Episode 73

Principled Profit

with Adam Lyddane, PharmD
Episode hosted by: Rick LeMoine

June 27, 2023

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Adam Lyddane, PharmD
CEO & Co-founder, Superlanet

Adam Lyddane, PharmD, is CEO and Co-founder of Superlanet. With more than 20 years of healthcare and IT leadership experience, Adam has an extensive understanding of, and knowledge in the implementation of healthcare technology, clinical process redesign, consumer market strategy development, and clinical adoption strategy development for leading hospital systems in the United States and Europe.



I realized that the team that I built were better than some of the consultants that we were bringing in.



Rick LeMoine: Hello everyone. This is Rick Lemoine and I’m very pleased today to introduce Adam Ladane, who’s the CEO of Superlanet. Adam why don’t you tell the folks what Superlanet is, what it does?

Adam Lyddane: Hey Rick. Thanks for having me. Yep. I am the CEO of Superlanet and it is a healthcare IT professional services firm. That’s how we started. All of our clients are in the healthcare space. We have expanded our services to include professional services, specifically HR professional services for other departments other than information services to date. A little bit of background. I’m a pharmacist. A lot of career changes in my career. I started off as a pharmacist. And moved into it, when I just quickly board was board of the profession. I and there was some opportunity as healthcare was going through a transformation from paper records to digital health records, and they needed clinicians to help build some of the records such as the medication records or order sets. To to help with that transition. So that’s, that was my entry into information services and healthcare. And I, through that period of my career, I deployed many different electronic medical records. And progressively elevated into more leadership positions at first I would say I started off at Sharp Healthcare and then most of my career progression occurred at uc, San Diego Health. Until I was at the point where I started to identify some opportunities at about 10 years into it and decided to leave a really great position and a really great organization to start my own entrepreneur journey.

Rick LeMoine: Yeah, in, in full disclosure, Adam and I worked together at Sharp on the Cerner implementation a hundred years ago. I think. And I love the story about how you decided to make the jump from administering EMRs to helping people install and run them at many different organizations instead of the employer employee relationship that you had with U C S D.

Adam Lyddane: I wish I would’ve had a mentor in my twenties. Or even in my family, cuz I didn’t have a family of of entrepreneurs. They taught me just, go get a good job, be a doctor, be a lawyer, that type of thing. But through my career I learned how to run a business. When we started hosting the electronic medical record for other organizations in the community. We installed the EMR at a unified E M R at University of California San Diego, and decided to sell, resell it to other community practices and then hospitals. In the region and through that process I learned how to, create a sales pitch invoice, collect, ar, follow up on ar. I also had to build a separate team, create a budget, manage that budget, and It was so successful, we started implementing the electronic medical record for large organizations such as uc, Riverside, and then uc, Irvine. And we had to expand the team tremendously. In order to do that so quickly, we had to bring in consultants to help run these projects. And I realized at that moment that, wow, I, number one, I, I. I preferred having my own team, right? Versus an external team. And number two, I realized that the team that I built were better than some of the consultants that, that we were bringing in. And so I it was an intersection of lessons that I learned on how to build a business and the realization that, Hey, I can probably do this and do it maybe a little bit better, I. Than what some of the top firms that we were using at the time were were doing. So that was the point at which I left.

Rick LeMoine: Yeah. And how long from the time that you initially got this idea to your first customer?

Adam Lyddane: I always tell people, people ask me a lot, like how do you make that leap? Without the revenue. Cause I had kids and they have kids. A lot of things holding people back Are their families, their mortgage, the bills, the insurance and other things. And My experience was, is get the sale first. And then make that leap. Not everybody has that advantage, but if you can, that’s the way to do it. Fake it till you make it kind of thing. My story is that. I was brought in for a one week assessment and I took some PTO at my current job and I told my boss that, the cio, that I said, Hey I’d like to do this assessment. It’s for, a colleague of mine that used to work at a neighboring hospital that’s now the C CIO over in a large organization in Chicago. And it was a 40 hour assessment. I wrote up a report, delivered it to their executives and they wanted to hire me. And I, there was no way I was gonna leave my job because I loved where I worked and I loved the people I worked with. And, I had those golden handcuffs cuz I was still on the old retirement plan. But they had so much work to do and they had to do a they had two large EMRs across 12 hospitals. And they had to do double upgrades on both EMRs as well as some other optimization projects. And they had a budget for it. And I said, okay I, I will go if we can run this, not. As a w2, but as a company, I’ll establish the company and I’d like to build a team cuz to be successful in my experience was hey, bring your team in, build your team, let me run it. And and run that under my company. They agreed. So that was really the company starter was that that first project, which lasted about eight 18 months

Rick LeMoine: Wow. Yeah. Adam, tell me how you decided on your first maybe five employees or the core team that you built, how long did it take that to come together?

Adam Lyddane: One of my best employees her name’s Carrie Coates, who I had originally hired at U C S D far, also a pharmacist. Moved to it. She had just left U C S D after, I don’t know, almost 10 years as well there. And I was, she reported to me and I thought, oh man, I was one of my best leaders. I was really bummed about that. She was off in New Zealand somewhere and I called her and I said, or I texted her. I said, Carrie, I’m also leaving. And I’d like you to join me. And cuz I knew what this organization needed and I knew that she was that high caliber person that would do great work. And at first she thought I was fibbing. And she said, there’s no way you’re gonna be there forever. And I said, no, I’m doing this. Come join me. And she joined me and we crushed it. So the, but I also needed folks, so she was at the advisory, she was my first advisory employee, right? But I also needed folks to run the business. And but I needed somebody, I needed a recruiter, right? And, somebody to start. Yeah, I had to hire a bunch of people and somebody to manage hr. And one of my sales people that I worked with at U C S D, who had worked with one of the vendors, we, she was a salesperson with one of the vendors. I hired her because she. I was impressed with kind of her work ethic and so she was my, between myself, this person and Carrie. Those are my first employees.

Rick LeMoine: Describe the arc of your success because I know it’s a successful venture over those first couple of years. And, how did the revenue go?

Adam Lyddane: Yeah, I don’t mind sharing the first year’s revenue and where we were, where we wanted to go. We did we did 2 million of revenue the first year and and our goal was to really double every year. But there were two problems with that. One is we didn’t anticipate what was coming up with the pandemic. And number two, that really wasn’t a good way to remain independent. Because at some point you can double for a little while, but at some point when you’re going from 10 million to 20 million and then 20 million to 40

Rick LeMoine: 40 million. Yeah.

Adam Lyddane: Where’s the cash gonna come from? Meet the payroll that you have to make at that point. We were actually on track. We doubled. Okay. For the first, cuz we started in 2017. And so we doubled every year up until Covid hit and. Probably was a good thing for us because we were able to, we, I think if we would’ve continued on that trajectory, we would’ve run into a cashflow issue and we would’ve had to take on investors and we’d have to sell. We, I, we’d now be board managed

Rick LeMoine: Yes. Yeah,

Adam Lyddane: we wouldn’t have all of the independence that we have today. Yeah.

Rick LeMoine: And that, that is important, isn’t it, particularly to you. But it is for a lot of people they don’t recognize that.

Adam Lyddane: It allows us to focus on what’s most important for our culture of the company and we don’t have the influences of outsiders that really just wanna double, triple their investment that they made into the company.

Rick LeMoine: yeah. Does that help you keep the quality of what you provide to people up there?

Adam Lyddane: The profits are not a guiding principle for us and nobody puts that in there in their values or their guiding principles. But if their investor owned, it’s there.

Rick LeMoine: Of course.

Adam Lyddane: And but if you’re independently owned, then really it, it’s, we, we have enough. And I think that’s really what I’ve learned in as a, as the last six and a half years owning companies now is that, what is enough number one? And, and focus on what’s important and your services and your quality and then you’re gonna be okay, right? Because you can really trip and fall a little bit easier if you cut corners on quality and service, or you get too greedy.

Rick LeMoine: Let’s change gears a little bit. What’s the business environment today for the services that you provide?

Adam Lyddane: Yeah. It’s, it was always been very competitive. I think, I, if we would’ve started around when. Meaningful use and EHRs incentives. Were deployed like other firms. They really did back then. So we came late in the game. We came in 2017 when it was already pretty saturated, highly competitive, but And that really hasn’t changed. There’s been some consolidation for sure, and it, every week to every two weeks, I get offers to purchase the company or invest in the company and I’m not interested in that at all. I’ve got a long time to work and and we’re having fun doing what we’re doing, the way we’re doing it. But it’s it’s certainly consolidated. There’s larger companies out there due to that consolidation, but it doesn’t seem to ha, we are, we’re still continuing to add contracts. I’m al as long as I’m always working on two or three con new contracts at any given time because the bicycle for hospitals is quite long.

Rick LeMoine: Yeah.

Adam Lyddane: And it takes a while to get from, initial introduction to where, you, you get paid the first paycheck sometimes a year. And and so as long as I’m working on those and it seems to be okay, it certainly changed during the pandemic. I think what we did is we added a service level during the pandemic, which was different than my com, than our competitors. And that’s really what set us apart. So we go through a, go into a co-employment agreement, we really, we do it at their budget. So it’s it’s a very kind of low fee model and and that, but what that did is that helped us get some contracts, right? It kept contracts the pipeline full. And then that allows us to get in and sell other kind of higher margin things when they need them, such as consultants.

Rick LeMoine: Is it fair to say that. You’re the chief marketing officer.

Adam Lyddane: I have, I do have a marketing analyst. I’m not very creative when it comes to you don’t want me to draw anything or, pick the colors. But, I think that I have some, I’m the visionary, I will cast that and then I try to. Encourage and motivate my staff and grow the staff. And, so that they have the opportunity to do the creatives.

Rick LeMoine: Is it by decree or consensus how your wife runs the company she owns?

Adam Lyddane: She is the most important. Just cornerstone of this company. And I everybody always asks like, how do that are, they’re starting these companies, like how do you manage everything? And I, you don’t, right? You have to have a partner that you a hundred percent trust. And a lot of folks we’ll say, oh, I could never work with my spouse. But I’ve had the opposite experience. Our relationship has really grown through working together. And we’ve not just built one company, but we’ve built another successful company as well together.

Rick LeMoine: Adam before we close a couple of thoughts on advice you would have for people who think they’re in a similar position to you were, when you were at U C S D and saw this opportunity, how do you go from recognizing the opportunity? To actually doing it. Just a couple of notes on that, please.

Adam Lyddane: You have to have the right tolerance for risk, first of all. So be ready. Be ready for that. We had. We were we had to, mortgage, our home sell 401ks deplete savings, even including college savings and other things. It, it is scary when you’re running around growing your business and just trying to make payroll at those early years. It is It’s frightening. And you really can’t talk about that with your clients

Rick LeMoine: Yep.

Adam Lyddane: or with your employees. So that’s something that you and your partner go through and have to deal with because you don’t want to be scared money. And that’s what we were scared money, but you don’t want. To show anybody that you’re scared money, because people run away from that, right? People will quit. Clients won’t sign you up. So you gotta figure that out on your own. And stick to your business plan. Write a good business plan. There’s, it’s not hard to write a business plan. I used an online tool. Back in 2017, and it was a great exercise. And, and just make sure that, you’re hitting some of the goals and the targets that you are, and if you aren’t, how do you adjust to make sure that you’re growing at the right speed and and you’re, and then I would say make sure that you. You, you bake in balance, right? Because it is, you could work as a new business owner. You could work 18 hours a day or more. And but that’s gonna take a toll on your family and your friends and your mental health. And which then it’ll hit your company. Employees because you’re not balanced. And so I think it’s really important to make sure that when you’re starting, that you’re baking that in because everybody will be happier. And you don’t want the distractions of, people quitting or your family breaking up or, whatever it is because you’ve given too much effort on one particular thing and not enough somewhere else.

Rick LeMoine: Yeah, so milestones with flexibility and work-life balance. Yeah. Adam, this has been terrific. I really appreciate your time and wish you only the best with your future endeavors. And keep me in mind for a second go around to this with your next venture.

Adam Lyddane: I’d only be so lucky. I’d love to have you, Frank.

Rick LeMoine: Yeah. Okay, man. Thank

Adam Lyddane: All right. Take care.

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