Ariana Huffington and Josuha Kushner go way back. She starts the session by telling how he came visiting her with his elder brother years ago for drinks. Kushner still looks very young and somewhat shy today. However, his impressive bio shows that he is indeed a very successful investor – and an entrepreneur at the same time. The latter is what Huffington is interested in today.
Her first question is on how Kushner cuts time out of his busy schedule to relax. His answer: Sometimes he turns out his mobile phone for an entire day. “Only if you turn down the noise you can find inspiration. Otherwise you become reactive not proactive: The worst that can happen to an entrepreneur.”
One idea his inspirational sessions led to is 'Oscar', a health insurance company in NYC named after his great-grandfather. 'Oscar' uses technology, data, design and quite a few innovative measures to keep its clients healthy: “We give away free prescription drugs, we pay our members to go to the doctor or to walk more than a 100 steps a day”. The idea behind the company is to make the health care system more transparent, to inform people and most of all to be more informed about their needs through digital tools.
A very successful business model with so far 17,000 members. Isn’t Kushner scared that his competitors will copy his methods? “On the contrary, I hope everything we do will be copied. That would make our wasteful health care system so much more efficient”. Kushner is an idealist with confidence in his staff: “I doubt that my competitors will be able to keep pace with our developers anyways”, he says.
Finally, Huffington asks Kushner about the entrepreneurial spirit in his family. How much does it influence him? He describes how he and his siblings would go to work with his father, sometimes even skip school to hang in his company. “My father worked 24, 7. He taught me work ethics. However, I believe something has changed. Today working smart is even more important than working hard”.