A Slice on Sunny Williams, Co-Founder of Tiny Docs
Medical terms are typically not something an average person can comprehend, without education. Well, imagine a child, scared and struggling to understand the terms the doctor is explaining to them. Sunny Williams spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital when he was a kid, and he remembers the obstacles he faced. His parents could only offer “hugs and kisses” because they couldn’t translate the medical terms into something he could understand. Williams founded Tiny Docs, a platform using animated cartoons to educate kids about health. The cartoons use easy to understand language from diverse, lovable characters to help kids around the world.
Williams remembers how hard it was to be in and out of the hospital, facing not only the fear of being there but also seeing the effects it had on his parents. “My parents weren’t equipped with the language to help me understand what was going to happen in a way or a language that I could understand. Nine times out of 10, before surgery, someone would hand me a medical brochure, (it’s not the most engaging piece of content out there), to understand what’s going on.” Williams was able to navigate through those tough times but when his friends started having kids, he noticed they were facing the same problem.
The idea for Tiny Docs was born after Williams thought it would be helpful for families to have something to guide kids through their health journey. After doing research, he realized once you tackle the mental battle part of healthcare, the physical wellbeing improves as well. “Especially with kids, it’s natural to not want them to feel scared or anxious. There are usually one-on-one conversations happening between the parents and doctors and the kids understand something’s wrong. This is an opportunity to invite them in on the conversation, get them involved so they understand, and help them feel a little bit more empowered about their health situation.”
Williams’ entrepreneurial journey hasn’t always been easy. He took on the role of entrepreneur with a company that eventually failed called Medtoon. This company was very similar to Tiny Docs, where it delivered medical information to children. Williams describes this company as his “training” because it taught him what was necessary to build a company the right way. “It was my opportunity to make a lot of mistakes, in terms of how to get a team and recruit the right members for a team, fill out your weaknesses and build something strong with people who are coming together to build something bigger than themselves.” Lots of learning came with this failure for Williams, and he’s grateful for the experience to have been able to make those necessary mistakes for his growth as a founder.
Failure is not uncommon for entrepreneurs, and neither are risks. Williams’ big risk came at the start of his entrepreneurial journey when he decided to quit his comfortable job as a lawyer. “I was the first one in my family to become a lawyer, and to have come out of law school and be an attorney at a big law firm, there were people in my family like, ‘Wow, you made it, you did it,’ but for me, it wasn’t enough. At the heart of my being, I want to serve others and create impact in the world and leave this world a better place.” When the idea for Tiny Docs came along, Williams saw it as an opportunity to fulfill his desire to make the world a better place. So, he quit his job and started recruiting a team and went all in, even though he recognized he didn’t have all of the necessary skills, such as development for the animations. Williams used this time to hire people who could provide expertise in the areas he couldn’t in order to help execute his vision.
Williams’ biggest goal for Tiny Docs is to improve kids’ health and make them smile. He does not measure success through only “dollars and cents” but rather the social impact he has on the world.
Their not-so-tiny mission is to improve kids’ health and make a billion people smile. Tiny Docs will continue to do this through their global approach by making their “caretoons” available in various languages.
Sunny Williams received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh then attended Northwestern University School of Law for his J.D. and received his Master’s in Integrated Marketing and Communications. After graduating from law school, Williams spent a year as an Associate Attorney at Cozen O’Connor. Williams is currently Co-Founder of Tiny Docs and resides in Chicago, Illinois. Connect with Williams on LinkedIn.