In my journey as an entrepreneur, I’ve rarely been the person who followed conventional wisdom. It tends to teach you how to fit in and blend with the rest. Not me. I like to stand out.
To be fair though, all conventional wisdom has an element of truth to it. But standing out requires more than an element of truth - it requires a skillful combination of reason, risk and experiment.
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Michael Gleiber who's all about doing things different and better. He’s a spine surgeon who’s achieved tremendous success by being a medical entrepreneur, combining medical practice with administration – something uncommon in his industry.
Today, he is a brand ambassador for Rolls-Royce, owns six trademarks, and contributes to the Huffington Post.
Here are extracts from his interview:
What is life like being a medical entrepreneur?
Great question and depending on the timing in my career, my answers would certainly vary.
In order to become a board certified spinal surgeon, the journey is quite long. After high school, I spent 4 years of medical school, 1 year of surgery internship, 4 years of residency, and ultimately 1 year in spine surgery fellowship.
The days spent during my training (particularly in fellowship) were onerous -- with 130 hour work weeks.
I recall many nights out during the week without seeing my wife or children during this period in my training. Now, my career as an attending spine surgeon and medical entrepreneur is unbelievably rewarding; perhaps greater than I could've ever imagined.
I also took a path that nowadays is quite uncommon in being a solo practitioner. I don't have a formal MBA or business background, but always looked forward to running my own company and making decisions as I see -- not how I'm told.
Many physicians coming out of their training nowadays are seeking employment with hospitals or large scale managed care umbrella organizations where all of the business side to medicine is covered by administrators.
When I first implemented my health care model, Concierge Spine Surgery™, I needed to understand the intricacies involved in running a medical practice with a global footprint.
At that time I was thirsting for knowledge, not from those within the medical establishment, as this was a new concept I was getting ready to introduce.
In order for it to succeed, I turned away from the lackadaisical and tired medical business models broken in our current system, and instead listened to advise from influential leaders successful in their own unique sector of business -- having nothing to do with healthcare.
I believe this was critical in the success of my company, and the development and implementation of Concierge Spine Surgery™. To this day, there remain many long nights without seeing my wife and kids.
Success certainly does come at a price and while I'm greatly humbled and equally fulfilled with the outcomes we've consistently provided for patients, there is a great deal of time with my family that is sacrificed to fill the needs of my patients and my company.
With that being said, I am incredibly fulfilled with the path I chose; if I had to make the same decision again, I wouldn't change a thing. I love spine surgery and taking care of patients.
What is it like being an ambassador for the most iconic luxury brand in the automobile industry?
Rolls-Royce has done what many thought would be impossible: successfully market the brand to a younger demographic with a passion for luxury automobiles.
After being approached to be a part of the brand ambassadors whispers program, I was very excited to align my name and brand in media with their newest launches: Wraith, Black Badge and Dawn.
They have an amazing digital team in NA led by Rich Mazawey. They are literally transforming the brand in real time and capturing the attention of many luxury auto enthusiasts.
To be a part of this through engagements at Rolls-Royce events as well as the opportunity to drive some of most gorgeous cars on the road today has been an unbelievable experience.
Recently, I was greeted with a phone call from Rolls-Royce MotorCars North America informing me that a 2016 Salamanca Blue Phantom Drophead was waiting for me to be picked up in Miami.
Shortly thereafter, a video and photo team flew in from the Northeast and over the following 2 days, we did an amazing photo and video shoot, shared it all over social media as well as internally. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to when I get the call in the upcoming months for the Dawn.
What do you believe distinguishes personal happiness as a father and media personality?
This is a difficult question. In an ideal world, this would not be so dichotomous; rather my time spent with my children would be intertwined in public appearances and media. However, the process has made me protective in shielding them from the public spotlight. I certainly do not think of myself as a public figure nor a celebrity, and never want them to either.
Who is your role model in business and why?
Mark Cuban. Mark gets it, he understands how to make those around him better. He is not afraid to go against the grain even though his opinion may be unpopular at times. He demonstrates an uncanny aptitude in understanding the difference between perception and reality. All one needs to do is watch a single episode of Shark Tank to see what I'm talking about.
If you could spend an afternoon on a G6 having lunch with anyone in the world who would it be?
My grandfathers - both of whom passed away when I was younger. I would love to share my stories with them, about my personal life and family, as well as business ventures. Both of my grandfathers were extraordinary men, with many accomplishments that I never fully was able to appreciate in my youth.
How do you wish to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered by my wife Marni as a husband who unconditionally supports her and feels so blessed to have married her; by my daughter Alexa and my son Jonathan, as a father who is so proud of everything they’ve accomplished in life. And by my patients, as someone who is grateful to them -- for their trust in me and the opportunity to heal them.
Entrepreneurship can be a tough profession. It’s hard because there are no right or wrong answers, and there is rarely a user’s manual. Michael has shown that it’s important to follow your heart, and try something different from conventional wisdom. As some wise entrepreneur said, “Playing it safe can be a risk too.”