Anthony: Rick, thanks for joining us on 2RE.
Rick Rowan: Thanks, Anthony. Glad to be here.
Anthony: Look, what a great success story going from working in the local region to being an international CEO, and still yet being able to have a coffee locally in the morning.
Rick Rowan: Yes, that's my daily ritual. Actually, you'll often find me at the local café. That's really where our operations are run from.
Anthony: How do you do that?
Rick Rowan: With current technology and computers and cloud applications, literally I can communicate anywhere in the world sitting in local Taree café or Forster or somewhere else local.
Anthony: Do you rotate cafes?
Rick Rowan: I do actually. Otherwise, I think I'd get a bit of reputation for doing nothing but drink coffee.
Anthony: Tell us about your story before PainPod.
Rick Rowan: Before PainPod, I was in property, real estate for some 15 years and it's actually how I discovered the Mid North Coast or the lakes area. I had a vendor who had property that they were having troubles with up here to move and I came to have a look and the rest is history. That was about five years ago.
Anthony: You discovered this beautiful region and it's amazing how many times we've talked about real estate and the idea that people are moving here from Sydney, Newcastle [and the like, and able to run a business from the local region. They might go travelling once a week, once a fortnight back to the home base to be able to work here and enjoy the lifestyle that it has to offer.
Rick Rowan: Yeah. That's exactly the same for myself. Our head office is on the Gold Coast. I'm up there every couple of weeks or so. We have our other offices obviously internationally so head to Sydney to the airport, but aside from that yeah, it is and there's amazing businesses and business not just on the Mid North Coast, but being run from here for sure.
Anthony: Your example's a good one because you decided to get involved with the business because you had a sore back yourself.
Rick Rowan: Yes. I was a 15 - 20 year back pain sufferer. Tried everything. Taking more pain killers and anti-inflammatories than I should have. Nothing really helped. I stumbled across electrotherapy by accident.
Anthony: Do you have a lot of sports people use this?
Rick Rowan: We do actually. We have a lot of unpaid ambassadors from pro level athletes through to Olympic level athletes simply because there's very strict drug laws around what they can actually take when they're performing. Actually, even some of our local motorcycle, international motorcycle athletes use our product as well.
Anthony: You must be doing well because we have more than one or two athletes in the motorcycle industry.
Rick Rowan: It's a very good industry for us.
Anthony: Why the non-drug treatment?
Rick Rowan: It's not so much about the non. Obviously, there's a lot of side effects with regards to pain killers and that's been in the news a lot lately. Most recent study was that somewhere near 30% of people overdose on over-the-counter pain killers and they are trying to address that.
Rick Rowan: It's more a case of how effective. Electrotherapy was a mainstream medicine before the advent of pharmaceuticals. With new technology or current technology, we can target pain areas. We can target specifically with specific frequencies for back pain or for arthritis pain or diabetic neuropathy, these types of pains. Where before, it was more of like a blanket coverage so electrotherapy where they tried to cover everything with whatever frequencies they knew, but now with technology and science, we're able to specifically target types of pain through specific frequency protocols.
Anthony: As a result, you're actually getting international orders.
Rick Rowan: We are. Actually, we're working with a Diabetes Trust in the UK specifically around diabetic pain and with regards to limb circulation and trying to reduce limb amputation, this type of thing. It's an incredible area of medicine.
Anthony: You mentioned that there might be changes to the laws with getting prescription drugs over the counter.
Rick Rowan: Yes.
Anthony: Explain what you mean by that.
Rick Rowan: There was a recent study through one of the ... I think it was Adelaide University's. Don't quote me on that. Whereby they were showing hospital admissions for overdoses of over-the-counter codeine pain killers. Next year, the government's looking at legislating codeine, any type of pain killers that contain codeine as having needing a prescription rather than over the counter.
Anthony: Obviously, the treatment that you've taken with PainPod's worked. How did you find it yourself? How after having back pain for 10, 15, 20 years?
Rick Rowan: Yes, I stumbled across a generic type product, but it had older technology and I was lucky that it just happened to be somewhat effective for me. That caused me to look into it further, start to research where the science was in that regard. Thus, PainPod was born where we decided what we need here is we need a product that's more targeted and focused and easy for the consumer to use because generally, you would need to find a specialist who knew how to apply the treatment and then, go and see that specialist and book in, and all the things that would take. We've taken all of these recipes or potential treatments and turned them into modes. All of this designed and developed in Australia and a lot of here locally obviously from lounge room and kitchen or the local café, but-
Anthony: What do you mean by modes?
Rick Rowan: Modes are treatments or specifically treatment applications. What you might need for back pain today might be a certain frequency or bioelectrical treatment. Tomorrow, you might need something slightly different or someone who's got back pain might need something different to you. What we do is we create all these variables into modes or applications within our device and all you simply do is pop the pads onto your back, turn it on, select a mode, and pain relief done.
Anthony: It's something that you can have tailor made and then use it yourself.
Rick Rowan: It's already tailor made. It's pre set, ready to go. That's the simplicity of it. It's one of the easiest things you'll ever use for pain relief aside from popping a pill potentially.
Anthony: In the meantime, you continue to be able to have a coffee in the morning.
Rick Rowan: Yes.
Anthony: I think your kids go to a local school so you volunteer with the canteen, is that right?
Rick Rowan: Yes. I do occasionally when I can.
Anthony: Pop up to the Gold Coast every now and then to the head office.
Rick Rowan: Yes. Yeah. I know it sounds idealistic.
Anthony: You Inspire the rest of us to do the same. Rick, thanks for joining us on 2RE.
Rick Rowan: You're welcome. Thanks, Anthony.