Having a chronic illness can be challenging, and running your own business can be hard. No matter where you fit on the spectrum, we could all use a little motivation. Our #InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind blog series gives you insight and lifehacks on how to stay motivated by some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world.
Shai Rozen is the Co-Founder & CMO of Suggestic, an artificial intelligence tool to help tackle health and nutrition.
What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?
Actually, it’s not me with the disease, it was my father who passed away from T2D-related issues.
There are a number of things that came together that motivated me and my cofounder, Victor, to start Suggestic, but one of those was born out of the realization that all this suffering my dad went through was completely preventable. Every time I think about it drives me a bit crazy.
What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?
The biggest hurdle I see relates to “good” decision making. How do you navigate the myriad of options in front of you? Let’s take food, for example, we know that there are relatively good and healthy options available in most places, but most of us tend to make the “wrong” choices. So how do you filter out all the noise? This is actually the focus of our work at Suggestic. Providing contextually-relevant healthy food recommendations that fir your personal dietary needs.
Who are some of your role models in your space?
There are some amazing people working hard to tackle type 2 diabetes and chronic disease in general but I’d like to specially recognize my team at Suggestic whose passion and effort are a continuous source of inspiration.
What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?
Simple, one word: impact. Of the positive kind.
What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? what are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?
A supporting community of likeminded and purpose-driven entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, we constantly make assumptions about the way things work or about how people behave, so more forms of interaction between the members would be a great way to validate some of these assumptions.
How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?
Putting some time aside to take care of myself is key, but what truly keeps me motivated is two things: learning new things about health and seeing results when I make a change of any kind.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
It has made a tremendous difference. It’s much like taking a shortcut. You piggyback on someone else’s experience and not only learn but also it saves you from making obvious mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to make mistakes and learn from them, but I’m pretty sure there will always be more mistakes to make and if you can stand on someone else’s shoulders and start ahead that’s a big blessing.
How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?
It’s funny to me that this is even a question. If you are building a tool for a certain type of user what makes you think that you know better than them? Everything we do at the company should ultimately benefit its users. Which by the way it’s what is wrong, in my opinion, with so many organizations that aim to benefit shareholders and not costumers. Now, you do need to listen creatively, meaning, focus more on the problem that they are having than how they think it should be solved.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
When you are lucky to work on something that not only you are passionate about but is also purpose driven, the lines between work and “life” get blurred.
Practically speaking, we all need to learn to prioritize and draw some lines to make sure we get time to re-energize and keep going.
If you had three wishes, what would they be?
Infinite energy and more hours in the day (there’s just a lot that needs to get done.), immortality and a magic wand that allows us to really understand each other.
What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?
It’s funny but every now and then I like to listen to Steve Jobs’ 1997 ad “The Crazy Ones”, it never aired.