Everyone wants to be a Valued Member of a Winning Team on an Inspiring Mission. - Graham Weston
Today is the start of an amazing new mission, one that I could not be more excited to join, or grateful to be a part of. Today I start as the VP of Engineering at Remedy in my new hometown of Austin, TX.
Remedy is at the forefront of providing convenient, accessible, low-cost healthcare that patients love.
As I was doing my homework on the business, I called my friend Ricky, a local VC, to ask him what he knew about Remedy. At the mention of their name he exclaimed: "O my gosh I love Remedy! I actually used them last night, and I got an antibody test this morning."
When have you ever heard someone get that excited about a doctors visit?
Ricky's enthusiasm echoed the excitement of the team members I met during my process, the mentors I asked for perspective, and my gut as well.
I believe that
their our approach to healthcare is spot on. We can start with a video chat, and if necessary, we can dispatch someone to see you in person. With this type of at-your-fingertips door-to-door service, patients can trust they're getting the level of care they need.
You can probably tell by now that I'm through-the-moon-excited about joining such an impactful team, at an unbelievable time, and in an exciting role.
How did I get there? Well, I thought about it like an engineer, and had three simple steps:
- Define success
- Create a process
- Run the process
Step 1: Define Success
Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful. - Malcolm Forbes
Anything is possible, except everything. While one of the hardest parts of the process, narrowing the aperture on what you're looking for needs to lead the way.
For me, success looked like this:
- Focus on what you love
- Work for a Gifted Boss
- In place you call home
- On a mission that matters
Focus on what you love
While I am incredibly grateful for the wide-ranging list of things I was able to encounter and accomplish as a CEO, there was one thing I was never able to do. With responsibilities from doing the dishes, to payroll, to investor relations, focus was never a luxury I experienced while sitting in that chair. And after twelve years and 4 companies, I've learned time and again that success starts by focusing on your strengths, and not your weaknesses. If you're doing something you love, you'll always find ways to improve; and if you're always improving, you're on your way to an incredible result.
And well, I just absolutely love building, automating, and improving systems. It's certainly in my blood as a 3rd generation engineer. Other than connecting with folks in my new hometown, my happiest days this year included automating my personal finances with the Plaid API, playing with graph databases, and diving head first into AWS.
Work for a Gifted Boss
Like many things in my professional (and personal) life, it took someone else saying it before I finally believed what my Dad had been telling me for years.
During my time in Chicago, I had the privilege of connecting with arguably the top technology exec in the city. Whenever I have the opportunity to connect hyper-success, I ask them what to they attribute their success. Was it luck? Smarts? Persistence?
At the top of Mike's list was him time working for a "gifted boss" (although I'm not sure he used this exact phrase).
Mike shared that he began his career not by searching for a role, or a company, but searching for a boss. And when he found that person, and I'm paraphrasing, Mike said "I told him that I am going to work for you, and I'm not going to let title or compensation get in the way."
(@Mike - feel free to correct me on any of that!)
I am going to work for you, and I'm not going to let title or compensation get in the way.
- Mike, to his first boss
One person I admire sharing their framework is an observation, but two is a pattern. I always do my best to listen to patterns.
And so during this search, I had a chance to read The Gifted Boss, not as a guide to be a boss, but as a framework to help me find one.
I could not be more glad that I did.
After I first spoke with the Remedy Founder and CEO, Dr. Jeremy Gabrysch, I immediately called my Dad and told him "we've got one on the line". Over the next few weeks I continued to meet the team, and learn more about his business.
I was already convinced of the fit from a tech & business perspective, and while doing my homework learned about their podcast Doctor / Not a Doctor. I went for a drive and put it on. When I heard the warm, kind, intelligent banter between the two Founders, I felt my heart do a full smile.
In a place you call home
I have long known that Austin was going to be my home, and since before we were married, Maggie and I had been talking about "Austin 2020". We were excited to be among the open air, the tacos, the heat, the access to nature, the proximity to family, and most importantly, the people.
When my family moved to Texas from Upstate New York in February of 2001, I immediately noticed two things. First we we're in love with the blooming flowers and the 75° temp. We're not in Buffalo anymore, Todo! 🌻☀️😎
The next takeaway was: wow, southern hospitality is a real thing — these people are kind, warm, and welcoming! It immediately felt like home.
When my wife Maggie and I moved here this January, we quickly had that similar feeling - we are home.
On a mission that matters
Maggie and I share many things in common, and one of them is our nature to dive-in head first. "Anything worth being done is worth being overdone". In or out. 0 or 100.
And while finding a middle-gear is a #squadgoal for both of us, after Maggie led the way finding and starting an impact-focused job as the Brand Manager of an emotional health non-profit, I knew that I wanted to follow her lead.
So in January I started putting my energy towards finding a “mission that matters”. I wasn’t sure exactly where that would take me, but I knew that the health and well-being of others was the place to look.
✅ Step 1. Define Success
Step 2: Create a process
This one's a lot easier:
- Do your homework
- Connect with people
- Help people
Do your homework
Connection is the goal, and preparation makes it happen. While open-ended conversations can be a joy, it might not go down that way. Coming into the conversation having done your homework with a focused "ask" makes it easy for someone to help you. And they're helping you after all, you might as well make it as easy as possible for them. A virtuous cycle.
Connect with people
Perhaps my favorite business book of the last decade — Creativity, Inc. — centers around the story of Pixar. Throughout the book, Pixar Founder Ed Catmull raises and explores a central question: "What is more important: good ideas or good people?"
Ed and his team come to a definitive answer: ideas come from people, and therefore people are what's most important.
“Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.” ― Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.
And just like your teammates are the most important factor in your success of your company, your friends, mentors, mentees, peers, and advocates are the most important factor in the success of your search process.
"How can I help?" is one of the most powerful
phrases attitudes out there. I would have never been able to get where I am today without the help of o-so-many people. That inertia started with my parents, it continued with my educators, and it soared with my peers and mentors.
No matter where you are in your career cycle, you can find someone you can clear the way for.
We should always have three friends in our lives-one who walks ahead who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we've cleared the way. - Michelle Obama
GOTO: Do your homework
✅ Step 2: Create a process
Step 3: Run the process
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzy
And you have to take a lot of shots.
(if you're in this graph and would rather not be, just let me know!)
I first knew that Austin was going to my home after I spent a month here back in 2014. I was graciously invited to work out of the TechStars' office on Congress and 4th. Somewhere between the morning commute passed Pueblo Viejo, the Houndstooth coffee, and the view of the Capitol, I new that this place was something special.
While the tacos, office, coffee, and sunshine laid a beautiful foundation, it was the people I met that sealed the deal. I was quickly welcomed into circles, introduced to friends, and treated as a "we".
While the city has changed a lot over the last 6 years, I'm glad to confirm that same neighborly attitude is alive and well. While I had no doubts that Austin was the right place for me to be, the help that I received from the members of this business community confirmed that we had made the right move.
Wrapping it up
First off, I want to say a huge huge thank you and note of gratitude to everyone who helped me get to this happiest of launch days. I can't wait to give you a high-five 👋 and a cheers 🍻in person. Wait, actually I don't think we can do high fives anymore? Ok well you get the point.
To my future team and boss, thank you for giving me a seat on the mission. I can't wait to see where we'll go.
With gratitude, excitement, hope, and passion,