Jane Chen (How to Embrace a warmer future)

In this episode of the Judgment Call Podcast Jane Chen and I talk about:

  • 00:02:04 The origin story of Embrace and how many babies have been saved by Jane’s work.
  • 00:09:35 How much of a role played the sales strategy in starting Embrace? How did that influence the company structure and funding?
  • 00:15:35 Why selling in the developing world (and especially India) is so hard for Silicon Valley companies.
  • 00:21:19 The challenges of moving and living in India. Why India is such a culture shock.
  • 00:31:33 Why you can see so much joy despite the despair in many poor countries and neighborhoods just like India. Where does true happiness come from?
  • 00:35:08 Is frustration necessary for learning?
  • 00:40:10 How customized should a curriculum be?
  • 00:43:11 Will the Singularity come to the Healthcare industry?
  • and much more

You may watch this episode on Youtube – The Judgment Call Podcast Episode #52 – Jane Chen (How to Embrace a warmer future).

Jane Chen is the co-founder of Embrace, a social enterprise startup that aims to help the 15 million premature and low birth-weight babies born every year, through a low-cost infant warmer.

Jane is also a TED speaker and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

You may learn more about Jane via her website.


Welcome to the Judgment Call Podcast, a podcast where I bring together some of the most curious minds on the planet. Risk takers, adventurers, travelers, investors, entrepreneurs and simply mindbogglers. To find all episodes of this show, simply go to Spotify, iTunes or YouTube or go to our website judgmentcallpodcast.com. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or subscribe to us on YouTube. This episode of the Judgment Call Podcast is sponsored by Mighty Travels Premium. Full disclosure, this is my business. We do at Mighty Travels Premium is to find the airfare deals that you really want. Thousands of subscribers have saved up to 95% in the airfare. Those include $150 round trip tickets to Hawaii for many cities in the US or $600 life let tickets in business class from the US to Asia or $100 business class life let tickets from Africa round trip all the way to Asia. In case you didn’t know, about half the world is open for business again and accepts travelers. Most of those countries are in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe. To try out Mighty Travels Premium, go to mightytravels.com slash MTP or if that’s too many letters for you, simply go to MTP, the number four and the letter U dot com to sign up for your 30 day free trial. So Jane, I heard about Embrace first, I think on a TED talk that I watched a couple of years ago and I thought it’s a fascinating idea that you, and I understand you’re the co founder, it’s an idea that you helped get out there in the real world. Help us understand what Embrace is a startup is about and how you played the pivotal role in starting that company. Sure. So the background of this problem is really around infant mortality. So 15 million preterm and underway babies are born every year around the world. Three million babies die in the first 28 days of their life. So that’s about six babies every minute. And it turns out one of the biggest problems these babies face is regulating their own body temperature or staying warm. And that’s the primary function of an incubator, but incubators in the U.S. are expensive. They cost $20,000 in upwards, they require electricity, they’re difficult to operate. So you don’t find them in remote parts of the world where many babies, many of these babies are dying. So when I was at Stanford doing my MBA back in 2007 was when I first started. I took a class at the design school there called Design for Extremism. And this is a course that brings together students of all the different graduate schools, all the disciplines to come together and create products, technologies with people living on less than a dollar a day. And so I worked with a PhD in electrical engineering and aerospace engineer, masters in computer science. And the challenge that was posed to my team was to build a baby incubator that costs less than one percent of the cost of a traditional incubator, which in the U.S. is about $20,000. So I think there’s a lot of students at Stanford that have a project right in their class, but very few actually make the start of out of this. Do you remember how many in your class actually used one of the projects that they went through or one of the case studies that they went through and they started the business later on? We were the only team that started a company out of Stanford. And so I worked with this amazing team. And as I was saying, we were given this challenge to create an incubator that costs one percent of the cost of a traditional incubator. But of course, none of us had any medical background, none of us had ever designed a product before. And so through this course, we learned the design thinking methodology, which we can talk about later. But through that, we were able to kind of develop a concept that, you know, for us, the biggest takeaway was having done research in India, met a woman who in a village in South India, who had given birth to a baby two months later, took her baby to a village doctor who said, you have to go to a city hospital so your baby can be placed in an incubator. And that hospital was over four hours away. She didn’t have the money to get there. And so her baby died. And if we traveled across the length and breadth of India, we would hear the same story over and over again. And so what became clear to us was that what was needed was not just, you know, a lower cost version of what exists, but something that can function without electricity, that can be used in a village clinic, that can be used by midwife or mother for self. And it was really those set of criteria that led us on the path to create our incubator. So coming back to your question, by the end of the class at Stanford, we had an idea that we knew we wanted to take forward. We weren’t sure how we were going to do that. You know, I think none of us who took the class and have anticipated that this would turn into an actual company and really come to a standstill. But I think at the end of the class, we just all decided, hey, we have this idea that if we don’t take this forward and bring this to the world, no one else is going to do this. And so we just kept at it and started, you know, applying to various business plan competitions, raising money. And I think it was really for me just seeing the commitment of the whole team being really bonded by this competition and purpose that allowed us to take this step forward. When you looked at that problem initially, you said there’s a lot of babies who could potentially be saved. How many children or babies are actually affected by that early problem in their life? And over the course of the product, and I think it’s out now for quite some time, how many babies do you think you’ve actually saved with your technology? Yeah, so, you know, the global problem is 15 million babies every year are born premature or underweight. So all of these babies are in need of temperature regulation. Three million babies die within the first 28 days of their life. So that’s six babies every minute. And so we’re looking at a massive problem here. And, you know, with the technology so far, we estimate, we started this 12 years ago, but took a number of years to develop the product and for it to enter the market. So over the course of this being in the market, we estimate we have saved close to 350,000 babies in 22 countries. And that’s a big number, but it’s really also just the tip of the iceberg. Yeah, that’s a massive number. I mean, that’s fantastic. That’s a new success story. I love that. When you said that earlier, there is a solution that seems to be available in most hospitals in the developed world, right? But you were specifically targeting the not so developed world. What is kind of the cutoff? So when you said earlier, India was one of the first countries you thought of. But what about Malaysia, like middle income countries? Would they have a solution already available in most cases? Or are they still looking for something that’s much cheaper? Yeah, it really varies. I think our product, one of the key advantages is it works without a constant supply of electricity. And that means a couple of things, right? For countries that don’t have a stable supply or regions of countries that don’t have a stable supply, this is a more appropriate product for those places. I was just recounting a story in my last call about a doctor who worked in a big city hospital and the electricity went out and all of the incubators stopped working. And they had a two pound baby in one of those incubators. And so they brought out our device and used it on that baby and he luckily survived. And that’s what made her a huge proponent of the product. And so even in places where like that where there’s big power outages, this product is a great solution. But also what that means is the product is portable and it allows for close mother to child interaction. And so you can imagine that also offering these huge benefits. And in developed countries or middle income countries, you can use this as a transport incubator. And it can sit right next to mom, which allows both for that interaction for ease of breastfeeding, bonding, so on and so forth. And so there’s a lot of advantages, I think, that are applicable to all countries, you know, regardless of the situation. And so for example, in a place like Indonesia, that’s a place where we started to implement our products kind of in the more remote islands. But you also have application for it in the big city hospitals as well. You know, you’re in a very special intersection of, I feel, where we all feel would love to have such a product that we want to solve that problem in the world. But on the other hand, we feel it’s so hard to make this from an entrepreneurial stance, it’s hard to sell something in Indonesia, right, coming from from Silicon Valley, because simply you use a different cost structure here. Tesla doesn’t make very cheap cars, for instance, it doesn’t make any cars for for Indonesia. There’s probably 10 Tesla in Indonesia. How did you, when you, when you guys initially looked at what you could do with this product and how much good you could do, how much did you guys worry about how hard it might be to sell this in the US? And how hard it might be to sell it outside of the US in really poor countries? Yeah, we specifically looked at the most challenging environments. So this was from the beginning. The challenge was a product that cost 1% of the cost of a traditional incubator. And so the first bit of research was done in Nepal. And then the second round of research was done in India. And so that was always the aim was that for places where there’s a lack of technology and a lack of appropriate medical care even, how can we reach the most vulnerable populations? And that’s kind of been the ethos behind this product. And the way I think about healthcare as well, you know, and the work that I do, which is how do you help the most vulnerable members of our society? You know, and I think that’s how humanity should be judged. Technology should not only be made for the most advantage, it should be made to benefit everyone. Yeah, the problem is typically you’ve got to decide pretty early in your life as a starter, do you want to be a nonprofit? And do you really want to basically see this as an intelligent donation? Right? So I think it’s something that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have really embraced when we talk about vaccines, or you say, well, we use the ability to basically the market is going to finance this. So customers is going to basically going to give us money. And with this investment, often you have to raise a couple of rounds before that. But the money that the customers give us, we make a product that is so good and so self sustaining, that we never going to need another financing round sooner or later, right? That might be BCDE round in Silicon Valley to speak. How did you guys make that decision? And are you looking back? Are you still happy with it? Yeah, that’s a great question. So we started as a nonprofit. We knew there’s a lot of risk at the time, an unproven team, we’re serving, you know, some of the poorest people in the world, that was our goal. And so we decided to start with that nonprofit model. And this was back in 2009, as we were graduating from Stanford. So we’re able to raise the first bit of money, get the clinical studies going, really advance the product development. And then a couple of years later, you know, I think this is when social impact investors were really coming into play around 2011, 2012, we had some investors approach us and say, hey, you know, we’d really be interested in funding this if you had a for profit arm. And so we actually ended up spitting out a for profit entity and had two organizations that sat side by side in what we call a hybrid structure, where the nonprofit took donations to donate the products of the neediest areas, supplement that with educational programs. And then the for profit was responsible for the more capital intensive things like the manufacturing, distribution, and then sales to both private clinics, to governments, and to multilaterals. And are you guys making money right now? Well, we have gone through a whole evolution. So I can tell you more. A couple years ago, we ended up spending out a consumer product. And we found that that even this model was was really challenging. In 2014, we had started to make money, and we were able to get distribution in about 10 states in India, which was fantastic for us. And then 2014 ended up being an election year in India. And it’s something our business was so based on government sales, we hadn’t anticipated kind of the impact of that. And a lot of the health ministers in the states we were working in changed hands, we kind of had to go back to to square one with a lot of these contracts, and that severely affected our business. And so at the same time, we were going through a big kind of financing and global distribution model with a medical health, a global medical device company. And about a week from signing the final paperwork on that deal in 2014, we found out that their healthcare CEO had been fired. And so they ended up pulling the plug on our financing after nine months of working on this and us believing that we saw the future in this partnership, for all the reasons that you mentioned all the challenges that we faced, we ended up that that did not go through. And so there’s a very serendipitous meeting that I had that ended up saving the company. But it really took, you know, force us to take a step back and reevaluate our business strategy. And in the absence of a global distributor is very hard for a small company to manufacture and distribute a single product on its own, the economics did not work out. And so we ended up launching in 2016, a consumer product that took our technology and incorporated it into a line of swaddles and sleeping bags for babies in the US. And attached to that is kind of a Tom shoes one for one model. So for every baby that for every swaddle or blanket that we sell little lotus swaddle or blanket, we have to save a baby in a developing country with the embrace incubator. So that’s kind of been the evolution of the business model. And I think this is really important because as we think about design thinking and innovation, we often think about that with regards to products or services. And I think it’s important to be flexible enough to like evolve that business model as well. I think it’s really challenging as a Silicon Valley starter or anywhere from the developed world with the cost structure that you simply have and the expectations that you have when you raise money, right? You want really outsized return. That means money that comes in. So for some reason, customers really reward you richly. It’s very difficult to sell to the developing world. It’s not impossible, but it’s really rare. I used to have a startup and be sold software to lots of companies in Europe, but also to automotive manufacturers in India. I’m actually signed up a couple of automotive manufacturers, but they were basically, they were not necessarily domestic companies anymore. They were just newly liberalized and they were joint ventures with Japanese companies. So literally they were Japanese companies with an Indian name on it. So that worked. But if we feel they were, we also sold to the same software to automotive suppliers, so smaller companies in India, we didn’t even get a meeting because the cost structures and what they would have paid for it, it just made no sense. And I think the smaller you get, the smaller the packages, the more tricky it gets. And I think a lot of revenue, even from the internet giants, most of their revenue comes from Europe, the US, and then they are selling their products, so to speak. They have lots of views in Indonesia and India, but they make barely any money from that. So the company cannot, I’m trying to come up with any company that really worked out that model where they came out of California and basically just made money because their product was a good fit there in developing economies. I’m trying to search for one. I don’t know, but you probably looked at this way more. Well, you know, it’s interesting. There’s another company that came out of Stanford the year before, out of the same class the year before, Brace did called Delight and they do solar charged lights that are fairly inexpensive. And I think they have figured out a business model and distributed millions of units and have become profitable in the process. But that’s a different undertaking. I think for us, one of the big challenges, and you referred to this earlier, was that it’s a medical device. And so not only are you working within the restraints of a developing country, and again, us trying to serve some of the poorest customers in the world, but it’s also a medical device, which means for adoption from the government or from multilateral agencies or anyone who can buy at scale, you now have regulatory challenges. You have the question of clinical studies and how what extent of clinical studies are enough. And we kept running up against this where we would have adopters, but then we would head up against this wall where folks would say to us, well, we need to see a five year multicenter randomized control trial, right, and to really buy this. And it seems just like such a safe innocuous product. But I think that there’s so much risk aversion in public health and in healthcare in general, that it’s really hard for innovations to come up and for and to get those off the ground. And for us, you know, what we faced in India was a private sector that was extremely fragmented, which meant the cost of sales and distribution is really high when you’re selling door to door at these various clinics. The only people who can really buy in bulk in countries like this are the government, right. And then so what are the barriers to selling to the government? And those can often be very opaque systems. And that’s a nice name for what I would expect there. I mean, I admire you guys that you even try it. I think this is this just shows how much love you guys have for the babies that you save. And I think the non profit arm is certainly something that would come to mind. For me, that’s the much easier run. I think the pivot that you guys did to the consumer model is the right thing to do. So you get from the non profit arm, you get the PR and you know, you get the embrace so to speak from how well you develop this company and how well intended it is, and then you can actually make money. So I think that’s a lovely pivot that you guys did. Hey, so that’s what we returned to you in the end, you know, I don’t think we found the kind of magic key to selling this in the in the in these countries. But we really want to just stay on course with our mission. And so a lot of our efforts have been redirected to that nonprofit. And we wanted to keep the distribution of the incubators a nonprofit activity, because we don’t want a bureaucracy that we face in governments, etc, to prevent babies from having access to that. And so that kind of drove that decision as well. And I know you moved to India for quite some time to really, let’s again, shows your ambition and shows the sacrifice you’re you’re ready to go under. I moved to India for for a year and I Wow, it was amazing. But it was also a sacrifice also suffered. The things were polluted. I had trouble connecting at times with people. I had trouble just keeping my health up. Not because the food was bad, I love Indian food 24 seven. But it was but it was an environment that was a big challenge to me and I had to change all my habits. I couldn’t go for an outdoor run, for instance, I had to go for finding an indoor place where I can can actually play tennis or I had to drive really far outside the city in New Delhi, where you there’s no more smoke and you can just, I don’t can go and run or you can go to play around a golf. So I thought I had to change a lot of habits that I that I loved. Eventually I loved it too. I realized it’s a bit of my second home spiritual home. Do I have no idea how it actually works, right? I learned a couple of bits pieces, but I still I don’t even know much Hindi. What was your experience and I think you spent a couple of years there, right? Four years there. Yeah. It’s a long time. It’s a long time. Where were you in India? I was in Delhi in Gorgon, outside of the main city, outside of the capital. Got it. Yeah, I think all of the things you talked about, I experienced. It’s funny you mentioned running outside because that was the thing I missed most about being in India. You can’t go for a run outside. It’s very challenging. The air is so polluted, the roads are uneven. And so when I finally moved back to San Francisco, I chose a place where I could run outside every day. But yeah, it was extremely challenging on every level. And I had lived in Tanzania before that, doing HIV AIDS work. I’ve lived in, you know, remote parts of China before. And this was India was the most challenging environment that I had been in for a number of reasons. Everything that you said, it’s like a sensory overload in every way, the sights, the smells, everything about it. I mean, I think it is the most culturally diverse place I’ve ever been to. And it’s so rich with tradition. That makes it amazing. It’s also diverse in that every state has a different, not only spoken language, but a written language as well. And so imagine doing business in a country like India, right? Every state you’re treating them with is its own independent country. But I found everything hard there. As I said, like we had to work within these very corrupt and opaque systems. And I think the sense of professionalism was very different. It’s one thing to visit India, another thing to do business there, another thing to start a company there, and being able to recruit a team and then really be able to connect with that team culturally. That was challenging. So every, every part of what you said, it was definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. And I think with embrace, you know, the issue we’re working on, we were surrounded by death and poverty on a daily basis. You know, I remember the first time I walked into a needle needle intensive care unit, I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t even breathe. You know, I saw multiple babies just crammed into incubators with insects crawling all over them. I remember looking at the floor and there were two infant corpses in boxes, you know, and that scene would soon become my daily reality. And so, you know, I think I learned a couple of really important things in that process. And, you know, we touched briefly on this idea of leadership, but something I often say is the importance as a leader to feel all of your feelings and to be vulnerable. And I think those first year, the first year I was in India, I thought a CEO has to just be composed all the time and have it all together and, you know, look a certain way. But again, the issues we were working on were inherently very sad. And so I remember one day I had this team meeting and I can’t remember what happened, but I just like broke down and I started crying in front of my team. And afterwards I felt so embarrassed. But my head of operations, and it was all men reporting to me at that time, but I remember my head of operations came up to me and he said, you know, thank you so much for being vulnerable. Because when you’re vulnerable, it gives us permission to be vulnerable as well. And I think I learned this great lesson about leadership that day, which is great leaders lead with authenticity, which requires that we tap into that vulnerability, and that we acknowledge everything that we’re feeling so that we can process those feelings. And I bring this up because I think this is especially important in today’s environment with COVID and everything happening, all this heightened fear, anxiety, everything else, rather than, you know, repressing and pretending it’s like it’s not there. I think it’s important to acknowledge it and be with it and allow ourselves to process what we’re going through. But the other really big lesson I learned at that time, and I’m sure you felt some of this as well. I just remember a couple years in, I felt so jaded working in that environment, you know, dealing with death and poverty on a daily basis, working in these corrupt government systems. And then one day I woke up and I remember thinking and just realizing this light bulb went off. And I realized that for every horrible thing that I saw, I saw something equally beautiful, you know, all these people, thousands of people would come together to help embrace in our mission. I would go to these villages and meet doctors who would see patients all night, you know, purely out of the goodness of their hearts. And the most beautiful thing I got to see in my work was really the love a parent has for their child. Because I saw that parents, no matter how poor or uneducated or impoverished, they would do anything to save their children. You know, I met parents who had sold every last belonging so their child could have a night in the hospital. Moms who slept on the dirt floor outside of the neonatal intensive care unit as their babies were being cared for. And I think that’s really when I woke up today, I realized that’s the beauty I get to see every day in my work. And so I often say to people, choose to see the world through the lens of beauty. Because when you do that, then that will inspire you to keep wanting to change the world. And this isn’t to say to ignore the bad and pretend like that’s not there, but really to have an intentional perspective. So to see the whole picture. Yeah, I think you’re really touching on a very important point there. That was also my experience. And I’ve been to 130 different countries, but India is certainly one of the most intense I can imagine and I’ve experienced. And I think a lot of people have this kind of, they put their hand in the head in the sand. And we don’t want to see that poverty because it will change my mental model of the world. I don’t want to be exposed to all these poor people. I don’t want to be exposed to dying, right? I just pretend everyone lives forever. And I just pretend there is no poverty and there is no human suffering. Because around me, I close my eyes and I only go to these Twitter feeds, but this doesn’t happen. And I think this is the wrong way. I think we need this and we need our comfort zones for sure. But we got to figure out where is this real life. And I admire you that you really went into India for such a long time, because I know how hard it is. And I had the opportunity later and always declined. And I’m like, I’m going back for two years, for two weeks, right? But never for two years. I just couldn’t do it. And a lot of people are very consciously blocking out countries where they consider too poor, right? Sri Lanka. They don’t want to go to Indonesia. They don’t want to go to Egypt. They don’t want to go to most of subaharan Africa because it’s dangerous. And there’s poor people. I’m like, well, but these poor people are there and they suffer with or without you. So you’re not making it worse by going there. Most likely you make it a lot slightly better because you do something useful. I mean, at least you spend some money, which makes people look maybe slightly better off. And this isn’t easy to instill the sense of awareness. And maybe it’s a, I wouldn’t call it adventurousness, but there is this, and I think the internet has just made it worse. There is this idea that you just, you customize your world and these negative things don’t happen, right? So you don’t, you don’t feel responsible for it. You’re like, maybe say something nice on your Twitter feed every two months and maybe give a few dollars to do your favorite charity. But that is, in my mind, is not helping. What is really helping is to see the world’s problems and then live with this responsibility and do something about it ideally, but at least like recognize it in your mental model. I think a lot of people never get there. And that’s, that’s really sad from my point of view. Yeah. Yeah. And I want to add to that that, you know, it’s not, you look at these people as like victims or they’re, they’re just suffering and there’s plenty of that out there, you know, and that, and having empathy, I think really compelled people to want to do something about the situation. But there’s a lot of joy too, right? And I see people as, as we worked with our customers, they weren’t, we’re creating solutions for them, but they were also partners in the process and it wasn’t like we were looking down on them in any way, you know, and just really seeing them as whole people was really helpful to me as well, that, that there is suffering, but there’s also this immense joy and beauty as well. And in some of the poorest places I’ve been to, I see more of that than anywhere else because the focus is really on what matters, which to me is really kind of the family, the community, you know, it’s not about the race to get the next fancy car or house, but there’s something about the simplicity of that situation that gets people really focused around the things that matter. Well, I, I find it really stunning that you can kind of, you consciously sign up and say, oh, I don’t, I don’t worry about materialism, but it’s really hard to shake it here once you’re part of that society in the US because some, it’s fun and what’s wrong with that, right? I’m not saying materialism is wrong, it’s, it’s good, right? It kind of drives innovation and it creates that pressure that entrepreneurs can, can find opportunities without change and without this new opportunities, entrepreneurship is that because then we can just, it’s like socialism, right? We, we, we, I grew up with socialism and we had one kind of bread and it worked, right? But you won’t starve to death because you have always had plenty of bread, but it’s really, really boring and your soul just gets crushed after some time. So materialism is, is quite a part of that, but I have this suspicion and I, I’ve been debating a couple of people on, on Reddit the last couple of days. I have this suspicion from my personal travels and when I lived abroad that a lot of poor countries, not every poor country, but in general, I see a lot of giants you say in a lot of poor countries. I actually have that impression and again, I’m, I’m my dear foreigner, I might not see the whole thing. I feel there is a certain joy and community and intensity and less anxiety than what we have here. And when you read the service, people say, oh, the happiest countries are in Norway, you know, Northern Europe. And I mean, I grew up there and believe me, those are not the happiest countries I’ve ever seen in my life. From my personal perspective, you know, I might be biased, that might be the case, but it’s a very different kind of, it’s more of a comfortable, negative outlook. But right now I’m good. That’s, that’s a very different kind of positivity that you see in Northern Europe than what you see when you say they’re going to Sub Saharan Africa or even in the good India. Yeah, yeah, definitely. And you know, and I have been thinking about this issue a lot, actually. And, you know, what I’ve, the realization I’ve come to is that true happiness comes from within, meaning when we place too much emphasis and we overindex on external things, validation, materials, like we think those things are going to make us happy. But I think one of the things this pandemic has shown us is there’s so much uncertainty, right? We don’t know what outcomes are going to be like our whole world changed overnight. And so the things that if we were tying our kind of happiness or success to some kind of external validation or outcome, that, that whole model has been disrupted now. And that’s something I’ve really seen that when we can focus on, I think just move to social media and online. I don’t know if, I don’t know if people have really gotten the message. I mean, I would be very hopeful if that’s your observation, but I feel like they just said, well, I just watch Netflix and I, you know, find my happiness and Reddit, Twitter and Facebook for a while to look like that. Maybe they are finally overcoming this. Oh, well, no, they think that makes them happy, but then you don’t get that like on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, right? And you’re so, you’re so subject to these things happening or not having that dictates your whole sense of happiness. And we’re seeing this a lot with depression rates, skyrocketing amongst teens, especially teenage girls, right? And the pressure to look a certain way or be a certain way, and then you’ll be okay. If you get this many likes on Instagram or whatever, you know, then you’re going to be okay, then you’ll feel loved. And I think when you really think about it, for me, that like the core of all of our problems comes down to two questions. One, am I enough? And two, therefore, am I worthy of love? Right? And everything is to prove this thing. But if we are basing that on what happens externally, that is so subject to the volatility of the world, right? And things can change in an instant, as I mentioned, we’ve seen. But if we can source that internally, and believe that we are inherently worthy of love, just as we are, we don’t have to look a certain way, be a certain way, achieve a certain thing, I think that’s where real resilience comes from. Yeah, I think it’s part of the equation. I know where you’re coming from. And I think it’s definitely a positive way to handle this. But on the other hand, I was just, I was researching learning, right? And how do we get motivated to learning? And any kind of learning, adults, kids, whatever. And it seems to be, and I’m not sure about that. I’m still researching this. It seems to be that it’s an event of frustration. For some reason, we’re not good enough. We couldn’t get the math to work. We can’t get our computer installed. It is some kind of frustration that we feel we are not as good as other people we assume, right? We can have a wrong impression, because other people wouldn’t have gotten it right as well. Or we get like an in person impression where we feel like, well, this person just gets it done much quicker. So I need to rise up to this level, right? A lot of research and learning is actually, which is surprising to me, I didn’t know that either. It’s a biochemical reaction and your aphidream is being released. And your brain remembers this negative frustrating moment. And that gives you motivation to learn. But in turn, it’s an external validation, right? So if you don’t get the external validation, then you might learn. And I feel what we are into right now is at least in certain areas of what we can observe. We’re going towards a singularity. There’s tons of new technology coming online that just changes everything in like six months, right? It takes two months now for a new app to take off and have 100 million users. So I think this is where this uncertainty and this negativity comes from. Because we see this enormous amount of change. And we feel like, whoa, I should know that I should have known that. And then we get really frustrated. Right. Yeah. Yeah, I want to challenge that a little bit, because I’ve been doing research on this as well. And studies have shown this idea of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. And what happens when let’s say a student wants to become a doctor, because their parents told them to, to get validation from their parents versus, I want to become a doctor because I really want to help people. And you actually see like success rates higher for people who are really driven by that intrinsic motivation versus the extrinsic, and also lower levels of anxiety and a number of other effects that go along with that. There’s this book that you might have read, Growth Mindset by, or Mindset by Carol Black, right. And so she talks a lot about this as well. And there’s tons of studies to support this. But that book really blew my mind. And this is kind of an older book. Now, I think I read it over 10 years ago. But what they were looking at was, you know, with, with the people who are again, kind of motivated not by this one external outcome, but by this idea of growth, I’m growing and learning in the process. So I don’t have to get this thing perfectly right. I don’t have to get the answer right. I don’t have to achieve this one specific outcome. But I’m growing and learning along the way. She has tons of studies that show that those are the students who are the most resilient interests of continuing to pursue these goals that take a lot of time and effort. And they believe that it’s about the effort you put in. That’s really what’s important as opposed to that outcome. And so that’s something I really talk about a lot and something I’ve learned from my own journey at embrace. What I, you know, we have almost gone bankrupt multiple times. I’ve almost had the, you know, I’ve had the rug pulled out from underneath me a number of times, and I can tell you more about those experiences. But they’ve really taught me to let go of outcomes and focus on values instead. And I talk about this a lot to other entrepreneurs. And for me, what that means is, am I growing? Am I acting with love? And am I contributing to others? And those are all things that aren’t, they’re not necessarily about the outcome. They’re about the intention that I put into something. And I kind of believe, and this is a very Buddhist philosophy, but that, you know, you give your best effort to something, you put that intention in, and then you let go of the outcome. And in my life anyway, when I’ve been able to do that, and sometimes I’ve been forced to do that, that’s when things have worked out the best. And that’s led to me being happy. You just can’t tell any venture capitalists about that. If you tell them the journey is the destination, that’s a pass, you’re going to be a pass. No, but it’s absolutely true. I think if you catch them in a quiet minute, I think everyone, and even in the technology industry, which is on this hyper growth and outcome path, they will realize this sooner or later, right, it might take a little longer. But it’s something, it’s difficult for young entrepreneurs, because we dangle this care right in front of them. And then at one point, you say 10 years later, oh, by the way, it doesn’t really matter. It was just about the journey, right? But I feel like for, if an eight year old to tell them the journey is the most important thing, I’m not sure it’s so good, because, you know, they’re kind of lazy and they rather stay in bed and play video games instead of creating a business. So maybe we need both. I don’t know, I haven’t thought about that, but it is a big topic right now that I’ve been trying to learn more about is how do we find the perfect curriculum. So instead of telling people what they should learn when they are younger, and showing them a couple of role models, like that’s what we’ve been doing so far. We told them, okay, this is school, there’s a couple of role models, is what you could be in life, take a pic, that’s it, that’s the like 10 outcomes you can choose from or 100 outcomes, whatever the number is, relatively limited. And now we transition into this knowledge economy, where everything’s super customized. So no student will have the same curriculum anymore. Nobody will have the same grading anymore. We have tons of other options that you can do. And for most of the time, you just, well, this is maybe there’s one innovation in your whole life, that’s really important. But the rest of your life, it doesn’t really matter. So it is more journey. But I don’t know if I’m ready to tell this to my 13 year old children. You know, I really recommend you read this book, if you haven’t Carol Druckweig, because there’s a study in there. I’m not going to get the I just reread it recently. So I’m not going to get all the facts right. But I think what they did was administer puzzles to kids in elementary school. I can’t remember how old they were. And with one set of kids, they, they gave them a rating on how well they did the puzzle. And on the other, they just said, you know, have fun with it and go out and do this. And for the kids who were actually scored when they were given the challenge, the option to do a even more challenging version of the puzzle, they didn’t want to do that for fear of failure and not being able to reach some score. Whereas with this other group, it was like a no brain. Of course, they wanted to do the harder puzzle because they were being valued on learning and growing and experimenting. And so I think this is really important in terms of the way we do think about our education system and how we reward our youth and what aspects of yeah, that that we reward. And so if I were to teach a class, I would really be about this, this model of learning and growing and experimenting. Because I don’t know about your life of my life, but that’s not turned out the way I expected when I was 13 or 21 even. And it’s been twists and turns and failures along the way. Those are the things that define who I am. But what I found really strange, I’m fully with you, I think in this theory speaks for it. And there’s a lot of evidence. But I mean, the world is changing anyways. So, but on the other hand, I’m a parent and I see what happens if I just tell them, do whatever you want. There is some good outcomes, but it’s say one out of 10. And I’m not sure if I’m ready to live with the 90% downside, right? That’s there. So I think, and that happens to us because we see kind of a, you know, a more concise version of what our parents really wanted to tell us. But they were also not parents before, right? They were children too. And maybe it’s a natural process people go through. Maybe not. I’m really having, I’m just thinking out loud. I haven’t made up my mind. I agree. It’s a fun discussion to have. And I know I think that it is important to also have some bounds, and especially if it shows some boundaries, and it’s not just this, you know, go do whatever you want and figure it out. But as I said, you know, just from my personal experience, like when I put on that filter of, am I acting with love and compassion? Am I helping other people? Am I growing in the process? Then that kind of shakes those things that I do. Yeah. I want to go to another topic. And we’ve touched on it briefly earlier. There is a lot of expectation, especially in Silicon Valley, that people believe we should change the world. And we should not just change it by making software eat the world. We should bring that doubling of capacity every 18 months, which basically is the Moore’s law, which is coming out the semiconductor and has got software and from software has come to many other industries. But it seems to be stuck in some industries. One of them is the healthcare industry, which seems to be extremely expensive in the US. Way more, I grew up in Europe. It’s way cheaper there in terms of GDP, percentage of GDP. It’s hard to figure out if it’s really worse. Maybe it is, but it’s most of the instances, it doesn’t seem so. And there seems to be a huge need for healthcare innovations, because pretty much everyone is still dying. I would say everyone is dying, unless your records while you have secured the supercomputer. So we are not really making a lot of progress. We live slightly longer. And it seems innovation as how we want to, what we’ve been getting used to from the iPhones and from software hasn’t happened in healthcare. And I was curious if you have used and you’ve been in that industry and you had that problem, if you see there is this something we can fix, is there an easy answer for us? Yeah, well, I think, as I said earlier, I think there’s a couple of issues when it comes to healthcare. I think one, we have this kind of, I don’t know if it’s outdated, but it’s an old regulatory system that makes the barriers to entry very high. And so to be able to go through all of these clinical studies, get FDA approval or CE mark, whatever it might be, is a cumbersome process. It’s very expensive. And so I think that alone is a deterrent for more healthcare innovation. And then even if you have the innovation, then there’s a ton of risk aversion for liability reasons, all these other things. And so I’ve seen that there’s kind of been a risk aversion to adopting new technologies. It’s very hard to get, I think, the medical world to kind of shift their practices from what’s been done for decades into something new. And so for all of these reasons, I think we do see less innovation. And actually, one of the things that I feel inspired by is with what’s happened with COVID, there’s been a fast tracking of innovations related to the pandemic on the regulatory front. And so you actually, and we’ll probably see these innovations in the markets soon, but you are seeing the ability for the government to kind of fast track some of this stuff and to allow that process to go faster. And I am seeing that that is spurring some innovation. But I think in the absence of that, it’s just a very, very challenging road to be in. It’s funny, when I look back on the embraced business plan, the first ones we thought, in a year, we would achieve all our goals if my co founder and I thought we’d move to India and solve this problem. But of course, it’s 12 years in, we’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg. And so that’s the other thing, I think, to really make impact in this space requires a long term commitment. And it’s not one of those things. It’s not like a software company, you’re going to go in and exit, and that’s going to be it. These are things that require oftentimes, I mean, there’s software, of course, in our case, it’s hardware. So there’s the manufacturing process as well, there’s quality control, there’s so many aspects. It’s a very complicated undertaking. And so I think that also prevents people from wanting to go into this space versus something very sexy like software or an app. Well, there’s a shining exception to the slow growth in healthcare, which is biotech companies, right? So they model along for the longest time, nothing really happens. And then someone gets wind in the pharma industry that this thing might actually work. And then you just exit for three billion and you never hear from them again. And then you probably don’t even use it, right? So you don’t even bring it to market. So it’s pretty strange that that’s the sector of the healthcare industry. The rest, I feel of healthcare is kind of run like a Soviet style prison cap. You know, there’s rules, rules, rules, but actually they don’t really matter to anyone. Everyone is just trying to muddle through and stay in the system, have enough bread and not die the next day. Right, exactly. We came up with all this regulation. Obviously it was Valentine, we want to protect people. And I’m not saying that we should get rid of the regulations, but we should carve out, from my point of view, a permissionless environment for innovation. It’s somewhere there and whatever that is, that might be just, you can only go up to 100 patients or you can only go to five patients, whatever that is, there should be an area where we actually see what input produces, what output, because it seems to be irrelevant outside of a small OTC sector, right? Like pharmacies, when you pay cash, they probably have that. Like a lot of this is very, like when you buy like pain medicine in the US, it’s very cost competitive. You probably pay more in most other countries. But everything you get from a real pharmacy is like a factor, by a factor of 100 cheaper in Indonesia, but it’s exact same substance that you get. Very strange. So if we find a way to allow permissionless innovation to run wild for a couple of years, and we should put a lid on it, we should know what’s going on there, but we shouldn’t really worry about what actually is going on. If we just define the boundaries, and then we become a certain cost structure that’s transparent, I think it would make the whole market quite different, and we can export it finally, right? None of our healthcare innovations, and you might be the exception. But generally, none of our healthcare innovations is being exported, because it’s too expensive. Everybody has already cloned that made it cheaper, and it’s already running in one other country. That’s a very different cost basis. Yes, absolutely. And you have to remember, in our case, we designed for those markets. It wasn’t something designed for the US market and then transported. So it’s a very different proposition here. I think you hit the nail on the head. I think that there has to be, you know, I think the way the regulatory system currently works is the thinking is safety at any cost, right? And so that’s what’s really driving up the cost. But is that really the way to think about it? And I’m not saying there shouldn’t be regulation. Of course, there should be. But, yeah, is there a different framework to think about this that can encourage more innovation? And then, you know, with the clinical studies and everything else, that was a huge challenge that we ran up against, that we ran up against, is there an ability to subsidize or to have centers that are dedicated to that, again, for the sake of encouraging more innovation? Because I think you’re right, you know, in the biotech sector, we do see that. But in the rest of healthcare, it’s very discouraging. And because of that, you’re not, you’re probably not attracting, you know, some of the best talents out there who are graduating from these schools and wanting to do something where it’s more fast paced where they can see that impact and that exit right away. So it’s kind of this negative reinforcing cycle. Well, one thing that I’m quite hopeful about is the whole sector of biohacking where you basically come up with things you want to do to your own body, that might be some kind of food, that might be some supplements you take, that might be things you cook in your own little pressure cooker, you know, some people go to extremes and they have all kinds of sensors in their arms. That’s kind of, that’s very permissionless, right? So if you mess up your own health, I think nobody can say anything about it. It’s only if you go to someone else in some professional capacity when this regulation becomes important. Yeah, I like that. But yeah, it’ll be fun to see what happens there. Well, one of these guys might figure out how to live forever, you know, then this problem is solved. And then there’s a lot of research and I think there’s a lot of small trials and they’re all just in smaller mammals and mice. But in aging seems to progress rapidly. There seems to be a lot of progress in order to set the clock to any age, body age we want. So we can even take an 80 year old and set them back to 28 year old. And that seems to be able to do, it’s still in its infancy, but it’s not really complicated, so to speak. I mean, there’s a set of drugs and there’s a set of knowledge that you need to have. But the researchers that listen to, they seem extremely confident. So maybe that’s what’s going to happen. I know, it’s kind of scary to think about that. Because I think healthcare is a failure because we all die, which is terrible, right? Imagine you go to a plumber and you know that in a certain time frame from now, like relatively soon, you die anyways, irrespective of what the plumber does. So why do you even hire him? Yeah, I suppose I think there’s something about our mortality that makes us appreciate the time that we do out here, right? So I think it sounds better than what it is. Because I mean, I can still appreciate mortality if I turn 5000 years, right? It’s still in end, but it doesn’t have to be 100, it can be a million years, right? So what is that level that you really have to appreciate? Thanks for doing this, Jane. Thanks for coming on the podcast. It’s awesome. Sure, sorry for all the tech issues. Thank you for having me.

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