Focus, focus, and focus. Define the growth goal or the problem/barrier at hand, and be obsessive about delivering on it and nothing else.

 

Oren Frank is a Co-Founder and the CEO of Talkspace, the leading online and mobile psychotherapy company that has made therapy accessible and affordable to people across the globe. In a day and age when mental health care is recognized as a global societal crisis, the effectiveness and convenience Talkspace provides to those seeking to improve their mental health and well-being stands out. Under Oren’s leadership, Talkspace has so far helped over a million clients connect with licensed therapists — the vast majority of whom did not have access to help prior to using Talkspace.

As an avid believer in the power of innovation and technology to better society, Oren founded Talkspace with his wife Roni in 2012, with the vision of “Therapy for all.” After experiencing the benefits of couples therapy earlier in their marriage, they launched Talkspace with the strong belief that mental health care is a moral right, and everyone should have access to the support and value psychotherapy provides whenever the need or want arises.

Prior to Talkspace, Oren was a successful senior marketing and advertising executive, mostly with McCann Erickson WorldWide, where he was recognized as a progressive creative strategist, and one of the leading voices in the new media-marketing world. Oren maintains that Talkspace helps him redeem and repent for his years spent in advertising.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

Making psychotherapy accessible and affordable for all, or in short, “Therapy For All!”

This idea was born out of extremely valuable and helpful personal experience in couples therapy with my wife. Couples therapy helped save our marriage and we now have two gorgeous daughters. This experience kept us in love with one another, and fall in love with therapy generally. Roni, my wife and Talkspace’s Co-Founder, left her career as a software developer and went on to study psychology, and both of us enjoyed many years of personal therapy — this left us wanting to find a way to make this wonderful profession, and the benefits it provides, available to many more people in need.

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

My typical day includes at least 7 hours for sleep at night — I find a direct correlation between healthy sleep habits and well being and productivity. I’m a voracious reader, and try and read from multiple sources every day — many not really related to my job (including spending time with physical books) to keep my mind sharp and to fuel my curiosity. I also walk a lot, listen, and talk with people — every business is a people business — but no other business is as people focused as a therapy platform.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas are a commodity — everyone has them, and it takes literally zero time from not having an idea to having one. Or many. The more difficult part is curating, cultivating, and criticizing ideas in a constructive and emphatic way — a methodology that will encourage new ideas as a crucial part of our daily lives, but is honest enough not to fall in love the first thing that comes along.

The hardest aspect is making ideas happen in the real world: the execution. This requires discipline and focus, and is where many companies and cultures fail.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The end of men, and the slow but consistent progress toward a women-led culture, and hopefully women-led humankind.

Generalizations are similar to averages — they are very misleading. But I think that there are areas in our civilization where men have failed so spectacularly that the only viable and hopeful option is to let women take the lead. They are the more advanced members of the species, I have no doubt. With every female politician, CEO, founder, VC, and hopefully president, we’re making progress toward a better world.

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

Moderation. I view the extreme work culture displayed in many industries as destructive to people, and definitely less productive to companies. People who work reasonable hours, have a healthy lifestyle and family life, take vacations, and enjoy other interests than just their work make better decisions, are happier, and yes, also more productive.

What advice would you give your younger self?

It doesn’t really matter. My younger self knew everything and wouldn’t listen to a word I’d say to him.

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

That social media is addictive and destructive to mankind in ways that we’re just beginning to fathom. I’ve been saying this for years, long before we found out that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap, etc are surveillance companies, perfect hate distribution machines, and very harmful to our mental health. They now decimate democracy, and the most important public good needed to maintain democracy — journalism. If these companies won’t be regulated and broken up, the outcomes could be catastrophic.

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

Stop for a second, or an hour, try to take some distance from what you’re doing right now, and make sure you’re getting your priorities straight and you’re focused on what’s important. We all tend to get carried away by the daily and the urgent, sometimes at the cost of the important.

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

Focus, focus, and focus. Define the growth goal or the problem/barrier at hand, and be obsessive about delivering on it and nothing else.

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

My failures as an entrepreneur are countless and there isn’t one failure that deserves more love and attention than the others. Failures and mistakes are table stakes at a startup, and in a way, your job is to make as many of them as early as possible — it’s the only way forward.

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

Using algorithms to predict and expose corruption in both the private and public sectors. Technology is already widely used to flag credit card fraud and in many other use cases, and our pattern recognition-based learning models are improving exponentially. Let’s use this to help us fight one of the most destructive sides of our culture.

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

Donated to Kamala Harris

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

Feature: Turn off all notifications on your iPhone.

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

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. He’s the only psychologist who won the Nobel Prize for Economics, and one of the fathers of behavioural economics. This book will help you understand the way you process information and make decisions, and lays a map of many of our inherent biases.

What is your favorite quote?

Oh — so many of them. For today I’ll choose the Hanlon Razor, because of its humor and humanity:
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Key Learnings:

  • The hardest part of bringing an idea to life is finding ways to cultivate and criticize them in a constructive and emphatic way.
  • An environment of extreme work culture does not necessarily lead to more productivity.
  • Less time on social media is definitely more.

Connect:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/oren-frank-08619322
https://twitter.com/orenfrank