Archive for the ‘money’ tag
The United States’ national coordinator for health information technology, Farzad Mostashari, believes health tech innovation is only going to grow when there are economic incentives.
“Ultimately it’s going to be the market that drives innovation and not the government,” said Mostashari, speaking via Skype at VentureBeat’s HealthBeat conference in San Francisco, Calif. “There’s a lot of money to be made making healthcare less expensive.”
For Mostashari, who works within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT, there are three major areas that need a tech touch, and also provide an opportunity for making major money.
Bringing costs down
Mostashari believes that making health care cheaper is the biggest opportunity in the market today. The cloud has a big role to play here in terms of using technology to provide preventative care. For example, he said, Iora Health is doing just that by providing healthcare to specific groups of people so that healthcare is targeted. But it is also using the cloud to give wellness information to its patients, also targeted to their needs, in an attempt to keep patients healthier longer, saving them money.
Digitization of data
The next opportunity is the digitization of data. This, of course, encompasses electronic health records, as well as other ways of digesting information about your own, or your patients’ health. Electronic health records are there to help with that. Currently, the Obama Administration has increased EHR adoption to 44 percent. That’s more than the 20 years of adoption prior to the administration taking over.
But hospitals, doctors, and nurses are frustrated with these records. They aren’t organized, the hardware in the hospital itself is often outdated and now, instead of light clipboard with straight information, nurses are having to tote around laptops and rolling stations to their patient’s rooms. Entrepreneurs who find a better way of displaying and storing this patient data will have a wide range of customers.
Democratization of data
The last opportunity is the democratization of that data. VentureBeat founder Matt Marshall, interviewing Mostashari, shared a story about his time in the hospital with mysterious stomach bleeding. He found himself in the ER twice over the course of a few years, having pints of blood removed from his abdomen, but despite the obvious medical issues, he simply couldn’t find data on his condition. The information wasn’t there.
This is where Mostashari says that customers will need to get involved in their own health care, as well as providers. The customer drives demand. If they become more vocal about wanting access to their electronic health records as well as connections to third party applications that can make sense of that data. Providers who see places where the tech community can fill in gaps need to start making noise as well.
Filed under: Business
If your boss told you that you could have a 15% raise, but only if you got a tattoo of the company logo on yourself, would you do it? Apparently at least 40 people would, because that’s exactly how many did it when it was offered to them by the owner of NYC’s Rapid Realty. I say heck yeah, you can always cover that sh!t up!
Payments Network Dwolla Raises $16.5 Million Series C From Andreessen Horowitz & Others, Expands To San Francisco
Building new infrastructure for digital payments may not sound sexy, but it’s an area that’s ripe for innovation. The legacy payments networks in existence today are bogged down with outdated technology, slowing progress. Des Moines-based Dwolla decided that the way to innovate in payments was to essentially blow up the outdated infrastructure entirely and start over by building out a new network from scratch. Today, that work has scored the company $16.5 million in new funding, in a Series C led by Andreessen Horowitz. The company’s previous investors, Village Ventures, Thrive Capital, and Union Square Ventures also participated in the round.
Dwolla is sometimes confused as an alternative to PayPal – and though it may compete with PayPal more directly on some initiatives, like MassPay which undercuts PayPal’s fees on a service business’ use in lieu of writing checks – that’s only a result of the new payments infrastructure the company has built, not the entire vision in and of itself.
Last year, for instance, Dwolla launched a number of new products that are helping propel the business to the next level, including not only its own mass payments service, but also FiSync, a real-time alternative to ACH payments, plus a partnership with the state of Iowa to process an initial $130 million in taxes, and a partnership with mobile banking and payments service provider mFoundry, which put the service in front of that company’s more than 800 bank and credit union partners interested in offering real-time, peer-to-peer payments to their own customers.
Today, Dwolla’s annual transaction processing run rate has topped a billion dollars; the company has grown at 15 percent month-over-month to reach a quarter-million account holders up from 80,000 in early 2012, and it has brought on more than 100 large customers, including both enterprise and government.
But getting to this point was not easy.
Explains CEO Ben Milne, the company found that some things it tried worked better than others. For example, trying to disrupt payments with a consumer-facing product has been tough.
“We found that retail is a really hard place to convert users in terms of getting them to pay with another payment form,” Milne admits. Along these lines, the company had launched various efforts both online and offline to encourage consumers to pay using Dwolla instead of traditional means like cash, checks or credit cards. While Dwolla’s efforts here continue today, they haven’t been the areas of growth which led to this new investment.
“A lot of the volume we’ve seen is in one-to-many relationships, and basically those are more check replacements than credit card or debit card payments,” says Milne. On this front, the company doesn’t have new relationships or partnerships to announce today, but hints that there are several in the works as the additional funding has been earmarked in particular to grow out the startup’s business development and relationship teams to service larger customers.
“These deals take a long time, and they require a lot of attention…they don’t work at the speed of small startup companies. They’re big, established companies,” Milne explains. “This round is about not screwing up the opportunity that we have. It doesn’t really matter if we were first to market with a lot of this new technology – it matters that we have the opportunity to be the first to market and the first to scale.”
The startup is now working with payroll companies and governments, among others — the latter initially in its home state, where Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced in early 2013 that government officials would explore ways to use the service to collect property taxes, issue refunds, pay contractors, and renew vehicle registrations. But while Dwolla’s system works well for these large customers, it also works for smaller ones, too, including manufacturers who need to pay vendors, an ad agency paying consultants, or a micro-consulting platform paying thousands of people, for example.
“A16z makes bets on companies that change the underlying fabric of their markets and, like Facebook, Twitter, and GitHub, we think Dwolla is going to do it in the banking world,” said Scott Weiss, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz and new Dwolla board member, in a statement about the investment. “The fact that Dwolla’s network can simultaneously meet the needs of a complex enterprise or government, while allowing a parent to pay the babysitter with her phone, reflects just how simple and strikingly different this solution is in the marketplace.”
In addition to growing the engineering team, as well as those needed to support its larger customers, Dwolla is also expanding to its fifth office location, San Francisco, where it has already been interviewing and hiring ahead of the opening in June. (The company already has staff in Des Moines, New York, Omaha, and Kansas City.) In the Bay Area, the team will be led by Dwolla’s Chief Operating Officer, Charise Flynn, and will be mainly focused on product and business development and marketing.
Milne says that there is still much that needs to be done before Dwolla could really compete with a legacy payments provider. For instance, while its network supports payments now, a legacy provider like Visa supports two other types of transactions, as well: authorizations, which guarantee funds are there; and captures, which take the funds following an authorization. Over time, Dwolla will build up support for these types of transactions, which are still in demand in the market. The company will also update its mobile apps and do more to educate the marketplace, too.
But that “marketplace” may not mean consumers.
“The reality is that our fundamental business is allowing anybody with an Internet connection get access to their money and exchange it with anybody else they want to receive it,” Milne says. “A lot of that adoption is going to come instead from third-party platforms and products,” he adds. “I don’t see people going to Dwolla.com more and more – I see them doing that less and less, while our software is just facilitating the payments.”
Loving what you do. Loving the work that you do.
Fully recognizing that there is a vast majority of the population that isn’t all too thrilled about the work that they do, I count myself as somewhat lucky when it comes to my vocation of choice. In short, I love what I do. When individuals struggle with their work or can’t seem to make things click, I often wonder what paths they could have explored or what they could be doing outside of the misery of their work to enhance their lives and personal development. I owe a good chunk of my happiness to having met Dan Ariely, the famed behavioral economist and author of the bestselling business books, Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality and The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. Many people don’t know this, but Dan was kind enough to introduce me to his literary agent (who then became my literary agent). Beyond my personal affection for the man, he gives some of the most fascinating presentations on our behavior and the decisions we make in our lives. He recently spoke at a TEDx event (TEDxRiodelaPlata) on the topic of work and what makes us feel good about the work that we do. As always, Dan’s research and insights may surprise and (hopefully) inspire you.
Watch Dan Ariely talk about work and how money doesn’t rule all…
Sonic bug repellants, whether they’re supposed to ward of mosquitoes from your backyard BBQ or roaches and ants from inside your home, are largely based on junk science and wishful thinking, according to a Texas A&M entomologist who’s spent years studying the products. You’re better off keeping your money in your pocket, or just buying pest repellent that actually works. More »
If you’re the type of person who never takes the time to chop up vegetables but know you need to start cooking at home consider going to a salad bar and only filling your salad container with mushrooms, diced ham, cheeses, and other ingredients that would work well in omelets, quesadillas, and other foods. More »
This guest post is by Glen Andrews of GlenAndrews.com.
Here’s what the top internet marketers know that most people don’t…
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get traffic from social media sites, article directories, or through Google’s organic search. The three most effective ways to get someone to click on your links is to invoke one of these three emotional hot-buttons:
Let’s take a look at each of these three emotions and how they can get you more traffic and more clicks.
Most people will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. Marketing firms all around the world have know this for decades. Advertisers have placed fear statements into ads in order to get us to take action. And guess what? It works! Advertising firms have made trillions of dollars using fear as a motivator to get us to take action.
The “mayhem” Allstate commercials on US TV are all fear-based. Most political campaigns are fear-based. Heck, the next time you watch TV, pay attention to the commercials and see which of the three emotional hot buttons they’re using to motivate their audiences.
So how can you use fear (pain) to get more traffic?
Most of what we do online is driven by headlines. Our tweets are short headlines. Our blog posts and pages are effectively links with headlines. Our videos, Facebook pages, and articles are all propelled by headlines. We all decide which links to click based on the text, and our own personal desires.
Examples of fear- and pain-based headlines
- The Top 3 Reasons Most Entrepreneurs Fail Online
- 6 Things To Avoid if You’re Going To Be Successful
- Here’s Why Most Blogs Fail Within 24 months
If you can target your headlines (that is, links) so that they’ll speak to the emotions (pain, pleasure, curiosity) of your audience, you’ll not only attract better prospects, but you’ll quadruple your clickthrough rate.
Everyone wants to know “What’s in it for me? Why should I pay attention to you?” So you’ll get more clicks and traffic if you can tell your readers what benefits they’ll get by clicking your links. Let your readers visualize the pleasure they’ll receive from taking action.
Examples of pleasure- and benefit-based headlines
- Top 3 Ways To Boost Productivity and Profits
- Double Your Subscribers Within 14 Days
- Earn a 6 Figure Income Part Time
This is by far my favorite. We are all born with a sense of curiosity. From infants to old age, we all have an incredible appetite for the unknown.
You’ve seen or heard TV and radio personalities use curiosity to keep us from changing the channel. Just before a commercial break, the radio or TV personality will spit out a headline that piques our curiosity, so we’ll stay tuned in for the answer.
They’ll say something like, “When we return, we’ll reveal how you can save hundreds on your property taxes.” or “When we come back, you’ll hear why President Obama doesn’t want you to see his birth certificate.”
These curiosity-provoking statements are also called “hooks.”
Some examples of curiosity headlines
- Shrink Your Fat Zones
- 8 Lies About Sunscreen
- The NO-Pill Pain Remedy
- 3 Things To A More Effective Blog
- The 1 Thing All Bloggers Must Do To Make Money
Target your headlines
Again, your headlines should be targeted towards your readership. The more they speak directly to your audience, using these three emotions, the more clicks and traffic you’ll receive.
Note that it’s important to make sure your content is worthy of the headline. Nothing will turn people off more than a great headline, that “gets the click” but doesn’t deliver on the promise.
Everything we do on the internet revolves around headlines and links. If you get good at writing clickable headlines using these three emotions, you’ll easily get more traffic.
Glen Andrews has created niche sites, ebooks, and info products that produce a steady reliable income. Glen is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs create and market a business online that makes them money.
Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Your home is a place you want to keep secure, but getting all the high-end security gadgets and services available to help you do that is a pricey endeavor. This weekend, roll your own DIY security system. It’s more fun and it’ll save you some money. More »
We all are well aware of just how big a deal it is to work at Google. There are endless perks (did you know that no Googler on campus is supposed to be further than 100 ft from a food source at any given time?).
So you know, this is not a gripe post. The fact that Google decides to treat its employees so well is a testament to their understanding that their employees are their business. They give a lot and expect a lot and both of those are more than OK. I will even admit to having a bit of envy but that’s my problem not Google’s. The fact is that all of these benefits that the company offers their employees are incredibly good things (by the way Google, I am not a Phd or anything like that but I would be available for an interview if you have some ‘just has a college degree’ quota you need to hit ).
To exactly what extent these benefits go became oddly clear following an article in Forbes this week that explained a new and really interesting perk Google is rolling out to all its 34,000 employees.
Should a U.S. Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there’s “no tenure requirement” for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify.
I see and hear a lot over the course of a day but this one blew my mind. As a result, I decided to do some quick ‘rithmetic and came up with the following.
According to the Social Security Administration’s website
The national average wage index for 2010 is 41,673.83
Then you get the following information from a post at the Business Insider from June of 2011
A comparison of tech companies by Payscale confirms what you thought all along: It would be sweet to work for Google.
The survey looked at salary, company culture, job satisfaction and benefits & perks at nine major companies. Although the companies weren’t ranked, Google excelled in every category.
Googlers have the highest mid-career median salary at $141,000.
Aside from the nit pick of comparing an average to a median and figuring out the exact salary at the exact mid-point of a career (I have other work to do by the way ) a little quick math shows that if the average Googler died while being an active employee of the company, their family or partner would receive a salary for the next 10 years that is about 70% HIGHER than the average person makes in a year in the US. Not a perfect comparison but one that probably holds up pretty well across most ranges.
So what’s the marketing angle on this one? Well, how about doing something special for your employees that you can then take to the press and make everyone say ‘Really?! That is pretty cool’. We talk a lot about reputation here at Marketing Pilgrim. Oftentimes in relation to Google those discussions center on things that tend to ding Google’s reputation. Whether it’s about being a monopoly or not being the best keeper of promises regarding privacy they are not good things. What better to try to offset that talk than to point to the good they do for those working for them.
Now, of course you can quickly take the path of saying ‘Google keeps these folks at bay with great perks so they can carry out these various dubious deeds.’ That’s a valid point as well. But just think about the number of companies that not only mess with customers but also under-appreciate or mistreat employees every day. At least Google gives a nod to something a little bit bigger by saying ‘Hey, we know there are others in your life so don’t worry. We’ll take care of them for a good while when you’re gone.’
Now, let’s not be completely naive here and think that Google didn’t have an actuarial do what amounts to an insurance company’s assessment of exactly how much this will cost annually based on mortality rates etc. If they didn’t they would be stupid but the fact is that they took a pretty bold step with this benefit. I gotta tip my hat.
What about you? Like this? Hate this? Find it uncomfortable because you assume you are immortal and will not die? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section.
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Financial experts are warning that food prices are going to go up soon, thanks to the worst drought the US has seen since the 1950s. One of the strategies we can use to offset the rising food costs is to stock up on affected foods. More »