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Take 13. No roadmaps; great consumer health companies; TikTok drama
Welcome to this week’s Double Take on product, health tech, and digital media.
Fall tends to have a “fresh start” effect on people. Many might’ve hoped for things to have gone back to normal by now - back to school, back to the office, back to IRL interactions. That clearly wasn’t the case. Although, there has been a few interesting releases this fall.
Read Hastings’ new book “No rules rules” is finally out, sharing the unorthodox culture and systems at Netflix.
Bessemer published the memos of some of its biggest investments, including Pinterest, Shopify, Twitch, etc. It’s actually not easy to learn from success — to differentiate luck from repeatable patterns. These memos offer a rare glimpse into the analysis and thinking behind these investment decisions, during a time when success didn’t look as obvious as it does today.
Now onto the regular programming 👇
Options, not roadmaps. At Basecamp, there are no roadmaps, only a portfolio of options. Due to uncertainty, expectations, and guilt, the team collects options of things that could be built. The intended advantage is to stay completely flexible to changing plans, and not have promises. This takes away the guilt of not working on a great idea when a greater idea comes up. I think this only works when paired with their “Shape up” method of 6 week cycles. Having even an “impressionistic” style of a roadmap is still valuable for planning and building internal confidence.
Pricing - the most high impact GTM activity. Start with a sticky product, as retention can be more important than acquisition. As features grow, don’t be afraid to rework the pricing model and keep it simple. Too much customization makes it harder to automate subscription renewal. And finally, it’s important to make the revenue data accessible to the whole team!
4 Product leadership frameworks. Seasoned product leader Ha shared top lessons learned from working at 5 scaling companies in the Valley. The first is how to invest enough time in the problem space before going into solution. Second, there are 4 questions about your product that you must have answer to. Third, a set of product principles to help visualize your priorities. And finally, being clear about your north star metric, as it moves across acquisition to satisfaction.
📠 Health Tech
Apple and Singapore partners in national health initiative. This makes the first time a tech company partners with a nation on a health/wellness program. The program, named LumiHealth, uses the Apple Watch to promote healthy habits in citizens. There are activity coaching and wellness challenges that come with rewards up to S$380 over the 2 year program. The program could serve valuable data points to support public-funded wellness programs if it could prove reduction in overall health-care costs.
The next great consumer company will be a health-focused platform. Consumer health tracking hardware and software brings growingly comprehensive data about people’s health. From metabolic health, to mind-body balance, to sleep and fitness, the next chapter of great consumer companies will be focusing on the journey of healthy habits and buying into better versions of ourselves.
Fintech scales vertical healthcare SaaS. Fintech is driving the next generation of SaaS and there’re incredible opportunities for health tech products. Many health tech products also tend to be linked with a fin-tech component (think - revenue cycle management, claim processing). Embedding fintech into end user flows can create powerful products.gr8 post on embedded fintech in vertical SaaS. The biggest healthtech products tend to be linked w/ rev cycle (clearance, auth, claims processing, paymts); opportunity to embed new healthcare fintech products into end user flows has never been so acute given current macro env.0/ Vertical SaaS companies have long leveraged payments as a way to deliver more value to customers and expand their TAM, however we believe this is just the beginning for embedded fintech. A thread and post [👇👇👇] @astrange @seema_amble @kimberlywtan https://t.co/2aYH2aIwdWKristina Shen @kshenster
Trump signs off on TikTok to partner with Oracle and Walmart. Words I never thought I’d see in the same sentence but here we are. Immediately following the panic induced by announced TikTok and Wechat ban as of Sep 20, it seems that Walmart and Oracle would share a 20% stake in TikTok as a new U.S. entity to be based in Texas. To understand this deal, look at what Apple and Microsoft has been doing in China. Foreign companies storing data locally is not uncommon, though it’s the cause of government intervention and execution of enforcement that is troubling.
YouTube launching short form video. Yup, another TikTok competitor. YouTube Shorts are 15 second videos that can be edited. User can swipe vertically to browse through videos. YouTube is beta launching Shorts in India this week.
Quibi looking looking to sell. 6 months after launch, Quibi is looking for a buyer. This mobile-first, short format, premium content service is meant to bring “quick bites” of video content from A-listers. It turns out, people are spending most of their time at home, on their desktop/TV, and on TikTok. Unlike Netflix, HBO Apple TV and the likes, Quibi doesn’t own its content. It licenses them over several years. That’ll make a complex valuation for potential buyers.
Radio ad spending to decline 25% this year. With fewer people commuting and listening to radio, media spend in radio is expected to decline by 25%. While it’s expected to rebound next year to $12B, it’s unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels again.