Dave Chase – CEO of Avado

[quote style=”boxed”]I’m not one who looks in the rear view mirror and I do my best to live life without regrets. There’s not much I’d do differently but perhaps it would be to have realize that I should become an entrepreneur earlier than I did. I don’t do corporate BS well.[/quote]

Dave Chase has a unique blend of health IT and consumer Internet leadership experience that is well suited to bridge the gap between health IT systems and individuals receiving care. Previously, he founded what is now a $500 million+ health IT business. Besides his role as CEO of Avado, he is a regular contributor to Reuters, Forbes, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Washington Post, KevinMD and others.

Before Avado, Dave spent several years in startups as founder or acting executive and in consulting roles in market-leading companies such as LiveRez.com, MarketLeader and WhatCounts.

Dave Chase founded Microsoft’s healthcare business, guiding the company from no industry presence to a market leading position. His work led to recognition as Marketer of the Year. Microsoft’s healthcare business now represents more than $500 million in annual revenue.

Dave has also been a successful investor and adviser to early-stage companies. His entrepreneurial roots go way back; he had a lawn mowing business in junior high and led ski trips to Whistler to help pay for college.

Outside of work, Dave Chase is a mountain sports athlete and former PAC-10 800 meter competitor.

What are you working on right now?

Avado, Avado, Avado. Launching a startup, getting new customers and fundraising; with the “E” in CEO standing for “everything.” It is all Avado all the time.

Where did the idea for Avado come from?

It was a blend of personal experience and an awareness of the market turmoil in healthcare. On a personal level, I’ve unfortunately had several friends die young. All but one had prolonged illnesses and poor communication with my friends (and their family) added to the pain. On a business level, I recognized that there was a major opportunity with the shift from the “do more, bill more” model to the value/outcome based reimbursement model. In a nutshell, the healthcare systems must recognize what has long been said: the most important member of the care team is the patient. However, legacy health IT just sees the “patient” as a vessel to attach billing codes to. Our insight was that it will be nearly impossible for healthcare providers to succeed without giving the individual a seat at the care team table; that’s what Avado does.

What does your typical day look like?

I’m a super early riser. I’m usually up between 3:30 and 4:00 AM. In the first couple of hours I do most of my writing. By 5:30 or 6:00 AM, the East Coast is working so I typically follow-up on the previous day’s inquiries. The balance of the day is generally spent talking with customers and prospective customers, working with my team on projects (new releases, customer projects, events, etc.) and attending investor meetings. I’m hard core about working out an hour or 2 a day, so that is usually fit in between meetings. I’ve been diligent about curating podcasts, so I’m usually listening to podcasts while I work out. I squeeze reading my Twitter feed and regular blogs in while I’m eating or waiting for someone during the day. I usually spend evenings with my family, eating dinner and helping with homework. Later in the evening I check email, polish presentations and draft articles before crashing at 10:00 PM. If I’m on top of it, I’ll even get in a bit of Rocky Mountain Yoga (basically yoga without the ohm’s).

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas tend to spring forth all the time. I generally noodle with them for a bit and then focus on ones that I think have staying power. Depending on the scope of the idea, I bounce it off of as many people as I can. This is the fun part, as this is when the idea improves and others get excited. From there, it’s what you’d expect in terms of putting together the resources to make the idea happen as quickly as possible in order to get it out into the world. That’s the best part: iterating based on real world experience.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Collaborative care. It’s sort of the wisdom of the crowd at a personal health level. The empowered consumer/patient combined with healthcare providers who realize that the best outcomes happen when they collaborate with other healthcare professionals and the individual. I think the idea of understanding one’s own body is exciting. My doctor has been a great educator in that regard. Things are so interconnected. For example, I’ve had intermittent back issues; he explained to me that it is related to the flexibility (or lack thereof) in my hip and that it is exacerbated by sports. I find this very intriguing.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I had a fantastic experience at Microsoft, as I was there during its heyday. There were amazing opportunities and it was incredibly dynamic. I had one manager who wanted me to be his hatchet man, though. Up until that point, I had been on a rocket ship moving up the corporate ladder and achieving my goals. However, he became my manager around the same time as a couple of my friends died and I decided I wasn’t going to do his bidding. This was a person I didn’t have respect for so I just got myself out of that role as quickly as I could. I don’t work with or for jerks. I left that job with my integrity.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’m not one who looks in the rear view mirror and I do my best to live life without regrets. There’s not much I’d do differently but perhaps it would be to have realize that I should become an entrepreneur earlier than I did. I don’t do corporate BS well.

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

Pull the trigger and make the leap.

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

I’d give away just about any idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s execution that matters. I don’t know if this qualifies, but something I’ve become adept at is figuring how to write for respected publications about a category in which I want to be a thought leader without it looking self-serving. Every piece I write has the intent to drive category growth. If I’m a so-called thought leader, my company will get its fair share.

If you could change on thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I would want everyone in the world to have the same opportunities I have had. Great family. Great country. I think the Internet is helping create the flat world that Thomas Friedman talked about. Bringing hundreds of millions of people into the middle class brings challenges, but it’s great for humanity.

Tell us a secret.

My secret is life is a lot easier if you don’t need to have secrets. I can’t think of any meaningful secret I have.

What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?

Twitter, Evernote and Chrome. They allow me to scan a broad sphere of content quickly and organize it in a way that is easy to access later.

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

Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose about Lewis and Clark’s expedition. It’s just a great read. I don’t think of it as having some hidden message about entrepreneurship, but I suppose their willingness to take risks, learn and  adapt are relevant lessons. If there was ever a guy I’d want to have around a campfire, it would be Ambrose. He was a great storyteller.

What’s on your playlist?

I’m eclectic. I’m not a big fan of country music, but I listen to every other genre, depending on my mood. Here’s some of what I’ve played recently:  Rush, Grover Washington, U2, Jose Carreras, Rachmaninov, Pearl Jam, Lady Gaga, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, James Taylor, Blue Oyster Cult, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Adele, Moody Blues, Squeeze, Santana, Jack Johnson, Tracy Chapman, Keb Mo, Lenny Kravitz, John Coltrane, Sarah McLachlan, Enigma, Van Morrison, Cesaria Evora, Pink Martini and many others.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@SeattleMamaDoc, @hjluks and @ahier. They are all people who understand the future of healthcare, the obstacles and the opportunities. They are leaders showing the way.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

This morning. It was one of many times that I was goofing around with my son. I was launching a surprise attack of plastic cribbage pieces as he was in the midst of organizing a battle amongst his bionicles. It took him a few minutes to figure out what was going on before he retaliated. I play the devious dad who likes to mess with my kids by playing tricks on them.

Who is your hero?

My father.

What are your favorite quotes?

Least common thing is common sense.

No rain, no rainbows.

What would we be most surprised to learn about you?

That this 5’9” guy could once dunk on a regulation basketball hoop without a trampoline.


Dave Chase on Twitter: @chasedave