personal statement or an essay, a photo and a few other components.

Brandon:

And you choose which programs you want to apply to And program being one pick a specialty specialty being internal medicine, pediatrics and neurosurgery dermatology.

Brandon:

And each in each discipline you then apply to the programs at the various hospitals.

Brandon:

So I applied to uh in both pediatrics and anesthesia.

Brandon:

So I applied to stanford’s program and Brigham’s program and all these other programs in the country.

Brandon:

When I applied, the average number of applications you sent on average for most specialties was around 15 to 20 over the last decade.

Brandon:

It’s increased about five times.

Brandon:

And the average candidate is now applying to 70 programs.

Brandon:

70 70 programs.

Brandon:

How long does it take before your software?

Brandon:

I mean this application is you’re applying to a job and it’s medical so it’s not just 30 minutes fill out your thing and go no this is an application that people are spending months working on and they’re having their parents read it and their friends and their mentors and they’re they’re nit picking every single detail in every single period in every single word choice.

Brandon:

And so you fill out this application, you then pay per program you apply to.

Brandon:

So for 70 programs you’re paying $100 for the 1st 10, you’re paying $15 each I think for the next 10 And then $17 each.

Brandon:

And it kind of tears up.

Brandon:

So the average candidate is spending now about between 2000 and $2000 just on applications.

Brandon:

In a non pandemic world where everyone had to travel, you have to pay for everything out of pocket.

Brandon:

So some students were taking up to $25,000 in loans maxing out credit cards to pay for airfare and hotels and rental cars and such as well.

Brandon:

And so you go all around the country, you interview assuming you were invited to interview.

Brandon:

So before the colonists, you would get an email before that you would get a letter.

Brandon:

But but I was in the email period.

Brandon:

So you get an email saying, Dear Jason, we’d love for you to interview at.

Brandon:

So.

Brandon:

And so pediatric residency program of the 20 dates listed below.

Brandon:

Please pick your top three and email us back.

Brandon:

So you look at your calendar, you pick three and your email them back and two weeks later you get an email saying sorry those three days were filled.

Brandon:

Please pick three more.

Brandon:

The reason was that email was going out to several 100 people at the same time.

Brandon:

And it was a rat race to get it back so that an admin can go email by email line by line filling out mixed cells shooter a date planted by him until they hit a roadblock.

Brandon:

And you got the email that I said you’re interviewing at 15 20 summer interviewing at 30 or 40.

Brandon:

You can see how this problem just multiplies itself out.

Brandon:

And I remember just being at a friend’s house, went to law school and went through that whole process.

Brandon:

Watch me try to book a few residency interviews and line up Plane flights.

Brandon:

And I worked for about 10 hours trying to book for residency interviews in a day.

Brandon:

And at the end of the day I had booked one of them and had traveled for half of one of them.

Brandon:

And so it was a tremendous amount of time.

Brandon:

Whereas virtual will change that a little bit.

Brandon:

But you fly all around the country and then you meet all these doctors and these interview days, our entire day long.

Brandon:

You will sit there and go through an orientation about the program.

Brandon:

You’ll meet some of the residents.

Brandon:

You’ll go through several interviews with faculty members.

Brandon:

You’re going to lunch tour of the hospital and some more informational session.

Brandon:

It’s an entire day affair usually with a dinner the night before the night after as well.

Brandon:

So these are very long interviews and write your flying all around the country.

Brandon:

It takes up a lot of your fourth year medical school.

Brandon:

And at the end of the process you submit what’s called a rank nous.

Brandon:

So you rank everywhere you interviewed from one to X.

Brandon:

And every hospital that you interviewed at ranks nearly all of the candidates they interviewed from one to Y.

Brandon:

This all goes into a computer system called the R3.

Brandon:

Which is run by the national residency matching program or an RMP.

Brandon:

And it’s an algorithm which is run that takes the candidate choice and favors the candidate’s choice.

Brandon:

Uh And it runs and it matches based on everyone’s preferences and all of these rank lists and the third friday of March at noon Eastern.

Brandon:

Every medical student in the country when I didn’t open an envelope.

Brandon:

Now they open an email that tells them where they’re spending the next 3 to 7 years of their life depending on their specialty.

Brandon:

And it is a binding contract.

Brandon:

And that’s where you start practicing medicine on July one.

Brandon:

And even after all of that there is a large percentage of students who do not match.

Brandon:

And it’s several 1000 people a year.

Brandon:

Many of which.

Brandon:

So if you went to a U.

Brandon:

S.

Brandon:

M.

Brandon:

D.

Brandon:

Program uh you have about a 95% chance of matching if average year over year.

Brandon:

If you’re went to a D.

Brandon:

Or osteopathic program you have a high eighties low nineties percent of matching.

Brandon:

If you went to medical school outside of the United States.

Brandon:

That’s where you have about a 60% chance of matching.

Brandon:

So um there’s a lot at stake.

Brandon:

It’s very costly.

Brandon:

Obviously people are putting their whole selves into this.

Brandon:

They’ve studied for four years post college in some cases more than that, in some cases they’ve applied to the match multiple times and I’ve gotten in.

Brandon:

So it’s another attempt.

Brandon:

And so it’s just a it is a process, it’s probably the best way to describe.

Brandon:

So this is how it used to work.

Brandon:

And I can’t imagine between your man when you were talking.

Brandon:

I was like what would I do?

Brandon:

As soon as I put those three dates I’d have to put those three dates on my calendar and I have to mark them off so that the other places that I have don’t overlap, then I probably have to leave at least a day before in a day after because I got to get there.

Brandon:

I mean which is a hustle anyway, especially if it’s more than halfway across the country.

Brandon:

That’s not a day trip.

Brandon:

And then someone writes that.

Brandon:

I mean you almost need a full time admin just to keep track of this.

Brandon:

Yeah it’s a lot. And so what we built with thalamus is the software as a service that we sell to individual residency programs or entire hospital systems.

Brandon:

It is a for the hospital’s a very process specific applicant tracking system. So it integrates with the common application system that everyone is using um the physicians who run that process or the program admins and program coordinators who are the administrators who support and run these entire manage this entire process is pull the data in this can be candidates that applied or those that they want.

Brandon:

Interview or any subset thereof and invite them to interview.

Brandon:

The applicants get a link and an email from our platform through the invitation letter the program sends, they click the link And they create a profile in 10 seconds.

Brandon:

They’re brought to a calendar that shows that hospitals availability in real time.

Brandon:

So it’s kind of like open table, but instead of booking a restaurant, you’re booking a residency interview and these residency interviews can feel very quickly.

Brandon:

Uh This is an easy way to both of them.

Brandon:

Uh and any other hospital that invites that same person to interview shows up in a common calendar.

Brandon:

So if you’re going to new york, you can see where the new york programs depending on when you’re invited.

Brandon:

Line up and try and book a single trip.

Brandon:

And prior to the pandemic, we had some travel features built in and such as well to use that process to back on the hospital side, once everyone’s booked, it allows them to do everything to run their interview season, they can score candidates, They can rank candidates, they can write notes on them, build face sheets and reports, etcetera leading up to the match and they can submit their match lists from our platform as well.

Brandon:

So it’s really an end to end Technology Solution.

Brandon:

two sided marketplace allowing candidates and programs all the way to manage the season, all the way from uh, the application, all the way through the end of the match.

Brandon:

Now, I’m scared to ask you this question, Jason because you’ll probably tell me yes.

Brandon:

But um how did you learn or did you partner with someone or how did you build the software?

Brandon:

Because that’s a whole nother challenge unto itself, especially with the api and integrations that you’re talking about and the algorithms that have to run in the back, you know what you’re doing.

Brandon:

It sounds like very similar what the airlines do with the systems where they book the stewardess and the pilots in that sense.

Brandon:

And and really as soon as it hits go, everybody’s hitting return.

Brandon:

It’s like trying to get a ticket to burning man.

Brandon:

But um, in that sense.

Brandon:

So how did you bridge this?

Brandon:

You know, you had this idea and I know there’s, I I read about it, it sounds like there was a group of you or how did how did it all come together?

Brandon:

And how did you actually write software because a lot of people out there listening, I have an idea don’t have a technical background and it’s unfortunate because it shouldn’t be an excuse because you can make it happen.

Brandon:

Yeah.

Brandon:

So, um, I will say I am not an engineer and I do not write code and I have not written a single line of code for thalamus.

Brandon:

We got very lucky in the sense that my co founder and I found some mutual friends who were engineers and built version one.

Brandon:

Our beta version, I was going through it the other day with some of our team version one versus thalamus today and it’s it’s laughable how how much it’s diverged but also it’s impressive to see how far it’s grown and probably appropriate for growing and maturing a company.

Brandon:

But the first version was very basic.

Brandon:

You can import C.

Brandon:

S.

Brandon:

V.

Brandon:

File, you can set some preferences for the candidates you can invite them to interview and they can schedule and they could cancel.

Brandon:

And we didn’t even build out the functionality of the programs that schedule and cancel people. Uh but the candidates could schedule and there was a little bit of scoring and that was it.

Brandon:

And so it really was in building out a product the M.

Brandon:

V. P. It was the smallest possible feature set. We needed to run something.

Brandon:

My co founders I said was a residency program director and Anesthesia. She knew other residency program directors in anesthesia. Somehow we convinced them that this was a great idea to try and save them time.

Brandon:

They trusted us. Uh The first program that ever used. It was actually in new york city. It was one of the programs that I was affected with from the storm. They invited 300 ish people on a friday at four p.m. No one knew what thalamus was.

Brandon:

We did no marketing, no one knew what was coming. You know we had our fingers crossed that the website would stay up but it wouldn’t explode or whatever whatever other terrible things could happen.

Brandon:

And by Monday morning they had 98% of their applicants books for an interview. And normally that would have taken them 8-10 weeks worth of work.

Brandon:

And so we knew immediately that we had something uh we then had our M.

Brandon:

V. P. Products. It was something we could raise money off of. We had statistics that show it works. We found some doctors who wanted to invest in a startup um And some other people in the valley who were willing to throw sort of some pre seed money at this this cockamamie idea and uh grew it from there then hired more of an engineering team to build out the real version.

Brandon:

And it’s undergone several iterations since.

Brandon:

But uh yeah it was a matter of really as you know as they say in entrepreneurship build this M.

Brandon:

V.

Brandon:

P.

Brandon:

Get it out there as fast as you can build it as cheaply as you can as a resource at least resource intensive as possible and see if it works and it did right.

Brandon:

And so you know there were some people who were like, well it needs to do more and it’s like, yeah, we’d love for it to do more to, but this was just an idea a few months ago and now we have something that just saved you 10 weeks worth of work.

Brandon:

And they were like, yeah, we’d love to see where this can go.

Brandon:

And we just sort of listen to our kind customers, listen to our users build more features year over year.

Brandon:

Not surprising. Everyone in graduate medical education working in medicine have very strong opinions and certainly in various disciplines as well. Like you need to build a really good product if you want to impress the surgical program director or, you know, a neurosurgeon or, or otherwise.

Brandon:

And so, um, yeah, it’s, it’s trot for anyone who doesn’t code, It’s trying to find a way to find an engineer who doesn’t have an idea but works on wants to work on something that’s going to promote social change or have impact, etcetera and building something that’s going to make people’s lives better.

Brandon:

You know, it is, I would say true that if you do code and you are a technical founder, you certainly have a leg up versus everyone else because you can start coating on day one and everyone else kind of needs to find a way to either compensate pay for or fund an engineering effort and that presents its challenges in itself.

Brandon:

That is another reason that the Silicon Valley ecosystem is so incredible as well because everyone’s an engineer.

Brandon:

So isn’t it funny Jason how you build this M.

Brandon:

V.

Brandon:

P.

Brandon:

Yeah You save them 10 weeks of time.

Brandon:

Call it eight.

Brandon:

They’ll say that it was intent right?

Brandon:

What what called 6?

Brandon:

I don’t really care. You basically take it down to 72 hours and it’s his and I think there’s a good good lesson for all listeners because I’ve experienced it too when I’m listening to you I’m like 72 hours 68 10 weeks and now you want more features.

Brandon:

It’s like they take for granted that you solve the problem and you almost have to remind them, hey look just by this like we just the R.

Brandon:

O.

Brandon:

I.

Brandon:

Is there forget the other functions and features like yeah we’d love to do that but we just saved you six weeks.

Brandon:

Let’s let’s pay for this and move on.

Brandon:

I just find it funny how humans once you’ve solved it they just move right on to the next thing and you almost have to remind your customers of the R.

Brandon:

O.

Brandon:

I.

Brandon:

That you’re giving them that they that they’re acknowledging.

Brandon:

Yeah.

Brandon:

Right.

Brandon:

It’s just it’s funny how that works.

Brandon:

It never stops either. I mean even even today I was talking to a customer and our software is doing 99% of what it wants them to do. But there’s this 1% thing that seems to it would be really, it would be really great if it did that.

Brandon:

And I’m like, yeah, be really great now that you told me that it does that I can like, we can put it in our product roadmap, we can try and design a solution for it. But you know, do do people stop driving their car because the turn signal blinks in a certain cadence or something like it comes down to it. You know, we can only design products and solve problems that we know our customers have and and yeah, you solve all these great problems and it’s like, well, what have you done for me today?

Brandon:

We’ve done a lot, but we’ll do more for you tomorrow as well.

Brandon:

What else did, how else can we help you?

Brandon:

I just, I just laugh when I hear it because you know, you get that and you’re sitting there and I know, I know I know for me the feeling is I’m sitting there smiling and I’m not in my head and I’m thinking really, really you’re saying that it’s just one of those, one of those things, so you have the idea, you’ve you drop the mic, so to speak on your residency, you make the switch to entrepreneurship, you recruit, so to speak, convinced or con, whatever.

Brandon:

Not con, but as an entrepreneur, you gotta do it every day.

Brandon:

I do get some engineers to build it.

Brandon:

You prove it now you you’re at raising money.

Brandon:

You don’t have any experience that I’ve heard of to date.

Brandon:

You ask some doctors but you also have some relatively hi credential well known people who have invested you, how did that, how did that happen?

Brandon:

Yeah so let me just move the timeline around a little bit.

Brandon:

So we built that M.

Brandon:

V.

Brandon:

P.

Brandon:

Kind of as I was starting residency and early on we only had so many customers that it could be really done as a side gig.

Brandon:

And so we did that for a few years kind of as a research study kind of learned didn’t really know what I was going to want to do to it.

Brandon:

But then when we grew to 300 400 residency programs in the country like now we now we have something and and we had raised a lot.

Brandon:

We had raised money mostly from friends and family that believed in us and and physicians who who saw the need and have lived the problem and so really truly felt the pain point and so we had built up a little bit more than an M.

Brandon:

V.

Brandon:

P.

Brandon:

And we knew we needed to raise more money in their funding.

Brandon:

So you know I had I I’m learning a ton you know I’m a first time founder.

Brandon:

I I was in medicine and a lot of people be like position.

Brandon:

It’s like well you know I went to business school too and I so but like so I I understand what we’re doing here, but you know, you learn each and every step of the way and you learn by doing right.

Brandon:

Like I studied entrepreneurship and business school, you can study things as long as you got to do, especially in entrepreneurship you got to do.

Brandon:

And so uh we’re seeing this growth and we’re seeing that this needs to start, needs to start to monetize this, it’s a lot more.

Brandon:

We charged pennies on the dollar for what it was probably worth in the beginning and are still probably a little under where we should be just to accelerate growth.

Brandon:

But part of the decision was I need to get out there and be a full time ceo because I need to fundraise full time, I need to get the resources in the capital, we need to grow.

Brandon:

So started growing it, You know, raised a bit more money on a convertible notes.

Brandon:

And what what would just, I’m interrupting you.

Brandon:

But what would a bit more money is that $250,500 million, $250,000.

Brandon:

Um you know, we, in the very beginning we can get away with Small $10,000 checks and I say small $10,000 checks.

Brandon:

Now when the first person gave me a $10,000 check, I thought it was the richest man in the world, right?

Brandon:

And so I don’t even know what you did with the $10,000 check.

Brandon:

The largest paycheck I had at that point was like three grand or something.

Brandon:

So, so, so that felt like a ton of money then.

Brandon:

But you can, you can obviously burn a lot less cash when you’re not paying yourself and you don’t have any employees and you just need to sort of pay for the software and you know, marketing all that much etcetera.

Brandon:

But then you get to the point where you really need to accelerate this, we raise that and that was sort of the next day they got us going to the next step and you can hire more consulting sort of engineers and run sort of predefined projects and such to grow your software.

Brandon:

Um, but then we got to the point that we really needed to grow a team.

Brandon:

And so I entered part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

Brandon:

I had been at a conference while I was in residency, He called launch and it’s run by Jason Kelley Cannon’s and uh, you know, season season angel investor this week in startups podcast, etcetera.

Brandon:

And he um, you know, I was really wowed by this conference just because being from the east coast, you never see anything like this.

Brandon:

This is something people do on the weekends in the valley.

Brandon:

But it was such a novel thing for me to watch all these companies pitch and have all these leaders in tech giving all these really just passionate speeches and such and so didn’t know that that event that I didn’t residency was going to come back around, but Jason started an accelerator in SAn Francisco called the launch accelerator and I applied um on a whim and got in and here I am this position who has this idea and has customers and has traction was working with some of the top hospitals in the country and we, we had to give, you know, you have to pitch and so I pitch a very academic deck which you would build in power point with a white background and some bullet points and such and you’re very classic, the university power point, which of course is very different than any startup pitch deck.

Brandon:

I don’t know if it helps us, I don’t know if it hurt us, but we definitely made a stand out.

Brandon:

We got selected of hundreds of companies into a cohort of seven and over a 12 week period, we got to present to VCS from some of really all of the major firms in, in, in the valley and beyond the first week I went, I used that same sort of uh, deck, um, that really could have been built by a talented third grader in the valley.

Brandon:

Um, and a napkin probably would have done better with some scribbles on it, but we actually ended up winning the first week and winning in the sense that the Bcs that were there voted who they liked the most and you got 1st, 2nd, 3rd place votes and if you’ve got any of those got points and we got the most points that first week I was blown away because the other six companies had really polished decks.

Brandon:

Yeah, this was a really humbling and just, you know, probably one of the things the greater accomplishments, but I’ve done, but we, We went over the 12 weeks, about week for someone who was a big design background, completely chewed me out for a deck, uh, for that deck and maybe design a nicer one that I had to hire a designer to for a few 100 bucks to build for me.

Brandon:

Not sure it really changed all that much, but it looked, it looked nicer.

Brandon:

Um, but we ended up doing very well and finish this, uh, you know, we got the most votes of any company and that and that accelerated group graduated from the accelerator.

Brandon:

And then I really learned there how to pitch like anyone can pitch a business, right?

Brandon:

But the valley, it’s a very formulaic formula.

Brandon:

It’s a cadence since everyone is looking for, it’s a way of presenting an idea and how you solve it, presenting a large enough tam total addressable market, etcetera.

Brandon:

Found from there had connections to these VCS who networks other VCS and went on 100 and sent out 150 emails that resulted in 50 or so first pitch meeting that resulted in 32nd meetings that resulted in maybe 10 firms that we went into diligence or partner meetings and four of them ended up investing in a $1.5 million seed round.

Brandon:

And that was where we had capital then too hire employees and grow there and, and and accelerate, which got us to the pandemic when we were working on something involving helping to solve the problem that I described earlier in giving both applicants and hospitals more transparency as to where they were likely going to match.

Brandon:

We were in new york city when Covid hit uh, at an emergency medicine conference where five doctors very early on tested positive for Covid and that next day we were like, oh boy, this is gonna be something, let’s build a virtual interview platform on top of our interview scheduler.

Brandon:

And three months later pandemic got worse.

Brandon:

All the hospitals mandated the process needed to be virtual and we grew 10 X and revenue and five X and customers up to 2500 residency and fellowship programs now and continuing to grow.

Brandon:

Looks like this year’s gonna stay virtual as well.

Brandon:

And so a lot of it was timing as it always is some of it was love, but it was also being ready for when that happens.

Brandon:

And you know, that’s a lot of growth to go through as well, which also presents its own challenges.

Brandon:

But at the end of it, at the end of the day, we’re now on the other side of it, we’re starting our new season now, the fellowship recruitment started two days ago.

Brandon:

Uh, and we’re in the process of hopefully closing out in a series a race.

Brandon:

And so we’ll see what that looks like.

Brandon:

But uh, it’s, it’s been quite the journey.

Brandon:

Well, congratulations on that because that’s, that’s a lot of success.

Brandon:

And I think we entrepreneurs always maybe just being humble and, and sometimes candidly Jason after I’ve been doing it 2.5 decades, you want luck because sometimes, you know, you need the luck.

Brandon:

But the truth is you made the luck.

Brandon:

You made hard decisions along your career path so far and your journey that put you in that place to seize the moment that, you know, had you made one different decision along the way, you know, could have changed it, but you control that path and it sounds like you’re on a about to get on a rocket ship.

Brandon:

Yeah, I hope so.

Brandon:

And, but yeah, as you kind of said, it’s, it’s, it’s easy to tell the story, right?

Brandon:

And it’s easy to tell the highs and talk about the lows, but I think what a lot of people don’t realize, so there’s the highs and the lows for like six hours apart from each other and you could be having the absolute worst day and then you get this one email that changes your entire quarter or your entire year.

Brandon:

And you know, sometimes it makes you look like the smartest person on the planet, but really it was lucky and yes, you make your luck, but it’s it’s these day to day, minute to minute decisions that you know, brings about a ton of uncertainty.

Brandon:

And you know, they always say it’s like flying a plane and the engine hasn’t been built yet and you’ve got to make sure you don’t crash and that or a roller coaster whatever other metaphor you want to use and it really is like that.

Brandon:

So, you know, for every decision I’ve made right, it’s plenty of decisions wrong.

Brandon:

Um and I made decisions that I know we’re right and they didn’t work out.

Brandon:

I made plenty of decisions that probably wasn’t the best decision to make, but they somehow worked out.

Brandon:

And so it’s really, it’s not this straight line, it’s this windy path and you have to keep making these adjustments to sort of keep the ship or whatever vehicle you’re driving on course.

Brandon:

But it it’s what gets you there.

Brandon:

And I think that’s what makes this a lot of fun too.

Brandon:

But there are some days where you’re like why am I doing this myself?

Brandon:

I think a key insight in what you just said that’s important for anybody listening to understand anybody who’s doing the company starting or building one or even scaling one, Even if you have tens of millions, 100 millions of dollars, you understand this is that those highs and lows that you just as described actually happened six hours apart.

Brandon:

They could happen two hours apart.

Brandon:

Right.

Brandon:

I mean that’s the part that will wreck your head at the end of the day because it really can.

Brandon:

And in that one moment you’re just on top of the world, you come back from lunch and you open up your email box and now you’re, you know, I don’t know what to call it, not in good shape, you’re depressed.

Brandon:

And you could even end up one more time back on top of the road again.

Brandon:

And if you’re not ready for that, you know, it will wreck havoc on you.

Brandon:

And I think, I think the important part, I don’t know Jason how you feel.

Brandon:

But what has helped me over the years is that I actually now expected and life is about expectations and now that I expect it, I’m not saying it makes it any easier when you get crap news or when you’re on top of the world and you know, you want to stay there.

Brandon:

But if you remind yourself that it is going to happen, I was going to with a client the other day and uh, one of the guys I work with said, I said, well, I’m going to take a few shots on the chest today.

Brandon:

You know, I’m probably gonna get knocked down a little and he said, is that any different?

Brandon:

You know, and and then I’m like, yeah, no, I’ll see you later and then you just go into it and and you just feel better.

Brandon:

So I think that’s really insightful what you said and I I think I take it for granted, but I haven’t heard, I don’t think anyone that we’ve had on the show so far has had that insight, which is which is really important, so thanks for sharing that, because it is absolutely true.

Brandon:

Yeah, I I think it’s the most important and I think it’s it’s not talked about as much as it probably should be, maybe it’s a welcome secret.

Brandon:

But yeah, I mean, I’ve talked with Ceos and founders who have series D plus companies who told me that They right before they raised $100 million, the company had three weeks worth of payroll left or you know, I’ve had really any permutation of this, you want to see like everything going great for a company.

Brandon:

And the next day something happens like a pandemic and they close or or a pandemic and it accelerates them as it did in our case.

Brandon:

And so, but even with growth, like that comes its own challenges to and like succeeding as a company is also very challenging because then you have more customers and more, you need to perform and so there’s that challenge and so at the end of the day, yeah, I’m with you, I think expecting it really helps because now, even when I have, I’ve had really great days and really horrible days, but the most horrible day teaches you that if you can just get to the other side of it, it can flip like that and I think that gives you some extra drive of course, if you’re having everyday like that, that’s probably signal that maybe, yeah, you probably shouldn’t be doing this, maybe you should start thinking it, do I close down the company?

Brandon:

Do I do I do I sell, do I do something else?

Brandon:

But yeah, that awareness and just the understanding that not all of this is great to every company that is wildly successful.

Brandon:

There are many, many, many that have fails.

Brandon:

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but that’s why we’re all doing this to begin with.

Brandon:

Like any entrepreneurs should recognize that the most likely outcome is failure, but that makes success so much more fun to at the same time.

Brandon:

So it’s true.

Brandon:

I think one of the things that I, when I have a crap day or get crap news, the thing I say to myself in my head is, wow, let’s go to bed and see what happens tomorrow.

Brandon:

Yeah, and you know that will shift your, that’ll shift your mind to say, well, this was a moment in time, let’s see what happens tomorrow and you know, it could be the same tomorrow and then next day I just say, well let’s see what happens tomorrow and what you do realize is that one of those days, it will, you know, there’ll be good news and there will be good news and um that happens and but I’m really grateful for you sharing your journey and being open and sharing some of the experiences that have happened along the way because not everybody, you know, is as willing to be open about real personal decisions that we all make with that.

Brandon:

Do you have three tips that you would leave listeners with who are either starting a company scaling a company, they could be running the company and it’s already, I’ve been going, Yeah, I think the first one kind of relates to what we just talked about and that’s if things ever become overwhelming or too gloomy, etcetera.

Brandon:

Trying to just make a conscious effort.

Brandon:

It’s a mindfulness of sorts.

Brandon:

Just take a step back and go try to find a reason as to why you’re doing this.

Brandon:

And I think me coming on podcasts or helping to teach pitching or talking with one of our investors about their experience when they, some of them were entrepreneurs beforehand.

Brandon:

Like what does that mean?

Brandon:

Talking with other entrepreneurs who’ve been through it and various friends that I have, who were in this space, It’s just taking a step back and saying like, what, what did I accomplish so far, why am I doing this?

Brandon:

And that can just really help set you down the right path.

Brandon:

And I think the second piece and I didn’t do as good a job at this early on.

Brandon:

I think it’s much harder to do it early on in the company is really try and find that balance that we were discussing earlier.

Brandon:

Like you have a tendency and I have a tendency that I’ve really deep into problems, but that’s not always the best thing.

Brandon:

It’s Just because you worked 16, 18 hours a day on something doesn’t mean you did it better, it just means you did it longer and you expanded more of yourself and doing that and you know, I say this like I’m the expert in balance right now and I’m certainly not in your case, I still work 16 or 18 hours because sometimes you just have to grind it out, but taking care of yourself, eating healthy, everything, physicians practice and most a lot of us don’t preach because we’re also practicing medicine then, which is grueling in itself and the parallels between the two professions are actually pretty, pretty impressive, but taking care of yourself and then I think the third piece is really just being creative.

Brandon:

I think that’s the thing I find most fun about being an entrepreneur, it’s that every day I can do something else and I, there are things that I do that I don’t love and there are things that I do that I absolutely love, but there is a variety and allows me to be creative and new problems present itself And okay, I need to design a new feature.

Brandon:

What does that look like?

Brandon:

I need to write a blog post, what I’m using a different piece of my brain there.

Brandon:

I need to talk to a customer about something and what does that mean?

Brandon:

And so you have such a breath of these things and I’ve seen this just even in my own team members and employees, a lot of them have come from graduate medical education who are actually former users of our products and they’re coming from very bureaucratic structure, hospital environments to an early stage startup.

Brandon:

And the two couldn’t be any more diametrically opposed there.

Brandon:

You have a very cyclical, predictable, at least process the workload changes and ebbs and flows of course.

Brandon:

But then you’re here in a startup where it’s like, all right, we built this product today, we got some feedback from users that they want us to do a seminar on this.

Brandon:

Let’s go plan that.

Brandon:

And oh, some other business development opportunity presented itself.

Brandon:

Let’s go have a meeting to talk about whether that even could be a possibility or something we should pursue.

Brandon:

And so it’s really about finding all this creativity and at the same time to sort of loop it all back to everything.

Brandon:

We talked about being comfortable with risk and uncertainty because that is that is a constant in, in being an entrepreneur.

Brandon:

I think those are great tips.

Brandon:

Jason.

Brandon:

Thanks for sharing them.

Brandon:

Where can listeners learn more about thalamus and if they had any questions for you, reach out?

Brandon:

Sure.

Brandon:

So I’m on twitter at Jason Dominic, uh first name, last name.

Brandon:

Uh we’re on twitter as stalinist G M E uh you can also go to our website anonymous GM dot com.

Brandon:

So it’s columnists like the part of the brain and GME graduate, medical education, all one word dot com.

Brandon:

But yeah, I’m always happy to talk with really anyone interested in entrepreneurship, passionate about it, whether you’re in health care or not and you know, we really want to make an impact with our software to so excited about what the future holds.

Brandon:

Well, congratulations on everything.

Brandon:

Thanks uh so far, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to come on here and share this story and we’ll follow up with you and see where you are in a few months.

Brandon:

Sounds good, appreciate it.

Brandon:

Brandon, thanks so much for having me, Thanks for being generous with your time and joining us for this episode of the Edge Before you go, a quick question, Are you the type of person who wants to get 100% out of your time, talent and ideas.

Brandon:

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Brandon:

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