Health Apps from J&J: Amazing Digital Innovation In Health Care

Health Apps from J&J: Amazing Digital Innovation In Health Care

 

Johnson & Johnson is working on 4 different apps that are so on the money when it comes to health issues from allergies to knee replacements. The pollen count app, in particular, sounds amazing.

The AllergyCast App

  • This app provides the pollen count each day for your zip code, along with an “allergy impact number.” Thanks to a proprietary algorithm, the app uses multiple factors—such as weather and social media mentions of allergies in your zip code—to give you an idea of how likely you are to have symptoms each day and helps you identify the optimal time to take your allergy medication before the onset of symptoms.

Read on for more below on apps for arthritis, glucose levels and knee surgeries.

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Can Snapchat Snap Back? Never Say Never But Outlook Not Good

Can Snapchat Snap Back? Never Say Never But Outlook Not Good

I still haven’t given up on Snapchat – I use it as my personal broadcast platform and love following friends as well as business mavens like Mark Suster (his snapstorms are phenomenal), tech start ups (e.g. Brian Park above right) and even the NYPD!

Nevertheless, the prognosis is not good. Facebook is out to crush them and so far succeeding – with an inferior product – but with size on their side (1 billion users vs. 150M).

Snapchat is not giving up without a fight and remains the #1 social media platform for teens and college students (at least for now) – with many hitting it up 20 times a day.

There have been several small studies done to gauge the impact of Facebook/Instagram’s attacks on Snapchat. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Instagram Stories slowed Snapchat’s growth by 82% at the end of last year
  • Snapchat’s growth in 2017 is expected to come from users 45-54 years old (Source: eMarketer)
  • However, Snapchat is still teens’ primary means of communication, used more often than texting (Source: Susquehanna)
  • Snapchat Streaks are an important driver of engagement. The Streak is broken the day either user fails to send a snap to the other. Many open the app solely for the purpose of sending a Snap and keeping their Streaks alive.
  • Most skip Snap ads and could not recall any brands. However, they were able to recall sponsored Lenses & Geofilters and enjoy interacting with them.
  • Instagram is the second most popular social app among teens – perceived as a platform to showcase highlights from their lives vs. Snapchat which is viewed as a platform to share everyday moments with close friends. IG stories are viewed as a look inside influencers’ lives, but not as a way for them to share moments with friends.
  • Core Facebook is typically viewed as their parents’ social network
  • College students turn first to Snapchat (58%), then Instagram (27%), Facebook (13%) or LinkedIn (2%) (Source: LendEdu)

Now that Snap has IPO’d, Facebook is getting even more aggressive. Read on below for highlights of how Mark Zuckerberg is neutralizing them at every turn.

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Book Review: The Third Wave by Steve Case

Book Review: The Third Wave by Steve Case

Had such high hopes for this book by Steve Case (co-founder of America Online). For those of you not familiar with his premise:

  • The first wave applies to companies like AOL which lay the foundations for the internet
  • The second wave (which we are at the tail end of), is about companies like Google, Facebook and Snapchat that built search and apps and social media on the internet.
  • The third wave applies to a time we are currently entering where entrepreneurs will use the internet to solve major problems in healthcare, education, transportation etc. Third wave entrepreneurs will require massive amounts of governmental approvals. It will be more akin to the first wave than the second, because there will be more resistance to the disruptions than there was in the second wave.

Unfortunately, while the first half of the book provides great background and interesting details e.g. I didn’t realize that until 1992, it was illegal to connect a commercial service like AOL to the internet, the second half of the book is a real slog and incredibly boring.

From Chapter 8 on, Case is proselytizer-in-chief. There are way too many “I’s” dotting the page – basically he sounds like a bit of a narcissist – he’s so smart and if only people listened to him, none of these problems with AOL/Time Warner and so on would have happened. Dozens of paragraphs start like this:

  • I was hoping to enter into negotiations (p. 120)
  • I was reluctant to give up control (p. 121)
  • I understood enough about Jerry (p. 121)
  • I decided, before picking up the phone (p. 121)

Compared to Phil Knight’s highly touted recent memoir, Shoe Dog, about the start of Nike (which was riveting, humble and incredibly personal), The Third Wave comes up short on multiple levels.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting details to be gleaned from Third Wave:

  • One of AOL’s early users got his start in coding by hacking AIM. His name: Mark Zuckerberg.
  • America Online was named through an internal competition because there was no money for a branding firm. The leading choice had been Online America, Steve Case flipped it to America Online and it stuck.
  • Steve Case was born and raised in Hawaii and was a surfer as a kid. One of his business mantras comes from a fellow surfer: “When the wave is cresting, you’re either in the tube or you’re in the sand.
  • Nearly half of the top-ranked companies in the US will be gone by 2020 (Source: Global Center for Digital Business Transformation)
  • The idea of a self-driving vehicle was not first born in the tech sector; it was born in the agricultural sector. John Deere was developing GPS navigation systems for its tractors more than 20 years ago – before Google was even founded.
  • Many people have the power to stop an idea, but very few have the authority to green-light one. This creates an environment where there is a strong bias toward “no.”
  • The greatest challenge for successful companies is focusing on customers’ current preferences while preparing for their future preferences.
  • Some legacy companies have developed internal venture funds, in part to have an early-warning radar system for emerging ideas.
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Fintech? Bitcoin? Blockchain? ETFs? – What Exactly is This Stuff?

Fintech? Bitcoin? Blockchain? ETFs? – What Exactly is This Stuff?

“Fintech“ gets bandied about a lot. Yet few people understand it especially when it comes to bitcoin and blockchain. Writing this post reminded me of Albert Einstein’s quote: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Only now, the twist might be that the six year old understands it, while the fifty year old remains clueless…

For those of you not familiar with fintech, it refers to businesses involved with leading edge technology to make financial transactions more efficient e.g. Venmo, ApplePay, Acorns, mobile banking etc. Big financial institutions, after initially dismissing fintech as a fad, are now busily developing their fintech capabilities to streamline their back-office systems.

And what about blockchain? It’s the freely available database that underpins the digital currency bitcoin. It can replace existing methods of transmitting assets and currencies. Scores of institutions are racing to use blockchain to simplify the way securities are traded, settled and recorded. All these endeavors fall under the fintech umbrella. (Source: Bloomberg)

ETFs (exchange-traded funds) are the fastest-growing, biggest disruptors in finance:

  • Mario Gabelli, a leading investor, advisor and financial analyst, let the cat out of the bag recently when he said on CNBC: “I’m a dying breed, it’s all about ETF’s now.”
  • The growth of ETFs also tells me that people have more trust in algorithms than in people’s decision-making which is not surprising given that 80% of active managers fail to outperform ETFs (Source: S&P)
  • Also explains why investor/commentators on CNBC increasingly have that “deer caught in the headlights” look. They know their days are numbered as ETFs become the dominant force in the investment world.
  • Finally, Warren Buffett, interviewed on CNBC SquawkBox yesterday morning, had this bit of advice: “Anyone who relies on financial advisors is wasting their money” (vs. investing in ETFs).

Read on below for more on ETFs, Blockchain, Bitcoin and Insurtech (watch the video from Metromile – great info!).

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NEW TECH JOBS: Is the Blue Collar Coder the Future?

NEW TECH JOBS: Is the Blue Collar Coder the Future?

Image Credit: Zohar Lazar

Brilliant article in Wired on how the next big blue-collar job just might be coding. Here are the highlights:

  • Only 8% of the nation’s coders are in Silicon Valley. The rest work in big and small cities around the country for every type of business from banking to retail to healthcare to insurance.
  • Politicians bemoan the loss of good blue-collar jobs but coding is the equivalent of skilled work at a Chrysler plant.
  • Instead of urging kids to enroll in expensive four-year computer-­science degree programs, let’s introduce more code at the vocational level in high school.
  • The national average salary for IT jobs is about $81,000 (more than double the national average for all jobs), and the field is set to expand by 12% thru 2024, faster than most other occupations.
  • There are 7MM job openings in occupations that required coding skills.
  • In Kentucky, mining veteran Rusty Justice decided that code could replace coal. He cofounded Bit Source, a code shop that builds its workforce by retraining coal miners as programmers. Enthusiasm is sky high: Justice got 950 applications for his first 11 positions. Miners, it turns out, are accustomed to deep focus, team play, and working with complex engineering tech. “Coal miners are really technology workers who get dirty,” Justice says.

Read on below for more on the emergence of social media videographers and why some analysts believe the tech industry is “primed for a significant reset” (i.e. layoffs).

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Snapchat – what happened to you?

Snapchat – what happened to you?

I have been a huge Snapchat fan but am reluctantly giving up “the ghost” and pledging my allegiance to Instagram and Instagram Stories. And I am not alone.

Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel recently admitted that since August 2016, there has been a 20%-30% decline in Snapchat Story views. Other social media trackers paint an even bleaker picture: Nick Cicero tells TechCrunch that from August to November 2016, average unique views on Snapchat stories plummeted by a whopping 40%.

My big issues with Snapchat – and I am getting increasingly irked by them – include:

  • Difficulty of building a following
  • Inability to change my name after they assign you one – e.g. I want to be The Opinionator but no, I have to stick with Irmatz
  • No bios available on people who are following me and secondly, most of them have fake snapchat-made-up names
  • Inability to hashtag posts and become part of a bigger story and build more followers

Instagram and Instagram Stories, on the other hand, are becoming more popular because:

  • They work with your existing follower base
  • Can use hashtags and @ to connect with a broader audience
  • Much easier to build a following
  • Can easily share to Facebook
  • Is VERY public

I’m not 100% ready to throw in the towel on Snapchat but as more of the people I follow drop off (e.g. YesJulz, Mark Suster),  I have less reason to be on the platform. I can’t believe what a short-lived love affair this has been for me. I had such high hopes for snapchat – and it is without a doubt still more fun to use than insta but at the end of the day, I want to grow my social media presence – and I want to do it efficiently and not in the convoluted, crazy way that snapchat would have me do it. Sorry, snapchat!!

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SOCIAL MEDIA: Which Platforms Are Best To Build Your Brand

SOCIAL MEDIA: Which Platforms Are Best To Build Your Brand

I’ve been trying to figure out which platforms will work best to build a more robust following for the Opinionator. Things have definitely gotten more confusing since video has become dominant and since instagram stories was introduced. Pics above are recents from my instagram stories, snapchat and facebook (it should be video I know!).

Here’s a rundown of the platforms I’m most active on as well as the function they play in brand building:

Instagram and Instagram Stories:

This is becoming a powerhouse for me. Am planning to use for storytelling around events that are strong visually e.g. museum and gallery shows, performances, travel.

Here are 2 things that resulted in a big uptick in engagement:

  • Posting almost 100% video has upped engagement tenfold (vs. snapchat). Additionally, video posts get significantly more views than photos.
  • NOT limiting myself to instagram stories. If I have a great video, I post it on instagram and it lives on for days. I am still trying to figure out the role of instagram stories vs. snapchat – as is everyone else including those with huge followings on both.  At the moment, I am seeing lots of redundancy between the two platforms. Nobody has a good answer yet for what they should be doing uniquely on each platform.

Snapchat

Am still a snapchat fan both because of the platform (it’s fun!!) and because of the people I follow e.g. Justin Kan, Brian Park and Tai Lopez (I know, I told you that Tai Lopez was a jerk but I’ve gotten used to him and find him hugely entertaining and informative).

  • Going forward, I’m approaching snapchat as if it were a local news channel e.g. NY1. Focus will be local, newsy topics to inform/entertain, doesn’t have to look amazing.
  • What I’ve learned over the last year is that everyone who I enjoy watching on snap, is the star of their own show – warts and all!
  • Goal this year: stop hiding behind the camera, get over my shyness, be less uptight. I doubt I will ever become a video star but I will be more entertaining!

Read on below for remaining platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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BOOK REVIEW: Why You Need to Read Peter Thiel’s Zero To One!

BOOK REVIEW: Why You Need to Read Peter Thiel’s Zero To One!

Peter Thiel, the tech entrepreneur and investor, has been much in the news since he went all in on his support of Donald Trump. He’s also known as a contrarian investor, a libertarian and a mentor of the PayPal Mafia. Most recently he’s also been in the news for saying that Apple’s best days are behind it – which I totally agree with but more on that later!

Let’s start with a review of the book, Zero To One: Notes on Start Ups or How to Build The Future. It was written in 2014 but it’s still an absolute must-read for anyone involved in business, start-ups, new product development and technology. It provides a fascinating look into the mindset of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship. The book is a quick read (200 pages), succinct and on-point although I wasn’t fully immersed until about 30 pages in – and then I couldn’t put it down.

Here are the 5 points that especially resonated with me.

10X Better:

Strive to create a product that is clearly 10X better than the competition. If not, you will be an also-ran and face endless, debilitating competitors. This is an especially important consideration when evaluating Apple 2017 vs. Apple 2007 – and why I agree with Thiel that the age of Apple is over. None of their recent launches from watches to Beats to iPhone 7 with its inconvenient dongle are 10X better (Apple Pay, however, I LOVE.) This past year saw year-over-year iPhone sales decline for the first time and CEO Tim Cook got a 15 percent pay cut.

Read on below for points 2-5:

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