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It’s no secret that the US healthcare system is a source of endless discomfort and unnecessary pain and suffering for many members of our society. For the latest episode of my Leadership Lessons series, I spoke with Doug Hirsch, co-founder and co-CEO of GoodRx, a consumer-focused digital healthcare company whose mission is to make healthcare more affordable. Founded in 2011, the company touches the healthcare journey from prevention to diagnosis and treatment. GoodRx estimates that it has saved consumers $40 billion to date.
Related: Free Webinar | July 19: Building Products That Matter with GoodRx Co-CEO Doug Hirsch
Hirsch has had an extraordinary journey on the way to GoodRx. As one of the first 30 Yahoo! employees, he created and managed its first online communities, including Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Groups. During his time as VP of Products at Facebook, he co-created Facebook photo tagging and helped drive new audiences to the social media platform, increasing traffic by 400%. He gained experience raising capital from top-tier venture capital when he founded DailyStrength, which was acquired in less than three years by Sharecare, a health destination founded by Dr. Oz, Discovery Communications and Oprah Winfrey.
“Everyone has a story of how the healthcare system has fallen short for them. And my job is to plug those holes,” Hirsch says of his current mission with GoodRx. “Our healthcare system takes no prisoners. And it will bring anyone down with the extraordinary prices consumers are forced to pay when insurance doesn’t pay.”
During our talk, Hirsch consistently demonstrated to me that he is one of the most passionate and driven leaders working today, with a clear mission that could not be more important or urgent. Here are 10 essential leadership lessons Hirsch passed on to me during our hour-long conversation:
1. Don’t worry about the little things
Hirsch finds that insecurity and unhappiness are common traits among entrepreneurs, even among seemingly successful ones. Keeping things in a rational perspective is essential, as is making time for family and friends.
2. Control your destiny for as long as you can
With the help of resources like Shopify, it’s not as expensive as it used to be to start your own business. Hirsch told me that he’s a big fan of trying to get as far as possible on his account before raising any money. He recommends focusing first on building a sustainable business.
3. As an investor, look for entrepreneurs who are solving a tangible problem and won’t stop until it’s solved
When Hirsch has invested in the past, it is because he has been intrigued by someone who is doing something new and necessary and who can draw the line between problem and solution.
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4. Surround yourself with the right people
Shared passion has been the key to the success of GoodRx. “I want to be around people who are here because they want to be here,” says Hirsch. “I don’t want to be around people who are here but don’t care what we’re doing.”
5. Employees listen carefully to their leaders, especially in times of uncertainty.
Hirsch tells me that his first instinct is to be “sort of negative” and shoot at new ideas. But he has learned that employees can sometimes take what a leader says to heart, so leaders should try to project confidence and positivity.
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6. Keep an eye on what’s important once the company has gone public
There are many other responsibilities that come with being a public company, and not all of them feel as satisfying as the things you did to get to that point. But stay on target with that original mission: “The day we went public, the company didn’t change,” Hirsch says proudly.
7. Curiosity drives entrepreneurship
Hirsch became an entrepreneur to satiate his endless curiosity, and that curiosity still drives him today. “Even though we’re a bigger company now, there are so many different ways we can continue to attack,” he says.
8. Not everyone wants, or is meant to be, an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur is tempting for many, but it takes a certain personality to be successful. “When you’re drinking a soda and you’re looking at it and thinking of a better way to design those cans? Then you can have the right spirit,” Hirsch joked as he gave me an example of what this kind of curiosity looks like. a trait held by most entrepreneurs.
9. A great co-founder is interested in different parts of the business than you.
It’s invaluable to have someone with you on the journey who is at your level, a co-pilot as you go through the process of building a business. It’s especially beneficial to find someone who is naturally drawn to a different part of the business than you.
To learn more about my talk with Hirsch, watch the full webinar here. Our growing collection of episodes in our series gives readers access to best practices from successful CEOs of the biggest brands, including Wayfair, Foot Locker, Heineken, Headspace, Zoom, Chipotle, Warby Parker, and ZipRecruiter.
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