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It is a presentation Christian Rijos has given dozens of times over the past year, a pitch from a young entrepreneur with a company and an idea aimed at saving lives.
Christian, a 16-year-old sophomore at the Met School in Providence, is co-owner of a business called Wear Aspirin. Its goal is for people to have aspirin with them - and readily available - if someone nearby is having a heart attack. Last week he gave his final school presentation - one that has been worked and reworked over the past year - to his fellow students at The Met. But this is an idea Christian wants to sell to the world.
Christian: ``The key message we’re sending to people is you’re not wearing it for yourself, you’re wearing it to save someone else’s life.’’
Video: Each year 1.5 million Americans have a heart attack. One third of them will die…
The statistics are sobering, laid out in a two-minute video.
Hummel: ``Did you know any of this or was this all kind of new to you?’’
Christian: ``I had no idea, there’s a lot about aspirin that would surprise people. Every single time I went out and presented and asked people do you have aspirin on you? They would always say no, I have it at my desk, I have it at home, and if they did have it, by some chance if they did have it, they’d have it in an inconspicuous place and they probably wouldn’t know it helps a heart attack victim.’’
Nick: ``It was an idea I had walked around with for, quite literally, decades.’’
Nick Kondon, who spent a career starting technology companies, is one of Christian’s mentors and now his business partner. As a volunteer at The Met he spotted a then-15-year-old who was intelligent and savvy beyond his years. Nick recalls one of their first conversations.
Nick: ``I was thinking you’d be my partner and you’d own about 7 percent of the company - and Christian without any pause said to me `I’m young, but I’m not stupid.’”
Christian: ``Three days later he said `Hey would you want to run this company?’ And I was like, sure why not?’’
Nick: ``We’re equal partners in this endeavor. And equal partners means equal throw away - he has opinions, he has strong opinions and it wasn’t me saying well we’re going to do this , we’re going to do it this way because I’m old and we’ve done it this way before.’’
Before the partnership was struck, Nick had given Christian an assignment.
Christian: ``I want a small container that can hold a .4175 inches of a pill and it has to be small enough to be discreet but big enough to be noticeable so people ask about it. And it has to hold one pill and it has to be configured to fit in five different places.
Video: But who actually has aspirin on them? Almost nobody…
Early prototypes included a wristwatch attachment, a magnet, and a ring, all of which were eventually discarded.
Nick: ``Christian will tell you he can show you 28 ways not to make a wear aspirin container, and we’ve tried some.’’
After some trial and error they arrived on five different Wear Aspirin containers.
A key ring, a cell phone, a hat, a lapel pin and a charm attachment for a bracelet.
Hummel: And so it’s easy to get to.’’