Thursday, February 24, 2011

Have You Created An Urtak Yet?

My friends Mark and Aaron are the co-founders of a very cool start-up called Urtak. It makes it easy for anyone to create a yes/no poll they can put on their blog, Tumblr, Facebook, etc.

Here's one I just created on Health. It only took me 2 minutes to create and publish. Pretty cool!

Their service is already starting to take off, but I think this is going to be an amazing tool for publishers now that we are entering a major political cycle the next two years:

Your Health

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Harnessing The Power Of The Internet To Close The Health Gap?

I had the great pleasure of working on this opinion piece with Jerry Levin which was published yesterday in published Business Insider and the OrganizedWisdom Blog. Jerry is the former Chairman and CEO of Time Warner, and is the Presiding Director of Moonview Sanctuary and a Board Member and investor in He is a tremendous partner and mentor for me personally and is also one of the most passionate and inspiring people I know who are also on a mission to transform health and wellness. It is truly an honor to work with and learn from Jerry everyday.

Can We Harness The Power Of The Internet To Close The Healthcare Gap?

by Jerry Levin

For all of us -- young, old, and those in the middle -- life is simply an interlude between doctors’ visits.

This perspective, while obvious, perennially stays beneath our consciousness since we are consumed by the daily pursuit of personal identity as if our mind-body-and-spirit were to function without incident and without end.

More powerfully of late is the recognition that the explosive neglect of mental health issues has led to the horror of deadly violence—so massively played out recently in Arizona.

In my own family, we have witnessed the tragic consequences of unattended drug addiction. On a national level, as we have engaged in a heated debate about legislating health care, my greatest fear is that we have lost focus on the ability of an individual to take control of his or her own health and wellness. Now is the time for us to transform the conversation from one about ‘healthcare’ to the far more personal issue of an individual’s own ‘health’.

Clearly we have reached an inflection point in our quest to improve healthcare. Empowering people to control their own health and wellness destinies may be the most important way to create greater efficiencies in the healthcare system and help drive down the spread of excessive costs.

In fact, one of the most important parts of a renewed personal investment in healthcare are the real benefits associated with preventive measures like sound nutrition, frequent exercise, stress reduction and regular medical visits. We can also see that the Internet is revolutionizing people’s ability to take charge of their physical and mental health.

Sparkling advances in social media and mobile technologies have shifted the paradigm for consuming health information online and have created a “new bedside manner” for health practitioners. Doctors and other medical experts now actively participate on Facebook and Twitter, on personal blogs and through many other online interactions—empowering patients with more knowledge and understanding at their fingertips than ever before.

While the number of health experts online is still relatively small, it is growing every day as more doctors view their online presence as an extension of their professional reputation. A recent Manhattan Research survey of U.S. physicians showed an increase in Internet usage for professional purposes up from 2.5 hours per week in 2002 to 8 hours per week in 2010. This is reminiscent of the early days of television when we heard arguments that the new screen would deaden human emotion and personal connection. We hear echoes of this same concern for the generation growing up with the Internet.

Yet today’s children are still raised with a mother’s touch and a father’s care, and they play with each other with the same joy that we experienced; however, they also enjoy the enormous value of having the Internet in the classroom as digital technology is providing a gateway to greater learning and self-realization. Rather than diminishing human connection, technological innovation and the Internet have the power to bring the world together and improve countless lives. Indeed the pace of change wrought by the Internet is breathtaking.

According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, we now create as much information every two days as we did between the dawn of civilization up until the year 2003. Moreover, Pew Research has reported that searching for health information ranks among the top three Web activities across generations. The most significant way to utilize this wealth of available information is to encourage innovation in online health technology with the mission of elevating the standard of care and closing the gap that exists between a doctor visit and an Internet search—where people are left alone with only an empty search box and their own unmet anxieties. We are on the cusp of vastly improving the overall level of health and wellness knowledge in this country by using the Internet to cultivate a new generation of highly informed patients.

It is clear that the more understanding patients have, both before and after a doctor visit, the more efficient our healthcare delivery system will be. With a commitment to better understanding of ourselves and our own bodies, we can take control of our personal health, live a more fulfilling existence and advance in the pursuit of real happiness.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Make every detail perfect and edit every detail: Interview with Jack Dorsey

Square and Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey shares this insightful lecture, describing his early background and inspirations, the current focuses he keeps as a CEO, and his desire to create memorable experiences and solve problems. Still amazes me that I can pop online, get access to such an amazing talk, and learn so much all for free. And I didn't even have to pay that hefty Stanford tuition:).

At minute 17: The thing that really inspires people is a working product.

At minute 23: We instrument all usage. Log, measure, test. We treat data as a product.

At minute 24: We focus on the power of story and creating user narratives. We want to tell one epic cohesive story that we tell the world.

At minute 27: There's a thousand things we could be doing, but only one that is important. We need to drive the one or two that are going to drive the service/product. I am effectively the Chief Editor of the company. 3 things I edit: Bring in best Team and edit the negative members; internal/external communication, coordination of goals internally. External communication is the product. And the story we tell with it. How people are using it.

At minute 35: I think about marketing through the product itself. If the product is built in a beautiful way, it inspires people to take action.

At minute 40: The more you can minimize the thinking around the mechanics in the moment, then more people are going to use it and feel good about it. We want to get you to the value of what you intend to do.

At minute 43: Important to write it out, to draw it, to code it. It's important to get it out of your head. To see it on a surface. The sooner you can pass it around and get feedback the better.

At minute 44: What is the story. How are people coming to this. When I show my friends, how will they react. I realized I was writing plays.

At minute 48: It's not what we can build. It's what we can take away.

At minute 50: Q: Do you want to get rid of credit cards? A: We want to make payments feel amazing. (Love how he gets back to the "epic story").

At minute 58: Talks about building platform and importance of API to build ecosystem around Square. "I think of Square as a start-up with many start-ups around it."

Make every detail perfect and edit every detail

Expect the unexpected, and whenever possible be the unexpected.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Apple's Infamous 1984 Commercial Introducing the Macintosh

Not sure why a company (I've already forgotten which one) thought it made sense to blow several million dollars on their Super Bowl ad taking a jab at Apple and iPad. First, most people under the age of 40 would likely have never heard of the original ad so the reference didn't work. Second, the new ad was completely inferior. Here's Apple's infamous "1984" Apple Macintosh commercial for those of you who have never seen it. Brilliant story-telling as usual from Apple:

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Instead of "What do you do?", why not "How are you doing?"

This gem of wisdom was brought up at dinner the other night by one of my mentors and it's something that I've been thinking a lot about and also doing my best to put into practice:

When you meet someone new, one of the most common questions people ask is "What do you do?" It's an easy question and helpful in kicking off a conversation with someone you don't know much about. But why not try a different approach by instead asking, "How has life been for you lately?" or "What's new in your life."

I've been trying to do this more and more, and avoiding the question of one's occupation altogether for as long as possible. I find that as soon as I know what someone does, what company they work for, what their job title is, etc. I naturally start pre-judging everything else that they have to say. There is a filter that invariably obscures everything else that person has to say. By asking different questions I find it easier to learn more about what someone is really like. Plus it makes for more interesting conversation...

5 Things To Never Say in a Negotiation

From my experience there are no hard, fast rules to the art of negotiation. And generally speaking the more natural, transparent, and reasonable you are during a negotiation, the more effective you will be.

I don't agree 100% with all these, but I think this article includes several useful tips for entrepreneurs or anyone during a negotiation no matter how big or small.

1) Don't use the word "between."
2) Avoid saying "I think we're close."
3) "Why don't you throw out a number?"
4) You never want to say "I'm the final decision maker."
5) No need to ever say "F#$@ you."

Read the full article here which is packed with useful examples.

Want to be more effective? Try Quantified Self

For the past few years, I've been mildly obsessed and actively studying, thinking about, ranting about to anyone who will listen, and in fact engaging with the Quantified Self, the art of leveraging personal data to better one's health and well being. The first question most people ask is, what is the Quantified Self anyway? which is why I wanted to share this TED video below featuring Gary Wolf explaining QS. Wolf sums it up best at the end of the video by saying: If we want to act more effectively in the world, we have to get to know ourselves better.

There's no doubt in my mind that we are in the midst of one of the most important revolutions of our time: our ability to "know thyself" in ways once discussed only in science fiction. The innovation, products and services being born out of the Quantified Self movement will shape our future, disrupt healthcare as we know it, help transform our wellness, and ultimately give us the power to live happier and healthier lives.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Friday, February 04, 2011

Excited about Reader's Digest Partnering with OrganizedWisdom to Help Close 'Online Health Gap'

Read the full press release here or on the OrganizedWisdom Blog.

Example, of one of the "information prescriptions" as a small embedded object that will appear online and also be distributed in over 300,000 doctors offices. This is just one of the many aspects of this program: