I was checking out MedPedia, a wiki for medical knowledge being built by Ooga Labs. While I may quibble on the number of physicians being recruited for something meant to be consumer friendly, it does overall seem to be an interesting effort. Hopefully they will figure out how to expose the debates in the health arena (e.g., does all the effort to lower cholesterol actually accomplish anything for most people), as the amount of incremental knowledge in the sciences explodes and study designs butt heads. My fear is that it will become political, as the sponsoring institutions and research grants have become, but such is human progress…
The more interesting note was what I found in the Ooga Labs corporate pages. This is a strong a call to lead a life of passion instead of the “safe” course of quiet desperation. One of the “safe” companies I was close to joining post-McKinsey just had its entire corporate leadership turn over and stock tank. Glad I didn’t join that executive team. Strange that starting my own business was the safer and more lucrative route…and I love what I’m building.
Now I guess I have to see if I was too “risky” in staying down in Los Angeles to build my internet healthcare startup…
Enjoy the comments from Ooga Labs’ CEO James Currier.
Don’t make my mistake!
So you’re going to take a cube job with slow Microsoft, bureaucratic Oracle, or with some boring financial company?
C’mon! Do you want spend all of your life wearing modest habits of charcoal grey, driving your Volvo on the salty roads of the drab East Coast, paying 50% of your earnings to taxes, and hanging out with narrow minded people, congratulating yourselves on improving a feature of a widget of version 12.1b.4 of some software, or maybe improving the financial return of some rich bald dude in Greenwich, CT by 0.2% above the S&P Index?
Has no one taken you aside and said, “Wait! You’re about to waste 10 years of your life figuring out the path you chose out of college is crap!”
No one did to me either when I went to Princeton, and it took me until I was 31 to get my ass out to San Francisco and do tech start ups. Don’t make my mistake. Save yourself now. Even if you don’t work for me. I mean it.
Out here, you think about the future. Out here, you are surrounded by colorful, dynamic technologists and entrepreneurs who are really making a difference, pushing the edge.
Most people think that working for a big or known company will give them good experience. That’s kind of like saying learning to sit still for dental surgery is good experience. Sure, it’s an experience, but there are life paths where you don’t have to have dental surgery, or work for a big company, to have the best life. In fact, I would argue that you learn the wrong things working for a big company, and that it’s actually not good experience. A good experience is when you really make something happen in the world. Big companies teach you how to work through layers of bureaucracy and how to solve problems in very risk-averse ways — in short, how to make something happen in their organization. A big company is not the safe career choice. It’s the risky choice. It risks your mind and your life.
Oh, and one more thing. Initially, your friends and family may not understand why you didn’t take that “safe” cube-job with the company whose name they know, but in two years they will understand. They will love using the websites you build, and they will talk often with their friends about it. They will see you having a vibrant life, pushing the edge of what’s happening, and they’ll be proud to know you.
Take a few minutes and reconsider your first “starting point” out of college. It sets up a direction that takes some time to change. Aim yourself in the right direction. Again, you don’t have to come to Ooga Labs, just get to the Bay Area and join a startup. You will never regret it.