Deborah Sandoval ’16, Prescription Advisory Systems and Technology, Inc.

Deborah-SandovalDay 1

I arrived sharply at 10 am to PAST, Inc. headquarters, a collection of offices hiding above Panera on Nassau Street, along with two other Princeterns: Kevin Pardinas ‘16 and Katherine Lee ‘17. Our host, Joe Studholme ‘84, gathered us into the conference room to introduce himself and his newly founded company. Mr. Studholme, Chairman of Colonial Club’s Grad Board and CEO of PAST, Inc., informed us about his experiences with startups, sharing his story about leaving Princeton his senior year to join a company that would eventually go “belly up” and showing us his “tombstone” – a plaque representing a 14-million dollar deal for his former company. Having been successful with his previous startup, Mr. Studholme explained that he now had a better chance of attracting investors and, of course, a better idea of how to make this company grow.

Mr. Studholme then quickly briefed us on the background of his product. A surprisingly large number of people die each year from prescription drug abuse and being prescribed a deadly combination of drugs – common, costly, and deadly problems in United States healthcare. Today, doctors are pressed to see as many patients as possible in a limited amount of time and cannot afford to do a thorough analysis of a patient’s medical background information. Mr. Studholme’s product addresses this problem and allows meaningful information to be viewed efficiently– helping prevent lawsuits, abuse, and most importantly, injuries or deaths. He gave us a tour of his product so that we became familiar enough to begin our first assignment.

We were asked to find ways to represent the data provided by a Fitbit®, a wearable fitness-monitoring device, so that it was meaningful. Our first assignment quickly immersed us in the developing stages of the company – our findings were to be implemented in the product and pitched to the client as soon as possible. As a group, the Princeterns researched, discussed, debated, and finally, presented our findings to Mr. Studholme and his team. We were given some feedback and would continue to shape this project the next day.

Day 2

Essentially, we were back toPardinas 1 the drawing board, so we headed straight to work with the feedback from yesterday in mind. I felt very productive and fulfilled knowing that our efforts would be manifested in the product. Since we all had technical backgrounds in computer science, Mr. Studholme thought we would benefit from seeing the technical perspective of the startup. We met with the software programmers who gave us a thorough overview of how the product is structured and run. The programmers emphasized on separating modules and implementation to make for easier changes – a very important theme I learned in my computer science classes. It was fascinating to see the applications of computer science in a “real-world” setting. Since there was currently no patient data, the programmers explained that they had to create mock data in order to show clients what the product does and will do. With that in mind, we created mock data for the patients seen in the product demo, so that it would be easier to implement when we were finished with our project. We wrapped up our work and prepared to present in a web meeting/conference call at 10:30 am the next day.

Day 3

We presented our project to Mr. Studholme (who was on a train at the time heading to an important meeting) and his staff once more and received additional feedback on how to improve and take into consideration some pitfalls in our calculations and displays. However, we were on the right track and much closer to getting it right. The other Princeterns and I began to discuss and consider the pros and cons of all our options, slowly eliminating each one until we decided on the most efficient and less-time consuming feature for the client. We then presented our final project to Chief Legal Advisor Ahmet Bayazitoglu ‘00 and Business Development Director Douglas Blair ‘71 who agreed that our version of displaying data was most efficient.

We asked the staff questions about how they became involved with PAST, Inc. as well as their roles and expectations for the company. They provided invaluable insight on careers and networking after Princeton and with that we closed a fascinating and exciting experience with Prescription Advisory Systems and Technology, Inc.

I sincerely thank our host, Mr. Joe Studholme, for opening his company to three interested Princeton students and for providing a quality experience that will influence our future perspectives and careers. I would also like to thank Ahmet Bayazitoglu, Douglas Blair, Vin Shelton ‘80, Jeanette Thomson ‘85 and the rest of the staff for offering their knowledge, sincere advice, and help in making this possible.

Katherine Lee ’17, Prescription Advisory Systems and Technology

Katherine-LeeMy 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.

Day 1

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.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

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.