Fife Businesses Branching Out!
Douglas Anderson, founder of Optos plc, is the fifth in our Businesses Branching Out blog series, where we ask the owners of growing Fife businesses to share their journey so far, lessons learnt along the way and amusing incidents!
Optos plc is a leading medical technology company for the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of ultra-widefield retinal imaging devices
Among other things in this blog, Douglas has met Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, whilst running Optos, and he likes to unwind by going out into the wild!
1. As a business owner, how would you describe yourself in three words?
Persistent and terminally optimistic.
2. What or who motivated you to form your business?
Before Optos it was the need to pay back taxes! In starting Optos it was understanding an unmet need brought about by attending on my son when he lost vision in one eye.
3. Have you taken advantage of the new age of social media and had tangible results?
4. Has a business mentor ever helped you over a major obstacle or make that crucial breakthrough?
Yes, in proposing the business model that was the foundation of Optos’ commercial success.
5. How would you describe your business in three words?
6. What are you most proud of about your business?
The technology has improved clinical competence in detecting and understanding the pathogenesis of retinal disease. And increased patient access to high quality eye care. As a consequence it has protected the sight of many. Commercially it has provided a good return for patient investors.
7. What are the most important things you would tell an aspiring business acorn?
Know your market in depth. Focus on adding value to your customers.
8. What is the most amusing incident that has happened in the history of your business?
My endevous were once aledgedly described by the chairman of a professional eyecare body in the UK to his fellow board members, as representing “an extravaganza of charlatanism” a phrase which for its word craft alone always makes me smile!
9. If you started over, what one thing would you do differently?
Try not to be so lazy about learning foreign languages.
10. Who’s the most famous or interesting character you’ve met whilst running your business?
A great joy of my business career has been meeting and often becoming longtime friends with many fascinating people. But for the purpose of this question I select Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, whom I took retinal images of in Buckingham Palace. A great man of wide ranging interests and enthusiasms.
11. How do you unwind?
By going into mountains and wild places.
12. Why fife?
I was born there.