Spotlight Interview: The Sleep Scientist Daniel Gartenberg! @DanGartenberg
1. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do currently…
I’m working on a new technology to make sleep more efficient. Basically, I’m trying to get 7.5 hours of sleep to feel more like 8 hours of sleep. We are currently testing out our system using grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health and we just released a beta of our software called Sonic Sleep Coach.
2. What inspired you to start doing your own business venture?
I’ve been working on this for the past 10 years, since I was in college and took a course on the neuroscience of sleep. I was captivated by the idea that sleep is the human behaviour that we do the most of – so if we could improve our sleep it would significantly improve our lives as a species.
3. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Getting the grant funding was huge because it allowed us to pursue idea, but probably the biggest achievement was giving a TED.com talk where I describe what we are building.
4. What fuels you to keeps you going each day?
I believe that sleep health effects us more than we realize. There is evidence that by addressing sleep we can address diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, and even mood disorders like bipolar and depression. If we all slept better, I think we could make the world a happier place, given that sleep is even been shown to be linked to things like empathy.
5. Who are the top 3 celebrities/experts you’d love to work with? And why?
Elon Musk inspires me with his big ideas and I’d love to riff with him and get his feedback on what I’m working on.
As far as my field goes, chatting with Phyllis Zee, M.D. PhD would be very interesting to me because she is working on a similar technology involving deep sleep stimulation.
Ray Kurzweil would be someone that I’d want to work with as well, given his efforts on building similar technology with his Singular institute. I think he could also help me make a lot of connections in the innovation community space.
6. Take a moment to close your eyes. Where do you see yourself in 5 year’s time?
In 5 years I see myself having a large office space and managing 100’s of researchers, clinicians, and coaches who are using our software to more affectively implement clinical care. I imagine our system being in almost every room in America, with hospitals, hotels, and corporate wellness programs using it to improve sleep.
7. If you could get the perfect help from an online tax return service, what would they do for you?
Help me navigate the maze of grant funded research and restrictions and ensure that I’m protecting my personal assets while also building my company.
8. Can you give our readers 2 key tips for success in business?
Sticktiutiveness and malleability. Its almost always more difficult than you could imagine in the beginning and you have to be willing to change and adopt based on new information and insights that you get along the way.
9. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring 3 things what would they be?
My laptop computer, a pillow and a swiss army knife.
10. How do you describe yourself in 5 words?
Inventor, scientists, entrepreneur, and abstract thinker