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Monday, July 8, 2019

Matthew Holt's 12 rules for health tech startups

12. Hope that you can disrupt health care, but remember that UnitedHealth Group’s revenue is $220 billion and CMS spends $900 billion a year and they both appear mostly powerless to make anything better.
LOL. Read rules 1 - 11 here at Matthew's THCB. They're awesome.

Speaking of "health tech startups,"
My niece's husband Jeff Nyquist is making good progress with his VC-funded company NeuroTrainer. They're expanding their move into the health care space.


I was unaware of Pulitzer-winning novelist, essayist, and writing professor Marilynne Robinson. Finally read her essay in my recent Harpers:
Is Poverty Necessary?
An idea that won’t go away
By Marilynne Robinson

…What really matters here is how people are valued. Democracy assumes that the generality of the population have the wisdom to govern a nation. They are not valued sufficiently to sustain democracy where, finally, the habitability of their place in the world can be sold as a commodity, or where their expectations and hopes can be lowered by fiat. Austerity policies are a collaboration of governments and financial interests. The luxuries we can’t afford under austerity are day care for working mothers and universal health coverage. At the same time, there is unprecedented flaunting of stupendous wealth. We have seen what the Russian in the street is also seeing, and has known for many years—that plutocrats and kleptocrats are the same crowd. What are the consequences for an ordinary Russian of the fact that the world has grown used to seeing hundreds of billions of dollars flow out of a country whose economy is small and whose standard of living must be modest indeed, considering its recent history? Granting that our old adversary must get a laugh out of watching us deal with the foolish and incompetent government it helped us install, it is fair to wonder if Russia finds it worth the investment, assuming this is real money, that is, that it represents a real transfer of wealth. We know that people on this side of the transaction are very happy to believe that it is real—and to sell another overpriced penthouse in Manhattan or a little bit of government influence. Whatever it is, it spends, as they say. I wait to hear from a Russian aluminum worker about the economic and psychological effects of watching oligarchs play with money. This under cover of resurgent nationalism, of course…
Indeed. Well, that led me to this:

This one has jumped my reading queue. I'm a pretty fair writer, but this woman blows me away. I'm about 40% in thus far.
...It is no accident that Marxism and social Darwinism arose together, two tellers of one tale. It is not surprising that they have disgraced themselves in very similar ways. Their survival more than one hundred fifty years on is probably owed to the symmetry of their supposed opposition. Based on a single paradigm, they reinforce each other as legitimate modes of thought. So it is with our contemporary Left and Right. Between them we circle in a maelstrom of utter fatuousness. 

I say this because I am too old to mince words. We have, in our supposed opposition, gone a long way toward making class real—that is, toward cheating people of opportunity. Historically, education has been the avenue by which Americans have had access to the range of possibilities that suit their gifts. We have put higher education farther out of reach of low-income people by cutting taxes and forcing tuitions to rise. And we attack public preparatory education. We make an issue about family background in terms of suitability for college, when in fact anyone who has paid a reasonable amount of attention in a decent high school will be fine in college. Unless he or she is working two jobs to pay for it, that is. I have taught for many years in a highly selective program that attracts students of every background. There is absolutely no evidence that those whose education would be called “elite” are at the slightest advantage. Our prejudices are impressing themselves on our institutions and therefore on the lives of all of us. The willingness to indulge in ideological thinking—that is, in thinking that by definition is not one’s own, which is blind to experience and to the contradictions that arise when broader fields of knowledge are consulted—is a capitulation no one should ever make. It is a betrayal of our magnificent minds and of all the splendid resources our culture has prepared for their use.

Robinson, Marilynne. What Are We Doing Here? . Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.
 I'd started Arthur Brooks' new book (also excellent), but he'll just have to wait.

Meanwhile, he has an interesting article up at The Atlantic.

The article has an embedded audio of the text. I read through it at listened concomitantly.

More to come...

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