Betas, ‘moving fast and breaking things’ don’t work in our territory. That is the POV of Vic Gundotra, the CEO of AliveCor, which has successfully introduced and marketed its smartphone snap-on ECG globally. Witness the up vote from the NHS on technology (Daily Mirror), while the American Medical Association (AMA) in the US wants better vetting of both clinical and DTC health tech and refers to much of it as ‘quackery’ (Forbes). According to Mr Gundotra, who was in engineering at Google and Microsoft prior to AliveCor, “Healthcare is not a market that can be hacked.” and “When a product directly relates to human health, following regulatory requirements needs to be a core part of the strategy from day one. What has been seen as a burden needs to be seen as a benefit. It’s time that we stop viewing regulatory bodies as obstacles and start viewing them as valuable partners. This is a mindset that should be adopted across a company’s entire team — from board to CEO to VC to developer.” And the incompatible expectation of Silicon Valley VCs, “18 months tapping our feet, then exit” as well. Recode
Readers may recall this editor’s most recent blast against Jawbone in which I complained about being emailed by them about a product I couldn’t buy. Well in due course I got a nice email from Jawbone, explaining the error and extolling the UP3, that I could buy. So nice that I relented and bought one.
Big mistake: my three UP bracelets that failed have lasted an average of some seven months each. The UP3 lasted just eight days before it stopped recording sleep correctly (an even shorter time than the two weeks the preproduction UP3 took to stop working when on trial by re/code).
Initial problem handling by Jawbone support has always been good – I can only assume they get lots of practice – and indeed I got an email straight back telling me how to do a ‘soft reset’ (These have never worked for me for any of the problems I’ve had, with either UP type of bracelet; perhaps it gets some people to give up.). When I told them it hadn’t worked, this was followed quickly by an email 10 working days ago telling me that they were referring my problem to colleagues and to expect a response within 2-3 working days.
Since when nothing: my emails have gone unresponded to, and I have heard nothing further. If this poor quality is the experience of others too (certainly some), then it’s clearly no wonder why FierceMobileHealthcare refer to Jawbone as one of six companies collectively making up 15 percent of the market with Apple & Fitbit way ahead.
It’s such a shame too, because in spite of the problems, my Jawbones, when they have worked, have been great motivators that have helped me lose over 12 kilos now – unlike the suggestions in the recent Guardian artcle, I’m sold on being nudged. I just need something I can rely on to nudge me!