Mike Wessinger on Why He’s ‘Kind of the Black Sheep of the Family’
Meet PointClickCare CEO and co-founder, Mike Wessinger.
When he and one of his brothers, Dave, founded PointClickCare in 1999, the world looked quite differently from the way it looks today.
For one thing, the term “software as a service” wouldn’t be used by anyone until at least five years later. And Silicon Valley wouldn’t start using “cloud” in reference to anything other than a fluffy, white puff of moisture droplets in the sky until a few years after that.
On top of that, the skilled nursing technology market was anything but ‘hot’.
“Nobody wakes up saying, ‘I’m going to be in the nursing home technology business when I grow up.’ But that’s really where we started,” Mike says.
A Family Affair
Mike has three brothers, all of whom studied to become software engineers. He considers himself the “black sheep” of the family because of this. “I studied commerce,” he explains.
His mother’s perspectives and insight from her career with a skilled nursing provider ultimately propelled him and Dave into the senior care industry. In the late 1990s, the duo were busy introducing technology to nursing homes, preparing those facilities for the 21st century.
But they soon noticed that the solutions they were implementing weren’t comprehensive enough. “The market was really demanding a better solution,” Mike says.
With Dave as the technologist and Mike as the businessman, the two set out to solve the skilled nursing industry’s tech problem — and it definitely took hard work.
“If you were to draw a Venn diagram of the worst place to target for a technology business, you’d pick one that was hugely regulated, where there was no technology sophistication, and the budget was almost zero,” Mike says. “We picked a really, really difficult market. But at the same time, where there are deep challenges, and no big players solving them well, you can really carve out a niche for yourself.”
And that’s what he and his brother have done with PointClickCare. Though, it hasn’t always been glamorous.
‘Don’t Eat the Deviled Eggs’
During the early years, PointClickCare went to one of its very first trade shows — with a very limited budget. When they arrived at the venue and began to set up their exhibit to demonstrate their technology solution, they realized they had not paid to have electricity run into their booth. That was a problem because the team needed electricity to power a monitor to show their demo.
“Those were our boot-strapping days,” Mike says. “We’d share on hotel rooms, sleeping in shifts, it was pretty challenging but we didn’t care.”
That’s when Angelo Papatheodorou, who is currently PointClickCare’s Senior Vice President of Sales, had an idea that has since become “legendary”: borrow the electricity from a neighboring booth using an extension cord. The only issue? PointClickCare didn’t have an extension cord.
Papatheodorou, quick on his feet, made his way to the venue’s kitchen and returned promptly with an extension cord. Relieved to have solved the problem and finally able to set up the demonstration, the team went to work getting the booth in order. Then Mike began to wonder how the group had suddenly come into such a perfect, readily available extension cord. “Hey, where did you find this?” he asked Papatheodorou.
“Let’s just say, don’t eat the deviled eggs,” Papatheodorou replied with a smile.
Mike in a Nutshell
Every morning, I… get my kids out of bed and take them to school.
I can’t live without… my iPhone.
For success, I have sacrificed… sleep, and early on, health.
For success, I have not been willing to sacrifice… time with my kids.
The three words I would use to describe myself are… “Very ordinary and lucky.”
If I could trade places with someone for a day, I would choose… President Obama so I could go check out Area 51. I want to go see what’s out there.
Click here to learn more about the origins of PointClickCare.
May 12, 2016