Developing iPad Applications for Medical Device Companies


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Did you know that Medtronic alone purchased 4,500 iPads in late 2010? 4,500 x $700 (estimated) = $3,000,000! Yes, you read that right. 6 zeros behind the 3. That doesn’t include the reoccurring data charges either. And that’s just one company! Needless to say, the iPad is a hot topic within the medical device space. And who better to speak about this subject than Travis Mark of Mark Medical.

Medical Device iPad Apps

Through his experience and passion for medical sales, Travis founded Mark Medical for the specific purpose of assisting companies in developing the sales tools and resources that their sales reps want and need in the field.  Mark Medical’s exclusive experience has enabled them to become the emerging leader in creating custom mobile technologies for the healthcare industry.

Interview Highlights with Travis Mark

  • Travis Mark’s unique experience as a medical device sales rep and as a rep for a medical device contract manufacturer.
  • The idea that helped Travis form Mark Medical.  Hint: Did you know the average rep spends nearly 600 hours per year driving!
  • Key components of effective medical device sales training: Expanding reach, improving retention, and leveraging existing time.
  • Mark Medical’s 2 buckets – mobile learning and custom app development.
  • We all know the iPad is a great presentation tool.  But Travis shares an interesting concept about the iPad you probably haven’t thought of before.
  • Importance of iPad training in order to increase utilization within the sales force.
  • Passion for service.  Passion for relationships.  Why you should master these 2 concepts.

This Is What You Can Do Next

1) You can listen to the interview with Travis Mark right now:

2) You can also download the mp3 file of the interview by clicking here.

3) Don’t forget – you can listen to this interview and all of the other Medsider interviews via iTunes.  And if you get a chance, leave us an honest rating and review on iTunes. It really helps out.

4) Read the following transcripts from my interview with Travis Mark.  Also, feel free to download the transcripts by clicking here.

Read the Interview with Travis Mark

Scott Nelson:    Just one message before we get started. I think we can all agree that the medical device and pharma arenas are quickly changing. In fact, over the last 10 years, pharma companies have been forced to lay off over 300,000 sales reps. Whether you are in pharma or medical device sales, you need to differentiate yourself from your peers, and the time is now. Since 2005, my friend Ryan Gray has been helping thousands of sales professionals get and keep an edge on the competition. He gathered a team of sales managers and top sales representatives to discover the best ideas and practices that drive more business and yield the most commissions. Their findings are highlighted in the number one medical sales book of all time, the Medical Sales Desk Reference. The Medical Sales Desk Reference will help you sell more, earn higher commissions and advance your career, or your money back. You can find the Medical Sales Desk Reference at Amazon.com or wherever fine books are sold. For more information about Ryan Gray and his company, the Vendesi Group, go to his website at Vendesigroup.com. That’s V-E-N-D-E-S-I-G-R-O-U-P dot com. Now here’s your program.

Hello everyone and welcome to Medsider, home for medical device upstarts. My name is Scott Nelson. And before we get started with our guest today, we’re going to do a little math here. Back in late 2010, Medtronic bought 4500 iPads, and I don’t think they ended there with that number. So 4500 iPads, that’s a lot. I think we can all agree on that. And Apple isn’t necessarily known for discounting, so if you do a little math and take 4500 times, let’s say, 700 bucks a pop, that’s over 3 million dollars that Medtronic forked out in that initial purchase with iPads. And that’s just capital expense. That doesn’t include the add-on reoccurring data charges for each of those iPads.

So, needless to say, kind of the iPad world/mobile learning/apps in regard to sales, it’s kind of a hot topic within the device space. That’s why I thought it would be interesting to bring on someone that’s blazing some trails and pioneering in that mobile learning/app development space specific to medical device sales. And so on the call today we have Travis Mark, and he is the President of Mark Medical. And let’s start there, Travis. First of all, welcome to the call, and tell us more about Mark Medical.

Travis Mark:     Yeah, thank you for having me, Scott. So, Mark Medical has a pretty consistent theme among our two product segments, and that’s mobile. And it really started out of experience in medical device sales, living the life as a rep. And that’s something that obviously the reps just are – they’re mobile. We don’t have nine-to-five jobs that we sit in an office. And so the solutions, I feel, both from a training side as well as how we communicate and interact with our physicians, needs to reflect the growing mobile world in which we live in.

And so the company was actually founded in November of 2009, and we started doing drive-time training and producing that for medical device and pharmaceutical companies to help product reinforcement training for the reps as they’re spending a bunch of time in their car every year. So the statistics show the average rep spends about 600 hours a year just driving in their territories alone. So it’s a kind of a unique opportunity that a lot of companies have not been tapping into as a way to educate their reps better on the products and help them serve their physician customers, and ultimately their patients, better. And so that’s kind of how Mark Medical started.

And obviously last year, in 2010 with the announcement of the iPad, we instantly realized the impact that this is going to have on medical device sales and what a game-changer it was going to be, and so we assembled the core team here of developers and we now support Android, BlackBerry, Windows mobile as well, but the iPad and the iPhone are obviously our number one. And we’re producing a lot of apps that help companies basically service other physician customers better, gives the reps all access to information all offline. So you can pull up a video or a technique guide or a case study, whatever you need, right there when you’re in front of your physicians. So you have your entire bag in one spot.

So it’s kind of been a blessing for the companies that we’ve been working with so far, and we’re excited about the growth that’s in this area.

Scott Nelson:    Cool. So that gives the audience an overview of kind of the two buckets that you’ve got going on in terms of kind of mobile learning and app development. And I’m going to forget this, but I’m going to ask you now: I’m curious, when you initially started the company back in late ’09, the whole app development space, did you see this kind of coming or was this sort of just kind of surprise blessing when all these device companies started buying up all these iPads? Tell me a little bit more about that.

Travis Mark:     Yeah, so it was something that I saw coming a little bit. I kind of knew some people from my relationships in the technology space and saw a couple of companies starting to invest in apps, and at that time it was for the iPhone when I first started this company. And Smith & Nephew was actually one of the first companies that I was aware of that had an iPhone app that’s being made available to their sales force and their physicians, and I thought it was just incredible some of the things that they were doing with that.

                           And then obviously, with the announcement of the iPad, I saw how companies like Smith & Nephew were going to be able to do an even better job relaying that information to physicians because the iPad is just an immensely presentation tool. And so it was a little bit of a blessing that they kind of fell right in line that we were starting to grow on these mobile platforms.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. That speaks to, I guess, any entrepreneur, any person that considers themselves to be somewhat savvy when it comes to business, to listen to sort of that voice in the back of your head thinking that, “I like this idea, it may be good, and we’ll definitely keep working on that and keep thinking about that because things like this happen where you’re now in a good position.” Anyway, I want to spend most of the time in this interview talking about what you’re doing at Mark Medical and the kind of those two buckets in the nuances that sort of surround that, those channels or those platforms if you will. But let’s go back to your experience, because you come from a device sales background. What was your first gig in device sales?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, so I first got introduced as an independent with a division of Johnson & Johnson,  and what we did was actually a short pilot project and the goal was to transition certain procedures out of the hospitals and have the physicians do them in their office, and specifically endometrial ablation for women’s healthcare. So I led that effort in Colorado for a little while, and after that it’s kind of interesting. I’ve had an interesting background. And after that, I actually had an opportunity to get in the contract manufacturing side of medical devices, and so got really experienced and learned the world of how these devices that benefit the lives of patients basically go from a napkin drawing all the way to final production and then surgery. So I really enjoyed that time as well and did that for several years and led business development efforts in the Western 16 states for a company that was based out in Colorado Springs as well.

Scott Nelson:    Sure. And that company was CEA Technologies?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, CEA Technologies.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     So, located out in Colorado Springs, and we had facilities in the Dominican Republic as well. So it was a very unique and great experience in the fact that it gave me a lot of perspective, not only nationally but globally, how healthcare really integrates with all these countries and their systems.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. And so paint a picture of, just in layman’s terms, what CEA—it’s a kind of tongue-twister—CEA Technologies did. When you say contract manufacturing I think I understand that, but I guess just paint a little picture. Is it device companies that are outsourcing certain aspects of their manufacturing process to CEA? Is that kind of what’s going on?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, correct, and in many instances we would partner with these device companies from concept, the raw concept, just the sketch on a piece of paper, all the way to final development. And when you look at a lot of the big device manufacturers, their core competencies are really in the sales and marketing and clinical sides of this, and R and D especially, and manufacturing, is something that adds value to their business, but a lot of times by outsourcing that they can actually get a product to market really better, faster, cheaper by partnering with good companies. And so that was kind of the experience that we did. So we would partner very early on in the process with these device companies, go through the engineering stage. We had a big engineering team in both Colorado Springs and the Dominican Republic as well as manufacturing team, so we were able to really be kind of a one-stop shop.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. And so CEA is customer-based. Was it all over the board in terms of the size of company they worked with or was it predominantly larger companies like Fortune 50 or smaller startups? Or was it all over the board?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, it was mostly medium to large companies that we tended to focus on building those relationships with when we were there.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. And going back to your transition from kind of the independent rep with a division of J&J to kind of this role you played in contract manufacturing, I guess that’s an interesting move. Did you see yourself eventually kind of getting out of like kind of the rep role within device sales and moving on to something different or what did that look like?

Travis Mark:     Yeah. No, that’s very interesting. It was actually just all through relationships and an opportunity that opened up. You know, the J&J pilot went really well but due to the economy was something that they decided to put a hold on for a couple of years. And so it was interesting that that door opened up and I thought it was a really neat way to learn the other aspects of being in medical sales, and so I kind of pursued that as a channel for several years and I loved what I did there. And I had an opportunity after that actually to transition back into medical device sales, into orthopedics. You know, I kind of missed the physician interaction and being in the OR and that sort of thing, so I actually got back into orthopedics after that with a company called Tornier, who is now a publicly-traded orthopedic company.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. And so—because with CEA I presume most of the sales aspect was selling almost like in a traditional B2B role, although you were technically still in kind of the medical device/healthcare world. What about that physician interaction did you miss? Was it the chase, the hunt? I mean, I guess you were probably getting some of that at CEA? What was it that you missed that led you back to kind of the independent role with Tornier, if I can pronounce that right?

Travis Mark:     Yeah. Yeah, correct. Yeah, exactly. No, it was a combination of several things. I loved the surgical aspect of it and being in the OR. You know, I had a lot of hunt-and-chase with both sides, and one of the things that being at CEA really taught me, because it was like you said more of a business-to-business selling opportunity, that also really helped me be able to work in partner with the hospitals then that we served for Tornier. So it really kind of proved as a good training ground for that. But you know, I kind of missed the day-to-day and always being out in the field aspect of being in medical sales, so that was why I jumped back into that.

Scott Nelson:    And when you say partner with hospitals, what do you mean by that?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, so even getting contracts with getting certain products into hospitals, I mean, as you know, discounting is kind of a big thing that’s been hitting some of the device companies hard.

Scott Nelson:    Mm-hmm.

Travis Mark:     So selling products into hospitals, working with them and their doctors, because there are a lot of doctors that like to use our shoulder systems in particular. So just making sure that we could have those in there and selling a lot of the products into the hospitals.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Okay. And so you’re at Tornier, at the beginning of the interview you talked a little bit about kind of the initial idea in terms of mobile learning that you had in starting Mark Medical, but give me your thought process. So you’re with Tornier in device sales kind of as a rep, what led you to take somewhat of a drastic step and start Mark Medical?

Travis Mark:     Sorry, you kind of broke up at the end of that question, so I didn’t hear it all.

Scott Nelson:    Okay, sorry about that. Probably the Internet connection here. You’re back in device sales with that physician interaction that you were kind of looking for. What’s your thought process when you actually take kind of that large leap and start Mark Medical?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, absolutely. So like I said before, I actually loved being a rep and it’s a great career that I enjoyed doing that a lot. I’ve always kind of had some of the entrepreneurial bug in me, so always kind of looking at, okay, what could I start that aligns well with my passions and where I feel that the strengths are what can I ultimately build a business around. And interestingly enough, it was during a couple of training events that we had, both regionally and nationally, I kind of really observed the way that the training was conducted, and it was great training. It was a couple of days’ events just like everybody has, and I really got to thinking after that, “Okay, studies are showing that reps are walking out of these trainings and three weeks later, on the high end of these studies, they’re retaining 20% or so of what was actually taught there. And so what is a way that I can help other reps and help other companies continue to deliver that reinforcement and basically bring every single rep up to the level of a product specialist that these companies have designed?”

And so it was kind of why I was driving around in my territories all those days, running from one hospital to another, that I finally got the idea, “Okay, well, the drive-time training would be a huge way to do that,” because if you really stop and think about how most of the good sales reps learn, it’s typically by listening. And the reason for that is they’re always listening for new opportunities, whether it’s selling to a physician or what this physician’s looking for. They’re trained to listen, and that was kind of what led to that mobile training platform, just saying, “Hey, what if we tried this and started it? What would this look like?”

Scott Nelson:    Okay. We could probably spend a whole interview talking about just that answer to your question.

Travis Mark:     Yeah, exactly.

Scott Nelson:    From one, just a motivation behind how a rep learns, and then two, how do they best learn. We could do a whole interview on that subject alone. But, so you’re at Mark Medical, your first product is kind of this mobile learning, you said drive-time audio? Explain that.

Travis Mark:     Yeah, correct. So we actually have a recording studio on site here in Colorado Springs where we record, use professional voice talent, and then digitally distribute the training back to the companies, do full editing. So we’re able to do a kind of turnkey with that. So we actually partner with these companies and we basically help develop a curriculum as far as what the training wants to accomplish, and then record it here and then distribute it back either in a podcast mode or digitally or even kind of old school on CDs as well that they can just pop in and listen to.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     And now that we’re in the Apple world, we’re actually tying some of that into the apps that we develop for these companies as well.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. So in terms of content from a rep standpoint, what are most companies—I’m sure it varies from company to company, but what was the goal or what is actually on these podcasts that these reps are learning from?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, exactly. So it definitely varies from company to company. A lot of it, if it’s a specific product, it can be right down to the dimensions, your typical features and benefit training, how other reps have been successful positioning this companies. It can be a number of things. In all honestly, it really varies from company to company. But we like to kind of hone in on the product side of this because, like I said, if every rep basically has the knowledge and the confidence of a clinical specialist going into these accounts, they’re ultimately able to help serve their physicians better, strengthen that relationship, and quite honestly, grow the business from that.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. And while we’re on this subject of mobile, I kind of want to stick to this…

Travis Mark:     Sure.

Scott Nelson:    …because it’s interesting, and I guess I personally just have a natural bias towards learning and what makes reps successful, etc., and I think obviously continual learning is a big part of that. When you were first launching this product, did you get resistance from companies or maybe even at the rep level in terms of this idea of continual learning? The reason I ask is, I mean, I still obviously play the rep role on a full-time basis, and I see this all the time when reps just don’t…they’re somewhat apathetic towards continual learning, etc. Did you see the same things or am I just off in that thought?

Travis Mark:     Yeah. No, that’s a great question. And so from a rep level, one of the neat things about what we’re doing with this is [00:18:37] audio side is that it didn’t require any behavioral changes.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     It was easily incorporated into the course of a normal day, so there was really no additional effort required to do this [00:18:50]. You just have to press Play on your iPad and go from there. So we didn’t really see much resistance coming from that. Because you look at these other platforms, and again, not knocking anything because it all helped me as a rep, whether it was the elearning platforms or webinars or on-site training, but you look at those and they all kind of require additional time, additional focus, outside of the course of your normal day.

Scott Nelson:    Mm-hmm.

Travis Mark:     And so you know from living in the rep world, a lot of days we’re up at four and we’re home at nine, ten o’clock at night…

Scott Nelson:    Yeah.

Travis Mark:     …and want to spend some time with our families after that, and so it’s really hard to engage with training. And I think that that’s a big reason why reps are somewhat resistant at times to training, is because it requires additional effort and a lot of them just want to be out selling in the field and focus on what they do best. And with this audio training they’re able to do that, is just incorporate that in the course of a normal day. So if they’re driving to an account and want to listen to something, whether it’s on the shoulder or knee or whatever product it is, they can kind of buff up on that real quick, even if it’s been a little while since they addressed that specific product. So we didn’t get a lot of resistance from the rep level on that.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. And that’s something that—I mean, I personally listen to podcasts all the time. I’m just trying to think through my head, is there another medium by which a rep can experience that continual learning but not require huge behavioral changes? I’m just thinking through my head. I don’t think there is really, is there?

Travis Mark:     Yeah. No, this by far is, in my opinion and from what I’ve seen in the market, this is kind of the best strategy for really being able to leverage a rep’s time. You know, in the elearning suites, there are a lot of online modules that are available out there and that these companies develop for the reps, and those are great. And some of what we’re doing is actually transitioning some of those existing modules onto iPad apps so those reps waiting for the surgery or waiting to go in and see a doc, they can knock out one of those courses really quick on their iPad as well. And so we really try to address, okay, what fits well within the course of a normal day for a rep but it’s also going to help me reeducate myself and become a better servant of the physician customer?

Scott Nelson:    Okay. And that’s something that you just hit on a point where I’m seeing, and I’m wondering if it’s the same with other companies, where a company like Medtronic or whoever else it may be makes expert huge investment in iPads with the expectation that the reps are actually going to take advantage of them. And I’m almost wondering if that’s a way—so I guess there’s this battle between the company wanting the reps to take advantage…they spend all this money, they want the reps to take advantage of and utilize the iPad, and I’m almost wondering if moving some of those training applications to the iPad will force those reps to get more comfortable when using it. Right?

Travis Mark:     might. Yeah. Yeah, you’re exactly right.

Scott Nelson:    Yeah? Okay.

Travis Mark:     You’re exactly right. And I think, like I kind of addressed briefly at the beginning of our interview, a big focus of ours is in kind of the sales and marketing apps, and I think that having that information available is another thing that’s kind of pushing the reps to adopt and learn how to work with the iPad very quickly, and as soon as they do they’re having success.

Scott Nelson:    Mm-hmm.

Travis Mark:     I mean, every company that we’ve talked to and we’ve developed these out, it’s increasing their sales. It’s changing the way that reps present to physicians and you don’t have to carry a big bag around anymore with a million different sheets [laughs], clinical studies and brochures.

Scott Nelson:    Yeah. [Laughs]

Travis Mark:     And actually, the iPad’s still new enough as a presentation tool that it’s still really engaging to the physicians.

Scott Nelson:    Mm-hmm.

Travis Mark:     It’s a cool technology. So it kind of helps open that door. And one of the things I love about it, and again it’s from being a rep, it’s all about how you present and that relationship there, but if you think about how you present on an iPad, you know, it’s in my hand, it’s close, you have to come in pretty close to see it with me on that. So it’s also one of those things that kind of helps strengthen that relationship without really doing anything extra…

Scott Nelson:    Sure.

Travis Mark:     …and even as far as videos and similar things like that but reps weren’t really able to show before, so even a DVD or doing something like that, [00:23:10] it all suddenly becomes, “Hey, Dr. Jones, do you have 30 seconds to watch this real quick? This is going to help you going into this case.”

Scott Nelson:    Yeah.

Travis Mark:     You know, whatever it is. So I think that we’re seeing with those types of tools that’s really kind of pushing the reps to adopt this a lot faster than other technologies.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Yeah. Your point about bringing that customer in closer, I didn’t really think about that but that’s a great point, because it almost forces that person to somewhat form a bond that they maybe don’t realize at the time they’re beginning to form by even just within the proximity of speaking and showing and presenting. That’s interesting.

Travis Mark:     Mm-hmm.

Scott Nelson:    So from a mobile learning standpoint, going back to kind of the training aspect, you mentioned you’re working a lot of those podcasts into the apps, you’ve still got that going on, right?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, that’s still a very heavy focus for us.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     So we’ve got these two buckets basically, and that’s all our focus is. So we don’t go outside of the healthcare market, although we certainly could with both of these platforms, but we want to stay focused and dedicated to serving healthcare. But yeah, they’re both still growing and doing great.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Let’s transition a little bit into more of that app bucket. Just from a very general standpoint, are you seeing that most companies have an in-house team that’s sort of focused on iPad utilization, app development, all of that encompassing, or not? Are you seeing or are you not seeing that? What’s that look like?

Travis Mark:     We’re seeing that more and more from a marketing side, especially with some of the bigger Fortune 50 medical device companies. So they’ll put together a marketing team or a group of one, two or three people who basically head up apps development efforts for their entire division. From an IT development standpoint, there are not many companies at all who are trying to develop these apps in-house.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     And the reason for that is pretty simple. There’s a very high demand right now for good programmers. In fact, there was just an article on the Wall Street Journey two or three weeks ago on this…

Scott Nelson:    Mm-hmm.

Travis Mark:     … about how there’s a lot more demand and supply for these good programmers. And also, in an effort to keep costs down and to get these out in the hands of reps sooner, they’re partnering with companies like us who have that development specialty in-house.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Okay. You bring up a good point in terms of app development, and I think anyone kind of in the tech world would agree with this, but there’s so much focus on the Apple platform from an app perspective that those developers then are obviously in high demand versus other platforms like…maybe Droid’s not the best example, but the Windows tablet platform, RIM’s platform, etc.

Travis Mark:     Right.

Scott Nelson:    And I just noticed actually the other day, I think RIM partnered with…or now on their tablet, are they utilizing the Droid platform or something? Did you see that same piece?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, correct. So right now with the BlackBerry PlayBook that just came out two weeks ago, it can run native BlackBerry apps, so they can also run Android apps.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     So that was actually a pretty smart move on their part to help try to kind of play catch-up in the marketplace a little bit, but you know, we get a lot of studies on this, and Apple’s dominance as number one is still there and doesn’t look like it’s really going anywhere. And one of the interesting things that I always try to help the companies that we partner with look at, kind of a broad vision, because a lot of times there is an app or there are aspects of an app that we can take and put into a new one that they actually want to release to their physician customers to have on their devices, and physicians are very pro-Apple in everything.

Scott Nelson:    Mm-hmm.

Travis Mark:     So that’s kind of the highest rate of return for them there, too. So that’s helping drive Apple even more in healthcare.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Okay. So are you actually developing any apps for those other platforms then or is there just so little interest that that’s very low on the totem pole, if you will?

Travis Mark:     We are developing apps for those other platforms currently. So like I said, Apple is obviously where the bulk of the app development comes from, but we are working on some Android and even BlackBerry right now as well.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     And we have Windows mobile capability but haven’t had to use that yet.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Okay. Let’s see here what other questions. I’ve got a host of questions that I wanted to ask you but I want to kind of keep along kind of the same path that we’re on. In terms of app development, there’s the development side of the app specific to what the company wants, but do you play a role in helping create the app and actually helping reps utilize it? Kind of playing back to more of that training module, do you play any role in that phase?

Travis Mark:     Yes we do, and in fact that’s kind of a huge value point that we’re able to bring to the table. So we’re not just another IT development shop.

Scott Nelson:    Mm-hmm.

Travis Mark:     We’ve lived the lives of reps and so we understand that world. And so from early on in the conceptual strategic part of this, we’re really able to help partner with these companies and kind of grow it out to what their strategic needs are because we understand exactly how these apps are going to be used in the field, and that’s something pretty unique that we’ve been able to bring to this marketplace.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Because I noticed on your website you actually referenced that, I think on the main pages…

Travis Mark:     Mm-hmm.

Scott Nelson:    …is your background, your experience in device sales, so I would certainly agree with that. I have to think that most companies would see the value in partnering with a company like yours in terms of app development or mobile learning, considering your experience in device sales. Because that’s ultimately obviously the goal with any of this stuff, is they’re just tools, they’re just channels, they’re just mediums for reps to drive sales, and I have to think that’s a huge benefit to working with your team.

Travis Mark:     Yeah, absolutely. So that’s been a huge value point that we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to bring to our partners, and we’re able to pair that as well with our development on the IT side. So our leaders, our senior development director for the Apple, is kind of a rock star in the developer community. He was one of the five of the team that was handpicked by Apple to build out The Daily, which is the iPad newspaper that Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch put together, and he has written a book. He’s a regular speaker at Cupertino, at the Apple developer conferences every year. And so we’ve been able to bring on that level of talent from an IT side to really help drive this. So we’re pretty proud of our capabilities here and kind of the eliteness that we can bring from both sides of the table.

Scott Nelson:    Sure. So he’s actually on your team now, this guy, this Apple app stud, if you will?

Travis Mark:     Correct, yeah.

Scott Nelson:    Okay.

Travis Mark:     Yeah, we have a bigger team but he’s our senior developer on the Apple side. And then the other senior developer for the other platforms that we’ve had, he was actually the first one that I brought on to the team, and he’s been in the mobile tablet space since 2002 and is kind of an opinion leader there as well. And so we’ve really been blessed with talent. And as you know, when you start up any company, it’s your team that drives you. You’ve got to have a great team, and so we’ve been very, very blessed with that.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. This is kind of a tangent but I have it on my notes and wanted to ask you about it. I just listened to the interview the other day actually with, I think his name is T.A. McCann. I believe he was the guy who started Gist. It’s kind of the social CRM tool, Gist, G-I-S-T. But I thought it was interesting because I was thinking about our interview that was coming up. One of the reasons that they sold to RIM was because they struggled finding developers for the BlackBerry, for their technology, I guess which leads me to my point. When RIM first announced they were coming out with a tablet, I initially thought that that would become pretty popular in industries, specifically maybe more to the device space because RIM I have to think still has a pretty large market share amongst device companies in terms of the smartphone that we use. Why do you think that hasn’t taken off and Apple’s just made a huge push or has been able to get all these companies on board?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, I think it boils down to speed to market. I think speed to market really helps, and RIM really being almost a year and a half late into the market market space with several delays to their product I think kind of hurt them. I mean, that being said, I’ve played around with the BlackBerry PlayBook a little bit now since it’s been out and I think it’s a good, solid tablet.

The other huge advantage though, and I never like to play favorites just because we do develop all of them, but one of my big passions for the iPad is that it’s got a 10-inch screen, and so it’s a great presentation tool for physicians, whereas the BlackBerry PlayBook has a 7-inch screen, and so it’s still good but not quite as good. But the [00:32:44] flock really happened, and especially when you talk about companies like Medtronic and Boston Sci and Abbott Labs, that really happened because the  iPad was the first out, it works great, they could incorporate it into their systems. And so that was I think the big push for Apple.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Yeah. Moving beyond just app development and kind of the mobile training via podcast, etc., that kind of thing, what’s next for Mark Medical? I mean, beyond kind of your two buckets now, looking into the future, do you see something that could become even more effective from either a learning standpoint or a sales presentation standpoint, from a sales marketing kind of perspective?

Travis Mark:     Yeah. No, that’s the million-dollar question. [Laughs]

Scott Nelson:    [Laughs]

Travis Mark:     Obviously, right now these are the two big technologies that we’re focused on, the apps and the iPad. A lot of people kind of speculate that this could be [00:33:43]. I really don’t think so until I see a better technology coming out. I mean, as you know, technology’s always evolving, and so we’ll make every effort to stay on top and ahead of the game in that, but right now we don’t have any other plan from a sales and training standpoint for any of the platforms in the next 12 months.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Okay. The reason I ask, I mean I think especially as companies begin to maybe even potentially reduce sales forces or at least increase geography size amongst their existing sales forces, I’ve always wondered if some sort of…from a training standpoint or even a case coverage standpoint, using video to our best advantage, whether it’s showing a tech in the OR or a tech in the cath lab, or it may be how to prep a device, how to use a device, but speaking to that physician via video chat or something before the case if you can’t cover it. Do you see a market for that at all in your world?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, I believe that that could be coming, and I think a lot of it will be driven on, honestly, what happens in Washington and on what that dictates too to the healthcare industry. So that’s something that we’re trying to keep a pretty close tab on. Obviously, there’s a huge value for the reps. And I spoke earlier about how we’re already doing some of that with creating apps with these companies specifically for their physician customers, and so there’s a little bit of that. But there’s still high need for a rep [00:35:17] OR time is, what is it now, it’s 112 dollars a minute, and so reps are really able to help drive a lot of the processes. And so until something big happens to Washington, I still don’t necessarily see that going away from the device side.

Scott Nelson:    Sure. Okay. Kind of in conclusion, I always like to, as we finish off these interviews, ask the interviewee, if you had a son or a daughter, even a really close friend that was getting into the medical device space, what’s one or two kind of words of wisdom, pieces of advice that you would give them to help further their career along whatever path they may choose, whether it’s in sales, whether it’s in marketing, R and D, etc.? What are the one or two big takeaways that you would have to offer?

Travis Mark:     Yeah, that’s a great question. I love it. And so without running the risk of sounding too cliché, one of my big passions, and it always has been, is a passion for service and a passion for relationships, and I think that the two go really well together. And so whether that’s in medical device sales, whether it’s in banking, regardless, I think that that should always be a focus of everybody. Obviously, working hard is a big thing, but really truly putting yourself below somebody in a servant role just to help them do their job even better, I think that that’s probably one of the biggest keys to success, in my opinion.

Scott Nelson:    Okay. Well, great. No, that’s it. I’m going to ask you to hold on after the call here, Travis, but thanks for doing the interview. I appreciate it. It was great stuff.

Travis Mark:     Yeah, absolutely. Great talking with you, Scott. Thank you.

 

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