Blake Marggraff sits at the intersection of research and entrepreneurship. In 2015, Blake was named to the St. Louis 30 Under 30 and St. Louis Top 35 Innovator lists and was the youngest honoree on both. An active member of the St. Louis community, Blake advises technology and biotechnology startups, working with founders of all ages and backgrounds to identify and optimize products and pitches.
Prior to founding Epharmix, Blake co-founded the nationally recognized education technology company Betaversity, the maker of Betabox Labs, which was recognized by Popular Mechanics and Inc. as a top student-founded startup. Blake has spoken at summits and conferences including the Intersection Event at Google and Compass Summit at Terranea Resort in California. Blake also presents regularly to high school students.Originally from the Bay Area, Blake enjoys seeking out the most challenging hikes in California and Missouri and connecting with entrepreneurs around the world on Saturday afternoon Skype sessions.
Where did the idea for Epharmix come from?
Epharmix started as a research project after Avik Som, now the chief medical officer of Epharmix, mentioned offhand that physicians frequently prescribe “going to the gym” to patients. This struck me as a hugely compelling product adoption mechanism and quickly led to the question: What would it take for the sustainable, prescription-driven adoption of a pure technology product? The concept for Epharmix arose when Avik and I began setting extreme constraints on our imaginary product. It would have to generate revenue for healthcare providers, work for every patient with no sunk cost in new hardware, be clinically proven to affect quantitative clinical outcomes, and save time in the average clinical workflow. And that’s no simple feat in a slow-moving, technology-averse industry.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
Mornings begin with coffee (always) and mindfulness meditation (most of the time). I schedule the most complex and important meetings first and burn through email and Slack during any open windows.Sales demos, meetings, and other calls are scheduled throughout the day. Lunchtime is usually the most productive for multi-hour projects. Another cup of coffee and a bottle of Soylent keep me going.Depending on the day of the week, our team has senior staff, clinical, dev review, and adviser meetings around 6 p.m. Without fail, everyone working on a large account joins a conference call at 7 p.m. each weekday evening to share updates, request any support, and determine actionable goals for the coming days.I wrap up by 10 p.m. and almost always get a full 7 1/2 hours of sleep.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Research. Customer validation is important, but in the information age, most ideas can be validated, refined, and even tested by standing on the shoulders of giants.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The gamification of everyday life. Virtual reality, commoditized deep learning, and a firm understanding of gamification will soon lead to the average worker’s day becoming rewarding — maybe even inspiring.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I aggressively identify unknowns and blind spots. Unknowns stem from a lack of familiarity or factual knowledge. Thus, unknowns can be resolved through research and learning. Blind spots, however, result from the ignorance of not knowing what you don’t know. Blind spots kill productivity and frequently result in the reinvention of the wheel. When my team and I recognize that we have a collective blind spot, we do whatever is required to find the best possible expert to fill the void.
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