Rock Health's Bill Evans on finding a career with meaning

Digital health tends to attract people who need to know their work touches others in a meaningful way, said the new managing director of Rock Health.

Rock Health recently hired Genentech veteran Bill Evans as a managing director. He most recently served as senior director of product management for Roche Diagnostics. Here, he talks about innovation in healthcare and developing the ability to learn quickly.

What's the best and/or worst part of your job?

In the fourteen years since I transitioned into healthcare, I've been fortunate to work on real problems that impact human life and well-being. Healthcare and digital health in particular tends to attract a certain breed of people who need to know their work touches others in a meaningful way.

What's the view like from your office/work area?

The Rock Health office is located in one of the most up-and-coming parts of San Francisco — Mission Bay. We look out at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, which has been growing by leaps and bounds and is itself located in a biotechnology and health tech corridor of sorts. It's the perfect place to be for a digital health investor — a stone's throw from the innovation outposts for several global biopharma and medical device companies and right across the street from one of the world's preeminent academic medical centers.

Does your office have a favorite lunch and/or after-hours place?

You can find us at Spark Social SF in Mission Bay for lunch almost every day. Don't miss out on the poké bowls.

Where did you go to college? Did it help you prepare for your career?

I went to Harvard. The most important thing I did in college was join the rowing team. I was pretty young for my age when I started college, and athletics gave me a level of focus and a community that sustained me as I matured and figured things out. I never anticipated that ancient Greek and Latin would turn out to be really helpful in a technical healthcare discussions involving anatomy.

I think this is true in business, too, where every piece of knowledge and hard-won experience turns up later on as an invaluable nugget. And I believe this is doubly true in healthcare.  Delivering healthcare innovation requires a certain level of knowledge across disciplines and an ability to learn quickly. Given my career path, learning to learn was perhaps the most valuable aspect of my college education.

What books are you reading?

Because I'm ramping up in a new role, I'm currently reading The First 90 Days. This is the third or fourth time I've read it over the course of my career, and I'm finding it even more valuable than the last time.

Just before this, I finished Moby Dick, the latest in a series of books I'm reading which are set in the “age of sail.”

What was your greatest professional challenge?

Myself! I once heard someone joke that the only common theme in all of his problems was himself, and that's generally been true of the setbacks I've faced in my career. Learning to be more patient with myself and more present in each moment is an important part of my professional and personal journey.

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