Opening Keynote Dr. Fitzgerald, Stanford Medical
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I want to tell you a story about Michael Ziadeh, CEO of Ezebrush. I have been working with Michael for 1.5 years advising as he developed his product. He is an inventor and a salesman for a big copier company. He would sell and service the machines and had a great love for gears and mechanisms. He encountered a nagging problem as a salesman who wanted to brush his teeth before his sales calls. He recounts, “I hated having to carry my toothbrush and toothpaste in a baggy, it was messy and the public bathrooms were a rather unsanitary place to brush”. He began working on his prototypes 3 years ago. Initially, the design for a toothbrush and toothpaste all contained in a single device seemed impossible. He tried hundreds of designs and finally came up with one. The initial design was a retracting toothbrush that when extended, would automatically apply the toothpaste onto the bristles. The toothpaste was to be refilled through the nozzle tip. I looked at it and thought, Michael, the toothpaste should be in a reloadable cartridge. He agreed and more designing ensued.
Designing the EzeBrush
Perseverance is the key.
He used several designers but they did not understand the complex gear mechanism as well as he did. Each failed to create the new design properly. Michael joined an incubator in Dublin California called i-Gate Innovation Hub and Robot Garden had CAD and 3-D printing available. He proceeded to design the new version with numerous long days and printed designs. He added a toothbrush head that was removable to decrease waste, air vents in the cap to allow for escape of moisture, a 180 degree rotation of the toothbrush head when extended to allow for an unobstructed use of the brush. I commend Michael for his devotion and perseverance. So far after presenting to several angel investment groups, there are no takers.
Focus on Patents.
What happens to EzeBrush claims?
It was a first concern to focus on the patents of the device and we selected Jim Heslin with Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rossati (WSGR). Jim was amazing and wonderful, he is a consummate perfectionist and gem of a person. Michael submitted his patents for USA and Asia coverage in March 2013. I had not heard anything about the patents until yesterday. Michael had not told me that 15 of the 16 claims had been denied by the patent office. He said that he cried of 3 days and went into seclusion for several weeks, very depressed. He said that he prayed to God and meditated for guidance. He set his sites on preparing the rebuttal on the denied claims, doing research and showing how his claims were unique and not encompassed in any previous designs. He met with Jim and they prepared the rebuttal and submitted it. Yesterday, Michael received notice that his patent will be accepted and issued.
“…toothpaste loyalty is huge”
There has been much concern regarding physician unhappiness. Recent article by Dr Arlen Myers was excellent called “Take this coat and shove it”. Here is my contribution and concern.
The high levels of physician unhappiness are many, overworked and under-respected. Employed physicians are being driven to comply with Six Sigma lean efficiencies, no more private offices but instead cubicles, no more respect because you are just another “team member” and you must reply to emails, protocols and EMRs You are just another crew member on a ship without a captain.
You used to be the captain, what happened? If you look at the military and corporate America, there is a hierarchy of responsibility and leadership. No not any more in many hospital systems employing physicians. If you raise your voice over a patient care concern or a demand to higher excellence, a computer icon with the label “incident report” is easily alarmed. In fact, a self destructive new culture has arisen, a “disruptive physician” label could cost you your career! The word “disruptive” in Silicon Valley has been the term of innovation and futuristic change. Not in medicine, politics, oppression of respect and leadership is what this new environment is producing. The physician bears all responsibility in his or hers patient’s outcome, but no ability to press for excellence or improvement when a team member takes a lower road to delivering quality healthcare.
In private practice, I had the ability to deliver the best personalized healthcare. I created my own EMR that was optimized to enhance the team’s workflow and managed the care of my patients. I knew the past medical history of my patients whom I had cared for over 20 years. I had the captain’s role in my practice and my team respected and moved to my guidance.
I believe that there will be a disruptive development in healthcare payment methodology and in insurance contracting narrowing the gap of charges made to insurers and private pay patients. This will give patients an enhanced ability to chose quality and doctors will thrive in private practice again.
Hospitals going in the direction of integrated Healthplan models will succeed as has Kaiser has done.
My pain is from the empathy that I have for my colleagues who have lost the ability to lead this system out of the mud and into the light. The doctor-patient relationship is the light of a patient centric high quality care model. Fight to keep this true.
Steve Blank, Serial Entrepreneur; Founder, E.piphany; Professor, UC Berkeley and Stanford Engineering; Author, The Startup Owners Manual
In conversation with Dan’l Lewin, Corporate Vice President of Strategic and Emerging Business Development (SEBT), Microsoft
Join Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur-turned-educator Blank in a lively discussion with Dan’l Lewin of Microsoft. This program will introduce best practices, lessons and tips that have swept the startup world, offering a wealth of proven advice and information for entrepreneurs of all stripes. Hear about a tested and proven Customer Development Process, helping get it right –and how to “get, keep, and grow” customers.
The UN is playing a significant role in helping the countries of West Africa respond to the Ebola crisis, by mobilizing the global community and by providing technical assistance, funding, supplies, and personnel. Following the lead of governments of Ebola-affected countries, the UN is partnering in its response with other governments, technical agencies, donors, and NGOs.
The Ebola Response Fund provides an avenue for individuals, corporations, foundations and civil society organizations to directly support the UNâ€™s response. Contributions to the Fund will be channeled exclusively to UN entities working to halt the outbreak, principally to WHO to support its Ebola Response Roadmap. Over time, as both the outbreak dictates and UN partners advise, funds may be used to support other UN entitiesâ€™ work to address Ebola.