The incredible value of having deep, dimensional knowledge of your customers. Most companies say that they are customer-focused, but few actually dedicate the time and attention to really get there. Our customers are unique individuals facing unexpected challenges day after day, and we understand the dimensions of their pain. We know. We talk to them. We visit them. We ask lots and lots of questions. We listen. I wouldn’t have been able to start and lead this company if I hadn’t been in the same caregiving situation as our customers find themselves. Too many businesses rely on research to define target audiences and then lump them together and see them as monoliths. We don’t.
Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Terry Moore, CEO and Founder of HomeoLux a health and technology company that designs wellness products based on cutting-edge scientific research.
Known as a Business Philosopher, Terry has been a life-long leader in science, and research. He founded the Radius Foundation seeking new ways of exploring and understanding dissimilar conceptual systems or paradigms-scientific, religious, philosophical, and aesthetic-with the aim of achieving a worldview of more penetrating insight and richer innovation. He serves as a board member at The Columbia Center for Radiology Research and has popular TED Talks that examine how to master even the most simplistic life skills.
Thank you for joining us Terry. Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Originally I studied business and spent more than 30 years in management consulting providing services to health, nutrition and science verticals. I’m fascinated by business because it has tremendous potential to solve problems uniquely and specifically.
I first retired in 2003. But life throws us unexpected, unwelcome and unwanted curveballs. In 2016 my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The news hit us like a freight train. What did this mean? What could I expect to happen? How could I help? Receiving a life-altering diagnosis is never easy for an individual or the people who love them. Some people pray, some people scream, some crawl into a ball and hope it’s just a bad dream. I did all of that and more. And then, when I was able to get my bearings, I did what comes naturally to me: I looked to science for a solution.
I was determined to find answers, and ultimately, l found a flicker of hope. Researchers at MIT were focusing on light therapy as a treatment for Alzheimer’s — where flickering light shone into the eye induced healthy brain rhythm. They discovered that visual stimulation, given one hour a day for three to six weeks, had dramatic positive effects on brain function.
For me this was a eureka moment. Like so many others fighting against the clock with our loved ones facing dementia, I feared too much time had passed and that I might be too late. I called on some colleagues to help develop prototypes of safe, nurturing lamps just like the ones from the research. We immediately began using them at home.
The flickering lamps had notable positive effects on my wife. We saw a rejuvenation in her speech, strengthened memories and more. I found it remarkable and so did her doctors; they asked me where they could get more of them. Our experienced benefits combined with their interest led me to leave retirement. I founded HomeoLux™, a health and technology company that designs wellness products based on cutting-edge, scientific research to help families like mine who just can’t wait.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
Our biggest challenge with HomeoLux has been awareness. With Alzheimer’s affecting 5.8 million people in the US alone, the competitive landscape for therapies is relatively barren. While the research around light therapy is known and respected by scientists, it is unknown and unimaginable to most people affected by dementia. I’ve met so many families who feel hopeless and helpless because they think there is absolutely nothing they can do.
With that, we’re learning about the effort it takes to inform people about 40Hz lights and the positive impact they’re proven to have. I’ve been lucky enough to share some of my past research projects on global stages like the United Nations, Columbia University and TED Conferences. Today, I’m telling this story because it’s so important to so many families right now.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
It’s my personal story. Because I face the challenges every day of caring for my wife who is battling Alzheimer’s disease, I know first-hand what other families are going through. I know that they need help to get them through each day and to continue to have hope. I know that they need something that is safe and nurturing, that complements their doctor’s prescribed therapies. I know that they need something that is backed by science and yet fits seamlessly into their home so as not to disrupt their daily routines. I know how hard it can be and I know what it feels like to share a good night’s rest and to celebrate a rejuvenated memory.
Additionally, I rely on a diverse and dedicated team that helped me launch the company. While each of us is unique, each has its own experiences caring for a loved one with dementia. Each of us brings a personal passion and strength to our work at HomeoLux, whether we’re working on engineering, business development or marketing. That caring, that compassion is palpable in the Beacon40 lights and in every step of our users’ experiences. You can’t manufacture that anywhere else.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- The incredible value of having deep, dimensional knowledge of your customers. Most companies say that they are customer-focused, but few actually dedicate the time and attention to really get there. Our customers are unique individuals facing unexpected challenges day after day, and we understand the dimensions of their pain. We know. We talk to them. We visit them. We ask lots and lots of questions. We listen. I wouldn’t have been able to start and lead this company if I hadn’t been in the same caregiving situation as our customers find themselves. Too many businesses rely on research to define target audiences and then lump them together and see them as monoliths. We don’t.
- The importance of having a clearly stated strategy statement. NOT just a mission statement. Successful organizations need a strategy statement that everybody can read and understand so that everybody truly knows the mission, the tactics, the target audience, the language and the tone we use. Once you have a familiar, clear strategy, individuals have the autonomy to set and achieve their own goals, and teams work more effectively and efficiently together.
- My background is in strategic marketing and marketing communications. Before we launched HomeoLux, I had almost no experience in manufacturing. I was astounded by the complications of industrial design and manufacturing and then the complications introduced by the impact manufacturing requirements have on design specifications. It’s a huge and complex process to align all of the specifications. It takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to design and manufacture a relatively simple product, especially if you require it to be safe and effective — as of course we do.
- It’s been said that the difference between a manager and a leader is that a manager makes sure that people are doing their jobs right while a leader makes sure that people are doing the right jobs. A successful enterprise requires a constellation of people with different skill sets that require a diverse team to work well together. And the leader MUST provide the opportunity and the means for self-care. This means not just supporting professional development, but making sure that everyone is provided an opportunity for healthy eating habits, exercise and yoga — and I always encourage meditation. This is built into our financial plan, our schedule and our culture. It ensures that we have less burn out, more camaraderie, and more team engagement. We also have a company cat, Rocky, who encourages us.
- All leaders should know how to cultivate FLOW at work. Flow is generally understood as a mental state where a person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, total involvement and enjoyment. Flow means being in a state in which optimal team performance and creativity are made possible. Some people also call this state of hyperfocus “being in the zone.” In a business setting, Flow is linked to productivity, motivation and employee engagement and retention. Business leaders can facilitate conditions to get teams into the flow. 1. Create space for uninterrupted focus with no distractions. 2. Ensure that people are engaging in activities that are meaningful, challenging and achievable to them. 3. It’s easier to get to the flow state if individuals have already practiced and built confidence around a skill. So be sure to allow for that skill development and ensure that the tasks are appropriately challenging, not too easy and not out of reach.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Steps 1, 2 and 3: Meditation, Yoga and Get Rest.
Then, you have to live a joyful life. One of the ways you can play that out is to find something that you really love to do and do it to the ultimate. For you that maybe skiing, singing, dance or poetry. For me, it’s driving. Being aware of that movement through space is a connection with a greater sense of reality for me. It elevates me and my thinking. As entrepreneurs, we often feel like we don’t have time for these things, and they can be deprioritized, or worse, ignored. If you don’t feed your soul, you’ll starve your great ideas.
Think about Seymore Cray — known as the father of supercomputing, who developed Cray computers — his thing was digging tunnels. He dug tunnels under his home where he said he uncovered success secrets by “visits to elves” there. “While I’m digging in the tunnel, the elves will often come to me with solutions to my problem.”
I can relate to Cray. I’ve had a number of my best business ideas just driving. I often wish someone would pay me to just drive.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have had a lot of help from many people along the way, all of whom have played different roles, but my wife Lynn is the person who most changed my life. I have loved her since high school, but we pursued different paths and reunited 30 years later. She was a pioneer in the business, a philanthropist, a financial genius and an artist. I have never seen someone with such talent.
Four years ago when I started witnessing her cognitive decline, it struck me in such hard and deep ways. I could not fathom how someone who has created so much for the world with her skills could no longer perform simple tasks and would eventually forget who I, her husband, was. It is the one thing that forced me out of retirement, to find any way to save her. That is why I am the most passionate I have ever been about business. We might help millions of people battling cognitive decline.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
Professionally my singular goal is to bring this valuable scientific advancement to all of those who are seeking to understand brain health — and simultaneously to bring hope and help to families who need it now. Cognitive decline is a slow, cruel and ruthless disease. Too many families need something safe, something practical right now.
I’ve got a lot of personal goals, and my primary personal goal is synonymous with my professional one.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
Global awareness of the importance of brain health. Just as everyone commonly understands the importance of physical health, I want this generation to understand the wellness routines and lifestyle habits that lead to brain health.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be?
Creating the brain health movement. I think of the BEACON40 lights systems that we make as a massage for your brain. While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, you can build an Alzheimer’s resistant brain.
- Research shows that light pulsating at 40Hz mirrors the brain’s healthy gamma rhythms and improves mental acuity, memory and attention.
- DNA alone does not determine Alzheimer’s
- Following a heart-healthy diet, leading a physically active lifestyle and continuing to learn new things all prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
How can our readers follow you on social media?