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The joys of founding a start up

By Dr. Colin Coulthard |


Me, jumping out of my bathA few days ago, I was lying in bed, trying to get to sleep, and it came to me. “It” being the solution to something that had been nagging at me about for a few days. I’d seen a prototype version of our app, and although it was good, it wasn’t great. What I was struggling with was how best to communicate my vision to the people that I’m working with…

I have it!

And then it came to me.

We want to be “Headspace for healthcare”.

I was so excited that I couldn’t get to sleep for two hours afterwards. I couldn’t wait to talk to Richard about it...

The rewards of launching a start-up

Launching a business is hard. You overcome one problem and then hit another. That’s what puts so many people off. So why persevere?

Well, I can’t speak for Richard, only myself. One of the absolute joys of what we’re doing is being in control. After years of working in the NHS it is refreshing to be working in a completely different environment.

Being creative

We also have significant constraints. We have limited resources. This forces us to be creative. Being creative is what gives us our advantage.

As mentioned in a previous blog, one of the things that we’ve been missing so far is a coherent business plan. A business plan serves many functions. One of which has been to crystalize my thoughts about Yourpressure. 

By the way, an added bonus to writing these blog posts is that they also help me to organise my ideas. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them? Please let me know in the comments.

Because we have limited resources we need to solve most of the problems in our business plan ourselves. That makes us learn new skills. Richard has learned to code almost from scratch.

Knowing myself

It also makes me learn things about myself. I have found no better way of getting to know my inner self than by setting up a project with unknown returns and of unknown limits. It’s one thing being efficient when other people have expectations of you. Quite another when the only expectations are your own...

The problem

So, our aims are this. We want to commoditize our expertise as doctors. We want to produce a way of giving our support to as many patients as possible. We want to do this because we think that there is an opportunity in giving people control of their health.

We have chosen blood pressure because it is an area of medicine where treatment is standardised. It is also complicated. As we hope you can see from our demo apps, our ethos is to make the complex, simple.

The difficulty is that medicine is not traditionally a transactional business. It is a relationship business. That’s what makes it difficult to commoditize.

And this was the problem I was wrestling with. How can we make it possible to have a personal relationship with our app?

The solution

Then I had my eureka moment. The “Headspace” app relies heavily on audio and video of their founder, Andy Puddicombe. By doing that, it makes you feel that you have a personal relationship with him. And that’s what we need for our app

Now the next problem to solve is how we can do the same thing with our app. I'm not sure about that one yet, but I'm sure it'll come to us with time. 

In summary

So there you have it. Launching a start-up is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. At the same time, It’s also one of the most fulfilling. Our limitations force us to learn new things and be creative in our solutions. Being creative is what gives us our advantage. And that’s what gives me the Eureka moments in the middle of the night...

That’s what makes me look forward to working on I'm not sure I ever got the same feeling whilst working in the NHS.

Do you get the same rewards from your job?

If you want to follow us we’re @itamuscom and we’re also on Facebook

Our website and prototype apps.