Don Jarrell: I Have Been Involved in Bringing Technology Products to Market for Over 40 Years

Don Jarrell of Prista Corporation.

Tell us about yourself.

Professionally, I have been involved in bringing technology products to market for over 40 years, in pretty much every kind of role from development to sales and more.

My greatest satisfaction has been as a product manager and an application designer, both of which have been served by my education in both engineering and learning psychology. And, introducing ActionCue Clinical Intelligence has been the pinnacle of that.

Personally, I have lived in many places, including overseas, and had many jobs in multiple industries, including a couple of stints as a consultant.

Those experiences, and being a keen observer, have blessed me with a strong understanding of how people and organizations work.

I believe that my breadth, like my professional experience, has helped me to deliver the most innovative and strategic solutions to healthcare provider organizations.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

No matter how strong your background is and how much research you do, what you create will always come up a little short and you will have to improvise and adapt.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Try harder to obtain more capital earlier but retain the frugality of people who haven’t. Flashes of brilliance and special opportunities don’t always come at the time of increases in revenue, so it’s really good to have war chests set aside.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

I’m one of the people who believe this work-life balance thing is a myth perpetrated by life coaches, but most won’t admit it.

How one allocates one’s time and attention is simply part of one’s make-up, impacted by many, many factors, and you just cannot change that. I certainly would not accept having another person set such standards for me.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

I’ve been a product manager and application designer for about 40 years, and my co-founder is a nurse and has had many roles in healthcare, including clinical services executive, hospital CEO, and more.

We chose not to create another cookie-cutter, “me too” application in a stale product category, so we took a much broader, deeper look at the fundamental innovations that would completely transform the management and improvement of patient care delivery in every kind of healthcare provider organization.

We built the first working platform in the market that has a performance improvement workbench at its core, with comprehensive coverage of quality metrics management and safety event reporting, investigation, and analytics, all deftly integrated.

ActionCue CI facilities achieve the organization’s goals in patient care and clinical and financial outcomes, not just “checking some boxes” that have no strategic pay-off.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

Our strategic purpose, approach, design, and resilience all serve our customers’ strategic goals at a higher priority than our own fame and fortune. Giving people whatever they ask for is easy; giving them what they really need is tough.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you are just starting out?

Sales is one of the areas where a founder needs to find someone as a leader who is far better than himself/herself from the very beginning.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

In my view, challenges are never overcome or cured. Challenges will always be challenges and may be better or worse handled at various times.

The initial set of “concerning” challenges depends on the industry or market, the skillsets of the founding team, and the chemistry of the founding team.

So, if there was a sense of a “biggest challenge,” it would be to build on the founding team to a larger group of leaders with good chemistry who team-wise keep the organization’s challenges in the good zone more often than in the bad zone. It takes time, temperament, and patience.

What do you consider the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?

Starting up in Texas, unlike what we have heard about start-ups in other states, we were not faced with massive regulations that (1) were so bizarre we could not anticipate and avoid or satisfy them, or (2) that required significant redirection of resources (time, people, and money) away from our real purpose, mission, and strategy.

Is there any disadvantage to operating our business in Texas?

Since our business does not require working outside in the summer, none.

Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managing to expand your business into new areas?

Demographics have never been a concern at Prista.

We are 100% virtual and have enjoyed great and easy success in attracting and retaining talented team members across the United States.

It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?

We do not do that. We do not discuss any of that in official communications of the company. I believe, but again we do not delve into such, that our team members represent a range of political views.

Have you been impacted by rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole)? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?

We have had to raise our subscription fees related to inflation once in the past and may have to do that in the future.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?

I believe we will increase our revenue by more than 6x in the next 5 years.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

To learn how ActionCue CI can help your healthcare organization (hospital, clinic, etc.), visit our website and make use of the Contact webform.  The website also has several downloadable white papers and video embeds and a way to opt-in to our email list to receive occasional updates.

Others may also find our team members on LinkedIn and reach out that way.

Follow Prista Corporation on Twitter or Linkedin.

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