Aaron Jennings has been through quite the journey with his health and after another surgery 3 weeks ago, he remains strong and healthy and is enjoying time as a father and husband. His story is pretty unique as he’s been able to use some of the products his company makes in his latest surgery as well as be on the forefront of medical innovation by staying in touch with his industry connections. Listen to his amazing story and get inspired!
In addition to being a patient, you work in the medical industry. What drove you to do that?
He met someone in his mid twenties that recruited him to be in medical device sales. He got his start in orthopedics and moved out to the West coast.
How has it been managing work, personal, and family life with everything going on?
Aaron’s wife is amazing and has managed the household well. He has a strong support group of colleagues and he’s been lucky to leverage his industry connections for him to work with top surgeons
What’s the story with your brain surgeries?
Back in 2012 he had symptoms of headaches and vomiting and found he had a benign tumor the size of a tennis ball in his head. He was lucky enough to have it removed the next day. The tumor grew back at a rapid pace so he had it removed again then had radiation therapy. He got MRSA with that surgery and they had to remove his bone flap so he had an unprotected area of his skull. Aaron was the first patients to have a vascularized plate put in his head so his tissue has a lower chance of rejecting the plate.
Nick has struggled with asthma and when his school was hosting a hackathon, he thought there’s got to be a better solution to managing this huge medical condition than what’s already out there. A few years later and many years wiser, Nick has founded Strados Labs and is moving his medical invention to market. Learn what he’s overcome and advice that’s helped him get here.
Highlights from this interview:
Nick entered this field with experience in finance and was inspired by his struggles with asthma to create something better
Big progress lately:
Strados Labs has been winning several pitch competitions lately and getting lots of press (along with this podcast of course)
Feedback they’ve been getting that’s helped them win pitch competitions:
Define your problem, identify how you’re going to solve that problem, and make sure there’s a big enough market for it Read more »
Entrepreneurship and startups can be a tough environment and take a steely personality for sure. Combine that with several life transitions all at once and you’ve got a perfect storm of things to deal with. Most people will give you technical advice but business is more than just that which is why I want to be completely transparent and share my journey… to keep you motivated.
My life the past 100 days has been anything but easy with some HUGE life transitions and problems all happening at once…..then to top it off, the day I recorded this episode (Memorial Day), I had to drop my husband off at the airport to head to Afghanistan for a few months (his 7th deployment…but this one as a contractor).
I was featured on the Kate’s Take podcast (which is AMAZING by the way and you can listen to our episode on her show here) to talk about what I’d been through and the struggles that entrepreneurs and startups go through in terms of mindset and motivation and so many people reached out to me to let me know they enjoyed the episode. I thought it should be shared on my podcast too so this is the same audio.
It’s my birthday June 11 and I want to celebrate by helping others and have a fun contest going on. The winner will receive a pitch makeover or get help putting their pitch together if they don’t have one yet. I cover the details in this episode + I give some tips on pitching based on my experience and from working with the original Shark from Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington when we wrote our book “Put a Shark in Your Tank” together.
It’s no surprise startups are in constant fundraising mode for a while and Ezequiel of Apnosystems is no exception however, he shares with us what’s beyond the cash prize he’s currently chasing and gives us a glimpse into life as an Argentinian startup with some of the team in San Francisco.
Ezequeil and I discuss how a startup goes through phases just like that of his 2 small children. When they’re in the infancy stage, there isn’t much going on but as they mature, more things happen, new challenges arise, and it takes cooperation to address those challenges. The life of a startup is to get past those challenges and to keep going. He has 3 daughters and he makes time for his family and gives a HUGE shout out to his wife for keeping the family together.
I’m starting a live Q&A podcast on Facebook live and you can catch it by following Imua Services on Facebook.
the next live Q&A will be on Monday June 12. This will be a special episode because it’s the day after my birthday and I’m going to run a birthday challenge the week of June 4-11 and I’ll announce the winner LIVE on the podcast on June 12. Stay tuned for details. This episode I answer questions that were submitted to me beforehand. Some have to do specifically with med device product development, there are some personal questions, funny questions, and I give some great direction for those of you in the midst of product development. What do you think was the most random question asked and…keep an eye out for a cameo appearance if you watch the video version
Join our FREE book club and get a FREE audio book with a trial from audible.com! This month and next month we’re listening to / reading “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. More info and details here.
Questions & Answers:
#1.What should I do when I’m first starting out? If I have an idea and I’m not sure what to do with it?
I have the perfect fun little quiz for this you can check out athttp://imua-services.com/goodidea. Over there you’ll be able to find out some info about your idea and where you can go from there.
#2. What kind of food do you feed Abby? She looks like a really healthy pup.
She loves her Honest Kitchen Marvel formula which is turkey based. She used to really like the Zeal formula that’s fish based but she got kind of tired of that so we changed it.
#3. I’ve identified a pitch competition that I want to enter. This will be my first one and I want to know what I should focus on.
It’s difficult to answer this question without seeing what you’ve done so far but my Invention Idea to Profitable Product program may help. It’s designed to get you pitch ready and a fundable business in 100 days. All tricks of the trade in pitching plus the work you need to do beforehand to be successful. There is a video you can check out on this page for more info here.
Launch is a boutique co-working space provider with several locations in the greater D.C. / Maryland / Virginia area whose offerings go way beyond just space. Charlie talks in depth about his favorite parts of being a tenant there as well as one thing that makes them unique — startups get featured on their Launch Podcast! Speaking of that, we talk about how to leverage a podcast as a host and a guest for PR and to help amplify your company’s message.
When visiting Minneapolis for the Design of Medical Devices conference, I saw how much the innovation cycle is at work in the medical device / medtech industry. I interviewed the lab supervisor from the Medical Devices Center along with several students as part of the student design showcase that took place there. I’ve got several events coming up soon and for the details, visit our home base here.
This conference was an overview of what’s happening in the world of medical devices in the Mid West. University of Minnesota is a key player in feeding the innovation cycle. If you go back and listen to my podcast with Dr. Art Erdman, you’ll find that University of Minnesota has quite the impressive Medical Devices Center in which the university hosts a unique fellowship program comprising of Ph.D’s, M.Ds, engineers, and MBA’s to move medical innovation forward. The center takes on 9-12 teams each year to work on projects and push them towards commercialization.
It’s been about 3 1/2 years since Aaron started his company, Hardin Scientific and he’s now taking orders for pre sales on his lab incubator. Aaron has bootstrapped his way forward while working a full time job along with raising his son Lincoln and keeping his marriage strong. I got to help Aaron along about a year ago when I was building my Invention Idea to Profitable Product program and his feedback helped shape what it is today. Listen to how he’s made huge momentum in the past year.