IBJNews

Q&A

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Executive Q & A

Carmel resident David Wasilewski has launched WhatNext, a website that uses matching algorithms to make it easier for cancer patients to connect with others in similar circumstances. The site went live in September with the support and endorsement of the American Cancer Society, and it now has 1,000 users. Wasilewski, 39, started the site after spending eight years as chief operating officer of the Spanx line of body shapers. Before that, he did health care consulting. He is planning a marketing push in early 2012 that he hopes will boost the number of WhatNext users to 100,000. If he can achieve that kind of growth, he thinks he can have a compelling business proposition for health care organizations looking to share their name and expertise with patients in need.

IBJ: In 2007, you were taking six months off after leaving Spanx, and you and a friend were helping friends and family research their health conditions—cancer, Alzheimer’s, eating disorders. Describe that experience and why it led you to launch WhatNext.

A: We were going to the Web for information. And we both said it was inspiring, how much information was out there. But then we were both frustrated, because the data was completely unstructured. And you didn’t know the people’s backgrounds. The only way we were able to find that information was through arduous searching through thousands of pages on the Web. And even then you only got a partial story.

IBJ: Why did you decide to focus on cancer, as opposed to other kinds of diseases?

A: When I started off, I started with lots of diseases. But I found that I could recruit 500 people to the site, but with all those diseases, it was so diluted. I could have 50 people with cancer and nobody with prostate cancer. So we had to build these taxonomies [of all the variations of each disease, as well as the different paths of treatment patients choose]. We’re working on plans now to expand into other disease states in 2012, but I don’t know what they’ll be yet.
 
IBJ: How can WhatNext make money?

A: Health care brands today are spending billions of dollars on what I call sales-based marketing. Things that people have learned to tune out. I believe the future in health care is turning from a sales-based marketing to a service-based marketing. For example, if a patient here in Carmel was on WhatNext saying they're suffering from depression, someone from St. Vincent could come on and say, “I’m sorry you’re not doing well. By the way, most insurance plans cover treatment [for depression]. And we provide services that might help you. If you have any questions, here’s my contact information.” Here’s the opportunity for the health system to engage in the conversation and give them the opportunity to serve [patients]. And if they help them on the little things, [the patients] are sure going to turn to them on the big things. [For a fee], we would monitor the site and alert them to the opportunity to engage.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.

ADVERTISEMENT