Founder and CEO, Kinduct
Travis McDonough is the founder and CEO of Kinduct, which he describes as a “data aggregation analytics and recommendation engine specific to the health and wellness, but predominantly the human performance market, with a super keen interest in improving outcomes for athletes.” The company is based in Halifax, Canada, where most of their employees (about 85) work. Their goal is to collect data from all participating athletes, and put it into one location, so they can “display, rank, compare and contrast athletes…then push all the data through artificial intelligence engines and look for patterns, trends, and correlations”. If a negative behavior or pattern is found, the athlete, and someone in their healthcare circle, will get a notification so they are able to intervene and prevent future problems. At this point, McDonough says, they have so much data collected that they are now moving into the addition of predicting future trends using past and present data, which he is very excited about. However, he says, “if it weren’t for my dyslexia and my attention deficit, we would not be where we are today.”
McDonough believes there are many positives to having a learning difference, and for him, “what it did was develop grit and fortitude and resiliency, all of which I call upon every day.” He says working in technology is “a very unforgiving environment”, but since having a learning difference makes you “sort of used to getting punched in the face, you’re able to take those punches and you’re able to keep going.” For him, he says it also “forced my imagination and creativity to flourish. In our business, it’s about vision, it’s about imagination, it’s about creating things that have never been created…and I just don’t feel that [Kinduct] would have ever been developed if I didn’t have dyslexia or attention deficit.”
McDonough was drawn to physical medicine after years of being a competitive athlete. He says, “I always loved sports. It was where I channeled my energies and my focus,” but it was a “potentially career-ending injury that was the catalyst for me pursuing physical medicine education.” McDonough completed a five-year undergraduate degree in Kinesiology, and then a graduate degree in chiropractic medicine before opening a network of multi-disciplinary healthcare clinics that specialized in rehabilitative services for athletes. He learned that “there needed to be a scalable system that consolidates all of their data”, which was the stepping-stone to starting Kinduct.
While he was growing up, McDonough says the diagnosis, and therefore treatment of dyslexia and attention deficit did not exist, and “initially, it’s quite a humbling thing”. Not being able to read properly or keep up with classmates “gives you a bit of a sideswipe and breaks your confidence”, but at the same time, he says “it gave me an instant boot camp in resiliency”. Although it is tough at first, it makes you “be your own leader and either say I’m going to wear the label or I’m going to break those shackles.” For him, it was about “developing alternative strategies”. He thinks of it as being similar to when someone loses one sense, and their others become heightened; he says “you really are forced to heighten your skills” or you get left behind. He says he had to “think outside the box and come up with innovative ways to go around a blockade or under a blockade or through the blockade”, but because of that, “you sprout other attributes, whether it’s verbal communication, or listening skills, or pattern recognition, or interpersonal communication abilities.”
For younger generations with Learning Differences, McDonough says to “embrace it. Be proud of it. Know that it’s going to force you to develop other capabilities that many others won’t have.” McDonough likes to think of learning differences as “desirable difficulties” rather than obstacles, as they can be tough, but can create many positive traits and opportunities.
To find out more about McDonough and Kinduct, visit the website here.