Dr. Miguel Cunha is a leading-edge Podiatrist and the founder of Gotham Footcare PC in Manhattan. He earned his degree from Temple University’s School of Podiatric Medicine in 2007. Following this, Dr. Cunha went on to complete his residency at Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., where he was Chief Resident. His residency training provided Dr. Cunha with extensive opportunities to practice treating trauma to the lower extremities, reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle, as well as diabetic limb salvage. He received additional training in skin and chronic wound care at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Cunha and his team serve patients at Gotham Footcare locations in Downtown, Manhattan and Midtown, Manhattan, New York. He treats foot pain, bunions, arthritis, hammer toes, plantar warts and much more. In 2018 and 2019, Dr. Miguel Cunha was voted one of the top three Podiatrists in New York.
Where did the idea for Gotham Footcare PC come from?
I wanted my business to be integrated into the greatest city in the world, but I also wanted my business to be distinct from every other practice in New York City. I don’t like to follow the lead of others; I like to be unique and pave my own way. I choose Gotham Footcare because Gotham is the mysterious version of New York City.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I feel productive if I can manage to balance my time among four groups of people daily: my wife, my children, my patients, and myself. I first start of my day by getting my two little boys ready for school. My wife and I prepare their lunch, we have breakfast together, and then I take them to school. I then head to work, where I spend most of my day either treating patients or operating. I typically see anywhere from fifty to sixty patients a day and I generally operate on Tuesdays and Fridays. In between patients I write patient progress notes and take care of administrative tasks that include insurance paperwork, mail correspondence, billing, and marketing. My workday ends around 6:30 pm. I then go to the gym for about an hour which makes up my “me time” and then I come home to have dinner with my family. I think dinner time is sacred because not only do I get to enjoy an incredible meal made prepared by lovely wife, it’s my time to have a conversation and bond with her and my children. I want to find out how my wife’s day went. We vent to each other, connect, laugh, and share ideas and plans regarding business and pleasure. During dinner I like to know how my kids spent their day. What they learned, what they liked and didn’t like about their day. I like to give them advice and share with them a personal experience I had when I was their age that relates to their day so that they can identify and connect with Daddy. After dinner, my wife and I take turns either washing the dishes or putting the kids to sleep. My wife and I then go to bed. We may watch an episode of Black Mirror, read a book, surf the web, and then go to sleep.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I work backwards. I am a visionary, I am passionate about my vision, and I have a great imagination. I like to imagine an idea and how I can make it a reality. Sometimes I try to think backyards about how to accomplish my goals; I like to think about the goal first and then envision each preceding step going backyards until the present moment. I then try to reverse the order of these steps and implement them through action moving forward to bring my ideas to life. Things obviously don’t always work out as intended but I have learned to adjust my sails depending on where and how the wind blows and this method helps get me to where I need to go.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Architectural development in New York that combines old with new such as the High Line, or retail that sells experiences not just products. Some examples include the Samsung Retail Store, Starbucks Roastery, and Restoration Hardware, all three stores in the Meatpacking District. I believe that selling experiences makes a product unforgettable, unique, and authentic. When patients come into Gotham Footcare, I want to offer that same element of experience not just service. I want that experience to provide the most compassionate care and exceptional results in a state-of-the-art facility with the most cutting-edge technology. I want the patient experience to resonate long term with the patient. I want to captivate each patient in every aspect once they walk in the front door from the aesthetic and the vibe of the office, to the music playing in the background, and most importantly, the culture and personalities of Gotham Footcare.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I love making To Do Lists. One of my favorite words is Kaizen which refers to a Japanese philosophy that focuses on creating continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements. I feel productive completing my daily “To do list” because I know that little by little, I made today better than yesterday and I intend on making tomorrow better than today. Sometimes I look back in disbelief over how much I have accomplished, simply because I complete little tasks that over time result in tremendous gains.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Two things: The first piece of advice is to not be afraid of failure. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow from past mistakes. I wish my younger self knew that in order to succeed your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. I learned this lesson later in life and thank God I did because it has resulted in tremendous success professionally, personally, and spiritually.
The second piece of advice is to avoid negative people whenever possible. I used to think I could uplift and “fix” everyone. This has only led me to wasting time and feeling nothing but frustration. What I have realized over time is that I have to accept that people are wired differently and that some people actually enjoy being negative and blaming their own failures on other people, circumstances, or the past. Some people would rather have something to complain about then to improve their situation because doing so would actually require work, commitment, and having to face personal insecurities with failure and/or self accountability.
I truly believe that we are a product of our decisions more so than of our circumstances. I believe that regardless of how bad a situation is in life; a poor decision will certainly make that situation far worse and being negative will never help improve that situation. I like the saying, “God gives his toughest challenges to his toughest people.” So, when things get though, learn, grow, get tough, and get going. Unfortunately, some people will never embrace this concept, so they become the “energy vampires” of positive people.
Spending time with “energy vampires” leaves me feeling empty and drained. I firmly believe that it is better to be alone than to be in bad company. I prefer spending my time surrounded by people who appreciate or reciprocate positive vibes and energy so that I can learn, grow, and feel motivated. By doing so, I find my life to be more purposeful and fulfilling.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There is nothing that I believe that everybody disagrees with me on, but I do think many people may disagree with my rejection of victimhood culture. We live in an era of elevated sensitivities and “safe spaces” across college campuses and in mainstream society. Society has become increasingly concerned with “likes” on social media, and the media and politicians have become increasingly fixated on emotional bribery by capitalizing on victimhood rather than being objectively factual. Many people have become obsessed with identity politics while failing to recognize the hypocrisy of their political views. In my opinion this cultural phenomenon will do nothing to advance society in years to come. It will only foster the growth of personal insecurities, societal vulnerabilities, and social dependencies. Instead of embracing victimhood as a means to attain societal status and moral virtuosity, we should encourage each other to embrace honor and dignity. Unfortunately, today some people embrace victimhood because it allows them to gain moral authority and even immunity from criticism. Self-pity is not a dignified way to live and victimhood will only offer a false and short-lived sense of empowerment. Real self empowerment can only be attained by learning and growing when confronted with personal adversity and resistance. This growth is independent of how we are perceived by others. When we go to the gym, we don’t get in shape by watching someone one else workout or by having someone else pity us if we are out of shape. We have to workout. We have to look in the mirror and first accept ourselves for who we are and then change ourselves if we need or choose to with honor and dignity.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As I mentioned before I practice the simple principle of Kaizen. Everyday I implement small improvements in the way things are done in my business, which over time results in tremendous gains, helping my business grow and flourish.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me grow my business is the implementation and yearly updating of company policies and protocol.
Having clearly defined company protocol has facilitated my ability to unite employees under common goals and ensure that each employee understands their role within my company, the tasks and challenges they face, and how to execute them as efficiently, consistently, and accurately as possible. Protocols help eliminate confusion and encourage employees to perform tasks independently and with accountability. Ultimately, protocols help my company evolve as they minimize micromanagement so I can spend more time on the most important thing, patient care.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started my business, I used to always fall into the trap of wanting to be liked by my employees rather than wanting to be respected. Getting to know my employees on a personal level without getting too personal was a challenge for me initially, but I have learned over time that it is more important to be a boss than to be a friend in a work environment. Being too friendly has always jeopardized my authority. It’s more important to be professional than personal; I find that members of my organization like me more when I focus less on being liked and more on offering guidance and support. Doing so, allows me to manage my employees for the good of the company, without eroding my authority and letting personal issues get in the way.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Outside of medicine I have a passion for culinary experiences. Something I may do but haven’t had time to pursue yet because I am busy with my business is to increase the presence of Portuguese cuisine in New York City. Most people that have tried Portuguese cuisine will agree that it is exceptionally delicious. From Portuguese breads and pastries such as the Pastel de Nata, a pastry that tastes like a croissant with a creme brûlée filling , to Alvarinho and Port wine, wines that only grow in Portugal, to its cheeses, seafood dishes and meat dishes particularly barbequed chicken with Piri Piri sauce, and their world famous Francesinha sandwich; Portuguese cuisine is mouthwatering. There is a reason why Time Out opened their first market in Lisbon, Portugal. Its time to bring Portuguese cuisine to the culinary capital of the world.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
There is no better way for me to spend 100 dollars than supporting the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other diseases. Nothing saddens me more than a child suffering or a parent suffering from the sickness of their child. I donate monthly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital because I am grateful for all my blessings, particularly of my own children. It’s important for me to give to those suffering from sickness because they are truly the victims of misfortune.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
One web service that helps me be productive is Google Drive. Google Drive is a cloud-based program that allows me to create, store, and organize documents such as word and excel files into folders that are conveniently accessible from any internet or data accessible device. These documents can be shared with and edited in real time by members of my organization who I share these documents with. You can also scan documents into Google Drive which helps me eliminate the use and storage of paper as well the risk of losing documents because they are saved on a cloud rather than on a computer. Google Drive has helped me work ON my company from a distance even when I am not IN my company.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. In this book, the author illustrates that Homo sapiens rule the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination, such as gods, states, money and human rights. Yuval Hararri goes on to detail the history of our species by explaining that, “money is the most pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised; that capitalism is the most successful religion ever invented; and that the treatment of animals in modern agriculture is probably the worst crime in history. I found this book to be a great read because I am fascinated with the evolution and psychology of humans, their virtues and imperfections. I recommend this book because it sheds light on how oftentimes people live their lives as part of a societal system rather than living a life that is personally introspective, meaningful, and lived in pursuit of happiness. Even though we are far more powerful than our ancient ancestors because of the cultural and societal systems we have created, we aren’t much happier.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is one that I made up: “The three most important things in life are health, love, and balance. You can have everything in the world but if you have lost your health you will soon lose everything; a life without love is not worth living; and balance is made up of time and money. In theory you can have all the money in the world but never all the time in the world. We need the work life balance to survive in life but more importantly to enjoy life. We are most fulfilled when we manage to have all three elements; health, love, and balance.”
- I am passionate about my family, my business, and my pursuit of happiness.
- I like to be introspective and truly know who I am and what it important to me.
- I am hungry to live a balanced lifestyle that is full of positive, meaningful and memorable experiences.
- I want to live a life feeling dignified, grateful, and to constantly grow personally, professionally, and spiritually.