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« How Doctors Can Double Their Income | Main | Finding The Non-clinical Sweet Spot As A Physician »

How To Get Rich In Medicine

Take a lesson from Trinidad Colorado. Sell the shovels, don't be the miner.

Trinidad ,Colorado, located in the Southern part of the state on the Colorado side of Raton Pass, was, until recently, the "sex change capital of the world". More sex reassignment surgeries were done there than any other city, until recently when the surgeon left to take a job in San Francisco.

Trinidad , pop 7300, has a long, illustrious history. It grew up as a trading post along the Santa Fe Trail, one of the 3 primary "trails" in early 1800 America, that connected Independence, Missouri with Sante Fe, then part of Mexico and was a major trade route. The Trail provided entrepreneurs with two ways to make money. The first was by providing a way for people to do business or mine coal. The second was to sell things to the people who were doing the business or mining coal.

For example, the growth in traffic along the trail attracted Jewish merchants from the East Coast and Europe who saw a business opportunity providing goods, tools and supplies to Sante Fe Trail users. In 1883, they built Temple Aaron, now the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the state ( ) The geneological connection to prominent Denverites exists to this day.

If you are looking for an opportunity, consider selling the tools to make the product, not the product itself. For example, there is tremendous interest in companies producing high speed automated DNA sequencers that will be able to deliver the $1 genome and provide an important tool to drive the personalized medicine revolution. Another company, Sharklet  ( is using a shark-skin like material that is bacterial resistent to coat medical devices, and, interestingly, the bottom of US Navy ships to prevent the accumulation of barnacles and other organisms that create drag on the hull.

Wars create fortunes. Be the guy who sells the bullets, not the soldier.

Reader Comments (1)

Great tip on innovation tied to one of the most interesting cities in the West - Trinidad, CO! The train tracks from the eastern US ended in Trinidad back in the 1870s. One of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Blandina Segal, started her work there. There are some fascinating stories in her diary about her deal with Billy the Kid, who wanted to kill the four doctors in Trinidad because they wouldn't help one of his injured gang members. She convinced him otherwise. Seems like it would make a good screenplay.

Barry Silbaugh

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