As entrepreneur, I apply the hard work and rigor of triathlon training to enhance my productivity professionally
David Weingard is the founder and CEO of Fit4D. David was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, at the age of 36, while training for a survival race. A veteran of numerous running and triathlons races (including Ironman triathlons consisting of a 2.4M swim, 112M bike and 26.2M run), David committed to rebuild his life and provide positive energy to the diabetes community while coping with the condition on a 24×7 basis. Beginning with shorter races, he gradually learned how to successfully race triathlons with diabetes and within a year completed the famous Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco Bay. He then began racing Ironman triathlons again – though this time working through the delicate balance between insulin, food, nutrition and exercise. Through these races, David has fundraised extensively on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) New York City Chapter.
David’s personal experience receiving meaningful education and support from a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) sparked the idea for Fit4D to leverage technology to scale the patient reach of adherence and outcome improvement programs for pharmaceutical, payer and provider organizations. In 2008, David left Microsoft to found Fit4D, building on his career as an executive in the technology sector.
As the founder and CEO of Fit4D, David received the PM360 Elite Entrepreneur award for transforming the diabetes landscape. Under David’s leadership PM360 also named Fit4D one of the top innovative healthcare startups in 2015, while ePharma named Fit4D its 2016 audience winner of the Disruptive Technology Showcase and Innovations Challenge.
Where did the idea for Fit4D come from?
When I was 36, working at Microsoft, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was extremely overwhelming and I suddenly needed to juggle medication, nutrition, exercise, and blood sugar monitoring on a 24/7 basis. Thanks to coaching and guidance from a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I learned how to successfully navigate my diabetes and become productive in my personal and professional life. My experience receiving meaningful education and support from a CDE sparked the idea for Fit4D, a diabetes coaching solution that leverages technology to provide tens-of-thousands of people with their own expert diabetes educators.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 5am, test my blood sugar, and calibrate my Dexcom CGM to track my blood sugars during the day. I skip breakfast, so that I don’t have to take insulin and in order to avoid most highs and lows during my workout. I come to work around 8am and join the Fit4D leadership team in our daily huddle. Throughout the day, I work on contracts, meet with current clients, prospective clients, and meet with team members one-on-one. I try to eat dinner before 6:30pm to minimize blood sugar issues while sleeping. To make my days productive (and healthy), I keep to a strict schedule, filling my calendar with slots for meetings and meditation breaks, and constantly check tasks off my to-do list. I’m a big believer in motivational quotes, so I keep some personally-meaningful motivational images beside my desk and integrate motivational messages into my calendar.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I enjoy overcoming challenges through hard work and persistency (which is probably why I love to participate in demanding and adventurous athletic endeavors, such as running across the Grand Canyon). Once I have an idea, I can get extremely driven about bringing it to life. With Fit4D, I had to be scrappy in the beginning, working with paying clients immediately. I also had to learn about adjusting the vision along the way (we switched from a B2C to a B2B model to reach more people with diabetes). Thankfully, I have a great team of advisors and team leaders who help make things happen. Everyone on the team shares our passion for change as well as our core values of producing results, efficiency, team work and persistency.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The one trend that I am most excited about is the industry’s progression toward innovation and achieving health outcomes. This trend is aligned with our mission and creates an environment where we can help people most.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
As entrepreneur, I apply the hard work and rigor of triathlon training to enhance my productivity professionally, specifically giving everything I have every day and tracking progress across time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
Living with diabetes is not easy. It’s an emotional and physical challenge 24/7. Sometimes my family thinks that living with diabetes is easy because they see me doing triathlons, training and running a company, but I can assure you that it’s not easy and there are tough moments, which is why support systems, like Certified Diabetes Educators, can be so helpful.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, I have found it important to constantly network with targeted people and to surround myself with people who are smarter than me.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Implementing the Rockefeller Habits and scaling up has enabled Fit4D to develop a leadership infrastructure and culture that is scalable and productive for our clients, patients, and employees. The techniques include continuous communication rhythms and formats for debating new ideas and measurement tools that work in a fast-growing entrepreneur environment. At Fit4D, we are working with a coach to scale up by implementing the Rockefeller Habits.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We launched Fit4D early, before the market and capital landscape were ready for it. At that time, the market was less outcomes and results based focused. We overcame this challenge, by innovating and testing our product with real paying clients, so that by the time the market was ready, we had a robust and proven product.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There are endless opportunities to help people while running a profitable business. Align your business with a social mission that you believe in and your passion will drive the success of the business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Giving to a food relief charity. By stopping hunger, we give people the ability to focus on taking care of the rest of their life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Scheduling software helps make me productive. I use outlook on my laptop and iPhone.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish and “Insanely Simple” by Ken Segall
What is your favorite quote?
“Anything is possible” – the motto of the Ironman Triathlon
This interview was an opportunity for introspection, to think about what is and is not working and to appreciate the good.
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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.