This could be as impactful as the discovery of penicillin
Why haven’t you heard of him? Because he’s dedicated to science, not sales. So, what do scientists and entrepreneurs have in common? They both dedicate their lives to making a difference, discovering ways to make the world operate more effectively. But there’s an important cultural distinction between the two: Entrepreneurs’ success is tied to dollars, while scientists’ success is tied to discovery.
Remember how penicillin altered history? We might be at that moment in history again, but with a “ketone ester” drink invented by Dr. Veech, that has insanely widespread uses. Imagine a drink that could treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, epilepsy, concussions, heart failure, all while helping elite endurance athletes break world records. Then, imagine that it’s a formula perfected over decades, but only now ready in an era where genetics is sexiest of sciences, so this liquid goes underfunded and underproduced. It seems too good to be true, but it’s not. It’s real.
Add to the issue of funding is an overly modest old scientist who said he would literally run if someone called him a hero for his work.
Next, toss in imitation products that use salt-filled caffeinated versions of Dr. Veech’s decades old, already discarded work and you might be left very confused. If a breakthrough sports drink and patient treatment exists, would anyone even believe it?
So what is this ketone ester?
Ketones are human’s back up fuel system that kicks in when humans starve, or at least run out of sugar. The body then burns fat to create an efficient ketone fuel. What many of the therapeutic uses (including Alzheimer’s) have in common is the brain’s blockage of the path to use sugar for energy, meanwhile ketones can bypass this blockage and simply fuels the brain.
Dr. Veech invented a way to bottle that fuel, in a fat-free and salt-free super FDA-approved concentrated food, not a drug. Ketosis is the metabolic state that uses ketones as a primary fuel source, but is mainly known by those that undergo an Atkin-like ketogenic high fat diet. This is drastically different because you get the benefits of ketones without the drawbacks of the high fat. Some call the fat-free version of ketosis, “Veetosis,” in honor of Dr. Veech, the doctor who holds the key to so many treatments.
The catch is that even though billions can be made from this invention, it is unbelievably expensive to make and there’s no funding for an older scientist that doesn’t schmooze. How expensive? For scientific purposes, labs can make a patented product, and for this exact ester they charge $60,000 per 25 mL serving, but with a newly discovered process and an investment, that could drop quickly to $20 a drink.
Absent a single investment, perhaps that can be done via the new world of crowdfunding (or rich, science-inclined geeky startup folks), so hopefully you’ll see Dr. Veech’s ketone ester on shelves sooner rather than later.
The path to the discovery has been long
Dr. Veech worked in 1966 with Dr. Cahill (the man that starved volunteers to prove the brain could run on ketones), and in 1969 under nobel laureate Dr. Krebs (if you took chemistry, you have definitely heard of the Krebs cycle). Dr Veech solved a problem which Krebs delegated to him. Krebs said he must be wrong, only to come back later to co-author the longest paper of Krebs’ career. It was the foundation for understanding why ketones work. Right now, our science geek readers get it – Dr Veech is a pretty big deal, and his work should be taken seriously.
Fast forward to 1995, Dr. Veech co-authored a breakthrough paper on how ketones change metabolism, and in 2000, a paper on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and abolishing the effects of free radical damage.
In 2004, as part of a competition to find a new fuel for the special forces, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), gave a handful of groups $2 million each per year. Only Dr Veech’s group, including Oxford University partner Dr. Kieran Clarke, was left standing. They earned $10 million of total funding, resulting in an FDA-approved food. Who would have guessed DARPA’s role in potentially treating millions of patients with this new food?
A modest scientist does not a salesman make
Even a simple Oxford-approved boxing study to demonstrate ketone ester’s benefits for concussions hasn’t been picked up. One would think a football team owner might want to donate to prove a treatment backed by science that may bring a $20 million a year quarterback that has been earholed, back onto the field a few games earlier. Not to mention, the league could limit the potential liability around debilitating diseases plaguing players decades later.
So the path to the discovery has been long, but anyone we spoke to that was aware of Dr. Veech’s work sung his praises. The challenge is that the older sharp-tongued doctor is hyper-focused on his work, isn’t interested in fame, noting that it is “unseemly for doctors to promote themselves,” and that it is “not part of the job.” Times have changed, and modesty has been replaced by self promotion, as the driver in today’s world of discoveries.
Ketone esters have had success with human testing
In endurance sports, the ketone ester has been proven in a lab to increase output by up to 2%. That can be the difference between a gold and not placing. When tested on 19 elite rowers, there were nine season’s bests, five personal bests and one world record. Only one did slightly worse than the placebo test.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mary Newport was trying to treat her husband with Alzheimer’s and discovered Dr. Veech’s work while digging around in his 20+ patents. She was the author of “Alzheimer’s Disease What If There Was a Cure, The Story of Ketones” about her coconut oil therapy that naturally releases ketones, which she said turned her husband’s “lights back on.” Hundreds have written to her claiming similar results. Ultimately, her husband received Dr. Veech’s ketone ester for a few years and Dr. Newport said it was 10x more effective than the coconut therapy.
Think about that for a minute. The lights came back on! Why is the world not freaking out with excitement!?
Another believer in ketones and Dr. Veech is William Curtis. He has had Parkinson’s for over 15 years, and despite being on the common cocktail of meds, he had tremors, severe muscle spasms, and sometimes stared at the computer screen for hours, nearly frozen. With a little biochem in undergrad, he searched and came across Dr. Veech’s papers, emailed with the doctor, and sought alternative natural ways to raise his ketone levels (also referred to as D-bhb levels).
Dr. Veech told him that absent the availability of clinical trials with the ester, and as long as his primary care doctor approved, Curtis could try a high fat morning drink to increase his ketone levels. After some tweaks and fasting each night, Curtis says his results were stellar. He could concentrate for hours, spasm free, and was able to drive again. Dr. Veech has warned Curtis to watch his cholesterol and to stay on his meds. Curtis continues his routine today, shares his successes online, and plans to continue until the ketone ester is available in clinical trials.
This generation’s most significant medical discovery
The final problem is that scientists write papers and seek grants which don’t require a monetary return on investment; for many it’s just not in their nature to write a business plan and go to a bunch of pitch offs.
We believe that with billions being thrown at sciences like space travel, it seems that investors or Congress should be primed to pump a few dollars into a simple ester to treat a dozen common medical problems that impact all of us as individuals and is nearly bankrupting the country.
We will be following Dr. Veech’s progress (he even finally has his own website), and works as he blazes a path in the scientific community, and hopefully soon, the business community. It is our sincere hope that investors (both government, traditional, and non-traditional) “read the damn papers,” as Dr. Veech says, because we believe that he’s sitting on our generation’s equivalent of the discovery of penicillin. If not bigger.
UPDATE: Dr. Veech is now on Twitter so you can connect with him.
Walmart delays the launch of its Amazon Prime competing service
(BUSINESS NEWS) Walmart+ is being delayed once again, but the service has yet to be cancelled. Will it be another flop?
Walmart+, the supposed Amazon Prime alternative of the century, has been delayed from launching until further notice. This marks the second delay of the year.
Vox reports that the Amazon Prime competitor was initially supposed to launch in the first quarter of 2020, but Walmart pushed the release back to July due to Coronavirus concerns. Now, Walmart+ doesn’t have a definitive launch date–indecision that’s easy to chalk up to both the ongoing pandemic and trepidation regarding profitability in an Amazon-dominated world.
Amazon Prime, a service which runs customers $119 per year, has well over 100 million members in the United States; that works out to at least one member in a little over 80 percent of households here. Between its ubiquitous nature and the fact that Amazon Prime members are more inclined to use Amazon frequently than non-Prime members, it isn’t hard to see why a premium Walmart subscription seems a little redundant.
But Walmart doesn’t see it that way. “Walmart executives have hoped the program would strike a balance of being valuable enough that customers will pay for it, while boasting different enough perks from Amazon Prime so that there aren’t perk-by-perk comparisons,” Vox posits. At $98 per year, Walmart+ would include things like same-day delivery, gas discounts, line-skipping, a dedicated credit card, and potentially even a video streaming service.
While there are some clear parallels between Amazon Prime and Walmart+, one can attribute those to convenience rather than imitation. People seem to enjoy having extra streaming options as a perk of Prime, so for Walmart+ to include something similar wouldn’t exactly be inappropriate.
The largest obstacle to Walmart+’s success in a post-Coronavirus world probably won’t have much to do with brand loyalty, but the fact remains that Amazon’s value is so far above and beyond Walmart’s that people who regularly use Amazon Prime aren’t likely to make the switch–and, as mentioned previously, the sheer number of people who have a Prime membership is high enough to be concerning to Walmart executives.
However, for customers who frequently shop at Walmart or live in relatively rural areas, Walmart+ doesn’t seem like a bad gig. It isn’t Amazon Prime, to be sure–but that’s the point.
What COVID-19 measures do workplaces have to take to reopen?
(BUSINESS NEWS) Employers can’t usually do medical screenings – but it’s a little different during a pandemic.
Employers bringing personnel back to work are faced with the challenge of protecting their workforce from COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have issued guidelines on how to do so safely and legally.
Employee health and examinations are usually a matter of personal privacy by design through the American’s with Disabilities Act. However, after the World Health Organization declaration of the coronavirus as a pandemic in March, the U.S. EEOC revised its guidance to allow employers to screen for possible infections in order to protect employees.
Employers are now allowed to conduct temperature screenings and check for symptoms of the coronavirus. They can also exclude from the workplace those they suspect of having symptoms. The recommendations from the CDC also include mandatory masks, distant desks, and closing common areas. As the pandemic and US response evolves, it is important for employers to continue to monitor any changes in guidance from these agencies.
Employers are encouraged to have consistent thresholds for symptoms and temperature requirements and communicate those with transparency. Though guidance suggests that COVID-19 screenings at work are allowed by law, employers should be mindful of the way they are conducted and the impact it may have on employer-employee relations.
Stanford Health Care is taking a bold approach by performing COVID-19 testing on each of its 14,000 employees that have any patient contact. They implemented temperature scanning stations at each entrance, operated by nurses and clinicians. The President and CEO of Sanford Health Care said, “For our patients to trust the clinical procedures and trials, it was important for them to know that we were safe.”
Technology is adapting to meet the needs of employers and identify symptoms of COVID-19. Contactless thermometers that can check the temperature of up to 1,500 people per hour using thermal imaging technology are now on the market; they show an error margin of less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. COVID-19 screening is being integrated into some company time-clocks used by employees at the start and end of each shift. The clocks are being equipped with a way to record employee temperatures and answers to a health questionnaire. Apple and Google even collaborated to bring contact tracing to smart phones which could help contain potential outbreaks.
Fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing are the three most common symptoms of COVID-19. Transmission is still possible from a person who is asymptomatic, but taking the precautions to identify these symptoms can help minimize workplace spread. This guidance may change in the future as the pandemic evolves, but for now, temperature checks are a part of back to work for many.
Technology that may help you put the “human” back in Human Resources
(BUSINESS NEWS) Complicated application processes and disorganized on-boarding practices often dissuade the best candidates and cause new hires to leave. Sora promises to help with this.
Even in a booming economy, finding the right applicant for a role can be a drawn-out, frustrating experience for both the candidate and the hiring manager. Candidates submitting their resume to an automated HR system, designed to “seamlessly” integrate candidates into their HRIS accounts, face the interminable waiting game for feedback on whether they’re going to be contacted at all.
Ironically, this lack of feedback on where a candidate stands (or even if the resume was received at all) and a propensity for organizations to list roles as “Open Until Filled”, overwhelms the hiring manager under a mountain of resumes, most of which will not be reviewed unless there is a keyword match for the role. And if they do somehow manage to see the resume, studies indicate that in less than 10 seconds, they’ll have moved on to the next one.
The problems don’t end there, however. Once the candidate and hiring manager have found one another, and the HR team has completed the hire, the dreaded phase of onboarding begins. During the first few days of a new job, a lack of effective onboarding procedures—ranging from simple tasks like arranging for technology or introductions to a workplace mentor—can be the cause of a significant amount of employee turnover. Forbes notes that 17% of all newly hired employees leave their job during the first 90 days, and 20% of all staff turnover happens within the first 45 days.
The reason, according to Laura Del Beccaro, Founder of startup Sora, is that overworked HR teams simply don’t have the bandwidth to follow up with all of those who are supposed to interact with the new employee to ensure a seamless transition experience. Focusing on building a template-based system that can be integrated within the frameworks of multiple HRIS systems, Sora’s focus is to set up adaptable workflow processes that don’t require the end-user to code, and can be adjusted to meet the needs of one or many employee roles.
In a workplace that is becoming increasingly virtual, out of practicality or necessity, having the ability to put the “human” back in Human Resources is a focus that can’t be ignored. From the perspective of establishing and expanding your team, it’s important to ensure that potential employees have an application experience that respects their time and talent and feedback is provided along the way, even when they might not be a fit for the role.
Take for example the organization who asked for an upload of a resume, then required the candidate to re-type everything into their HRIS, asked for three survey responses, an open-ended writing task, a virtual face-to-face interview, *and* three letters of reference—all for an entry-level role. If you were actually selected for an in-person interview, the candidate was then presented with another task that could take up to two hours of prep time to do—again, all for an entry level role.
Is that wrong? Is it right? The importance of selecting the right staff for your team can’t be overstated. But there should be a line between taking necessary precautions to ensure the best fit for your role and understanding that many of the best candidates you might find simply don’t want to participate in such a grueling process and just decide to move on. There’s a caveat that says that companies will never treat an employee better than in the interview process and in the first few weeks on the job—and that’s where Sora’s work comes in, to make certain that an employee is fully supported from day one.
Bringing on the best to leave them without necessary support and equipment, wondering at the dysfunction that they find, and shuffled from department to department once they get there creates the reality and the perception that they just don’t matter—which causes that churn and disconnect. Having your employees know that they matter and that they’ll be respected from day one is a basic right—or it should be.
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