Our Employee Spotlight series highlights a different team member each month, offering a behind-the-scenes look into the people who are an integral part of our success. This month we are talking to Dudley Tabakin, CEO and co-founder.
Dudley is a fervent believer in “good data” over “big data” in the development of digital endpoints from wearable sensor technology. He studied Biomedical Engineering, and Sport and Gait Biomechanics at the University of Cape Town. His interest in clinical research analysis, motion capture, and biomechanical modeling is the foundation of VivoSense’s mission and core values.
How did you decide on your field of study in college?
I was unsure as to whether to study engineering or medicine when I began my college career. I started in engineering, and then when I did my Senior year thesis (In South Africa, final year engineering includes a research thesis), I decided to take on questions of biomechanics and studied the biomechanics of a somersault in gymnastics. I hand digitized 12 points on the body on 30 frames per second video for 20 gymnasts one frame at a time. It took a while, but I was hooked on biomechanics from then on and pursued post-graduate research.
Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?
My dad and gymnastics coach provided the early inspiration to pursue biomechanics. From there, my post-graduate professor Kit (Christopher) Vaughan provided further inspiration to pursue a career in the industry and apply my knowledge to make a difference in health care.
How was VivoSense born?
VivoSense was born from a subcontract for the DoD. The founding team had worked together in wearable sensor development and analytics over the previous eight years and were determined to provide robust and quality data analysis for the quickly growing wearable sensor technologies.
What does your job entail?
As CEO, I manage the VivoSense team and oversee strategy, budget and progress. As a small team, I am a jack of all trades. Thankfully, I work with a fully committed and intelligent team whom I trust to make decisions and work to our collective company goals and with our core values in mind.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Working with a great team who are intelligent, independent, critical thinkers, and solutions-driven. The team is important to our success at VivoSense, and I value their input and enjoy speaking to them every day. OK, I won’t call them on weekends!
What’s the best advice you can give to someone who just started their career?
I am always looking for talent who are willing to be flexible, learn and grow in any position. When starting your career, understand working with a team is as important as the knowledge you bring to the team. You will likely be unable to complete your work alone, so be ready to listen, adjust your thinking, grow and learn. Do this even as you gain experience, and you will set yourself up for a successful career.
What motivates you?
I am passionate about ensuring the VivoSense team provides the best quality service and data to our customers and partners. The use of digital technologies, including wearables, in regulated clinical trials and healthcare, needs to be meaningful and accurate to ensure that we produce a lasting and positive benefit in the lives of patients. I am motivated to get this right with all we do now and in the future.
Do you have a superpower?
Calm! – Maybe not a superpower, but listening and understanding the problem, offering solutions, and staying calm under pressure or attack helps me make better decisions in the end.
What was your first job?
In high school, I worked flea markets, buying and selling lady’s hats and peak caps. My first job in health care was at the University of Cape Town in the Biomechanics lab, working with Cerebral Palsy kids providing gait analysis.
What’s your secret talent no one knows about?
I can juggle while balancing on a balance board. Not many opportunities to do that in public so I guess it’s secret.
What is your favorite Netflix/Hulu binge-watching show?
I enjoyed binge-watching Breaking Bad. Similarly, Ozark hooked me. I guess I am into those series about how good guys can make amoral decisions when in crisis.
Recommend a book you’ve recently read.
Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. Dystopian future with a SciFi element, and yet the future depicted no longer seems so fictional.