Pareto’s Principle

Anyone that’s ran a business before or been involved in management will have come across Pareto’s Principle at some point.

It’s the principle that says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.  An example would be having a look at your client list and seeing where your revenue comes from.  Most businesses get 80% of their revenue from 20% of their clients.  This allows businesses to really tailor their product or service for their biggest fans, thereby maximising profits.


The “80 20 Law”

Well as a startup, this principle is a load of rubbish!

As a startup you must realise that 100% of your results will come from one thing you need to do.  There is one thing that you need to do right now to get your startup going.

Let me say that again!  Even if you’re only at the ideation phase and have no clue how to execute it, realise that there is one thing that you need to do right now that will make your idea become a reality.

Say for example you wanted to make a new computer mouse.  It is well known that no single person can build a computer mouse themselves – you need a software guy, a hardware guy, someone to look at the ergonomics, branding, packaging, shipping, sourcing materials etc etc.

You shouldn’t look at that list of things and decide it’s impossible.  Your job as an entrepreneur is to bring people from different fields together and lead them.  And there will be one thing that an entrepreneur wanting to build a new computer mouse could do to start this whole process.  Your job is to figure out what it is!


Start With Why – Simom Sinek


What’s you why?

Another great great book that I have to write about!  Simon Sinek’s book is so powerful, yet the concept is so simple!

What’s the common denominator between Tesla motors, Martin Luther King and Apple?

Why is it that people queue up outside to put their deposit down for the new Tesla car, when historically no one pre-orders a car, or lines up outside a car shop?  How did Martin Luther King galvanise so many people and create a movement that changed the world?  Why do people freak out over new Apple product and not over the latest Android product?

As the book title suggests – it’s because of why!  

Most people talk about how.

Most people talk about what.

Leaders talk about why!

Here’s an example of what a typical computer company would say to gain your interest:

“We make great computers (the how), they’re beautifully designed and user-friendly (the what).  Want to buy one?”

A good computer company (Simon Sinek often talks about Apple) would say something more like this:

“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently (the why).  The way we challenge the status quo is by ensuring our products are beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly (the what).  We just happen to make computers (the how).”

Totally different feel and message in the last example!

Notice how people that change the world speak exactly in the opposite way (the why -> the what -> the how) to people who have no impact on us (the how -> the what -> the why).

Now it sounds really simple, but have a think about how powerful this simple concept is.  I recently had to pitch my business idea to a bunch of people and I literally had a few of them in tears because I spoke about why I’m doing what I’m doing!  I’m just creating a piece of software and I had people on the edge of their seats!  Most people who pitch their business ideas or talk about themselves, talk about what and how they do things, but very rarely about why.

This is the difference between a leader vs a follower.  The trend setter vs the race to the bottom.

What’s your why?

NHS Startup Part VII – Don’t Make Me Think

So I met with my software developers today and I think they’ve pretty much nailed it.  It was actually really incredible, because I hardly gave them any direction in what I wanted the app to look like.  I just told them what functionality I wanted in detail and told them to be as creative as they want in terms of appearance.

I was blown away with the way that my developers just completely killed it today!  I was actually really cognizant of the fact that I did not want to be overbearing in any way and just wanted their own insights and creativity to flourish – something that I have personally never had in my formal education or in my professional life!  It’s something I think we all crave for and I really believe we do our best work when we are put in those situations.

We went through the designs and the only advice I gave for some parts of the app was “get rid of that bit” or “get rid of that text”.

The fact is that we want as little clutter on the app as possible.  We want to test one or two central hypotheses and when you are focused like this you realise how little you can get away with.

There’s a great book called Don’t Make Me Think:


Usability is king

It’s such a good book that I gave my developers this book to keep and bought another one for myself!  It talks about user interface and web usability.  If you’re a non tech person then this book is a must!  It will make you realise how important it is to cut the clutter and how 9 times out of 10 less is more!

I will have the real final designs tomorrow after we have finished the tweaks we discussed today.

This is really amazing as we are dead on track to launch and hit our deadline to trial it!

NHS Innovation Expo & Updates!

Sorry it’s been a bit quiet around here guys!  It’s been really busy for the last couple of weeks!

Essentially, I’ve got a lot of frogs in my bowl at the moment and I’m trying to make sure that nothing jumps out!

I’ve been studying for an exam I will be doing in October.  If I pass this one and another exam that I plan on doing in either December or January, then I will have pretty much finished my postgrad training!

My start up seems to be going really well at the moment as well.  The designs will be out tomorrow and so I think I’m one of the only entrepreneurs ever that is actually on time, which is absolutely fantastic.  If we keep going at this rate then we’ll be live in 8 weeks in our first General Practice Surgery.  I’m also giving a talk this Sunday to a group of doctors about the project.  I am sure they will be interested as what we’re working on really needs to happen!

And finally I just wanted to write about the NHS Innovation Expo that I went to a couple of weeks ago!  It was super exciting to have been invited to this event.  I got free entry and was given a “delegate badge” so that I could attend all the important talks and enjoy all the events!

The NHS Innovation Expo

As I’m starting a health tech company it was really fascinating seeing what all the other tech companies are up to and if there is any competition and if I can learn anything to help me get further ahead.


A lot of really important talks and discussions were given including by people such as Sir Bruce Keogh!

What I learnt was that getting a company started involved in healthcare is HARD!  I knew this already as I’ve been following some of the more interesting companies for a while.  But my insights that I previously had were really confirmed in this event.  Basically I think that if you are going to start a company it needs to scale!!!  The problem that most entrepreneurs in England seem to face is getting their products into different hospitals.  You may get something in one hospital, which is usually a long arduous process  anyway (we’re talking years here…), but then going to another hospital and trying to get something in there as well is an entirely different process which will also take years.  Scaling is near impossible in the hospital system.  However, scaling in primary care in the UK seems to be the way to go.  A much simpler process and if you make contact with individual practices you can really hustle your way in.  Also, plenty of companies have high market penetration in primary care which shows that it is possible to do.  The landscape/environment just doesn’t exist in the hospital at the time being or in the foreseeable future in my opinion…..


A talk by Robert Wachter about the current state of IT in the NHS

Another cool thing about the expo was meeting my mentors who have been assigned to me by NHS Innovation.

I’m really glad with the mentors I’ve been given.  My first mentor is a successful business lady called Maureen Anderson, who has a company which has screened over one million patients worldwide for cancer and she was also one of the founding members of the New York Bagel Company which is crazy!

Some of the mentors in the clinical entrepreneurship programme.  Including Maureen! 🙂

My second mentor is Ron Gutman who is a silicon valley entrepreneur and CEO of HealthTap.  I actually used his Ted Talk on smiling in a presentation I gave last year on cognitive behavioural therapy.

Ron Gutman sharing the stage with one of my idols – Prof Tony Young! :D!

So as you can see a lot has happened, but things are settling down again now, which is really good because I just want to really focus on my service and get things amazingly right for the GP practices and the actual users.  I think this is the key thing which may sway my 10% chance of success in my favour.

It’s Messy

University was this:

Patient comes in, you listen to them, you do some tests, you give them treatments and then you’ve fixed them.

Real life is this:

Patient comes in, they talk about things in a way that you can’t understand (e.g. “it burns behind my knees all the time, except when I’m doing something), you do a barrage of tests and hope something comes back which will help you with a diagnosis.  Most of the time you can’t diagnose anything.  You try some treatments and then another and then another and then hopefully something will work.

Real life is messy.

But that’s real life.  You can wish for it to not be messy.  But it is, and always will be.

What if?

Whenever you get scared about something and are trying to figure out whether you should take the leap or not, all you have to do is ask yourself three questions:

What if I fail?

What if I succeed?

What if I do nothing?

I don’t know about you, but the most terrifying out of those three questions is the last one.  Wouldn’t you rather fail?

On Leadership

I’m having an interview tomorrow to formally become a “Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow” and be part of NHS Innovation.

To be honest I don’t know if I’m already in as I’ve already been invited to the NHS Innovation Expo (for free!) this week.  Nonetheless, I suppose it is a formality that I have to go through.

I received a brief for the interview and I will be asked questions on leadership, innovation, my current start up etc.

The leadership question seems to be the hardest to answer in my mind!  What is leadership and when have I actually leaded people?

There is definitely one instance in my life where I have truly lead people.  This was actually when I was in high school.  I was a guitar player and loved heavy metal and rock music.  Because I went to a high school that was up its own bum and had delusions of grandeur, this was generally frowned upon.  I wasn’t playing the “right type” of music and wasn’t learning music in “the proper way” as I refused to sit exams for it (I play guitar because I love to play, not to get a certificate saying I can play).

When I was 16, I don’t know why, but I decided that we needed to throw a rock concert.  I told my band about it and we got to work.  Later in the year we played to a full house.  We had about 6 or 7 other bands play as well and we were the final act.

It was the most successful concert in the history of the school and we raised more money for charity than any other school concert before it.

Looking back at it, it seems absolutely nuts that we just decided to do something and did it.  People were so convinced in our certainty and conviction that things just naturally fell into place.

I suppose more recently, with my start up, I have been doing the same things without even noticing.  People are doing things for me, for no real objective reason.  They believe in my conviction and certainty.  It’s almost like I’m selling ether…

Perhaps that’s what leadership actually is.  It’s the ability to sell ether.  To get people to believe in you for no real objective reason.

The last thing I’ve realised is that to lead, you have to put yourself out there….things might not work.  Being a leader means you have to put yourself out there and if you fail then accept full responsibility.  I guess this last point is why most  people aren’t leaders.  Not many people can accept criticism and put themselves in that vulnerable place.