Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll find happiness through work.
Dr. Zvi Margaliot has been improving his patients’ lives through his specialty career as a hand and wrist surgeon for over twenty years. His passion for his vocation is expressed through his sixteen-year scholastic endeavor in striving for excellence in his profession.
Over the past two years, Dr. Zvi Margaliot has shifted his focus to an entrepreneur and advocate. He is dedicated to improving a system that is outdated and unsustainable. He is collaborating with surgeons in the Toronto community to develop a business that will address issues plaguing patient care and to be able to offer choice in the delivery of healthcare services. The business will blaze a trail and provide a new way of thinking that will assist the industry in discarding outdated and ineffective treatments as well as traditional but untested methods and be replaced by effective and proven technologies. Dr. Zvi Margaliot will advocate for the patients and remove the focus on short-term cost containment and profit.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The concept for the new business has been an idea in the making for over the past fifteen years. Surgeons across the country are frustrated with the medical system in Canada. They face shrinking resources at public hospitals and loss of control over their practices. With the hours devoted to a surgeon’s’ practice, there is very little time to pursue other solutions to these issues. Over the past two years, I have had the time to dedicate to the development of a business that can address issues plaguing patient care, and offer choice in delivery of healthcare service. Our business idea will address critical issues within the industry and benefit both patients and surgeons throughout the country.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day early to pray at my synagogue each morning. When I come home, I take my kids to school. I have a home office where I work on new business development. I create business plans, connect with consultants, and arrange meetings, suppliers, vendors, and investors. I build financial projections & negotiate contracts. It’s actually very exciting and challenging work, especially for someone who has been an academic and a surgeon for all his professional life. At some point, I will force myself to take the time to work out at the gym. In the evening it is all about spending time with my children. I help my son and daughter with homework. We have dinner together and perhaps we watch some TV. After the kids are in bed, I will continue to work before retiring for the evening.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The way I bring ideas to life is to think about the idea logically and as thoroughly as possible. I do my research from multiple sources and rethink the idea and revise my plans multiple times. I’m a measure twice, cut once kind of person. I seek advice and guidance from the experts in the field. When I think the idea is right, I will make plans to go forward with the idea.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One thing that excites me is the push in healthcare towards evidence-based practice. It is a push to abandon habits and traditions that are not founded on science, but rather on speculation and opinion, and replace them with scientifically tested methods and techniques. We need to discard unhelpful treatments and methods in favor of scientifically tested ones that are shown to be beneficial and effective. I think that is the most important development in medicine in the last ten to twenty years. It has to continue. It will help make healthcare economically sustainable going into the future. Resources are limited and the population is growing. Healthcare needs are also growing as a result. There is a lot of waste and inefficiency that come from unproven treatment and unnecessary testing. The switch to Evidence-Based Medicine is a very important trend.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think what makes me productive is that I know when to seek help. I value the advice of experts and I know when to let the expert take the lead on something. I am comfortable admitting when I don’t know or when I am wrong.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell younger Dr. Zvi Margaliot to enroll in therapy. It would have been a good idea to enroll in therapy at the same time I became an independent physician back in 2003. I would also tell younger Dr. Margaliot to better understand who I am and what my values are. Make sure to establish proper close relationships with my family, wife, and children to come. To not fall into the trap of thinking that I’ll find happiness through work. I would tell myself to find a balance between family/work/health/self-care. I would like to give younger Dr. Zvi Margaliot a snapshot of my life right now, to see what the consequences of those traps can be.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think that people are very poor judges of their own character. They do not know how to assess their position in life, work, and career or their own shortcomings. It comes from observation bias and confirmation bias, making it hard for people to find fault in themselves in a constructive manner. I think it is critical for people to frequently seek answers to where they are. They have to monitor that they are internally aligned with the values that they cherish.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Everyone should think through every problem and honestly analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Gather all information and seek outside expert opinion. Don’t be afraid to admit that you were wrong or that you don’t know the answer, and always give credit where credit is due.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I am going to talk about my medical practice, since my new business is still in the development phase. I grew my practice by working very long and very hard hours. I never refused a referral. I always advocated providing the best treatment for my patients even if the hospital balked at the cost. I also always advocated for the best equipment if it would have been beneficial to the patient in any way possible. I never left the operating room until I knew I did the best possible work that I could. I treated my patients the same way I would treat my family and I always gave my 100%. It was always very important to report in detail to referring physicians, to thank them for the referral and speak or meet with physicians in person if necessary. Unfortunately, this approach rapidly grew my practice but was very stressful, time consuming and was detrimental to my family. In retrospect, I should have struck a better balance.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As a physician, I had no prior background in running a business. I had my own medical practice for eleven years, but that is not a true business and I was never involved in the business development side. I have picked that up in the last year and a half. It has been an upward battle since in medicine and academia we do not learn the skills necessary to succeed in business. We should do a better job teaching the business side of medicine during the course of our education as surgeons.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There is a need for a service that can blow the lid on true healthcare costs as opposed to what is being billed for healthcare services. There is a need to provide true transparency in healthcare in a way that lay-people can understand and make informed decisions about their care. There is an absolute lack of consumer information. There is medical information out there, but there is no real integration of medical information with cost transparency. This information is essential for patients to become informed consumers of healthcare and to eliminate waste and price gouging, especially in the US healthcare system, which is wholly biased toward hospital profits to the detriment of patients and tax payers. I know this first hand as I worked both in the US and Canadian systems, and have researched the subject in depth. A service that provides both the necessary medical information and the true cost of providing healthcare services would be exceptionally valuable and could revolutionize the healthcare platform. I believe there is a tremendous opportunity in this area.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a “Sous Vide” for $80. A Sous Vide is an immersion cooker. It has revolutionized the way I cook now. In fact, it has brought tremendous joy to cooking to my family. I use it several times a week and it was under a hundred dollars.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Hands down it is “Google Calendar.” My whole clinical, business and family life is scheduled with this app and I set multiple reminders for appointment, emails, meetings, and traveling. It is my own secretary and personal assistant. It integrates with Google maps, and syncs across all my devices, and never forgets an appointment and never lets me sleep in. I would be lost without it and I don’t care if they sell my calendar data to the Galactic Empire or to the Russians.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There have been a few books that have opened my eyes. The one that has been the most interesting to me has been “The Drunkard’s Walk – How Randomness Rules Our Lives” by Lenard Mlodinow. The author convincingly illustrates how a lot of success that we attribute to others’ cleverness or secret knowledge is actually due entirely to random chance, and how often we fool ourselves into believing that we can predict certain events. Another outstanding book is “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell which argues how people invest and develop their own success. Go read these now.
What is your favorite quote?
Favorite serious quote: It matters not how hard or how often we fall. What matters is how we pick ourselves up and start again – after Confucius.
Favorite non-serious quote: “You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: Never Try” – Homer Simpson.
● Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll find happiness through work.
● It is critical for people to frequently seek answers and re-evaluate where they are in life.
● Best business practice should be incorporated to medical education.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.