Product North Star: Work With Purpose

When setting your product north star, it’s easy to think about the size of the prize in dollars. Overall, the US spends over $3 trillion in healthcare costs. My company (Virta Health) is trying to reverse Type 2 diabetes in 100 million adults by 2025. While disrupting a $3 trillion industry is enticing, I am more driven by helping adults lead healthy lives. In the end, working with purpose tied to a clear mission is the most fulfilling way to make an impact.

My motivation for taking on this issue is deeply personal. First, I do not fit the bill of someone who is at risk for Type 2 diabetes. For example, I am a passionate triathlete and have taken on some of the most demanding athletic challenges in the world. However, I discovered that I’m a pre-diabetic and would go on to discover that Type 2 diabetes can affect people who lead a healthy lifestyle. As a result, I set out to create solutions for adults that are facing the same circumstances. Simply put, my product north star is purpose-driven.

Creating a product north star with purpose also makes hard work seem much easier than it is. For example, my wife and I decided to prove that athletes could perform at a high level without traditional sugary supplements. We went on an unsupported rowing trip between California and Hawaii – covering 2,400 miles in 60 days rowing 14 hours a day. Obviously, this effort pushed us to the limit and was quite taxing. That said, we were motivated to show the world what’s possible with a new approach to completing athletic challenges.

Ultimately, this level of dedication to your product and overall mission allows you to accomplish more in the workplace. For example, you are able to put in long hours when you’re working toward a goal that is worthwhile. In the end, we are proving to the world that Type 2 diabetes can be treated and we are well on our way to helping 100 million adults overcome the disease. All it takes is a purpose-driven dedication and desire to think beyond the constraints of how things “used to be.”

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About the speaker
Sami Inkinen Virta Health, Chief Executive Officer Member

Sami Inkinen is the CEO & Founder of Virta Health, an online specialty medical clinic. The clinic reverses type 2 diabetes safely and sustainably - without the risks, costs, or side effects of medications or surgery. Sami is also an active investor in companies advancing human health and performance as an angel investor and Venture Partner at Obvious Ventures. Previously, Sami was a co-founder, COO and President of Trulia until its IPO and eventual sale for $3.6 billion.

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