No, I’m not talking about LinkedIn’s changes to groups.
I’m talking about actually being covered in your own shit.
Ostomy patients have no nerve endings “down there.” They don’t know when they are urinating or defecating. And they don’t know how full their bags are unless they look.
Which is hard to do when you’re asleep.
So ostomy patient and inventor Michael Seres did something about it. The product is great. But will he scale and support his family?
“I didn’t know when my bag was ready to overflow. And I was tired of waking up in a pool of my own shit.”
Michael invented Ostim-i™, a device that lets ostomy patients know when to empty their bags. The device clips on to any ostomy pouch sending Bluetooth® alerts to a mobile phone or tablet app telling the user their pouch is filling up.
When we met over Skype, he told me he was looking to scale. He said he used social media and was targeting patients so far. He told me the price point is $100 or so.
And I lost interest.
I said, “Direct-to-consumer and $100? How many do you think you’re going to sell? Can you focus on doctors and hospitals instead? Is it reimbursed? Are you replacing another solution or is this a new idea? How will this all support your family?”
I don’t even remember what he said next. (Sorry, Michael.) But THEN he told me about waking up in his own shit.
And I said, “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT IN THE BEGINNING?!”
Your point of difference
Also known as your unique selling proposition and amply covered in “The First Three Questions,”
Once you HAVE a point of difference,
SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!
“Michael,” I told him, “once you told me the story about waking in your own shit, I got it. I immediately empathized with you. I wanted to know more.”
He told me, “When I’m speaking one-on-one with someone, I say I ‘measure shit for a living.’ But maybe I’m ‘too British’ to come out and say it the way you do.”
And I replied, “Michael, you can have your invention and be nice and polite and no one will ever hear about you. Or you can be the ‘Covered in Shit’ guy. I’m pretty sure no one else has that mindshare at the moment.”
And continued, “This isn’t about you anymore. You just told me 200,000 patients new ostomy patients each year and 5 million worldwide, any of whom may soil him or herself. And you are shy? GET OVER IT!”
We’ve spoken may times since and become friends. While it’s not his style to be as crass and in-your-face as I suggested, he understands the bigger message: Say what you have to say quickly and in as compelling way as possible.
When the message is lost
Can you believe it? THIS was Michael’s homepage on the day we spoke.
Isn’t she beautiful?
And what does “Shaping the future of patient led innovation” mean?
No, Michael, no.
Instead, how about your photo with the caption,
Nothing is more humiliating than being covered in your own shit. OSTIM-I™ puts an end to that.
We can debate the use of the word “end.” I kept it in there because if it makes you think “Oh, I get it, end” or you think, “I wonder if they realize they said ‘end?'”
And if you think those, then we win. We made you think about our value proposition even longer.
What about you, Dear Reader?
Do you know your point of difference? Are you shouting it in all your medical device marketing communication?
If not, take this as your wake-up call for the day.