“The TENN” Follow-up: Yogi Berra quotes offer advice to entrepreneurs

The TENNBy Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

One of the keynote speakers at last week’s “The TENN” event in Nashville invoked a number of Yogi Berra sayings to illustrate his points in encouraging entrepreneurs to pursue their passion and vision.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” Robert Galvin, Chief Executive Officer of Equity Healthcare at The Blackstone Group LP, told the attendees as he closed his comments. Blackstone was a key sponsor of the first “Statewide Demo Day,” where 10 companies were selected to participate in a statewide accelerator that starts next week.

As far as vision, Galvin invoked the famous Berra line: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind-up someplace else.”

In terms of good ideas versus execution, his favorite Berra quote was: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” Galvin added his own advice that “you have to love operations.”

Finally, when things don’t go well, he reminded the attendees of Berra’s famous saying: “Slump? I ain’t in no slump . . . I just ain’t hitting.” For Galvin, it is all about maintaining vision and passion.

“Keep at this thing,” he said.

A former Chief Medical Officer for General Electric, Galvin characterized Nashville as “the entrepreneurial healthcare capital of the nation.” Noting that the healthcare system has “islands of greatness,” he also said, “It is a mess,” and the solutions rely on innovations coming from entrepreneurs.

“There is no place in the world that excels in healthcare like our country,” Galvin explained, but added that the system itself “is highly inefficient.” To underscore the point, he said 30 percent of everything done is duplicative or wasteful, making healthcare costs the biggest threat to the nation’s economy.

Eliminating procedures and extra tests creates winners and losers. “Someone’s waste is someone else’s revenue,” Galvin noted.

In challenging those attending “The TENN,” he listed three innovations that could transform healthcare. One would allow consumers to become smart shoppers.

“What you want is Amazon or Google,” Galvin said in referring to online shopping services. “The market is responding and prices are dropping.”

A second innovation involves mining the vast amount of data existing in the healthcare system, so that consumers will be more informed on what they should expect in various situations. The final innovation was focused on using the Internet to secure a “tele-doctor” when needed.

“There’s a lot of smart venture money going into these innovations,” Galvin said.

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