Jason Whitson Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of Co-Founder and CEO Jason Whitson

Jason Whitson Podcast Transcript

Jason Whitson joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of the Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive today’s guest is Jason Whitson, a serial entrepreneur in the health and fitness industry, Jason Whitson eventually found his way to co-founding Wellcore after his own transformational experience with hormone optimization. After a crippling back injury at the gym in his late 20s that eroded his emotional, mental, and physical health, Jason found himself in a deep depression.

After seeking medical help, he was shocked to discover extremely low testosterone was responsible for his decline. Especially at a young age. His own experience made him realize men avoid testing and seeking help due to lack of information and the stigma around the treatment. Jason is a lifelong Austinite, athlete, and former competitive mountain biker, technology innovator, team builder, and entrepreneur who approaches his career and business as a sport.

Well, good afternoon, Jason. Welcome to the show.

[00:01:04] Jason Whitson: Thanks for having me, Brian. Good to meet you.

[00:01:06] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. I know we’re in the same time zone, but we are dealing with this crazy, incredible hot weather. I know you’ve got it a little bit worse than I do down in Austin, but again, Jason, thank you for making the time today.

[00:01:18] Jason Whitson: Absolutely.

[00:01:19] Brian Thomas: All right, Jason, let’s jump in and let’s do this. Let’s talk about your career a little bit in technology, product management. You’re a serial entrepreneur, senior executive, and now you’re the co-founder and CEO of Wellcore.

Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

[00:01:36] Jason Whitson: Yeah, I wish there was one secret, but I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have just one thing that has helped me tremendously. It’s sort of a confluence of things, right? I’m extremely fortunate in that I’ve benefited from a lot of luck too, but I was raised by a family of entrepreneurs.

I was taught at a very young age that the only way or the best way to work is for yourself. My father was a mechanic and auto mechanic owned his own shop for many years, and I was exposed to that at a young age. It was extremely helpful to me, and I didn’t really realize it until I entered the workforce.

But as it relates to the specific areas that I’ve been involved in, product and technology, software, athletic performance, executive leadership roles I attribute a lot of that to a constant desire to tinker. You don’t always find yourself in a role or a job. That’s exactly what you want to do.

So what I did is I spent a lot of time after hours, nights and weekends. Building things that excited me and where the luck comes in is having a role where I’m able to build technology for the company I was working for and their customers. And in order for me to take it further, you can’t always get budget to take it further.

I started building things for myself on the side and those skills that I picked up while. Doing things for myself, I was able to bring those back into the workplace and ultimately that led to some advancement along with some freedom, freedom being having a company on the side that gets acquired, which leads to a new role that just ended up being an accelerator for my career.

And in terms of what inspires me, I mean, it’s closely associated with the things that I’ve built and the things that my team and I are building now is healthcare focused. I don’t want to say I grew up poor, but I definitely grew up in a family. Where, money didn’t grow on trees, and anything related to healthcare was super expensive.

And I thought that was only, something that the rich people used. So, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen the negative effects of, difficult access affordability a lack of personalized care and. Doctors just going through the motions doing the same stuff that they were taught in Med school 10, 15, 20 years ago.

So, what inspires me now is building something that can actually help people, enable people to do what’s important to them for longer.

[00:04:08] Brian Thomas: Thank you. I love the story. Talk about how the entrepreneur blood or DNA was in you passed on through your father, basically, right? Having that and then taking the risk and doing whatever it took to get out there and make something happen.

And I know you’ve dedicated a lot of your long nights and weekends to get this going. But you’re passionate about it. And what’s really cool is leads us into my next question, because I was doing some research on you, and I appreciate you getting out there and sharing your video story called Texas Born.

And yes, it absolutely resonated with me. Maybe you could tell our audience the importance of Hormone Replacement Therapy from your perspective.

[00:04:45] Jason Whitson: Yeah, that video felt a little bit awkward for me. I don’t really like having a camera aimed at me. And all the credit goes to the marketing team that we have, cause it was their idea, but, it was a big deal for me.

Cause it’s the first time that I really told the world that I was doing. Hormone Replacement Therapy myself. And I have been for the better part of 15, 16 years, but it always felt like I needed to hide it. Like, it was some sort of crutch. I was, cheating at life because people associate that with athletes that broke the rules of their sport and things like that.

But. have a bit of a unique story, as it says in the video. I suffered a pretty gruesome spine injury back in 2004, and I lost the ability to walk. And that was right at a time in my life where I was an extremely competitive athlete. I was actually going out for a semi pro football team and needed to put on a few.

More pounds. And for me, that was go get on the squat rack. And I did something wrong and it’s silly. And I crushed L5 S1, that bottom disc in your back, effectively cut it in half. So, I was bedridden and long story short when you’re down for that long, the physical comeback is one thing, but what I wasn’t ready for.

Was the mental toll that it was going to take on me and how other systems in my body. Had been impacted or effectively shut down. So, it took me, to some really, really, really dark places. And I was fortunate enough to have a friend that said, Hey, you should really go talk to this doctor. It’s kind of alternative medicine.

They’re really gonna look deep inside, you and figure out what’s going on. And they did a bunch of blood tests and doctor tells me I had the hormone levels of a 65-year-old man. And I’m like, that’s cool, doc. What are hormones? I didn’t know anything about them back then. So, they educated me and told me what they, believed I should do and it was basically starting HRT and I credit it with saving my life.

Now, Hormone Replacement Therapy isn’t something that should be marketed as like it’s a lifesaver, but I got to experience what it was like to be a 65-year-old man in many. Areas of overall health and wellness and getting that early look at what was waiting for me later on down the line made me extremely passionate about it personally, because I’d never wanted to feel that way again.

But now with Wellcore and the clinical team that we have, that’s been doing this for years and, RedBud, our venture studio, we’ve built an amazing team. It’s not only You know, working to educate the general public, but has educated us. We now know that this is something that everybody goes through men and women in slightly different ways and slightly different timelines, but we all go through it and its effectively supplementation. Nature slowly takes it away from us and.

It’s not too dissimilar from someone who has a rigid nutritional supplementation plan or a diet plan that works for them or a workout plan that works for them. This is another kind of supplementation, a program that enables people to do what’s important to them. And it’s not all about the physical, right?

It’s not about muscles. It’s. It’s not about sex. It’s been marketed like that for a really long time because that was easy, but it’s so much more important than that. It’s so much deeper and I’m proud to say that I’ve got a lot of friends that have become clients. Most of my family, age appropriately are our clients, and it gives me goosebumps to think about, what I hear from people in terms of how it’s impacted their lives in positive ways.

[00:08:30] Brian Thomas: Thank you. That’s awesome, Jason. And people love stories, obviously, but the fact that this touched you personally you had obviously a pretty serious injury and it could have been, life threatening had you continued to go down those dark places. I totally can understand that. So, I appreciate you sharing the story.

I think that’s so important that people understand that. Jason, we’re going to switch gears a little bit. We are a tech platform. We do tech podcasts. I’m a techie, but we like to just dive in a little bit, see what, whatever you can share, but you’re obviously leveraging some of that new and emerging technologies in your tech stack, most likely.

Is there anything you might be able to share with us today?

[00:09:06] Jason Whitson: Yeah, tech and product for us isn’t limited to software or the digital space. So, we’ve got some physical. Products and physical technology that we employ as well. We can’t do anything for anyone unless we get a look at your blood. So, every interaction, but the 1st interaction with us as new clients, people who are interested is going to start with our assessment kits and our assessment kits get shipped to your home.

A lot of people got very familiar with that home testing with the onset of the pandemic. Everyone’s used to like the finger prick or being sent to a lab. We didn’t like that for ourselves. And we were like, there’s got to be a better way. So, my co-founder and I started digging really deep, trying to find technology and partners that could make it.

An easier experience, a premium experience something that makes everybody feel like a millionaire and a billionaire, right? The first hurdle we had to get over was pain. No one, I assume, this is a generalization, not many people enjoy giving blood. Our assessment kits have a device that you attach to your arm, and you press a little button, and it begins drawing blood from just below the skin and you won’t feel it.

This thing has been used by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. It’s even been tested on kids and on a pain scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no pain and 10 being a lot of pain. The highest rating it’s ever got is a 2. That we’re aware of. But it allows us to collect 600 microliters of blood at home, and you send that to our lab and we’re able to do nearly two dozen tests.

So, we can derive, two dozen analytes or people like to use the term biomarkers that allows our clinicians to personalize any potential protocol or program that they put you on. Beyond that, the next big ask of clients, specifically with the men. Because if you are out of balance or lacking in testosterone, the most important sex hormone men have in their body’s injection is the most common way to administer it.

And that’s asking a lot from people to, self-inject. So, we found a partner. that makes a device called the auto inject. And we’re the only ones using it to inject testosterone. That device, coupled with our extremely small needles, we’re making that practically painless as well. And we’ve got dozens of clients that had legitimate Needle phobia that are now on protocol and they kind of laugh about it.

Now they’re like, man, I just, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this. And now it’s no problem at all. And what’s funny is that always seems to be like the biggest, toughest looking guys that are extremely afraid of needles, which I find hilarious. But they really enjoy the device, and it makes it easy for them. On the digital or software side.

That’s kind of where I cut my teeth, as an entrepreneur was building. Web based applications and on the hardware side building, what we call supercomputers back in the day. We’re trying to consumerize this little area of health care. It’s really hard to seek out.

It’s really hard. To just get health care these days. It’s just kind of a pain. So, everybody practices care avoidance. So, what we’re trying to do is personalize everything. Our E. H. R. is extremely customized, and purpose built for us. And it’s vertically integrated with our lab and our pharmacy, our clinical team and our client success team.

So, we’re making sure that all the data around each client, each patient, which is stored securely and in a compliant way. For sure. We’re never talking to this person as if they were a number. We’re never talking to them about something that they have no interest in, or wouldn’t be, applicable to them.

So today we’re Hormone Replacement Therapy, but we are absolutely looking to roll out additional products and services. And a lot of that is going to come from the data that our clients give us over time in terms of what sort of problems we need to solve and what sort of products and services we need to bring to market to further optimize them.

[00:13:07] Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I appreciate you breaking that down from what you’re doing as far as the product for your consumers, your patients as I would call it, I’ve been in healthcare a long time, but also touching on some of that tech for us. We appreciate it. Our techies do in our audience for sure. Jason, last question of the day.

Can you share something from your career experience? That would be helpful for those listening today, looking to grow their career in product management or entrepreneurship.

[00:13:34] Jason Whitson: Yeah, it kind of circles back to what we let off the call with it’s not easy for people to find themselves in jobs and roles where they’re doing exactly what they want to do.

It’s the lucky few that seem to find their way into a role or a position that they can be truly passionate about. So, I’ll reiterate to folks that you have more time in the day than just your 8 to 5. And if you’re interested in doing something, because it could be, you have to develop a skill that you don’t have spend those extra hours working on that thing that excites you that thing that you want to do full time in the future.

Beyond that, I would also say, share your ideas with your circle. And what I mean by that is. Friends, family, former colleagues, talk about the things that you want to do, that you want to build, because what you might find is that others want to do that thing with you. And whether it’s your friends, colleagues, family, you’ll probably find that you’ve got some future teammates that can play a role for the future endeavor, the thing that you want to do, the thing that you want to build.

I did this The wrong way for so many years. I had tons of ideas that I kept to myself, and I built them all by myself. And it meant that I had to spend more time doing it. It was more stressful, and I didn’t go nearly as fast as I wanted to. And I ended up walking away from things like I built high performance computers back in the day.

And people saw what I had because I used to be an online gamer and we would travel to tournaments and they would see my rig and they were like, Oh, I want that. And I started building them and selling them, but I felt like I had to do it by myself, and I eventually walked away from that. And, back in the day I was, and I’m using air quotes here, competing with the likes of Alienware before Dell acquired them.

I kind of wish I would have stuck with that. I had built a blogging platform. Basically, just a multi-tenant environment for people to spin up and manage their own blog. But that was before things like blogger were around. I wish I would have stuck with that one, but I kept it to myself, and I didn’t get any help and I didn’t, bounce the ideas off of anybody to see if there was a teammate hiding in there.

And then the most embarrassing one is I had built a small version of what we now call. A social network, and we’re talking like, I don’t know, 2003, 2004 timeframe, and I’m going to date myself even further. I did everything on the lamp stack. That’s how long ago this stuff was, but I didn’t share and that was a mistake.

I’m happy where I’m at. I’m extremely grateful for where I’m at, but I can’t help but look back on some of those experiences and wish I would have opened up and talk to friends and colleagues and family that. May have been interested in helping me build something like that.

[00:16:22] Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I think that’s some great advice.

Yeah, you’re right. Over time, I think a lot of times we want to, get some of that glory and get that pat on the back and sometimes we’re just stubborn and sometimes we just like to work alone, but you’re absolutely right over my career. Same thing found some great people that I would have shared some of my ideas with would have been great.

So Jason, I appreciate that. Jason, it was a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:16:49] Jason Whitson: Brian, thank you very much for having me. I enjoyed it.

[00:16:52] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Jason Whitson Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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