The Future Of Beauty: “Hair tattoos that reduce the contrast between the scalp and the hair” With…

The Future Of Beauty: “Hair tattoos that reduce the contrast between the scalp and the hair” With Hannah L. Maruyama of YAMA Studios

My current focus is on density for women. This is a specific technique, and the function is to reduce the contrast between the scalp and the hair. There aren’t many good options for women with diffuse thinning. Extensions or installations can cause follicle inflammation, further hair fall, or worse, traction alopecia. SMP is the only solution that doesn’t require daily work or active damage. And that’s technology if I’ve ever seen it. I have seen it give people back the confidence to ditch hair pieces that are harming their scalp, help women who stress about their hair loss, and take years off of people, and therefore makes them more successful in work and romance and more at peace with themselves. Seeing that contentment and ease means a lot to me. It’s why I do what I do.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years. I had the pleasure of interviewing Hannah L. Maruyama.

Hannah is a trailblazing para-medical tattoo practitioner, owner of YAMA Studios in Honolulu, HI and author of “ Before the Blade: What You Need to Know Before Getting Microblading or Semi Permanent Makeup”.

The mission behind YAMA Studios is that all people are masterpieces and a para-medical practitioner’s job is to meticulously and passionately restore people to their original state. She believes that scalp micropigmentation hair tattoo and other forms of cosmetic tattoo like areola restoration are the bridge between cosmetics and medical reconstruction, and there is no limit to how many people para-medical tattoo can help.

When she’s not tattooing someone, she is adventuring with her firefighter husband, surfing small waves, and being a passionate advocate for real world education.

Email Hannah at hannah@yamastudios.co, or check out YAMA Studios website at http://yamastudios.co and stay tuned for her next book release!

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My pleasure! Thank you for the honor. Of course. High school English class, last week of school. My teacher, Mrs. Webster, put a documentary on because no one was paying attention anymore.
This documentary was about a Saudi Arabian tattoo artist, who was using tattoo to reconstruct the faces of women who had been acid burned. I could never forget the wave that swelled up in my chest; I was mesmerized.

I had always been an amateur painter, and always loved people. Sketching their profiles, their hands. I knew I could do that. I knew I would do that. And three years ago, I did.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

About 4 months ago, I had a woman reach out to me and ask for a phone consultation. That’s usually the first step I take with my clients to see if they understand what I do and explain the physical consultation process, so it wasn’t unusual. She told me she was calling for her son, and began to describe his scalp to me and revealed he had alopecia.

For those who may not know, alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes unpredictable, extreme, intermittent hair loss. It affects all sufferers differently, but it is a horrible condition that causes a lot of stress and embarrassment to those who have it as they try to manage and control the hair loss.

I asked her to send me a photo as we were on the phone (I do this often in phone consults so I identify the main issue), and my heart dropped into my feet when I received the photos.

I asked her how old he was, and she told me he was nine.

This situation caused me a great deal of turmoil, as I hear a lot of stories that make my heart hurt for people: how women wore bangs for 20 years to cover up scars or missing brows after chemo, women who never took off their bras to avoid showing a reconstructed areola that lost color, or men who would tell me that they didn’t feel like they could start dating again after a divorce because their hair loss made them less than.

It taught me the importance of my work to those struggling with an issue I can fix for them.

These parents had approached me to help their son, because any other options were unreliable, surgical, or drugs that can cause hormonal side effects. They wanted him to feel complete and healthy.

I struggled with the ethics and situation, but I told them to come back in a few years, when he is older.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

It happened slowly, and then it seems like all at once. I started online bookings on my site, and I had clients being to book without speaking to me on the phone, and some of them were from other islands, then from other states, then international. When I would meet them in person the first time, they would repeat back to me everything I said in my Youtube videos!

Realizing my clients had met me on the Internet was pretty wild. I’m not a “Youtuber” by any means, but to those looking researching para-medical tattoos for themselves or others, I was giving them answers to questions that are twisty and complicated.

It’s still amazing and I feel humbled to have been of use, because I rely on certain Youtubers and bloggers to give me those types of answers too, and it’s so unbelievably valuable to me, I just never thought I would be helpful to anyone in that way. Mostly because I don’t even know how to Instagram Live.
After that, my book started selling, it does particularly well in Mexico and Europe, and that left me deeply curious about language, writing, and cultural exchange through small business. So, wanting to be able connect on a deeper level internationally, I picked a language that interested me and started studying. I’m currently learning Japanese and hope to use it to branch into an entirely new market. Find an interest that makes you more valuable, and learn that skill.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My family is extremely supportive, and inspiring.

There is no question my mom never imagined I’d be a tattoo artist, but she is very proud of me, as she often says. I was also fortunate to have married into a giant, wonderful Hawaiian/Japanese family two years ago, and I do believe I’m one of the luckiest gals out there. They cheer me on, call to ask how my business is doing, and always make sure I’ve had enough to eat.

But my husband.

My husband is something else.

He’s a jack of all trades: former accountant, amateur magician, photographer, videographer, professional handyman, Honolulu firefighter, and full time encourager.

He is the most disciplined and hardworking person I’ve ever met, and he threw all of his skills and effort behind me to help me build the brand and studio.

He routinely stayed up til 3 AM to learn to code so he could build our website, learned Photoshop to create our brand feel, and is continually learning videography to help me share the story of para-medical tattoo.

He’ll be embarrassed by this as he’s not one for praise, but when I first mentioned I wanted to be a para-medical tattoo artist, he heard me out and said okay, let’s do it, and he never looked back, even when I did.

There are moments in small businesses when the dreamer loses sight of the dream, and that’s when you need a do’er to tell the dreamer to keep doing. My husband does that for me.

He’s my partner and my pal, and I couldn’t run the studio or get the books done without him.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

Scalp micropigmentation really is a brand new evolution in tattoo tech. People have been tattooing themselves for tens of thousands of years, but it seems like around 1970 that “hair tattoo” as stippling or shading became available. It wasn’t until about 2009 that the modern version of SMP was developed, and since, to compete and create distinct brands, many practitioners claim to have invented a different technique, and while they may use different pigment, different needles, or different machines, modern SMP is a stippling hair tattoo.

My current focus is on density for women. This is a specific technique, and the function is to reduce the contrast between the scalp and the hair. There aren’t many good options for women with diffuse thinning. Extensions or installations can cause follicle inflammation, further hair fall, or worse, traction alopecia. SMP is the only solution that doesn’t require daily work or active damage. And that’s technology if I’ve ever seen it.

I have seen it give people back the confidence to ditch hair pieces that are harming their scalp, help women who stress about their hair loss, and take years off of people, and therefore makes them more successful in work and romance and more at peace with themselves. Seeing that contentment and ease means a lot to me. It’s why I do what I do.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

This biggest issue facing the para-medical tattoo community is education for the clientele. What I do is in the middle of a medical procedure and a tattoo, but many practitioners, especially when they are new, don’t make sure the clients understand that it is in fact a tattoo. I am big on labeling things correctly, because in a new industry it’s your responsibility to give the correct expectation to your clients.

I think many people do not have it explained to them fully. It is a tattoo, there are necessary parameters for care, natural fading over time, and a level of permanence. While pigments are designed differently now, the molecules remain in your skin even if they are no longer visible.
I don’t want someone who wants a forever tattoo to be upset because it doesn’t last forever, and I also don’t want a client who thinks it will fade away within a year and doesn’t understand that their procedure is actually a tattoo.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

Potential! There are so many trailblazers in para-medical tattoo, and as we continue to refine scalp micropigmentation and other treatments, breakthroughs and new techniques spread like wildfire as it’s not a large group.

Innovation! There’s a huge need for fixes above DIY and below plastic surgery for many issues. Before, I don’t feel like there were high impact options in between, but folks in my industry, myself included, as researchers, troubleshooters, and inventors. I do an unbelievable amount of reading and research to see how I can work with the medical or beauty community to fill needs. We’re always looking to solve a problem and to make it available to people who need it.

Answers! There are so many people who have given up asking for a solution to their issues. As a practitioner, I actively listen to my clients concerns and insecurities and see how I, with the skills I have or skills I could learn, am able to resolve them! Areola tattoos, which is an answer to color or structural issues after breast reconstruction are a fantastic example. But some folks don’t know these solutions exist until I tell them!

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

There’s an interesting and understandable push and pull on certification and learning.

Many practitioners quickly realized there was a lot of money to be made in teaching in a new industry, so they taught themselves, and then began traveling and teaching courses instead of doing.

It leads to a bit of hypocrisy in that like many fantastic tattoo artists, some SMP practitioners are self taught. But there is a bit of a shame culture for others who are self taught because training practitioners want to make money from training them.

It’s a bit difficult to explain, but essentially there’s a double standard for SMP education.

So, the above said, there really is not central authority on SMP. Many people who want to learn don’t spend nearly enough time practicing or troubleshooting their own technique. They assume it’s simple, when it’s not. The result of that is poor results that reflect poorly on practitioners like me.

And again, referencing my response above, laws have not caught up with SMP. So it’s harder than it should be to set up and get insured, because it falls under a general tattoo license most often but not in all states. And the laws change constantly.

To improve the current industry, I would encourage mentorships and apprenticeship availability, I would ask that the stigma against self taught but state licensed artists be dissolved, and I would ask leaders and teachers in the community to be more honest about how long they’ve been doing para-medical tattoo, because the industry is very young, relative to other cosmetic spaces.

Some have been doing it longer than others, but a mix of talent and lots of practice produce the best practitioners.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Pick a favorite feature. Once you have decided that you like one aspect of yourself, you start to like more and more pieces, till all of a sudden you’re a fan of the whole puzzle.
  2. Be okay with not being okay with certain things. If you are unhappy with your skin health, for example, eat better, eliminate sugar, rule out allergies, and get more sleep. Don’t react to your unhappiness, make yourself some steps to fix it.
  3. When you start actively working on something you dislike, even if you can’t change it completely, you are inclined to be happy with the end result of your hard work, and you’ll feel really great because you did your best, and there’s a very real sense of accomplishment and responsibility in that.
  4. Be your own brand. Pick consistent pieces, be it clothing, jewelry, shoes, a backpack, a hair color, anything, that makes you feel the most joy. And always wear those things. You will be comfortable, and you’ll be glad that you have your favorite things with you. It will show in the way you present yourself.
  5. Smile. Seriously. A smiling person is a beautiful person.
  6. Square up. If you stand up straight, I guarantee you will feel more attractive. If you feel attractive, others will feel you are attractive too.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am a passionate advocate for something I call BFE, “but first, experience”, which I feel should go without saying, but instead is extremely controversial.
College is the only big business that we help and encourage marketing to children, starting as young as preschool sometimes.

The college “experience” is a luxury good that is sold as a necessary item. It’s not, but there’s a multi billion dollar industry that relies on selling $40,000 + loans to 17 year old children.

(This is mostly about non STEM fields, and it doesn’t apply to those who can go for free.)

It would be crazy, not to mention unethical, to tell or even allow 17 year old to buy a house they’ve never seen in a neighborhood they’ve never lived in and tell them they have to live there for the next 30–40 years. But we’ve conflated college and education.

College is a luxury educational package that is often behind current industry information. It’s not the best place to learn. But, it’s the best place to get a standardized certificate.

It’s like getting on a carnival cruise ship instead of a plane if you need transportation.

Sure, it will get you there but it will take you much longer and cost a lot more.
But if you’ve bought that the plane isn’t an option, you’ll take another cruise ship to get to the next place you want to go. Several years and tens of thousands of dollars later, you still don’t have any experience, and you still might hate your career, because you are not who you were when you bought the degree.

Sometimes you need it to fulfill certification for a career.

That makes sense if the career pays well. It doesn’t make sense if you can get the same job by getting an entry level job and working your way up the position you want in two-four years.

People need to play in a field before they pay into a field.

Learn something.
Try something.

Volunteer in the field you think you want to work in before you buy a degree in that field.

If you want to work with kids, go work for a child care center or in a school.

If you want to work on cars, get an entry level job working in a mechanic shop.

If you want to be a chef, go get a job on the line.

It breaks my heart into tiny pieces to hear stories of people stuck in fields they thought they wanted to be in when they were 17 and now they feel trapped, financially and socially, when they are only 22 or 23 years old.

They can see 30 years ahead, and they hate every second of it, but they are already so tired and stressed from the financial burden and the relative amount of time they’ve invested.

The look in their eyes is so defeated, hopeless, and completely preventable.
I want people considering college to know there’s a lot of mistakes and successes to make before concluding pay for school is the best option for them.

Colleges will always be happy to take your money, so they should always be a last resort after you’ve tried all the other things.

You don’t need a degree to accomplish most things you want. And you can always get one when you are sure you need it to get where you want to go.
A great real life example, I do not have a degree of any kind and I have MBA graduates applying to intern for me. There are no rules.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There are no rules.

I think this is the only lesson that matters. When you find yourself boxed in or constricted, be it from the progression of your career, to the way your home is arranged, to not feeling like you are allowed say what you are looking for on a first date, just remember there are no rules.

Never be afraid to flip a table over and make a mess (figuratively, unless you are prepared to clean it up), if it will change something you aren’t content with.

You can become a lawyer without going to law school, you can move to Mongolia in a week, you can invent a revolutionary new shoelace in your living room.

There are no rules.

How can our readers follow you online?

https://yamastudios.co
Facebook: @YAMAStudios
Instagram: @yamastudios
Youtube: YAMA Studios

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.


The Future Of Beauty: “Hair tattoos that reduce the contrast between the scalp and the hair” With… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Future Of Beauty: “Using stem cells to restore healthy skin” With Dr. Greg Maguire

Destress yourself. Mindful meditation is one way, along with other relaxing activities that you enjoy. We’ve all seen people experiencing a traumatic event, such as loss of a loved one that brings on the outward reflection of the stress-inducing event — namely lines and wrinkles and sagging skin. One reason this happens is because of cortisol release during the stressful times that results in a direct breakdown of the skin’s matrix. That matrix is what holds the skin in place, provides thickness and supplety, and when broken down the untoward effects occur. Destressing and reducing the chronic cortisol release will effectively reduce lines and wrinkles.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Greg Maguire, Ph.D., FRSM.

Dr. Greg Maguire, Ph.D., FRSM, is a former professor of neuroscience and ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and a bioengineer at the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate training was at the University of California, Berkeley, University of Houston, University of Texas, The Marine Biological Labs, Woods Hole, MA, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY. He was visiting associate professor of physiology at Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, visiting assistant professor of molecular neurobiology at the University of Washington, and visiting faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), at Harvard University. Awarded a prestigious Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Maguire managed his NIH and NSF funded laboratory at UCSD for the study of tissue degeneration and regeneration, and the role of stem cell released molecules(SRM) through paracrine and autocrine actions to maintain, repair, and regenerate human tissues. His NIH funded studies of systems biology and reverse engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and stem cell biology at UC San Diego led to the development of adult stem cell-based S2RM® technology for the development of therapeutics and medical procedures. Dr. Maguire has over 100 publications, a number of patents and is author of three book, including his latest entitled, “Thinking and Eating for Two: The Science of Using Systems 1 and 2 Thinking to Nourish Self and Symbionts.” He is president of the California Physiological Society, and is founder and CEO of BioRegenerative Sciences, Inc and NeoGenesis, Inc.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As a child I was always interested in science and engineering. Learning new things and creating new things, including artwork, and making rockets and explosives, and electronics was a natural interest and my mother did much to foster my native interest in science. In the fourth grade, my public school teacher, Nathaniel Davidson, had us do a simple experiment on the second law of thermodynamics. He taught us the scientific method, how to perform the experiment, and how to interpret and present the results orally and in writing. When I finished the project an overwhelming understanding came over me that science could answer many of those basic questions we ask as kids. At that point I knew my path forward would be as a scientist. My engineering interest, and I was previously a Research Engineer at UC Berkeley, one of the top 3 engineering schools in the country where I learned much, has been satisfied because I use engineering methods to translate the science from the laboratory to the formulation and creation of new technologies and products.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Fortunately I’ve had many interesting experiences in my career that has not only given me the privilege to live and work in a number of places in the US, but also in the world. One such privilege that our government afforded me was to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from the National Institutes of Health to study and live abroad in Tokyo, Japan at the Keio University School of Medicine. To live with the Japanese people and work with the Japanese scientists and physicians was a means to learn from a very successful culture who do things differently compared to how they’re done here in the US. An example is that there is more of a holistic approach to thought in Japan and the East compared to the more reductionist thought here in the USA. The most successful form of thought is to bring the two together, and bringing different cultures together to learn from one another is one of the successes of the Fulbright program.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

Yes, I applied for a fellowship to study at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, Massachusetts, never expecting to be selected from a wide variety of applicants from around the world at leading institutions such as Cambridge University in the UK. There was a new technology being taught at the MBL that I wanted to learn, a biophysical technology for which the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine would be awarded six years later. I was being taught by Nobel Prize winners and those that would go on to be awarded the Nobel Prize. A young Rod MacKinnon, one of those who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry later in 2003, was one of our close colleagues in the laboratory. When I first arrived at the MBL I felt very intimidated by all of the highly successful and intellectual people in attendance. However, once I began my work and achieved my own success at the MBL I realized that I was accomplished in my own way as much as anyone else. One of the life lessons from these experiences is to face your own doubts and overcome them, and you’ll most likely come away with the confidence that you can achieve those things in life with which you engage. At Berkeley, my next step in life after the MBL, we always learned to have confidence without arrogance. That arrogance, or attitude as some now call it at Berkeley, is the ruination of the scientific mind and precludes engaging in rational, evidence-based thought — something needed in any successful endeavor. Another lesson taught by my days at the MBL and Berkeley is to be a student forever. This goes beyond curiosity. To be a student is to be curious, to ask questions, but to be a student means that you’ll do the work to answer those questions.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes, many people have been important to me and given me so much, but if I’m asked to choose just one; that one would be Professor Dr. Frank Werblin, Ph.D at UC Berkeley. Frank was known as a tough guy. Not in a bad sense, but in that he was highly accomplished, intellectual, erudite, and very creative, and demanded the same from anyone in his lab. If you didn’t perform, you didn’t last long with Frank, and many people avoided working with him for that reason. But if you were bright and worked hard, Frank gave a lot back to you. Frank taught me much about science and engineering, but also about how to think, conceptualize my thoughts, and how to communicate those thoughts. I called him a couple of years ago on Father’s Day to thank him for being my scientific father.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

In medicine there is an edict, “Primum non nocere,” translated to the English from Latin, meaning “First, do no harm.” While I was working with stem cell technology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, my laboratory was focused on a new means of therapeutic development that would renormalize the physiology of the brain in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This was a new strategy that departed from the previous strategies of putting something foreign into the brain, or removing part of the brain to fix the disease. My new strategy, called “Physiological Renormalization” is to return to the brain or other diseased tissue what was normally present when that tissue was young and healthy. Key to this strategy is doing no harm, instead giving the tissue back what it needs to be healthy. I just published a peer-reviewed scientific paper in Future Science that details the success of this strategy in treating nervous system diseases, skin diseases, and in treating cancer. A fellow colleague of mine, Prof. Dr. James Allison, Ph.D, while we were both at Berkeley, developed a new cancer treatment, called “checkpoint inhibitors,” using physiological renormalization for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2018. This a very powerful technology that renormalizes the immune system so that it can once again kill the cancer cells. If you heard about President Jimmy Carter being treated with a new type of drug to successfully treat brain cancer, you’ve heard about Dr. Allison’s “checkpoint inhibitor” technology. As described in my Future Science paper we turned this technology toward the treatment of skin conditions too. As an entrepreneur one creates an entity to solve a problem, as I did with NeoGenesis, Inc. Entrepreneurs are therefore often asked, “What problem are you solving?” I can answer this at two levels. First, drugs and therapeutics often cause more harm than benefit. Our technology solves this problem by simply making your tissues normal again by putting back into the tissue what’s missing. Second most of the drugs currently on the market don’t work well. Our strategy for physiological renormalization has been found to work well for many cancers, for neurodegeneration, and for skin inflammation and barrier breakdown.

More specifically for skin, we have two basic ways of treating the skin with this new “do no harm” strategy to renormalize the skin’s physiology. Both means of renormalizing the skin’s physiology involve renormalizing stem cell function in the skin. First, we use an adult stem cell-based technology (S2RM technology) that I first developed for brain diseases while I was a professor at UCSD School of Medicine. Different types of adult stem cells are resident in any of our given tissues, including brain and skin. Those different type of stem cells in the skin each release a collection of molecules, called stem cells released molecules (SRM), that provide the building blocks for the skin (collagen and laminin for example), instruction set molecules that direct the building block molecules to form the skin’s structure (HAPLN-1 for example), antioxidants that protect the proteins and the DNA, proteins that repair or clear-away damaged proteins (heat shock proteins for example), and molecules that control and resolve inflammation. Each of the different adult stem cells releases its own specific set of molecules, and the pools of molecules from the different stem cell types work together synergistically. This is how our skin is maintained and healed, through the release of these different molecules into the skin from our stem cells. Unfortunately, as we age, or become ill, or have a poor lifestyle, these molecules released from the stem cells can become degraded and their numbers reduced. A loss or reduction of function results. The outward signs of this include lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, redness, irritation, and discoloration. So returning to the skin what was there when the skin was young and healthy, that collection of different molecules from the stem cells, simply returns to the skin what it needs to maintain and heal itself. The skin becomes healthier as a result. Healthy skin is beautiful skin. So this improved health state is all a result of our S2RM technology, the stem cell released molecules from more than 2 types of stem cells, hence the “2” in S2RM.

The second basic means of improving skin health is to feed one of the stem cell types, called keratinocytes, the lipids they need in order to make the skin’s barrier function. The barrier is critical because it not only prevents infectious agents and irritant from entering of bodies, the barrier also prevents moisture from leaving the skin. If the moisture content of the skin is reduced, many conditions can result including disruption of the barrier and inflammation. Because the keratinocytes can’t themselves produce all of the molecules they need, such as linoleic acid, normally the blood supply and the surrounding cells provide what is needed for the keratinocytes to produce the barrier, the fatty structure of the outermost layer of the skin’s epidermis called the stratum corneum. Without the proper amount of linoleic acid in the diet sourced from plants, the keratinocytes can’t make a fully intact barrier. Consumption of too much fats, such as that from processed oils, can induce inflammation and reduce the transport of the linoleic acid from the blood into the keratinocytes, Other factors too, such as aging, disease, and poor lifestyle can also induce chronic inflammation such that the linoleic acid doesn’t transport from the blood to the keratinocytes, and thus the barrier is not fully formed. Without the proper barrier, more inflammation ensues. What results is a positive feedback loop for inflammation and further barrier disruption. But here’s something powerful that a number of scientists discovered over the years; instead of feed the 3 lipid molecules to the keratinocytes from the blood supply, you can feed the 3 lipid (fat) types to the keratinocytes by applying them to the outside of the skin. Yes, you can topically apply the 3 types of lipids to the skin in order to naturally and completely rebuild the skin’s barrier. So this is exactly what our second product does, feeds the keratinocytes the 3 lipids to rebuild the barrier formed by the stratum corneum.

So our two pronged approach to rebuilding the skin, including the deep layers, the dermis, and the outer layer, the epidermis and its most outer, protective layer, the stratum corneum, is to: 1. Mimic what the stem cells release into the skin so that we feed the skin what the stem cells naturally make for us, the S2RM molecules, and 2. Feed the stem cells the 3 lipids they need in order to make the stratum corneum, our natural protective layer or barrier. These two methodologies renormalize the physiology of the skin to better create the youthful, healthy state. You look better, feel better, and most importantly, become healthier.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

In theory and in practice, this technology has been found to be the safest and most effective way to treat a number of skin conditions, including aged skin. We and others have published many peer-reviewed scientific and medical papers on this technology, including safety studies, and these types of products have been on the market for many years without negative side effects, such that their safety and efficacy is well recognized by scientists and practicing physicians. However, care must be taken to select the right types of stem cells to use in the formulation of these products. Some stem cell types can induce too much inflammation and proliferation, states related to scarring and cancer. There are several companies using a like technology that was created by scientists and perfectly safe, but there are two companies with which I am aware, where scientists weren’t involved, and the products are potentially very dangerous. I write about this in some of my scientific peer-reviewed papers. I’m happy to share those papers with anyone who may be interested.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

First, I’m pleased that a number of companies and practitioners have embraced non-destructive or minimally destructive means to treat the skin during “anti-aging’” procedures. Scientists appreciate that one of the most dangerous things a cell can do is to divide. Of course this is what happens during procedures, or using products, that induce injury and proliferation of cells. The cells must divide in order to proliferate. Each time a cell divides, the process creates mutations in the cell’s DNA. There are many repair mechanisms that the cell uses to repair the DNA mutations, but these repair mechanisms become overwhelmed when the cells are dividing rapidly during proliferative states such as wounding of the skin during these destructive procedures. DNA mutations in cells if coupled with wounded skin can induce a state of cancer, especially so when repetitive wounding procedures are performed on the skin, such that the skin is setup for a potential increase in cancer. Second, there are a number of companies embracing evidenced based technologies that do no harm and help the skin become healthier. Third, the science of the skin and the immune system of the skin is rapidly advancing at our major research universities, and a great opportunity exists for people to translate that knowledge base into meaningful new technologies.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Unfortunately there are a number of technologies on the market for which there is no evidence of efficacy, and worse, no evidence that they don’t do harm. Given that the industry is not highly regulated, I encourage everyone to bring to the market only those technologies that work well, and are safe. If we fail to self-regulate our industry and cause harm, then regulatory agencies will step in to control us, as they should if we fail to do it ourselves.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Destress yourself. Mindful meditation is one way, along with other relaxing activities that you enjoy. We’ve all seen people experiencing a traumatic event, such as loss of a loved one that brings on the outward reflection of the stress-inducing event — namely lines and wrinkles and sagging skin. One reason this happens is because of cortisol release during the stressful times that results in a direct breakdown of the skin’s matrix. That matrix is what holds the skin in place, provides thickness and supplety, and when broken down the untoward effects occur. Destressing and reducing the chronic cortisol release will effectively reduce lines and wrinkles. Another important idea is to eat well, including lots of fruits and vegetables containing soluble and insoluble fiber. Many key, essential nutrients for skin function are brought to the skin through the blood supply after eating plants. Many types of antioxidants are brought to the skin this way. You need many types of antioxidants to bring about the antioxidant cascade effect. This helps to protect your DNA from mutations, and helps to protect the collagen in your skin from degradation. Most people think that all collagen renews itself often, but actually some collagens are what we call “long-lived proteins” and you may keep some of the collagen fibers in your skin throughout your whole life. Oxidation is one way that collagen can be badly damaged, and if the collagen remains with you throughout your life, then you’d be living with that damaged collagen forever. Additionally, the fiber in vegetables will reset the immune system to better fight infection and damage to the skin, and better resolve inflammation. Eating plants rich in fiber has been found to help fight influenza and even protect against cancer, and help cancer drugs, such as those checkpoint inhibitors I talked about previously, to be more effective. Feeding the skin from the “inside-out” is important, and remember that “feeding the skin from “outside-in” can also be beneficial. So eating well, and then carefully using good skin care products, and reducing the stress in your life is sure to bring radiance to your skin and enhance your overall well being.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m trying to educate people not to rely on the “healthcare” system to improve their health and well being. About 90% of your health status is dependent on your exposome, not heredity or genetics (they’re not the same). As I describe in my third book, “Thinking and Eating for Two: The Science of Using Systems 1 and 2 Thinking to Nourish Self and Symbionts” using well over 2,000 references, including most from science and medical journals, the “medical-industrial complex” is not there to make you healthy, rather the system, including physicians, are often incented to perform procedures and to sell you drugs. Over half of these procedures, and over half of the drugs don’t work, but do harm. This is hard to believe, but in my book I provide the evidence that it’s true with many peer-reviewed journal articles. The system is dangerous, and one way to avoid reliance on the system for your health is to eat well, exercise, and avoid toxic ingredients in the environment. This is what is meant by the term exposome; all of those molecules that you’re exposed to in life, such as those molecules in your food, drink, air, water, and what you put on your skin are part of your exposome. Even the molecules created in your body are part of your exposome. Did you know that when you eat insoluble fiber in vegetables, that fiber is fermented in the large intestine (colon) by bacteria (symbionts) to make short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, leading to your innate and adaptive immune system to function better, with less inflammation? If you eat processed oils, including coconut oil and MCTs, just the opposite occurs; T cells in your adaptive immune system are set into a pro-inflammatory state. And exercise will positively affect your exposome by, as one example, inducing your body to produce a cascade of beneficial antioxidants. If your exposome is healthy, then you’ve greatly improved the chances you’ll be healthy, obviating the need for drugs, diagnostics, and medical procedures all of which have negative side effects, and often provide little or no benefit.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“To inquire into the origin of life is like seeking the origin of electrical machinery or the origin of music. Every increase in complexity of arrangement, of form, of substance, leads to new and often incalculable properties.” This quote is from Prof. Dr. Gilbert Newton Lewis, Ph.D, a UC Berkeley professor who discovered the covalent bond and electron paring, and first described the quantum behavior of the photon as an exchange of energy. What do Dr. Lewis’ words mean? Basically, the more you look, the more you see. Every time you see something new, that new something opens more questions about the thing that is new. If you are a “student forever” with an open mind, then you can always see new things, in other words, see what is there as something that is new. This of course opens the opportunity to learn more about that something, and potentially create something new and useful to mankind from your new understanding. This is relevant to my professional life in understanding and creating new technologies and products that are of benefit to mankind. Also my personal life benefits greatly. For instance, having learned about Systems 1 thinking (unconscious thinking that controls you, and predominates in most people’s lives) and Systems 2 thinking (intentional, rational, evidence based thinking) and how to harness these ways of thinking to better myself, my health, and my interactions with others has greatly benefited my personal well-being, and hopefully those with whom I interact. If one is a student for life, working with passion and compassion, a life of meaning and satisfaction can be achieved.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow my research papers online here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=maguire+greg

My blog is here: https://drgregmaguire.org/

My newest book is here: https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Eating-Two-Science-Symbionts/dp/B084FKJXF3/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=thinking+and+eating+for+two&qid=1581628549&sr=8-1

And my skincare company is here: https://www.neogenesis.com/

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.


The Future Of Beauty: “Using stem cells to restore healthy skin” With Dr. Greg Maguire was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dreamers: “They told me it was impossible and I did it anyway” with Liana Pavane of TTYL

As I mentioned earlier, I had a lot of family members shut my idea down in the beginning. The concept of millennials giving up their phones to play seemed foreign to them. Over the years, some of these earlier naysayers have been able to attend my events in order to experience TTYL firsthand to get a better understanding.

Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Liana Pavane. Liana is a digital wellness expert and founder of TTYL — a tech-free community dedicated to human connection. Liana founded TTYL in 2018 to help people have a healthier relationship with technology and social media. Since launching, she has been featured on NY1, Bedford + Bowery, The Joy List, the SHIPS podcast, and more for her work in digital wellness. As a professional community builder, Liana believes in the power of unplugging and living in the present moment. Her tech-free events have been hosted at prominent spaces such as Athleta, Showfields, The Assemblage, The Phluid Project, and Tijuana Picnic. Liana is also a born and raised New Yorker who studied theatre at Ithaca College. When she’s not growing her business or hosting an event, you can find Liana networking with like-minded people or finding joy away from her phone.

Thank you so much for joining us! Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am! I’m working on a dating series called PLAYdate. In today’s society, especially in New York City, the dating world is rough. Everyone is on the apps and swiping primarily based on looks. At PLAYdate, personality becomes the most important component for a match. Nostalgic activities, such as board games, coloring, and play-doh, also allow everyone to feel comfortable without their phones. In addition, there will be a dating & sex professional providing group programming for the evening. I believe this will break down boundaries and invite everyone to be themselves rather than what they portray on an online dating profile.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

Unlike other social clubs, TTYL is a tech-free community which is already a huge differentiator. . Imagine a space where nobody cares what you look like because nothing is being documented. Without your phone, you worry less about the superficial stuff and become more engaged with what’s going on in the present. TTYL provides freedom away from the world’s distractions — like social media and the news — that we are constantly reminded of on our personal devices. Unlike other social clubs, TTYL also encourages both individual reflection and social engagement. We encourage you to free your kid at heart, let loose, and truly be yourself. By removing phones from our events, it forces people to interact, which is, in turn, solving the biggest issue in today’s society: loneliness. Also, TTYL is as much of a community as it is a fun pop-up experience. It’s a place for people to catch up with their friends, to walk out with a new one, and reconnect with themselves. TTYL is a self-care movement, and I believe New Yorkers are going to search for even more tech-free spaces in the years to come.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

When I first came up with my idea for TTYL, a tech-free community for adults dedicated to human connection, I got a lot of scoffs — mostly from older family members, including my parents, and some friends as well. No one thought that millennials would want to give up their phones for anything. Social media was at its peak and influencers were reaching celebrity status while actually making a living off of their posts. I held the idea in the back of my head for months.

As I entered the corporate world, I became even more fed up with social media and how much of a time sucker it was. After deleting my Snapchat and going on a five-day detox in the fall of 2017, I knew that this feeling of liberation from social media was something that other people felt (or needed) as well. I decided to trust my gut and brought the idea up again to my close friends. My best friend was ultimately the one who encouraged me to go for it (and offered to create my logo). As soon as she presented me with the logo, there was no turning back and it was the very moment it all became real.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂

I hosted my first TTYL pop-up event at The Phluid Project on 1/18/2019. When 50 people showed up to my first event, I knew I was onto something. Even my parents couldn’t believe it when they saw all of these strangers coming together and mingling — WITHOUT their phones — over board games, coloring books, and play-doh. Of course, like any new business, there have been some ups and downs over the years, but whenever I’d hear feedback like “this was just like therapy,” I knew that people really needed these tech-free zones in their lives and I was going to do whatever it took to bring them to even more people. The “naysayers” began to trust my idea as more and more articles about digital wellness began showing up in the paper, and then the press began to knock on my door as well. In the end, I felt completely supported and was told to follow my dreams no matter what. It’s been extremely exciting to watch my dreams become a successful reality.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There have been so many people in my life that have helped me during this entrepreneurial journey. Around the same time that I was starting TTYL, my sister was also starting her own recruiting company, The Hire. Since we were both building businesses from the ground up, she had tons of insight to provide, particularly on the business side. Perhaps the thing I am most grateful for was that she suggested I become a recruiter while I grew TTYL. I took her advice and that experience taught me how to be an excellent salesperson, which I’ve been able to apply to everything from selling my events to following-up with business contacts in a professional manner. It was also really nice to be able to talk to someone who was going through similar challenges as me — something I’m still grateful for today.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?

I studied theater in college, which is perhaps the hardest industry to throw yourself into. Although I wasn’t on the auditioning side (since I focused on directing and playwriting) it still involved a lot of competition. I found myself constantly comparing my talents to other classmates and competing with them for summer internship opportunities. That experience taught me how to stay true to myself and bounce back if I heard “no.”

Another experience that helped me build resilience was after my first year of college when I got a job as a sales associate at a boutique in New York City. Having that on-the-floor customer service experience definitely taught me how important it was to have thick skin and maintain your cool under pressure. As mean comments were thrown my way almost every day, I learned that whenever people were rude, they were just projecting their own issues onto me. From that point on, I’ve been a lot better at handling constructive criticism and moving on gracefully.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)

  1. Your brand values matter…

I was out to dinner with two people who have continuously supported my events and wanted to partner with me for their own tech-free event. While we were discussing my involvement at the event, one of them mentioned how my slogan sounded sexual. My slogan, for reference, is “move your lips, not your thumbs.” Not only was the comment inappropriate, but it was child-like and derailed the conversation for the rest of the dinner. Instead of getting defensive, I stood my ground and simply stated, “you’re the first person who has said that to me” and attempted to move on.. My takeaway from that experience was that that person’s criticism was a manifestation of their own jealousy and an attempt to bring me down. Ultimately, I decided not to partner with them. After all, TTYL is a judgment-free zone, and that’s what I look for in potential partners too.

2. Nothing but a number…

As a young entrepreneur, I believe it’s valuable to surround myself with older generations and receive guidance. Since they’ve had way more life experience than me, I appreciate hearing advice on what they wish they would’ve done differently. However, sometimes some begin to spew their opinions at me even when I didn’t ask for it. For example, I recently met someone for coffee because they had reached out to me with an idea of how they could help me with my business. I thought, great! The more ideas I could get, the better. However, the conversation began to derail as they began to tell me that, to them, my business model was “small-minded” and that I should be thinking about x, y, and z instead. In response, I kindly explained to them my business mission and how what they had in mind wasn’t the goal of what I was trying to achieve with TTYL. My takeaway from this experience was that not everyone will relate to your business, and that’s okay. I chose to shake off the encounter and use it as a lesson on how to stay true to the people I serve rather than worrying about the people I ultimately can’t serve..

3. Keep competition friendly

As one of the pioneers of the digital wellness space, everyone knows everyone. There are a ton of groups and collectives I’ve leveraged to connect with like-minded individuals and companies all over the world. I ended up meeting someone from one of these groups for coffee with another friend of mine in the wellness industry. The two of them seemed to hit it right off, however, the same didn’t go for me. The person who’d invited me to join their coffee date oddly wouldn’t give me the time of day. She spent the conversation painting herself as superior and remained dismissive. . Then, at the end of the conversation, she concluded by offering her services to us. Yes, she literally pitched my friend and I to purchase her offers. I instantly realized that she was in this for all the wrong reasons. Of course, monetizing your ideas is important, but so is relationship building. I used this experience as a way to be grateful for the genuine connections I’ve been able to make in the wellness community and to continue manifesting more meaningful relationships that don’t come with a price tag.

4. Use real life to inspire your business…

Can I tell you how fun it is to date as an entrepreneur on a scale of 1 to 10? A negative 100. The second anyone on a dating app asks what I do, I’m either ghosted or get harassed with questions about my business plan. Through dating, I’ve learned that most men are still intimidated by bold and entrepreneurial women. So, it’s proven difficult for me to meet someone who respects my ambition and can match it in their own industry. Still, what I’ve learned from is, if you’re communicating with someone via the internet, just ask to grab a drink or coffee sooner rather than later and let them ask you all the questions they want in real life. Entrepreneurship gets a bad rep for being pretentious, so I find that having them see my down-to-earth personality first is the way to go. Besides, the purpose of dating apps isn’t to have an online relationship… It’s to make in-person dating even easier. Another perk to this experience was the idea for PlayDATE, which I had mentioned earlier. This goes to show that sometimes our negative real-life experiences can help create positive business ideas!

5. Spread the word, mindfully

As I mentioned earlier, I had a lot of family members shut my idea down in the beginning. The concept of millennials giving up their phones to play seemed foreign to them. Over the years, some of these earlier naysayers have been able to attend my events in order to experience TTYL firsthand to get a better understanding. Even those who haven’t been able to make it in person have started to receive my monthly newsletter, Wellness Unplugged. In my newsletter, they get to virtually witness the growth of TTYL through upcoming events, photos of past events., press, and partnerships. That’s one of the huge benefits of technology — being able to spread the word on new ideas, events, and perspectives. The trick, to me, is to use the technology we have available more mindfully and that’s the goal of my newsletter. This way, I’m not focusing my energy on trying to convince anyone about my business. I’m simply letting them see it for themselves and let TTYL speak for itself!

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

My personal philosophy and favorite quote is, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything,” from Gretchen Rubins of “The Happiness Project.” This has become my mantra in everything I do, specifically when it relates to my business. Recently, I hired someone to help me with marketing because I was overwhelmed with the amount of administrative work I had to do and needed help to take my brand to the next level. This shift in mindset helped me devote more time to focus on “CEO tasks” rather than administrative ones. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do all the things, it’s that — if I really wanted to grow my business — my time was better served elsewhere

Similarly, in my personal life, I no longer force myself into situations that I know I won’t enjoy. If I get invited to an event or even a friend’s party that I know I won’t enjoy, I just don’t go. Instead I choose to do something that will truly fulfill me. I’ve come to realize that life is too short to put yourself into awkward situations on purpose. I’d much rather thrive in situations where I can be myself and those are the experiences I seek.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’m happy to say that my movement already exists, and it’s what my brand, TTYL, is all about. I’m calling the tech-free movement the next self-care movement of the 21st century. Why? Because I believe there’s a considerable need for connection in today’s increasingly lonely society. As I’m writing in a coffee shop, I see two couples actually engaging with one another. One with their phones in front of them. When I leave this coffee shop and walk around this city, I know I’ll see everyone walking with their heads down. No one is smiling at each other anymore. No one is going about their day to take care of themselves. So I ask you, what if we actively chose to take care of ourselves before anyone else? What if we designated time to our technology throughout our day rather than being attached to it 24/7? What if we decided to take our lives back in our own hands — the same hands that usually have a cellphone in them? That’s what TTYL is all about, and I believe it’s a movement with so much potential because it’s focusing on reconnecting by disconnecting for the greater good. TTYL is a mindful force that helps remind everyone that they can, in fact, play again without worrying about the judgment of others Because since when did we become too old to be ourselves? I don’t think we have, and I want to change that, one tech-free space at a time.

Can our readers follow you on social media?

Readers can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Medium, and LinkedIn!


Dreamers: “They told me it was impossible and I did it anyway” with Liana Pavane of TTYL was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Future of Beauty: “LEDs that can help with the reduction of acne and scarring” with Don Feak of

The Future of Beauty: “LEDs that can help with the reduction of acne and scarring” with Don Feak of Azure

This field is so very fluid, constantly changing in many ways and this is refreshing to me personally, as I come from a professional background where frankly things are much slower, almost glacially moving due to the cautious use of new technology and inherent lack of desire to take risks in avionics.

Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Don Feak. With over 30 years experience in aerospace, avionics and medical electronics engineering, Don Feak is Azure Medical’s Chief Technologist. Prior to joining Azure, Feak’s focus was on High Reliability Avionics and Spaceborne Electrical and Systems Engineering, in positions from Flight Avionics for Boeing/McDonnell Douglas and Lear Astronics, to Satellite Communications with Hughes / Raytheon Space, to his most recent position of managing a group of engineers for numerous JPL Pasadena NASA and Goddard Space Flight projects. He is a graduate in computer science by Cal Polytechnic University.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My experience prior to Azure Medical Technologies (Azure) focused on high reliability avionics and space borne electrical and systems engineering in positions from flight avionics for Boeing/McDonnell Douglas and lear astronics to satellite communications with Hughes / Raytheon Space to my last gig managing a group of engineers for numerous JPL Pasadena NASA and Goddard Space Flight projects. So I managed to learn a few things about lasers and LEDs in high reliability designs. This mentality is “built into me” and into what Azure designs and produces.

What brought me into a consumer product realm from the particularly rigid environments of my prior endeavors? Short answer — — my wife.

She bought some LED gadget from Nordstrom that supposedly was to reduce wrinkles and keep her youthful appearance going strong. It did nothing. She said something like “you know a few things about lasers, correct?” She asked me to investigate this LED/laser “thing” and see if I could make something that works. So I did.

I’m set on my successful aerospace career — — done a lot of pretty cool stuff — — now hoping to broaden the “what I’ve done” part of my story.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Not so much a particular story, but rather some observations made. My experience in rigid design environments where everything done was subject to strict control parameters to meet intense performance requirements with a “zero defect” mindset has taken some readjustment effort to understand how this consumer-focused market functions. This medical consumer market environment where performance criteria are “fluffy,” with so many transitory trends and “fads” coming and going, mixed in with a vast field of manufactures from flimsy junk to top of the line professional products, is certainly perplexing. With that said, Azure will blend in to traffic starting with the rightmost lane and rapidly and carefully move our way over to the fast lane.

What will not happen is Azure will not homogenize and sacrifice our core design principles. Azure will not cut corners — — there will be no box corner cutting so many times that the boxes end up as circles. Because my reputation/legacy is now based on Azure’s reputation.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

Azure’s tipping point came with the realization that no matter how much better a product we design than our competitors, without “the other side of the coin” being competent marketing and brand building, Azure would disappear “into the weeds” like so many other companies have.

Apple is a perfect example: no matter how good Steve Wozniak was with his fantastically innovative design concepts, no matter how good a product concept and marketing guy Steve Jobs was, neither would likely have gone very far without Jobs making the world aware of what Wozniak had come up with.

Azure recognized this as we were stumbling along never making much of a dent. We then brought in Kultura PR as our partner — — an on again off again relationship we hope to continue. What will tip your point positively is to strive for the highest peak of course, but further to plan for and implement the best marketing and brand building effort you can muster.

Azure is in a niche market supplying FDA Cleared OTC medical devices. There are few legitimate competitors and having limited competition is an advantage for consumers looking for what we all make.

Health / Wellness / Beauty sector “soft technology / skincare pharma” companies are comprised of gargantuan entities all the way down to mom and pop operations. Those mom and pops and every one “in between” cannot climb much against the gargantuan competition without aggressive market and brand building as early as possible, leading to sales channels opening up.

As an aside, I’d like to think if you make junk and market it well you will fail. The nature of the beast proves that is not be the case though. Companies can and will continue to make trash and market it very well. Best advice for your reputation is — — don’t make junk. Good for you — — good for consumers — — good for our industry as a whole.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

Azure’s core plan is to design for the home-use consumer, medispa and dermatological practice energy emitting devices that are USFDA OTC 510K certified utilizing emerging technologies in LEDs , mid-infrared “eye safe” lasers , directed RF, thermal acoustic methods AND where possible to add as naturally derived as possible, reagents and serums that positively and safely assist in success of a specific treatment protocol.

Azure has the requisite “horsepower” with electro-optic engineering experience coupled with two premier doctors — one cellular regenerative medicine expert and author of more than 105 US patents, as well as sitting as a Prestigious Allergan Fellow; the second is a celebrity multi-board certified dermatologist with four Los Angeles offices and is a UCLA Medical School professor. Both are conference speakers at worldwide specialist symposiums, conduct USFDA clinical trials and are internationally peer reviewed and published in numerous journals.

Most of our device competitors have their designs done by consultants. I’m personally aware of this as my company has been approached numerous times to perform exactly that engineering study, design and implementation service.

On a larger scale company wise — two recent examples of this “outsource” method for Azure’s design efforts come from LVMH and L’Oréal.

Azure’s Orion and Radiance handheld devices are now in the market. These two devices are clinically efficacious in dermal collagen regrowth and full face wrinkle reduction.

Later this year Azure will introduce variants of Orion and Radiance using three novel wavelengths of LEDs alongside photoreactive serums for reduction of acne and scarring alongside the same anti-aging and anti-acne therapies with full sized array of Genesis medispa and dermatology office devices.

  1. SuperIntense LEDs : For Azure, as scientist/engineers with a current core of LED focused devices, we are at the forefront of implementing the latest LED material science.
  2. Other LED device companies in today’s market are using 10 year old LED technology … because 10 year old stuff is cheap, plentiful and they can put tens, hundreds or thousands of these little low power LEDs in their products and they look impressive to the customer.

Azure is actually “New Technology” with SuperIntense industrial grade LEDs.

Here are some examples of the difference this new technology brings.

Azure’s Genesis arrays use 27 of these “Turbo LEDs” that output eight times more therapeutic wavelength energy that the closest dermatologist panel that uses close to 1000 old technology LEDS.

  1. MicroStructure lenses : What are these new technology lensing things? Azure uses these specially designed proprietary lens arrays in our devices to form or shape the output patterns of LEDs into idealized beneficial “concentrated” treatment areas. Scattered and diffused “non-captured” light patterns that are not focused in optimal intensities on treatment areas just cannot be as efficient or provide the benefits quickly and reliably.
  2. BioScience : Azure’s two Doctors will be developing proprietary serums with cellular benefiting properties (hyaluronic, glycolics, penta and tetra peptides, Vitamins A, E and C) as well as photo-reactive / photoacidic serums for pre-treatment protocols in anti-aging and acne prevention and scarring therapy (Photoacidic sounds a bit nasty but it’s really quite safe and effective when designed properly — — there’s no “torching your face off” rather this method will be designed to gently cause photo-dissociation or dissociation of protons upon photoassociation to prepare the dermis for optimal therapy.)
  3. Directed radio frequency, thermal acoustic and laser actuated micro thermal zone therapy. Much of this is Azure proprietary and will be part of Azure’s hair growth and home “reverse of Cool Sculpting” devices in planning stages.

All of these technology leaps are or will be implemented by Azure. It’s why we are in this business.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

LEDs in Azure devices are eye and dermal safe so no real issues there — certainly not with Azure’s foundational requirement that all home use devices we make will be USFDA 510K certified, as well as additional applicable EU or Asia FDA type certifications as need arises.

As Azure moves into bioscience, radio frequency and sophisticated non-ablative laser methods, we’ll ensure by way of rigorous testing and certifications that what we make works without contraindications near and far term.

We are in this business to “build up,” not to damage or break down.

Can you share three things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

  1. This field is so very fluid, constantly changing in many ways and this is refreshing to me personally, as I come from a professional background where frankly things are much slower, almost glacially moving due to the cautious use of new technology and inherent lack of desire to take risks in avionics.
  2. I’ve not been much of a people person to date (my pets are my closest buds other than wife and son and best friends). In the skincare environment, engaging new people from a broad spectrum of doctors through to licensed estheticians at the various events and symposiums is an enjoyable (most times) new experience — — (instead of the stodgy bubble of engineering labs).
  3. Knowing what has been done and tried, and then looking for both ways to “do it better,” implementing that way to do it better, and then seeking the “what’s behind the next door” to what you just discovered.

Opportunity for advancements in directed energy methods and biosciences/nanotechnology for the beauty/skincare/wellness sectors are growing by leaps and bounds — (Actually somewhat arrogantly stated yet substantively claimed, this will occur when Azure does it) and this particular market has huge receptivity for accepting “new stuff.’

Can you share three things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

  1. Fake news/claims. Bloviation on claims is rampant. People want to believe what they are told and if they see some “photoshop” miracle they many times fall for it. Some of those naive people who see none or little of what they hoped for, go right to Social Media and publicly trash whatever “miracle thing” they bought into. This can be damaging to entire focused sectors like Azure’s where we make LED skincare therapy. These naive unhappy campers who bought some winky-blinky car taillight junk that did nothing post “LED therapy is worthless.” That is further “fake news” from whoever believed the bloviating advertising.

Solution A: US FTC regulation and enforcement of online and airwave advertising of products.

2 . Junk Science: Whatever is the latest trendy junk science can quickly rise to the public peak perception. Phony gold dust particles, dubious stem cell protocols, claims of serums with collagen that mysteriously find some way to penetrate through the dermis while not mysteriously penetrating right back out to the surface of the dermis.

Solution B: Common sense on the consumer’s part.

3 . Lack of oversight from USFDA. The FDA is similar to a paper tiger and typical DMV type organization. There are many devices in Azure’s markets claiming they are FDA 510k devices. Many of them have NO FDA 510k. Many make outlandish phony claims in results or even what can be treated with their device or product. There is not ONE competitor device (and we test them all in our Lab) which meets even the manufacturers claims to the FDA in 510K filings that match what they actually manufacture and sell to market. Azure makes what we FDA 510k Cleared. Azure has certifiable true clinical support trial evidence and will continue to add to that portfolio with new products. There is considerable amount of bold lying with no consequences ever observed, which leads to even more bold lying.

Solution C: About as likely to occur as Solution A.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

This will be a bit tough , a little trite and commonly packaged — — I’m a grungy alpha-male.

  1. Do not follow Keith Richard’s (see Rolling Stones) lifestyle plan in any facet.
  2. UV is bad, so wear sunscreen.
  3. Exercise as regularly as possible so people can actually have you around on this earth to admire your beauty as long as possible.
  4. Buy Azure products, as they’ll bring a smile to your face.
  5. Do good as much as you can and don’t be evil much at all. When you build yourself up with all the good you do for others, it will overflow to the outside of you and that’s all part of being a cool beautiful person.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is my Forrest Gump moment and frankly I’m drawing a blank.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One plus two extra quotes (covering for my lack of self-recognition in the prior “I’m a Person of Great Influence” section)

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool” — Nobel Laureate Theoretical Physicist Richard P. Feynman

”Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to “remember” what you said.”

Passed down from my dad as something that was taught him as well.

How can our readers follow you online?

www.azuremedtech.com

https://www.facebook.com/AZURE-AMT-Global-110172923727014/

Thank you for all of these great insights!


The Future of Beauty: “LEDs that can help with the reduction of acne and scarring” with Don Feak of was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Olivier Mamet: “If I could inspire a movement, it would be a “zero waste” movement”

If I could really inspire a movement, it would be a “zero waste” movement. We are surrounded by sunlight all day every day, and that is an enormous amount of clean energy that leads to no waste. Living on a touristic island where there are so many hotels and restaurants, I see the amount of food that we throw in the bin every day. It’s not hard to think environmentally. Little changes that we personally all personally do every day can lead to great things for the whole of the planet.

As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Olivier Mamet.

Olivier Mamet was born in Mauritius Island, a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean and was. Olivier was raised raised in an idyllic setting amongst between coconuts and palm trees. At the age of 18, he left his home to study in Australia, subsequently earning a degree in and holds an accounting and business law, as well as a Master’s degree in film. He started opened his TV production company, out of the box productions,” in 2008, and in 2017, he moved back to Mauritius to foundisland and founded a company called Sandbox Consulting.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?

So, I was born in a small island with a total population of just over 1 million people, I was raised by loving parents and spent most of my time running on the beach and fishing or playing in the sea. If I wasn’t outside, I would be in the TV room, watching movies rented from the local video store. I realized early on that I had a deep passion for films and filmmaking in general. When I left home to study abroad, I enrolled into a program for an accounting and business law degree, thinking it was the safest thing to do from a career perspective. Upon completion of the degree, I felt that it was time to go and try something that felt closer to what I wanted to do, and so therefore I enrolled in a Master’s of film and& Television program. I felt invigorated by those studies, not sure if it would lead to anything, but I sure had a lot of fun. Once I completed my Master’s, I found a job as a video editor, and after a while, I was named head of production of a small video production company. Once I completed mythe Master’s, I looked for a job as a video editor, and after a while, I was named head of production of a small video production company. That was an very interesting time because video was transitioning from tape and film to digital formats, and it required a restructuring of the whole process. Some jobs were not has time- heavy as before, and some jobs were almost becoming redundant. When the DSLRs came onto the market, I felt they would fill in a great gap in the corporate sector, and I left the company to open my own little production house with what I had saved up until that point. After almost 10 years of trading and creating visual products, I sold half of the company and moved back to Mauritius with my wife to be closer to the family, and I opened Sandbox Consulting.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think they at will help people?

At the moment, we are working on an amazing project. We are about to shoot a feature film in Mauritius called Out of the Tower. It is a great indie film that will start production in May 2020.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

I think nowadays, the most important factor for a company is the speed and the quality of service. We all dream of having a “purple cow” product. ,A a product that everyone needs and wants and where that you are the only company being able to produce it. But realistically, most companies will rely on their quality of service to make the difference.

I think that knowledge holds a lot of power. Knowledge can also take many forms.

  • Knowledge of who to contact to solve your problem
  • Knowledge of how to make something
  • Knowledge of how not to mess up something.

Nowadays, the internet makes knowledge accessible to anyone. Therefore, you cannot take a stance where your product or service can only be provided by only you.

For example, a couple of years ago, you had to drive to a restaurant to be able to order some fancy French food., Nowadays, you can simply follow search for the recipes online, find the one with the most 5- star reviews and you are now empowered to marked that recipe yourself. That piece of knowledge probably took a lot of sweat and trial and errors from someone at some point in time, but now this knowledge is for anyone with an internet connection.

So, if you are in an industry where knowledge and innovation is are not the key criteria into for selling your product or service, then you can only rely on quality, speed and price.

This is what my company is about, : quality, reliability and response time.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share thate story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

Going into film studies was a big turning point for me as I am from a very small island and film is not something that you can do in any way, shape or form as a job there. From the start of my studies and for a big chunk of my first starting years, I was only met with laughter and naysayers. My dream was to shoot a feature in Mauritius, a feature with a recognizable name at the helm but also in front of the camera. Most people thought it was a very funny silly dream and didn’t fail to share their amusement at the idea.

It didn’t really affect me as I could understand where they were coming from. I mean, chances were extremely thin, and there was no path visible from most points of views. I just felt that the path had to be created through hard work and persistence. Going in a direction that no one takes is extremely hard. For one, you’re get mostly met with rejections and laughter,s and you need to find the mental fortitude to keep going and keep your head down.

For my part, I must say that the key difference is my wife and parents, who have been supportive from the start. Every time, I wanted to give up, they would throw that little bit of extra positive energy that I needed to get back to the drawing board and keep pushing.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂

Well, the movie is fully funded, the director is secured, and the shooting schedule has been set for May 2020, so I would say so. that the naysayers are well and truly being proven wrong.

So, hopefully it will be in theaters before mid- 2021.

None of us are is able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I would like to thank my wife and family for their support. Any entrepreneurial exercise is not easy. You often feel alone, even if you are surrounded by people. Rejection and disappointments are not easy to cope with when you are subjected to them at over a long period of time. I was able to get through that with the help of these people.

I would like as well to point out that anyone you meet on that path you’rethat you creating for yourself is really important. So, everyone I met up to this point has also helped in some capacity.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliencey? Can you share the story with us?

I think character has a lot to do within how you navigate those turns. I have a tendency to laser focus on something and feel uninterested with everything else. So, I am naturally resilient. This is a double- edged sword because it takes a lot of efforts to do something that I have no interest in.

It also can be a very dangerous character trait. Resilience is something that helps me achieve things that most people give up on, …but it also contributes to a lot of mental problems. I tend to see the same patterns with other entrepreneurs I speak to. Resilience means not letting go,… and sometimes it becomes a health hazard. Resilient people will cling on to their dreams by the skin of their teeth ifs that is all they have left to cling onto. This can lead to anxiety and depression as you put your body through such extreme stress. Your surroundings cannot help you that much either as well because you are so focused on not letting go of whatever you set your sights on to that you take yourself subject yourself out of normal life and end up focusing solely on that. You end up opening fictitious imaginary doors that leads to dark places, and once you find those doors, it is very difficult to ignore the fact that they are there. Also, not everyone who walks through darkness makes it out, …so you need to listen to what your body is telling you.

You need to learn to let things go, …but as it turns out, resilient people tend to do the opposite is the contrary of that resilient people will do. So, whatever you learn in resilience, you also need to learn to listen to what your body is telling you. Dreams are not achieved in a day and, therefore, it is ok to set things aside for some time and come back to it at later stages.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to be more tenacious harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each.)

Here are 5 of my most important strategies.

  • When you want to climb the Mount Everest, you don’t look at the top of the mountain,. you look at the your next step you need to make. So, focus on small achievable goals that leads towards your bigger one.
  • Stay hopefully and always look at the bright side. Getting rejected and disappointed is like death and taxes, it is inevitable. So, remember, it only takes one yes to jump to another step.
  • Approbation is not something to look for. Remember, you are creating your own path. It is not paved within fast food outlets and gas stations. You will get hungry, you will get cold, and hoping that strangers or friends will “root for you” is a luxury that will probably not happen. (or help you, asfor a matter of fact).
  • Always ask questions, hear what people have to say. Even if it ends up not being what you wanted to hear or you feel it is a worthless, anything can spark an idea. So, remain open and receptive to things.
  • Learn to know yourself, learn to ground yourself and be mindful.

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

At the start of my career, my favourite quote was:

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
― Angela Duckworth

You can see so many people give up and follow the beaten track, so this quote especially resonated that it reflected with me. Nowadays, my favourite quote is:

“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
― Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven

Resilience is about bending in and out to achieve what you are resilient about in the first place. Don’t be like the oak, as you are bound to break one day.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good tofor the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

If I could really inspire a movement, it would be a “zero waste” movement. We are surrounded by sunlight all day every day, and that is an enormous amount of clean energy that leads to no waste. Living on a touristic island where there are so many hotels and restaurants, I see the amount of food that we throw in the bin every day. It’s not hard to think environmentally. Little changes that we personally all personally do every day can lead to great things for the whole of the planet.

Can our readers follow you on social media?

Of course: https://www.linkedin.com/in/olivier-mamet-6a333213/

Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!


Olivier Mamet: “If I could inspire a movement, it would be a “zero waste” movement” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

How I Was Able To Thrive Despite First Experiencing Impostor Syndrome, With Douglas Ferguson

Acknowledge it: Be aware that you’re feeling like an imposter. Naming is something is usually a great first step.

Focus on Your Strengths: Make a list of what you’re uniquely good at. Return to your list when you feel your confidence is rocky or you’re unsure of yourself.

Decide What You Want to Improve: Everyone has room for growth. Decide what skills you want to grow and actively work to develop them.

Find a Mentor: Identify someone that you look up to, both personally and career-wise. Ask them to be your mentor, so you have someone you can talk with when you run into tough moments at work.

As a part of our series about how very accomplished leaders were able to succeed despite experiencing Imposter Syndrome, I had the pleasure of interviewing Douglas Ferguson. Douglas is an Austin-based entrepreneur and startup advisor. After serving as CTO at multiple Austin tech startups, Douglas launched Voltage Control, an agency that specializes in helping companies achieve their full potential. Voltage Control works directly with companies to design customized, collaborative workshops that jumpstart new projects and products.

While serving as CTO at Twyla, Douglas worked with Google Ventures to run Design Sprints for understanding consumer behavior, and he now brings this process-based experience to solve many types of problems across a wide array of industries around the world.

Douglas recently released his first book, Beyond the Prototype, which details a tangible, 6-step plan to help organizations move from idea to finished product. When he’s not working, Douglas can be found patching together his modular synthesizer, playing guitar, or watching documentaries.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I’m an entrepreneur and human-centered technologist with over 20 years of experience. Currently, I’m the president of Voltage Control, an Austin-based workshop agency that specializes in Design Sprints and innovation workshops. Prior to Voltage Control, I held CTO positions at numerous Austin startups where I led product and engineering teams using agile, lean, and human-centered design principles. I graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where I studied math, biology, and chemistry.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

While I was CTO of Twyla, a startup that sold limited edition contemporary art prints, we worked with Google Ventures on a Design Sprint, which we were running to learn more about what customers want and to improve our business model. While, ultimately, Twyla didn’t work out as a business, the huge benefit of this moment is that I got to experience the Design Sprint process from the “masters” and creators, including Jake Knapp. I fell in love with this way of working and this experience lead me to launch my company to help share this way of working with other companies.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We’re not dogmatic. We’re all about bringing together different ways of working and not following one methodology. Instead, we mix and match the right methods to meet the specific needs of our clients. Another thing that makes us stand out is that we are committed to building a community through our work. For example, we’ve started something in Austin called “Control the Room,” which is a yearly event for professional facilitators where they can meet each other and learn new skills.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the experience of Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

To me, Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you don’t know enough about the field of business that you are working in and then everyone will soon find out. People with Imposter Syndrome lack full confidence in their skills and background and worry that everyone around them knows more than they do.

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

The downsides are that you limit and question yourself when you’re paralyzed by Imposter Syndrome. When you second-guess yourself or get too caught up in your own fears or insecurities, you’re not at your best and you’re probably not taking advantage of some of your biggest strengths.

In your opinion, what are the steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Acknowledge it: Be aware that you’re feeling like an imposter. Naming is something is usually a great first step.
  2. Focus on Your Strengths: Make a list of what you’re uniquely good at. Return to your list when you feel your confidence is rocky or you’re unsure of yourself.
  3. Decide What You Want to Improve: Everyone has room for growth. Decide what skills you want to grow and actively work to develop them.
  4. Find a Mentor: Identify someone that you look up to, both personally and career-wise. Ask them to be your mentor, so you have someone you can talk with when you run into tough moments at work.


How I Was Able To Thrive Despite First Experiencing Impostor Syndrome, With Douglas Ferguson was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dreamers: “They told me It was impossible and I did it anyway” With Beth Vazquez of Recess &…

Dreamers: “They told me It was impossible and I did it anyway” With Beth Vazquez of Recess & Results

Make every effort to leave each room you enter a little better than how you found it. This can be done with a simple smile, by picking up trash, a word of encouragement, a compliment, buying someone’s coffee, bringing a gift, lending a helping hand to someone in need…. There are a million ways to do this and if everyone committed to this small gesture, imagine the impact it would have on the world.

As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Beth Vazquez. Beth is a wife, “boymom” of 3 (2 birth + 1 bonus, ages 17, 4, and 2), and Christian entrepreneur learning to balance it all imperfectly with the grace of God. Founder of Recess & Results, Beth is passionate about faith, family, and fitness (in that order) and works to “save the world, one recess at a time” offering a worshiping workplace for others who also feel called to impact the minds, bodies, and spirits of children and families through entertaining exercise. Recessandresults.com

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?

Born #5 of 6 kids on a small farm in Nebraska, I have always been a dreamer and have always had this “gut” feeling I was made for more. As I was worked relentlessly (and successfully) to climb the corporate ladder in the fitness industry and then the MLM industry, God worked just as tirelessly to draw me closer to His purpose for my life. An entrepreneur at heart, I always had a “side-hustle” working in the background.

After having my first baby and feeling my vibrant new relationship with Christ quieted in corporate America, I realized God was calling me to offer my faith-based, purpose-driven side hustle to other moms like me. Still, I was earning a cushy, 6-figure paycheck and it took God pushing me in unavoidable ways to really go after the 2-fold mission He gave me to 1) “redefine work for the modern Christian with passions for faith + family + fitness” and to 2) “save the world, one recess at a time”. Today Recess & Results has a growing team of independent owners across the nation, running their own plug+ play Recess business in their communities and earning a praiseworthy paycheck while building stronger disciples. RecessandResults.com

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

90% of moms today feel like they are not enough. At Recess & Results we are redefining “work” for the modern Christian mom, offering the balance they desire and deserve with a wage that matches their worth!

By becoming an independent Recess & Results owner, Moms link arms with like-minded Christians across the country who are working together to “save the world, one recess at a time” while keeping their own priorities for Faith + Family + Fitness in check and earning a flexible income for their families.

We help moms understand the truth about the plan God has for their life (they are MORE than enough), building confidence and purpose in them through Christ-centered entrepreneurship as they in-turn build healthier + happier tomorrows in kids + families through the Recess programs they lead. In short — we are building stronger disciples, starting with our independent owners and spreading into the communities they serve.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

The Children’s Activity industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and the $30 billion health + wellness industry has been growing steadily for the last 10 years with no signs of slowing down. There is no shortage of employment opportunities nor programs for participants in either of these areas, yet no one has combined both to fill a needed niche in the Christian market.

Many Christian parents are terrified by the world their kids are growing up in and are searching for faith-based programs that help cultivate Godly confidence, Godly character, and Godly friendships in an entertaining way that their kids enjoy. Moreover, Christian moms are searching for ways to make money on their own terms without sacrificing time needed for faith and family. We offer a simultaneous solution for both.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

So many times!!! Respected fitness professionals would laugh and tell me there is no money in kids fitness anytime I would share my Recess & Results idea. As I worked to “perfect” the business model, influential business leaders told me that if I kept Christ at the center of marketing messages, it will fail before we even get started.

I have tried business both ways and it was not until I ignored those naysayers and forged ahead with Christ-centered confidence and conviction that we were able to gain traction in business. It took me connecting with other Christian business mentors, spending serious time in prayer, and working to gain control over my mind to overcome those voices that played in my head.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂

Today we have a team of 35 independent owners in 14 states and we are growing quickly after being featured on Season 5 of Entrepreneur’s hit series, Elevator Pitch. Stay tuned — we are just getting started!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

First is God. He answers prayers in miraculous ways, consistently showing me He is alive and working in my life and this business.

Second is my family, specifically my husband and kids, for supporting the ups and downs of chasing God-sized dreams.

Candace Cameron Bure has been an inspiration to me for the way she has always put her faith and family first in her life, and yet still managed to have a successful career. God answered a prayer that allowed me to meet her this past year at Mary & Martha’s national gathering, and I believe it was the start of a great partnership to come.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?

Growing up my father was an alcoholic, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, it resulted in a lot of chaos at home. I suppose I gained resilience as a byproduct of that environment. Starting at a young age I felt like I had to prove to others that I could do great things. I remember having crazy ideas and “dreaming big” and those surrounding me sort of laughing it off as “Beth with another silly idea”.

As I grew older and the life I wanted to live become more clear, I simply refused to settle for less, pretended to not care what others thought (“fake it till you make it”) and set out to chase my dreams determined to prove everyone wrong along the way. In that journey Jesus pursued me and my newfound relationship with Him revealed truths to me that drastically change the way I chase dreams. I now realize that I don’t have anything to prove to anyone and the dreams I chase are for His glory. What a freeing reality to live in!

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)

  1. Manage the influences of your mind. For me this means flooding my mind with the truth of God’s word and making sure the things I hear, read, and consume are life-giving and motivating. This goes for everything from music, to social media, to food.
  2. Surround yourself with those who empower and challenge you (in a healthy way). My dad always told me to be careful who I hang around — you become like them even if you don’t realize it. It is so true. If you are the smartest person in the room, find a new room.
  3. Take responsibility for your success or lack of. If something isn’t working, make a change. Don’t play the victim and don’t linger in a pity party. Realize it and take action to change it.
  4. Check your intention and make sure you are doing something for the right reasons, then stay committed. The difference between those who succeed and those who do not is mere perseverance.
  5. Make the conscious decision to choose faith over fear. It’s ok to go scared as long as you keep moving.

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

My personal philosophy is this: If you shoot for the moon, hit the moon! Don’t allow yourself the comfort of landing among the stars if that is not your dream. Celebrate the stars — but don’t stay there.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Make every effort to leave each room you enter a little better than how you found it. This can be done with a simple smile, by picking up trash, a word of encouragement, a compliment, buying someone’s coffee, bringing a gift, lending a helping hand to someone in need…. There are a million ways to do this and if everyone committed to this small gesture, imagine the impact it would have on the world.

Can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.instagram.com/bethvazquez00/

https://www.facebook.com/beth.mueller.98

https://www.facebook.com/recessandresults/

Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!


Dreamers: “They told me It was impossible and I did it anyway” With Beth Vazquez of Recess &… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

“How to Battle Imposter Syndrome as a New CEO” With Sam Reese, CEO of Vistage

Listen to diverse perspectives. CEOs sometimes develop confirmation bias and seek the easy places to get answers that validate their points of view. Avoid situations where you listen to people who just tell you what you want to hear. It may make you feel smart and like you have all the right ideas, but it keeps you from seeing important pitfalls or better solutions. Good CEOs listen to contrary beliefs — both inside and outside their companies — so they understand the full picture.

As a part of our series about “How to Battle Imposter Syndrome as a New CEO”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Reese.

Sam is the CEO of Vistage, the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize businesses. Over his 35 year career as a business leader, Reese has led large and midsize organizations and has advised CEOs and key executive of companies all over the world.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

Before becoming CEO of Vistage, I was CEO of Miller Heiman for 15 years. I joined Vistage during that time and found the support to supercharge the growth of Miller Heiman while finding more balance in my personal life. Miller Heiman was sold three times while I was there, and I remained the CEO each time and was able to utilize the new partners to help take the business to new levels. While CEO, Miller Heiman grew to more than ten times the size it was from when I started, and it became one of the largest sales performance and consulting organizations. After a brief shot at retirement, I was recruited to run Vistage, and it was a real dream come true for me.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

When I was 28, I had my first real leadership role as a district manager in a telecommunications company. I decided to interview all of my sales people and made some initial conclusions about them that unfortunately weren’t correct and lacked perspective. One of the salespersons realized our meeting didn’t go well and that I thought his success was purely based on luck or a great sales territory. He was quick to tell me that while he was not an amazing presenter, he was an extremely persistent salesman and that he would become my top salesperson. He quickly proved my initial judgment wrong and did end up being my top salesperson. I learned that managing from my gut wasn’t enough and that I had to be more discerning, use better judgement and gain more perspectives before I formed hard wired opinions. I also learned that a smart person with integrity and persistence is almost always a sure bet to being successful.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our members and Chairs are what makes our company stand out. Their ability to come together and help other members in their groups problem solve to grow their businesses is truly remarkable.

One Vistage member, Curt Vander Meer, had just become the majority owner of a business, Endangered Species Chocolate, for the first time. While the business was already successful before he took over, he was aware of the responsibility to employees and customers that now rested on his shoulders. He joined Vistage, and those meetings not only helped him focus on his people, strategy and execution, but also how to have his business and personal life work together holistically. With the support of his Chair and Vistage group, he was able to prioritize family time while focusing on long term goals for his company. Since joining Vistage, Vander Meer’s company has continued to have double digit growth. Endangered Species Chocolate has also increased donations to conservation nonprofits, donating $1.4 million in 3 years.

Stories like these show the impact of the decisions that are made in Vistage groups each month. Our members really are heroes because these leaders are masters at growing their businesses while actively supporting their families and communities.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

During every cross country race in college, no matter how far ahead I got, my running coach would scream: “Don’t be content!” I would get frustrated with him. After a race, I once asked him if there was ever a time in life that he’d want me to be content?

“No, never be content,” he said. “Always try to improve.”

That line has stuck with me my whole life. The goal of effective CEOs is to continue to improve day after day and never be comfortable with the status quo for your company or yourself.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the experience of Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

Leading a company is a very lonely job, and everyone expects you to have all the answers. People who have Imposter Syndrome feel like they’re a fraud, especially in the early days of their first CEO role. It’s the feeling that you have fooled everyone, and that you might get found out. You may not have it all figured out, but you feel like you can’t share that with your coworkers or colleagues because as CEO you are supposed to be the one with all the answers.

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

The downsides include lacking confidence in your decisions. You may move forward too brashly or not at all, becoming paralyzed. This worry that people will discover that you don’t have it all figured out yet can prevent you from collaborating with others, building integrated teams, and asking important questions to get to the heart of challenges in your business.

How can the experience of Impostor Syndrome impact how one treats others?

It can affect how you relate to and connect with other people. You live in a constant fear that someone is going to find out that you are a “fraud.” As a leader this can affect how you work with your employees and other leaders in your company. We’ve discovered that many first time CEOs struggle with this feeling.

We would love to hear your story about your experience with Impostor Syndrome. Would you be able to share that with us?

Many years ago, after running divisions of large Fortune 500 companies, I figured I was more than ready to be the CEO of a mid-sized consulting organization. But my first two years were not well timed, as I started in 2000 and then tried to manage the company through the dot com crash with very little success. In fact, at the end of 2002, I let the board know I was resigning because I didn’t think I was experienced enough to successfully steer the company through this turbulent time. To my surprise, the board convinced me to stay. They believed in my plan, and were patient while I worked to bring it to life. We successfully sold the company three years later, and I learned a lot about patience and building a strong foundation in the process.

Did you ever shake the feeling off? If yes, what have you done to mitigate it or eliminate it?

Soon after that board meeting, I learned of Vistage, and the opportunity to surround myself with a trusted peer advisory group was the catalyst I needed to gain confidence in my decisions. That’s one reason why leading Vistage today is so special to me.

In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Listen to diverse perspectives. CEOs sometimes develop confirmation bias and seek the easy places to get answers that validate their points of view. Avoid situations where you listen to people who just tell you what you want to hear. It may make you feel smart and like you have all the right ideas, but it keeps you from seeing important pitfalls or better solutions. Good CEOs listen to contrary beliefs — both inside and outside their companies — so they understand the full picture.
  2. Embrace vulnerability. Vulnerability now is a strength that leaders want to be open about. They want to be clear about their shortcomings and their mistakes. This is important because it shows your team that you are trying to improve. A leader who thinks they must have all the answers — or else appear weak to their team — is not setting themselves up for success.
  3. Champion transparency and candor. Create an open environment where your team can celebrate the successes and learn together from the failures. You need to have one story for your team, staff and stakeholders, and the one story has to be the truth.
  4. Be clear on your company purpose. When you are clear about purpose, it invites every single employee, every customer and every supplier to make sure you’re doing what you said you’d do. And it creates a true north star that’s the foundation of integrity and trust in your business.
  5. Get comfortable delegating. Delegation can accelerate company success by creating new leaders who have the flexibility to solve complex problems themselves. It also frees the CEO up to focus on big picture items such as strategy, culture, organization and results.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Author Og Mandino, had a famous saying that applied to me as an athlete and still applies to me as a leader: “Strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts, and weak is he who lets his thoughts control his actions.” In the spirit of Nike, just do it! While this can seem counter-intuitive, it is amazing how much can be accomplished by making the decision to get something done rather than continuing to contemplate a million “what if” scenarios. I often tell people to stop looking at the lake and wondering how many times you can skip the rock, and just throw the rock and see! So many people think of decisions in terms of a right one and a wrong one, when in fact there may be several right answers. The value and happiness of taking action cannot be overstated. When we take action we commit and we see things with much more clarity and consequence, and even if we make a bad decision we are in the moment and we can redirect things.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


“How to Battle Imposter Syndrome as a New CEO” With Sam Reese, CEO of Vistage was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Future Of Beauty: “Radiofrequency assisted lipolysis that can melt fat and tighten skin at the…

The Future Of Beauty: “Radiofrequency assisted lipolysis that can melt fat and tighten skin at the same time”, With Dr. Demetri Arnaoutakis

I am one of the few physicians in the country who offer an exciting new technology called FaceTite and Morpheus8. In fact, I was recently asked by the company to teach other physicians on how to use the devices. FaceTite uses radiofrequency assisted lipolysis to “melt fat” and tighten skin at the same time. I use it frequently for patients who do not want surgery and are looking for a “quick fix” to improve their neckline. Morpheus8 is radiofrequency microneedling which improves skin texture, tightening, acne scars and even pigment. I do around 12–15 treatments per week!

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Demetri Arnaoutakis, a Board Certified surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgery, hair transplant procedures and injectables.

Dr. Demetri was raised in Tampa, Florida before he was recruited to Columbia University as a Division-I athlete. He was a member of the Varsity soccer team for four years. In addition, he majored in Biological Sciences and volunteered at local New York City hospitals and homeless shelters.

Following his Ivy League education from which he graduated Cum Laude, Dr. Demetri then returned home for medical school attending the University of Florida College of Medicine. As a third year medical student, he was awarded a highly competitive Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship. This allowed him to dedicate a year to research in head and neck cancer reconstruction at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital. Prior to graduating from medical school with Honors in Research, he was also awarded the George T. Singleton Prize for excellence in Head & Neck Surgery.

He then completed a five-year residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. There, he served as Chief Resident at Parkland Memorial Hospital, one of the best and busiest facial trauma centers in the country. Dr. Demetri then moved to Los Angeles for a highly coveted fellowship in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery with Dr. Andrew Frankel at the famous Lasky Clinic in Beverly Hills, CA.

Dr. Demetri is a board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and is an active member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He frequently travels to attend national conferences to perpetually advance his education and present his research. To date he has authored over 30 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.

In addition, Dr. Demetri treats a wide variety of celebrity patients including ABC’s The Bachelor’s Lauren Bushnell, Emily and Haley Ferguson, Emelina Adams Miss Nevada USA, Sarah Rose Summers Miss USA 2018, Dessie Mitcheson Maxim USA Covergirl, Jane Slater NFL Network Reporter and many more. Known for his exceptional work in Beverly Hills, he’s been featured on Extra TV and regularly contributes to Haute Living Magazine. For more information on Dr. Demetri, click here.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I am happy to share my story! I am the youngest of 3 brothers and in fact have for the most part have followed their footsteps. All 3 of us were recruited to Columbia University where we played Division I soccer. Afterwards, we all went onto medical school. My oldest brother, George, is a heart surgeon and my other brother Dean is a vascular surgeon. During my time working at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I developed a sincere passion for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. My career took off from there as I completed my training in Dallas, Texas at one of the premiere hospitals in the country. From there, I moved to Beverly Hills where I further specialized in facial plastic surgery and aesthetics. I love meeting patients from all over the country and now have offices in both Beverly Hills, CA and Tampa, FL.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

During my time as a research medical student at Johns Hopkins, I encountered so many interesting cases. However, one story in particular I will never forget. An unfortunate woman lost her left ear from an aggressive form of skin cancer. Yet, the surgeons there were able to create her a new ear by using her own rib cartilage, shaped it to match the other ear, implanted it under forearm skin for about 4 months to grow new skin and then transplanted it using microvascular surgery. It was an incredible story and felt very grateful to be there to witness it all at the time.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

My mother was a school teacher and always stressed the importance of education to me and my brothers. Success is of course a relative term. I would argue I became successful long before my medical practice flourished. To me, it was during college when I learned to balance my grades, Division I soccer and a job. Hard work always pays off. If you want something, work at it until you achieve it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

As I mentioned before, my mother played a huge role in encouraging education to me. As a physician, education is the foundation to my career. It is essential I have an advanced understanding of anatomy, physiology and technique when performing surgeries and procedures.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

Totally agree! I am one of the few physicians in the country who offer an exciting new technology called FaceTite and Morpheus8. In fact, I was recently asked by the company to teach other physicians on how to use the devices. FaceTite uses radiofrequency assisted lipolysis to “melt fat” and tighten skin at the same time. I use it frequently for patients who do not want surgery and are looking for a “quick fix” to improve their neckline. Morpheus8 is radiofrequency microneedling which improves skin texture, tightening, acne scars and even pigment. I do around 12–15 treatments per week!

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

It is essential potential patients do their homework about any provider they visit and the procedure they are considering. There are always risks to any procedure we do so it is extremely important to seek out specialists. It was an honor for me to have been nominated by InMode, the creator of FaceTite and Morpheus8, to be a trainer to other physicians.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

There is so much that excites me about our industry. I think innovation, collaboration and experience are the 3 things I am most excited about. There are always novel inventions and technologies coming out. When industry and physicians collaborate, it creates for a tremendous and peaceful patient experience.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

Smile! This lightens up your face and will even trigger happiness in your brain.

Exercise! This will help take your mind away from other stresses in your life and allow your body to rejuvenate.

Hug! Sharing intimate physical touch with family and friends will soften your soul.

Sleep! A good night sleep can help refresh your facial appearance without the need for botox or filler.

Stop smoking! Tobacco ages your skin, smells bad and overall not good for your health.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think we need to devote more attention to mental health in our society! So many people suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses which inhibit people from succeeding in their personal and professional lives. If we can help identify these issues earlier on, then we can help them get treatment!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My step father was a very successful hospital CEO for over 30 years. His life lesson to me I will never forget and always use: 5 P’s to Life

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

Prepare yourself for success!

How can our readers follow you online?

Please follow my Instagram @DrDemetri or visit our website:

www.drdemetrimd.com


The Future Of Beauty: “Radiofrequency assisted lipolysis that can melt fat and tighten skin at the… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dreamers: “They told me It was impossible and I did it anyway” With Sergio Radovcic

Collaborate — look for equally crazy people. They’re out there and they’re looking for you too. When we wanted to compost our diapers, we found a group of dads in the Bay Area that were doing it on their own for years. We’re now partners, serving thousands of families with professional composting.

As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sergio Radovcic, CEO and Founder of DYPER, the first diaper subscription that is truly better for baby, planet, parent and wallet. Before DYPER, he helped launch 10 startups and has been involved in various entrepreneurship roles with 15 companies on three continents operating in real estate, lending, software, wireless and e-marketing fields. He is also the CEO and founder of STYR Labs, a leader in personalized nutrition focusing on condition specific intervention. Sergio resides in the greater Scottsdale, AZ area with his wife and 3 children. He is an avid ultra-distance runner, having completed more than 300 marathons, ultra-marathons, Ironman’s, etc. including three consecutive finishes at the infamous Badwater 135 Ultramarathon in Death Valley.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?

I am a tinkerer. From the time I can remember, I have always wondered how things work and tried taking them apart. At age 16, I started my first business and by the time I was 20 I already had an exit under my belt. Ever since then, I continued starting businesses when I felt that something could be done more efficiently. For example, in 2008, I started FitFul (a leading provider of post sporting event meals), after I ran my first marathon. I felt there was a need to feed athletes something more nutritious than a piece of pizza.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

When my daughter Mila was born, I was blown away by how many diapers I was rolling up and throwing away. Within months, half of my garbage was diapers. It made me think about what I was doing and where they ended up. I was recycling religiously, yet had no problem disposing of these pieces of plastic every day in my regular trash. It lead me to research alternative ways to make and redirect diapers from landfills. In the process, I made the world’s softest, most responsible, disposable diaper with my new company DYPER.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

We’re uniquely committed to making the diapering journey effortless and affordable for the parents, gentle for the baby and kind to the planet. You can’t do all 3 without taking massive leaps in manufacturing and in the business approach. We assure that your diapers will be there every month, on time and in the right size and quantity for a fixed price. We also offer same day 4-hour deliveries for those rough days when you run out and you simply need your emergency diapers. We made them better for the baby by avoiding prints, common chemicals, optical brighteners, perfumes and more. We made them from bamboo, not plastics to make sure they’re soft, absorbent and can be composted. And we’re closing the loop by redirecting them from landfills and collecting used diapers from your home (in some markets), in person, or via our mail-away service. We can then compost them professionally and reduce the customer’s impact. We also carbon offset the entire journey, from sourcing to manufacturing to disposal for every member, whether they compost or not.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

I’ve heard it so many times, it sort of becomes a right of passage. When I started DYPER I was told by most experienced operators in the industry that nobody can compete with a duopoly of big guys. Even if I was to make it on sales, I couldn’t make a profit or make better diapers due to raw materials costs.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂

Yet, here we are, about a year later growing 10% each month with thousands of families supporting our mission to diaper more responsibly. We’re redirecting waste from thousands of households in California and scaling it up nationally. We’re rolling out in Europe and China, all while continuously innovating our products. We’re on the third generation of diapers in 12 months. That is what listening and learning looks like.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

You can imagine it is hard to isolate a person or two when everyone in a small team wears so many hats. However, my COO and long term partner, Paul, has helped me more than most to bring this vision to life by working tirelessly to make, deploy and deliver our diapers to so many families each month without fail.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?

I grew up in Serbia, which is shrouded in rebellion. We’ve endured countless conflicts and survived so many changes, it is embedded in our DNA. We don’t take “no” for an answer and don’t mind going at it alone. I remember growing up and learning about our historic figures, most of which were celebrated not for their victories, rather for their courage despite all odds. Actually, I don’t know of another place and people that celebrate defeat more than my co-nationals.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)

1. Ignore — let it be noise. It is not easy, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. I was told that plant-based diapers will never be good enough. While it wasn’t easy, we’re getting it done.

2. Outpace — move fast, then move faster. Your first mover advantage will only last so long. We launched and then kept relaunching the company every few months. Treat it as a new launch each time.

3. Collaborate — look for equally crazy people. They’re out there and they’re looking for you too. When we wanted to compost our diapers, we found a group of dads in the Bay Area that were doing it on their own for years. We’re now partners, serving thousands of families with professional composting.

4. Divide — it’s not one big challenge. It is tons of small challenges. Conquer each one like it is the only one. We looked at every problem — materials, construction, delivery, service, disposal, etc. as the only problem we had and looked for breakthroughs in each one. The sum can be great and if it isn’t, you go back and redo the exercise. When I was running 100-mile ultramarathons, I convinced myself to run one 5K at a time. Then I just repeated 33 times.

5. Track — if it can be counted, it should. Everything matters, not just the big stuff. Sometimes you won’t know why but keeping track of every metric will come in handy. When we hit bumps, and we’ve had plenty, we would tend to get discouraged. Then we would look at the data and see if it was really a problem or simply just an anomaly.

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” said Carl Jung. It is so tempting to accept the inevitability of your background or experiences. Personally, I believe experience can be a major impediment to progress. We tend to look at what we survived or accomplished as the only pattern for the future when it is generally not. We’re a different person this time around and the world has changed around us.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I am obviously biased, but I think that the rock we live on is not looking healthy. I’ve seen it underwater as a scuba instructor and I’ve seen it in the mountains as a runner. We must reject irresponsible consumerism and adopt a responsible lifestyle that includes plastic-free and potentially animal-protein-free living. However, my personal obsession is with the formal borders, which I believe are the last truly barbaric form of legalized oppression. Being born on one side of the river does not make you a better human. We have to think about ways we can eliminate borders, reduce friction between nations and encourage personal and economic ties that are based on what makes us one and not separate. I was hoping I would see it in my lifetime, but my hopes are fading.

Can our readers follow you on social media?

Certainly, although I tend to be very private. Find me on IG @sradovcic, and please follow @get.dyper to see what we are up to.

Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!


Dreamers: “They told me It was impossible and I did it anyway” With Sergio Radovcic was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.