My Kingston - Joe Kiani

Chairman & CEO, Masimo Corporation

Sunday, September 30, 2012    

Print this page Email A Friend!

What gets you out of bed each morning?

My work and my family. I am passionate about what I do and I know I am fortunate to have such an amazing family.

Share with us your early aspirations.

As a child, my aspirations were to make a difference in this world — I thought one day I would join the Peace Corps and help others reach a better standard of living by building schools, homes, hospitals.... In my young-adult life, I aspired to make a contribution to society, become financially independent and reward the people who believed in me when I founded Masimo. Fortunately, we have been able to do all of that. Our technology has transformed medicine, saved countless lives, saved babies' eyesight; I am financially independent and the people who invested in Masimo early on received 200 times the money they invested in my dream. But the success of Masimo has also made over 100 of our employees into millionaires, and has allowed us to do charitable things like help build schools for children in Africa.

My parents taught me...

The value of truthfulness, education, and hard work, which makes me who I am today.

Home is...

Where the heart is. And right now, it's where my wife and kids are.

Where do you go to let your hair down?

The beach — you don't have to dress up for it, you just go with a towel, lie on the warm sand, feel the breeze and watch the waves. It's playful and peaceful. And it's even better if you can put on a headphone and hear a good mix of music from Pink Floyd, Alphaville, Bob Marley, John Waite, Sarah McLachlan and Mark Knopfler. I want to be there right now!

Share with us a few travel spots from your black book.

Elviria, located in Southern Spain, is a beautiful getaway filled with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea, Marbella city lights, happy faces of children, young lovers and wise older people.

Indian Wells is a desert oasis, nestled in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. You get the warm nights and beautiful skies, along with date palms and beautiful vegetation scattered in the middle of the desert.

At the moment you are...

Fulfilled because I am happy, healthy and loved by my family. I also feel that I am making a difference and "micro-fixing" the world!

What's your biggest extravagance?

My Fisker Karma, a passionate hybrid car. I believe in taking a step forward to reduce our carbon footprint, while making the world a little more beautiful. After all, beauty and truth are what the heart seeks.

I'm looking forward to visiting Jamaica and giving my presentation because...

I will have the opportunity to speak directly to young people and make new friends with people who are just as passionate about entrepreneurialism, patient care and making a difference as I am. Through new experiences and new relationships, I look forward to learning something new to bring back with me. Of course I am looking forward to seeing Suzie Berry again and seeing the land that made Bob Marley!

What's your favourite food?

Spicy food is on the top. Plus, it lets me enjoy my vegetables!

And beverage?

It would be a close call between home-made limeade or fresh watermelon juice.

When are you happiest?

When I am home with my family — especially when my wife and I get quality time after the kids have gone to bed.

What makes you sad?

The injustices in the world. To name a few: people being tortured, kicked out of their homes, living in poverty and humans enslaved through human trafficking. It makes it more painful when children are victims of these acts of cruelty.

My most humbling moment was...

I have had many, but most recently, being around President Carter and President Clinton. I was fortunate enough to visit President Carter at his home; seeing how humbly he lived so that he could focus on human rights and getting rid of diseases that others were not paying attention to, like River fever that leaves people blind. I also had the gift of travelling with President Clinton to Africa this summer. I was amazed at the great difference President Clinton is making in the world, from building schools in Uganda, to getting HIV medication at one-tenth the usual price so that five million people could receive treatment. I also appreciated his teachings about cooperation and philanthropy. It's humbling how much these two men are doing. They are macro-fixing!

Why are you so passionate about transforming patient health care?

We have come so far, yet there is such a long way to go. The fact that we have doubled our life span from 40 to 80 years shows us that we have made progress — but why stop there? Let's continue to develop ways to extend our life to 120 years. Doctors state that every time they treat a patient, it is an experiment. We know so little still about the human body and disease. I imagine a day when we no longer suffer and die from cancer, heart disease, immune disease or diabetes. I feel that what we are doing at Masimo can help us get there. Some of the things we have brought to medicine are transformational, like measure-through motion pulse oximetry, non-invasive haemoglobin, and carbon monoxide monitoring. If we hadn't done it, nobody else would. So, I feel that we have a responsibility to help transform patient health care. If we don't, who else will?

Is the medical profession ready to truly buy in?

Our success, to date, says yes. Although there have been numerous obstacles and challenges, amazing clinicians who are dedicated to doing what is best for their patients have helped us get here. They are the ones who keep us going, and they are the ones we make new technologies and products for.

What would be some of the immediate benefits of transforming patient health care?

We can improve care and reduce cost of care. For example, with our new non-invasive haemoglobin technology, SpHb, we can reduce unnecessary blood transfusions, which have been proven to increase mortality and are a huge cost centre for hospitals. We can also help reduce mortality for post-surgical and post-maternal delivery patients who sometimes bleed to death without anyone noticing. With SpHb, clinicians can continuously monitor the haemoglobin level and see when a patient is losing blood and when they are stable.

How do you feel about US President Obama's approach to the same issue?

I believe he is right in his philosophy; we are the most affluent country in the world, and yet before the Affordable Care Act, millions of our citizens didn't have access to primary physicians and medicine. Insurance companies were abandoning patients just when they needed their insurance coverage the most. What could be a higher priority for a nation with the power we have in the US than to make sure all of its citizens have access to quality health care? Are there things in the Affordable Act that need to be improved? Of course. As good as the US Constitution was, it has 27 amendments, so affordable Care Act will have some, too.

What's your philosophy?

It starts with the realisation that in 100 years none of us will be here. Once you let that sink in, you realise that you have to be a good person and what you attain has to be through good, because all that truly counts is how we did it, but not what we did. So, you live life the best you can every day. And don't do things that go against your ethical beliefs.

When I started the company, around the age of 23/24, I had already developed my own guiding principles and those became Masimo's guiding principles. We added the fifth about eight years ago, after sitting in a six-week patent trial and watching how our competitor had forgotten the business they were in: to help patients.

Masimo's guiding principles:

* Remain faithful to your promises and responsibilities

* Thrive on fascination and accomplishment and not on greed and power

* Strive to make each year better than the year before both personally and for the team

* Make each day as fun as possible

* Do what is best for patient care

Joe Kiani will speak to What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur, on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at The University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters

E-mail: for more information



Do you think an increase in JUTC bus fares is justified at this time?

View Results »


Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon