Playbook on balancing sales & product; customers of digital health products are overwhelmed; what it means to be an entertainment business in 2021

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

This month’s theme is going to be about the craft of storytelling. I encountered a few important moments lately that reminded me of how much narratives drive people. This resource, deck of brilliance, has been a fantastic source of inspiration for generating ideas and crafting compelling stories.

Ben Horowitz shares his favorite CEO advice: Nobody Cares. A good reason for failure doesn’t make anything better. Nobody cares. Save the time of detailing your misery and spend it on what you’re going to do next. Sound life advice. Speaking of life advice, here’s 68 more unsolicited advice.

✨ Inspiration

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

- Marcus Aurelius

Now onto the regular programming 👇

💻 Product

  • How to Pick the Right Freemium Strategy. There are many factors to consider when making the freemium vs. free trial decision. This guide offers a decision tree to help break down each level of decision. Considerations for a time-based free trial: if product can cultivate loss aversion, if you can support user to maximize the trial, and if it’s not possible to provide a light weight version of the product. Usage-based free trial gives users more time at the cost of delayed monetization. With Freemium model, it’s important to distinguish if the product has additional features that customers are willing to pay for. 

  • Between Sales and Product: Building Out Self-Serve at Notion & Dropbox. Kate Taylor, Notion’s new head of customer experience, wrote a playbook about product led growth and self serve strategies. Her experience from SalesForce, Dropbox, and Notion outlines a guide to finding the balance between enterprise and self-serve. It’s valuable for both sales-driven companies to think about self-serve and bottom-up companies to think about adding sales.

  • How Intercom balances innovation with product market fit. Innovation means doing things “new, different, and better”. Although, sometimes doing things that are not innovative is good too. Great execution on an industry standard can also be a great differentiator. Innovation can happen at different levels: business model, product strategy, product execution, go-to-market. Good companies know when and where to (and not to) innovate. When prioritizing the roadmap, product market fit (product gaps) needs to be balanced with innovation. 


📠 Health Tech

  • Digital health is booming, customers are overwhelmed. Digital health startups raised record investments over the pandemic. Its customers, for example benefit managers, are overwhelmed with the incoming options. Employers are pushing these services to integrate with insurers and expand their offerings to cover more conditions. Competition is more intense than ever. Every player is trying to dominate one space and M&As seem to be a popular path. 

  • Cigna covers Ginger (mental health app) as in-network benefit. Investors are pouring money in mental health startups as employers seek more ways to support mental health. Cigna is now covering Ginger’s coaching services in its benefit. Cigna is an investor of Ginger in a $50M round last year. Earlier this year, Ginger raised another $100M. Ginger offers on-demand coaching 24/7 via text with a trained behavior health coach.

  • Amwell rolls out new telehealth platform that integrates with digital health tools. Amwell unveiled Converge, its new telehealth platform with an open architecture. Its president Roy Schoenberg’s messaging about the “digital distribution of care” hints that “care” itself is commoditized and value lies in platforms that facilitate the delivery. Converge’s open architecture brings together other apps on the platform to support broader capabilities across the care continuum. 


📣 Media

  • Resetting the App Store. The App Store solved both the trust and distribution problems for users and developers. But as it grew enormously in size, so did the arguments around its rules for in-app payment. With lawsuits from Epic and Spotify, and EU’s investigations, things are going to change.

  • What is an entertainment company in 2021? In the digital era, market leaders tend to be specialized. Eg. Google+ can’t replace Facebook; Instagram can’t replace TikTok. But for Disney as an entertainment business, it’s managed to be the best in multiple streams, including its film studio, park division, and streaming platform. It’s arguably the best in the 3 things that an entertainment business does: 1. Tell stories, 2. Build love for those stories, 3. Monetize that love. 

  • Netflix rolls out “Play something” to choose what to stream for you. Netflix released a new feature to help solve choice fatigue when it comes to deciding what to watch. The “Play Something” button is like the TV’s power button. It’s also demonstrative of how Netflix can act as “ambient TV” - content that’s plays in the background.

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