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Disinfecting Hospitals, Impacting Healthcare: Morris Miller, CEO of Xenex (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Jan 2nd 2015

Morris Miller was an original investor in RackSpace, and ended up running the company for almost seven years. Following RackSpace, he is now building a super interesting company in disinfecting hospitals and saving lives. Read on. Exciting stuff!

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were your born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Morris Miller: I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. My father is a physician. My uncle is a physician and there was every expectation from the family and me that I would become a physician. I went to public school all the way through school. Then, as a sophomore, I decided to go to Felis Exeter Academy up in New Hampshire. I was the only one to go to boarding school.

Sramana Mitra: You returned to Texas though for your college or did you stay back in New England?

Morris Miller: No, I was there in New Hampshire for sophomore, junior, till senior year. At that time, the endowment at University of Texas had just surpassed Harvard’s endowment. They were on a spending spree to hire the top professors in the country. Based on my grades, I was automatically accepted there and I decided to go there.

Sramana Mitra: This is UT-Austin?

Morris Miller: Right. I went there and had a great time, but by the end of my third year, I was ready to graduate. I graduated a year earlier and went to Law School up in Dallas.

Sramana Mitra: You didn’t pursue Medicine though, right?

Morris Miller: I was pre-med up until my junior year. In my junior year, my dad called me and said, “Morris, I’m going to recommend that you not become a physician.” He had been the Chief of Staff of the hospital. My uncle also had been the Chief of Staff of the hospital. I had already taken Chemistry, Physics, and everything that I needed. I said, “Why?” He said, “Medicine is becoming very managed and I don’t think you’re going to like it. You’re going to be told how to practice and when to practice. For somebody like you, it’s going to drive you nuts to have somebody who hasn’t studied and doesn’t necessarily have all the background tell you how to interact with your patients and treat them. I would strongly recommend that you go into business.” I said, “Really!” He said, “You’ve always been a great business guy. I think you’ll have a bigger effect on healthcare or medicine as a businessman than you could ever have as a doctor. I can’t believe I’m telling you that but I believe that’s true.” It turned out that was a prophetic conversation. If you look at what happened along the way in business and where it’s led, it’s turning out to be the case.

Sramana Mitra: When did you get out of UT-Austin or SMU? What time frame are we talking?

Morris Miller: I graduated from the University of Texas in 1987. Then from SMU Law School in 1990 or three years later.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Disinfecting Hospitals, Impacting Healthcare: Morris Miller, CEO of Xenex
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