10 Ways to Spot a Physician 'Wannapreneur'

FEBRUARY 03, 2015
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

All things healthcare has replaced sex and real estate as the main topic of conversation at cocktail parties around the country. Obamacare, wearables, the cost of drugs, the Ebola epidemic—you name it.

The new prophets are healthcare entrepreneurs, including physician entrepreneurs, who claim they will lead us to the Promised Land. But, are they false prophets or the real deal? Here are 10 ways to spot a physician “wannapreneur”:

1. Someone who would rather be called an entrepreneur instead of actually creating value i.e., the patient-customer perceived difference between the tangible and intangible benefits of an offering less the perceived tangible and intangible costs compared to the competitive offering. It's like someone who calls himself or herself a painter who has never painted, an author who doesn't write, or a jazz pianist who hasn't played a note in 10 years.

2. They positively respond to 7 Meetups and never, ever, show, or they sign up to be part of the maximally allowed LinkedIn groups and never respond or post a comment. They are gawkers, not talkers.

3. They bask in the halo of other's accomplishments and take credit for something they did not do. They'd rather be part of circle of success rather than do the work to create it. The new attention-getter is to call yourself a founder or cofounder of a start-up and then let the 20% who do 80% of the work run with the ball.

4. They never want to put skin in the game. They boast about "never putting one nickel" into the idea and preach using other people's money as source of pride.

5. They expect things for free and have a sense of entitlement. Even worse, they expect to be paid cash for their startup and consulting activities what they are making as a doctor.

6. They don't want to get their hands dirty. Remember, doctors don't like to wash their hands.

7. They say they are innovators and early adopters, but act like the late majority and laggards, claiming, "But my patient is different." They are the patron saints of the last-minute good idea that interferes with time to market or a business model experiment.

8. They are afraid to admit they don't know what they don't know. After all, they are MDs, right?

9. They show up at the first advisory board meeting and complain about the lack of parking.

10. They expect to be fed and rarely pick up the check.

Beware of physician “wannapreneurs.” You might not like what you see when you pull back the curtain at the end of the yellow brick road.



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