top of page

Stephen Christian


Stephen Christian

@0:14 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

 Hello everyone and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship.

This is your host mr. Flores This week we are going to start with something different Where are they now series and so really it's what I'm focusing on is bringing on some folk former guests to really highlight What they've been doing since the podcast?

Now Steven Steven Christensen as I really focus on the AI world as well as a medical student at the same time I'm just gonna do it everything same time

What's going on boss? How have you been? How has the world treated you since the podcast?

@1:06 - Steven Christian

Well, it's been really interesting. would say um You know, I got into medical school that I think last time I was like on the podcast in person, right?

It's like no since then. Um Got into medical school Things have been like really picking up in like the creative and tech space, which has been really interesting Um Including like, you know all the AR stuff all the AI stuff Everything in general like it's it's kind of taking on a life of its own and then more importantly Um, you know, trying to get through like board exams and do like the regular medical school stuff and like Taking care of myself and doing all that stuff.

So uh, it's so it's um, you know each day has its new challenges But overall I think I'm like getting closer towards that goal of like being a physician that can do

all these other things on the side that hopefully informs Maya, know, my practice and, you know, get out of debt and, you know, take vacations and, you know, buy electric vehicle and all that stuff, right?

Let me just, you know, live in the, trying to live the American dream as best as I can, right?

@2:21 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Now, let's, let's talk a little bit about these other, other side kind of adventures. You mentioned, you know, the AI space, uh, El Topia Studios has been doing great and, but you've been doing a bunch of other side projects.

Tell us, tell us for the folks that may have not listened to that first episode, give us a little background and then tell us what you have been doing.

@2:40 - Steven Christian

Yeah. Yeah. So, um, on the side, you know, when I'm not studying, you know, that, uh, prior to medical school, I was a, like, VFX artist and a comic book illustrator, um, and I was like a 2D and 3D animator, right?

so, uh, and so those are just sort of like my, uh, those are like the talent. that I had and it was a matter of just trying to figure out how to apply those those skills and those interests to to work either for clients or myself right and so one of those was being able to Start it'll topia studios, which is pretty much a publishing company that allows me to like publish on my comics and and you know Do conventions and all that stuff and then the and then from there, you know posting stuff on YouTube and getting freelance work as a as an animator and a comic book illustrator and just sort of like an overall creative, know people that want to have you know any sort of like it educational or entertainment experiences that they could use to promote their products or Promote their music or anything like that.

would essentially reach out to me or people like me to do that since you know the pandemic obviously I You know got deeper into like the more emerging tech side

And so, being able to utilize my skills within more of an emerging tech area of augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, not only like streamlining my process, but like showing proof of concept of what the technology is capable of, you know, in the future for broader users, right?

so, people thinking about, you know, of like Pokemon Go and all these other sort of trendy things that have come out, I think it's informed not only my work, but also helped me, you know, further the conversation about like how that technology can and cannot be used, you know, from, you know, the gimmicky stuff to like things that actually have an impact in.

I think, for me at least, being able to integrate that within books and printing to, you know, make the products that you produce more valuable and also increase

the engagement within the product so that they take more away from the products, especially compared to other stuff, or just having a deeper connection to the work in and of itself.

And so I like to think of it as like, if you have a book, I do is I create books or take books, take things that appeal to a certain amount of senses, human senses or touch, see, hear, all that stuff and I increase the amount of senses that are incorporated into that experience.

And so for a book, comic book that I come out with, you know, you could touch it and you could, you know, have that tactile experience, but more importantly, you're able to read it.

And so you're able to see, like look at it visually, you know, my, I have the ability to add more sensory, sensory, you know, experiences to that to where, you know, I could add audio to the book.

get listened to it and sort of have that like audio book or like a story time experience that follows the words, you can integrate, you know, get the motion into it.

And so being able to, you know, give people the opportunity to, you know, move the products and then be able to explore the environments around it by movement and active engagement.

And then more importantly, being able to really just like provide people with a deeper connection with fostering exploration. so something that exists, like say you're on a playground, you know, and you want to, you know, go on a scavenger hunt, you know, you could incorporate those elements that you would normally have in a scavenger hunt within a storytelling experience or an educational experience without having to pay thousands of dollars for it, right?

You know, and so having a book and then having a phone, which everybody has at this point, and then and then you do.

utilizing the technology that's quite literally in our pocket to unlock experiences that would have otherwise cost you a significant amount.

And so it's a lot of philosophic exploration of these types of things that I get to play around with in my leisure and then people take it seriously because they're like, oh my gosh, this is high level.

I'm like, sure, but I'll just sort of enjoy my time. But then really just sort of like having the opportunity to kind of pay the way for people that come after me, which is also kind of weird.

It's kind of a weird feeling because I'm probably one of the only medical students that is asked to speak at conference, like international conferences.

One thing that are unrelated to medicine and I have opportunity to integrate my understanding of medicine or how it could be applied to medicine in those spaces because I have that platform.

Does it come with the money yet? No, but like it does come with opportunities. And I think the opportunities being that I am a student, you know, it's a lot, it's really expensive to get an opportunity.

And so, and so I could afford to, know, forego the payments till later, so that I have the opportunities that provides me with more opportunities for payments in the future.

And so, and so, you know, it's been, you know, it's a lot, it's a lot to handle sometimes. And I always have to make sure to drink my water and stretch and just sort of take care of myself.

But it's, you know, I, this is a journey that I think I've been longing to sort of be on, and to finally be here.

It's challenging in more ways than I expected, but it does like really, really fulfilling.

@8:51 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You what's interesting is I'm realizing this kind of common theme. One of the things you're kind of talking about with your AI services is,

is trying to improve the end user experience by sensitization, providing more sensors, providing, but not only that, paving the way from the next generation of creators to them to see what they are able to create and think outside the box.

And then you're also a provider. know, it seems like your core focus is constantly thriving to helping people, your attending conferences and speaking about what you're doing and how you're able to integrate this AI with healthcare.

Where does that passion come from? The passion to help people.

@9:34 - Steven Christian

I don't know, I think, you know, I think it's just more of a cultural thing. think me having the like traditional black experience in America, you know, where, you know, went to, I got opportunities by virtue of being a good athlete.

And then within that space and navigating that space. to get to college and then, you know, trying to go to the pros and then that really fizzling out and all that, there's always a, there's always a, an aspect of the success that, you know, when you get to that next level that you want to kind of pay it forward by, you know, by doing the things that those did before you to help inspire you to get down that journey, right?

And so for me, it was like, you know, once I got to college, then I immediately graduated from, you know, like getting trained by guys that went to the next level to training people that are trying to get to that next level, right?

And then also training myself, but like, there was just this added, there's this added responsibility that you have to, you have to be a mentor and you have to sort of be a positive role model for people to follow.

And sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't, but like, you know, it's a way to sort of hold you accountable to not only the craft and what you

to, you know, the goals that you had, but also to your community as a whole, because, you know, for better or for worse, you know, like, we're sort of, you know, respective stewards of those ideals that are community holds, right?

and I getting into medical school and seeing all that, it, essentially just like that, that concept just like magnified, right?

exponentially like overnight. Like, once I got into medical school, like, oh, you know, like, you know, whether I like it or not, you know, people are going to ask me to like, you know, mentor, mentor them or help them get through the, through things or, you know, seek advice or whatever, even if I feel I'm not qualified to do that, right?

Like, it just sort of comes with that responsibility. And so, and so for me, it's, it's been more of a, been more of a realization that like, it's not going anywhere.

regardless of what area that I go on to, um, whether it's innovative or not, it's not going anywhere. so it's best for me to lean into it so that I get used to it in fine ways to just impact people's lives for the better.

Whether that is just inspiring somebody, open up a sketchbook at the end of a stressful day and just work on ideas that can turn into something or turn into nothing.

Or just avoid helping people advising people to just avoid the nonsense that kind of just comes with life so that you can study and do well on an exam, right?

those things are, for me, those things are, it's like two sides of the same coin because I deal with that every day, both of those things every single day.

I try to find a way to find balance so that I don't lose myself in the process. And so I get to meet a lot of people and hopefully sell a lot of books and sort of not have to pinch minis together.

So you're in stuff like that. And so it's a, you know, for me, it's like all part of the journey and it's something that I expect.

@13:07 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You know, one of the things you mentioned is the importance of mentorships and being a mentor, the mentee, have you had some mentors?

And if so, what are some of the things the mentors have taught you that helped being successful today?

@13:21 - Steven Christian

Yeah, yeah. mean, I would say, you know, for me, like, I am a very like, I take pride in, like, being impressionable and I take pride in, like, trying to build relationships with people and mainly because that is what is, that's what has helped me get to the point that I am today, right?

Like, I, for better or for worse, once I finished playing football, I was kind of in a, I was kind of in an area of, like, you know, uncharted territory for me, right?

Like, because most of my, like, you know, most of my family and everybody was in sports. And for better or for worse, like, they weren't.

in entertainment and they weren't in medicine. Two of the areas that I ended up pursuing, right? And so when it came to just like, oh, yeah, like, how do I get into medical school, right?

Like, I actually had to just like go out and just like meet people that have done that and know better and then build relationships with them.

And then they like helped me, right? throughout that process, it's I think some of the things that have been reaffirmed are just like, you know, that like, as long as you don't give up things work out, like regardless of how things turn out in the immediate future, the in the long term, as long as you don't give up, like, and they don't and they tell you no multiple times, like, you just keep showing up and you keep doing the things until like you reach that status, right?

don't give up. And then two, it's, you know, like, things aren't going to work out the way you expect it.

But everything works out in the and like it and and I think it piggybacks off of like the first thing of just like don't give up because you know that that's pretty much what stops people's progress in general they get beat down they get worn out and then after wild just like you know there's a there's a breaking point and then they they going to do something else right you're either going to die or you're going to get to your goal right like in and one is going to happen you know both will happen but it's just a matter of which one is going to happen first right and so uh it's although like those two things have just like stood out to me uh across all the different mentors that I had I think uh one thing has been very clear and they and they often reaffirm it is that like you know I I I attributed to just being hard headed and just like wanting to do what I want to do right but like every time I like catch up with all my mentors and stuff like that it's just reaffirming that like I just I stuck to it I was accountable to myself and I and I stuck

to what I said I was going to do until it happened and then we get to like joke around about it and all that stuff and throughout that process it sucks right like it's hard it's difficult you know I'm going through it right now with like trying to you know pass this board exam and and all that stuff and you know it's it's a lot of mental hurdles but for the most part it's like I'm going to get through it I don't know when but it's going to happen I just got to keep grinding away like I've done with everything else and take care of myself and you know and prioritize things because like there's other things that I want to do that I can't do to the extent that I want to because I have to focus on these priorities and so it's a it's um you know I think for at least like my mentors um it's you know I I make it point to just like tell them what I'm going to do and then like they just you know it gives them something to just like follow and track in and provide me with support however they can.

@17:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, I think there's a misconception sometimes with individuals going into the physician space that it's not an entrepreneurial journey, which it truly is.

One of the things you mentioned this demon is going out to conference is writing a book. Being a first author in research papers is kind of like the creme de la creme when you're thinking of research.

If you become the first author of a paper, that means you were kind of the one that discovered that thing.

Right? You were the one. Now, tell us about like, what is your goal? What is your talk about going through conferences and discussing conferences?

You talked about writing a book, you talk about healthcare. What is Steven's final entrepreneurial journey look like? What does that sunset look like?

@17:46 - Steven Christian

Honestly, it's so I'm always like pinching myself when I think about like my interest in going to medicine, right?

Because my interest in going to medicine was to get away from the entrepreneurial. freelance space, right? Like that was literally what I decided to do.

And that's why I chose medicine. Jokes on me.

@18:07 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, jokes on me.

@18:08 - Steven Christian

visions are the ultimate freelancers, right? positions are individually certified by whatever state they're practicing in. And they have contracts with the hospitals that they work with.

They are not employees.

@18:27 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)


@18:27 - Steven Christian

Like, what? Like, I was so upset when I like found that out because I didn't know that, right? But one of the things that has been very, that I've sort of grown to accept as I've progressed as a freelancer and as an entrepreneur is really just the agency and the freedom to control how I want my career and my legacy to be, right?

And so, for me, at this point by virtue of... of utopia and, you know, the powers that be, I publish, you know, a new book, whether it's in tech or, you know, in the arts, every, you know, every six months, right?

So like, you know, one to two bucks a year. And I go to probably, you know, I go to and or speak at, you know, like two to three conferences a year, right?

And so that's pretty consistent since I started medical school. And I, as I progress, I assumed I will continue to be.

But as I, as I progress, because I'm currently a MD PhD student now. And so I, I will, you know, at the end of this, I'll have a, I'll be a double doctor.

have like an MD and a PhD. And my PhD is going to be in, is in, will be in integrative neuroscience.

So it's like super fancy, you know, it's, you know, lot of buzz words and all that stuff. And the goal is to,

who either go into sports medicine to be a traumatic brain injury specialist, which by virtue of that, I would essentially be opening up my own space, whatever research I do out of it, I'll be able to apply to my practice and just further that area of field of study.

But more importantly, I was joking around with one of my friends about how in the ideal world, like you have those shopping centers, like small shopping centers.

And so in the shopping center, I will have my practice, and then right next door to my practice is gonna be like a studio, and so a space where I could do all my creative stuff in-house and have a storefront, because I wanna get like foot trafficking and just like have a place to like have books and a bookstore or whatever.

And... Then right next to that would be like a fitness center. And so being able to, you know, tap back into like my athletic space and like being a personal trainer and all that because I do have a master's in freaking exercise sports science.

And so it's like, you know, have all that stuff. And so, you know, you, you know, need get your body check, you go to the, you go to the clinic and then, uh, and then any of the stuff that like any of the videos, any of the materials for educational purposes that I would, um, provide to patients, I essentially do all that in house.

And so I do that next door and then, you know, have that stuff over there. And then, uh, and then if I need to refer somebody out to like physical therapy or whatever, then I literally send them next door and, uh, and then have them, you know, get all their physical therapy stuff and really just sort of have this, uh, this ecosystem that I built that, uh, that allows me to, you know, like focus on ideas, focus on, uh, with people and then providing people with.

as, you know, both educational and entertaining and empowering experiences, um, all within that little space, you know, and then, uh, and, you know, for me, that, that is, that would be really fulfilling.

Um, although I will say that, that, uh, that leans into the entrepreneurial space because those are three different, three different entities that are, that are cohabitating together that have P&Ls, they have freaking, they have light bills, they have all that stuff.

But, um, but I think that, uh, you know, placing that in the community, it makes it, um, it makes the philosophy that I have about, you know, how I'm sort of approaching life and everything.

It makes that just a lot more tangible. when people see it, it, it's inspiring for them to sort of think outside the box.

And, uh, in one, like, very clear view, right, um, right now it's, it's a lot better than in what it used to be, but, like, as a player.

pre-med. Whenever I said, oh, yeah, I do this on the side, people just didn't get it. And they would try to deter me away from it.

And then, like, when I got into medical school, it was like, it was like a complete opposite. But like, it was a complete opposite for, like, people in medicine where they're like, Oh, man, you could do this.

There's so many ideas. I think COVID sort of helped with that. But like, the lay person still doesn't really like it's still novel.

It's like, Oh, you got into medical school. Okay. So we're not going to tell you to stop. But we wonder how you're able to balance your time.

Whereas people in medicine are like, this is great. You just need to pass your exams. And so then I assume when it gets to me being a practicing position and all that, the lay person will just be sort of like, Oh, wow, this is crazy.

I need to, I need to learn more. Whereas, you know, my peers in medicine will be like, Okay, that's the person that we'll reach out to for X, Y, Z, you know, research papers and all that.

That's starting to happen now, but I imagine it's going to get, you know, exponentially crazier. And so, you for me, it's just, it's, it's, it's just sort of just studying the process, you know, just, you know, following the path that I just set for myself and not really listening to people that, that don't have a positive outlook on what that future looks like.

@24:24 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, you know, there's a, I always tell my friends, healthcare never sleeps. I swear, they're, we're just constantly moving forward and innovating now.

What would you say, you know, looking back, you know, what is about two, three years ago, we first connected looking back.

What would you, what would you tell a younger Steven, uh, today, um, you know, looking back a couple of years ago when they're first starting into this, uh, medical journey?

What would, what advice would you give a younger Steven?

@24:53 - Steven Christian

Um, I would say, uh, be okay with failure. Like I think that's one of the things that medical school has really made clear is that you just don't get it right the first time, don't expect to get it right the first time, don't expect to get it right the second time.

If you try every single day for a week, you may get it right at the end of the week, but throughout that process, it's really just a grime that you just have to have faith that it will become better.

And so it's like that and it's really just like prioritized taking care of yourself, whether it's getting sleep, eating consistently, stretching, working out, because that is the only way to just offset the perpetual stress that you're just going to be under.

Whether it's externally, internally from traumatic life events that happen throughout from having to just deal with cadaivers and freaking, you know, real people's problems.

And it's your goal to just like be there, be present and try to help them get through it, you know, and all that.

And I think one of the things is with like prioritizing yourself, don't like change yourself or at the expense of, know, don't try to change yourself for medicine or don't try to change yourself for anybody else.

Because, you know, when the going gets tough, like you got to live with that. And I think I had, I went through a moment of that where I kind of just like lost everything that like I sort of was used to or had going in.

And then, you know, when I kind of had, I got to a point where I'd like revisit all that stuff to kind of re-balance myself in.

I think when with that it really helped with like my self-esteem and my confidence, you know, throughout this process of trying to overcome just these obstacles that everybody faces going through this process.

And so it's like be you and be proud of being you. And don't waver from being you because being you is what got you here and being you is what will get you through it and so it's becoming very, very clear to me.

@27:27 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

That is sound advice, my friend, do not be afraid to fail, be you, and just continue to move forward.

Stephen, Christian, I really do appreciate your time, the provider, the creative designer, the innovator himself, man, this has been a great conversation.

I'm really excited to continue to follow your career and your career path and it continues.

@27:51 - Steven Christian

Now, for folks that might be interested in supporting you to want to learn more about El Topia, where do they catch you, where do they find you?

Yes, yes. So, uh, it'll top you on all the social media stuff. Um, it's I L T O P I A.

Um, I did my best for like doing all the SEO stuff. So if you literally just type in it, it'll top you studios, you'll find me.

Um, and then for support, really the best way is to just buy my books. Really just like kind of just get, become a patron of mine.

Uh, and so go to Uh, I, you know, at this point, I essentially create, I developed intellectual property that allows me to, uh, offload some stress and also in that process, like create stuff that people would enjoy and so, uh, and so, you know, buy my plushies, buy my toys, buy my, uh, buy my books, buy my stickers.

Uh, and that's the best way to support me.

@28:52 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Awesome. love it. And again, folks, for more information, will be on the shades of entrepreneurship newsletter that you can actually.

subscribe to by visiting the shades of Also in the shades of entrepreneurship, you can shop our shop. And if you scroll to the very bottom, you'll see the Patreon page where you can actually help support the shades of entrepreneurship's growth by simply donating $5 a month.

@29:16 - Steven Christian

Very small modest fee to help support the show. Stephen, again, thank you so much. Is there any last words you have for their guests or for our listeners?

Um, I live by this throughout, you know, high school and college. I sort of have this model that I've been continuing to live by.

And it's sort of evolved in a way, but like, it's simply just dare to be different. You know, if you if you're different, then you stand out and you have a lasting impact if you're doing things for the right reasons.

And to sort of build off of that, you know, once you, you know, find what your difference is then create opportunities to overcome adversity.

And so, you know, I have this additional mantra just like creating And if you could do that, you know, things will work out me.

And so I like it.

@30:05 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

And like my yearly motto is embrace knowledge, seek growth. What is it? Embrace growth, seek knowledge, and lead with purpose.

I always have to look at my whiteboard just to make sure I get it correctly. Yes, folks. I do, in fact, have a whiteboard.

All right, Steven. Thank you again so much for those listening at home again. You can follow me on the Instagram.

YouTube is actually a new great way. So if you actually want to watch these conversations, you can know that's another great way.

I, too, am also working on my SEO. So if you actually search for the shades of entrepreneurship, you should be able to find it.

If not, go ahead and visit 

bottom of page