A Healthy Bottom Line: Organized Wisdom

In the early 1990s, the Internet was still uncharted territory, but Steven Krein, a student at Widener University School of Law in Delaware, saw endless opportunities. Before graduating, he and a professor launched Law.com, an online service for the National Law Journal, to change the way attorneys connected and shared information with each other across the country. After graduation, he moved to New York and eventually created Promotions.com in 1996. The site went public in 1999, and was later acquired by iVillage in 2002.

Like a true serial entrepreneur, Krein was ready for another venture by 2007, but this time, he wanted to do something to serve the community. So he founded OrganizedWisdom, a digital media company focused on health and wellness. For Krein, the CEO, and his president, Unity Stoakes, the goal of this site is to change the way doctors communicate with their patients online.

The Inspiration

In early 2007, one of Krein’s friends was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and as he left his doctor’s office, not only was he flooded with questions, but he couldn’t find the answers he needed.

“He got caught up in something we call the online health gap—the gap between a doctor’s office and an Internet search on Google where you find millions of results,” Krein said. “He came to me, as an Internet guy and said, ‘I want to know where doctors go online to share links with patients? Where do they share their wisdom? Where do they actually communicate and answer questions?’”

What Krein found was that doctors weren’t interacting with patients online. In an effort to close that gap, Krein and Stoakes developed OrganizedWisdom, as an online resource for doctors and other healthcare experts to share their knowledge, and for patients and caregivers to find recommended information written by, read by, and backed-up by experts.

OrganizedWisdom doesn’t create original content itself, but aggregates information, research, and advice from trusted medical professionals on its site.

A Step Ahead of the Industry

In the last few years, blogging has allowed anyone to be a writer, and social media has changed the way celebrities, business owners, and everyday people interact with friends and strangers alike. For OrganizedWisdom, these developments have made a world of a difference. “Everybody can share a link on Twitter. Everybody can share a story they’ve read on Facebook, put up a video, or write a blog post—but when we started, none of this really existed in the mainstream,” Krein said. “So in the early days, we were educating people, educating experts, on the benefits of actually helping people online.”

To convince medical experts to contribute, OrganizedWisdom paid them to give advice. “We had to be patient, no pun intended, for the barrier entry; for the doctors and experts to be able to participate using social media,” said Krein.

But by 2009, experts all around the world began to consider OrganizedWisdom as a place where they could help more people, as well as position themselves as experts in their fields. “It’s a privilege. It’s helping people. It’s improving the standard of care and patient outcomes by sharing what you know, and getting recognized for what you know and how you help,” Krein said. In 2010, there were so many experts interested that they had their choice of the cream of the crop. They were also able to stop compensating their experts, because OrganizedWisdom could leverage the value of exposure to attract voluntary experts. “We’ve focused on enabling a community of vetted health experts who are passionate about helping people to use our platform to organize high-quality health content,” Krein said. “And, as more experts come online and share more wisdom, our traffic continues to grow.”

Part of the expert selection criteria includes whether or not the expert is active online. The reason for this qualification is that a portion of OrganizedWisdom’s web traffic comes from the experts themselves who promote the content through their networks and they want to attract those who are already knowledgeable and receptive to the Internet. While Krein said the main source of clicks is organic from search engines and social media, the experts who are most active online share links and information about not only their area of interest, but about OrganizedWisdom, too.

OrganizedWisdom’s revenue comes primarily from healthcare advertising “What candidates’ resumes say about their skills or capabilities does not equate to their actual personality, and ultimately to what kind of contribution they make to a company.” and the company became profitable in 2010.

Battery-Charged Company

At OrganizedWisdom, there is one criterion for deciding if a candidate is the best fit for their company culture: is this person batteries-included or batteries-not-included? “We all have those people in our lives,” Krein said.

“Who, after you have lunch or dinner with them, you’re exhausted. And then there are people you walk away from with little hop in your step and you have a smile. We want the latter. We’ve got a pretty strict policy of only having people in the company who are batteries-included.”

A batteries-included individual comes to the table with new ideas, doesn’t need to be micro-managed, can set and meet goals and has the entrepreneurial mindset, regardless of their background. “I learned the hard way in my previous companies, that what candidates’ resumes say about their skills or capabilities does not equate to their actual personality and ultimately to what kind of contribution they make to a company,” said Krein.

He also applies this standard to investors. “A batteries-not-included investor could be much more damaging than a batteries-not-included employee. If there’s negativity coming from an investor all the time without cautious optimism, it could cause a ripple effect throughout the entire board meeting or fundraising event, or it could be even worse, once you get them involved in the company and meet the team.”

What’s Next

Looking ahead, they plan to create packages for advertisers to be featured on a page about a specific illness or group of articles. “Digital media gives us a way to package wisdom that’s useful for selected demographics of people.”