Constraints as source of innovation; value vs. volume-based care; the lost magic of cinema

Hello, welcome to this week’s Double Take on product, health tech, and digital media. 

When we try to solve problems with many moving parts as a whole, it can get overwhelming. If we can identify one thing that can be changed without breaking other things (ie. orthogonal to each other), then we can start to make progress. More on orthogonality as an option.

How are your remote-work tools working for you? Microsoft launched Viva, a bet on the future of remote work. Viva lives inside Microsoft Teams, bringing essential parts of a business into a central location. There are 4 modules: connections (internal communications, built on SharePoint); insights (data on work & productivity patterns); learning (employee development); and topics (wiki page for the organization). Microsoft is going strong on the integration strategy for work, building a connected ecosystem with its portfolio of tools.

✨ Inspiration

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

- Oscar Wilde

Now onto the regular programming 👇


💻 Product

  • Intercom on where to innovate. Another fantastic episode from Des Traynor and Paul Adams on balancing innovation (differentiation) with table stake foundations. For startups, there are best practices and table stakes that must be achieved before the differentiation (or delights) can make a difference. Delights can also be easy to copy by competitors or incumbents. So it comes down to the speed of whether the newcomer can accomplish the foundations faster than the incumbent can copy the differentiation. It’s important to be clear on where your area of innovation is, and where to stick with the industry standard. 

  • Design for the User, Position for the Buyer. Sounds obvious but this is often forgotten in go-to-market planning and difficult to do right. In sales situations, an impressive product demo that delights the user is just the first part. It can fuel the conversation, but more essential is how it solves a need for management and the buyer with a clear line to a budget. Sell with both buyer and user in mind, and have a budget up front.

  • Becoming a senior Product Manager. There are 3 general milestones of career growth for PMs, from entry-level to senior PM, then to a manager of PMs, then to a manager of managers. The first milestones to a senior PM takes the longest. Accelerating that step can make the largest impact on your PM career. The 3 most important differentiators for a senior PM are strategy, autonomy, and nuance. Jacky breaks down these 3 skills in her guest-post on Lenny’s newsletter.

  • Constraints are the hidden source of innovation. Oftentimes, teams blame constraints for failing to achieve a goal. However, constraints are actually a source a creativity and innovation, as they force us to make progress with incremental funding and limited time. Constraints force focused direction and prioritization.


📠 Health Tech

  • Value vs. volume in healthcare. This a16z episode brings Todd Park, renowned health technologist, to discuss how tech enabled “payvider” stacks can move value based systems forward. To apply tech enabled process control to healthcare requires a full stack payer-provider ecosystem. Providing a health plan with a great consumer experience also produces better ROI because - 1. better experience wins you more customers and 2. better trust & engagement with customers gets you better outcomes. By having tech enabled payvider stacks compete on outcome and cost rather than having a centralized health system, we can create the right magnetic field of competition to drive value based care and delivery innovation. 

  • Patient data marketplace. This detailed overview of how Ciitizen works (personal health record) can make a mini course on the basics of data flow in healthcare. Ciitizen has taken an interesting approach to go above FHIR standards and take a bet on HIEs (Health Information Exchanges) to transfer patient data between EMRs. Ciitizen wants to be the platform that gives patients control of where to give their data (eg. for research) and get compensated for it.

  • Primer on value based care. This is a great primer on the different payment and risk models of value based care. The performance of these models have been mixed, given the change needed for providers’ workflows and infrastructures to consolidate quality measures.

  • A16z bio group’s Clubhouse show on Mondays at 5pm PST.


📣 Media

  • Fellini and the lost magic of cinema. Martin Scorsese penned an beautiful essay about the magic of Fellini’s cinematic work and the importance cinema holds in our culture. It calls for a meaningful question of how to preserve and value true art in a world of democratized “content” and algorithm fatigue.

  • Clubhouse’s inevitability. As Clubhouse started opening up to the broader market, Ben Thompson explores why it took so long for audio to reach mainstream distribution, and how Clubhouse democratized audio publishing. 1. It made it dramatically easier to create and consume audio. 2. It centralizes creation and consumption in a feedback loop (with “hand-raising”). Inevitably, there will be bad content (as with all user generated content), but the key is dropping user into it and revoking the choice overload.

  • The great unbundling. Ben Evans’ presentation summarizing progress in the internet economy through COVID and the unbundling of retail and media. Amazon is replacing the post office; subscription VOD (video on demand) outtakes live TV; global (outside US.) innovation soars.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this edition, hit the 🖤 above, it helps others see it :) Let’s chat more on Twitter.
- Christine