Organizing the world’s heath

Of all the doctor’s offices I’ve ever been in, I can undoubtedly say they all have one thing in common: The overwhelming amounts of patient files and folders. Next time you go see the doctor, take a look behind the front desk. You will most likely find the sea of colored tabbed, manila folders, each one corresponding to a different patient.

Think about this for a second. Each medical office or facility has huge amounts of patient data that exist in isolated silos. If I were to visit two different general physicians, I would get two different examinations, with two different diagnoses, two different perspectives, and two different data sets on my health. Although they may be very similar, they will most certainly be different to some degree.

With the advent of the internet, the social web, search optimization, and relational databases, it has become increasingly easier to share and access information.

Why can’t we apply the same methods to our own heath? Imagine if every doctor’s office shared one database, offering more insight to a patients health. Granted privacy is an issue and a big concern. But what if those patients lived in the database as ID’s rather then name? The patient would be completely anonymous, and doctor can gain new perspective to a patient’s health they may not have previously had.

Now imagine the database existed in an open source, atlassian-like structure. If the doctor was trying to diagnose a patient based on a list of symptoms, they could hypothetically type in some keywords into the database, and have real time, real world patients at their finger tips (with no personally identifiable information). It would be like a real time, global medical journal. Doctors would have to qualify in order to participate in the database.

Ultimately, the patient wins as their health becomes an open source project for all of the doctors that participate, without their indentity ever being known.

Online Monetization: Beyond Advertising and into Microstransactions

Let me start by saying this: I firmly believe online advertising is and will continue to play an essential role in the economic ecosystem of the internet (so much so, that I am working at Lotame). With that said, is online advertising the only answer?

Arguably No.

Microtransactions: According to learnthat.com

Microtransactions Definition

Microtransactions are small transactions, perhaps of the order of a cent. They are being considered for digital content on the web (a magazine selling an article (unbundled) rather than an entire issue (bundled with additional information that may not be of interest to the consumer). This may then open up additional revenue streams for the content providers.

As new web services, application, or any website for that matter becomes available, the priority typically lies with the user base and generating lots of eyeballs. Once that user base has reached significant mass, the service can leverage the base and monetize.

So if a company like twitter were to offer subscription based premium services, they could, in theory, generate revenue from their loyal users. But what happens if they applied a micro transaction type revenue model? What if they generate revenues based on individual actions (using a feature of the service), or premium actions (using a premium feature of the service), and charge users a fraction of a penny for the action. Granted there would have to be a standardized pay-pal like model behind this type of system, but the amount of volume or interactions that exist online, could yield significant revenue. Make sense?

There are definitley issues surrounding this idea (haven’t though them all through), but the premise is there.

Educating youth with subject matter that matters

A while back I wrote about the relevance (or lack their of) of the systematic approaches taken by the public school systems and large universities. I would argue that practical and relevant hands-on approaches need to be implemented to better educate the youth in such a competitive global economy. In many instances, parents recognize the need for specific types of education. In fact, one of my relatives has a tutor come to his house once a week to teach his son conversational Japanese, as his business realizes economic growth with Japanese based companies. Fred Wilson also recognizes the importance of practical education and so, in his post today he writes:

“But this year we went one step further. We got our son Josh a young teacher who came over in the evening once a week and taught him how to write code and make a rudimentary computer game. We didn’t know of anywhere in the city to send Josh for this kind of class, so we contacted a local company, Blue Tomato, that provides supplemental tutoring and test preparation.”

Imagine a classroom that prepares students for TODAY’s world, for TODAY’s challenges.

I was fortunate enough to have a high school teacher that also recognized the extreme importance of technology in the classroom (I thank him for his role in influencing me to pursue Electrical Engineering). His name is David Peins and his company is Robodyssey. In his high school Robotics class, we were taught math, physics, electronics, and computer programming all while building robots (my robot can be seen below), and this all happened between the 9th and 12th grade. I learned about semiconductor devices, NPN, PNP transistors, tutebot circuits, and more, 3 years before they were even introduced to me in my Semiconductor Devices classes, (my junior year of college).

If America is going to keep up with the ever changing, fast paced global economy, we need these types of teaching mediums. One that provide relevance to today’s technological and societal challenges, while extracting the most value out of a classroom setting.

“I believe in engaged education and I believe in pushing the envelope and trying new things. Things like this.

Our kids are growing up in a different world than we did. We have to teach them using these new tools. Not just the ones that were used on us.

Fred W. could not be more right.

My Robot (and Chris Murphy) from HIGH SCHOOL: (The robot was a self-navigating, automated fire fighting robot. It autonomously navigated a maze using ultrasound and infrared sensors, found a lit candle in one of the rooms, and blew out the candle)

 

Full photo gallery here.

Today’s Music Label

If Sony BMG, Universal Music, Def Jam, Motown, Warner Brothers, or any of the big music labels were to create their business model today, what would it look like? First, a quick glance at their methodology:

The old model was simple:

  1. Provide the artist with resources to create an album (Studio, equipment, personnel)
  2. Manufacture the Album (CDs)
  3. Distribute the Album (Stores)

Clearly this model has failed while trying to apply it to todays marketplace. Here is why:

  1. Provide the artist with resources to create an album (Studio, equipment, personnel). Artists can download superior programs and can obtain quality hardware.
  2. Manufacture the Album (CDs) Everything is digital. No need for tangible items.
  3. Distribute the Album (Stores) Distribute the Song/Album (iTunes, MySpace, YouTube, etc).

Because these music labels have not completely adapted or changed with the times, they have been resorting to legal action. (Larry Lessig goes into great detail about the issues involving innovation, technology, and law…his blog is definitely worth reading)

If the music labels reinvented themselves or started from scratch, what would their business model look like? I’d first argue that the first three points need to happen. Resources to create the music, making music, distributing the music. With the advent of cheaper hardware, P2P file sharing, and social media, these points can be easily attained.

But where do you go from there?

Social Media Music Label – An organization that can most efficiently and effectively market and distribute songs. An organization that can generate a brand that encompasses a group of artists, while sharing revenue to some capacity. An organization that leverages the brand to obtain revenues outside of direct music sales. A brand that engages the listeners/users on every level from audio, video, blogging and networking.

I don’t know exactly what that model looks like, but we can just take a look a Chamillionaire‘s success and realize the rules have changed. (Below is Pete Cashmore’s interview with Chamillionaire)