Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 20 - Fiona Mangan - CHANGING SCENERY - Part 3 of 3
Jesse Funk on
Yeah. Do you see-- I mean, so I've not worked in a, like a VC backed startup. I have my own companies, which I've referred to as bootstrapping, where it basically take them from zero to profitability with no money at all. But I'm not working in an environment where there's funding that comes in.
JESSE: Yeah. Do you see-- I mean, so I've not worked in a, like a VC backed startup. I have my own companies, which I've referred to as bootstrapping, where it basically take them from zero to profitability with no money at all. But I'm not working in an environment where there's funding that comes in. Do you know especially, I would think, in biomedical that, it's going to take some time to develop whatever your apparatus is, in your case with the thumb implant, and then get to the point where it can actually be used. Do you know what kind of timeline the company is looking at? FIONA: Like, I think initially, we were looking at like two to three years and now we’re looking at six years. It really depends because the big thing of biomedical implants is getting approval down to the market. So, in America, you have the FDA, and then in Europe you got your CE mark, and then in this kind of equivalent agencies down in like Japan, and China, other parts of the world, Australia. But I guess FDA is a big one for us now. And that can take anything up to a year to, like five years. So, that's what we're kind of building on at the moment is, is getting FDA approval. So, that's the big stopper. I think, from a biological point of view, that's where you get your biggest issues. Because I guess you can have an amazing product, something that works perfectly, but unless it gets approved, it means nothing. So, it's really interesting. I think, from my point of view, initially, I didn't know if I wanted to go into a start up or join a big company. But I think from a startup, it's just amazing to see something start from really basic designs that I'm just kind of drawing up on solid works to something that could actually end up in a human being and helping someone's life. And seeing that whole journey in between is just incredible. I'm so motivated to see it true now. That, it makes you love your job. And the guys I work with are brilliant, and they're just so wise in this industry, but it still is a learning experience for us all. JESSE: I mean, since there's so few of you, you get a lot of hands on experience with what's going on, right? Whereas, even if you're a big company, then yeah, you're really not-- You're going to do like a very small portion of whatever the overall mission is. FIONA: Yeah, exactly. Sometimes you feel like a little fly on the wall, you're just so small in a big company, and I don't want to feel like that yet. So, I'll do the do the startup route first and gain as much experience and knowledge as I can. And when you're young, you don't have as much to lose, you know. So, I thought it’d be a good idea and I haven't regretted it since really, because I mean I was thinking of going back to America at the start, but when this job came up, and I got a straightaway in the interview, I just got a really good feeling. And I said, no, I want to go with this. So, yeah, and I was actually in Canada when I was making that decision for last summer for two, three months. And so after final year, we went on like a J1 with a couple of friends where you kind of work abroad. For a few months, you get a visa to work and so we just kind of worked and partied I guess for a few months out there, which was nice. But I was ready to come back home to Ireland. I wasn't ready to go away to America again. So, yeah. JESSE: This is neither here nor there, but I don't want to forget. So, I was just-- this is something random. So, I was trying to find out more information about you. You know, I typed your name into Google, I type in Galway and I find that there's a designer and a hat shop in your name. So, I'm sure you probably heard that it exists. FIONA: Yes, there's a woman called Fiona Mangan also that design hats. There is also a lawyer, Fiona Mangan. Fiona is such a common name in Ireland, like every second person. Definitely Galway anyway is called Fiona. Yeah, I thought you're gonna say you found me when we were 16 and I was oh, no. JESSE: Whoa, wait, wait, wait. So, what happened when you were 16…? FIONA: When I was 16, I decided to set up my own company with a couple of girls. We made an application to teach sign language. And we joined a competition called Junior Achievement. So, at the time, I mean this is like nearly eight years ago, smartphones and the apps, they were just like developing gaming. But there was no application to teach sign language, Irish sign language, specifically. And so we were this would be a great idea. Let's make this a thing. And we like video and a bunch of sign language, and made our own graphics and things and compress all that into an application, put onto the Android Market and the Apple market. And we joined the Junior Achievement competition, and we ended up winning our county. And then we won our national competition. And then we went to Romania, and competed against two other countries, and we ended up winning that as well. And so all of a sudden, we were, we just couldn't believe it. Like the whole year, just like went so quickly. And all of a sudden, we were on The Late Late Show, which is like a TV program back in Ireland being interviewed by like Ryan Tolbert, he was like a famous presenter, talking about our our application and our company, and we got funding from-- Do you have Dragon's Den in America, something similar? JESSE: It’s called Shark Tank here, but yeah. FIONA: Yeah. So, we went on to that, and we got funding for that to pursue. And so that was when we were 16. And then we got into fifth year, which is the start of your leaving start year, which is like your big exam. So, you have two years, where you're preparing for your big exams. And then we were just no, we're not pursuing this company anymore. We got our exams to do. And I guess that's what like that just went down the drain again, but it was such a fun year, we learned so much.JESSE: So, what happened to it? So, the app exists, it's out there, you just stop support or I mean, what ?? 6:40> of the cycle? FIONA: See, we were just 16 and we were just like four girls. It was just kind of oh, that was our hobby, doing that, we're finished. And so we just literally let it go completely. Like our funding was like a seed funding. So, it's not like we had to give them back 10% when...a once off. And so ?? 7:05> was completely off the market. And actually, any money we did make from the app, we did give back to the deaf community because we never put our own money into it, we'd always source for funding, and we're doing this out of fun. So, any of the money we got, we just gave it back to the people we've been working with. So, we never made a profit from it. And so then the app just got taken down completely. But it's kind of funny because I guess that start up vibe, even after that year, I don't know what switched in me, like in the last two years, but I was I'm never doing a start up again, that's too stressful. And I think I went through a period when I was 17, 18, 19, of just being more of a rebel, not rebel, but more into drinking and going out. And so that's why I always talk like startups and triathlons and things like that, it's something I've never do. And it's only now in the last two-three years I'm doing exactly what my 16 year old self would have taught as totally uncool and weird. JESSE: I guess for me, at least, like triathlon and entrepreneurship and, it's good stress, like there's a term for it, it’s you stress. So, instead of distress, it's you stress. So, you stress is like a positive kind of stress. And so it's like you experienced a triathlon, you do it, you're like that sucked. Like, I don't want to do that again. And then something after you start feeling better, you're well, I think maybe, I think maybe I'll do another one. I can't tell you how many times I finished races and I mean, there have been times I've ended up in the medical tent because I raced too hard. And just had a terrible day and overheated. So, I've been racing triathlon, this is my 11th year of triathlon, 18 years of endurance sports. And I've said, this is dumb. Why am I doing this? I never doing this again, dozens of times. And yet, I continue, despite all that. I think in part because I like training, but it’s that like positive stress like you're experiencing now with the startup. And you see that product in the beginning. And it's a ton of stress where you're how are we possibly going to make this a thing, and there's all the stress of figuring it out, and then the high of figuring it out, and then more stress as you okay, now we have to get FDA clearance. It’s just this up and down. FIONA: It's up and down, and one of the things I always find is that if there isn't a little bit of, if you want to call it you stress, I just find I don't get things done in the day, and I don't have a purpose. That's fine. Like, if I was totally relax and if I was content every single day, then you wouldn’t go anywhere if you get what I mean. Now, everyone is different, but that's just the way just the way I see things. Like, I love waking up in the morning and having a to do list and having things-- having a purpose. And I think that's why I really got into triathlon because I like orientate my day now around my training. And I also think the stress or the intensity of the startup matches the intensity of triathlon. So, if I was working, a really boring job, I would-- usually like one gets relief from the other. Where you might have had a hard day at work and I always find that I need to have a hard session in order to counteract my hard day at work, and then be at like piece again. Whereas I think if I had like two completely different levels, I find it hard to convey the zone out of the other. But that's just the way I am. I think everyone finds their way of relaxing and meditation in different ways. But I guess for me, it's just matching that intensity of something else that's going on in your life. Don't get me wrong, I love yoga, and that Zen zone as well. And that's just how I see my work sport balance, if you get what I mean. JESSE: Right. No, I mean, a lot of people I've talked to say something along the lines of I like being busy, or like I feel better about life when I'm busy. I like to say, for me, I think it's not just a matter of being busy. I bring it back to I say, progress is happiness. If I'm making progress, then I'm happy. I like to relax, I like to sit and watch Netflix and do those things too. But it's like say for some reason, this wouldn't happen because I'm not at that stage. But say somebody bought my companies, and I have enough money that I never have to work again, and I can just sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day. I'm going to be miserable after a week or two. I need something. FIONA: And that's kind of funny because that is that, you know, in the startup world, people do have that conversation where it's like, we can get sold tomorrow, like we could be in Hawaii tomorrow drinking cocktails. But I mean, one of the companies right beside us is a prime example of, I guess it isn't any one personality. But basically, they sold their company and they could have probably not worked for 10 years. But a month later, they're back again, and they're starting up. And they're just as fresh as they were with their very first company. I mean, you can see them running around the place, just like us. And I'm like but you could be on a beach right now, yet you chose to be here. So, I know exactly what you mean. You just want to see that progress, you want to see that line kind of going up. JESSE: Yeah. My business manager, he actually he's retired. I met him at a retail job just because he worked there to have something to do. But he planned on going to Mexico, he has a significant other Mexico and just living there not working. And he said by, like I took him to the airport in December. And then by I think March, he started to go crazy. He just was sitting on the beach for three months. And he goes like I can't do it. So, and I don't know how many times I've heard that story, I need something. And he doesn't want to start a company. He doesn't want to-- but it's just a retail shop, they sell shoes. Like it's not complicated, but it's something and interacting with people. So, I think the idea of I'm going to retire and do absolutely nothing for the rest of my life is a little flawed. FIONA: Completely. Yeah. I think I haven't seen my grandparents now. And if anything they've like rejuvenation after they retired and exploring like completely other parts of their lives in the world and things. And so that's my goal is to actually, once I retire is actually started another life again. But I guess not even thinking about that right now. JESSE: I think it's good to dream. Like I think about it from time to time. There's a lot of stress and trying to build the company. And for me right now trying to find guests to come on the podcast, and all these little things. It's ah, if I could just get rid of all these things that are stressing me out, then I could do whatever. But it's like no, I mean, I still want to do something. I guess the upside for me is if that scenario occurs, where you have enough money to retire and retire, like early retirement, a big movement right now. I think it gives you the opportunity to do things you wouldn't otherwise be able to do, you know what I mean? Like I've talked about with my girlfriend I talked about, hey, if we get to this point, let's open an ice cream shop. Like you're not gonna make a lot of money in ice cream shop. But if you're doing it for fun, you have all the money you need, like you need to take care of. Then that takes away some of the stress of doing a thing.FIONA: Yeah. But even-- I agree and I love talking about like that, like hopes and dreams and things like because I mean, maybe you - never open up an ice cream shop. It's so nice to have someone to share that idea with you. And then you can you can talk about that story about the ice cream shop. That may never happen again. But I think the people that just dream, and hope may never be executed. And I think it always makes life seem more fun. And it makes exactly what you do at the time, you get a different perspective on it. One of the things like this ?? 15:51> going kind of deep, we were all saying that, like happiness is how you perceive it to be. So, if something is sad, it's how your head has processed it. So, you could actually be happy like 99% of the time if you're able to like program your mind to be in that way let’s say. And so if setting up, if the hopes of setting up an ice cream shop all of a sudden brings you happiness, then you're going to look at something else, like a minute later, an hour later, and have a complete different view on it. If that makes sense.JESSE: Yeah. No, I'm with you. So, it's just like programming about thinking about, I'm already in a state of happiness, I'm more likely to perceive the thunder storm and the rain outside as a happy event versus something that’s very sad. FIONA: Yeah, and I guess actually, I don't know how you approach like your races in general, but like I used to get quite stressed over them and anxious and nervous. You get those ready, like butterflies and going to the toilet like four times. And like different examples, but I found how the way I perceive a race actually changes my race completely. And it's only the last few now that I've been able to see the difference in my state of mind before the race, and then how I perform. And that's only recently that I'm learning that. And I'm finding it like something I really, really want to work on. JESSE: Sorry, go ahead. FIONA: No, go ahead. JESSE: Just for me, I always found like since I ran collegiality, I ran on a scholarship. And I found my best races were always when I wasn't concerned about the outcome, I wanted to have fun. And there were certain races during cross country and what I was I really love this course. And I know the course and I'm going out to have fun. And it's taken me a long time to translate that into to triathlon since I wanted to be a professional for so long. But this year has been, at least for me, a kind of transformation and going back to just I'm just doing this for fun. Like the national championship’s this weekend. And then I'm now sick, so I'm canceling going to the national championship, which would have been, like such a big deal in past years where it's like I mean I train six days a week, 11 months of the year to do this race. But I know, in the grand scheme of things, it's just one race, there will be more national championships and I'll be fine. Because if I can't go and have fun, like if I'm sick, and I'm racing, I'm miserable, why am I doing it? FIONA: Exactly, exactly. And I mean, that's one of the things, you always have to step back and think. And it's great because it's only recently now with things like podcasts and shows and athletes actually opening up especially female athletes opening up a lot about different things at the moment like nutrition and things. And one of the main things people are pointing out is just ask yourself at least once a week, are you having fun doing this? And it's only since being exposed to these people's opinions that we've been able to incorporate that into our own training as, or into my own training anyway since I started seriously getting back in, or, I guess starting a new life in triathlon in October. And I said, okay, this is it, I'm getting a coach now, and I'm going to put my head down and see what I can do. Because all the frustrations and injuries and travel and then partying, I was just I just want to put that aside and see what I can do now for the next year. And so I started in October, but one of the things I just had to constantly remind myself is am I making sure I'm doing this for fun, and I'm enjoying it. And I started then started getting in triathlon races in February March. And my first few, I was more nervous than normal because I know I had trained for these races. Whereas other races I had done was like oh, like this is me new to triathlon or, oh, I'm in America, this is ?? 20:13> to triathlon and my friends. And yeah, like I was obviously serious and had trained for them. But here because I told myself in October that this was my focus and my purpose for the next few months, I felt like this new pressure on top of me, but in a good way. Like I didn't want it to be like a bad cloud, I wanted it to be like a good cloud. And so it just entering those races, I was okay you know, this is a new, this is going to be a new game. And I was just much more competitive in them. And then in the last few I’d done, and actually those first two duathlon, I did quite well. And so my third duathlon to finish off the duathlon series, I was just much more relaxed because I was actually, this training is paying off. And I am really enjoying these races is especially I'm meeting a really good crowd at these races, and you're seeing the same faces again, and it's almost comforting. And so I did quite well and those three-four races, I ended up winning the age group in Ireland for the duathlon series. And then that got me started then for the triathlon series, the National series for this summer. And that was the same kind of feelings again because you had the swimming now and it was like I had been working quite a bit on my swimming and yeah I know, it's been fun so far. But I feel like I'm still so at the early stages to some of the athletes like you might have interviewed before who had already like pro-experience for a few years and are now getting out of it, or are now starting a new sport. Whereas, I'm hoping to see, I'm hoping to try and keep going from now and see where it goes. But-- JESSE: Yeah. I would just say just keep that in mind. Like, am I having fun and make sure that that's the main thing. Because if you're not, it goes back to my-- The podcast has been a cathartic for me in some ways. It goes back to conversation I had, I think it's episode six with Chris Douglas. And he shared a story where he, like passed out a mile from the finish line because he'd gone too hard and overheated. And like the whole moral of what he learned from that was just it doesn't really matter. Like at the end of the day, even if you win, it doesn't matter that you won, it doesn't matter that you're second. What matters is your friends, your family, the people that love you, and kind of what you're doing in life. So, I think bringing that fun back to a central part of am I having fun pushing myself and racing and doing all of these things, helps guide you to stay in a healthy place. Your FIONA: Exactly. Exactly. And I think it even comes down to simple things like recovering your training. It's like recovery for your mind. Like the only way you can stay I think in a sport like this for a long time, and not burnout is to keep that like brain recovery, where it's like you're doing this for fun, your friends and family around you, just like your body that you need like to recover. It goes hand in hand like no doubt. Because you can get burned out just from seeing a training schedule in front of you. You get burnt out from doing the training schedule. It's like that the mind, body balance. So yeah, keep it fun. JESSE: Yeah. We're running running out of time here. So, I’ll ask you a question I asked everybody else. If you watched Bryful’s episode, you already know this question. But if you have to pick one food for recovery to eat for the rest of your life, what do you choose? FIONA: Bread and butter. There's nothing better than like a really fresh loaf of bread out of the oven with a dollop of Kerry Gold or French salted butter. I’d eat that all day and I’ve probably have had days where I’ve only eaten bread and water. JESSE: That’s a solid answer. I’m sure that our bread is better than what we're picking up in the store. FIONA: Is that okay an answer?JESSE: Hey, it's your answer. That's fine. If people want to see what you're up to, where can they find you? FIONA: So, I guess Instagram, my Instagram page, that's F_Mangan, M-A-N-G-A-N. Yeah, I guess, my main page. I mean, I have Snapchat and Facebook, but I'm not very active on those. JESSE: ?? 24:45> not doing everything with triathlon. It's not really easy to be super active on social media. FIONA: Yeah. No, I only want to work like two jobs at a time, not a third one. JESSE: Yeah, yeah. It's been great talking to you, Fiona. Thanks for coming on. FIONA: Yeah. You to, Jessie. Thanks so much for having me. JESSE: Okay. So, I'm going to stop the recording. This is something I sometimes I forget to tell people.Go to Part 1Go to Part 2