Where great PMs spend their time; Accolade & Oscar go public; Clubhouse's plans for monetization
Welcome to this week’s Double Take on product, health tech, and digital media.
Calendly, known for its impressive capital efficiency, having only raised half a million to date, raised $350M at $3B valuation. It’s my favorite tool to book customer interview calls (high conversion rate associated with dropping a Calendly link).
When the number of areas you need to divide your attention to gets overwhelming, this shift in perspective can help with focus: Clean the Tiles, Not the Floor. Focus on one piece of work at hand, without engaging with the further stories around it. Just clean one tile at a time, and the floor will be cleaned eventually. It separates the unnecessary and additional emotions we tend to elaborate for a task.
The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
- Marcus Aurelius
Now onto the regular programming 👇
Great PMs don't spend their time on solutions. When we break down the time invested in different stages of the product development process, a large chunk of time usually falls in the “design solution” and “build solution” stages. The rest is spared in “prioritize problem”, “define problem”, “beta”, and “launch”. Many talk about the importance of talking to customer and doing research but much of it is just lip service. At Intercom, equal time is spent in “prioritize & define problem” as “design & build solution”. The solution can only be as good as our understanding of the problem. It’s one of the most important things PMs can do, and yet many companies don’t put in this work because it’s hard to do right, it’s not glamorous, and the output is not always visible or tangible.
The Hidden Freemium Advantage. There are 4 market shifts that lead to greater advantages to freemium than just the direct monetization. Freemium allows users to learn the value of the product on their own time. Customers are increasingly comfortable with purchasing higher priced SaaS products via self serve. Freemium enables bottoms-up usage, which drives purchase decision. Freemium also brings indirect growth effects including increased network effects, stronger acquisition and retention.
Unpacking 5 of Atlassian’s Most Unconventional Company-Building Moves. Most know about Atlassian’s self-serve, no-sales go to market approach. It turns out there are a few more unconventional ways about the company, including product led growth (build a product that sells itself); using channel partners; and deferring the enterprise play.
Building with the right atomic concepts (How Figma & Canva taking on Adobe, and winning. Kevin Kwok breaks down the atomic concepts that these companies are built upon. Figma and Canva are built for the new use cases and users for design: prosumers. They’re also built with the right levels of abstraction, with Figma prioritizing for collaboration and Canva providing templates and components. Canva expanded beyond its product to a platform/ecosystem by creating communities of templates which then further drives SEO and user acquisition. As products become the main vehicle of interaction between the company and the people, it’s important to understand the few core elements that can maximally explain how this company will grow.
📠 Health Tech
Accolade goes public and buys 2nd MD. The Caseload has a great analysis on how Accolade addresses the member-engagement problem as a “care coordinator”. Accolade helps employees navigate appropriate and cost-efficient care. Reducing information asymmetry between providers and members also helps control medical costs for the employers. Accolade filed its S1, and is also acquiring 2nd.MD, a solution that lets patients get a second opinion from clinical experts. 2nd.MD boasts a NPS of 91 and $5000+ in savings per consult. These are impressive numbers that support Accolade’s goal to save costs and better engage patients.
Oscar goes public. Oscar has over half a million members, and boasts strong member engagement with its full stack platform. It’s one of the most consumer-packaged health tech companies, from its philosophy to product to branding. It’s not yet profitable (net loss of $406+ million in 2020), but is growing quickly in membership base. Deeper analysis here.
It’s not about video. It’s about always-on triage. While telemedicine provided significant convenience during the pandemic, this piece highlights that the biggest shift is not the format of care delivery, but the continuous triage of patients from all parts of the health system. “Always on” triage ensures resources are utilized most appropriately, because they help clinical see patient as a whole.
Building clinical rigor into virtual care. Building clinical rigor into virtual care models from the outset can establish a flywheel fueled by differentiated clinical outcomes. The recent generation of virtual care companies are in a good position to enable clinical rigor in a number of ways, including coupling input operational data with output clinical/outcome data, and enabling more automation to scale the provider.
Twitter has acquired its first design firm ever. Here’s why. Ueno will be incorporated into Twitter’s various teams. The hope is that design can help create a online space that makes people feel safe and be part of a community. Can design save Twitter? Or large social platforms for that matter?
Clubhouse raises series B, plans for monetization. A16z led series B round for Clubhouse at $1B valuation. Clubhouse has been an invite-only free product. It plans to test ways to help creators monetize on the platform, including subscriptions, tipping and ticket sales.
Hubspot is acquiring The Hustle. The Hustle is a newsletter of digestible business news targeted to entrepreneurs and founders. It has an audience of 1.5+ million, and its paid newsletter “The Trends” has roughly 10k paying subscribers. Owning this audience could serve as a direct sales channel for Hubspot’s business. Recall that not long ago, Business Insider bought controlling stake in Morning Brew. The big picture: high quality, digestible content is a great vehicle to acquire a “monetizable” audience.