David Maman of Binah.ai: “Forgive and Forget”

At least half of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services and even those who can access it are left waiting. In fact, the average wait time for an appointment in large U.S. cities is 24 days. As for cost, approximately 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to health expenses, and […]

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At least half of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services and even those who can access it are left waiting. In fact, the average wait time for an appointment in large U.S. cities is 24 days. As for cost, approximately 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to health expenses, and two-thirds of those who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor. Our work at Binah.ai is disrupting the idea that this is the only way to approach healthcare.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Maman.

David Maman is CEO and founder of Binah.ai, a leading provider of video-based vital signs monitoring application, using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security and entrepreneurship have always fascinated me. I earned my master’s degree in computer science and applied mathematics, and knew I wanted to combine my love for science and entrepreneurship to address the world’s most pressing problems. Among these problems is access to basic healthcare and the burden of significant health expenses. These are two of the key components behind the inspiration for Binah.ai, a leading provider of video-based health and wellness monitoring solutions, and the only app that extracts vital signs through video of a person’s face.

Leveraging this technology within the healthcare industry provides a myriad of benefits, including most recently the ability to aid in preventing the spread of coronavirus. However, it can also be used in a variety of industries outside of healthcare, including insurance, telecom, wellness, automotive, consumer electronics, air and ground transportation, home security, lodging, and more.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

In order to determine what is disruptive, you have to first define the baseline that you are distributing. In today’s world we have an overarching issue that can be broken down into two categories: health availability and health costs.

At least half of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services and even those who can access it are left waiting. In fact, the average wait time for an appointment in large U.S. cities is 24 days. As for cost, approximately 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to health expenses, and two-thirds of those who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor. Our work at Binah.ai is disrupting the idea that this is the only way to approach healthcare.

Binah.ai’s technology extracts medical-grade vital signs through video of a person’s face on virtually any smart device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.). These vital signs include heart rate within 10 seconds; oxygen saturation within 20 seconds; respiration rate within 30 seconds; heart rate variability within 45 seconds; and mental stress levels within 60 seconds. Vitals are the first thing to be extracted when you enter a doctor’s office and often account for a significant amount of time during the visit. However, Binah.ai can be used by anyone, anywhere. The ability to monitor vitals remotely, especially for those who have a chronic illness or a loved one with a chronic illness, can save on costs that can quickly accumulate from office visits and even commuting.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Binah.ai is my 13th start up, and I am very proud of the success it has seen. However, I have not always been successful in my endeavors and often remind myself of this to remain grateful and driven each day. At a previous startup we were in desperate need for funding, and by desperate, I mean parched.

Then, one day, one of the largest companies in Israel agreed to a meeting. You could hear the excitement ring through the halls. I did everything I could to make sure we made a strong first impression, from laying out refreshments to preparing a thorough presentation. When four well-dressed individuals entered the building, we whisked them back to the meeting room. I went through everything I had rehearsed for about 20 minutes, feeling confident I was truly relaying our mission and service. Suddenly, one of them stopped me and politely said, “we just want to rent your office space.” I still laugh about how nice they were to sit there for 20 minutes.

The lesson for me is that while belief can be blind, sometimes we are blinded by belief. I would not be where I am today without the understanding that every move is like a chess game. Sometimes you have to sacrifice to win, and then other times, you just have to know when to let go.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I had two managers that were instrumental in my life. The first, was Hanun Dvey Aharon. He is extremely intelligent and has a few different PhDs, along with a phenomenal memory. The second is Amir Sadeh. Both of these mentors taught me to look at the bigger picture, and that you can find the answers you are looking for in the most unexpected ways. I learned through both of them that there are so many times we dive deep into a problem to try and solve it, and the answer is actually very simple. Both are still dear friends of mine.

Because I started my career at such a young age, I wasn’t able to learn under too many other mentors. I began working at 15 years old and had my master’s by the age of 18. So, the rest of my mentors are actually authors of books I’ve read that have taught me valuable lessons both personally and professionally. One who comes to mind is Hemant Taneja, managing director of General Catalyst. Books have always been a guide in my life.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

The world would not be balanced without positives and negatives. When it comes to disruptions, the question to determine whether it is positive or negative is around the amount of value it adds and the amount of pain it brings. Many distributors have cost millions of people their jobs, but at the same time have sparked new professions, and more efficient paths forward.

One disruption that has withstood the test of time is electricity. About 200 years ago there was no electricity and candles lit up the night. Candles were everywhere from homes, to streets, to workplaces. The best engineers at the time worked on candles, researching how to make them last longer, smell better, have a smaller footprint, etc. Countless dollars were spent on this research, but not one dime of it brought us electricity. This type of disruption (candles to electricity) killed a huge industry, but it also built the industries we have today — and continues to power them.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Don’t think about the solution, think about the value. A previous company I founded used public clouds to make data run faster for customers, whether they were sharing files, videos, etc. When we started talking to companies, they heard the word “faster infrastructure” and immediately brought us to the person in charge of the infrastructure. During the meeting we were asked to compare prices to their current provider to see which service was better for the infrastructure, but our value was in the customer’s outcome. Once I understood the context, we began talking to marketing and sales managers, because they were driven by increased customer satisfaction which led to conversion. The company is still running today.

Take a look at the little things to find the bigger picture. There is a well-known story in the Bible of two brothers, Cain and Abel. A famous part of the story is where Cain kills his brother Abel out of jealousy and tries to hide it. God then contacts Cain and asks him, “Where is your brother?” Cain snaps at God asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Many people still ask why God asked Cain the question, since he already knew what he had done. Some speculate that it was God testing Cain or pressuring him, but one Jewish translator, Rashi, gave a simple and beautiful translation; God just wanted to start a conversation.

Sometimes the little things that don’t make sense build out the entire story. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, mentioned “connecting the dots” during Stanford University’s commencement ceremony in 2005. Sometimes you can’t see the full picture when you’re in it, but if you take a step back, it is these dots that make up the entire story.

Forgive and Forget. In the Jewish religion there is a day in the year called Yom Kippur. During this time everyone fasts and is told to apologize to anyone they have hurt. Many people don’t understand that it is more than just apologizing, it is about forgiveness. And while you may forgive, it is tough to forget. You carry scars inside of you when you don’t let go. When you are holding on to these memories, you can instantly become triggered by words or circumstances that remind you of the pain. Fully forgiving and fully letting go is one of the most important things I’ve learned in life.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

We all know that the world changed in February 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic forever altered the lives of millions, if not billions, of people across the globe. With this, lead generation changed too. Lead generators like conferences, face to face meetings and speaking engagements were unable to proceed. This reminds us what is at the heart of lead generation- genuine interest.

The best way to generate leads is to generate interest. And while this may sound naive or cliché, if you create the desire in people to sit down and hear what you are offering, you have an audience willing to invest in change. This year Binah.ai has continued to create monthly webinars covering pressing topics, such as getting the travel industry back on track and fulfilling the promise of telemedicine with remote, video-based vital signs monitoring. We have had over 1,000 registered guests each time. It is no longer about having the biggest or flashiest booth at a conference; it is truly about what you have to say. Today we are converting more than 10–20% of leads, whereas most companies are only converting <> 1%.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We plan to shake things up by continuing to innovate the application and integrate Binah.ai’s technology into more industries. We’ve already continued to innovate since the application was created. For example, when we first began Binah.ai, vital signs could be monitored analyzing the upper cheek region of a person’s face through the camera on their smartphone. No specific devices, such as watches, or finger clips are required. Then, we were able to innovate again, and today in challenging light conditions, vitals can be measured with a touch of a finger.

Next, we are looking at the ability to use a second sensor, specifically the microphone of a smart device. For example, when you are sleeping the microphone can pick up breathing behavior that can be coupled with heart patterns, all while you dream. Although the first route for Binah.ai will be to add more features, such as alcohol blood level, the second sensor is something we are looking forward to exploring more.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

“Moment in Peking,” written by Lin Yutang, is a book I think everyone should read. The main character, Yao Mulan, had such admirable drive and persistence. Despite life-threatening obstacles, including the Boxer Uprising and beginning of the second Sino-Japanese War, she never gave up. I closed the book inspired to persevere, no matter what life throws my way.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson is to work hard, be kind and great things will happen. It is simple, but powerful. When I started paying less attention to what was going on around me and more on the work in front of me, I was able to reach new heights in my professional and personal aspirations.

The other lesson that I learned is more visual. I climbed mountains when I was younger and remember when I got to the top, there was really nothing there. Sure, you can stop and take in the view, but the hard work, memories and lessons were in the climb. The way of life is very much like going up the endless mountain, remember to pay attention to (and enjoy) the journey.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe in the idea of paying it forward and would like to instill that in society. When something good happens in your life, it is important to actively look for ways to spark that same joy in someone else. It could be anything from a kind word that was given to you, that you pass on to someone else, to something financial. Share your good fortune with those around you.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

You can follow Binah.ai via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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