Terry Moore is the CEO and cofounder of HomeoLux, a health and technology company that designs wellness products based on cutting-edge scientific research. His showcase product, BEACON40, is a safe, light system designed for brain health. It is developed according to the findings of a rapidly growing body of research on lights that flicker at 40 Hz and their power to reduce the build-up of toxins in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Terry is an entrepreneur, public speaker, and philanthropist. His TED talks have been viewed by millions, and he sits on the boards of TEDx and the Columbia University Center for Radiological Research. Terry has a lifelong interest in discovering geniuses and helping them fan the spark of entirely new ideas into flame, a passion that he has pursued both in business, as a strategic marketing consultant and as an entrepreneur, and in his personal life, as a philanthropist and mentor. He is a graduate of Ohio University and lives in New York City.
Where did the idea for HomeoLux come from?
In a way, HomeoLux weaves together many of the threads of my life. After thirty years in management consulting, focusing on health and science technologies, I retired—or so I thought. And I was involved with research at Columbia University seeking new applications for medical radiology.
Then, all of a sudden, my interest in science, health and wellness became intensely personal. My wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Words like “devastating” and “life-changing” take on a whole new dimension when you’re facing a diagnosis like that.
What could I do? How could I help? My lifelong passion for problem solving and innovation took over, and I turned to pioneering scientific research for an answer. I discovered that at MIT, they were seeing stunning results in experiments with lights flickering at 40Hz. This matches the brain’s natural rhythm. They were developing a completely noninvasive treatment seemed to be reducing the toxic plaques in the brain that cause dementia. Later research building on these first discoveries has even figured out the mechanism for this stunning effect: the rhythm of the lights stimulates the immune system’s defense against the toxins.
But as everyone who follows science headlines in the daily news knows, there are years and years between new medical research and its translation into approved medical treatments. Like so many others facing Alzheimer’s My wife and I didn’t have time to wait. Also, this new idea was so safe and noninvasive that I couldn’t see any downside to giving it a try right away. So I had some prototype lamps made and we immediately began using them at home.
The lamps had unmistakably positive effects on my wife. Her speech improved, her memory strengthened. Her doctors and other caregivers found it remarkable. Everyone wanted to know how they could get lights like ours. So I founded HomeoLux to bring the lights into production and make them available to other families who need hope and help right now.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The effect of using light to enhance the natural powers of the brain seems to be a theme for me at this time of my life. Productivity, for me, dawns with the sun. So I get up early and I watch the sun come up, and I try not to turn on any artificial lights so that I can slowly phase myself into the day. I try to be as present as possible in a way that’s not so easy late at night when I’ve been working all day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
There are so many ways to cultivate an idea from its first glimmer on the horizon to broad daylight, but my special talent seems to be in bringing talented people into contact with each other to work together. Connecting people who share passions and ideas has, in a way, been my life’s work, and nothing brings me greater joy.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In keeping with my general theme here of finding common threads in my personal and business life, I’d like to step a little over the line and say: It’s the trend toward meditation and mindfulness, which now seems to really have a foothold in business. I think it’s important in its ability to help one be present and focused on problems. All this attention to brain health reminds me that we generally leave so much of our brains behind when we try to focus on one specific task. Stepping away from the task at hand to gather and concentrate the powers of the brain allows us to return to the task with a bigger perspective and wider capabilities that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Stay active, try to diversify your interests, and experiment with new things because you never know what lies ahead. But if I could leave you with one habit that makes me productive, it is to meditate. I read a study some years ago that 80% or 90% of Nobel Prize winners had their breakthrough idea when they were showering, driving..etc basically not when they were working. I have found my best ideas come when I silence my mind. It’s hard at the start, but worth diving into.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more confident and trusting! Take the step you’re considering. What I’ve learned is that it’s better to go with what fulfills you than to worry about what the risks are. If you do the things that bring you meaning, you’ll figure out the problems. Your brain works better when it’s working in concert with your heart. In both life and business, go with what inspires you—go where you find meaning. It’s not just “Do what you love and the money will follow”; it’s a principle for life in general, not just business.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Pangolins, sometimes known as scaly, ant-eating mammals have been unfairly blamed as the genesis of the coronavirus. I am a huge fan of the pangolin. Pangolins are outliers. They’re solitary, most are nocturnal and highly secretive AND their bodies are covered in protective overlapping scales. Because of their susceptibility to Coronavirus and their culpability in the spread of the disease, I think most people would not join in my fandom. However, most would agree that lots of great problem-solving comes of outliers.
Good solutions often come from smart people who work hard on things. But game-changing solutions come from the outliers — the unexpected heroes who live and think outside the box.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
This one’s easy. I hire competent people—and then I trust them and let them do their work! If a good idea is like a spark, the last thing you want to do is smother it with a host of foreign, and perhaps incompatible, ideas. I have chosen my staff precisely because of their creativity. It would make no sense to stifle their special talents by insisting on my own habits and presumptions.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I hire and promote diverse teams. At HomeoLux we have an all-women leadership team, who have taught me the wisdom of that piece of advice. They are not just a group of entrepreneurs, but also mothers and daughters who gracefully balance the responsibilities of running a business, raising children, and caring for their elderly parents—and make it look easy. They have diverse backgrounds in that they are all born in different countries, have differing educational backgrounds across science, technology, product development, finance and research. It should be clear to everyone that diversity and inclusion across leadership teams and throughout business tiers benefit everyone—employees, businesses, and economies.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I was leading Business and Marketing for a company in Indiana state which makes lots of products. In one of my projects, I was asked to do due diligence and an analysis of a soap business and their workforce. The conclusion of the analysis was that it wasn’t a good idea and the results were set to be published as “Not worth two Shifts”. However, in the published article I left out the letter “f” in the word “shifts”. Here I learnt two things: (1) People became eager to edit my articles (2) I will always work with an editor and have always worked with one since that incident.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would like to see an app that would select photographs for me the way Amazon recommends books to me. I came home from a recent trip to Beijing with 1400 photographs, and it would take three weeks to decide which ones I like. But if I had an app that I could tell my special preferences too—pictures of Mom, for instance, or people more than landscapes—and it could get to know my preferences, then it could sort through all of these thousands of pictures we’re always taking, all the time, with our phones. I’d buy an app like that.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
This week in NY marks the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alz. The most recent check I wrote went to support Alzheimer’s research and caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease is both a global health crisis and a personal challenge for so many families. I believe that the best way to end Alzheimer’s is through prevention, living a brain healthy life and adopting wellness habits that support brain health. I endorse alternative therapies for dementia treatment and think of 40Hz light therapy like a vitamin for your brain.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Hands down, it’s a web service that facilitates mind-mapping. I use Ayoa because, unlike many of the grid-snapping mechanical mind-mapping platforms out there, it gets the spirit of the technique: the whole point is to allow ideas to flow freely and organize themselves, rather than prematurely imposing a structure that ends up stifling that spark before it has a chance to catch.
Your brain is sort of like the isolated geniuses I was talking about who are good at what they do, but need to work together with other specialists to bring an idea off the drawing board and into the practical world. The right side of your brain is all about creativity, and the left side is all about structure. Creative ideas are useless if they don’t eventually take a form that can bring them into reality. But if you impose that left-brain structure on them too soon, they don’t have a chance to catch fire.
Mind-mapping is a brainstorming technique that’s all about forming connections between ideas so that an organized whole emerges organically. Instead of suppressing creativity for the sake of structure, or suppressing structure for the sake of creativity, it allows the two to work together, as they should. You can use it for any kind of problem-solving, planning (whether you’re planning a corporate strategy or a picnic), or even presentation. When your left brain and your right brain are not just barely on speaking terms, but in intimate conversation, wonderful things emerge.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend any of Tony Buzan’s books on mind-mapping. I use software, but it took me some time to find a system that is true to Buzan’s vision, and the book is still the best way to learn the technique. Mind-mapping lends itself to technology, but it’s just as good—maybe even better—with old-fashioned colored pencils and paper.
Mind-mapping is good for business planning because it doesn’t banish all your emotional energy from your logical endeavors. The more you can unite passion and planning, the better.
What is your favorite quote?
“Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.”
I read about a survey in which elderly people were asked what they regret most about their lives. In third position was not having enough self-discipline, because they thought that if they had had more discipline, they could have gotten more done. The second thing was not being assertive enough, always feeling that if they had spoken up or taken a stand, they would have been better off. But the number one thing senior citizens regret about their lives is not taking enough risk. Failure is not to be feared, because it can lead to success.
- Do well by doing good. Bringing brain health and wellness to the market is both good for people and good business.
- Good business philosophy is good life philosophy and vice versa.
- It’s all about integration: bring together your passion and your strategy, bring geniuses together with entrepreneurs, and foster a lifelong romance between your left brain and your right brain.
- Trust your passion, and you’ll find you’re able to work through the problems.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.