Today, November 14th 2020, is World Diabetes Day so I sat down with MyMedBot founder and CEO, Jacob, to discuss how being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a teenager shaped his life and his company.
Matilda: How has your Diabetes shaped MyMedBot?
Jacob: MyMedBot was born out of my experience of being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2012. Being diagnosed forced me to adjust to a new lifestyle, new demands on my health, and learning to manage risk I did not know existed. I was forced to change my lifestyle from one day to the next. A brutal change that few teenagers ever face.
When you’re starting a business, you’re doing something that’s incredibly contrarian and with my health issues, I saw gaps in the technology market. I lived through health crises which made me think… “there must be a better way”. These events made me start to research online… “there must be solutions out there”. All I could find were articles that proclaimed that the commercial release of solutions to fix my problems was just five years away.
My disease quickly became a learning tool as I refused the status-quo.
As a diabetic, it was hard for me to find a technological solution that worked for me. At University, I wasn’t able to communicate what I was going through and wasn’t able to find answers to my problems. Therefore, I taught myself how to code and created a solution to help me find those answers.
It was an extremely creative process and made me feel a little rebellious because I was altering products of multi-billion dollar medical device companies to make their technology work for me at their full potential.
Overall, living with Type 1 diabetes gave me insight into where current health solutions are not effective.
M: How does Diabetes fit into everyday life as a CEO at a start-up?
J: Nothing in life is worth sacrificing your health over. I am a workaholic, I know that I am obsessive and I can forget about everything to accomplish my goal, but one thing that I always remind myself is, there’s no excuse to compromise with your health.
M: How has Diabetes influenced your approach to COVID-19?
J: Diabetes emphasizes why it is important to adhere to the rules: glucose monitoring, insulin management, preventive care… COVID-19 is similar: wear a mask, social distance, wash hands, etc. But also in terms of mental health, it is important that we continue our normal lives to the best of our abilities.
To a diabetic, a screening solution like MyMedBot can offer peace of mind. Going into a school or workplace knowing that everyone else there has passed a comprehensive health screening, confirming that they do not have symptoms, allows those of us with a chronic illness to feel comfortable getting back to our normal lives.