Today is the last day for many of our summer interns.

As I talked with many of them in an “Ask Me Anything” event, I was struck by their contributions to Truveta in such a short time, and the potential they have in making a difference in their careers after college. I hope many of them will find their way back to Truveta to help us achieve our vision of saving lives with data. I wish them all well on their paths forward.

Below is my send-off email to our 2022 Truveta Intern Class.

Until we meet again!

Thank you for spending your summer with Truveta!

When I’ve talked with many of you, the most common question I get is, “What the heck is a 2-year-old company doing hiring 26 interns?” Well, the honest answer is that when Jay told me last year that we had an intern program (then a 1-year-old company hiring 14 interns), I didn’t know either. But now it’s very clear –

  • We appreciate the code and documents you write. We aren’t inventing side projects – you are helping us build Truveta!
  • We love what you bring to our culture. A fresh perspective on our way of thinking about the world, our challenges, and our opportunities. I think we have a good strategy at Truveta, but Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and I believe it. Great teams win.
  • We want to hire you! We are competing with the FAANG (and Microsoft) for the top student graduates. By offering an experience where you get to know us, and we get to know you, I hope we find some great matches and can be the launching pad for your career next year!

I feel obliged to offer some advice. So here ya go, top three pieces of advice I might offer today:

Don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut!

I have learned so much reading Warren Buffett’s writing. He teaches with so much humility and humor – and imho, this expression is his best. Even with this advice, please consider what’s in it for me as I share – we’re looking to hire you!

Slow down and focus on identifying the juiciest pitch. When it comes, swing hard and don’t miss it.

Another Warren Buffet quote, that really resonates. Reflecting, my life is defined by a few all-in decisions, not the pitches I passed by or took a timid swing at:

  • After I graduated college, all of my engineer friends distributed to either Wall Street (I recall receiving an offer trading credit card debt that paid big!) or consulting (with a structured clear path to “partner” and success!). Neither felt right. I didn’t swing. A few years later, I was exposed to Mosaic and the “world wide web” and went all-in to start my first company, Intersé, with two partners. I just couldn’t resist. I loved it, and it led me to a wonderful 21-year career at Microsoft.
  • When you meet that special person, you will know. I’ve been married 22 years this month. Don’t miss the chance to build a life together.
  • In the middle of the pandemic, I had that same irresistible urge to start Truveta with four health systems. If you’re both scared and thrilled like I was, be brave and go for it.

Life is really a single-player game. It’s all going on in your head.

Given the importance of family and work-families in our lives, this quote from Naval pinches me some – but it also rings true. Your ability to relax, love, and innovate will come after finding peace inside of your own head. Don’t compare yourself to others. Social media puts so much pressure on everyone to be like the shiny happy photos we see – ignore it. This is hard for all of us.

Professionally, I’ve been in and out of this peace during my career. Most recently after I left Microsoft, I was disoriented for almost two years before I dug into Truveta and found my groove again. In between, I tried out being a golfer, a sports exec, and a VC/PE investor – I stunk at all of them!

During that time, I would be on Twitter or LinkedIn and read about the incredible work being done by former colleagues and was excited for them, but also somewhat envious. Now I have no envy, I just want to build Truveta with all of you faster!

At the same time, have empathy for what is going on inside everyone else’s head. This Cleveland Clinic video really strikes a chord with me.

Turning 50

I turn 50 in a few weeks. Yesterday, the AARP greeted me as a potential new member – Real Possibilities!

I recall being like you, one of the youngest people on the team. Not anymore!

But most poignant for me, is that my dad died at 49. I was 14 when I learned he had colon cancer and was going to start a clinical trial to try and save his life. He passed in 6 months. I recall reading a headline a few years later about breakthroughs in treatments for colon cancer. I have often wondered “Did my dad get a placebo in a clinical trial, which might have saved his life?”

I will never know, but I love that the work we are doing at Truveta will help ensure no other family will have to ask this same question. We will be able to use real-world data instead of placebos. Clinical trials will need half the patients, run faster, at half the cost. We will be able to monitor the safety and efficacy of drugs after approval in real time and tune their use. It makes me angry how archaic our current system is, which motivates me to work on changing the system!

I love being all-in at Truveta with our team here, and hope you join us next year. In the meantime, enjoy school while you are at it!