Health Tech: Bruce Barnet On How Simpl’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

An Interview With Dave Philistin

Dave Philistin, CEO of Candor
Authority Magazine
9 min readDec 27, 2021

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You need to know how to DELEGATE. Nothing we do is all by ourselves. We constantly ask for help in creating a solution. A man playing a guitar in assisted living residences asked if we could market his CDs to our senior community. No was the answer as no one has a CD player any longer but if we could find another way to deliver his music, then the problem was solved. We worked with various groups and universities to deliver products to deliver music. Music is memories and that is what the population is losing and we need to try to keep memories or get them back.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course, many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bruce Barnet.

Nine years ago, Bruce Barnet created Healthcare Products, LLC, an e-commerce business, offering over 700 products to caregivers, family members and enterprise senior residence accounts in the senior market focusing primarily on Alzheimer’s, dementia and other diseases on the spectrum for the aging population. As a result, he knows what sells and what doesn’t and, most importantly, why.

He is also a partner in SiMPL Technology, a company that manufactures technology products used by seniors and their caregivers.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

Born and raised in Manhattan, NY until being orphaned at 18, I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a major in Hotel and Restaurant Management but my true passion was real estate. For 50 years I made a career in Real Estate on Long Island where I raised four children. They all went into careers in some form of real estate and shared my interest of the last 15 years of helping seniors and those with disabilities.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I was training as a certified caregiver for three days at a memory care facility in Georgia. There was a woman who had just stopped eating. One of her caregivers researched her “intake” form, looking for the background clues. As she was growing up, her parents took her to fast food restaurants. The chef got a white paper bag and, with red and yellow magic markers, he drew the logo of McDonald’s. They placed all of her prepared food intake out containers and put them in the bag in front of her. She ate it all. After that the local McDonald’s supplied all the take-out materials and there were no more non-eating incidents.

I learned that day that the caregiver has to think of ways to truly help those afflicted with Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory lost, not just assist. That is what we do at SiMPL.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am truly grateful for my partnership with Gary Rotman, creator of Reminder Rosie. Gary has a brilliant mind and has created electronic products for over 30 years. His father, who just passed at 91, and his mother, were both afflicted with some form of dementia and he used his inventive skills to try to resolve their problems. I met him five years ago as he was a vendor for my family company, Healthcare Products, LLC, and I asked him to present with me at a conference. With Gary as a partner, we formed SiMPL Technology to market electronic products that are easy to use to the eldercare community. Our mantra is “No Wires, No Fuss, No Bluetooth and No Internet.” With Reminder Rosie (now in its second derivation, i.e., Rosie 2.0), we learned we had to modify and manufacture products if we were going to bring a new line of products to a world-wide market. With Gary’s collaboration, SiMPL is the leader in the market for caregivers’ technology products in eldercare.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite Life Lesson Quote is from Peter Pan. When my mother passed when I was five, I identified as a “Lost Boy.” My father passed when I was 18, so I was truly orphaned and, as a ward of the state, I adopted “A little faith, trust and Pixie Dust” as my mantra. That is how I raised my family and created many businesses. It has been over 50 years now and it works for me.

You are a successful business leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

My father-in-law, George Irvin, who passed away from Alzheimer’s, taught me that if you could not get into the house through the front door, then try the back door, then the windows, cellar and finally come down the chimney because you have to get into the house. So NEVER GIVE UP!

Hard work — I am very dyslexic. I had to study longer than most every night to get my assignments done. I never went out on weekends, except for football games, till I was accepted into college as I had too much work to do and I usually had to reread and do it twice. But this intense effort in my formative years made college and business seem easy. I still struggle with learning disabilities but with hard work and following my passions, I was able to overcome them.

Calmness — if you remain calm, you give yourself the opportunity to listen. Listening to others gives you information. You do not learn anything while you are speaking. I want to be educated so I can make the deal, so I can hear the problem. When you remain calm, you can hear between the lines and that is where the prizes are hidden.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

The problem we are trying to solve is that we are getting older and, if we have Alzheimer’s, dementia or memory loss, a lot of times our mind cannot relate to new technology. A simple example of this is a clock. People in their 60s learned to tell time with an analog clock, a short hand and a long hand. But most clocks today are digital and our eyes cannot translate to our brain how to connect the dots to be recognized as numbers. The problem that SiMPL Technology is solving is creating products that are simple to use for everyday problems when technology is needed. SiMPL’s products are ready to use out of the box, no assembly required, no wires and no fuss. SiMPL has an expert team available by phone or email for any personalization of the product that is needed. We do not want a product returned because a caregiver could not prepare it for use by their patient.

How do you think your technology can address this?

SiMPL Technology addresses the eldercare communities’ problems by making our products internet free, they use radio waves, and the products are mobile. There are no wires and all can be maintained by batteries.

The caregiving community explains their problems and SiMPL tries, in a commercially profitable way, to solve the problem using simple technology.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I became passionate about solving some of the difficulties incurred by the senior population as my family and I lived through watching my father-in-law slipping into the dementia world. I consulted with a neurologist and he told me there was nothing I could do about it. I talked to a lot of them and they all said the same. They were wrong 15 years ago and most are still wrong today. THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE. I met Mark Warner, author of the best-selling book, How to Alzheimer’s Proof Your Home. He mentions a lot of products that can help a caregiver and their patients or “loved ones” live a better life. The disease is not going away but with guidance like Mark’s, I believe that if we listen to caregiver’s problems, we can find solutions with products and management techniques, like Music Therapy, that can make everyday life more manageable and less frustrating.

How do you think this might change the world?

We know that we are having a major impact on the population that is using our products. We ship all over the world and have a return rate of less than 1 percent. Our problem is that we are a small startup and need more exposure. That is why we are doing interviews like this. We need to get the word out. Our Music Player is recognized by the Smithsonian Institute at their first ever display of products for people with disabilities. It is part of a show that tours their museums country wide which started two years ago at the Cooper Hewitt Museum (design institute) in Manhattan.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

At SiMPL Technology, I believe we have avoided any unintended consequences.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each).

I do not know five things you need to know to successfully create technology products that can make a social impact. As a matter of fact, I know very little about technology. But you do need WISDOM to be able to recognize a problem. Just go into any home with a caregiver or a memory care facility and ASK what is frustrating them in order to care for their patient.

Then you have to LISTEN to their answer. It could be that the patient keeps mishandling all the channel changers and it is bothersome and takes time to get back to the channel they were watching. Everyone seems to have a controller for the TV, cable box, DVD and streaming stations. Then there is the universal controller. In actually, a person with dementia watches very few channels and now SiMPL has the answer for that.

FIND A SOLUTION — This gets back to high school math or chemistry. State the problem and find a solution. The caregivers will tell you the problem. You do not need to find the solution, just find others in the field and they will figure it out. It is like a Broadway production or a movie. Get a good script, the problem, and then hire the director and cast. You are the producer.

You need to know how to DELEGATE. Nothing we do is all by ourselves. We constantly ask for help in creating a solution. A man playing a guitar in assisted living residences asked if we could market his CDs to our senior community. No was the answer as no one has a CD player any longer but if we could find another way to deliver his music, then the problem was solved. We worked with various groups and universities to deliver products to deliver music. Music is memories and that is what the population is losing and we need to try to keep memories or get them back.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I’d recommend that young people become involved with ecology to “Pay it forward.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

I would like to have a lunch with all influential neurologists to discuss living with Alzheimer’s, other diseases on the spectrum and how SiMPL Technology’s products can be used to help the problem.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Keep a watchful eye on our website, www.smpltec.com

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

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Dave Philistin, CEO of Candor
Authority Magazine

Dave Philistin Played Professional Football in the NFL for 3 years. Dave is currently the CEO of the cloud solutions provider Candor