Last Friday I wasn’t feeling very well, so went to A&E and six hours later, I was being prepped for surgery. I have Crohn’s disease, and to be honest I’ve never been admitted to hospital where it wasn’t an emergency, but watch carefully as I deftly turn this tale into a lesson about product design in your startup.

(This is why I haven’t posted in a week, so this post is 50% explanation/apology, 50% educational…)

My surgery was supposed to be on Friday night, but something happened with the surgery before mine and I got bumped to the morning. In the morning, the surgeon comes up to me for that consultation they do that takes about 15 seconds and takes one look at me and declares I don’t need surgery – what I need is antibiotics. A lot of antibiotics.

Again without going into the oddities of Crohn’s disease, I had an issue with oxygen starvation in a particular tissue and there are two options when that happens – a) cut it out, b) dump a couple of decalitres IV biotics into the patient and for some reason, that works.

I spoke to four surgeons, all of which were convinced the best course of action was to do what they do – take a knife, and solve the problem with the knife. That one last surgeon was the one who was more like, “you know what, I like solving problems with my knife, but I’m going to solve this problem like I’m not a surgeon”.

Somehow I need to now create enough of a denouement to tie that into the life of a founder. I have two options. One moral of the story is, “sometimes the best option is to do nothing”, which sounds good, but doesn’t apply in this case because he did something, not just what he normally did.

I think what I’ll probably do is just leave this there. Someone who was very good at their job and very experienced did something unexpected. What can you learn from that?