How was your 2022?
My 2022 theme was “being mindful”. Author Susan David says that anything we do with “mindfulness” we do better. Being more mindful was my aim in 2022, and still is for 2023. I’d like to be more mindful of how I spend my time, allocate my attention (No Tiktok please), take care of my mental and physical health, and build relationships. I’d also like to be more mindful of how 3DHEALS is influencing our community and impacting the world. While we did not have any Press Release worthy news, I believe we are achieving what Warren Buffet would describe as the “magic of compound interest”. What is compounding here is not money, but new relationships, new audiences, and new knowledge for whoever participated. I would argue that in a tough capital market, the value of incremental accumulation of relationships/goodwill, knowledge, and experiences surpasses money.
Here is my recap of what 3DHEALS has achieved in 2022, and an outlook for 2023.
Objective One: Building a network
In 2022, we have done well with two of the three objects, i.e. educating the public through our virtual events and blogs, and our Pitch3D program in helping early-stage startups. Our third but more original mission of creating better networking opportunities has taken a hit because of the pandemic. While the threat from COVID is dissipating as we have better vaccination and medication against the disease, full return to our old logistics for in-person get-togethers has been more challenging than one could imagine. For example, I tried to host a small six-people Thanksgiving dinner, and four of our guests were replaced twice due to various waves of infectious diseases. I cannot imagine the logistical gymnastics that one must perform to get 20 or even 100 people into one place. What is an interesting observation through the pandemic is that some in-personal events may not be as efficient in achieving certain professional or business goals as one might think and that virtual networking will not go away, especially with increasingly better remote meeting tools. I personally enjoyed meeting new people via Zoom and really listened to our speakers during our virtual event rather than getting distracted every five minutes by a random encounter. However, the enjoyment of meeting is definitely muted. We as a group love hanging out with one another.
Therefore, there are two possible outcomes for 2023: 1) a new way of networking virtually or in a hybrid format and 2) a return of smaller scale get together. Both can happen. If you would like to host small events in your community under the Pitch3D brand, please email me.
Objective Two: Educating the Public
In 2022, we have hosted 19 virtual events with 4000+ audiences from 72 countries, and published about fifty blogs including Influencer Interviews, Expert Corner blogs, and 3DHEALS Guides, which are often based on our virtual event contents. We have also shared thousands of pieces of news and reposted numerous Instagram photos and videos from an amazing group of creators throughout the year through our social media channels.
In a great book called “Four Thousand Weeks: Time management for Mortals”, recommended by new friend Mark Wehde from Mayo Clinic (shout out here), it is with certainty that we are almost certainly going to miss out on some opportunities in life. We will not be able to address every topic in healthcare 3D printing and related emerging technologies because of FOMO, but we will try our best to prioritize and select the best topics to present to the public, our next generation of scientists, clinicians, and entrepreneurs. Moreover, if you did miss our live events (which were all provided free to the public), we have them hosted here on-demand until we believe the content is out of date. We have archives since 2017, which we may remove soonish because so much has changed in our industry.
- 2023 Virtual Events: We have set a series of preliminary virtual events on this page, however, we may modify or add events depending on your responses. Email me if you really want a topic to be on our 2023 calendar. We will continue to discuss 3D printing in hospitals, point of care, dentistry, prosthetics/orthotics, microfluidics, and bioprinting, but we also added new relevant topics such as AI/ML, and quality control. On the flip side, just because you are deep in organ bioprinting, it does not mean metal 3D printing implants will be irrelevant to you. In a great book, I really resonated with this year, Range by David Epstein, there is more advantage to being a generalist who is open to a variety of experiences than a specialist. Intellectual flexibility pays off.
- Blogs: 3DHEALS Expert Corner column intends to dig deeper than normal news outlets, be more technical, and give people a more authentic first-person narrative from innovators/researchers themselves, removing the unnecessary middle narrators (i.e. journalists, marketers, etc.). We had some very insightful blogs such as Brett Carey’s piece on how he set up a 3D printed hand prosthetics workflow on an island as a clinician, Kerim Genc’s piece on how to use AI-empowered software to streamline orthopedics surgery, and professor Agarwala’s piece on Bioprinting for Sustainable Bioelectronics. These blogs are typically invite-only, but given the fact that we have a lot of smart readers/audience members whom I do not yet know, please feel free to submit completed pieces to email@example.com. We will only respond to qualified submissions. For more guidelines about Expert Corner blogs, please see here.
- Social media: We are active on Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram. If you own a business or brand in 3D printing or bioprinting, my number one (free) marketing advice is to have an Instagram account. A picture/video is worth a thousand words, possibly ten thousand for 3D printing in particular. I cannot emphasize this enough. Additionally, every time you use hashtag #3dhealspost, we will repost qualifying posts to add your visibility to our followers as well. We also now pay Elon Musk 8 dollars per month and were promised that none of our 4900 followers would be bots. Let’s see how the conversations continue in 2023…More importantly, we scout out and then reshare worthwhile news piece agnostic of publishers through these channels.
Object Three: Helping Early-Stage with Fundraising
In 2022, we have helped thirteen early-stage startups to raise institutional money through our pitch3D program. This is a program that is 100% free to both the startups and associated institutional investors. This program acted as a conduit between entrepreneurs and VCs. If you are a qualifying startup, apply here. If you are an interested institutional investor looking for deal flow in MedTech and biotech space, please email me directly. Stay tuned for our write-up about 2022 Pitch3D companies later this month. I am also very content with our year-end event with some of the institutional investors we work with. They are truly a great group of people to know and learn from. People who are way smarter than I am.
While 2022 headlines were mostly occupied by war, disasters, and pessimism, many pitch3D startups successfully closed their funding rounds. The number of high-quality pitch3D applicants is absolutely on the rise globally, as it is also reflected by a maturing healthcare 3D printing ecosystem. Our company directory had around 300 companies by the end of 2021, and now there are nearly 500 companies listed, large or small. I anticipate the true number is double that, and we intend to have a more complete version in 2023.
While the valuation of many companies took a beating on paper, it may be an opportunity for us to focus more on generating value than obsessing about price. It also seems that a lot of institutional money is still going into healthcare in a cooling market based on the latest SVB report. Regardless, many of us will continue to stay the course and operate in accordance with our values.
– Dory from “Finding Nemo”
Finally, you might have noticed that I have been referencing books throughout this email, as this is my big new hobby in addition to 3D printing. My goal for 2023 is to read 100 books (28 books in 2022), but ultimately the number is meaningless. I discovered that reading can play the role of a mentor or a friend that I never get to have. Feel free to suggest great books you have read, and feel free to follow me on Goodreads.