My Journey from a Doctor to an Entrepreneur

As a final year student at the medical school, I had become aware that medical practice was unlikely to fulfil the needs of my creative mind. However, the realization that medical practice will also be unable bring professional fulfilment came gradually by a year after practice. By this time I knew I had to create something valuable to get a sense of fulfilment. I endured the gruelling experience of returning to school for an MBA. Contrary to the popular beliefs, this experience at the business school was really valuable to me in terms of acquiring the basic concepts of business.

Doctor startup

My basic nature and outlook was always inclined towards entrepreneurship. I was already a start-up and a couple of side projects down when Aditya pitched an interesting idea to me. The idea was a very powerful thought in itself and I started the research even before I accepted his offer for co-foundership.

We didn’t know what this idea would shape itself into when we started it. And through iterating and reiterating we finally came up with an MVP – we called it DIKY (Do I Know You). It is, at its core, a powerful and sturdy perception engine that crowd sources one’s personality from one’s peers. This is not just a great feedback tool for one’s personal development but also a great way to make the online world safer when strangers interact and transact with each other.

DIKY screenshot

In this whole journey, my basic training in medicine and clinical practice served as a great boon. When I think back, I can see some clear parallels between the two distinct lives in more than one department. Let me cite a few examples:

  • Entrepreneurship is about identifying business opportunity >> researching >> building hypothesis >> experimenting >> applying the learning – something doctors do every day with their patients in the form of history taking (identifying opportunity) >> physical examination (researching) >> lab investigations (experimenting and building business hypothesis) >> diagnosing and treatment (applying the learnings)
  • A Founder has to constantly deal with uncertainty. More often than not, Doctors make their clinical decisions with incomplete information and confusing pieces of evidence. The same set of symptoms point to more than 3 different diagnosis for a patient and a doctor takes the treatment decisions on such uncertain situations.
  • Doctors are trained to fail fast. When a particular treatment modality doesn’t work, we immediately shift to a new module, or if need be, even surgery. This is a very valuable skill to have for a new age entrepreneur, where the business environment is changing fast and adaptability is the key.
  • Doctors are trained at identifying pattern. Decision-making, whether in internal medicine, pathology, radiology or any other specialty, is heavily based on pattern recognition and patient behaviour to environmental stimulus. Recognizing usage pattern and analysing user behaviour is a critical skill every successful entrepreneur possesses.
  • There are numerous other skills that are extremely common between the two, such as, listening skills, observing for subtle signs and symptoms, standing on the patient’s shoes to assess psychological makeup of the patient, and the list goes on.

I’d say that no matter how narrow your field of study has been or how specific a skill set you have acquired, the basic guiding principles remain the same for whatever you want to do in your life. There are always some key learning that you can apply everywhere. All you have to do is, connect those non-intersecting parallel roads with numerous connecting roads and you will be surprised how exciting it will be for you to learn anything in this world.