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Secrets of Success: Joseph Mayer, MD

Rieva Lesonsky
secrets of success

There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.

Meet: Joseph Mayer, MD, the cofounder and CEO of Cureatr, the leading mobile care-coordination solution, providing seamless communication between doctors, streamlined workflows and real-time mobile push notifications to alert care providers when their patients are treated in any care setting within their regions.

Joe was inspired to start Cureatr while serving his residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. Working in the fast-paced ER, he was frustrated by the time delay involved in tracking down primary care physicians to alert them about their patients’ treatments. He knew he could speed up these communications and reduce administrative work to save time, human resources and money.

Joe’s timing was perfect. Cureatr’s launch in 2011 (and its rapid expansion) coincided with the seismic healthcare shift of fee-for-service to value-based. In this new landscape of risk and responsibility, healthcare providers need a seamless approach for better care coordination among a community of care providers.

At heart, Joe is a doctor, and his approach is deeply rooted in his clinical experience. He developed this cloud-based service to not only help care-providers but to look after patients’ best interests. The more aware doctors are of their patents’ treatments, the better they are able facilitate continuous care.

Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Joseph Mayer: As a kid, I wanted to be a professional mountaineer and then later, I wanted to be a researcher and inventor.

Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?

Mayer: Some may say I am a serial entrepreneur. While living in Europe, I started Unwired after watching my mentors, who were MDs, launch a startup called Corcept Therapeutics. I was very engaged in clinical work and research, but ultimately kept getting drawn to starting a business. For me, the drivers were the combination of what was happening at a macro level with healthcare reform and the frustration I felt over basic challenges in care coordination that I was personally experiencing. I quickly learned that I thrive in a fast-paced environment and found the slower pace of research wasn’t for me. I have always been a person who “started things” and then I become obsessed with it.

Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Mayer: Wish I could say yes, but I think persistence, refusal to take no for an answer and hiring great people are the keys to helping Cureatr reach our current stage of success and growth plans.

Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Mayer: Two things come to mind:

  1. Find mentors—good ones.
  2. Don’t let time be the enemy of your startup.

Make sure to take into account the time you need to manage resources (like staff and finances), make strategic decisions and drive for perfection. You have to be able to balance all of it. This is why you need good mentors. They will be your guiding force when bringing your idea to fruition—and [they offer good] advice about managing your time so your staff keeps up the momentum, too.

Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Mayer: I’m a psychiatrist, so I am always biased towards taking care of the brain! For anyone running a business, make sure you have a good support group or a positive sounding board. I cannot stress enough how important mentors are, and, when ready, [think about] hiring an executive coach or even seeing a therapist if your insurance allows.

Lesonsky: Do you have a small business prediction?

Mayer: I think we’re in some kind of bubble, so raise your capital now.

Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?

Mayer: East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.

Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?

Mayer: I am not really a quote person, but growing up, I was a fan of the theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, and have always liked this quote, which I think still applies today: “I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.”

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Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.