A Day in The Life with Haris Aghadi, Co-Founder of Meddy
The tech startup scene is new to Qatar, but a few notable startups are starting to come out of Doha. One of these is Meddy, a platform to find the best doctors in your area based on reviews and credentials. Co-Founder Haris Aghadi told us about their company, and some of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the city.
1. First can you tell us a bit about your job? What does your company do?
Meddy is a platform to help patients find best doctors based on patient reviews and credentials. Think of it like Yelp for doctors. We provide extensive information on doctors’ background and reviews to help people make informed health decisions. From the doctor’s side we help them find new patients and grow their practise. My job as the CEO is to help make my team as productive as possible and keep them motivated. I make sure no one is stuck on something and everything they do aligns with our vision. In addition to that I lead product and marketing efforts at the company.
2. What brought you to this area?
The idea of Meddy was conceived as a classroom project at Carnegie Mellon University. It was a lean startup course where he had to develop an idea for a business, talk to potential customers, get feedback and then improve on the idea. Our initial plan was quite different, it was something like LinkedIn for doctors. But after talking to a few doctors, it was clear that wouldn’t work, because doctors are too busy treating patients and they are not that tech savvy. So we tried to do something from the patient side. As a result, we talked to several people and asked them to share their issues with healthcare and doctors in the country. Pretty much everyone was struggling with finding a good doctor and relied on friends or family to get relevant information. But with the high turnover of doctors in Qatar, the chances of a favorite doctor leaving the country after 12 months, is quite high. The situation is even more difficult for new expats who don’t have family or friends for guidance. They have to go through a process of trial and error before finding the right doctor. All of this sparked the idea of creating an online platform where people can conveniently find all the required information on doctors, including patient reviews, to help with the decision making.
3. What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?
I usually get some work done in the morning from home before I leave for the office. Usually around 8:30am I reply to pressing emails from customers and slack convos with my team. The beauty of doing a startup is that there is no “typical” work day. Every day is quite different, different problems, different approach and new learnings! Majority of my time is spent clearing roadblocks for my team members to help them with their deliverables. In addition to that I spent lot of time with our big clients and investors.
4. What kind of projects are you currently working on?
We are launching our iOS app this month. Although, we only have a website, 60% of our traffic comes from mobile web. So it’s imperative we launch the iOS app to further enhance user experience. We are also working on a dashboard for doctors and clinic managers to give them insights on their patients so that they can improve their clinic experience. Finally, we also are working on a practise management software for clinics to manager their appointments which we can link back to our website. So patients will be able to instantly book an appointment without having to speak with the clinic receptionists.
5. What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?
Greatest achievements would be seeing the doctors’ problem solved with the work we’ve done and the sacrifices our team has made.
6. What is the one app you could not live without?
Pocket. I love to read and pocket is fantastic app that manages my content across all my devices.
7. What’s the best thing about working at your company?
You get to work on a high impact problem helping people find the best healthcare. Whatever you do here will help people live longer and a healthier life.
8. Where is the after work hangout?
A really nice, urban style cafe in downtown area where my team and I’ve started hanging out lately. Although, the after work hangout place varies based on the weather and our mood.
9. Who is your professional role model?
I don’t really have a single role model. I get inspired by different people for different things.
10. What makes Doha a good city for startups?
There are lot of problems around you, considering the fact that population is growing rapidly and city is evolving at a drastic page. There are not many startups here and lot of untapped market opportunity.
11. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employee?
These are the 3 things on a high level we look for when hiring. The rest are role dependent Contrarian Thinkers: We like people who have unorthodox point of views. They are very vocal about them and don’t shy away from sharing them. The reason we value this is because it’s important to have people in early stage startups who frequently question your decisions rather than just merely taking orders. They ask “Why” a lot. Comfortable with Ambiguity: In early stage startups there is going to be lot of uncertainties and things will be changing a lot. We like people who can adjust and learn things on the fly and be comfortable with frequent changes in course of direction. Bias for action. We don’t like people who contemplate about things for a very long time before doing it. We have a strong bias for action. We like doers over tellers.
12. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out?
Don’t give up. Doing a startup is long journey. You need to be persistent and keep going. Every good company has faced its fair share of really bad moments when things seem extremely gloomy and hopeless. You have to hang in there and get through it, things will probably get better. Those moments will truly test and define your company’s culture.