Dr. Etienne Côté
In This Episode
Shawn & Ivan welcome Dr. Etienne Côté, a Professor of Cardiology at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island – and a former teacher of Ivan’s – as the first guest of the Veterinary Innovation Podcast. Not only is Dr. Côté an esteemed academic, he is also an entrepreneur, having helped to create a mobile drug formulary application in partnership with Timeless Veterinary. As a result, there’s no one better to talk to about the differences – and surprising similarities – of the academic and business worlds.
- The similarities of entrepreneurship and academia
- How to empower and encourage people
Meet our guest – Dr. Etienne Côté
Shawn Wilkie: Hey, you’re listening to the Veterinary Innovation Podcast. You’re listening to the Veterinary Innovation Podcast. My name is Shawn Wilkie, and we’re back for another exciting episode. Ivan, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself and today’s guest.
Ivan Zak: Yeah, so my name is Ivan Zak. I am an export always I guess veterinarian and I’m going to do a little technology right now and we are meeting today with Dr. Etienne Côté who was my professor of Cardiology in the Atlantic Veterinary College and so currently and since then, I guess, and before then he works as an associate professor of Cardiology in the Animal Department of the University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College, he holds two board degrees from an internal medicine and Cardiology from what I know Etienne did his residency with Steve Ettinger who basically is sort of like, he invented cardiology from what I understand and come on the various articles chapters in the books, which is another one that when I was in school was published the book internal medicine with co-author with Stephen Drake. It was a board. I don’t know remember what number addition that was that you had a chapter and.
Dr. Etienne Côté: When you were a student Ivan?
Ivan Zak: Yeah, that was
Dr. Etienne Côté: Probably the 6th
Ivan Zak: 6.
Dr. Etienne Côté: Yeah.
Ivan Zak: And then as I graduated I think the next year the veterinary author of veterinary advisor, which was then became the Bible of every emergency hospital I worked in. Replacing I think, I can say that, replacing five-minute consults and then also extending into various directions of medicine, innovation, research, one of them that I was going with also was the application for both Android and iOS, the drug formulary, with the company Timeless Vet That is on PEI and I can’t name every single aspect of your career because there’s too many and I don’t think that we summarize them all here, but we’ve done something out from personal side of things you, you own two Newfoundland dogs?
Dr. Etienne Côté: I mean, we’re down to one, but that’s the story of life itself.
Ivan Zak: Okay, so I have a lot of data, I apologize. And from hobbies you have cleaning up dog hair and drool, travel, running, hiking, snowshoeing, and Shotokan karate?
Dr. Etienne Côté: That’s true.
Ivan Zak: So the first question that we have for you is how is the Shotokan karate difference from other karate Styles?
Dr. Etienne Côté: So, what is this a quiz or something? Thank you very much for for this invitation. The different styles involve different moves or different ways of proceeding and sometimes different philosophies. I think Shotokan is like probably the most widespread. So it’s what think of when we typically think of karate. That’s about as much as I think I can explain because the rest is just doing it.
Shawn Wilkie: It’s cool. So a follow-on question, which is a little, a little silly. But, what have you learned in karate that’s been translatable to your career?
Dr. Etienne Côté: You know, that is an absolutely fabulous question and I wish I had asked you to ask it, because it’s surprising how helpful it is. So, the single most useful thing I’ve learned in karate is that if you try and stand in the way of somebody who is trying to harm you then you will get hurt but if you move aside and let their momentum carry them sailing past you, you won’t.
Shawn Wilkie: That’s pretty interesting. I’ll remember that next time at my CFO in the office is giving me trouble.
Ivan Zak: Okay. I think that the topic and the reason why we wanted to invite you is that I’m, I was truly fascinated with several things throughout your career, once Shawn asked me, we just had lunch, and he asked me, he said what is one of the most memorable time for you with Dr. Etienne Côté in vet school, and obviously it was our rotation in cardiology. I think you still remember that. I think that.
Dr. Etienne Côté: You know what, I can name both your rotation mates and it was one of my favorite rotations of all time.
Ivan Zak: I think he’s still traumatized from it. But I just think that I learned a lot.So, so, the most memorable episode from my interaction with Etienne from the vet school was during the rotation and I remembered that not only he taught us how to recognize a certain condition, you know diagnose and treat it. It was also an angle from the client perspective. How do you deliver these terrible news to a client? That, it was actually a huge impact on me because as I progressed in the career as a veterinarian and beyond a lot of the things they’re not, you know, you took the approach of not just looking at it from the academic perspective. But how has, how does that interact with any other aspect of life? So that was very interesting. That’s the example I gave to Shawn. What we wanted to dig into during this conversation is some people may perceive academia and academic advancements as not very entrepreneurial it’s like ok you won’t be something in that environment and I think you’re a true inspiration for anybody who wants to pursue that career and add things to it. So the Academia and Entrepreneurship combinations of the topic for this, so I wanted to ask you, how do you get inspired to either advance in your academic achievements? And how do you combine it with technology?
The similarities of entrepreneurship and academia
Dr. Etienne Côté: Well, thanks. I mean that’s a that’s a huge open canvas. I often think that other people have expressed things better than I possibly could so I like quotations and two that come to my mind that happen to be from entrepreneurs, but I think are just kind of broader than just enterprise. One is Henry Ford, Henry Ford famously said “the secret to success is to understand the point of view of others” and to think that somebody would say after all of you know, the the groundbreaking things that he did I think is really interesting how true, so when you were talking about delivering news, that’s really unpleasant, even devastating. I’ve always I feel like I’ve always done that or at least I try and do that now in a way that realizes that I might be on the receiving end of that and I think when we do that people respect it, even though it’s not what they want to hear. I think that holds true in pretty much any walk of life. I try and live by that. The other quote that comes to mind. This is Steve Jobs quote. So Steve Jobs famously said and I’m going to have to pronounce this properly because the last letter in the last word I’m going to say is letter P like Paul. So he said real artists ship. I said this thinking it was a brilliant quote one time and somebody misunderstood the last word as something else that I’m not really sure what the meaning was that the alternative thing but anyway, so what I’m getting at or at least what I think you know is the message behind that is that it’s incredibly fortunate position to be in Academia to have a moment to think and to try and get to deeper levels of what we see day to day. I spent my first ten years of veterinarian in private practice. That means high volume seeing lots of things day to day but not a whole lot of time necessarily to think of the why and since being at the University of Prince Edward Island, just being an academic setting part of my job is to have sort of a moment to think of maybe causes or underlying reasons or whatnot. And I think we have to be careful not to fall prey to have that turn to navel-gazing and so to me real artists do ship their stuff and so that means staying productive and having what you think is great, what I think is great challenged, you know, in the public sphere so that’s what I tried to do.
Shawn Wilkie: Yeah, so so cool. That’s really interesting. I love those quotes by the way, you know a little variation on the first one is “seek to understand then be understood” which I really like as well. So very well aligned. I think one of the things that really is interesting for me, is like what are some of the lowest points been in your academic career and then what are some of the highest points, you know? They’ve had a whole had a bunch of time so I’m interested to hear, you know, or even just your career in general.
Dr. Etienne Côté: Well, I mean, thank you I mean it’s an honor to be asked for the lowest points, you know, if we have two three hours I can go through them in detail, but all kidding aside. I mean look, this is a terrible pun, but I’m a cardiologist. So blood goes in, blood goes out like every systole has a diastole so you can’t pretend that at least I can’t pretend that you know, everything’s always rosey. So when I think of you know, the first time I was editor of the clinical Veterinary advisor, which is a textbook that seems to be very popular the first time I despite all of my careful planning there were from memory about 310 authors and I mistakenly submitted the same topic to be written up to three different authors, and so like that doesn’t sound like a big deal but for somebody to be willing to dedicate, like these are experts, and for somebody to be willing to dedicate not just a five minute phone call to you but an entire day or days of work to create an original chapter that they are dedicating to your book and you now have to say you know what actually I accidentally asked for this from somebody else. Sorry. That is a stomach-turning kind of situation and it still turns me, turns me inside out remembering the realization of stuff like that. On a day-to-day thing. I just came to this from treating a patient who’s in ICU now who’s doing poorly. So despite everything that I’m doing with two family members who love this companion because this dog means something special to them that no other living creature means and I’m not helping that dog. Now, I don’t know of any other way to do better to this dog because the dog is severely ill but those are undeniable low moments. So I think, you know, this is this gets back to this idea of failure versus defeat, you know, I mean if you fail then at least you can sort of try and figure out why did that happen? And I think that is extraordinarily hard, it took me a long time to be able to see that way. But at least there’s a chance to say, okay, you know now what? As opposed to defeat that just leaves you feeling annihilated so I don’t have a secret answer, but I know that I have lived all of those things that I’ve just said and they haven’t felt good and and here we are.
Ivan Zak: Wow, that’s, before you answer that. I’m just thinking like in that situation. What would I do? I think I think that if I would submit three officers, I would say to two of them you didn’t win it was a competition. It was a challenge and you guys didn’t pass it. Wow that would be a hard one to handle, I don’t know. But yeah, I think that’s great. I think that you’re describing is life kind of helps you to get through the through the situations and then and then kind of shapes you for the next round I think. That’s what I call a lot with the technology and with sort of entrepreneurship in general. If I could ask you how was the whole experience of getting into the Timeless Vets and deciding to create a product out of the knowledge and then thinking that there’s an application to that and then how how easy it was to actually created to it. I also want to quote some I don’t remember who it was, but I think it was a professor from MIT visiting Russia and they were talking about the reasons why my lot of Innovations didn’t become products in the Soviet Union and they said that it’s one thing to invent something and the other thing is to innovate and I think that the difference that they find is that the invention is come up with something that works. The innovation is take that and get wide adoption of it. What was that experience like and how did you come up with the whole concept of the drug application? And yeah, what was the experience like with this sort of technology?
Dr. Etienne Côté: Yeah, so that was really neat. The app the veterinary drug index, it still exists. It’s for Android and iPhones and tablets and whatnot. And you know, I think it was a just a combination of a bunch of things like, you know, we think of the perfect storm as being bad things, but sometimes it’s perfect storm of really good things that happened to come together. And in this case it was we had some raw material because my former boss Steve Ettinger had created material for a publication that’s long since out of print, that involved drug information. And so I thought well gee that’s that’s kind of nice and at the same time, I was approached by the folks from Timeless asking, do you know of somebody who would like to create, basically a resource that was unique and that could I knew build on the stuff that Steve Ettinger had. So it was that Confluence, it was really just being in the right place at the right time. And so I think what I really liked was being a start-up the Timeless group was very open to crafting this like as something that would be the dream product from like my perspective and Steve’s perspective and Wayne Schwart’s perspective. It’s funny Ivan, a similar situation you and I are in right now was when I contacted my former pharmacology Professor Wayne Schwart and asked him if he wanted to be part of this bedrock index and the next thing I knew you know this person who to me previously had, you know, kind of walked on the water it was now kind of somebody I was going back and forth with and figuring stuff out and kind of building and seeing stuff grow out of it. So, the vet drug index was a combination of interest on the part of people who can make it happen, which was the Timeless group and of people who make the content happen, which was my professor, my boss, and me. And I think just fun. I mean it was the pleasure of creating something new. I’m guessing that you would know this many thousand fold over from creating smart flow. I mean you have this idea and it suddenly comes, you come to realize that this thing has legs like this can actually work. That’s a very very intoxicating feeling.
Ivan Zak: Yup.
Shawn Wilkie: Yeah intoxicating is that is a great way to put it because there’s highs and lows with entrepreneurship and academia as well and one question that I couldn’t help but want to ask is parallels or differences between academia and entrepreneurship? Where are they the same? Where are they completely different? Seeing how you’ve lived on both sides of the line.
Dr. Etienne Côté: To me entrepreneurship is a very kind of, is a term that can be interpreted many different ways some people I think think of it as it’s a way to make money and I I guess I don’t consider that that that’s you know, my perspective or philosophy. Some people consider more is innovation and dissemination I think is what you’re getting at Ivan, and I like that because to speak to your the question that you just asked the the similarities between academia and entrepreneurship I think are the interest in thinking outside the box the interest in asking questions and exploring and I would say also in sharing, you know in having feeling a mission or an almost, yeah passion for what we’re doing. I think that’s shared by successful academicians and successful entrepreneurs. And so the difference is I mean, I think the differences are maybe almost stereotypical that you know, academia is maybe can drift towards intellectual pursuits that don’t necessarily have immediately apparent applications. Although you could argue that Google’s, you know, Project X and these like moonshot types of projects also are not necessarily applicable. So maybe the line is not as as clearly defined as as The Stereotype would have it.
Ivan Zak: That’s very interesting when you mention the shared vision and, so one of the passion that I had in the last, the end of Smart Flow, well Smart Flow is not over, Smart flow is living in another but the last couple of years in Smart Flow, I shifted more towards sort of leadership and vision setting and the culture of the organizations and when I when I joined IDEXX that’s what I was passionate about establishing in their software division. So basically instilling into existing organization division and then aligning everybody around those vision, mission, then creating core values and adding goals that execute on that vision and I think that that is the similarity, it’s just that it’s not as structured in academia I think. I have an idea, a hypothesis that you’re trying to to prove with certain research and then when you get there, so the celebration of success is similar, but I think it’s almost more honest than in some, I mean if you think about true entrepreneurs, I think that no one does it for money, none successful entrepreneurs do it for money.
Shawn Wilkie: I think a lot of a lot of us start to do it for money. You know, my first company that I started, I moved to rural Nova Scotia after spending all the money that I had made and living in Europe for a couple months and running out of money ended up in my mother’s spare room and and I thought to myself I really like living here.
Ivan Zak: That was the company.
Shawn Wilkie: What happened was I had a job in the west of Canada, and made a bunch of money and decided to move to Europe and travel around. It was great, but I ran out of money and I came home to Nova Scotia. 20 years ago, you know you can live here with no money in your mother’s basement, sweet, and it was great. You know, however I needed something to do and I didn’t want to do like everybody else. I knew I didn’t want to run off and live in Alberta. And so I knew I had to create my own opportunities and so I started in business for myself at a really young age. I think it was 21 when I started my first company and so I did it for money, but then I really quickly realized that that wasn’t going to work. I did it with something that I was passionate about it was IT and technology and it was fun, but then what happens to you as a business leader, and I’m sure there’s parallels as well, especially when you start to lead things you end up not doing the thing that you started to do, and I know that you can relate to this because you just said it, you know, I started in business to fix computers and work with technology and I ended up managing a P&L and a bunch of people and I had no idea how to do it. And that’s when I flipped, I flipped from doing it for money to doing it because I loved to develop the people around me, and that’s why I’m still doing it, you know, I can’t stop and I’m looking for the next thing just like you, because we want to make people all they can be of themselves, and it’s, for me there’s nothing more exciting, and I’d be interested to hear you kind of comment on that, kind of knowing that you’ve lived in both of these worlds.
Dr. Etienne Côté: So I think, if I’m capturing the flavor of what you said. In terms of people and pleasure and the rewards of working with folks and the frustrations and difficulties and all the rest of it like that whole Kaleidoscope. I think what I’ve come away with is a feeling that if the fit isn’t good, that’s not necessarily somebody else fault or mine. I mean I used to I think take it quite personally like the author’s I was talking about, you know, if I if I made a mistake that was one thing. There were plenty of other situations that maybe involved some tensions or friction or whatever, and it’s just like well, you know maybe this wasn’t the right time for these people. Or maybe what I think is challenging or disagreeing with me is just this person’s way of being and so I think along the lines but not the same as what you just said. I feel like I’ve forgiven people little bit for being human and and maybe in that process forgiven myself as well a little bit more and I might have before and that’s nice that makes the days go by better.
Shawn Wilkie: So funny and makes me think I had I had tea with my great aunt. She’s 94 still drives her own car, does everything for herself. And I said I said, you know does it, does the world become kind of easy to understand as you as you age and as you get more experience, she said no dear you just get better at accepting the things that you don’t understand
Dr. Etienne Côté: How nice – hey, wonderful.
Shawn Wilkie: Yeah I was frustrated with it when she told me but then, good to know now as opposed to waiting.
Ivan Zak: That’s a gentle way of Indistinguishable
Dr. Etienne Côté: Exactly.
Ivan Zak: Indistinguishable more stupid than I am
Shawn Wilkie: We gotta tell her that.
How to empower and encourage people
Ivan Zak: So I really like what you said about empowering people and I think what what, what is the better way to empower people than teaching them in the vet school. I mean, how is that experience and do you ever feel.. I always look at, I have a six-year-old son now and he graduated from the first grade, which is a completely different experience, which I’m failing at I think as a parent, but he just finished the first grade and I’m looking at the teachers and I’m thinking how do they feel like they just spent the entire year with these kids. You know, well next year he’ll come to the same school. But when you when you have these students graduate in, it’s every year, I guess a new class. How do you feel about it? Do you feel like you’re separating with people because it’s like repeated experience over and over. What is that whole experience parting with people that you just infused with the knowledge and releasing from your hands to the world.
Dr. Etienne Côté: You know, yeah. I mean I certainly wasn’t prepared for that. And I don’t I don’t know that there’s any like formal preparation for that. I think what you said is so true and I’ve been surprised at I guess. I’ve been at this a while now, so that sometimes former students will loop back and tell me as you did at the beginning of the this podcast about things that that influence them. Sometimes people say, you know, oh you you said this and I never forgot it and I think wow, I forgot it. You know, it’s like I didn’t realize I was being memorable and then other times there’s stuff that I feel like I said six times and it’s still not sinking in and so what I’ve come to realize is that maybe me or maybe to some degree all of us aren’t necessarily like as accurate as we might think, at interpreting the impact that we think we’re having. I certainly am not, the things that apparently stick with people are often not the ones that I meant to be sticky. So realizing that makes it a little bit easier like when I’m teaching to feel like this is what I’ve got, you know, I know this can be helpful to you, but maybe it’s not the right time for you, or maybe you understand it intellectually, but not viscerally, maybe it’ll only come to you later. And so let me offer you like, here’s what I got and then go forth. I can’t I can’t force feed it to you so feeling like, I did what I could and then good luck to you. That’s really how I’ve come to terms with it. I will say that now that like the years have become many years. I find myself sometimes battling this feeling of like like I’ve been at the Atlantic by college for 16 years. And so I teach much the same thing year in year out. So sometimes I find myself thinking, how is it that you don’t know this? I’ve told you 16 times, but I haven’t I just told each class once and it’s this particular students first time hearing it.
Shawn Wilkie: That’s awesome.
Dr. Etienne Côté: You have to, have to like rein in the frustration a little bit and realize like wait a minute. You know, this is the whole thing of Henry Ford seeing it from the perspective of the person I’m speaking to, not just what I feel like saying and so when I think of it that way then it helps a little but I still feel like holy moly. It’s so clear and of course it can only be clear after you’ve had to say it sixteen times.
Shawn Wilkie: I can totally relate to that as a leader. Talking to somebody and being, thinking to myself. I’ve told you this I don’t even know how many times I never told them, you know all of these other people around me and you know, never never told that individual but you know you just when you say something so often, you know, that’s repeatable and you just think to yourself. Like how can this not be common sense to you, but you’ve know it inside and out.
Ivan Zak: Maybe I’ll feed on that, so with so many different personalities, and I think you have a pretty good selection process because I think that the folks that are getting into vet school I think they’re defined as smart to a certain level.
Dr. Etienne Côté: Yeah, I mean certainly more than you know, 15 years ago when they you know.
Ivan Zak: Yeah.
Shawn Wilkie: He had to he had to do it twice.
Ivan Zak: So, cause that was my second run, right? The first one was in Ukraine, the second one was…
Dr. Etienne Côté: Ivan, my joke is falling flat. I’m sorry.
Ivan Zak: But no, but what I you know, and I have another experience with my son. I went, he goes to the guitar class and then so he went and I never visited with him. He always goes in and you pick him up so I decided to go into the classroom with him. It’s one-on-one with the teacher so I went in and I’m just wanting to know because he wouldn’t play for me at home. So I’m like, what does it look like and it’s just like the guy was I don’t know what he does. But basically I would be frustrated in 30 seconds. It’s like okay, here’s the guitar and he goes, okay. So try the second string and he tries and he’s like wait, that can go up a little bit. He goes down. He’s like. Ok. Now, let’s do a little more up and he’s more down and then he’s like playing with the wrong string and I believe I had hair I would start pulling it. And as we’re leaving I’m like, thank you. I don’t understand how you do this job. So, how do you deal I mean with the students that you don’t get it do you get frustrated? Do you have like a punch bag and do your karate at home like.
Dr. Etienne Côté: Yeah, exactly. I have the punching bag in the back room. Excuse me. I have to step out for a minute. And then you hear these ungodly noises.
Shawn Wilkie: Punch the bag, smoke a cigarette, go back.
Dr. Etienne Côté: You know, it’s like this. This is the truth. When I went through veterinary school, I didn’t get it. I went through year 1 and year 2 of vet school not, and even a big chunk of year 3, just not getting it. It seemed like it was just cram and regurgitate. It was like undergrad all over again, and I didn’t buy it. So I did poorly in my first couple of years and as a consequence I graduated not well placed in my class. It was a very humbling moment to realize when I asked for my grades that they were just not good and I think in the end that has been a great help because I know that other students can be in that same situation that I am. They don’t have the same learning styles my teaching style. They’re ready for things that I haven’t even thought to give them yet and not ready for stuff that I am ready to give them. And so I think realizing that, it can be a little hard at first. I mean it’s easy to just say well forget it. You know, if you’re not ready then why do I even bother but I think also the way out is to say it’s okay that what I want to teach you is maybe not necessarily what you want to learn and we all have examples of that. I mean just because I’m interested in providing information doesn’t mean that the person is speaking to is willing to receive it. So that’s not too fancy. I don’t think it’s just part of growing up.
Shawn Wilkie: Yeah. It’s interesting one of the things that I kind of was thinking, you know, here’s this person that’s taught hundreds of veterinarians that are all over. Do you have any like secret teaching skills to get people to question things or to think more innovatively. Have you come up with any approaches that maybe directly related to you know to business to people that are running a Veterinary practice to people that are trying to solve difficult issues. Has there been any kind of resources or methods that you’ve used or stumbled upon that are kind of your go-tos?
Dr. Etienne Côté: I think, yes and no. Chris Rocchio was famously was asked for advice and he said the only advice I can say is what Mark Twain said, which is never take advice from people like me. And so I think I use that like I think of that for how I used to try so hard to impart like it gets back to this thing of I have something to give, so I want to give it to you. Well, the underlying message of that is you’re missing something, you know, you need me to give it to you and that’s not really a very good message. So instead what I’ve discovered. Is that a lot of time that I used to spend talking, I maybe should be listening and that if somebody says something that is I think wrong or in a way I disagree with, and maybe it was wrong, but maybe it turns out that it’s just said in a way that wasn’t in the same mindset that I was at. So yeah, for me personally, it’s just listen more. Not, it doesn’t mean be a doormat. You know, it doesn’t mean don’t have a vision for your own but I think anybody who inherently has that kind of vision for doing something has the risk of steamrollering what turns out to be, you know, the the next level of their enterprise or their their mission that just happened to express themselves differently or look differently or sound differently or whatever and and we’re all learning that that doesn’t work I think these days.
Ivan Zak: It’s interesting. I’m just what’s rolling in my head is how does how does that map to the teaching and to business and what I keep thinking is it’s sort of like you’re looking for your product-market fit. And not everybody wants your product. So when you’re thinking in marketing you’re thinking okay, if I’m creating this product, it’s for everybody. I made this app it’s for everybody and then a new reality when you start hitting the actual customer you realize that not all customers want this or they want to keep or different forms. So instead of forcing it on do the entire market in business you narrow down to a certain audience that will accept it as it is. And then that’s your audience and you pitch it to them. So almost it sounds like that in academia. You do your best with what you can but some people just don’t get it maybe because they’re this is not their thing. So it’s interesting when you think about different professors, you know, some of them I don’t not only I don’t remember their name, but the content is just… hopefully he’ll never hear about but biology there’s nothing I remember I mean this is except maybe.. I don’t know nothing is getting over to that side. But almost everything you taught us I remember because it was content and there was passion behind it. And I think they were very relatable to the life situation that I envisioned in my future and if you think about you know, the pig farming maybe I remember way less about it because it is not applicable but the hard part it feels like that you have the entire 60 PEI situation 60 people class that you have to deliver to them to pass the grade. So it’d be a really tough thing to do because in the market in business, I just say well it’s not for you. So let’s move on to those that really need it.
Dr. Etienne Côté: Yeah, right right. Well, but you know, there is some of that I mean not everybody who comes through a veterinary school class is going to see patients with heart disease. I like to think that there are similarities though. There are there are elements in common. They can always be tapped into I mean there’s a reason that veterinary students are in a vet school class the same way they would be reasons for somebody to be talking to you as an entrepreneur. I mean, there’s going to be a lowest common denominator. And so I enjoy speaking to that. I like to think that if somebody talks to me and I feel like they really mean it like if they actually believe in what they’re saying. I feel that that comes across that makes a huge difference. When I was a young veterinarian. Holy moly. I’d sort of say things tentatively and sometimes you know, I can remember being in an exam room with an animal patient explaining to the client, you know, we should do this and this and then I would say something like we can also do blood work if you like? As if you know somebody who went to the vet would know whether you should do blood work. That’s the vets job and I’m sure I look back and it probably sounded like, you know, would you like fries with that? Like it’s the most abysmal kind of lack of understand. So I guess I feel like if there’s an understanding of what holds everybody together in a particular situation like why why are my students there? You know. Why do they come here? Then speaking to that I think grounds, like the other material and you can really tell that if somebody needs it. So now I just say you know what? I think we should do blood work. So that sounds more like there’s a reason for doing it.
Shawn Wilkie: It’s so interesting one of the one of the things that I wanted to ask you about being involved in several startups. I sold my last one in January of last year. The thing that I really loved about it is this startup energy. So there’s this thing and you know a new Fresh company. It’s kind of like you pack a bunch of people in a canoe and you figure out how to all Row in the same direction. The thing that I really enjoy about startup culture or startup companies is the young energy that comes from being surrounded by a bunch of young people that are trying to figure things out some of them that you know, and you know, there’s a blend of kind of admiration and also questioning that comes with young people and I really like it. I think it’s taught me to be a better business person, because I question and I listened more than I would have and I would be really interested to hear from your perspective what it’s like to be surrounded by young passionate people day in and day out. It must be infectious and must keep you young.
Dr. Etienne Côté: I mean, there’s no other way to put it that I can think of it’s a privilege because exactly what you described that pure motivation that that desire that just kind of gut level, you know wanting to do the right thing is there all the time and so who could ask for anything better. Now that said, I mean, I remember being that person and having all the best, you know goodwill in the world, but I don’t know anything I mean nothing practical and you know, probably not enough factual and so that creative energy also carries with it like not knowing how necessarily how to apply it or thinking of applying it in a certain way. Where I know that I’ve seen that not work well and so I want to say oh, maybe we can try this other way or be careful because doing it your way might lead to these problems. I hear what you’re saying and I really do think it’s a balance, you know, there’s the yin and the yang. The yin is the motivation and I think also the questioning that’s not bound by like the everyday stuff that now is my norm and somebody says what about this or you know squirrel like just the thing that’s that’s out of the box like jeez. Maybe that’s really good. But the Yang to that yin is trying to rein it in or trying to offer direction in a way that’s not dictatorial or just have it spin well rather than you know my way or whatever
Shawn Wilkie: It’s so interesting because like you’ve done Ivan brought up examples with your child. I just have them spewing out of me, you know, have these two two wonderful children that I wish I could figure out a way to harness their energy because I’d be able to go 24 hours a day seven days, but but it’s often misdirected or in this direction or that direction or running towards the river or the pool or the road, you know and fine.
Ivan Zak: So I wanted to maybe wrap up with sort of a inspirational and the visionary question on to the veterinary students because what I found is what happened to me after vet school and the direction that I went into was so interesting and I’m so blessed to be in veterinary medicine because I could take any direction. So I’ve done you know, technology startup. I worked as a vet, I worked in emergency so many different directions you can take. Should we have more sort of entrepreneurial training or maybe not training but figure out who fits more into that mind while we’re in vet school. This PEI like UPEI do that more? Finding that entrepreneur, you know because you know, we had John Tate teach us business and in one week, he scared me rather than inspire me to do any because I realized I don’t know nothing about it and then figure out later so is there direction where you think that vets education should be taking more to bring this out of people and create people like yourself with sort of multi-directional aspirations after school.
Dr. Etienne Côté: So that’s so interesting. You should say that I mean, I think the answer is yes, but I think of it more as for me as yes in terms of freedom as in knowing that those opportunities exist and allowing them to blossom right rather than forcing everyone to take them. I know when I was a Veterinary student, we had a little bit of kind of business training you might say and it just came across as really dry. To me it was actually an obstacle, you know, my idealism was very clear about what I wanted to do, which was to help animals in need and the whole concept of veterinary medicine as a business was unappealing. It actually seemed, I’m gonna say pejorative things, you know, like it seemed kind of cheap or profiteering or whatever. And so I wanted nothing to do with it, but that’s because I wasn’t ready for that aspect at that time. I didn’t understand that at some point. I might be responsible for the livelihood of people I work with who might depend on a paycheck or whatever and so I’ll speak to my own perspective if I had to be a student again, I think what I would benefit from was just knowing that this exists, you know that there are opportunities that it doesn’t get suppressed actively, but just by neglect I think sometimes we suppress certain aspects of what we teach by neglect. So I agree with you that there is room for that and that is being Incorporated more at different levels some minor, some more significant. So for example, you might remember clinical conference is the seminar that fourth year students have to present to the entire school and you have twelve minutes to do it. And clinical conference now has to include how much did the bill come to what were the financial aspects that were discussed with the owner and so own so that that doesn’t get suppressed by neglect. But that’s just a minor example, there’s still aspects of formal business teaching and entrepreneurial I think not specifically I would say for example, I know that Cornell had a, the Cornell vet school had a hackathon, you know, and just kind of throw people together and see what they come up with and I vaguely want to say that we had something similar but not a recurring thing that I know of. So, I think there would be room for that and at the same time veterinary students are already, you know stretched wildly thin. I think one of the things that’s really important for a good veterinarian is to find some kind of balance that works for him or her and I’m a hypocrite to talk about that because I don’t know what that balance is, but I know that it’s a wise thing to look for. We’re always expecting so much of ourselves and to be able to say like, you know what I forgive myself having screwed this up or not living up to this thing or not completing what I meant to complete this isn’t like a rising call for being slackers. It’s just that we do often take on more than we can maybe humanly complete. So a very convoluted answer to your question that I think says there is room for that, but I don’t know that pushing more of it into the curriculum is necessarily the answer but perhaps more having folks like the two of you who are involved in sharing that passion. I mean, I think that can come across in a minute. Just explaining what it is that turns your crank and that made you go from what you started out to where you are. Now that kind of thing can resonate immediately with a couple of people that transforms their careers. So I like that kind of opportunity.
Shawn Wilkie: This has been so much fun to talk to you, and I’ve got one more question, you know one of the things that I want to do is get people resources or things that they can take away from our conversations. Last advice anything to read? Anything that you would put in your former students hands that maybe you didn’t know of when they were around the vet school because like this old guy next to me,
Dr. Etienne Côté: You know, boy, I mean this isn’t going to be very original, but it’s honest. The first time I read Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’ I just like my jaw dropped and you know, I read it again and and I liked it because it’s quite universal. I don’t think it is about entrepreneurship certainly not about academia or anything else. That yeah to me, that yeah to me is something that spoke to me.
Ivan Zak: That’s that’s an exceptional book I love it and…
Shawn Wilkie: Yeah, we were watching that YouTube video I think in a car somewheres just a little while ago. Where can we? Where can we find you online? Where can our listeners you know engage with you?
Dr. Etienne Côté: My presence is mostly in the flesh with both feet at the University of Prince Edward Island, but my profile’s would be on Amazon and with the textbooks on the Timeless Veterinary systems website for the dragon decks.