PODCAST EP 96
Apéro Label’s branding and eCommerce journey with Laz Smith
Simon chats with Laz Smith, Co-founder and General Manager of Apéro Label, about Apéro's branding and eCommerce journey.Listen Now
Charles Cornish is the CEO of DoseMe.
You can connect with Charles on LinkedIn.
Simon Dell:So, welcome to the show, Charles. How are you?
Charles Cornish: I’m well, thanks Simon. How are you?
Simon Dell:Good. I’m very good, indeed. And as I would’ve said in the introduction, this is quite exciting because this is the first time I’ve done one face-to-face so it kind of feels a bit awkward, strange, weird, all those kind of things. So, currently CEO of DoseMe, can you give us, to the non-medical, uninitiated people out there, a quick explanation of what DoseMe actually does?
Charles Cornish:DoseMe is clinical decision support software. It’s used by physicians or healthcare professionals in their day-to-day activities when they’re making decisions around dosing of complex drugs, primarily in the hospital setting but also where infusion bags are given in the home or infusion centers.
Simon Dell: And I’ve seen the list of these drugs and I’ve never heard of any of them prior to meeting you guys. What are these drugs used for?
Charles Cornish: The reason why you probably haven’t heard of them is because they’re used in the acute hospital setting, and you may not be conscious when they’re being given to you. And often as you know, the doctors are in such a hurry they don’t have time to explain what the drugs are that they’re giving you, that’s why you haven’t heard of the drugs before. But they are antibiotics, they’re aminoglycosides, some of them are chemotherapy drugs. These are drugs which sit within what’s called a narrow therapeutic range. They vary the way they respond to the patient or how the patient responds to them significantly depending on the patient’s pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile.
Simon Dell:That’s a lot of long words.
Charles Cornish: It is, yeah.
Simon Dell:And I guess the interesting thing for me when we first started talking about this, is that that misdiagnosis of drugs, certainly in the US, is a massive issue and causes more deaths than… I can’t remember the statistic.
Charles Cornish: There’s a statistic that came out that adverse drug events caused in the hospital setting is the fourth largest killer of Americans. If you then peel that back even further, 75% of adverse drug events relate to dosing, so we’re addressing that problem.
Simon Dell: Saving lives as well as everything else.
Charles Cornish: And having fun doing it.
Simon Dell: A couple of things, again, for everyone out there. DoseMe is an Australian company, been around three years now, started by Dr. Rob McLeay. Why is Rob not the CEO, and why are you the CEO?
Charles Cornish:Rob is a scientist and a researcher. He could very well be the CEO. I think what happened was the investors at the time were looking for someone to take the pressure off Rob and tripped over me. I am not a scientist or a researcher, and so it was either not me or I take the role of CEO.
Simon Dell: I guess that’s a very sensible decision that a lot of business owners don’t really think about, is that sometimes the creator of the business isn’t necessarily the best person to grow the business.
Charles Cornish: Yeah, and Rob didn’t have a commercial CV. He hadn’t run businesses before whereas I have, and I have had experience in the healthcare space. To be honest, Rob’s an easy guy to work with so it was an easy decision for me. Rob also doesn’t have the type of ego that a lot of founders may have when they need to be in control of everything.
Simon Dell: It’s been going for three years. There’s a couple of things that I think are really interesting about the business as it stands. Number one is that you guys have a very long sales cycle or you can have a very long sales cycle. Explain why that is and how long it might take from point of meeting someone to actually signing a contract.
Charles Cornish: A lot of people think it’s because it’s a difficult product to roll out into a hospital. The fact is that a hospital that wants to use DoseMe can literally turn it on inside of their hospital and be using it within two minutes. It’s not a hardware roll out. It’s not a training. It’s not a culture. It’s not a change management problem. It just relates to a decision that needs to be made within a very large organization where they’re caring for people.
There’s that risk element. Hospitals are rightly risk-averse. They don’t want to make decisions that may risk their patient at all, and it’s even harder for early stage businesses where they don’t have big brands to fall back on. Individuals are making these decisions, and if they make the wrong decision, their jobs could be at risk in much the same way that patients could be if they don’t make the right decision.
Simon Dell:Again, when you talk about people that sell things like software and those kind of things that do have those long sales cycles, how do you keep someone engaged in that whole time? Because you know, I’d imagine that even during that sales time, you might see that people leave a hospital or new people come and you might have to start all over again.
Charles Cornish: Yeah, we do, and that does happen from time to time. Fortunately, with the software that we’ve created, when we were building this solution, we focused heavily on two elements: One was the science and the other one was the user experience. When you’re building software that has a glorious user experience… Our friends over at Zero, they have a similar attitude where they’re making accounting beautiful. We want to make clinical decision support beautiful.
Our primary user is a pharmacist. What would happen is pharmacists all of a sudden start using DoseMe and it just makes their lives so much better. We have that energy. It provides enough energy for these early adopters or these people that know that the sales cycle is very long to continue to fight for it.
Simon Dell:Is it a challenge, you guys being an Australian-based company when the large portion of your marketplace is in the US?
Charles Cornish: It was originally. We did a couple of things very well looking back. We set up a small base in Houston at a place called the Texas Medical Center which Trade and Investment Queensland introduced us to. We set up a hot desk in the Texas Medical Center which has 18 hospitals that are all as large as Royal Brisbane or Royal Melbourne, all of these larger hospitals. So, what we had was automatically an assumption by a lot of the US hospitals that we weren’t… They didn’t think we were an Australian company. They thought we’re based out of the Texas Medical Center until they heard our accents.
Simon Dell: The experience sometimes has been that if the Americans don’t feel that they’re buying from an American company, that they’re a little bit stand offish. Did that happen?
Charles Cornish: No, we didn’t feel that at all. The US regards Australians, and Australian IT, and IP, and health very highly. And if you couple that with some of the amazing and hugely successful creations in the healthcare space that have come out of Queensland Health and some of these other things, Dr. Ian Fraser, some of these things which are world-renowned, there’s really not a risk factor for them. On the other side, which no one really appreciates, is that we’re memorable because we have an accent. So, it does work in our favour which is fun. It’s fun to go in. They remember you as the Australian guy.
Simon Dell:And you’ve got the cuddly koala things that you’re giving out to people.
Charles Cornish: We do a lot of cliché stuff. Like, when we sign up new customers, as long as it sits under the US Anti-Bribery Guidelines, we send them Tim Tams and we haven’t been arrested yet. So, we think we’re pretty comfortable with that. We send a little cuddly teddy bear. We’re still trying to find ones that aren’t made in China but we’ll get there. But it does work to just be a little softer and a bit friendly when we’re dealing with people that are really day in, day out dealing with really stressful situations.
Simon Dell:When we started working together, getting people to trial the software itself was a challenge because they had to go through an on-boarding process, a vetting procedure, all those kind of things. We sort of turn that on its head now so that there’s a free version of the software that people can play around with. I’ve written about this and I’ve expressed many times the ability for people just to come in, and play with something, and see how it works is what people like to do. How has that made a difference in terms of bringing people on before they had to go through all that process?
Charles Cornish:It was really interesting. It was when you and Matt came in and really just kept belting me around. As I said before, I was really passionate about science in the UX, but I was protective of that science in the UX to the point where no one was enjoying the UX. And so, you guys coming in and just continually breaking me down to the point where I was comfortable with the world being open and available, and the world being able to access our software, without us putting up all these protective barriers. Well, what happens is a future competitor has a go, has a look at it? What happens if they know about our pricing? I was overly protective.
And now that you’ve convinced me and we’ve gone full circle, it’s liberating. We have our prices up. Nobody in our space selling any health technology or anything related to do with health puts their price on the website. It’s almost like a no-go. So, we sort of really went back to your advice, which was open it up. What have you got to lose?
And as a result of that, we’ve gone from — we were getting inbound leads of maybe 4 or 5 a month, or a 4 or 5 week of inbound requests for trials, which we would then make it incredibly hard to go from trial to buy because we had to find a time that they’d be happy to get a demo, and a trial, and we would just make it really difficult. The way that you’ve helped us build it, we put a bit of work behind it, we’re now getting 40 or 50 a week which are able to do it all on their own and they’re self-qualifying as well. So, we’re not spending a lot of time on customers that realize it’s not right for them right now or they don’t have the budget right now.
But those that do get to the next stage, they’re ready to buy, and it’s shortened our sales cycle which we were thinking was between 12 and 18 months to between 6 and 12 months, and in some cases 3 months. It’s been a really enlightening process to give up on that confidence of, “Well, my products are so good…”
Simon Dell:That you kind of automatically think, “Well, we’re so good, people are bound to knock down doors to get to us.” The reality is that unless people try things, they don’t even know it’s there. I used the example of MailChimp the other week. MailChimp is the default option now for everybody doing emails, and its theory was, “Let’s just get everybody in the world using MailChimp. We don’t care how. We’ll give it away for free to start with, we’ll get everybody using it, but everyone will know the brand MailChimp. Then we’ll layer in the cost elements that they’ve got to do this and spend this amount of money.”
And that’s where you get 1%, 2%, 3% upgrading and all of a sudden it becomes a ridiculously profitable business. I think to me, it’s now get that pharmaceutical world out there, everybody using the free version because naturally the knock-on effect will be that a percentage of them start to upgrade.
Charles Cornish:And it’s interesting looking back on it. I had a three-pillar strategy for success. One was creating awareness, so people were aware that there was a solution out there. They’re aware that the problem existed. They live it, breathe it every day, the pharmacists, but they weren’t aware that there was a solution. And then the second piece was we had to ensure that they had access to our solution, which was back end staff and making sure that people can access it.
And then the third one which was a 1 to 3 year strategy was around user uptake. The user uptake was a piece that we were really struggling with, and it was because we’d made it so hard. We actually made it really hard for people to use us. And I agree with the MailChimp example. You get people using us, then the commercial opportunities are thrown in front of you.
Simon Dell:Absolutely. There’s a couple of other things. The other thing that I wanted to talk about was your Throat Scope. Are you still involved with that?
Charles Cornish:Yeah, passively.
Simon Dell:Okay, passively. For those that may or may not remember it, because I actually remember it from Shark Tank… Did it get funded on Shark Tank?
Charles Cornish:The television version, it did. It got a deal.
Simon Dell:So again, for everyone listening that’s not in Australia, this was the Australian version of Shark Tank which is fairly similar but obviously, different personalities, different sharks and things like that. Explain what a Throat Scope is because it was, when I saw it, I was just like, “That was cool as fuck, that’s pretty innovative.” And it was a single lady who came up with it or was it just a..?
Charles Cornish:It was a mother of four in Newcastle, a lovely lady by the name of Jennifer Holland. She had a young child. I can’t remember exactly what her child had but had some problem where something to do where the GP, the family doctor, always had to stick the wooden tongue to press it down the child’s throat, and the child was gagging, and was constantly having to watch her child get upset by this process of a wooden tongue depressor. The doctor didn’t have two hands, so she’d hold the kid while the doctor had the torch, and she, just like we all do it, “God, there’s got to be a better way.”
So, she just went home and she just designed a better way. She created an illuminated tongue depressor, single-hand. And I’ll tell you what, if anybody listening to this ever wants some advice or direction around how to take a single idea, and just never give up, and just… She has got more energy. She is an amazing woman. It’s an illuminated tongue depressor. They’re now sold at over 120 countries in the world. She’s moving onto digital health, so telehealth. I think a doctor, Chris Brown, was doing an oral examination on a koala and you needed free hands, so the illuminated tongue depressor, and it’s used in third-world countries. Now, there’s a telehealth app where the visual is there for the doctors to have a look at the throat so they can diagnose throat illnesses.
Simon Dell:How did you get involved in that then? Did she find you?
Charles Cornish:Jen had gone on Shark Tank, and as a result of the advice from Shark Tank, she was actually recommended to find someone that had healthcare commercialization experience. We had a friend in common, we were introduced, and that’s how it came about.
Simon Dell: Is that where you met Mr. Baxter or did you meet him through that? Was he the one that invented it?
Charles Cornish: He did the deal on TV with Jen and he was the one that gave the advice that said, “Look, go and get some more muscle.” Not muscle. Muscle as in muscle. No need to laugh. “You need to build out your team. You’re a one-woman show and you’re very impressive, but people will find it hard to invest in a single person with a single idea.”
And so, as a result of meeting Jen and spending some time with her, she asked me to get involved, in which I did and another chap did as well, and we helped Jen rebuild an offering to the market in terms of a financial investment offering, and also help with the commercialization. And on the back of that, we’re then back to Steve Baxter and pitched it to him. I suppose on the back of that pitch, he then, he had already invested in DoseMe, asked me to get involved with DoseMe.
Simon Dell: Okay, so most of the stuff that you’ve done has been medical-based. How did that all start? Was that something that you were focused on when you left university or just sort of fell into it?
Charles Cornish:No. I had been doing mergers and acquisitions in Brazil for an investment bank.
Simon Dell:How did you end up in Brazil just to go off on a tangent there?
Charles Cornish:I did what most chartered accountants do. When they finished and get chartered in Australia, they go off to the UK to take jobs from English people who don’t like to work after 4:00 p.m.
Simon Dell:And then we come back here and do it the other way around.
Charles Cornish:Yeah. And so, I went over there, and actually on the way over, I did a little stint of snowboarding in France, and I just was amazed by all of these people speaking two languages, and that was it. And so, a little guy from Brisbane hearing all these languages, it was amazing. As someone who went to London and started working in banking there, I just had this desire to go and work somewhere where I can learn a language.
So, I went to one of those global recruiters and said, “I want to do corporate finance in a foreign language.” And at that time, the internet had just come up. The recruiter said, “Look, we’ve got an opportunity for you in Brazil.” And I then went back and searched Brazil. The search engines weren’t so great at that time, and all the site came up with was that they had soccer, they had beaches, and they had beautiful girls. I was living in London, and they had the soccer, but the beaches and lots of beautiful girls…
Simon Dell:You’ve just got to know where to look. That’s the challenge.
Charles Cornish:And so, I thought, “Well, what have I got to lose?” So, three months later, I was living in São Paulo, Brazil, and that’s how I ended up in Brazil.
Simon Dell:What brought you back? I mean, you’re surrounded by beaches, good weather, and attractive women. What made you come back to…? You came back to Sydney, didn’t you?
Charles Cornish: To Melbourne. I had to make a decision. Life was really, really good in Brazil. I had a lovely girlfriend who is now my wife and life was really good. And I thought, if I stay here any longer, I’m going to be here for the rest of my life, so I had to make that decision. And at the time, I thought if I do want to have a family, I probably would prefer to have a family in Australia. So, my now wife and I wanted to come back to Australia. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I took a year and a half off and did an MBA full-time, and I did that in Melbourne. And so, at the end of that MBA, I didn’t really still know what I wanted to do.
A drug company did a pitch at one of the career seminars and I got picked up and worked for Eli Lilly at the time, which was a major drug company out of the US. That’s how I got involved in healthcare, although I had done some details in Brazil buying and selling certain health-related businesses, which I enjoyed.
Simon Dell:Moving more onto the actual roles that you’ve done, there’s been a lot of managing directors, CEOs, senior roles. What’s the biggest challenge in that leadership role for you, be it CEO, managing director, any of those?
Charles Cornish:There’s probably two areas. One is I struggle to manage teams where people come to work just for a salary. And so, I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve migrated towards health because a lot of people… Most people who work in health, there’s an intrinsic reward element where they’re not just doing it to get their salary, they’re doing it because they know it’s making a difference. So, I struggled with the clock in, clock out employees. I wasn’t very good at managing those types of people and getting the best out of them, so that was one hard element. Getting into DoseMe is really easy from that point of view because everybody here, they’re just 120%!
Simon Dell:Yeah, everyone’s excited by what you’re doing.
Charles Cornish: To answer your original question, the other challenge that I’ve had in that role of CEO, or director, or what-have-you, is that investors and/or other board members don’t necessarily appreciate the people element. And so, there’s a misconnection between or a gap between a financial investment and the fact that it still comes down to people to deliver that. They’re the two areas which I struggle with. And so, as I choose my career steps, I try and ensure that I’ve got a board or investment team, or whoever it is, or a chair, that is as closely aligned with my principles around respect for people and making a great opportunity and a great place to work for people.
Simon Dell: When you look for people then, and you say obviously you’re looking for people that are passionate about what they’re doing and not necessarily the clock in, clock out, how do you find that? Because that’s hard when you sit in front of someone and then you’ve got like an hour to interview them. What are some of the signs or things that you might ask people?
Charles Cornish:I ask the questions that recruiters who sometimes sit in the room with me would cringe at. I actually ask them what the candidates believe is work-life balance. I ask them what is a hard day’s work. I really get into that side of things, and it’s not so much to make them feel uncomfortable but to actually appreciate exactly their mindset as it relates to it. And for example, DoseMe, because we’re around the world, we might have calls at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. And if an employee isn’t keen to get up at 3:00, no one’s going keen to get up at 3:00 in the morning but he’s prepared to do it, and then doesn’t punish the organization for the next three weeks because they did it, that’s not going to work for us. So, I don’t know if I’ve answered your question.
Simon Dell:No, it does. It’s people that understand the necessity of taking an extra step when an extra step needs to be taken, and then not whinging about it for, as you say, for three weeks after.
Charles Cornish:We’re very flexible here. If someone’s done a 3:00 a.m. shift. I hope they don’t come to work, you know, because there’s no use having a cranky bear at work, so yeah.
Simon Dell:It’s funny because I’ve seen other organizations where it’s run in the other way, where it’s expected to be clocking in and clocking out. I did one where I lasted three months. Everyone was clocking out at 5:30, like on the dot. There was no ifs or buts about that, and I was sort of going, “You know, I just kind of want to go home at 4:00, you know, and have a swim in the pool, and I’ll do some work this evening. Is that alright?” That was massively frowned upon. I’m not doing any less work, but I completely get that sort of sentiment.
Going back to the CEO role, what are the bits then? So, you found the bits that are a challenge, the bits that you still struggle with. What are the bits that are easy for you?
Charles Cornish:It’s so easy to reward people. I’ve read something around people are happiest when they’re giving something that they’re not expecting it, when they’re not yet expecting it. If they work really hard and you give them $10 or you give them a day off, they’re expecting that. It’s like, “I deserve that so it’s okay.” It’s giving them things when they’re not expecting it. It’s just so much fun. It is amazing.
Every staff member here gets stuff they’re not expecting on a regular basis. Very selfishly, I love the feeling of knowing that one of our team has gone home and told her partner that she got given this for working really hard. We sent them to the Carlisle Hotel for a night and just have fun. I remember her boyfriend sending a message back saying, “Mate, thanks very much for looking after her.” And I said, “Well, she’s the one who did all the work. You should be thanking her.” And it’s just really fun. That stuff’s really cool.
Simon Dell:Yeah. I think there’s loads of different ways that you can reward staff, and I think all of the stuff that I’ve read, it’s all about just showing them that you appreciate the effort. It doesn’t have to be extravagant things all the time. Just saying thank you every now and then, that’s…
Charles Cornish: One of the things which I found is that, I don’t know if it’s rewarding staff, but allowing the staff to take the piss out of you as well is quite rewarding. They love when I stuff up. They love it when I make a mistake. They love taking the piss out of me. And if that’s all it takes, then bring it.
Simon Dell: I’m just going to think about where I read that in a book that was one of the best ways of building relationships with people, is admitting your fallibilities, admitting that you’ve done something wrong, or that you’re not very good at something, or that you’ve cocked up.
Charles Cornish: It’s kind of hard for me to hide that, though. I’m pretty good at stuffing up. When you see us walk around the office, it’s a bit of a common theme, but it’s fun. It just breaks the ice, and everyone makes mistakes.
Simon Dell: The next kind of things I wanted to ask you about was health tech in general. I mentioned to you before we started, I did an interview a couple of weeks back with a guy called Peter Bradd who is labelled as one of the top 10 people in tech in Australia. Very, very innovative, educated guy. Founded Fishburners and StartupAUS. And I was saying to him, we were talking about innovation and startups in Australia, generally in the world, about how we potentially moved on from this era where two people in a bedroom could create something that could then turn into this global movement i.e. Facebook, or something like that, or the guys that created Stripe, or the Atlassian guys, or all those kind of things.
He disagrees with that, but one of the things that he talked about was he felt the health space and the health tech space was still absolutely ripe for innovation, and ideas, and things like that. Do you see a lot of that? I mean, obviously, being in that space, do you see a lot of opportunity in that area?
Charles Cornish: In Australia?
Simon Dell: Generally, everywhere.
Charles Cornish: Yeah, globally, absolutely. And the ideas, and the creation of minimum viable products, and just the general capability of young folks these days, it could quite easily come out of Australia. Trying to commercialize it in Australia is quite complicated. I know that people bristle when I say that. But if you just look at the fundamentals of the sector, particularly in hospitals, we’ve got, as a rule, a monopoly sector. If you take away the private hospital system of which they’re very limited in regard to tertiary institutions, in fact, there’s no tertiary hospitals that are purely public as far as I can tell.
What you have is monopoly by state. And so, the general concept, if you have a monopoly industry, you don’t have innovation or you don’t have incentive to innovate. At a macro level, it’s very difficult to then bring new innovation in and to disrupt. That’s at a general macro level. But then you think about the individuals inside of those organizations; what’s their incentive to innovate? It’s just not as great as it is… As you see the competitive nature of health in the US, or even the requirement to innovate in poorer countries where they have no other option. In some respects, we’ve got it too good here to commercialize great ideas in Australia. The problem I would argue, we’re more risk-averse here.
Simon Dell: Where do you see that innovation in the healthcare space? The new Apple Watch has all of those… Again, I know it’s got a lot of… It’s FDA-approved, isn’t it, or something in the US?
Charles Cornish: Some elements of it. I think the heart rate monitor is not necessarily approved, but I think they’re allowing it to be some form of clinical decision support bit of data.
Simon Dell: I guess probably where I’m going with this is to sort of say: Do you see a bigger role for things like artificial intelligence in the health space in the next 5 to 10 years?
Charles Cornish: Yeah, absolutely. I think everybody does. I think it’s past where people are saying no. I think now, even the naysayers are saying, “Let’s be cautious, but yes.” So, I do believe it. I think the Apple revolution is much about hardware and being hardware in everybody’s hand as it is about the software. I think we’ll get the software there eventually, and I think that everybody will win as a result.
Simon Dell: The last question I’ve got before we go into the final questions: The people that you’ve met on your journey, who inspires you? Who are people that you’ve met that you’ve learned a lot from? The second part of that question is: Where do you go to get your own personal development? Do you read books? Do you watch videos? What do you do?
Charles Cornish: I don’t know that I’d call them mentors, but I had a couple of people early in my late-20’s when I was in Brazil where they just gave me really direct feedback about the shitty things I did, my attitude, at a time where life was good. There was just punch-in-the-face, direct honesty around the way I was doing things, and that really flipped the switch for me to going from being a cruiser, just to really make a decision that I wanted to be good, I wanted to be the best I could be. I think I had probably two or three of those. It was a German guy that was down in Brazil, and I still remember his face. Along the way, I think I’ve just picked up bits and pieces from people.
I’m a bit of an introvert, so I don’t really meet a lot of extroverts if that makes sense. I’ve got mates that I bounce ideas off and probably only take in 10% of what they’re saying, but I sort of build around that. I do love certain types of brands like… I know it’s not cool to say I love Uber anymore because of the short falls from a management point of view, but I love the concept of what they’ve done and what they’ve tried to achieve, which for me was really around a better user experience and just fighting until… And I love that, that’s good.
Obviously, Apple has been doing it for years. I love all sports. I loved Under Armour when it came to town because it just did things differently and rocked the boat of Adidas and Nike. So, I don’t know. That’s around the retail space.
Simon Dell: Do you read much?
Charles Cornish: No. I’ve read every Jack Reacher book that’s ever been printed. Because I fly a lot, I just read a lot of that sort of crappy books and watch as many crappy movies as I can.
Simon Dell: I was going to say, Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise, they’re going to replace him, aren’t they, in the TV show?
Charles Cornish: Well, they have to, because Jack Reacher in the book is 6’4″ and built like a brick shithouse, and Tom Cruise wears high heels.
Simon Dell: Okay, last few questions. Your biggest role that I saw on LinkedIn was the coach of the Toowong Under 10s… Was it girls football team?
Charles Cornish: You say that with a negative connotation, mate. Does that bother you?
Simon Dell: Which bit? The Under 10s, the Toowong, or the girls?
Charles Cornish: All three.
Simon Dell: No, not at all. I can imagine it’s chaos personified managing a young team. How do you get them motivated? I mean, that’s got to be black or white, that is, getting them motivated.
Charles Cornish: And it’s funny now that you ask. I’ve never been asked that question before, but it’s taking the piss out of myself constantly. I’m constantly doing it. And I train with them, so I get a bit of exercise in doing that. I would almost go to the point of offensively blunt with these young girls, because often they’ve just been told how beautiful they all are, and how great they all are. So, I’m the first. I’ll say, “Camilla, that’s shit. That’s the worst pass I have ever seen.” And you know, the parents are looking, going, “What’s this guy doing?”
Simon Dell: I was going to say, you’re not having parents coming on the park and…
Charles Cornish:By the end of the season, the parents are coming up and saying, “Thank you.” I probably pissed off a few parents over the years, but the bottom-line is, I think the kids love to be treated honestly and with respect. And if they do something wrong, they’re more than happy to be reprimanded. And if they do something right, they’re more than happy to be rewarded.
Simon Dell:I was going to say Ray Dalio, a famous investor in the US, wrote a book earlier this year. His whole organization was built on this… I can’t remember. He’s got a specific term for it, but it’s complete honesty. It’s expected in the upwards direction as much as it’s expected in the downwards direction. He goes, “A lot of people struggle with that. They lose people quite quickly who can’t adjust to the fact that someone is calling them out and telling them not just the bad things, but the good things as well. But it’s interesting that if you can do that and you can build a culture around it, it’s a very strong culture.
Charles Cornish: It is, and it does. From time to time, it backfires or it becomes too blunt. That’s probably my biggest weakness, is that I sometimes won’t read those signals that it’s probably not the time to be a bit too direct.
Simon Dell: There’s another lady who was big. She did the female Viagra, and I can’t remember the name of that product, but she started that company, and one of the things she did was with all of her management team and everything, she gave them all nicknames on day one. And not disparaging nicknames, but not exactly like… And that’s what they were to be known as from then on in because it just broke down the barriers between everyone. Last three questions. You mentioned some of the brands you like. Are there any others that you kind of look at that you just go, you admire the way that they do business?
Charles Cornish: I admire their products. I don’t know if I admire the way they do business.
Simon Dell: Okay, let’s go back to products that you admire.
Charles Cornish: I’d love to drive a Tesla one day. I don’t know even how you test drive one, but if I drive my shitty, old Toyota in to the test drive, they may not be so keen to give me one because I might disappear. I like watches but I’ll wait until I can fit a watch properly, so to speak. That’s about it. I’m a mad mountain biker, so the more expensive mountain bike that floats in front of me, the more I like.
Simon Dell: What are the big brands in mountain biking?
Charles Cornish: Well, I ride a Trek, but the big ones are names that these days are made by hand by some Swedish backpacker or something like that. I just love the equipment on them, the machinery around the suspension, the gears, and these days… I haven’t ridden an electronic mountain bike yet, but yeah, I like all that sort of stuff as well.
Simon Dell: I was going to say, that’s become quite a big thing, that real sort of customized-built bikes. There’s a lot of motorbikes doing that these days. Keanu Reeves has got a company that just builds them from…
Charles Cornish: I buy them off-the-rack. I’m straight off-the-rack, but I do like to look at them.
Simon Dell: Second to last question: What’s next for you, 2019, DoseMe? What do you guys got coming up next year?
Charles Cornish: This year, 2018, was a year to sort of open new markets up and we’re now in six continents. So, next year is around, I suppose, solidifying our position. And I think now that we’re in so many countries, the question is: Which countries can we win in quickly? So, obviously, US is our main stay. It’s just a huge opportunity for us and a very swift uptake. We’ve grown 20-fold in the last 9 months in the US alone.
And really, just picking the winners in Europe as well. We’ve got some early adoption in Portugal, which is an interesting single-payer model but they need help. Germany’s starting to take off. The northern European countries are always interested in things that save lives. So, I would say that it’s probably starting to look into Europe and just continue to invest in Europe.
Simon Dell: Have you got a customer in a country that you just look at and just go, “How did they even find us?”
Charles Cornish: Our first European customer is in Slovenia. And in fact, we love our Slovenian customer. They’re great. I actually went to Slovenia which fortunately is next door, and I know you wouldn’t know it… Although, you are from the UK, so no, you would know. It borders with Italy, so I was fortunate enough to take my wife with me, who stayed in Milan while I drove the 8 hours through sleeting Eastern European highways. And I know Slovenia’s not Eastern Europe, but at the time, it felt like it was. But that was terrific. That was in Maribor, in the middle of… it’s very northeastern Slovenia, and that’s our probably most exotic.
Simon Dell: How did they find you?
Charles Cornish: Like most in the first few years, it was all inbound leads. We didn’t have any sales capability, so they were looking for a solution and they found us.
Simon Dell: Last question: How do people get in contact with you if they want to ask you a question, or they need a football team coach, or something like that?
Charles Cornish: Well, they should just ring you personally.
Simon Dell: Don’t say my phone number.
Charles Cornish: No. I’m on LinkedIn. I probably look at LinkedIn once a week or so. I’m not the most active social media player out there, I know I should be better, or they can just send me an email at [email protected]
Simon Dell: Cool, awesome. Mate, thank you very much for your time today. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Looking forward to all the success in 2019.
Charles Cornish: Before you go, congratulations on having your second.
Simon Dell: I was going to say, from everything Charles said here about unexpected presents, I did get one today. So, full disclosure to everybody listening in that the new seven-day-old baby now has some nice new clothing items which his mother passes on her thanks as well. So anyway, once again, thanks for today.
PODCAST EP 96
Simon chats with Laz Smith, Co-founder and General Manager of Apéro Label, about Apéro's branding and eCommerce journey.Listen Now