Side Hustle City

Using AI to Shape the Future of Health Communication with Chuck Rinker

May 14, 2024 Adam Koehler with Chuck Rinker Season 5 Episode 32
Using AI to Shape the Future of Health Communication with Chuck Rinker
Side Hustle City
More Info
Side Hustle City
Using AI to Shape the Future of Health Communication with Chuck Rinker
May 14, 2024 Season 5 Episode 32
Adam Koehler with Chuck Rinker

Join the transformational journey with Chuck Rinker on Side Hustle City, as we traverse the fields of gaming and AI in the healthcare industry. Chuck, a former cattle farmer, shares his remarkable pivot to becoming a tech maven, revealing the inception of Personas and its mission to humanize patient care through innovative game engine technology. Our engaging conversation uncovers the intersections of gaming, social media, and patient advocacy, highlighting engagement as a key element that transcends industry boundaries.

We delve into the world of AI avatars with the emergence of iHealth Assist, thanks to NVIDIA's GPU advancements, offering a new horizon in patient communication, particularly for underserved demographics. Chuck discusses the intricacies of designing avatars that build trust without slipping into the uncanny valley, aiming to enrich rather than replace human interaction. The discussion also sheds light on the challenges and successes in creating relatable characters that resonate with patients, facilitating better health outcomes through improved communication.

Wrapping up, we touch on the essence of human-computer interaction and its invisible role in fostering connections, inspired by Walt Disney's vision of doing the impossible. Chuck explores the power of entrepreneurial problem-solving and the 'rule of threes' that underpins innovation at Prsonas. Emphasizing the value of a workplace culture that cherishes ingenuity, we conclude with insights on embracing risk and the significance of nurturing a creative, problem-solving spirit within the corporate environment.

As you're inspired to embark on your side hustle journey after listening to this episode, you might wonder where to start or how to make your vision a reality.  With a team of experienced marketing professionals and a track record of helping clients achieve their dreams, we are ready to assist you in reaching your goals. To find out more, visit www.reversedout.com.

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Subscribe to Side Hustle City and join our Community on Facebook

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join the transformational journey with Chuck Rinker on Side Hustle City, as we traverse the fields of gaming and AI in the healthcare industry. Chuck, a former cattle farmer, shares his remarkable pivot to becoming a tech maven, revealing the inception of Personas and its mission to humanize patient care through innovative game engine technology. Our engaging conversation uncovers the intersections of gaming, social media, and patient advocacy, highlighting engagement as a key element that transcends industry boundaries.

We delve into the world of AI avatars with the emergence of iHealth Assist, thanks to NVIDIA's GPU advancements, offering a new horizon in patient communication, particularly for underserved demographics. Chuck discusses the intricacies of designing avatars that build trust without slipping into the uncanny valley, aiming to enrich rather than replace human interaction. The discussion also sheds light on the challenges and successes in creating relatable characters that resonate with patients, facilitating better health outcomes through improved communication.

Wrapping up, we touch on the essence of human-computer interaction and its invisible role in fostering connections, inspired by Walt Disney's vision of doing the impossible. Chuck explores the power of entrepreneurial problem-solving and the 'rule of threes' that underpins innovation at Prsonas. Emphasizing the value of a workplace culture that cherishes ingenuity, we conclude with insights on embracing risk and the significance of nurturing a creative, problem-solving spirit within the corporate environment.

As you're inspired to embark on your side hustle journey after listening to this episode, you might wonder where to start or how to make your vision a reality.  With a team of experienced marketing professionals and a track record of helping clients achieve their dreams, we are ready to assist you in reaching your goals. To find out more, visit www.reversedout.com.

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Subscribe to Side Hustle City and join our Community on Facebook

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Side Hustle City and thanks for joining us. Our goal is to help you connect to real people who found success turning their side hustle into a main hustle, and we hope you can too. I'm Adam Kaler. I'm joined by Kyle Stevie, my co-host. Let's get started, all right? Welcome back everybody to the Side Hustle City podcast. Today, our special guest is Chuck Rinker. Chuck, thanks for joining us.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely Pleasure. I appreciate you having me, adam Virginia, hokie Go Hokie.

Speaker 1:

So we got a Hokie in the studio today and he was telling me a little bit about EA Sports and he used to work on that and he had a couple mascots in there early on. Some of the first mascots was a Hokie. So that was kind of interesting. Right there a little trivia history you gave me.

Speaker 2:

Always fun, always fun.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, now you've gone from the 3D gaming world and getting people addicted to video games to a company called Personas, so tell us a little bit about. Well, first of all, tell us about your background. Tell us, I mean, I was reading your bio and it's like wow, this guy's done it all.

Speaker 2:

That's what people tell me. Either it means I've done it all or I've been kicked out of every place I've ever been. Um, no, in all seriousness, I do tell people that, um, I kind of uh, uh, relate to, to the whole walt disney mentality of life, which is my. My whole goal in life is to make sure whatever I'm doing tomorrow is not what I did yesterday. That, to me, is what really drives and makes the fun out of it. So, um, a lot of that, I think, came from early on.

Speaker 2:

I was to give you that little background. I was a cattle farmer in Virginia, of all things. So cattle farmer turned into human AI expert. That's kind of logical, everybody says so.

Speaker 2:

I grew up, never even saw an airplane until I was 19,. You know, just living the farm life up in the mountains of Virginia, up in the mountains of Virginia. And my dad was a farmer and he used to cut hair down in DC with all the military what we call Beltway bandits doing all the military tech and government tech around the area. So he kind of went to a friend of his that was an executive at one of those military simulation companies and basically said my son is too smart to be a farmer and got me in that realm. So I got into early military simulations trainings and learned the power of fooling the brain. The brain, everybody knows here, is probably easily deceived and the example I get is back in the day and I'll show my age here but back in the day when Mattel made these little football games that had four little LEDs on them, three on the defense offense side, like one on the defense.

Speaker 1:

I had one for baseball. Yeah, maybe it was a Coleco, I think is what it was.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the point is is that when people played that, when you're really engrossed in that game, you don't need to have photo realistic humans and all.

Speaker 2:

And that was its own form of AI almost back in the day the hall, and that was its own form of AI almost back in the day, but your brain turned that little red LED into a halfback or that little red LED into a linebacker. So the brain has the power of really doing in the gaming world what we call suspension of disbelief. So I started getting into the military simulation, turned that into commercial gaming and then saw a great need that the corporate world and in particular now the healthcare world, kind of misses. The game industry always leads commercial by 10 to 15 years and we always wonder why. And it's because of the engagement component, at least in healthcare. I mean, at least in human engagement. It's the gamers that really drive innovation around human engagement. So that's really where we've ended up, and I think it doesn't surprise people when they find out that the root of our personas, characters and our digital personality characters, quite honestly, is a commercial game engine.

Speaker 1:

Wow, so a lot of this, and it's not even just in gaming. I think the skill set you bring is something we see a lot in social media too. Was there some kind of interaction with the gaming world and like, say, early Facebook, do you know?

Speaker 2:

There's always engagements from people who are either working in the marketing aspect or in social media. I think the tie-in is less about the technologies, because I can build a game engine using raw JavaScript if I want or I can, you know in my early days, again showing my age. You know it was. It was assembly code to get them optimized.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, assembly. Whoa, I thought you were going to say COBOL or something. No, you said assembly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm talking to Andy. You got to opt. You really had to milk every single cpu cycle to make these games run well and it's amazing the piece there, but the common tie I was trying to get to there was actually more about human behavior and it's really to me, it's less about what technology you use. I can teach you. You said you had an animation background. Do I really care whether you use 3D Studio Mac you're an old Silicon Graphics guy or whether you use Wavefront, alias Wavefront, or whether you're using Babylon for 3D rendering and WebGL, it doesn't really matter. As someone who's creating compelling creative content and to create a human engagement factor with that community you're trying to reach, whether it's a social media community, a gaming community or, for us, most recently, a patient community, a patient advocate for healthcare it's really about what does it mean to be engaged as a human? You're sitting there shaking your head at me, nodding.

Speaker 1:

We're gesturing back and forth. Oh, I know all about yeah.

Speaker 2:

There's inflections in our voice. There's so much beyond the written word that creates a bond really, a kind of that human engagement, that human intimacy, that bond that creates that trust factor that you miss by just focusing on the technology side of it. So I think to your question, double back more directly. It's really about people who understand human behavior and human engagement that bring all those worlds together, not necessarily what tech stack you use.

Speaker 1:

Well, you just reminded me of a of a memory of frustration that I had with Silicon graphics and rendering a 32nd animation in I believe it was, was it? It might've been alias wavefront, but it was a 32nd animation and I ran it on 11 different SGI machines over over the course of I think it was eight hours. So I was in this studio for eight hours sitting here making sure nobody else came in and ruined my rendering.

Speaker 2:

It's pretty crazy. They had full-time positions. We called them render dogs. You had to give your batch file to your render dog and the render dog would set up the network, render nodes and all that good stuff for you. So no, it's a. That's the kind of stuff you're doing. That's what people don't understand. They go well, this frame rate's a little slow on this game, but you're sitting there rendering scenes with a couple million polys on you know 2k screens and you're rendering 60 frames a second. In fact, what you were referring to, you know it's taking you three to five minutes to render one frame and then you got to piece them all together. So it's definitely an amazing world. Since the GPU has NVIDIA's really kind of revolution, has that world?

Speaker 1:

Oh it's, it's insane, Like what's happened. And look at NVIDIA stock. I think it's just been going like a rocket. Now everything else is benefiting from that Micron's benefiting, AMD's benefiting, Intel's going to benefit. I mean, it's nuts what's been going on.

Speaker 2:

The benefit outside of the other chip manufacturers. Really, quite honestly, just to be selfish has benefited patients, has benefited customers, because we're now able to create these healthcare avatars. We call it iHealth Assist and we've like well, take an example We've got, we've done a clinical trial. We've done about several of them, but a couple that come to mind. We did with RTI and the whole trial outcome was going how do you engage with an underserved community? The trial was trying to prove and trying to determine what the long-term effects and outcomes were for babies that are born to opioid addicted mothers, specifically within the target demographic of the underserved communities.

Speaker 2:

So that render technology that, like I said, it's not about technology, it's about the behavioral. We took that render technology. We created real-time 3D characters. We created a kind of a mother age young Hispanic female that had a relatability but an authority over the underserved community members that were Hispanic. We did that with the black females. We did that with the Irish females. We did that with different languages. They spoke multiple languages but they created that communication, bonding, connection and full gesture and trust, trust, trust, trust is that word that gets beat in your head in that world of patient outcomes and patient people just don't trust the system, and so that point you're making about NVIDIA stock going up and GPU acceleration being through an all-time high actually has directly benefited outcomes. Research for underserved communities and patients.

Speaker 1:

So there's a broad impact broad impact.

Speaker 1:

Well, and I know there's been research done that says certain groups, minority groups, don't necessarily trust going to doctors that don't look like them or come from their same experience, really. So I think there's there's value in that, and we had talked before the show started about why wouldn't you just use Siri for something like this? Well, it's exactly that Right, it's exactly the. The perception that people have. What happens in the brain when they see somebody that looks like them automatically drops their guard and they feel, even if it's a character, right, it can still play into that a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's funny you say that because the character point we'll get to in a second, but you're absolutely 100 percent right. You picked up on that pretty quick. There's actually an interesting study and I don't have it off the top of my head, but if you or one of your viewers are interested, I can send you the link that shows that patients that engage through a believable avatar actually provide more accurate information to the avatar than they do to the live physician. Specifically, the hypothesis behind it is they don't feel judged. Specifically, the hypothesis behind it is they don't feel judged. They don't feel they feel more a higher trust factor to your, to your comment there, but they don't feel judged. So we're finding that even the information that's passed back and forth between these AI avatars against what people think is actually a better engagement, a more accurate and more positive and more empathetic engagement.

Speaker 2:

And to carry that point farther, I believe Hollywood has done everybody a slight disservice, but just out of the name of what we're talking about here, and there's a number of I won't call them competitors, but that are, let's say, in the same space we're in that have taken this technology and said, okay, well, I can make it human, like we want to replace humans. Not only has Hollywood given that stigma behind oh, you're not trying to replace humans. Probably the number one question I get is well, you're just trying to replace humans. I go no, no, no, we're trying to. It's not about human replication, it's about human communication.

Speaker 2:

So this concept of taking these new NVIDIA chips and trying to create a character that looks and acts exactly like Adam Kohler, has the same hairdo, has the same body shape, has the same whiskers on his face, has the same mannerisms that really is what we call the uncanny valley, where it's almost too human and it becomes creepy and you really have to be careful. Do you really want to replicate humans? Are we really trying to do that? No, and that's what everybody's trying. I shouldn't say everybody. A significant amount of the investment in all is creating these human avatars. Matter of fact, we don't even like to use the word digital human in our play. Our characters, to be blunt, if you look at them, are more Pixar-like.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they totally look Pixar-like. I mean Disney maybe, yeah, pixar kind of characters. Yeah, they're very friendly and approachable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and it's not about and people don't realize they go. Well, we're a serious company. Our characters have to look serious. Our characters have to look serious. No, that's a deceiving stance that people believe when they put one of our avatars in, but I can't tell you how many times we've been twisted by them. We can technically do it. We've even done it. Matter of fact, it was the vice president of Imagineering at Disney that I was meeting with. That's the first one that told me to stay away from it. He used to run a game company that would take photos from webcams and put them on game characters before he became the VP of Disney Imagineering. He's since retired, but he's kind of the one that steered me away from that back years ago. So I can't even take credit for that. But you might impress people technically, but you alienate 20% of your customers and you add an additional lack of trust into your avatars. So our characters specifically look like they are because they're non-intimidating, they're empathetic, they're approachable, they're trustworthy, and so we're finding really good success with the mannerisms and look and feel and being able to encompass a personality into these digital we'll call them digital avatars, and that's really what we mean by personality.

Speaker 2:

What is a personality? It's what knowledge base they have in their head. It's not just what they look like, it's not just their hair color, eye color. It's what mannerisms, what gestures, what knowledge they have on there. Are they comedic, are they straight laced, are they sarcastic? What's your brand identity? So if I said, okay, company XYZ, if your entire brand was one person, what would it look like? Examples are like Geico you got flow. Geico. Geico, you got progressive with flow. What is your brand image? What is that brand personality you want and that's really what we're trying to create is a personality, a digital personality that would resonate with whatever demographic you need, whether it's for marketing a brand or whether it's for attracting an underserved community to a clinical trial.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this is. It's crazy interesting to me that, and you know, most of the people that listen to our show are going to be, you know, side hustle people figuring out how to do something, how to create something, how to get out of that nine to five job of theirs. What I see with folks like you when I interview you is you worked for a little while, you picked up certain skills, you adapted with technology and now here you are the CEO of a company like this, using all those skills from gaming and various other industries. I mean you mentioned you know manipulating, like being able to understand human behavior and things. I mean you weren't far from DC.

Speaker 1:

Who's better at understanding human behavior than than politicians, Right? I mean that's like you know that's the kings of manipulators, kind of. But I mean you're not talking about manipulating people with this technology. You're talking about giving the brain a better experience than just like a voice interaction or a text based interaction. This brings several things together and makes people feel more comfortable and probably opens people up to things. And you mentioned you know personas, right? I mean I'm in the marketing space. I mean here I am in Cincinnati like the, the capital of fricking marketing, with Procter and Gamble and stuff here.

Speaker 1:

Speaking of people that know how people work right, how how the brain works and how, uh, why people buy certain things behavior modification big time right, it's part of marketing. Uh and and, and you say personas, I immediately think of customer personas, I immediately think of you know when you create a new product.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly you build out three customer personas. You got Jill, who's a stay-at-home mom. You got Janet, who you know she shops. She's a single mom. Then you got you know somebody else. You know Bob, who you know works 60 hours a week. He's a construction guy, but he's still one of your customers somehow. So you build out these actual personas and a lot of thinking and marketing and goes into that. Are you? Is this how you interact with a lot of like the healthcare clients and everything that you're working with, like helping them to understand customer personas? And then not only are you understanding those customer personas, but now you're building personas on your end as part of this experience.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and you keyed in on a couple of things that we could probably spend another three days talking about, but one of it, on the digital personas, is really understanding that we're really not doing anything new. As a matter of fact, if anything, we're probably taking stuff back hundreds of thousands of years. What I mean by that is we, as humans, have evolved and we've learned how to communicate. Now, back in my early days another flashback to my why I've got gray hair and I'm sitting here behind the mic is you know, when I first started in software development and technology, we were using what we called ticker tape and punch cards, which you know, paper storage, and then you went to magnetic tapes, then you had floppy disks and we didn't even have CRTs at the time. You would type in and it would come out on the typewriter. That's how you would get your information into a computer, into a system. Then we got into CRT terminals, then we got into the use of mice, and then from mice we went to tablets, and now we've evolved up enough to the generation of some conversational AI interfacing. So the only thing we've really done, if you think about it, adam, is make it easier and easier and easier for us to get the information from our bodies. We're a biological body and I think the term that people use is human computer interface.

Speaker 2:

All we're doing is evolving that HCI, that human-computer interaction, into a more natural way of communicating. So what I mean by rolling it back is we've spent just generation after generation, for thousands of years learning how to communicate as humans probably longer than that and all we're doing is really breaking down that barrier and saying, okay, well, you need to get information in and out of these massive, complex AI-based enterprise solutions and all. And how do you let them know what your intentions are and get the information out you want? That's all you're doing is asking, is requesting, making queries for information and getting that information back. And all we're doing at the core is saying we need to understand how humans communicate and we need to create that new next generation of human and computer interfacing so that you no longer have to understand the technology behind it. The technology understands how you communicate instead of you figuring out how the technology works, and you have to learn how that technology works. So all we're doing is trying to be blunt. We're trying to make technology invisible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, and also accessible too, because I see that you've got an API that you offer to clients, I'm guessing, or to other developers to help work with some of the technology you've already built.

Speaker 2:

Yes, that's a great, great point. Yeah, when we were asked to do a talk several years ago with MITRE Corporation over in Portugal and the topic was we've got all this great technology, we have all this great new AI coming. How do you scale it and anything that technology? To scale it, you've got to create something that's reusable across platforms. So instead of us going out and everybody building their own enterprise solution with a avatar-based UX, we took the old Microsoft term we call it dogfooding A lot of people may be familiar with that term and we basically said let's build a couple of solutions with some partners, but we're going to build our solutions with our own technology. So it's kind of like building out your technology but using your technology. That's what they call dogfooding.

Speaker 2:

So this API SDK that we've created basically means, if you're out there and you've, let's say, you're a visitor management system or you're a patient check-in system or you're whatever the case is we work with some financial institutes as well You're a banking system you don't need to be a communication expert. You can basically come with us. We'll take our SDK and API and we'll create what we call a UX layer, that user experience layer that we put on top of your enterprise solution. So in a sense, we become your new keyboard and mouse Wow To communicate with it. So the ideal there is to basically create a scalable. How do you scale a new technology like this? And bottom line is you either build it from scratch every time or you leverage a middleware solution like an APR SDK and we've wrapped it our own solutions with our own SDK.

Speaker 1:

See, and this is interesting because it's now common, I would say, for companies like yours to offer this kind of accessibility to your technology, to help the technology grow faster, to help the adoption, to accelerate adoption. I would say, and you know you are a player in this whole world where now you've taken, like what you said, this, you know communication that we've been evolving with over you know 200? The interaction and the technology enabling this new form of communication. And here you are part of that, helping this new technology be adopted faster.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely true, absolutely. Spot on Yep, yep.

Speaker 1:

And now you've got I mean, you're tying in IoT stuff voice synthesis, speech to text, generative AI, I mean name the technology buzzword that's hot right now and you guys have already figured out a way to integrate it into your stuff. I'm actually interested in the IoT portion of it. We were big into blockchain and stuff and we were thinking, oh man, blockchain by itself, okay, it's great, trustless system, you know things like that but you need to tie it into other technologies to make it valuable. With your IoT stuff that you're doing, how do you, how do you integrate what you're doing with IoT?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Well, it's interesting you say that because I'm not the CTO of the company. So, if I misspoke, I consider myself a techie, but not as techie as the smarter.

Speaker 1:

You're not going to get in a grant. Yeah, don't worry, I'm not either. Most of our listeners are not, so yeah.

Speaker 2:

But, but as far as that IOT insulator really that's that's the word I was going to throw out we're really an IOT insulator. Of course, you've got all these Internet of Things floating around, everything from natural language parsing to question and answer database, cognitive services, speech recognition, you name it. There's a billion and one pieces. Now add on top of that some of the security, regulatory compliance pieces you need to go into health care and you've got this tech stack that, if you were to learn it, I would venture to say you know there's no less than 20 plus technologies that are wrapped into this wrapper. So that's kind of I shouldn't say kind of. That's exactly why we built this layer is because we were building these solutions with other companies and going wait, you know, there's a lot of expertise to your point that has to come to bear, and either somebody has to be proficient enough with all those diversity of IoT technologies that they can bring the team together, or we've given them a simplified software development kit and API that leverages all that back end.

Speaker 2:

We've been lucky. We've had a long, probably almost a two-decade relationship with Microsoft. So I'll confess that, um, we drink the Microsoft Kool-Aid. Their stuff is pretty amazing. Um, and a lot of the pieces there are really wrapping um some of our we'll call it our intellectual property. Some of the patents we have are around sign language and stuff like that. Our, uh, our software not only speaks the language as Microsoft provides, but we do supply our avatars have the ability to communicate in unspoken language British Sign Language and American Sign Language right now as well.

Speaker 2:

So the point is is we wrap all those in, put our intellectual property and then take our gaming background, that whole personality engine. I'll tell you about what we call our personality builder, which is building that personality. So it's a combination of the aesthetics of a personality, all the AI enablement that Microsoft brings to the table, all the aesthetics and rendering technologies of the gaming. Couple that with our own proprietary knowledge and then throw on top of that our partnerships with these enterprise solution providers like MappedIn has been a recent integration of ours that do wayfinding solutions, and if you put all those pieces together now, you've got this ecosystem that truly, truly, has become the next evolution beyond Siri, beyond Alexa, oh yeah, and that's really what we're doing here. And if you want to tie it into I know the name of the podcast is you knowustle City.

Speaker 2:

I think the reason we've been able to do this, even without outside investment, is we have had a professional services business, but everybody here is kind of passionate about them. Like my CTO was one of the lead Madden programmers, my CIO has a background in game development as well. We have a lot of gamers that really are just the problem solvers of the world. Have a lot of gamers that really are just the problem solvers of the world. So we really as much as it doesn't sound like it, this whole evolution of personas really kind of was our own side hustle. We rolled inside of the company and said, hey guys, let's, let's stop doing and building all these cool systems for other companies. What can we do?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like, isn't that wild that sometimes you're like man, we do all this stuff for other people. I own a digital ad agency, so we're building technologies for all kinds of companies right now. And I'm just now starting up my next thing. Like we built a company back in 08 and we sold it to Zillow in 15. And it's like I haven't done anything since then and I'm like I'm just running my agency, just kind of getting fat and sassy, I think. Once we sold and, uh, you know, now I'm just like.

Speaker 1:

I'm like I got the itch again. You know, talk a little bit. Talk a little bit about that and what made you want to go from this digital service provider which it sounds like you still do that but to do this other thing. And I want to bring this up on the screen too, so people can kind of see what the what the website looks like. And you know some of the stuff, because I'm sure, listening to us, we're me and you were going back and forth. Here I am with a 3d animation background and a digital agent and you too, right.

Speaker 1:

And we're sitting here, blah, blah, blah. People were probably like what the hell's going on. But this is. You know, this is essentially it. Like these characters you were talking about Right and some of this stuff, what made you want to? And you just you alluded to it. We're building all this cool technology for people, but what? Why this particular thing? Like, why, why this? You know, it's kind of a healthcare focused right now, but I'm sure you can do this in a ton of verticals.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's interesting you say that and, quite honestly, you can stop right there because I'll give you two words and this this is half tongue in cheek but half true. As a kid, and as a lot of people, do you really go? What is the coolest thing that you've ever really done? And I've been a devout follower of the amazement of Walt Disney since I was a young kid. I always wanted to be an animator but didn't have enough creative talent for that. But the thing I remember and follow Walt Disney. My wife worked for about 11 years. I worked with the Imagineering team on their hospital system and I probably go to Disney about six times a year.

Speaker 2:

The point is is when I deal with Disney, when I deal with any company like that, there's that phrase that Walt had said that you know it's kind of fun to do the impossible. When I opened up the conversation I don't know if it was before or after you introduced me, adam, but if it wasn't, it was before your readers I mean your listeners came on board. You asked me about you know what I want to do and what my journey and my answer was I always want to do tomorrow what I haven't done yesterday. You know it's got to be something different. It's that exploration, that problem solving, that doing something that hasn't been done before, and Walt touted.

Speaker 2:

As you know, it's kind of fun to do the impossible and everything's impossible until you do it, let's be honest. So it's really this desire to say what's been a big part of my life, and a big part of my life is that human engagement component, everything from simulation through gaming and all and go. You know what you get excited. There's nobody here that can deny, whether you believe it corrupts the mind of the youth or you're like me and I believe games expand the mind of the youth. There's some cool stats that your listeners ought to look up. Like you know, 55% of all CTOs and CEOs play games on a daily basis.

Speaker 2:

It's really this problem solving. It's this inherent desire and need to solve problems that makes good gamers, and those are the people that run the innovative companies of the world. So, yeah, there's the iHealth Assist version. That's the healthcare provider we're doing concierge, we're helping patients. Now we're helping clinical trials, we're helping recruit for clinical trials, you know. So it's really this inherent desire to do something engaging, but also to do something that nobody's ever done before and that that that can really make a difference to somebody, not just who. I had fun playing Madden for six hours this week, but you know what? These have showed? That we've attracted patients for opioid-addicted mothers. We've done other trials where we've been able to help cancer patients. We've done trials where we've had pediatric imaging with Celebration Health, where we had kids that have to go through the pains of a CT or an MRI scan and don't know what they're getting into. So we created an animated bear that would talk to the kids and we reduced sedation rates on kids that had to have MRIs. So it's really, how can you take this thing? And I'm not saying make illness and healthcare fun, but at least make it engaging and less painful.

Speaker 2:

And people, behavioral modification. People tend to really want to feel welcome. They want to feel represented. They want to feel like people are listening to him. And when you fill out your questionnaire, when you go to a doctor's office and they're asking you your date of birth, your social security number and you're checking boxes, do you feel like a number or do you feel like a patient? A number or do you feel like a patient? When you talk to our characters that, that non-binary character on the right, the hispanic character in the center that speaks spanish, um, do you feel like you're being listened to and you're being um represented much more. You're being addressed as a person and a personality, not as a number.

Speaker 1:

yeah, that's really what drives us when you too I mean you, you're somebody who's survived cancer, and your wife as well and going through that whole process, it's not like you would ever, you know. I mean, you understand what it's like, and having a friendly face, even if it's a little character to brighten your day, could be a game changer.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Yep, yep, she's a two-time early cancer survivor.

Speaker 2:

I was colon cancer and you're on my late stage and it was just the amount of information and what's going through your head and having a doctor, an oncologist, who is trying to be as empathetic as they can, but let's just say there's just no resource available to be as attentive as someone needs when they're going through their own personal health journey and so to be able to create a small piece of the puzzle like the current version we're doing in London for Princess Alexandria Hospital is centered around simple things like someone shows up at the hospital and they don't know where they're going.

Speaker 2:

Someone shows up at the hospital and they're waiting. They want to get a cup of coffee. That's a burden that typically falls upon the staff. So we're not trying to replace staff, but we're trying to give them that extra resource so that the human capital that the hospitals have invested in have the time and resource to do what only humans can do, that our characters don't have the capability of Our characters. They're not human, they can't do what you and I do, but they're really good at doing one thing over and over and over and over and over.

Speaker 1:

This is very interesting because it's it's. You know, I talked to a lot of entrepreneurs and you know there's a lot of people out there who don't. I'd say they could be entrepreneurs, but they don't pay attention to problems. They don't pay attention to opportunities, right, they don't turn attention to problems. They don't pay attention to opportunities, right, they don't turn problems into opportunities. What you did is is you took all this experience you had in gaming and understanding humans, uh, in in personalities and you took this negative experience and you learned how the hospital system, the weaknesses of the hospital system, your experience that you had with the hospital system, and you freaking turned it into a business. Yeah, I mean that's, that's I tell entrepreneurs all the time and, chuck, I'm sure you could probably, you know, uh, second this. There's opportunities every day.

Speaker 1:

You, you may be working a nine to five business, you're working and you're just some schlep sitting there doing something. There is something in that business that is inefficient, that could be improved somehow, and you just have to pay attention. And if you don't have the skills to do it, like you said, hey, you can. You can do dev, you understand technology, but you're not going to sit here and write John Madden football. You know you're not going to write the code to build this. There's probably somebody out there that's way more efficient at it than you, so find that person, partner up with them, build a business. You know that that's essentially what you did.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's simpler than people think. What's the old proverb? Necessity is the mother of invention. Yeah, you know, the necessity is I couldn't get enough time from the doctors the necessity is we went on to this wild goose chase of of of healthcare information. That was just overwhelming. We've been going okay.

Speaker 2:

Well, what, what is missing here? What, what, what, what. What do people need to do? And they don't have the capabilities of assigning a one-to-one patient advocate. You, adam Kohler, if you're going through a healthcare journey, you don't have the luxury of having a patient advocate at your side 24-7. So that's that to your point. That's exactly what I mean by not patting ourselves on the back at all, but it's really saying, you know, it's not like we.

Speaker 2:

To your point, we didn't have to solve a complex problem. The solution is pretty complex technically speaking, but the problem we solved, are still currently solving, is really the simple problem that says wait, patients aren't being represented. There's a communication gap between all the scalable IoT technologies you alluded to earlier. There's a scalability gap between the healthcare professionals all across the world. I think the UK we're probably well represented in the UK as we are in the US, because they even have a bigger struggle with healthcare labor. Those are top level, simple problems. We need more people and we need a better way of getting vetted information to patients. The solution is pretty complex, but the problem is simple. We need to improve that communication with the patients at all levels. And so you're absolutely right, it's a simple problem to solve. It's a complex solution, but it's a simple problem.

Speaker 1:

When I'd love for you to tell if you were talking to a young person thinking about potentially being an entrepreneur at this stage in your career, looking back, imagining yourself just being in that nine to five and not taking the risk of doing something, starting your own business, you know, being the CEO of this company, being able to affect people's lives in a positive way. I mean, could you imagine that right now, if you just if you had never taken this leap in this step in your life, oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. And I've spoken at a fair number of little, you know, smaller university graduations and things like that, and I talked to a couple of early kids on and on and I always give them the mentality that I took, which is I grew up a pretty modest lifestyle. You know, I was a farm boy. As I mentioned, Parents still are. My dad still owns the farm we lived on growing up. So it's been in the family since, you know, 1971.

Speaker 2:

And what I mean by that is the risk, what seems like a big risk to people. I've got a job, I'm getting a paycheck. I really can't do it. I don't have enough money whatever. I was kind of lucky because I was in a career that was kind of in semi-high demand at the time the whole software technology.

Speaker 2:

But I also knew that you know what if you take a risk and it doesn't pan out? You're young. You know what's it really going to cost you and and what is going to cost you is okay, you got to go out and find another job later. So you know, don't be afraid to try something. Don't be afraid to if you see an to your point about seeing an opportunity. If there's a necessity that's not being filled. Chances are you're not the only one that sees that necessity. So all you really need to do is say, okay, well, if here's a need I've seen and it's unfilled, I use in my company, quite honestly, what we call the rule of threes. If you're asked as an employee to do something more than three times, you better tell me about it and you better tell someone in the company, and we need to automate that away so that our employees focus on the creative side. What do you need to do to solve the next problem? So we have this rule of threes that says, if you do something more than three times, you know what it's worth spending up, because chances are other people are spending mundane time. What that does for the young people you're talking about, advice, is not only does it come up with these innovations, and innovation isn't a oh, I flipped the light switch. Innovation is a step by step, a little progress here, a little progress there you earn. You know what's the old adage. You know how to eat an elephant one bite at a time. You know you really got to identify that elevator, all of it and bite at it. But what it's done, for my company at least, is we have a small team, but these guys are crackerjacks. We jokingly tell people when they interview with us Adam, you're interviewing with me right now. I'm going to tell you right now, adam, one of two things are going to happen. You're going to leave the company in 90 days. Are you going to be here for a decade or longer? It really has held pretty true.

Speaker 2:

Where you either bite into this culture that we've created and you're a problem solver, and that's the number one characteristic of any employee, I say it's problem solving. I don't care if you have 50 years of AutoCAD experience. If you can't solve problems, I don't want you. I don't want people who've learned from rote. I want people that when they're addressed in a problem put in front of them, they can get around it without just throwing up their arms and saying somebody else do it. That's right and but that creates a satisfaction. These people really feel like they're making a difference. They're really changing, impacting. They're learning every day. I'm learning every day. That's fun, quite honestly. That's just. That's rewarding and fun.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think that's that also leaks out of your company onto your customers, that passion that you have internally, and it also, uh, it helps you to move faster because there's communication there, there's, there's a goal that everybody's trying to hit and if there's a problem that a customer brings up, people see that as a challenge. They don't see it as, oh crap, I, I go in tomorrow and mess with this stupid customer problem. I mean, you know those kind of people there's a down in the dumps, people that really don't want to be working. It's not my job. I'm not, you know, non-problem solver type person. And there's other people that approach that as oh, I haven't done something like this yet, this, yet I'm going to go in here and figure this out Like they get excited about those problems right.

Speaker 2:

Yep, yep, absolutely, yeah, yeah I. I jokingly poked you on the not my job, cause that's like a. That's a pet peeve of mine. If someone tells me not my job, I'm going. You're probably in the wrong company, that's right.

Speaker 1:

We should probably close the door. Yeah, let's, let's chat about that. So, chuck man, this has been amazing. I love the fact that you were in that industry. I mean this is great. I've never had anybody that was in 3D. So this is cool to sit down and talk to a veteran who's actually done something and worked on one of my favorite games and probably everybody's favorite. One of everybody's favorite games. If you're a sports fan who hasn't played, you know NCAA or John Madden or one of those games you know. So it was really cool talking to you. Tell people how they reach out to you. Tell them about the website, maybe how they can reach out to you on LinkedIn if they want to connect that way.

Speaker 2:

Sure, absolutely. Linkedin. I love, love, love and I, tongue in cheek, always resent saying this, but I do it anyway. Chuck Rinkert's LinkedIn. My profile's Charles Rinker, but it tends to lead to a lot of people propositioning me for offshore development or trying to sell me something.

Speaker 1:

Oh God, I get those all the time.

Speaker 2:

Please don't reach out to LinkedIn just to try to sell me something, but that really is, in my mind, one of the best professional networking platforms I've utilized, and I do a lot of correspondence through LinkedIn. So if you want to get to me individually, linkedin is probably the best bet. As far as learning about the personality engine, if you're like an enterprise developer or you have an ideal for a business solution you're talking about, you know and you want to start something, but you need to kind of you really want to one-up the game and sidestep the series into the Fuel Avatar-based user experience. If you're interested in that SDK, it's personascom P-R-S-O-N-A-Scom. If you're a healthcare professional and you really want to see how digital avatars are helping patients and healthcare professionals, that's iHealthAssistcom. That's a product line that we spun out from personas iHealth A-S-S-I-S-T iHealthAssistcom.

Speaker 1:

I love it, chuck. It's been awesome. I really appreciate it. I think some people are going to be interested in this. I mean, I think you know just the people I know in Cincinnati, we got a lot of folks that are doing focus groups for brands and things like that that I think are going to be interested. There's a guy doing a I own this coworking space here and he was just doing a. He was just doing a thing in the conference room today, so I'm going to reach out to him and tell him about this too, so maybe you guys can connect. Yeah, yeah, it's great, chuck. Well, thanks so much for your time today. I really appreciate you coming on the podcast.

Speaker 2:

No, I appreciate the opportunity of having me on opportunity having me on and good luck.

Speaker 1:

All right, Take care. Thanks for joining us on this week's episode of Side Hustle City. Well, you've heard from our guests. Now let's hear from you. Join our community on Facebook, Side Hustle City. It's a group where people share ideas, share their inspirational stories and motivate each other to be successful and turn their side hustle into their main hustle. We'll see you there and we'll see you next week on the show. Thank you.

Turning Side Hustles Into Main Hustles
Benefits of AI Avatars in Healthcare
Evolution of Human-Computer Interaction
The Power of Entrepreneurial Problem-Solving
Embracing Risk and Problem Solving