Episode 53 - Entrepreneur Experience: Jack Nguyen, Founder of The Quick Company

EPISODE 53

Entrepreneur Experience: Jack Nguyen, Founder of The Quick Company

In this episode layered with adventure, stories of grit, curiosity, pain, and humor, host Cynthia Del’Aria speaks with Dr. Jack Nguyen, researcher, licensed dentist and founder of The Quick Company. He shares his experiences with building a physical device, getting a patent, and the real lesson of The Tortoise and the Hare. Listen now!

In this episode layered with adventure, stories of grit, curiosity, pain, and humor, host Cynthia Del’Aria speaks with Dr. Jack Nguyen, researcher, licensed dentist and founder of The Quick Company. He shares his experiences with building a physical device, getting a patent, and the real lesson of The Tortoise and the Hare. Listen now!

Resources from Jack Nguyen

Patents Integrated Podcast – Novel & Non Obvious
Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital By Carlita Perez
Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

Be sure to like, share, and subscribe to Precursa: The Startup Journey on your favorite podcasting platform and tune in for the next episode!

Email us with any questions or comments (startup@precursa.com). Check out our website (https://www.precursa.com) for more information on getting your startup rolling.

(00:04):
Straight to you from Denver, Colorado, this is Precursa: The Startup Journey. We share the ins and outs of building a tech startup from inception, to launch, to revenue and beyond. If you’ve ever wondered what building a startup from scratch really looks like, you’re in the right place. With full transparency and honesty, we reveal it all about Precursa on our ride from idea to exit: the wins, the lessons learned, and the unexpected twists and turns.

(00:37):
Hello, everybody in welcome back. This is Precursa the startup journey, and I know we haven’t had a Precursa update in a while, and I am going to do a Precursa update episode. It’s going to be a few more episodes from now, cause we’ve got some stuff in the works and I’d like to have a little bit more to tell you next time we talk. So that said we are continuing our entrepreneur experience segment today. And my guest today is Dr. Jack Wynn researcher, licensed dentist and founder of the quick company, which is a medical device innovation company. He’s had two successful exits as an entrepreneur in addition to owning and operating a dental practice in dental in Denver, Colorado, and his passion is finding simple solutions to problems in healthcare and quality of life. So without further ado, welcome to the show, Jack.

(01:30):
Thanks for having me.

(01:32):
<laugh> I just wanna say like for our audience Jack and I just met okay. Before, before we hopped on. And um, we had probably the best four minute conversation I’ve ever had with a brand new guest. <laugh> everything from dog poop to getting an, to getting an education in the Vietnamese language. So I am so excited for this conversation. So why don’t you just start by telling us a little bit about yourself and how you became an entrepreneur?

(02:00):
Thanks for having me. And so, uh, so glad to be able to be on this, uh, podcast, uh, with you I’ve heard and saw a lot of the previous podcasts and it’s just, uh, great with all the things that you’re doing to, uh, help the start community. So appreciate that.

(02:15):
Thank you.

(02:16):
I’m originally from Southern California, born and raised, you know, went to school there, uh, try to leave, uh, Southern California, uh, lived in Northern California for a number of years. Had a rough time in school, tried to, uh, figure out life identity, things like that. And, uh, ultimately, uh, explored a bunch of different pathways, whether it was in computers to teaching biotech. I just had several different careers. Uh, ultimately went to dental school and I had a tendency to, uh, always have these milestones at the worst economic times. <laugh> um, my first career ended during the.com bust and then when I graduated dental school, it was, uh, the housing crash. And, um, so I just packed up my gear and said, I gotta get out of this joint and left California and went to Colorado.

(03:12):
Yeah.

(03:13):
Didn’t know anyone out there. Didn’t uh, well I knew one person, but, uh, just started from scratch and was hungry and just figured things out. And somewhere along the career line, I just kept on getting hungry to do more things. I was just always trying to do something else and, uh, didn’t know what an entrepreneur was too many syllables in that word. So,

(03:36):
And still don’t know how to spell it. Right. I’m always spelling it

(03:39):
Wrong. Yeah. Don’t know how to spell it. You know, there’s too many E and yeah. You know that thing with the E and you and you and E in the end is just like, why is it there? <laugh> but, uh, uh, realize that what I was, the things that I was doing was being an entrepreneur and suddenly, you know, the people around me would say, you’re an entrepreneur or the things you’re doing are very entrepreneurial. And I’m thinking I could barely spell the damn word <laugh>

(04:06):
Why do you, how can I be a thing?

(04:08):
Yeah. You’re, you’re changing the noun.

(04:11):
<laugh>.

(04:13):
So, um, in summary, I didn’t know that I was becoming an entrepreneur and I only now realize that that’s probably what I have been doing for a while. Yeah. Uh, without knowing it.

(04:27):
Yeah. The, the accidental entrepreneur, it’s, it’s shocking. How many stories are like that? Where, where, you know, people are like, oh, I was just doing my thing and going along and all of a sudden, whoa, I’m starting a company and I’m doing, I’m like, Hey, I’m an entrepreneur. That’s cool. <laugh>

(04:42):
Yeah.

(04:43):
I don’t know that any,

(04:44):
And it’s a category for it.

(04:45):
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I, I don’t know that any sane person would really set out to do it on purpose maybe. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I, I maybe, I don’t know

(04:54):
If somebody asked me, you know, when I was a kid, Hey, do you wanna be an entrepreneur? I would say, huh? What the F is that

(05:03):
<laugh>

(05:05):
Is that candy

(05:06):
Bar? Yes. Yeah, exactly. <laugh>. Is that the nuty one? <laugh> oh, that’s awesome.

(05:14):
Nuty Nuy what speak? Speaking of nuty. Yeah. That’s how somebody pronounce my last

(05:20):
<laugh>. Oh my gosh.

(05:23):
There is it, is

(05:24):
It there’s NTY in there.

(05:25):
<laugh> right. Is it, is it new? Get new, new gen. I’m like what?

(05:31):
You’re like what? Okay, so now that you brought that up, you have to tell the audience. So when I, when Jack and I first got on, I, you know, I go through my whole spiel and then I asked him, I said, okay, let me make sure I’m saying your name. Right. And he said, well, I’m gonna correct you because I, I said, I don’t even remember what I said now. Cause now all I can see is what it looks like. But I pronounced it in a very English way. Right. And he said, well, actually, and tell people what you told me. So, so his last name is pronounced Wynn. If, if you’re looking at his, his last name, it actually looks like has more letters and syllables than that’s. So tell them what you told me about Vietnamese. That’s right.

(06:06):
That’s that’s right. So in the English language, there are a lot of people that pronounce the name is Newin and the way new one came about is way back. When, in April, 1975, when there’s a Huwi helicopter over the us embassy, there’s a bunch of refugees trying to escape the country. Yeah. And when they’re all trying to escape and jump on the Huwi helicopter, they need an organized way to load them on. Yeah. And so they would say you and Yuen, you and Yuen, and we thought that was her name.

(06:37):
Oh.

(06:38):
And so when we came over here, kinda like the whole Ellis island story where people were just pronouncing it and spelling it wrong. Yep. Uh, they would ask us to register our name and we said, oh yeah, it’s new in,

(06:48):
Oh, oh my gosh.

(06:52):
And that, and that’s, and people bite on that and people realize people really think that that’s the, how we actually got our name.

(06:59):
Wow.

(07:00):
And yeah, it’s a, it’s a puzzling thing. But the reality is that is not true. That is a hundred percent a lie. That is just a joke. <laugh> the real, uh, correct. I would say way of pronouncing, the name is win, uh, similar to w I N yep. And the way, um, it works is that way back, this is true. This is not a lie

(07:24):
<laugh> this is true. We have to preface that.

(07:26):
Yes. Let’s preface it with, this is fact, uh, before French colonization, you can look up in the history books that did occur. Everything was in the Monarch system. So you had emperors and empresses and all that stuff, Kings Queens, wherever you wanna call it. Yep. And, uh, in that area region, if you lived under the emperor’s territory, you would take up his last name, uh, him being that, you know, it was male dominated system. Oh, wow. The emperors around the territories, you know, withdraw lines or whatever. And you knew who was on whose territory when they asked your name. And so, uh, when the French came in and colonized, they created a state system and they wanted to register everyone’s name. And so they would say, what’s your first and last name? Well, the last largest dynasty was emperor win. Oh. And so everybody registered their name and that’s why you have so many wins. And I think the other names include trans the Lees, the vs, and DS and all that good stuff. And so after, you know, a few decades of French colonization, those names stood as the most prevalent names.

(08:39):
Wow. That’s cool. And you were saying that in Vietnamese words only have one syllable.

(08:45):
That’s correct. So the, the language, uh, has seven hormonal tones and uh, every word is one syllable, but can have a different tone and that would change than complete meaning. So, uh, imagine somebody learning Vietnamese and having the wrong tonality, you just screwed up the whole word.

(09:07):
Is this why? Okay, this is gonna sound really stupid, but are there tone deaf people in Vietnam though? Like Vietnamese or tone deaf? Like how does that work?

(09:17):
<laugh> yeah. No. So the, the tones are highly exaggerated, but here’s, here’s the cool part. Yeah. Um, at least I thought it was cool when we have seven hormonal tones. It sounds like music.

(09:31):
Yeah.

(09:33):
So when we speak, uh, at least when you hear, uh, Vietnamese people speaking amongst themselves. Yeah. Um, in many ways it almost sounds like they’re singing.

(09:45):
Yeah. Oh my gosh. I love that.

(09:48):
I love that. But, but to me it doesn’t sound like singing because when I hear my mom use all these tones and she’s yelling at me, <laugh>, it’s the worst sound in the world,

(09:59):
Ah, yelling at me to the tune of Mariah care, you know? <laugh>.

(10:02):
Yeah, exactly. Like now, now, now I don’t wanna listen to Mariah care anymore. Oh

(10:07):
My gosh. Oh my gosh. For those of you who are too young to know who Mariah care is, she was the predecessor to Ariana Grande. So there you go. Yeah.

(10:15):
<laugh> yeah. I love that. So in, in that regard, because everything is one syllable using different, uh, tones, um, Vietnam is actually two words. Yeah. Saigon is two words. Okay. Hanno is two words. Um, all the words and, um, I guess, uh, syllables are, are, are singulars. Hence, uh, my last name is

(10:40):
When,

(10:41):
When

(10:42):
That’s cool. Well, I, there is a whole cultural thing there that I had no idea about. So, um, and that is fascinating. So thanks for that. <laugh>

(10:52):
Of course.

(10:54):
All right. So what, so here we are. Yeah. So here we are. So, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about what are you currently working on? Like, what are you building? Uh, I, I, I was looking at the quick company website and it looks like you’re building some kind of a medical device and maybe there’s a patent process or something going on with that. Like tell us, tell us what you’re working on.

(11:14):
You bet. So the, the quick company, uh, produces the patent pending micro tray and the micro tray is one of several, uh, different product lineups. And they are, um, devices that consolidate common dental materials, such as gauze brush, applicators, bonding, Wells, um, they all consolidate these things to the back of your glove hand, such that when you’re operating on a patient, you don’t have to, uh, rotate and, um, overreach for items on your trays. And you can work on the patient, uh, without losing your field of vision. And all of this helps save time, reduce musculoskeletal disorders and make things more efficient for, uh, dental professionals to perform their duties.

(12:01):
Okay. So you just said something interesting. I’m now realizing how much a hygienist or a dentist is like bending over and, and hunched over a patient like eight, 10 hours a day. Right. And that’s, that’s partly what you’re trying to address.

(12:18):
Correct. And on top of that, one of the, um, other, uh, things that we use as part of, uh, helping with reduced Musco skeletal disorders are magnification loops.

(12:31):
Oh.

(12:32):
And magnification loops are, would be similar to using a microscope. Yep. And so if you think about every time you look into a microscope, you have to readjust your eyes and refocus on, um, you know, the specimen in front of you.

(12:46):
Yep. Yep.

(12:47):
Well, us dental professionals do the same thing to help protect our bodies. Uh, but in doing that, every time we look up, it takes time to refocus on our field division. Yeah. And when we’re working in the oral cavity, um, it, it takes a toll when you do it. Oh, eight, nine hours a day on, you know, 10, 15 patients.

(13:09):
Yeah. Is this a, so you, you work slash R a practicing dentist. Are you still currently practicing?

(13:19):
Uh, correct. I’ve, uh, been a dentist for a little over 13 years now, and I’m fortunate that I can practice part-time because I, um, managed to pay off my student loans.

(13:30):
Good for you.

(13:32):
Yeah. It’s never felt great to get to zero.

(13:36):
Oh man. But with dead, it really does. Doesn’t it? <laugh>.

(13:39):
Yeah. Right, right.

(13:41):
So then does, this is the kind of problem that you discover being a practitioner and, and you with your entrepreneurial brain, whether you knew that or not, you were like, that’s a problem. There’s a solution to let me go, like figure out how to solve it.

(13:56):
Uh, yes. Yes. So, um, you know, that, that would be a problem that myself colleagues, uh, would bitch about all the time. And mm-hmm, um, you know, if you ask any dental professional, do you see a physical therapist or a massage therapist or chiropractor? Uh, about 90, some odd percent of us will raise our hands. I see my chiropractor monthly.

(14:18):
Wow.

(14:19):
And, um, when I, you know, go home, I’m always, I mean, everyone’s always rubbing their neck or back or shoulder and saying, oh, I need to just kind of stretch that out or rub it out. And yeah. Um, the ironic part is one day, uh, my partner and I were talking about our life goals and, you know, our 3, 5, 10 year goals. And, um, I, it was like new year’s, uh, resolutions discussion as well. And I said, wouldn’t it be cool to get a patent? And, um, my partner looks at me like, well, why are you waiting, you know, 10 years or before you die, why don’t you just do it now? <laugh> and of course it, you know, takes your partner to yeah. Make you realize it in the, but, and thought, oh yeah. Oh, that’s, that’s, that’s a good idea. I should get on this now. And so I went down that rabbit hole to kind of figure out what problems I can solve. And I was looking at so many other avenues, including dog poop

(15:20):
<laugh> which we also talked about.

(15:22):
Yeah. Right. And, uh, and, and then of course my partner goes, uh, why don’t you focus on problems within your career? Because you’re always going home bitching about, you know, things that hurt. Yeah. Uh, I mean, she didn’t say that, but, uh, yeah. Uh, essentially that’s, that’s what, how, yeah. That’s how it’s interpreted in my head. <laugh>

(15:40):
<laugh>, that’s what I remember. <laugh>.

(15:42):
Yeah. And, and of course, um, you know, the most common one that I had incurred going through, um, uh, back therapy and all that good stuff was, well, how can I help reduce that? And what solutions are currently out there and, um, how do I really hone down on this problem and, um, identify the nitty gritty.

(16:05):
Yeah. I love that. I love that. And, uh, you mentioned in your bio that you’ve sold two companies. Talk a little bit about that.

(16:15):
Yes. Um, the first one was a, I mean, they’re both dental practices. Okay. Um, they’re businesses, your, your, your traditional brick and mortar businesses. But the first practice that I started, I had no clue what I was doing.

(16:31):
Inspiration has struck. You’ve stumbled upon a great idea that you just know will change the world. So now what, at Precursa, we provide the best tools to help founders and entrepreneurs, just like you turn their great ideas into great companies that solve real problems for real people. We believe you are the change makers, the innovators, and the force that moves technology forward. All you need is an experienced guide to keep you on track and help you navigate the turbulent waters of starting up Precursa is that guide. And with us, your roadmap to successful launch is more direct with far fewer pitfalls, ready to change the world. Bria has your back

(17:20):
And started that. Um, fortunately I had some help. It was with a franchise dental organization. Oh, cool. Um, yeah, so I had some, I had a lot of help, uh, but I didn’t know how to do it, a lot of this stuff, but they had just said, Hey, you just do dentistry, focus on getting good at that. And as we go along, we’ll show you all the business stuff.

(17:42):
That’s

(17:42):
Awesome. And that, that was like, uh, business 1 0 1 for me. So, um, uh, got through that for about four, four years, started it from scratch. Yep. And, um, sold that to somebody else who wanted to buy into the growth. Awesome. And then, um, the second practice that I started, I thought, well, I’m gonna take everything that I learned from the first one. Yep. And, um, try to make it better and bigger. Yeah. And, uh, that’s exactly what I did. And I just kind of had the, um, hunger to take some risks and, um, sold that in 2020.

(18:21):
Yeah. Good for you before or after COVID

(18:25):
<laugh>. That was, I would say just as the, uh, we were coming off of the peak of COVID.

(18:34):
Okay. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So you sort of weathered the storm and then, and somebody took it over as things were starting to come back, come back into play.

(18:43):
Yeah. And all of this was already, I guess, planned or yeah. Yeah. In, in play to be sold because I was, uh, I had started working on, um, the micro tray as we call it now back then was called something different. But, uh, that, that idea process started in about 20 16, 20 17. Wow. And then, um, I believe we submitted the, uh, patent application to the us PTO, uh, in 29, like February 20, 19. Okay, cool. So all of that was in play and we just needed all the chips to fall into their place.

(19:19):
Yeah. How long does the patent process take for something like that

(19:23):
Too long?

(19:24):
Yeah, I know. Cuz you just said like February of 2019 and I’m like, you still said patent pending. So it’s been over three years. Is that because of COVID or is that just, this is sort of the process?

(19:36):
Uh, I would say both. Okay. Um, you know, the, the patent attorneys aren’t, I mean, I’m not trying if they’re listening right now, I’m so screwed.

(19:48):
<laugh> that’s okay. My attorney listens sometimes and he will call me and he’ll go, what, what was that? And I’m like, oh, don’t worry about it. It’ll be fine. <laugh>

(20:02):
Yeah. We, you know, any government organization, aren’t exactly the world class runners of track

(20:08):
And field. Yeah.

(20:10):
And when you add COVID to it, all, all of the unknowns with that, um, who knows what’s going on behind the scenes, but that doesn’t add to making them any faster.

(20:20):
Right.

(20:22):
So even today it’s what July 1st 20, 22. And, um, it’s still under review.

(20:31):
Wow.

(20:32):
But, but that’s not a terrible thing because, uh, we can still make our product go forward.

(20:38):
Yeah. Yeah. So you, so you’re a little bit unique, which is awesome because I, I don’t get a lot of people on the show. Mostly, you know, we work in tech startups, so we know a lot of tech people and people are building software, building apps or whatever, and you’re building something physical in the world. And so you have a perspective on not just the patent process, but like designing and developing a physical thing. And how do you go from, I have this idea to actually being able to put a device out in the world and have people be able to buy it, like talk a little bit about, you know, what does that process look like? What have the challenges been with it and how do you overcome that? You know? And, and what would you do differently if you were doing it again, knowing what you know now?

(21:28):
Sure. So to summarize all of that, I would say that all of it is meeting people, meeting, uh, people it’s just like yourself who are interested in innovation business and, you know, helping, helping people create their, their product from their ideas. Yeah. And in my scenario, what happened was I had a, this idea and it, it was completely different from the get go. Mm. Uh, it, wasn’t a simple refined micro tray that sticks to the back of your gloved hand. It was this Voltron arm apparatus <laugh>,

(22:05):
Um,

(22:06):
That, you know, had do hickeys and some, you know, stratospheric designs. And through the process, I was trying to meet a lot of people about, uh, and talk, talking about how to get this to become a tangible product. And, um, I got connected with a, um, product development company. Okay. Uh, linked product development. Um, I will forever be grateful for their expertise, their, um, just everything top to bottom that they could do. And they’re just great, ethical, honest, upfront people. Wow. I cannot emphasize how important it is to, uh, work with just good, wholesome goodhearted people that are just excited about what you’re doing and how to get that on the market. But they helped me with the whole design process, the whole, uh, surveying and the studies. And we went through the process of learning, uh, what the pain points were, how to think about all these little details that say, Hey, this is how you start a design. This is how you get feedback, uh, for your design. This is how you consider these, uh, a hundred, one different aspects. Uh, mark, um, handshake and Skylar Livingston did the whole shebang. They came into my office after we had a few discussions. Um, they stood and watched me work on patients. Wow. They stood there for hours and they were just taking notes. Wow. And I thought, that’s, that’s some dedication to, to, yeah. It’s bad enough that people hate going to dentist, but now you have to go there and watch them do their work.

(23:45):
<laugh>

(23:47):
And, and so, um, we got to the process of them trying to disseminate my idea into an appropriate language because I don’t speak engineering. Yeah. And, uh, making sure that what I’m thinking, what I’m imagining, what I’m saying translates to what they’re thinking in their language. Yeah. And, uh, that was engineering and design 1 0 1. For me, that was the fun part, uh, of learning how they do it. And yes, it might be a little slow and painstaking, but it’s such a wonderful process. And I’m glad there’s that process as opposed to anything else. Cuz if otherwise we’d had some shitty things on the market

(24:26):
<laugh> so there is something to be said, you know, we talk a lot on this show because there’s oftentimes, you know, these stories are painted, you know, as overnight success. Right. Right. And there’s something to be said for when you have time and the refining of ideas, the refining of a founder, the refining of something over time that actually leads to that perception that it was perfect from the moment it was created. And that’s where, you know, the overnight success myth comes from mm-hmm <affirmative> clearly, I mean, you’ve been working on this for six years. Right. I mean, that’s, that’s a lot of time to continue to refine and understand the problem better and try things. And I, I mean, that’s, that’s really, that’s really cool and really extraordinary.

(25:18):
Yeah. No, I mean the, the whole process has been fun and it’s, it’s still a process. I mean, it’s, it’s sure, fortunately it’s, it’s never ending, um, you know, it’s like the OUS, uh, complex or story, but in that process, what’s also wonderful is that, um, I was introduced to a bunch of other people, which includes, uh, Eureka Moto from patents integrated. And she was able to help me put this into patent language if, if you wanna call it that intellectual property language. Yeah. And the cool part about that was that you learn that world, you learn their language and you learn that there’s a process for all these things. And while a process for somebody new, like me who doesn’t fully understand, everything seems long and, uh, a pain in the butt. Uh, there’s a good reason why there’s a structured process for it. Uh, because it prevents people who are maybe over eager or not ready, or it just prevents all these things from getting into a bottleneck and slowing down those who are ready to go that process.

(26:24):
Yeah. Yeah. That

(26:26):
Makes sense. Um, there, there was a lot of pain points in finding these people that’s for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Um, not that other people were necessarily bad, but you definitely gotta have personality fits. And um, even for myself, I recognize that, Hey, uh, my background’s in research, you know, if you talk to me about molecular biology, then yeah, we, we, we could talk, but, uh, I can recognize that I don’t know engineering language, I don’t know, design language, I don’t know, patent language. And I was so hungry to learn all that stuff that I wanted to come off to them and prove to them that, Hey, I’m serious about my product, about my idea that I wanna learn how to translate it into your profession. So that way we can be on the same page.

(27:13):
Yeah. And I love this, that, that your thing is it’s, you know, people are so important because relationships is where things happen. Right. I mean, you, you almost can never create anything meaningful in a vacuum. How do you go about finding the right people? I mean, what, what’s the process for that for somebody who’s like, well, I really wanna do this thing. And I, I don’t, I don’t know anybody. So how do you do that? How do you create those relationships and find those people?

(27:41):
Yeah. I can’t say I’m fantastic about it, but the approach that I take is I’m gonna look in the mirror and say, Hey, uh, you do a lot of shitty things. You’re not the smartest guy in the room and go learn it, but look at yourself and realize that if you wanna learn, you have to be able to acknowledge that you don’t know. And it’s, it’s really incredible how people receive you when you say, I don’t know, but I want to listen and learn. Yeah. It, it really changes the, uh, the dynamics in a relationship when you break down the barriers of who knows too much, or who’s smarter than who. Yeah. And, uh, it’s similar to what I tell my patients. Um, it’s like, Hey, I can explain all this, uh, science and dental stuff to you, if you would like to know. Yeah. But it be in the same, uh, way as me respecting your profession and saying, Hey, I don’t know what you do, but I want to know. And I wanna learn at I’m all years. Yeah. So when I go around talking to people, um, I try to set the tone of, Hey, um, I, I might have some experience. I might have none, but I’m willing to say it and I’m gonna come out front to say, uh, if I don’t know, I’m going to do my part to learn about it. So that way you don’t have to waste your time wondering what kind of foundation I have.

(29:01):
Yeah. I love that. I love that. So my, my fiance is a surgeon and, um, he obviously, you know, he has clinic where he meets people, does in office procedures and then he’ll take people the, or, and people always ask him, how come you don’t wear a coat? Like the white coat. And he said, if it came with special powers, I would <laugh>. But it doesn’t right. Like, right. It’s called the practice of medicine for a reason. There’s lots of stuff. We don’t know. There’s things that I can, that I’ve learned that I’m really well versed in that I can know. And he’s one of the only doctors I’ve ever met, who is willing to say, I don’t know, and go find people who are smarter than him. And it’s, it’s kind of incredible to watch because you’re like, Ooh, wouldn’t that make patients nervous?

(29:46):
Like my doctor just said, I don’t know. And it’s like, it actually has the exact opposite effect where you feel like, oh, great. So we’re in this together, but I have help. And I have somebody more knowledgeable sort of like you with your engineers. Right. They know what they know, you know what you know, and together we can figure out a path forward. So I love, I just love that. I love that message. And I think, I think it’s so important for entrepreneurs to realize you’re not, it’s easy to look at people like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos and think, oh, those guys, they just did all this by themselves. No, they didn’t. They had hundreds of thousands of people helping them along the way.

(30:23):
Right, right. It’s uh, and, and that’s absolutely true. There, there are so many people that have brought this to, even to this point. Yeah. And if I were to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, yeah. I could probably get it done faster, but I still need these people. Yeah. I still need these professionals. I still need all of their help even to get it here. Yeah. The, the only part that took the longest was figuring out where these people are at and how we can work together.

(30:54):
Yeah. I love that. What would you say is the most important lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur

(31:01):
Pain tolerance?

(31:02):
<laugh>

(31:03):
Yeah.

(31:04):
I’ll say more about that.

(31:07):
I, I could say that right off the bat, you know, some in dentistry, in our eyes, I, I gotta clear this air up about, about dentists that oh,

(31:17):
Good

(31:17):
People think that we like to inflict pain.

(31:21):
Aww.

(31:23):
And that is farthest from the truth. I don’t know anyone in, in my 13 year career that says, oh, I love hurting these patients. You know, they don’t

(31:32):
Be CR it just makes me so happy. <laugh>

(31:35):
We, we don’t wake up in the morning and go, oh, who am I gonna, who am I gonna screw up today? Who am I gonna hurt today? Oh, I can’t wait. <laugh>. I mean, it, if there is that, that those people out there I’m worried, but, um, I don’t know anyone that, that is that way, but, but I will tell you that in light of that pain is a good thing. Pain is your body’s form of communication to you. How else does your body tell you something is wrong? Um, yeah, because that’d be you talking to yourself and well that we know where that ends, but

(32:12):
Yeah, exactly.

(32:13):
<laugh> the idea is that your body says, Hey, this hurts. That’s how I’m letting you know.

(32:17):
Yeah.

(32:18):
Well, um, that’s the spiel with, with dentists, but getting to, um, this whole journey and this whole process with entrepreneurship and pain tolerance is that, uh, it it’ll hurt you financially. It’ll hurt you. Uh, emotionally it’ll hurt you. Um, the small one is it’ll hurt your ego. Yeah. Um, but it’ll, it’ll take its toll with time. All these things have a degree of, um, pain and you have to have a degree of tolerance, uh, to, to whether they’re they’re ups and downs, because there’s so many unknowns that there’s not a single person that I’ve spoken to in, uh, you know, whether they’re serial entrepreneurs or first timers, uh, who doesn’t have a pain point. And yeah, it just seems like the life that you choose to go down this path, um, uh, you have to have that tolerance and someone might describe it as something different. That’s cool. It’s just, you know, semantics. But the, the, the reality is is that if you and a team believe in what you’re doing, uh, will benefit people, benefit the population that target segment, whatever it is. Um, it hurts less.

(33:34):
Yeah. Yeah. And so I, what I’m hearing and what you’re saying is, as an entrepreneur, you’re sort of, you’re almost like intentionally engaging with your weaknesses and where yeah. Where you fall short. Right. And you’re, you’re literally saying as, by being an entrepreneur, I’m taking on, you know, these things that are in the way of me and being successful. Right. And so, right. Right. And those relationships are how you take those things on and ultimately how you create value in the world, which is what creates success. Right,

(34:18):
Right, right. And, um, you know, even in my profession now, I don’t sell products or treatment in, in, in a dental practice. Um, and so I don’t have that kind of background, but when I go out there with the micro tray, all of a sudden I have to put on another hat and go sell. And the amazing thing that you learn about selling is you get a lot of nos <laugh>, um,

(34:42):
A lot more nos than yeses.

(34:44):
Yeah. When you’re, when you’re talking to investors and, you know, the first few that say no, um, you know, I had to get over that emotional part of, wow, do I suck that bad? Yeah. Is this has the last five, you know, four or five years, uh, has, has, has it been a wash because this is a stupid idea. All of a sudden that nobody thinks that it it’ll work

(35:09):
<laugh>. Yeah.

(35:10):
And then now after, you know, a few hundred nos, you’re like, uh, next.

(35:14):
Yep, exactly. Exactly.

(35:17):
So, so you do have to endure that, uh, pain tolerance, if you will, if you wanted to call it pain or just rejection, whatever you wanna call it, you go through these emotional, uh, cycles and, and, you know, reinvent the way you do things. And the cool part about that process is things just get better.

(35:35):
Yeah. So you, you have investors or have had investors in your, in your businesses right?

(35:42):
In the, in, in the first, uh, practice, I would say that I had partners. Okay. Uh, so yeah, invest, uh, you know, hands on investors, partners. Yep. Uh, the, uh, second business was just the bank. Okay. And of course with this one, um, you know, you go through that, uh, uh, startup process with, um, uh, family and friends, Pree investments.

(36:09):
Yep.

(36:11):
Um, so I don’t have any formal institutional investors yet. Okay. Okay. That’s actually what we’re working on right now

(36:18):
Really. And how are you, how are you, are, have you started pitching yet? How are you preparing for that? Like talk a little bit about that process.

(36:24):
Sure. Yeah. So you, uh, you know, when you go, if you go through YouTube enough, you will see a lot of, uh, you know, different successful people with their pitch decks and all of that. And, uh, that’s kind of, after you do all the due diligence, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, um, all of the stuff leading up to the pitch deck, there’s a lot of freaking work that’s put into, get that information into one slide.

(36:51):
Yeah.

(36:51):
And I have a, a, a new appreciation every day for the work that people put into these things when I’m discovering them and, you know, getting a pitch deck to, I don’t know, 10, 15 slides. It’s a lot of damn work because yes. Um, there’s a lot of data that you just have to know

(37:07):
That’s right.

(37:08):
And the whole finance, the numbers game, all that stuff. And you have to, you know, put it into different formats. I thought you just had to have a, you know, 15 slides and just pitch your product. But no, it, it, you know, you gotta have your one page summary. Yeah. You have to articulate it in a certain way. You have to have your pitch deck in three different formats, PDF, Google docs, PowerPoint, whatever it is. Um, the continuity of how it’s presented the, uh, the simplicity, as well as learning what your institutions are looking for. They all look for the same thing. It’s almost like doing a job resume thing.

(37:45):
Yep. You have to, you have to kind of tailor your cover letter and your resume for what the job needs and right. And to highlight different skills, right? Yeah.

(37:53):
Yeah. So I haven’t formally, you know, stood up in front of everyone, uh, you know, a crowd or anything like that and pitched, um, I’ve submitted a few pitch decks, um, a few like 20, uh, to different, um, angel investors, venture capital, uh, firms. And, uh, that’s only been a recent thing since about, I wanna say may.

(38:16):
Okay. Okay.

(38:17):
Last couple months. So that’s, yeah. That’s a learning process. And, uh, you know, this, I think early on, I mentioned, uh, timing of the economy <laugh> yeah. That I always pick

(38:29):
<laugh> you’re like, Hey, I’m gonna start raising money downturn. Yeah. <laugh>

(38:33):
Wow. Exactly. I’m like, well, everyone’s pulling back Jack <laugh>

(38:39):
In fact, I think, uh, Sequoia, I think came out about a month ago with a 52 slide deck, basically telling their entrepreneurs, extend your cash flow as long as you can. And don’t be dependent on raising money for the next two to three years, cuz you’re probably not gonna yep. And so as new startups that have no traction, no revenue, like no history, no proof we go, oh shit. <laugh> yeah. That doesn’t bode well for us.

(39:07):
Yeah. And I, I would say that it’s, um, it, it’s just part of that theme that I said, you gotta have some tolerance, you, you gotta be able to weather it. And uh, you know, we’re still moving forward. We’re still, this is not just to be optimistic, but I can’t turn back now. Yes. Uh, we have our product, that’s being manufactured. We are building some inventory and we’re still participating in, um, marketing and trade shows and things like that. And it’s just like the show must go on. Yeah. And if I just put the brakes on it, then I would’ve probably thrown off six years of work.

(39:43):
Yeah. No kidding. And, and this is the point where you as an entrepreneur, you go, well, okay. Like if, if that route’s not available, there’s 10 other roads and I’m gonna figure out where they all go until I hit roadblocks. And then I’ll figure out that one. Right. I mean, that is, that is what it is to be an entrepreneur is every time you hit a wall, you learn what there is to learn. And then you figure out a way around the wall, whether it’s over or around, under a different, you know, go different direction, like whatever it is. Right. I mean, that’s all there is

(40:12):
To do. It’s true to the form. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And on, on top of that, is that, uh, you know, in, in spite of some of these hiccups and things going slow, I, I guess the saying is, uh, slow and steady wins the race. Yes. And, uh, a lot of these, um, angel investors and, um, venture capital firms, they would like to go fast. Yes. But at the same time, they also seem to share words of respect for those who grind out this slow and start small process. Yes. This, uh, aim small Ms. Small.

(40:48):
Yep. Yes, yes. Yeah. So that, that’s one of the problems with, you know, in Silicon valley kind of started this whole thing of fail fast fail often. Right. But the, the next piece of that is fail small. Like let’s not wait until it’s enormous to fail. And that’s, that’s part of the fail often and, and fast part, but it, but it right. But it is, it’s fail often fail fast, fail small, because then you have more energy, you have more inertia, you have more resources for when you do figure out the big thing. And then you’re like, okay, this is, this is really it, you know?

(41:23):
Yep. Yep. And, and the knowledge that comes from being able to see the landscape with all those little small failures. Yes. So that way you can just sum up that one, one decision and say, I have a little bit more clarity in this decision that I’m making to not repeat that.

(41:39):
Yes. Amen. Brother preach <laugh> <laugh> so what would you say is the most important lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

(41:48):
The most important lesson? That’s a, a great question. There are so many continuous lessons that you go about this process at this stage. Um, I would say that being able to write down your goals and ideas, um, and repeat them on a regular basis to offer that clarity in the bigger landscape, because if you don’t see the direction, the direction you’re going, if you can’t see your, your north star. Yeah. Uh, you’re just gonna be, you know, going in circles in a great ocean. And so, um, regularly I review whether it’s, you know, three months, six months, uh, 1, 3, 5 years. I, I write down my goals yeah. And write down, you know, where am I at now? And what am I doing to get there in this process. Wow. And whether it’s your life goals or your entrepreneurial goals, even this one with, with the micro traits. Okay. Where am I at right now? What have, what have we accomplished and which direction are we going and what are we doing to get there? Yeah. And if we’re not in that direction, writing that stuff down, um, I don’t know, my brain’s not that big, so I can’t fit

(43:03):
That much things <laugh>

(43:04):
But when I have it on paper and I’m old school, I have paper, uh, I write it down, I tape it to the, uh, my white board or my wall. And so that way I could just look at it and just say, okay, we’re still in that direction. So it’s, I guess for me, that’s kind of like my, uh, uh, my guiding fences. Yeah. Um, around me to make sure I’m going the right direction.

(43:28):
So then if you could give other entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would that be?

(43:33):
Oh, shit. I don’t have that.

(43:35):
<laugh> my advice is never give advice. <laugh>

(43:40):
Yeah.

(43:41):
<laugh>

(43:44):
Truly all advice are a grain of salt and you have to filter out what is relevant for you at that given time.

(43:52):
Yeah.

(43:52):
Uh, the, the, the time part is important because somebody’s gonna talk about, you know, the financial part and you might not be ready.

(44:02):
Yeah.

(44:03):
Somebody’s gonna talk about, um, you know, it just depends on what stage, and I don’t, I really don’t have a single good piece, uh, uh, of advice to give, because it just depends on what stage they’re in, you know, listening to one of your other podcasts about when you exited and all of a sudden, you didn’t know what to do with your money and became broke. I was just like, how would you know,

(44:25):
How would you know,

(44:27):
<laugh> you don’t know what you don’t know.

(44:28):
That’s right. That’s right.

(44:31):
So I’m gonna be one of those people that just can’t answer this question in, in a very concise way. I don’t have one good piece of advice to give to anybody or seasoned entrepreneur, because it all depends on where you’re at in that stage of life. Yeah. Or, and process,

(44:47):
And, and every journey’s unique too. Right. And I think that’s one of the things that I, I wish that I could get people to understand, like it, it’s great to hear other stories. It’s great to like, get some ideas and learn how to, you know, get your creative juices, flowing to get yourself thinking about things differently, thinking outside the box. However we wanna say that, but ultimately no one else in time has ever, or will ever be you having this experience, creating this thing to solve this problem. Right. And that makes it entirely unique and entirely unpredictable and also entirely freeing. Right. Because it’s like, okay, well, whatever mistakes I make, they’re entirely mine and whatever wins I have, they’re entirely mine, you know?

(45:33):
And, and if you’re sick, like me, um, you like the thrill of being hurt.

(45:40):
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Look, I’m built my six. Okay. Like I like the pain bring the pain <laugh>

(45:49):
If it, if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not worth it. Yeah. <laugh> um, I, I guess, I mean, it’s, it’s the weirdest thing

(45:55):
I

(45:55):
Know, but then that’s what makes you do, uh, what you do so frequently is because you know how much it’s gonna hurt and every time you do it, it hurts less.

(46:04):
Yes. Yes. We were watching. Have you heard of this show? Um, undercover billionaire.

(46:11):
Yeah.

(46:12):
Oh my gosh. So we, we were watching the first few episodes of the first season, uh, just last night, which is why this is like so fresh in my mind and watching this guy, like get in this, beat up truck with a hundred bucks in his pocket and like a bag of clothes and toiletries and whatever. And like, that’s all he has to is name for this 90 day period. And watching how it kind of goes back to the relationship thing you were talking about, watching how he struggled, how he, he, this is a guy who was worth over 2 billion when he decided to do this. Right. Yeah. And watching him be really confident in the beginning and watching his confidence start to wane after four or five days of like, not hitting the goals that he set for himself. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And then, and then the, the self talk that he did out loud, obviously, cause it’s all being recorded, but the self talk that he did to set to, to buck himself up and say, I can’t give up, like if I give up, then it’s done and I’ll never have won.

(47:15):
Right. Right. And so it’s, and then watching how he started to bring people into a circle and how he empowered them and how he motivated them and how he got them excited to see his vision, because which ultimately comes back to you can’t do, he could never do that by himself. The only way he could accomplish what he did was having people who knew the area and having people who were knowledgeable about things and getting them on his team. And I just, so, you know, we, it was another guest actually brought up, uh, undercover billionaire as a resource. And we just got around to watching it last night. And I just thought it was so incredibly compelling because here’s a guy who’s made billions of dollars. And he went through the struggles that I know you and I have both experienced, you know, lack of confidence. Can I really do this? What am I doing? What was I thinking? And, and you’re like, oh, so it’s actually not about how much money you have. It’s actually about who you are woven into your fabric and who you’re, who you are pushing yourself to become.

(48:20):
Right. Right. There is, there is so much discovery of yourself, uh, in that process. And, um, uh, I find it interesting that you, you, you mention about how he’s, um, he’s struggled because I find that when I, you know, talk to so many people and hear about their stories, is that, um, a consistent theme that occurs with a lot of people who are success successful are, uh, they have gone through an event, uh, in their lives. Yeah. That cause them to suffer, whether it’s a, a, a health crisis, whether it’s a, a loss in, you know, a, a career or, uh, put in a bad place or some traumatic event that all of a sudden gets them to pick themselves up and fight 10 times harder. And, and it’s incredible that, uh, when you go through that, uh, it mirrors what we do, uh, not just here in our country, but in, in the world, like there’s, every program breaks you down to almost nothing and builds you up and you become that much stronger. Yeah. You can look at the education system, the military, you know, any type of bootcamp. Um, they break you down to your, nothing to start with the clean canvas and you, you get built up and it’s, it’s enlightening.

(49:43):
Yeah. Incredibly enlightening. Oh my gosh. Okay. So do you have any podcast books or other resources that you would recommend to the audience who is interested in continuing any part of this conversation or anything that’s helped you along your journey?

(50:00):
I did a podcast way back when, when I thought I was ready for one, um, it was with Eureka Morita for, from patents integrated. And she does a podcast on, I’m gonna butcher this. It’s non obvious and, um, oh, crap. I’m sorry. Eure Rico. I’m trying to, I’m trying to do this plug here. And, uh, it caught me off guard, but I, I got her name and company in there.

(50:26):
Okay, good. Perfect.

(50:28):
I, I do read a ton of books and I’m not saying that because I’m an ad reader because growing up, I sucked at reading <laugh>, but the current book that I’m in that keeps me plugged into the bigger picture would be by Carla Perez. And it’s called technical revolutions and financial capital.

(50:47):
Ooh.

(50:47):
Um, and

(50:48):
That’s a new one.

(50:50):
Oh yeah. It’s really cool. It’s it talks about the bubbles and different industry revolutions that have occurred and the patterns that occur with them.

(50:59):
Ooh, awesome. I love that. Okay. Excellent. Yeah.

(51:03):
Excellent. And if, if for what it’s worth, uh, there’s one that I, I, I read and it was helpful from, from, uh, uh, a gentleman named, uh, Jason Jans. And he gave me this book. He referred me to this book called falling upward.

(51:19):
Ooh. Okay,

(51:20):
Great. And that, that book is about, um, your stage in life, where you get to, uh, learning and trying to become something. And then the second half of your life is, um, doing it for a different purpose.

(51:36):
Awesome. I love that. Okay. Good. All right. So I’ll put those in the show notes so that everybody can find those resources. Jack, thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being so open. And I, I just, I love your sense of humor. So yeah, this, this was, this was really fun for me.

(51:57):
<laugh> I, I tried to keep it tidy, but no, this was, this wa didn’t even feel like, uh, this is not a criticism. I hope, but this didn’t feel like a podcast, but it just felt like you and I are just sitting around, chatting away at the fireside. Yeah,

(52:09):
Yeah. Which is exactly how we love to do it because it’s real, right. I mean, we could, we could be super polished and oh, we have to say this and this and not that, but that’s not how this journey works. That’s not how entrepreneurship works. It’s messy. It’s real. It’s, it’s raw. And so the podcast should reflect that. So that’s actually a huge form of compliment for me. So thank you for saying that. <laugh>

(52:32):
You bet. You bet. This has been fun.

(52:35):
Cool. Um, alright. So if listeners have questions they wanna get in touch with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

(52:42):
Uh, info at the quick, the quick co excuse me, that’s, uh, info@thequickcoo.com. I’m happy to help fellow entrepreneurs answer questions, whatever it is. Uh, I’m an open book as well, but, uh, I’m in the space of not just for this, uh, startup, but helping other people to find their path.

(53:04):
I love that. I love that. That’s very generous and, um, not surprising at all, given your journey and you have this, I just have to say this, you have this energy about you. You’re, you’re sarcastic and you’re funny and all that kind of stuff, but there’s this like, core of just calm in the middle of everything that you’ve said and sort of just how you’ve, how you’ve spoken. And I’m, I’m a little bit in awe of that. <laugh>

(53:28):
Well, I appreciate

(53:29):
That. Like, how did you do that? I mean, I, I, I know I’m, we’re supposed to be wrapping up, but like, how did you do that? Cuz there’s so many times where I don’t feel calm and you just have this sort of like, just keep walking forward energy. Like what did it take to discover that?

(53:46):
I don’t know. I just, maybe I’ve seen some shit, maybe not <laugh> but uh, but yeah, no, thank you. Yeah. And, uh, ho ho hopefully, hopefully this will, uh, help, help others kind of, uh, see the bigger landscape as well.

(53:59):
Yeah. That’s that’s awesome, Jack, thank you so much. This, this has been a great conversation. I, I really enjoyed having you on the show today, so thank you for taking the time and thank you for spending it with us.

(54:11):
Likewise. Keep doing what you’re doing.

(54:14):
I will. Thank you. All right. Y’all

Thank you for listening to this episode of Precursa: The Startup Journey. If you have an idea for a startup and you want to explore the proven process of turning your idea into a viable business, check us out at precursa.com. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode. Until next time…

(54:54):
It all starts with your idea. Scratch that your great idea. So you do your homework in because you’re a doer. You make a plan, you raise the capital, you find a good developer and boom, your app is born, but even the best plans for these great ideas rarely turn out. So linear testing, bugs, user feedback, and unforeseen setbacks can make an expensive mess of things. Did you know that on average, you’ll spend more than $600,000 over 36 months to realize zero revenue. In fact, in 20 18, 40 6% of startups failed because they lacked the experience and skillset to successfully navigate this challenging entrepreneurial journey, even worse, 42% of these great ideas failed simply because there was no market for the product in the first place. The good news there’s a better way. Precursa provides qualified, specific, experienced feedback from those who have taken this journey before. That’s the kind of informed research Google can’t provide. Precursa provides a time tested sequential roadmap, meaning you’ll always know the answer to the ever present question. Now what and Precursa has successfully navigated the stressful turbulent, but necessary steps to start of success. So when you’re ready to take the leap, your roadmap to successful launch is more direct with far fewer pitfalls.

(56:20):
We believe entrepreneurs like you change the world and we provide you with the best tools to get there.

 

Cynthia Del'Aria

Cynthia Del'Aria is a serial entrepreneur and tech startup ninja, specializing in product-market fit and idea validation and helping new entrepreneurs reserve their time and money for the idea with the best shot at success. With two successful exits before 30, an active high-profit-margin SaaS in the commercial airline space, and two additional startups in the works, she knows what it takes to traverse the entrepreneur journey, the highs, and the challenges of turning a vision into a successful, viable business.

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  • Denver, Colorado

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Copyright © 2021 Precursa  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Site Created by Natalie Jark

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