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.
Essentially, we were back to 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.
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.