Joel Arun Sursas is the Head of Clinical Affairs at Biorithm, Singapore. He works closely with engineers and implementation consultants to achieve medical technology solutions that improve patient outcomes, enhance monitoring and protect patient privacy.
Tell me about your best and worst days at work.
The best days at work are typically days which involve multi-disciplinary collaboration and brainstorming. As a startup, we are privileged to have subject-matter experts sitting at an arm’s length away from one another. Unlike MNCs where “departments” are often fragmented and walled-off, we can achieve a lot of mileage in small focus-group discussions. As a physician, I immensely enjoy exploring the minds of the engineers, business developers and product developers in my midst.
The worst days at work would be the days I spend dealing with the mountain of paperwork that comes along with regulatory requirements. As a startup we are looking to market our device in the EU, UK, Australia and Asia – each region has a unique regulatory framework, each with its own accompanying set of essential requirements and documentation. Navigating this space can be complicated, time-consuming and confusing. It’s part of the learning process, however, and being accustomed to the various regional requirements and legal stipulations will benefit us in the long run as we develop our future pipeline of products and services.
Who are the clients/what are the projects that you most enjoy working on?
I enjoy going back to my roots and engaging with clinical users the most. The projects that give me the most fulfillment are those that directly engage physicians and nurses; I think that my role enables me to be an effective bridge between the IT domain and the health domain. After all, the core of health informatics is the people, and engaging in discourse with the key stakeholders enables me to manage patient data in the most effective, safe and optimal manner.
What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?
I would have to say that it would be in formulating the value proposition of our medical device to multiple stakeholders. Initially, our medical device was positioned as a patient-advocating device – which it is. However, I think we started to turn more heads when we buttressed our value proposition to include physicians, midwives and the hospital administration. This change made me realize the importance of developing an all-encompassing value proposition that attracts as many vital stakeholders as possible. It makes the conversation a lot easier as no matter how diverse your target audience is, the message is a positive one.
What has been the most important part of your professional journey?
I thought that medical school would have taught me most of what I knew about medicine. However, my two years in the Singapore Armed Forces developing and implementing Southeast Asia’s largest EHR and my time spent at Biorithm have taught me a lot more about the medico-industrial complex. While I have furthered myself professionally at Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins Medical School in the field of health informatics, the self-learning from these pivotal experiences has been challenging, immense, and extremely rewarding. I would say that this experiential learning has been the most crucial part of my professional journey thus far, and I would venture to say that it will continue to be.
What risks is your company facing?
Although we do face competitors as a fetal-maternal monitoring company, Biorithm views competition as an opportunity. Firstly, the fact that there is viable competition validates the space we occupy. Secondly, it keeps us on our toes and encourages us to continually seek differentiating factors which will eventually culminate in better clinician and patient outcomes. Thirdly, competition can always be converted to collaboration should the occasion arise!
What would you do with unlimited resources?
This is a tricky question. Intuitively, I would invest most of it in the company as (unsurprisingly), I believe in our company. However, on that note – I think that the success we have achieved so far as a small startup has been contingent on the limitation of resources we face. That constraint forces everyone to learn, step out of their comfort zone and upgrade themselves daily. That’s the “burning platform” that most startups face at some point in their life cycle, and it is what most successful startups attribute their success to.
When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?
It would have to be in writing our Clinical Evaluation Report (CER) for our device, for CE marking. The CER contends with the background literature – my research background comes in very useful for this segment which is typically medically jargonized. I enjoy looking at up-to-date evidence for subsequent analysis.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I juggle my work with freelance medical writing which I do to finance my post-graduate studies. Because of the time zone difference, I’m usually up in the wee hours of the morning in Singapore attending live lectures in Boston or Baltimore. I’m an exercise addict, so the adrenaline of post-work exercise helps to keep me awake!
How do you feel you make a difference in the world?
I’m confident that our team-effort at Biorithm towards innovation will see an impressionable mark on the way obstetric and fetal monitoring is conducted. The technology has remained grossly unchanged since the 1960s, and we are poised to change that.
Leading SEO Expert Justin Davis Shares Valuable SEO Tips and Explains Why Entrepreneurs Should Do it Right to Remain on Top
Justin Davis is a leading SEO Expert and specializes in Link Building, an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization. SEO or Search Engine Optimization simply means how effective your business is optimized for search engine results. For example, if you provide plumbing services and if someone searches on Google with the keyword ‘Best Plumbers Near Me’ and your business website or your information comes on the top position, you can be said to be search engine optimized.
Given the kind of competition Startups and Businesses have, it is important that they have an optimized search engine presence.
Justin, Thank you for talking with us. Tell us more about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) for small business owners and startups.
Thank you for having me. SEO only matters for businesses that have customers (or potential customers) that go to Google or other search engines to look for their products and services. One of the benefits to a small business is that SEO will deliver leads that do not directly need to be paid for.
Of course most businesses would enjoy natural, organic traffic to the website from people researching services or products before making a buying decision. But there are costs in getting to this point. The time required depends on how strong the competition is.
At a minimum, small businesses should have a grasp on what keyword phrases are important to their business, how much search volume is behind those queries, where they stand compared to their competitors for those keywords, and approximately how much traffic the competitors are getting from those keywords.
What are some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when planning their seo strategy?
I have seen lots of businesses waste countless hours and thousands of dollars optimizing their on-page SEO, and reoptimizing, redesigning, and on and on. Monthly spending on SEO services should almost be entirely for off-page strategies like backlink building.
Onsite optimizations should generally be a one-time fix and coaching for best practices moving forward. Let’s face it.. Most companies know little to nothing about SEO. That’s why they hire out. So the client needs to at least somewhat educated on the basics in the beginning.
Setting clear expectations by talking about what the deliveries will be, a timeline, KPIs that will track progress throughout the campaign, costs, results – these should all be covered. Properly setting expectations of how much the services are going to cost, how long it’s going to take, and what estimated results will help with transparency and clarification.
Panda update of Google was a big learning curve for seo professionals. What are some of the current trends in seo?
Nowdays I just focus on producing high quality content and getting high quality links to point to that content. I leave the trends and tweaks to the SEO bloggers and every once in a while I incorporate something new into my strategies.
Think about link building as being a timeless SEO activity. Getting links from high-quality websites will always be great for your SEO. Why? Because this is the system that Google search results was based off of. A linking/vouching system is similar to that used by many scholarly medical journals and so on.
Forget trying to figure out the new fads, tips and tricks. Stick to doing a lot of what we already know works. Optimize your site on-page, and then continue adding content to your site while getting links from quality websites in your niche.
Tell us the importance of link building for a website. How do businesses ensure that they have a quality link profile?
Link building is important for a website because Google’s ranking system relies on links heavily to reveal authority. The amount of links from trusted sources are looked at as a vouch, basically voting for the linked site.
Businesses have a quality link profile by setting standards in the beginning. Authority scores, organic search traffic, the number of keywords ranked in Google, rankings/positions for various keywords, Moz spam score, sniff tests, experience, PBNs and IP addresses – are factors used to determine whether a link prospect is qualified.
Lots of businesses try to go cheap when it comes to link building. This is probably because it takes a lot of time and money. I get it! But when taking shortcuts and hiring amateurs, they often end up with spammy links and little to no improvements in keywords and actual website visitors.
Even worse, they could be penalized and completely lose everything in Google search. Bad SEO can also do lots of damage to a brand, because a big part of off-page SEO is outreaching/emailing every other business and organization in your industry on your behalf.
There are many businesses that want to indulge in shady link building programs just because they are in a hurry. As an expert in this field, how do you handle these clients?
I am very clear with possible new clients. I go over the preferred types of links and associated metrics ahead of time.
One of the qualifying factors I look for in clients is that they respect my expertise and take more of a hands-off approach. Micro-managers need not apply! So I just politely smile and reject those clients. PS: I turn down 90% of businesses that reach out to me because they don’t meet all of my qualifying factors. This is multiple businesses per day.
What SEO tips would you like to share with all the entrepreneurs who are reading this?
Hiring the right person for SEO is crucial if your business relies on traffic from search results. In the beginning, talk about what the SEO goals are, what the ideal timeline would be in order to meet those goals, and what budget is available in order to get there.
The SEO person should be able to explain what can be expected according to your goals, timeline and budget. Properly setting and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific to SEO and the campaign will show progress.
A proper SEO campaign will result in your website gaining authority. These gains will be shown in higher numbers of organic search visitors (check Google Analytics for this), higher rankings for more keyword phrases (various SEO tools for this), and higher authority scores (various SEO tools).
Justin Davis is the Chief Link Builder for Link-builders.com, an off-page SEO agency specializing in building high-quality backlinks.
In this Interview, Rachel Withers gives some Valuable Advice on Health, Wellness, and Wealth Goals
Rachel Withers, through her various programmes, helps people achieve positive results and success in health and wellness along with teaching them how to have mastery over wealth. Her programmes are carefully crafted to give optimum outcomes for their participants. In this Interview, Rachel shared some valuable tips on how one can have a fulfilled life. She also underscored how important it is to not lose yourself in the whole process.
It’s often said that in order to live a fulfilled life, we need to achieve just 3 goals. Health, Wealth, and Happiness goals. But for most of us, even achieving a single goal could take a lifetime. Where exactly do people get lost?
I think you have to first ask yourself ‘how badly do I want it’ and whether you are truly in it from the start. You’ve got to have that internal belief system of ‘doing whatever it takes’.
I also think to achieve a goal you’ve got to use the motto ‘one step at a time’ and avoid juggling too many things, as you end up splitting your focus over many tasks, which just makes you lose the focus and actually takes you longer to hit goals.
“Successful people achieve their goals not because of who they are but because of what they do.”
It’s important to break the goal down into smaller chunks, with each chunk having its’own deadline. Successful people achieve their goals not because of who they are but because of what they do. Aristotle nailed it over 2000 years ago when he said ‘’We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
What according to you is financial freedom?
For me, it means being able to make life decisions. It’s about much more than just having money. It’s the freedom to be who you really are and do what you want in life.
One of the biggest hindrances in the path of an individual’s financial or other life goals is Procrastination. What are your views on this? How can one overcome procrastination?
Procrastination is one of the leading causes of failure. Procrastination also means one’s lack of ability in differentiating important tasks with unimportant ones.
We all can put things off but for me, the trick is to do the hard and important tasks first. Manage your environment, make sure it’s conducive to the task, and remove all distractions.
It is also seen that many achieve their financial goals but fail miserably at their health goals. Do you believe that of the three goals, health goals should be given a priority? How can one achieve a healthy lifestyle when people seem to be busy all the time?
Looking after your health is really important, in order to perform at your optimum, you’ve got to look after your mind and your body, for me that’s key to success. The better you look after your mind and body the more you’ll thrive. Putting off looking after your health means you don’t respect your body, it’s not a priority and you are procrastinating. In order to have a healthy lifestyle, one should have proper time management skills. With proper time management, you will never be in a rush and will always find some time for your health.
You have an exclusive club where people get introduced to an improved lifestyle, and they learn how to achieve overall personal development. Tell us more about your club.
I’m the founder of the Rachel Withers Academy, an online community, a community of likeminded women, who support one another to achieve their goals in a safe and supportive environment. A community for women who have the belief to do more, give more, be more, and create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, become more.
For our society to grow in a desired pace and manner, women entrepreneurs need to take the centre stage. What suggestions would you give to young women who want to take the path of entrepreneurship?
Women entrepreneurs have shown time and again what they are capable of. To anyone who wants to take the path of entrepreneurship, I would say that you follow your dreams and live life being true to yourself. Don’t look to others, or their opinions to give you a sense of worth. The world needs us all to shine. And most importantly, be true to yourself.
In this Interview, Hollywood Actress and Filmmaker Giovannie Espiritu Shares her Tryst with Entrepreneurship
Her students include series regulars, an Emmy Nominee, and are signed with the top agencies in Los Angeles. She was also named one of the Top 40 Audition Coaches in LA.
Earlier, she was nominated alongside Academy Award Nominees Alfre Woodard and Amy Irving for Best Supporting Actress at MethodFest for the Mynah Films feature film Fiona’s Script. She also has several primetime credits to her name including a recurring role on ER (NBC), Bones (FOX), Gilmore Girls (ABC), and Trauma (NBC). We recently Interviewed Giovannie to know more about her workshop and her tryst with entrepreneurship.
Giovannie, Thank you for talking with us. Teaching others how to act is a different ball game altogether. Given your vast experience as an actor, how and when did you start teaching acting, and how has been your experience so far?
Thank you for having me. I started teaching acting for various schools in the Bay Area in 2003, so I learned and taught quite a few different acting techniques and finally branched out on my own in 2008. From the beginning, my students began booking major gigs. One of my first students, Rayna (last name withheld for privacy) was flown to Los Angeles to test for an upcoming Ben Stiller movie through a self-tape that we worked on and sent in. Since then, my students have booked major campaigns and signed with the top agents in local markets and in greater markets like Los Angeles and New York.
I have a few alumni students who have gone on to book series regular roles for Dreamworks (the Espina sisters who hosted, “Life Hacks for Kids”) and an Emmy nominee (William Lipton, who plays Cameron on General Hospital).
Your students have worked with some of the big names in the industry including Disney, Universal Studios, Cartoon Network, and Pixar among others. What does it feel like when one of your students make it big and have a taste of success?
I am extremely proud of my students. Not only the ones who have booked major gigs but also the ones who have made strides in their schoolwork or overcome their fear of public speaking. Although, booking gigs and signing with agents is a great goal that a lot of my students have been able to attain, there are also goals like better reading comprehension and emotional empathy/EQ that I think are just as valid.
Tell us more about your teaching methodology. How have things been during the ongoing pandemic?
I try to teach my student to the standards of the Los Angeles Market. Even before I moved down to Los Angeles, and taught locally in the Bay Area, I still taught to LA standards just because I wanted my students to be prepared for the professional world (if that was their goal). To quote Natalie Portman, acting is empathy in action, and I always try to teach from that perspective. What would it be to approach the world from someone else’s shoes and really take on their experience of the world? As far as the pandemic goes, I was already teaching my students online before it became commonplace to do so. The pandemic has changed the industry drastically though. Most auditions will probably now be self-taped without in-person auditions.
With the advent of Netflix and Amazon Prime, many actors have shot to fame thereby breaking the monopoly Hollywood had all this long. What are your views on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime? Do young actors prefer these platforms over making it mainstream?
I actually think that Netflix and Amazon are considered mainstream entertainment these days… especially now since the Academy has broadened its requirements on what qualifies for an Oscar to streaming platforms. I do think that platforms like TikTok have changed the game in terms of connecting with an audience and building a fan base which has changed the game for young actors. I know that a lot of agents have been asking about social media following numbers. It does help independent filmmakers to attach talent with a built-in fan base especially if their marketing budget is small.
To our readers, who are interested in the field of acting, what tips you would share with them? What should be their approach when they enter this field?
I have so many free acting tips and resources (including a 10 part podcast) on my website that your readers can access, but the number one tip I would give is to only get into the industry if you love the art of acting. The actual day to day business of the entertainment industry and movie making is tough, and if you do not start out with a foundation of loving the craft, the lifestyle is not worth it. I even tell parents that if the kid is not having fun, then it might be time to take a break. The mental health and well-being of my students is of the most importance to me.
For all those women entrepreneurs out there, please share your experience as an entrepreneur and how women can handle work-related challenges?
I have been extremely lucky in this business to have women mentors that I have looked up to and followed their footsteps. My current mentor is an amazing producer named Suzanne DeLaurentiis who is a veteran movie producer who has been working in the film industry for over 35 years and shepherded over 100+ feature films. She still had the tenacity and strength to make her films even when it was a boys club and there weren’t resources like Women in Film and the Alliance of Women Directors (which I am a member of). I also encourage other women to collaborate with other women – it is only by supporting one another and amplifying each other that we can create tangible change.
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