Help people. Help your team, your family, your friends. Get out of bed and just HELP and make a difference for others.
Andy Jackson is the President and CEO of MuscleSound. Jackson has extensive experience in the wearable technology, sports and fitness industry. Before joining MuscleSound he was the CEO of CloudTag which distributes a wearable fitness tracker. For nearly 20 years before CloudTag, he ran all new product development, sales and marketing for the FitPro group, the largest global professional association of fitness leaders. He is driven by achieving financial results through decisive leadership and positive team environments.
Where did the idea for MuscleSound come from?
MuscleSound was formed in 2011. The science behind MuscleSound was developed by Dr. Iñigo San Millán and Dr. John Hill when working with professional cyclists, they discovered that they could see glycogen through the use of everyday ultrasound. To further develop this breakthrough technology, San Millán and Hill teamed with Stephen Kurtz (now Chairman of MuscleSound) to build a delivery system to market their new product to potential customers.
Due to a passion for distance running and an interest in fitness and sports science, Kurtz was introduced to San Millán and Hill shortly after their discovery. Kurtz immediately saw the potential value in non-invasive muscle glycogen measurement and began exploring potential business applications. Kurtz, San Millán and Hill further advanced MuscleSound with the intention of selling this muscle glycogen technology to the sports and medical markets.
By developing software to read ultrasound images, MuscleSound was able to provide a customer ready product to the market in late 2013. In May and July of 2014 independent validation studies of MuscleSound (directly comparing to muscle biopsies to measure glycogen levels) were completed at Appalachian State University and the University of Colorado Medical Center. The publications of these two studies from highly reputable sources proved to be extremely valuable in gaining acceptance and legitimacy with the training and medical staffs of many professional, Olympic and collegiate sports teams.
In 2013, MuscleSound was issued three patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office covering the use of ultrasound to measure muscle glycogen and related proprietary software. The Company has also received US Trademarks protecting its name and visual depiction. In 2014 MuscleSound developed technology to measure body composition using ultrasound and has applied for a patent for this unique application.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day usually starts with emails from overseas that need answering and then off to the gym for a workout. I then like to read something related to supporting my team and making them successful. My mantra for everyday is, both professional and personally, has always been related to helping people.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I test them, and the I test them again. Then, I run them through the question of ‘Why would anyone be interested in this idea, who is it helping and can we make it simpler?’ and then test it again in the field. Too many people act upon ideas and try to convince people to buy their ideas based on them thinking it is a good idea. If it does not fix a problem and truly help someone then it should never come to life.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The increase in data proving what we have always known in Sports and Fitness: if you move more, in a more efficient way you will achieve more and become healthier. This trend is also highlighting the many wild claims and ideas that have been the scourge of our industry for decades, as frauds!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Telling the truth—however hard it is, however difficult it is for your business, even if it hurts your business. Sharing problems with my team makes us search and find solutions that always fix the very issue that concerned you. Sometimes if you change direction, it is amazing what you can find when you look to the left or to the right.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I never really had a bad job but I did have a terrible boss for a while. He was inconsistent, lied, only cared about money, liked conflict and let his ego get in the way of good sense. From that, I learned to be consistent in my messaging, always try to help my team be successful and have no ego. My teams are the face of the company, and if they strive to help people, that’s also the culture our clients will feel. Building businesses to make money is never my first priority; it is the result of creating a product and a culture that people feel helps meet their needs the most.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
The world today is based on technology. If I were starting again, I would build businesses based on evidencing what we do to support client success through technology. I always shied away from data and details, now I see the power in proving what you do through valid analytics in all aspects of my business.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
That’s easy—help people. Help your team, your family, your friends. Get out of bed and just HELP and make a difference for others.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Clarity on the business model and making it easy for customers to understand. My strategy is to always start with the ‘Why.’ Why is our business needed? What problem does it solve? How straightforward it is to implement? Also, it’s critical to be upfront and clear on the investment needed to get on-board with our solutions.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Raising money to start businesses was really tough for me a few years ago. Experience and education were key to me overcoming it, having the guts to own up that I just did not understand what a ‘convertible note’ was and how to use them effectively to grow a business. The real change for me was when I built a unique network of investors who were like-minded, who all liked to invest in sports, fitness and technology. Now, we look at decks together every week, never pressure each other to invest and support each other in a strategic way. There are around 80 of us now who have and are doing some great things in the fitness and sports world.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The one business idea I would give to your readers is get into health and fitness technology and the next wave of wearables. We have in essence started to pass the ‘shake and shine’ phase, through the use of accelerometers and bioimpedence/LED, and are now moving into looking into the very fabric of our bodies. Accuracy is now key, but accuracy with purpose. Don’t go out and try to create the next wrist strap! Go out and create a technology that is not one-dimensional, one that really helps people improve the quality of their life. Watch this space closely. ‘Tracking’ will be the third least important part of wearables for the future. Wearables will need to be multi-purpose like the Apple watch and there is space to be specific to fix some big health issues via them.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent was on getting my mum some professional support to get her back on the road to recovery after she broke her hip. At 77, with a father who had a stroke 15 years ago, she needed professional support. I have always been a fan of supporting qualified, knowledgeable individuals. Our industry does not always get the recognition for how professional we are and what amazing jobs we do to help people lead healthier lives. To be fair, this is actually the first of many $100’s of dollars I will be spending to support my family.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I love Google, my Apple Mac, Facetime and HipChat. I love them as they are instant, simple and always work in the way I want when I need them to. I can contact the people I need and want to instantly and see their smiles, their tears, frustration and joy anywhere anytime.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Born to Run by Chris McDougall. It highlights where we came from and why natural movement is key to our continued health as humans.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Tony Reeves, Vice President of Chelsea Football Club and Chairman of CloudTag,
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.