Saks Snacks #12: Equanimity & Dopamine | Best Buy Acquires Current Health | Personalized Nutrition | Withings FDA Clearance
Dopamine | Mobile Lab Work Startup out of Stealth | Project Blueprint | Remote Patient Monitoring | Apple AirPods as Health Device
Hi friends from a rainy San Francisco 👋 ,
Let’s dive into what you need to know!
#1 🥑 Snacks of the Week
Health through… the ear: Apple is studying the potential of AirPods as a health device. Two editions ago, we discussed using iPhones to screen for depression. Now, earbuds will be offered as hearing aids and include an in-ear thermometer, getting meaningful health data.
Best Buy continues inevitable push into health: Best Buy acquires Current Health (UK), a remote patient monitoring and telehealth tech company, to “help make home the center of health.” (More in 🏥 Healthcare Section)
Hospital on the wrist: Withings Announces FDA Clearance of ScanWatch -- its most medically advanced hybrid smartwatch - this is the first wearable to record ECG & Sp02 measurements and is cleared by the FDA. With its official clearance as a Class II medical device, it can make live medical recommendations, unlike other big tech players (Apple, Fitbit, Samsung).
WSJ Article - From the Apple Watch and Ray-Ban Stories to Oura: How Wearable Tech Got Stylish. Read about the fashion progression of wearables and understand their lifestyle and fashion impact.
Reversing biological age: Bryan Johnson, CEO of Kernel, has a new endeavor, Project BluePrint aiming to measure all 70+ organs of his body and then maximally reverse the quantified biological age of each.
#2 💰 Capital Raise Radar - “Doordash for Lab Draws”
Sprinter Health came out of stealth mode this week with a $33M Series A
Building the “DoorDash for Lab Draws”: Sprinter Health, an on-demand mobile health company that wants to make getting lab work done, vitals checked or a rapid Covid test as easy as ordering food delivery launched with $33M in Series A funding led by a16z, Accel, GV.
#3 🏥 Healthcare - Consumer Electronics Version
We’ve explored in past editions how big tech will continue entering healthcare. Consumer electronics is up next.
The line between retail and healthcare services blurs more with Best Buy's latest pursuit to drive further into the health sector.
Best Buy acquired Current Health, a remote patient monitoring and telehealth tech company. Deborah Di Sanzo, President of Best Buy Health elaborates:
The future of consumer technology is directly connected to the future of healthcare. We have the distinct expertise in helping customers make technology work for them directly in their homes and by combining Current Health’s remote care management platform with our existing health products and services, we can create a holistic care ecosystem that shows up for someone across all of their healthcare needs
Wait, when did Best Buy get into health?
Best Buy’s healthcare push accelerated in 2018 with its $800M acquisition of Great Call, which focused on services for the aging population.
Reviewing its 2018 strategy slides shows how it analyzed the $50B health tech market, breaking it down into Senior, Baby, Fitness, and Family Health Tech.
Best Buy has known it must expand beyond just being an omnichannel retailer and into services, just like other retailers (Walmart).
I see the future of a “care at home” model as inevitable. There will be over 50 million seniors by 2023 and 90% of them want to stay at home.
To understand the impact and forces driving Best Buy’s strategy, it’s important to answer a few questions about remote patient monitoring: (if you want to dive deeper, I recommend Christina Farr’s piece)
What’s RPM? What other macro factors outside of Covid-19 tailwinds might cause now to actually be RPM’s time, beyond marketing hype?
Simply put, remote patient monitoring is a set of tools to more easily monitor patients outside of a clinical setting. A few larger macro trends supporting RPM, outside of patients really valuing it are cheaper, more accessible hardware, easy data stream ability into the Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and reimbursements for RPM maturing and becoming mainstream.
Best Buy recognizes that care will increasingly be delivered at home, as up to 90% of health outcomes are determined by our genes, environment, and health behaviors (all happen at home) - not by our medical care.
As Jami Doucette, President of Premise Health explains:
Remote patient monitoring makes sense for conditions where it’s easy to monitor the patient and gather accurate data, and where a provider can take specific action based on that data. For example, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. They’re easy to monitor, we can trust the accuracy of the data, and when blood sugar hits a certain level, there are clear actions to take.
Looking forward, expect Best Buy to continue transforming its brand from a consumer electronics into a major healthcare player.
In addition to merely selling wearables and healthcare tech, Best Buy will seek to use its technological expertise to offer new ways to help an aging population and their families care for their health needs in their own homes.
#4 🎙️ Podcasts of the Week - 2 of this week’s listens
Learn from the brilliant Dr. Huberman about dopamine:
Understanding how dopamine influences your life is a powerful tool, especially in an overstimulated world. Highly recommend this for anybody seeking to understand their neurology better. A few of my notes are below:
Peaks and valleys: Understanding the relationship between your peaks and baseline dopamine will help you make great short-term and long-term choices to maintain and raise your baseline of dopamine.
Dopamine’s simple relationship to motivation: Very simply, dopamine is a molecule in your brain that when released, tends to make you, look outside, pursue, and crave things outside yourself.
Which exercise do you enjoy most? Exercise has a different impact on dopamine levels depending on how much you enjoy the exercise. People who don’t enjoy the exercise will experience less or no dopamine at all.
Listen to Eric Wu, co-founder of Gainful, paint the picture of the future of personalized nutrition. A few notes:
Healthy business model: Everything Eric shared about the business model, how they think about business/marketing strategy, and path from a YC startup to an 8-figure ARR company impressed me. Eric’s customer-centricity stood out and put Gainful closer on my radar.
Big data: over 2 million people have filled out Gainful’s quiz so they have a very good understanding of what resonates with their customers. This data set could set them up well for any potential acquisitions in the next few years (Nestlé?)
Humility, self-awareness, and leadership: Eric discussed the “easy” decision to step down as CEO, citing the better client outcomes and larger business potential. Again, I was impressed by Eric & team’s leadership style which you can get a good read on by listening to a long-form podcast.
#5: 💥 Spark Moment of the Week: Equanimity, September 2019
When listening to this week’s podcast on dopamine, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite phrases I’d written down 2 years ago describing equanimity.
9/16/19 Daily Moment: I ran from Palo Alto to Stanford’s campus today and walked around after - what a stunning campus.
Ended up spending 2.5+ hours at Stanford’s business school looking around and reading some of the books on their wall of recs.
When reading ‘The Playful Entrepreneur - How to Adapt & Thrive in Uncertain Times’, I was struck by the author’s definition of equanimity: The calm acceptance of life’s vicssitudes: its ups and downs
Whether we know it or not yet, we all seek equanimity. It can be defined in different ways. A quick Google search defines it as “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.”
I related it most to stoic philosophy when I originally wrote that down. One example stems from Meditations where Aurelius explained that “the art of life is more like a wrestler’s match than a dancer’s performance”, and he urged us to “stand ready and firm to meet onsets which are sudden and unexpected.”
This week’s podcast gave me a new way to think about “life’s ups and downs”, as a natural see-saw of neuro-chemical dynamics of our life’s experiences, driven by higher or lower dopamine levels in the prior moments.
By understanding the relationship between our peaks and baseline of dopamine, we ultimately can have more understanding about ourselves and more agency in our day-to-day lives.
I want to bring you the best breadth and balance of industry updates and mid-length thoughts, predictions, and forward-looking takes (Healthcare this week).
As always, let me know how it can be improved for you with feedback below.
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Have a creative week,