Only the paranoid survive

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I had a great call in August with the panelists for our “Rise of the Disrupters” panel at the this month’s HME News Business Summit in Nashville. I think this session, alone, will be worth the price of admission.

When I asked panelist Dan Afrasiabi whether being a disrupter was something that came naturally to him or something he had to work hard at, he said it was the latter.

“To borrow from Andy Grove from Intel, ‘Only the paranoid survive,’” he said. “That’s how I do business. I’m always paranoid that I’m missing something. I try to detach myself from my assumptions and ask, ‘What am I missing?’ I liken it to being a rabbit in a field with a bunch of coyotes. I have to be looking around all the time.”

Both Afrasiabi and panelist Dan DeSimone said one of the biggest challenges of being a disrupter is getting buy-in from staff.

“Constantly putting our people through changes kills us,” Afrasiabi said.

DeSimone agreed.

“The trait I look for in employees is flexibility,” he said. “Years ago, I wouldn’t have looked for that necessarily, but it takes a flexible person to go through so many changes. You’re taking something they loved to do and asking them to do something else.”

Both Afrasiabi and DeSimone acknowledge that not every idea they have is a home run.

“Sometimes you expect a certain shock factor and it doesn’t reach that level,” DeSimone said.

Hear from these disrupters and dozens of others at this year’s HME News Business Summit, Sept. 13-15 at the Nashville Marriott.