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Why Silicon Valley Hasn’t Built A Good Health App

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Homogenous teams of innovators make products for people just like them. And that’s a problem.

By Kanyi Maqubela (Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Collaborative Fund)

Many great innovators build what they know, for who they know. Aaron Sorkin caricatured this concept with his treatment of the Facebook story: Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) built an online social network drawing from his own experiences and social network in real life. With consumer web products, given how young the industry is, domain expertise rarely refers to years of experience.

An expert might be someone who has loved internet technology since childhood, tinkering with Javascript and LED displays after school. More often than not, a consumer web entrepreneur identifies pain points that he wants to solve as a user first. Technophiles, founders, and early adopters are all drawn from the same pool, often by design.

Over the past couple of years, some of these entrepreneurs have begun building products focused on the quantified self. A thesis for the quantified self goes as follows: a modern young professional likely knows his Twitter follower number, Facebook friend count, as well as the market cap, IPO date, and vital data of a half-dozen companies in his industry. But if you ask for his resting heart rate, genetic disease markers, blood pressure, or body mass index, the chance that he knows more than 2 out of 4 of those is vanishingly small. Technology is the answer to this problem.

Today, the pedometer, imagined 400 years ago by Leonardo Da Vinci and first developed in 1965, has evolved far beyond a “step counter” and into a suite of full-service health tracking devices.

» Read the full article at The Atlantic.