… is when you retire from the one you worked at for 30+ years (32 years, 9 months, and 2 days to be precise).
After coming to live and work in America — for the second time — in August 1985, the following year, on June 29, 1986, I started working at a small, Philadelphia-based, pharmaceutical advertising agency called Ted Thomas Associates:
I knew near to nothing about pharmaceutical marketing or advertising but I knew a lot about antibiotics, and TTA had just been appointed agency of record for the four-product hospital antibiotic franchise of what was then Smith Kline & French.
If you had told me then that I would work for the same company as it evolved over the next 30+ years, I would have roared with laughter. However, over those 30+ years …
- We built one of the most successful medical education companies of the era, CoMed Communications:
- We developed the first business owned by an advertising agency to be accredited by the ACCME to provide Category 1 CME for physicians.
- We built some of the very earliest patient-oriented healthcare web sites.
- We bought out the original owner of TTA after building a multi-division healthcare communications group, Vox Medica:
- We watched CoMed Communications unravel after 9/11 because many people wouldn’t get on a plane unless they had to for most of the next year.
- In 2014, Vox Medica and Calcium NYC were both acquired by a general advertising group that then went bankrupt in 2015.
- Out of the ashes of that bankruptcy, some of us helped the founders of Calcium NYC to build one of the hottest healthcare-specific advertising agencies in North America today, Calcium:
It was a great ride!
Throughout the entire 32-year period, one of my key passions has been to help patients understand their disorders and become their own best advocates, and so along the way I have done, helped others to do, or at least tried to do things that broke many of the usual rules — and consequently, since about 2000, I have referred to myself as an “executive rebel”.
Given that past history, what better day could there be to start a new business than April Fool’s Day? If you are looking for strategic thinking and ideas from an experienced individual who tends to “think differently” about communications and health care, feel free to drop me an e-mail.