Cary Breese

Co-Founder of NowRx

Cary has more than 15 years experience in senior leadership and is a multiple time CEO, with expertise in technology, healthcare, and financial services. He is experienced in large Fortune 500 companies as well as small start-up environments. As an analytical thinker who excels at execution, creating organizational focus, and leading teams in a consultative management style, he is a versatile leader skilled in operations, with strong foundations in both engineering and finance. Cary obtained a BS in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University, and completed an Executive Course in Management and Leadership at MIT.

Where did the idea for NowRx come from?

I had sold one company that I founded and wound down a second one, and was thinking about my next adventure. I was interested in something in healthcare, just given how much waste and inefficiency there exists today. I was brainstorming with Sumeet Sheokand, my former CTO from a prior company, we were whiteboard ideas over the course of a few weeks. It was during that time I happened to need to see a doctor about a sore knee and he gave me a prescription, written on a piece of paper. I was driving across town to my local pharmacy and I remember just starting at the piece of paper while I was driving to the CVS, just mystified about how can people in today’s environment still need to drive pieces of paper around to get things done. When I got to CVS, I stood in 3 different lines! The first line was a 5 minute wait just to drop of that piece of paper that I had driven across town. The second line was a 30 minute wait to get the medication filled and pay for it. The 3rd line was a 10 minute line to wait for a consultation from a pharmacist! 3 lines, a drive across town…insane. I actually called Sumeet as I was walking out of the pharmacy to pitch him the idea, and a funny thing happened…Sumeet said “I cannot believe you are talking to me about pharmacy right now, my wife, who has never mentioned pharmacy before, just came in the house complaining bitterly about her poor experience at the pharmacy!”. It was like a lightening bolt – we knew right then and started making plans…

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The most productive thing I’ve done recently is to set aside space in my calendar for when I look at email, usually two slots per day, for about an hour. The rest of the day I try hard not to look at email but rather just actually work on my outstanding projects – the things that can have strategic impact on the business. It seems to be all too easy for many people, myself included, to just stay in your inbox all day chasing down lower priority items – urgent but not important, rather than focus on truly important items. My typical day involves a lot of phone calls and meetings, and yes, responding to emails. My role requires a high volume of outward communication, so really that is what most of my day comprises – interfacing with people and communicating.

How do you bring ideas to life?

You need to have passion and it needs to be genuine. Full stop. You also need creativity to be actually able to visualize what the new idea can bring to the world. See it so clearly in your mind that you have trouble not seeing it, even when you go to sleep at night. For me, for whatever reason, maybe the way I am made up, there are some ideas throughout my life that just take over my brain when I have them, and I cannot stop thinking about them or seeing it wherever I look – it becomes an obsession. And when that happens, you can bring that obsession to other people and THAT is what will bring it to life!

What’s one trend that excites you?

Civilian space travel!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

As a startup company, there are usually one or two things, maybe in rare circumstances three, but most often just one or two things, that if you can do them well you will succeed. THAT is where you have to prioritize almost all of your focus. The hardest thing for entrepreneurs sometimes is making decisions what NOT to do. You have to discard things, even decent ideas and areas to grow, just to focus on what matters the very, very most. If everything is a priority….then nothing is. I seriously operate this way, I say no to good ideas all the time, and it’s hard, but it has to be done to succeed.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Even if you don’t like what you are doing at the moment (school, bad jobs, etc.), you can still learn an awful lot along the way and make yourself a more capable person in the process. Don’t waste the opportunity – it is right in front of you, just learn and ask a lot of questions – you will thank me later. 🙂

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Good guys finish first!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Focus, focus, focus. Focus on the one or two things that really matter. That’s it. It’s very easy, in a way, but is actually really hard.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Bump into a lot of people and ask a lot of questions – you may be very surprised what you learn. Growth opportunities are in abundance, you just have to uncover them.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I was brought in to run a company that I didn’t found, to run as CEO. After 4 years of struggling to get escape velocity, we decided to shut it down. The only way to overcome this negative experience was to take care of everyone that was involved as best as I could and, because I did that, we were able to look for future opportunities together and leave it in the rear view mirror. Rule #1 – Startups fail. Rule #2 – Entrepreneurs can’t change rule #1.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A time-share plan designed specifically for seniors late in life. A cross between assisted living, senior center and Sandals. Seniors sell their house and can travel from place to place around the world, and each location is setup with necessary senior care facilities (nurses, etc.) in addition to entertainment. Would be for more well to do seniors. I want to build what I want when I am ready, so somebody please launch it for me!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Echo Show. Bezos knows what people want. This allows me to connect face to face with family and friends from convenience of my own kitchen with super easy voice commands.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

One Password – manages all my online passwords from one “vault”. Could not live without it.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Lean Startup, Eric Ries. Also, River of Doubt – Teddy Roosevelt was one tough hombre and knew a thing or two about persevering through adversity, both personally and professionally.

What is your favorite quote?

“Fail while daring greatly” – again, Teddy Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena.

Longer version:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”