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Thursday, January 11, 2018

WinterTech 2018 in San Francisco

Conference recap coming shortly. I have about 100 photos to triage. Had a surgical consult this morning, and my daughter started a new chemo regimen as well. Plus, our son Nick rescued a chocolate lab mix dog who was out running loose on the road somewhere west of Sacramento. He seriously needed (and got) a bath. We're gonna go to the shelter and get him scanned for a chip.

 Busy day.

This marks my 4th year of being invited to participate in coverage of WinterTech, following 2015, 2016, and 2017. Definitely an honor to be included.


Between adverse developments on our daughter's dire medical situation, my doc visits for my own upcoming major px, and our newly "fostered"rescue dog (no chip, no online "lost dog" notices), I've just now gotten to triaging my WinterTech photos.

Let me begin with morning Keynoter Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia Health.

You coulda heard a pin drop. Mark had to pause a couple of times, fighting back tears as he recounted his Georgetown U Law School interactions with the late Father Tim Healy. About to have to withdraw from law school over finances, Mark was told by Father Healy "don't worry, we'll cover it," and went on to clarify that he meant that it was not a "loan" to be repaid, but that Mark's subsequent obligation would be to "pay it forward" by doing good works in the world.

Mark asked of the audience: "Why do you do what you do? Is it born of hope? To make the world a more just place? Or is it just to make money, to bring in hefty 'exit' returns?" He went on to exhort "Challenge your VCs," and admonished attendees to "ask yourselves three questions every day" -- 
  1. Do I have hope?
  2. Do I believe I can be the catalyst for real change?
  3. Am I willing to risk it all?
Absent affirmative responses to all three, Mark advised "you need to reconsider."

It was compelling. He offered us a slide:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” - Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross
Stay tuned. Gotta take the stray rescue to the vet. More later.

OK, looks like he's only 2-3 years old. He weighed in at 73 lbs. Given the size of those paws, he may have another 10-20 lbs to go. Lordy.

$280.17 later he's had a full workup and now has a rabies tag.


"Software as a Medical Device?" A new area for FDA oversight and certification. Interesting.
"Software intended to be used for one of more medical purposes that perform [sic] these purposes without being part of a hardware medical device."

Click to enlarge. Difficult to read.

Part of FDA's "Pre-Cert Pilot Program." This is good, given that the future of digitech will be increasingly comprised of software applications that are independent of fixed, dedicated hardware.

Bakul Patel here on YouTube.


"Digitization Across the Health Care Continuum." Yeah, this has been a major theme across the past couple of years. Progress seems still to be spotty, but, perhaps we're getting close to a "tipping point." Click to enlarge, also difficult to read.
It's interesting to me, I should honestly say at this point that my schtick may be getting somewhat dated (DSLR photo-heavy visual reporting necessarily uploaded post-conference). All you really need to do any more is follow the Twitter event hashtag "#WinterTech" and click "Latest" for near-real time participant documentation of the proceedings. While smartphone photos are not as sharp as mine (and there are character-count limitations), the immediacy trade-off is, well, in a word, one of "satisficing," 'eh?

I've told Lisa Suennen repeatedly that she could be a star at stand-up.
What a combination of smarts and humor!

Again, I can't caption ID all of the people I shot. Stuff goes by too fast. You can see the WinterTech page to link a lot of faces and names ("Our Speakers").

Of particular personal interest to me was the panel segment "Four CEOs and their VCs," in light of developments for my niece's husband Dr. Jeff Nyquist and his recently funded startup "NeuroTrainer."

Also on the agenda, the "FICO Score for Health" was back.
Dacadoo is the "Health Score" company - providing a mobile-first digital health platform that helps people live healthier, more active lives. The dacadoo platform allows organizations to offer a fun, engaging experience that measures, coaches and improves people's health across three key dimensions: lifestyle, biometric and emotional wellbeing. Dacadoo takes inputs from a variety of tracking devices, as well as its own app and applies a research-backed, patented process to calculate a single, composite health score for each individual. Dacadoo's customers include large and mid-sized companies, health and life insurance companies, and health & wellbeing service organizations.
I used to work in credit risk modeling and management (large pdf). Would love to see this algorithm.


FYI, over at Medium, there's a recently updated six-part series:

Understanding Venture Capital
Our new series takes a hard look at how venture capital works, and finds positives — and plenty of negatives.
There's now audio transcription. Nice.

Member paywalled. I finally joined a while back. Only $50 a year. Lots of good stuff there. I use Medium every now and then, but I find the authoring platform rather stiff and weak. Limited functionality.

One prediction from the WinterTech stage was that of a record year in 2018 for VC investing in the digital health space. I hope so. I guess we'll see.

I have more stuff in my notes, but I'm gonna pop the clutch and upload the foregoing for now.

Stay tuned.


"Science Fiction Coming to Life," by Dr. David Shaywitz over at THCB.

And, at the take-no-prisoners Naked Capitalism:
CES Shows That the Future Will Not Work
Posted on January 15, 2018 by Yves Smith

A new article by Taylor Lorenz in the Daily Beast, CES Was Full of Useless Robots and Machines That Don’t Work, by virtue of doing what tech writers are never supposed to do, namely report as opposed to cheerlead, is being buried despite its importance.

Lorenz went to the what is the biggest, most important consumer tech trade show in the US, and arguably the world, and found that tons of the great new gotta-have-them wares in the pipeline don’t work. As in unabashedly, obviously don’t work or are so ludicrously not fit for purpose as to be the functional equivalent of not work…
"Silicon Valley is no longer about products. It’s about VC hype and pump and dump..."
Excessively broad-brush and harsh?


I would personally try this product.

Very interesting. I may have to give this a spin.


Health 2.0 has posted its own recap of #WinterTech 2018.

Video of the Conference Kickoff here. Mark Ganz opening Keynote video here.

More to come...

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