By MATTHEW HOLT
After only maybe 5 years when I’ve been away running a conflicting conference in some other part of the world I finally get to go to Exponential Medicine the next 4 days. I met Daniel Kraft way back before he was famous, and his conference grew from being a week long academic session in an airline hangar in Mountain View to being a mega 4 day bash at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego (partly aided by TEDMED abandoning the venue and heading off in its own strange direction post billionaire buyout–well done Mark Hodash despite the lawsuit and yes I am jealous!).
Anyway, it’s going to be lots of fun. There’s plenty of people from my Health 2.0 world presenting. Lonnie Rae Kurlander, ePatient Dave, heck even John Halamka has been tempted off the farm — although I suspect Dave will have him in a headlock about access to his BIDMC data pretty quick).
Then there’s the surgeons and the weirdos. I leave Shafi Ahmed & Stefano Bini to decide which category they’re in, although whatever John Brownstein says I do owe him a nice bottle of scotch. Anyway, check out the program and if you haven’t bought yourself a ticket or bribed your way in, don’t worry it’s all being live streamed and Jessica DaMassa from WTF Health will as ever be interviewing anyone who doesn’t get out of the way quick enough.
So if you’re there I’ll be milling around not doing much, so say hi. And otherwise follow along here and @boltyboy
It sometimes seems that the world is speeding up, and it’s often hard to remember how quickly things are changing in our everyday lives. The relatively slow, expensive technologies of the 1970s and 80s are now essentially ‘free’ features that have dissolved into our exponentially more powerful devices. GPS with navigation directions, video and still cameras, online encyclopedias and the like would have separately cost over $500K 20-30 years ago. As inventor, futurist and Singularity University co-founder Ray Kurzweil likes to point out, a kid in Africa with a smartphone today has more access to information than the U.S. president did 15 years ago.
I recently found (via Twitter) this delightful and insightful story about a couple, both born in 1986, who have two young children. The couple, inspired by their son’s propensity to play on an iPad instead of outside on a nice day, have chosen to revert their life to 1986 levels of technology. No cell phones, no Google, no email, no tweets, no SMS…. So now they read books, develop rolls of film, and look things up in Encyclopedia Britannica. Watching this family, we might wonder how we got through the day and communicated and coordinated with our friends and family.
There’s a lot of entrepreneurial energy in the Bay Area, but I’m always surprised at how much of it is directed towards health care. As Apothecary readers surely recognize, if we were to rank sectors where the government lies ready to crush the entrepreneurial spirit, health care and education must lead the list.
So, I was excited to have wrangled an invitation to the UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business‘ annual Business of Health Care Conference, a day-long event held last week. This year’s conference, the sixth, titled Entrepreneurial Solutions to Health Care Challenges, assembled a high-profile group of entrepreneurs, scholars, and investors.
The most informative panel that I attended addressed “Venture Capital – Positioning Health Care Startups for Success,” moderated by Rebecca Lynn of Morgenthaler Ventures. The panel comprised Missy Krasner, also of Morgenthaler Ventures and the former Google executive who launched the now defunct Google Health; Lisa Suennen, a co-founder of the Psilos Group (perhaps the longest-standing pure-play healthcare VC); and Jeff Tangney, former president of Epocrates and founder of Doximity.
Key take-aways from the panel discussion were:
Digital health is where the opportunity lies, but both healthcare investors and IT investors bring unhelpful biases to this new sector.
Although the Bay Area crowd is loathe to hear it, some of the best new health IT businesses are in places we’d shun – like Michigan or Nashville.
Some digital-health entprenreneurs think they have a business, but they only really have a product. Nothing wrong with that, but you’ve got to sell it, not fund it.