Using Dalio’s Economic Machine As Diagnosis
First, watch this video. Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater, the world’s biggest global macro hedge fund, breaks down the economic machine into cycles of credit, debt, and growth. If it’s TL;DR, the money section (for my purposes) starts around 24:30:
Having already lowered its interest rates to zero, [the Fed] is forced to print money. Inevitably, the central bank prints money out of thin air, and uses it to buy financial assets and government bonds… It happened in 2008 when the federal reserve printed over $2 trillion in reserves… However, this only helps those who own financial assets. The central bank can print money, but it can only buy financial assets. The central government can buy goods and services, but can’t print money. In order to stimulate the economy, the two must cooperate.
In response to the deleveraging of 2008, where debt obligations were forfeited and credit dried up (at the individual and institutional level), the United States had to respond with two levels of stimulus, as Dalio points out. We know about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was the “big stimulus that no Republicans voted for”. That was $787 billion at the time of passage, $831 billion all told. This went towards infrastructure, education, alternative energy and unemployment benefits. We also know about Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was $418 billion, of which $405 billion was repaid. This went towards rescuing financial assets. What most people *don’t* know, however, is that the Fed also printed $2 trillion in loans to financial assets. On December 5, 2008 alone, the Fed provided $1.2 trillion in relief to holders of financial assets.
You may remember the political tenor of the conversation around the TARP bailout in 2008, and of the Obama stimulus in 2009. In both cases, the mainstream media would have led you to believe that it was a reasonable debate whether or not to have a stimulus, and whether or not the ones that were passed were too big. As Mr. Dalio pointed out, if a Fed stimulus for financial assets isn’t balanced with a central government stimulus for goods and services, you’ve got problems. And the Fed has, to date, spent way more money on bailing out financial assets than the central government did on goods and services. Way more. If you want to understand why we had an unequal recovery, and are facing the income inequality crisis we currently face, this is a good place to start. More on this topic soon.
Consider the un-Lean Startup
I’m very unsure about the following, but it was nagging at me yesterday, so figured I’d put it to paper. The philosophy of highly iterative, capital efficient, prototype-focused product development was popularized by by Eric Ries in his concept of “Lean Startup”. The goals of this approach to product development (and business creation) aim to get the furthest with the little capital possible, to avoid splashy launches upon which the success or failure of a company or product is determined, and to stay closer to the users; to be more human-centered.
This approach to startup development was common in web startups before Eric Ries popularized its terminology, but today it is considered gospel. I am an acolyte of lean startup methodology, and (reluctantly, haltingly) consider myself a ‘designer’, or at least a design-thinker. But, as with any opinion or perspective that becomes so wildly popular as to appear to be fact, the gospel of lean has gone a bit too far, and there are some places where entrepreneurs have challenged me to think about it differently.
- Try prototyping a pre-school, or a new insurance method. Not much room for error with kids and car accidents. And as startup ideas that use software/hardware get more ambitious and oriented towards important problems, more products will be much harder to prototype, like these.
Minimum Viable Product:
- MVP native mobile applications have no users. And tablet even fewer. Earning downloads on mobile is an emergent practice, and one that does not work the same way as the web. (But it works.) If you get a bunch of one- and two-star ratings early, getting back to a rating that will drive downloads is extremely difficult. Speaking of mobile…
- Apple takes 2 weeks to approve anything in the App Store. Continuous deployment is plain impossible with an iPhone app.
Iteration and iterate and iterate:
- Customers aren’t interested in funding R&D, but paying for products that delight; iteration isn’t an intrinsic good, but a tool. Overuse it at your peril, and end up facing the…
- So many startups pivot out of pressure to hack breakout growth before they run out of money. Product-market fit sometimes (often) takes a long time. And particularly when trying to make a new market, disruption means that not a lot of people will use your product or understand why it’s valuable to start. And it takes a combination of luck and perseverance to convince them.
Some of the brightest founders I’ve met recently have eschewed the lean startup model. But, interestingly, they’ve done so in opposite ways.
A few have bootstrapped - focusing early on revenue, the way a small business does, believing that they don’t have to rush to win. Paul Graham suggests that startups are companies that are designed to grow fast. Maybe I’m wrong to call these startups, then. And if these don’t eventually grow, they won’t make their investors back money. But I like them, and would actually want to invest in some of them, as a seed investor.
Others have raised (or are looking to raise) a lot more money than is typical for their stage, have built world class teams and are building with conviction, patience, and are doing actual R&D, a concept that has fallen out of favor of late. Failing to execute on Web 1.0-style ‘fat startups’ has its risks. Color famously crashed and burned, after all. And R&D processes that aren’t open run the risk of failing in the blind spots, which all teams have. But I can’t help but find these interesting too, if just because they’re unusual.
I still think the lean startup, and design-thinking (it’s fairy godmother) are highly effective ways of building a business, and of creating a product. There are more cases than not where having a beginner’s mind, building as many “listeners” into your product as possible, and optimizing for learning what your users want before spending money will lead to winning strategy. And, as with any framework, through the right lens, it can be applied anywhere, to anything. But that doesn’t make it gospel.
Contrarian Thinking: Mobile vs. PC in Emerging Markets
I was struck by this slide (below) of Henry Blodget’s presentation on Future of Digital. The slide is meant to demonstrate the incredible growth of smartphones and tablets, and to show that smart TVs and wearables are still young, but will soon be showing promise. But I’m more interested in the PC part of this equation. You’ll notice that the number of PC shipments per year has stayed relatively flat, and that smartphones and tablets account for the majority of Apple’s revenue, so the PC must be dead, et cetera, et cetera. The Wall Street Journal reported breathlessly that PC sales were in a tailspin last year, pointing to the 8% dip in PC sales growth. But look again: the number of PC shipments per year has stayed relatively flat, seeing modest growth.
The conclusion there seems to be: people are still buying PCs, but people who are buying their first connected device are starting with a smartphone (or tablet). And with global internet penetration still very low, of course smartphones and tablets are seeing runaway growth. But the fact that PC shipments are remaining steady suggests something to me: the PC isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Think about it. You certainly use your computer to access the internet less now than you did before 2007, or 2010. But you still use it for MS Excel/Google Docs, for email, for photo editing and graphic design, for bug fixing and programming: for “work”. And what percentage of your colleagues and family members don’t have a computer, or rarely use one? I bet that number’s very, very low. The reason people in emerging markets are starting with a smartphone and a tablet as their first device isn’t because the PC is dead. It’s simply because they can’t afford one. But as soon as they are doing a certain amount of knowledge work, they will spend time on one. It’s way, way too early to write off the personal computer.
There have been promising innovations in netbooks, which are getting cheaper, though still (wrongly) trashing functionality in the process. The mobile arms race is bringing costs of sensors and processors way down in mobile, but in PCs. I’m willing to bet that this will bring forth a surprising surge in PC growth, once manufacturers get their costs down far enough. And until global office culture changes radically or improved gesture-controlled interfaces become ubiquitous, I think that PC is here to stay.
* There are some fascinating stealth projects currently working on this problem.
** I’m probably wrong here, so please feel free to tell me I am!
Hiring is Overrated and Underrated
The ways that it is overrated:
- Looking for ‘rockstars’ and ‘unicorns’ for commodity tasks — tasks where the skill set is fungible and common in the market. Just hire someone.
- Trying to find the A+ engineer, who will build at breakneck speed with perfectly elegant clean code, and make your entire engineering team operate better.
- MBA’s (often) get the job done. Don’t listen to the Silicon Valley mentality hating against them. One thought on that point, though: MBA’s will negotiate hard. If you’re trying to spend slowly, there are other types of business hustlers who will take underdog salaries.
The ways that it is underrated:
- Filing monopoly roles — the type of role where the set of tasks necessary for that role aren’t all that matters, but it needs to be someone who utterly shines, as well. Someone who is co-founder level good. Not every role is like that, but knowing which ones are is critical to the early days of your business.
- Even if you have a great network, the vast majority of the people worth recruiting are already doing something they love.
- When you realize you want to hire for a role, the work probably needed to get done yesterday, and it will take you a month, no matter what role you’re filing.
- Finding a good third-party recruiter, whether hiring for a venture analyst or a front-end developer, is hard. They need to understand your culture, but more importantly - most recruiters play the numbers game and really suck.
- Great engineering managers are not good developers. And vice versa.
Start early, always be thinking about hiring when meeting new people, and determine what is monopoly employee versus a commodity employee. Peter Thiel introduces an interesting concept in his Stanford class from a few years back. On his view, “Some of your people will have very unique skills. Others will be more commodity employees with fungible skills.” This I enthusiastically agree with. But I’ll add that some types of work require more care, diligence, and unicorns for some companies than others. For an enterprise software startup trying to sell into schools and hospitals, a ‘monopoly’ role would be that of the salesperson, because that’s a particularly notorious challenge there, while a consumer audience startup trying to sell advertising might do fine with considering the sales job as a ‘commodity’ role.
Not many startups are thoughtful about this in the early stages, and some incorrectly assume that every employee needs to be a unicorn, while others also incorrectly believe that none need to be, so long as the culture is right. Think about the type of company you’re building, and start recruiting right now!
If FICO and Klout had a baby
Originally posted on Progress Report.
Credit, though we take it for granted, is a revolutionary human invention. Because I trust you, I will take as trade-value for this item, a payment at some point in the future. Today, though, you only get a promise. It is as old as commerce itself, and it is the grease upon which the wheels of our economic engine have run forever.
When Bill Fair and Earl Isaac created Fair, Isaac and Company (FICO) in 1956, they launched a product which had an extraordinary effect on commerce. Equifax was an O.G. big data company that had collected information on millions of Americans and Canadians. This data was used to assess risks for insurance providers, who were giving policies to consumers. FICO took data sources like Equifax to create a rating system not for insurance risk, but for any type of transaction, normalized across a set of behaviors: the credit score. Atop the credit score, companies likeVISA, Diner’s Club, and others began launching credit cards, merchants around the country and world began accepting these credit cards, and consumer credit transformed. Originally, an individual’s credit-worthiness was limited to a local store owner’s comfort-level with that individual “keeping a tab open”. It was highly localized, and based on very relatable trust and reputation.
The credit score is outdated. Companies have launched since FICO, and the bureaus themselves have their own scores. But in the Information Era, where access to data about individuals is orders of magnitude better than at any time in human history, surely the big data that informs the credit score should evolve as well.
To date, measuring credit is limited to an individual’s credit history, which is Liabilities. It is repayment history, repayment percentages, and length of credit lines. But think about the store-owner who allowed customers to “keep a tab open” and you quickly realize that there are other things to measure, which are no less powerful indicators of an individual’s likelihood to keep the promise to pay, which I’ll list below.
Assets: Someone with $1,000,000 in savings today cannot buy a car using credit if she does not have a credit card. And even if she has a credit card, if she has limited credit, because she just got the card, she will pay a big penalty, with a high-interest rate. Measuring what an individual has solves that.
Behavior: Someone who has saved 30% of his paycheck for the last 10 years, but never opened a credit card, has no credit history. If that paycheck was only $50/month, that is clearly a very trustworthy individual. And there are other indicators that are also highly relevant, if less obvious. Say, for example, that he additionally never missed a class in college, has a 401K, and spends roughly the same amount every month?
Reputation: On the social web, there are signals about who an individual is that are understood by the collection of her network. Do her friends have stable behaviors? Are there people with data trails who can vouch for her? That local store-owner would want to know that the person they are opening a tab for isn’t a stranger to the community, and so measuring that activity is, itself, an indicator.
The credit score, and credit system more generally, is broken today. A system that strictly relies on liabilities, leaves out millions of trustworthy individuals who deserve access to credit. And as our financial system increasingly moves online, and credit becomes more and more central to access to bigger purchases, this is a social issue. At Collaborative Fund, we love discovering startups whose products are radically inclusive; it’s my favorite goal of technology. And one of the most effective ways to achieve that is through credit. We will announce some investments in this category soon, so stay tuned.
Parting thought: did you know that a big part of the popularity of payday lending isn’t the immediate cash, but the fact that the lenders develop warm, personal relationships with their customers in a local vernacular? It’s a more inclusive experience than a commercial bank. Loosening up credit does not have to mean making it riskier, nor does it have to be a matter of Fed policy. Just by being empathetic, and framing the data we are already capturing, we can provide risk-adjusted credit to the millions of Americans who don’t yet have it, but deserve it.
"Social Enterprise" and "Social Impact" Confuse Me.
I always found it curious, and mildly offensive, when well-meaning peers in school would speak so enthusiastically about basket-weavers in Uganda, using the term ‘social enterprise’.
It felt at times condescending and paternalistic - it’s not a real business, because a “black woman in Africa” is doing it.
Sometimes it felt irresponsible - TOMS shoes may capture far more value than they create. And they may even hurt the very communities they purport to help.
But most of all, it’s confusing. “scalable impact” is what you’re measuring, right? Isn’t Wal-Mart creating vastly more economic opportunity and access to goods and services than that basket-weaver, or that whole network of basket weavers? (I don’t think Wal-Mart is a social enterprise by any definition, but using the extreme case to make the point.)
In the United States, economic inequality today is at its greatest level in the modern era, Spain has an unemployment rate hovering around 20%, and Nigeria and Venezuela have seen 300% increases in GDP per capita over the last decade. Is a feature phone-based gaming company started by a Kenyan for East Africa a social enterprise, but Lyft not? The macroeconomic shifts brought about by the unequal recovery of the USA and EU coupled with the inexorable rise of China, Africa, and Latin America suggests that the idea of classifying businesses’ social impact racially, geographically, or even structurally, is more and more complex; it is perhaps folly.
Bill Gates said, in reference to Google Loon a project whose goal would be to provide internet services, delivered by balloon, across the far-flug remote corners of the world, “When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you.” It sparked a conversation on the internet about whether or not the social impact companies like Google and Twitter were manifesting through their work was indeed social impact. I think it was a healthy debate, and I’m torn on the issue, to be honest. It speaks to the confounding nature of social impact. What actually does make the world better?
I love what B Lab is doing to standardize the class of businesses that are focused on improving people’s lives, with ethos’ that are aspirational about society, because it starts to tell a story about enterprise, without infantilizing, being self-satisfied, and defining terms in a way that is rigorous (no one would argue that Patagonia, Etsy, or Warby Parker aren’t real businesses).
The question I hope I’m leaving you with: what type of business makes the world better? Why? At Collaborative Fund, we wrestle with this all the time, and I’m sure — well, I’m hopeful — many funds and businesspeople more generally are having this debate internally, among their leadership. The piece of the pie devoted to non-profit organizations around the world is tiny. If we’re going to vibrate goodness into the world, all hands need to be on deck, business hands especially.
Forgiveness is A Perfect Manifestation of Love.
C.S. Lewis, my favorite essayist, makes a very interesting distinction between “to excuse” and “to forgive”. In his words,
"Forgiveness says, "Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before." If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites.
To excuse is to accept a reason for a wrongdoing; to justify it; to somehow lessen the blame. In this sense, we often mistake forgiving someone for actually excusing them. The way we’re able to move forward is rationalizing their action away. With forgiveness, however, we can’t rationalize away another’s action. It is inexcusable. The blame is justified, and the blame is real.
What’s fascinating to me about this (the essay talks about it in the context of God’s forgiveness of our sins) is that inherent in an act of forgiveness, is the blame itself. I take that to mean that I must actually be hurt by the action. It must be inexcusable. It must break my heart. And to be heartbroken, and somehow find a way to mend and continue like nothing happened, goodness. That’s love.
A Thought About Twitter: Protocol versus Product
This isn’t fully baked, so feedback is most welcome and appreciated. I want to make a comment about email and the web. As you know, they aren’t products, nor are they interfaces. They are protocols.
A protocol, just as in vernacular english, is simply a set of guidelines or rules to follow. As it relates to computing, and in particular communication protocols, these are a set of guidelines about how a computer is meant to communicate messages to itself, or to another computer. Early internet thinker and computer science professor Douglas Comer expressed it this way: just like a programming language makes sense of computation, protocols make sense of communication.
Email as a protocol establishes rules allowing information to be transmitted across the web. The web itself is a a series of built on low-level technical protocols ( TCP/IP at the Transport & Internet Layer & HTTP on the application layer) to share data packets between computers. SMS is another communication protocol. The FTP stands for file transfer protocol. You get the picture.
When Twitter launched, many detractors, myself included, didn’t understand why anyone would want to use SMS to send a message to anyone who felt like reading it. But today, Twitter is a global media giant, and that behavior has become so ubiquitous, that it is almost a protocol unto itself (despite their best efforts). But it’s clearly not synonymous with SMS. It just uses SMS (and since it’s evolved, other protocols) to create a new user experience. In the same way, Dropbox didn’t invent anything new. If you’re reading this, you probably used FTP in college or high-school to share files long before Dropbox. They simply created a user experience and interface that made use of the communication protocol manifest in ways that were unique, and continue to be more and more unique as the company grows.
Outlook, Hotmail/Yahoo, Gmail, Mailbox are all clients, putting their own user interfaces atop the same protocol (or, well, a small set of email protocols in IMAP, POP3, SMTP). Netscape, IE, Chrome, Firefox, are all the web, using the exact same interface on the web protocol (or, well very similar interfaces, all derivative from a few layout engines in Trident, WebKit, Gecko, Mosaic).
But think about how unique of an experience Twitter is, how transformative in culture. You have to conclude that we’re not re-imagining the other protocols with enough courage. Seriously. Why does the web on an iPad look the same way that it does on a desktop? Is the only noteworthy innovation in the web really tabbed browsing? Or, Lord, in the right click button? The same goes for email. A lot of companies are “re-imagining email” but really they’re just building the same old clients with the same old features. Perhaps by breaking down the infrastructure this way, you can see why pg thinks there’s as much opportunity in email as he does. It goes deeper than the fact that we email too much. We think of it as a product, but it’s just a protocol; a variety of products can, and should, work on it.
Thanks Ismail, for putting a quick set of eyes on this post.
Hearing a pitch from a startup founder
I overheard a team of startup founders pitching their company to a venture associate at a coffee shop this week. I didn’t listen for long because I felt bad, but one thing that jumped out at me, even over my headphones, was that the associate was doing most of the talking, which got me thinking.
The venture pitch is most commonly described as “person who needs money must convince person who has money to give it”. Sometimes a venture pitch looks more like “a person who has money must convince baller founder to take said money over another fund’s”. In both of these cases, it is a highly asymmetrical interaction. Power dynamics are always slanted in interactions between people, but in pitches it is made explicit, and often extreme. I have sat in a number of pitches, pitched a dozen times, and been pitched hundreds of times. The power dynamic manifests in amusing ways, andI want to share my perspective.
As an investor, I want to be a good listener. I want to properly understand the motivations of the founders, challenges and potential of the business, etc. but I also want to demonstrate my genuine interest in the business. After all, a pitch is a two-way audition, and the business and founder are performing, but the investor and firm are, too.
Sometimes, I have to fight the instinct to demonstrate my genuine interest in the business by talking about what they could do, or what they should do. Many investors say that giving business feedback in the pitch is a way to help the founders, but I can’t help but think it’s somewhat self-serving. It feels good to broadly expound on a go-to-market strategy in front of an audience that is trying to impress you. I know this because sometimes, when I’m talking about my own experience or opinion, I’m enjoying feeling and sounding smart, more than being helpful. Real talk. That said, some of the best pitches I’ve been in were filled with feedback in both directions. The founder was honest about how the firm was signaling to the market, and the investor honest about what she liked or didn’t like about the business. And a great way to build empathy is to identify with someone’s experience by sharing your own. But it’s a fine line.**
I got an opportunity to catch up with a great investor mentor a few days ago, and we were talking about all and sundry, and I was struck, as I was describing design consulting, how carefully he was listening, and how surprised he seemed by some of the conclusions I drew. He’s an extraordinarily smart investor with as many years of work experience as I’ve been alive. But he listened like an 8 year old learning about outer space for the first time. And it was so disarming, and I couldn’t help but share how I really felt about it all. It takes real expertise to develop a beginner’s mind, indeed.
** In starting the story with an associate who wasn’t listening and ending with a partner who was, you may want to conclude that partners are great listeners and associates aren’t. Couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of experienced partners who love hearing themselves talk, and plenty of associates who give incisive thoughtful feedback while listening very carefully.
There Are More Than Two Good Reasons To Start A Company.
When I decided to join Craig and Collaborative Fund full-time, it was an incredible opportunity that he was presenting me, but a difficult decision. I was leaving behind an opportunity to build a business with two very close friends. We had been prototyping, had engaged some of our favorite investors, and were mapping out our business plan. I ultimately ended up not pursuing the startup in large part because of a conversation with my fiancee. She asked me: “why do you want to start this company? You have already pivoted a few times, so it can’t be because the idea has overwhelmed you?” In my conversation with her, I started thinking about why I wanted to do a startup, and why people do startups in general. I concluded that there are only two reasons to do a startup:
— There is a problem (or problem space) out in the world that, by virtue of your skills, network, and experience, you are uniquely well-suited to solve.
— There is a problem (or problem space) that you HAVE to solve. That you feel like you’ll go crazy if you don’t start working on solutions for immediately.
Neither of those was the case with the problem space I was tackling, so my answer was clear. And I couldn’t be happier with the decision that I made. It’s been a rollercoaster time with Collaborative Fund, and a great one. But over the past year and a half or so, I have met with hundreds of founders, tackling varying problem spaces with all-and-sundry relevant and irrelevant skillsets, and I’ve realized there is a third legitimate reason to be an entrepreneur: you are unemployable.
There are a few ways of “being unemployable”, and I’ve listed my favorites below:
— You tend to irrationally think your opinion is more right, and thereby hate having a boss.
— Your set of experiences and skills don’t translate to job openings at companies available to you.
— Your demographics make you an ‘unlikely’ candidate in your industry, so incumbent teams won’t hire you.
Among the pitches I’ve seen, there are as many entrepreneurs who started their companies under the ‘unemployable’ circumstances as they did under the “work on the right problem” circumstances. I’m officially adding “I’m unemployable” as a credible reason to start a company.
On Healthcare: Knowing What You Pay For
I was recently diagnosed with an ulcer and a Vitamin D deficiency. Neither of these diagnoses is necessarily chronic or life-threatening, so there isn’t any real cause for worry. But when I went to pick up my prescriptions from the hospital, I was a bit overwhelmed when I took them out of the bag.
I decided to distract myself with prices. For these medicines, I paid $29.36 at Walgreens. Curious to find out what the real cost of the drugs was, I looked for the fine print, and after a fairly significant effort, I found it: for four drugs, I paid $6.00, $5.36, $10.00, and $8.00. For those same four drugs, my insurance company paid $6.33, $10.90, $132.79, and $106.99. Completely random, right? One was subsidized by 51%, and others subsidized 90%. One cost $12.33, and another cost $142.79.
Now, I have a PPO health insurance plan with a well-known carrier, and I chose this policy after reading the fine print very carefully, so I would like to think I am at least above average in terms of my understanding of how my health insurance works, and in terms of my access to quality information. But I have absolutely no idea how much these drugs are worth, or should be worth. But here’s the thing - it’s not that I don’t know if they should be $4/gallon or $7/gallon, like the price of, say, unleaded refined petroleum. It’s literally orders of magnitude difference between two drugs, and no way for me to understand it. So where is the breakdown here?
As if this weren’t bad enough, I’m told by the folks at Oration that if I ordered the prescription to CVS, or if the pharmacist were to package a generic version of the same drug, in the same city, the price would change again - and I wouldn’t notice, because I would be paying the same amount I’d paid at Walgreens. The health insurer absorbs this price volatility and then charges the company a rate that they couldn’t possibly understand. In no other industry does the purchaser have as little price transparency as this. The amount of diverting, rerouting, absorbing, and subsidizing just in prescriptive pharmaceuticals is insane to me. I have to imagine that in-patient clinical services are similarly opaque.
Apparently the pharmaceutical suppliers today operate much in the way travel agents did in the first era of commercial air travel. In healthcare, the big pharmaceutical companies make their pills, which are then sent by the million to suppliers, who then package them by the thousand in such a way that they can then sell them to pharmacies, who then package them by the dozen, or whatever the dosage is, until they look like the orange bottles you see above. In commercial flight, the travel agents managed all of the purchasing and reselling, and had full ability to price-fix as they saw fit, which is why one travel agent could be “better” than another. Today, of course, Southwest’s point-to-point and first-come seating coupled with Expedia/Kayak/etc has rendered the travel agent moot, and price transparency for air travel is at an all-time high, and the ways of differentiating oneself are manifest to the consumer.
In what other industries is a purchaser’s access to the cost of goods so thoroughly opaque as in prescriptive pharmaceuticals? I am genuinely curious. Imagine if a purchaser knew how much they were paying for a service in healthcare? You have to think that would go a long way.