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Take 08. Engineering engaged innovation; digital therapeutics; rise of email newsletters
Hi, welcome to this week’s Double Take on product, health tech, and digital media.
This newsletter has unintentionally become a library of interesting and educational reads. While these are more seasonal in nature, I also share timeless pieces on the fundamentals of making great products here.
What tools do you use for personal knowledge organization? It feels like Evernote had dominated the space for many years, then suddenly we’re presented with multiple highly design-driven and customizable note management tools: Notion, Coda, Roam… Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, the way we work is being graced with better and better productivity tools. Slack recently launched Slack Connect, bringing enough network into a channel to displace email. Microsoft Teams extends from business to personal communication. It’s quite an exciting competitive space to watch.
Engineering engaged innovation. It’s true that customers don’t always know what they want because they might not know what’s possible. As such, customers and often product managers are not always the source of innovation. Marty shares a few stories of well known innovations (eg. Amazon Alexa, Google Translate) and how engaged engineers on a product team can be the source of innovation.
Apple’s long term strategy and relentless execution. Steven Sinofsky summarizes how the WWDC proved Apple’s remarkable product engineering, gutsy multi-year strategy, and a culture of being POV-driven. 2 years to transition to Apple silicon is an impressive operational feat, and demonstrative of truly keeping to a multi-year, relentlessly prioritized strategy with a massive product team of likely over 20k. Apple doesn’t respond to micro-changes in its environment, rather, it develops a point of view about making great products and creates a system that lets the right choices to be made.
Building products for power users. When an enterprise software gets bigger and more configurable, it also inevitably gets bloated and cluttered. Rahul shares how he leverages tools like the command palette and keyboard shortcuts to make complex products a joy to use even for power users. There’s also some gems around consumer-like packaging of enterprise software, getting the right pricing, and prioritizing the roadmap.
📠 Health Tech
How doctors really feel about telemedicine? While telemedicine uptake spiked during the pandemic, it has since started to decline since June. It turns out, adoption of telemedicine requires resource and expertise, and changes including new workflows, scheduling, documentation protocols. Physicians are also uncertain about its financial sustainability. While temporary reimbursement flexibilities are made for telemedicine visits, they need the certainty now before committing to the investment.
What counts as a digital therapeutic? FDA recently approved a video game to treat ADHD. This surfaced a great debate of what counts as a digital therapeutic. What about software that encourages people to perform a certain behavior that results in a clinical outcome? This leads to a great debate of pricing digital therapeutics. When the marginal cost is near zero, it makes the argument for outcome based pricing rather than volume based.
CMS’ Office of Burden Reduction. The goal is to remove red tapes and administrative inefficiencies to clinicians by removing paperwork requirements. The focus is on data interoperability and automation, such that patient can better manage their own health data. CMS has eliminated a number of meaningful measures and enhanced the data submission experience of quality measures.
The popularity of curated editorial products. Reuters released the 2020 digital news report covering interesting trends in consumer behavior towards media. One interesting trend is the resurgence of consuming news via email newsletters. Newsletters serve as a middle ground between print and digital. Emails are a good way to build brand loyalty, and consumers appreciate morning and evening briefings for their convenience.
Masterclass isn’t really about mastery. Masterclass is an annual subscription of online “Masterclasses” taught by people who are the best in what they do (ie. celebrities). I use this personally and enjoy it a lot. This piece explains how Masterclass is creating the best evergreen content with borrowed social capital of celebrities, how it experimented viability at first before raising more capital (contrast with Quibi), and that media’s true efficiency is to drive other industries that can bring even greater economical value.
Apple’s app clips and its possibilities. Another interesting announcement at WWDC is the app clips which are lightweight versions of a full app that can be launched and executed quickly for a specific task. This trend of mini apps (eg. WeChat and Snapchat) brings a bridge for offline businesses to have an online presence. App clips are launched by scanning a unique NFC tags - it’s like a physical bookmark for a digital destination.
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