From Duke and UCSF-trained Ophthalmologist to CEO & Co-Founder of a MedTech Startup. I'm Quinn Wang.Featured
What’s your name and your current role? My name is Quinn Wang, and I’m the volcano-climbing, cataract-surgery-performing co-founder of two healthtech startups.Where’s the place of your origin?I was born in Changde, China. When I was a few months old, my dad moved to the US to get his foot into the American residency training system (he’s an MD/PhD); when I was a year old, my mom left China to join him. When I was 2, my grandma and I both took our very first plane trips ever so that I could be reunited with my parents, whom I didn’t recognize at first and was quite scared of for a few weeks. Actually, I remained scared of my mom (talk about strong women…) until I left for college. :DHow many years have you been in tech? 2 months! I don't know much about tech yet, but I do have a good idea of how to bridge the gap between the med and tech worlds. I didn't spend the past 8 years of my life getting my a$$ whooped in med school (Duke) and residency (UCSF) for nothing. What’s something that you’ve done that you’re proud of? Depends on the day. Right now I'd say I'm most proud of designing some ski graphics for Parlor Skis (an awesome ski + snowboard company based in Boston) back in 2014, when I was still a medical student. What’s your “aha” moment in deciding what do you want to do professionally? I've had a lot of meltdowns that led to some very spontaneous decisions that then led to the creation of my very first company a mere month ago. A key turning point came out of a few dates with this super smart founder; I learned a ton from him, then one day realized that I could do the CEO thing 10x better. What’s your definition of success in life or in your career?I've thought about this a lot. I just want to be a happy and genuinely good person who works hard at bringing joy and opportunity to other good people. What’s something that you’re working on to improve about yourself? I am very impatient in all aspects of my life. When I find something I want to improve on (personally or professionally, superficially or deeply), I try to get results as quickly as possible. This serves me well sometimes, but gets me in trouble, too. I end up tripping myself up and stepping on toes. Really, I just need to slow down -- deep breaths, clear mind, eyes on the prize. Life is a marathon and adventure, and I have many many many years to do all the things I want to do (and then some).Tell us about someone who has inspired you a great deal. Who was it and how did they inspire you?RBG. She has this rare mix of personal and professional electricity. I'm amazed and humbled that RBG never stops going against the grain to fight for what she believes in -- with the support of her late husband nonetheless! Plus, I'm convinced that she's indestructible, a trait I very much desire. How do you celebrate your wins? I usually treat myself to a massage, big dangly earrings (aka BDE), a fancy meal, or a leisurely walk to the Potrero Hill Community garden, my favorite city hangout (by the way, there’s a 5+ year waitlist to get a plot here). More often than not, it’s a combination of these things! #treatyoselfWhat do you do when you aren't working or studying?I love skiing (alpine and backcountry), cycling, visiting art galleries, making music and art, long city walks (in the style of a flâneur), exploring cities both new and personally beloved, talking to strangers, reading and writing, eating dark chocolate, etc.What is one piece of advice that you’d share with the Elpha community? I'm a very concrete person, and I like actionable advice. This is going to sound weird, but here goes: please don't litter. I'm all about noticing and respecting the people around me, and I think littering is a very obvious show of disregard for public spaces and the well-being of others; it's also bad for the environment. I once heard a talk from a physician entrepreneur about how he fosters a positive culture within his private practice, and he said that he always picks up any garbage he drops -- after all, you never know who is watching, and you don't want to come across as disrespectful, thoughtless, and sloppy. Being aware of the trash you leave behind is also a really easy and concrete way to check your mental space; it forces you to be aware of what you're thinking, how you're acting, and how you're impacting the space you are occupying and the people you are around. Once I started being militant about picking up everything and anything I drop, whether it be a large piece of lint or a coffee cup, I became aware of some of my other annoying habits and really came to see myself in a different light. It's been good. But TBH: My desk at home is a mess; I am ashamed. Quinn Wang, MD is a Duke and UCSF-trained ophthalmologist. She is the co-founder of two startups in the ophthalmology space. Quinn performs cataract surgery in San Francisco and is a member of South Park Commons (SPC). In addition to wearing multiple hats -- skier, cyclist, founder, cataract surgeon, Elpha CM -- Quinn loves meeting and empowering people. You’ll most likely spot her on one of her long walks or rides around the city, sporting some serious BDE.