My Princeternship took place at wonderful new startup on Nassaus Street called Prescription Advisory Systems and Technology (PAST). There, I got the opportunity to work on a project for the company that would go in one of their mock-ups for investors in addition to hearing about the difficulties and advantages of working for such a small company. The great thing, I soon discovered, was that everyone was on the same page, with the same high-level of energy and excitement about the mission of the company.
Kevin and I started off the Princeternship with a wonderful dinner at a small Indian restaurant on Nassaus Street. We got to meet the entire company on the first day and really got to know some of the key players in building the company. Doug and Ahmet sat down with us and told us about the basic business model and the region of the market they aimed to target. The program that the company is developing aims to analyze data acquired from the many dispersed data-centers of pain medication history to alert doctors about when a patient is at high risk for overdose or if the patients are doubling up on their pain medication by visiting multiple clinics. This way, doctors can feel safer prescribing pain medication, and patients can be protected from potential overdose due to conflicting drugs that alone do not cause trouble, but together may cause, most commonly, constricted breathing. After lunch, we parted ways to meet the next morning at 10 am.
Bright and early, Kevin, Deborah, and I appeared on the doorsteps of PAST as we listened to puppy footsteps coming up the stairs. Our host, Mr. Joe Studholme ’84, greeted us at the door with his puppy.
On the first day, we settled into the office, but soon convened for a meeting with Mr. Studholme who outlined where the company was looking to go in the future in addition to some of the complications they had faced along the way. Mr. Studholme also told us about his first successful company, Restricted Stocks Company, which he sold in the early 2000s. His experiences at his first company had given him an advantage in creating the second as many already knew he was reliable, dedicated, and successful. He then outlined our project for the three days on the whiteboard and we set out to make it happen.
Our project was to create an all-encompassing equation to estimate the fitness level of a patient with Fitbit data to enable doctors to fully evaluate how their patient was responding to the pain medication and to make adjustments accordingly. We also worked to create a mockup of the data that we would expect from having the Fitbit data.
Kevin, Deborah, and I gave a brief presentation to Mr. Studholme in the morning with the results of our previous day’s work. He walked through it with us and made suggestions as to where to go with our work thus far. We spent the remainder of the day working on improving our formula.
Since Kevin, Deborah, and I were more tech-oriented than business, we also got to meet with the tech team in the company to go over how they were creating their software. They walked us through the development process from the very beginning when they joined the team, to where we were today. Along the way, we learned about some interesting programs and software, like Github, that they used as part of their project. They also discussed with us some of the challenges they faced through working with a team that was spread across several physical locations. The solution involved heavy usage of Github and version control.
After working on our model, we presented it to Mr. Studholme and the entire company in the morning. We walked through some of our thinking and analysis of the problem with the company. It was really great to know that the problem we had been working on was so important to the company that everyone was present to listen to us present our solution and give us more useful feedback. We spent the afternoon incorporating their suggestions and then talking to Doug and Ahmet about how they got involved in P.A.S.T. and their specific roles in its operation.
The Princeternship was a wonderful way to get deeply immersed in a company for a few, concentrated days. I learned a lot about what it means to be a startup and the dedication and skills that it takes to create something from scratch. I also gained an appreciation for the myriad of different roles people in the company played to make the product successful and for everything to pull together. With just a few people working on creating a company, every one counted.
Finally, a huge thank you to Mr. Studholme, Doug, Ahmet, Rachel Jimenez, and the Career Center for making this experience possible for us. We had a wonderful time working for the company, and learned a lot along the way about entrepreneurship.