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Take 09. Why smart people build mediocre product; interoperability rules; story behind Quibi's downfall
Hi, welcome to this week’s Double Take on product, health tech, and digital media.
The stock market these days is more like the “shock market”. One moment I’d be reading about skyrocketing unemployment numbers, and the next, I’d see stock performance going up and right. In a way, the pandemic is a shock test on the strength of companies’ foundations. Those with weak foundations will surface pre-meditated problems and crumble, and the strong ones will use the opportunity to get even more lean and efficient. After AirBnB’s massive loss of business this year, it’s seeing unexpected rebound already and IPO is still on the table for 2020.
Productivity tools are likely the most popular new product category in recent years. Amie is the latest modern productivity app based on the thesis that all tasks are to-do’s and all to-do’s need to be scheduled. Amie’s founder is 23 years old - the youngest founder funded by Creandum, the VC firm that infamously backed Spotify’s then 25 year old Daniel Ek. Amie’s beta launch certainly took on a gen-Z-like approach, with hilarious video messages from “Russ Hanneman” (fans of HBO’s Silicon Valley would be thoroughly entertained, as was I).
Why do smart people build mediocre product? A great thread on how easily we fall into these fallacies and bad habits:
Google G suite finally takes on workspace productivity. G suite launches a new integrated workspace that brings communication, file sharing, and project management into Gmail as the workstation. Today, email remains the starting point of work, although it’s starting to get disrupted in various ways by the likes of Slack, Hey, etc. Email users need to switch between the different modules of communication. Google’s deep integrations of Chat, Meet, Rooms means having a single app to manage notifications and avoid context switching. Google has been late to the workplace product space - will G Suite prove to be a worthy competitor?
Product thinking from Twitter and Slack. April Underwood shares how your product reflects your culture; how category defining companies are founded at the intersection of timing + talent; how to turn early adopters into a growth channel; creating network effects.
📠 Health Tech
Everything You Need to Know About the Healthcare Interoperability Rules. A great summary of the CMS interoperability rules/Cures Act. Nikita read the 400+ pages of Cures act, and condensed to what’s required and listed examples of startups/API businesses. Anticipate more coming as actors prep for compliance by 2021.
Why we shouldn’t fear AI in healthcare. Some fear that AI can be biased and dangerous and difficult to control. It’s actually the opposite. Human intelligence is in fact impossible to audit. Decisions are made from many tangible and intangible sources and influences. With artificial intelligence, one can actually interrogate its source and audit its decisions. Just like pilots putting on auto-pilot for landing, AI can handle the moment to moment decisions for doctors, and doctors would act as oversight for to provide narrative context and ensure those decisions are relevant for the patient.
Another telemedicine startup raise. Doctor on Demand raised $75 million recently as it expands its virtual visit service. It currently employs over 700 doctors and has 1000 more on its wait list. It is also the first telemedicine provider to cater to Medicare Part B beneficiaries. It’s planning to use the new funding to expand mental health services, enhance its technology, and hire more physicians to the platform.
The chronicle behind Quibi’s failed launch. The mobile only content streaming service boasted a large A-list talent and was backed by almost $2 billion in investment. Katzenberg had a vision that consumers want entertainment in snackable chunks. It turns out that 1. Intuition is faulty when you don’t actually understand the audience, and 2. Validate big ideas on a small scale is always smarter than baring all the risk and forcing it on the market.
From creator economy to participatory economy. We’ve gone from gig economy to creator (/passion) economy, where individuals can monetize their unique skills to a fan niche. This gives rise to the participatory economy, where fans participate in the creator’s success and share the incentives.
Ben Evans’ infamous macro tech trends as of June. Find tons of interesting insights and macro trends including how COVID forced experimentation and progress in industries like e-commerce and online food sales, yet not so much in advertising and VR. All in all though, software becomes further embedded into our lives. Ben himself is also finally launching a paid version of his weekly newsletter.
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