My job after buy-in is established is really just deciding when to steer or get out of the way. Half the time, I make the right decision!
Dr. Steven Sisskind is the Chief Medical Officer at RealDose Nutrition, a company that promises to deliver the right ingredients at the real dose. As a practicing physician, Dr. Sisskind has cared for general surgery and general medicine patients. He has also worked for the U.S. Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment and at the U.S. Congress, performing research on health care, medical technology and drug-related issues. Dr. Sisskind holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford University, M.D. degree from Baylor College of Medicine, and a Master’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering from UCLA.
What are you working on right now?
I am diving deep into a reformulation of our weight loss product in order to keep our promise of always providing the absolute best solution, based on current science. The new research in the weight loss field is truly fascinating and provides a great opportunity to create solutions that work even better than we previously thought possible.
Where did the idea for RealDose come from?
The idea for RealDose came from something my partners and I found distasteful in the supplement industry. Most supplement companies were taking studies on certain ingredients and, instead of providing this exact ingredient at the dose used in the study, were supplying inferior sources of the ingredient at a dose not even close to amount used in the studies.
We decided to create a nutritional supplement company with a simple promise: “The Right Ingredients at the Real Dose.” This means if we are going to make a health claim about an ingredient based on a study, we include the exact source of the ingredient used in the study, at the real dose tested.
What does your typical day look like?
With four young children, it’s pretty busy at the Sisskind household. Working from home, I stay very involved with my kids’ daily schedules. The first task of the day is getting them to school, followed by a nutritious, quick blueberry protein smoothie for breakfast. During the day, I work with the RealDose team on everything from helping customers to developing new product ideas and blog posts. Late afternoon and evening is time reserved for the kids again: pick them up from school, do homework, have dinner, bathe, and go to bed. After dinner, it’s back to work on RealDose, catching up on the day and getting ready to do it all again tomorrow!
How do you bring ideas to life?
I wish I could say I have a magical process. Because we have a fairly large and intelligent team, we are presented with great ideas quite often. The trick is really choosing which ideas to not implement or put on the back burner. I find the biggest step to actually bringing an idea into reality is creating “buy-in.” It is really only when the whole team is fired up that an idea actually takes off. My job after buy-in is established is really just deciding when to steer or get out of the way. Half the time, I make the right decision!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Professionally, I am really excited about where genetics is taking us. It’s not there yet, but there will be a time when a person will be able to take an inexpensive test and know exactly which foods to eat and supplements to take. There are companies claiming to do this now, but the science simply isn’t there to back it up yet.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
One summer, I worked at a dry cleaner, cleaning up and sweeping for minimum wage. I had wanted to be a camp counselor, which would have been a lot more fun – but with no pay. My dad insisted on the paying job at the dry cleaner. I learned the importance of working hard and getting a great education, so I wouldn’t have to sweep the floors anymore!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If we were to start RealDose again, I think the big thing we would have done differently would have been investing more in technology earlier. We did not know we would succeed, so we did not invest a lot in the beginning; it would be nice to be further along.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Keep trying. Learn from each failure and success, including your personal strengths and weaknesses, and then apply that knowledge. Be honest with yourself. At RealDose, I recognized that I was great at some tasks (like product development and customer care), and not so great at others (like marketing). My partners provide the other skills we need to succeed as a team.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I was a founder in a Hong Kong-based Internet company back during the Internet “bubble” days. When the bubble burst, our business model became compromised and we had to scramble to survive. We were able to make the necessary changes to our business model and keep the business going far longer than anyone expected. But, eventually, the business did fail. I overcame this failure by trying again, applying what I had learned in Hong Kong, and building a new business here in the U.S.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ll give you just one word: “plastics.” All kidding aside, I think that crowdsourcing customer service could be a great idea to take to multiple industries as a service, if implemented correctly.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would eliminate the obesity epidemic. Our country (and much of the world) is getting fatter and fatter, and sicker as a result. It’s not an easy fix, but getting people motivated and excited to make the right food choices, and, as a result, influencing the food industry to deliver those options, is a good place to start. Some of this work has already begun, but there’s a long way to go.
Tell us a secret.
Most “review sites” are scams. If you look up RealDose reviews, you will see multiple review sites that are not real and contain comments made by fake customers. What they do is take a brand with a lot of searches, rank for the review term, and then sell advertisements based on the traffic. It happens to every big brand, and it’s a big problem.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
This might sound simple, but I really like the Google suite. Using the mail, calendar, and document-sharing tools makes me amazingly efficient. I also like Dropbox for organizing and sharing big files. Another great tool is Yammer, which is an internal social media platform that makes communicating more natural than using email.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There’s a great book called The Fat Resistance Diet by Dr. Leo Galland, M.D. He talks about how inflammation in the body is linked to obesity and other health conditions. He describes how the right food choices can help people reduce inflammation, lose weight, and restore health.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I really like Dr. Mark Hyman because he really gets functional medicine, Dr. Daniel Amen because he is at the forefront of brain health, and Ray Kurzweil because he seems to be able to predict the future.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
My daughter, Lila, is the family comedian. She’s only three, but she always has something funny or surprising to say. The other day when we were ready to go out, she said, “Okay, let’s rock and roll!” Where does she get this?! It made me laugh.
Who is your hero?
My wife, Melanie, is my hero. She’s an amazing woman, filled with boundless positive energy and an unending desire to help and inspire others. She’s a great mom and dentist. All her patients love her, not only for taking care of their teeth, but their health, emotional well-being, nutrition, and everything else.
What is the most important part of your business?
Aside from product development, which is obvious, I think customer service is the most important part of what we do. We commit a large percentage of our resources to making our customers happy; it’s what drives the business.
What inspires you?
In my personal life, my kids and my wife inspire me. With RealDose, it’s the fact that I get to work every day to deliver remarkable health improvements that make people’s lives better. It’s a responsibility I take seriously, and I cherish the fact that people let us help them with their biggest challenges.