Google vs. Microsoft in Healthcare

February 29, 2008

A lot of press on this in the last few days because Google has finally made an official announcement about Google Health. Now we have both Google and Microsoft working on building out search, storage and connection capabilities for consumers. I have some experience working in health care (corporate/consulting side) and have been watching these initiatives for the last year or so.

I don’t think either one of these companies sees themselves as riding to the rescue of the American health care system on a white horse, but both of them are bringing forward useful ideas, platforms and applications to transform healthcare information systems. The big issue is that they are coming at the problem from outside of the industry – and so there is a lot of criticism. I don’t think this criticism is warranted, as the industry has proven itself fundamentally incapable of modernizing their IT infrastructure.

We know this can be done (see airline booking, online banking and bill payment) and that it is hard to do – but we also know that it is NOT impossible. There are difficult challenges around standards, portability, security and above all privacy, but if people are willing to put their financial lives online (see Quicken, Schwab, Turbo-Tax, etc.) I am willing to bet that these hurdles can be overcome. And I welcome the weight and resources that both Google and Microsoft bring to the problem.

Business Technology : Will a Spoonful of Google Help Cure Healthcare?

Who will win? Well, I’m not sure which company will win, but I’m sure consumers will.


Goodby Innovation Salon

February 29, 2008

In SFO this week I was kindly invited by Lizi Cruz and John Thorpe to attend Goodby Silverstein & Partners first Innovation Salon. The idea is to get together a bunch of smart, future focused people (agency, clients, suppliers) and have a chat about what is happening in the new world of marketing.

Attendees included YouTube, Google, Frito-Lay, Linkedin and many others. Featured speakers were Jimmy Wales from Wikia and John Battelle from Federated Media.

Lots of interesting discussion about the future of advertising/digital, a fair amount of technobabble, a little bit of trash talking (Jimmy Wales is going to crush Google!) and some new thoughts for me.

First up, communities. Rudy Wilson from Frito posed an interesting question about whether or not conversational marketing will ruin the media it seeks to exploit. I think this is an important consideration – and might suggest that simply following the WOMMA code of ethics will prevent this problem.

Second really interesting perspective was from HP’s Daina Middleton shared some very interesting perspective from her experience energizing, nurturing and participating in their imaging and printing communities. Her key points:

  • Ease yourself into the community – you can’t come in shouting
  • Reach out – it WILL be a multi-disciplinary effort – involving multiple internal disciplines (marketing, IT, customer service, legal, PR, etc.) and it will be challenging to get it done. But you will not be able to effectively do this without everyone on board.
  • Community involvement (conversational marketing) is not a drive by. It is a commitment. If you are going to do it – plan on doing it for the long haul. You can’t walk into the party, shout “HERE I AM AREN’T I BEAUTIFUL” and then walk away.
  • Budget accordingly. Budget for ongoing support or else you will be in trouble.

Third, I found John Battelle’s comments about media very interesting. Now, I may be somewhat clueless, but I am happy to learn from others. John pointed out that “media” is anything that gathers eyeballs. It is any content that people will consume. This means that every place on the web that people gather is media. Including forums, newsgroups, wikia’s, etc. His firm helps brands connect to this new world of media.

Our firm (MotiveQuest) helps brands understand what is going on in this new world media. What are the core motivations and drivers being expressed by consumers in their online conversations. What does this mean for the brand, the category, the competition.

I’m going to hook-up MotiveQuest (we know what drives them) with Federated Media (who knows where they are and the best *vehicle* for reaching them) to provide an insight heavy road map to the online consumer!

Anyway, enough for now!


How Online Communities Work #2

February 5, 2008

Andy Sernovitzs has written the definitive post on how communities work – common sense prevails.

Preview?  You don’t get to control them; you need to speak in a human voice and there will be some negatives.

Ideas from Customer Service is the New Marketing #3

Thanks Andy.