Retreats and new beginnings

We rented an Airbnb in Ermelo, Portugal for this year’s iterar retreat.

At iterar, every year we go on a company retreat somewhere remote in Portugal. It allows us to think without the constraints from our daily routine as well as review and project our future.

iterar is almost 3 years old and this was our most impactful discussion of the last few years. I’d like to share with you what we’ve learnt and our key takeaways.


What we’re not

We started iterar when we were still in college finishing our degrees in medicine, biochemistry and industrial engineering. Our ambition and passion to make things has always guided us but now we’ve realised that we drifted away from our dreams.

I believe that dreams lead to a mission. And that mission is your company’s reason to exist.

The first step to get back on track was to define what we’re not. On our website, this is our first message:

This is not our mission. This is not the reason of iterar’s existence. Software is our means but it’s not our end goal. We don’t even mention our focus on healthcare or digital health.

Knowing what we’re not helped us get back to stage one and clearly set our purpose for existing as individuals and as a company:

We want to fundamentally change the healthcare industry through software. *

(*More on that on a later post.)

It’s that one thing that it’s intangible enough for you not to be able to grasp exactly how you’ll get there but all the little steps you can think in between make you want to jump to the pool from the balcony (literally on our case).

What needs to change

I don’t know the percentage of companies that start out as a product driven company for a particular field and slowly see themselves swamped with software development work for other clients on completely different areas. But from my experience here in Portugal, it’s a lot. And we were going down that path.

When you as an individual are perceived as the element of the project and not the company itself, that’s when you need to take a step back and redefine your positioning.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve done a lot of awesome projects over the years but our leverage and our avidness is health technology.

Some of the mobile projects we’ve developed since 2013

How are we going to do it

We’re recreating our image, our message and aligning our company to embark on a new journey that will allow us to show who we are and what we want to be.

iterar is a healthcare software studio.
Our vision is to fundamentally change healthcare through technology.
Our mission is to build carefully crafted digital healthcare products that improve people′s lives through technology.
Some of our products include The Scientist, VRCare and knok.

In the next coming months, we’ll be preparing a new approach to how we intend to achieve our goals with a new project that aims at drastically altering the way we look at software and healthcare combined with the products we’ve already developed.


What I have learnt

Evaluating yourself and your company may be the turning point between burnout and ignition. If you’re feeling lost and without a path, step back. The world will not end if you stop for a while. Talk with your friends and partners and that may just be the restart you need.

I want to thank all my partners in business who will also be contributing to this blog and my good friend Nuno Coelho Santos for helping me analyse the company with an outside perspective.

My name is Tiago Alves and you can find me on twitter @alvesjtiago