Illustration credit: A.E. Kieren
When Olohan arrived at Google nearly a decade ago, the company had just started to shake the label of being a quote-unquote search company. Fast forward to today, when one could make a reasonably persuasive argument that Google is, in large part, a health company. It invests in health startups through its Google Ventures arm, conducts cutting-edge R&D via Calico and is attempting to use technology to solve stubborn systemic problems with its Verily (née Google Life Sciences) unit.
As one of Google’s chief healthcare minds and voices, Olohan has a hand in quite a bit of this. Yet if he feels that Google has truly impacted the space, he’s not letting on. “We need to learn from other industries that have been disrupted before us,” he explains. “The hotel industry has been flipped on its head with companies like Airbnb, a simple app with no investments in real estate that now has a larger market cap in than Marriott.” Indeed, as Google pushes ever-deeper into healthcare and technology, Olohan’s innovation/disruption role models include Netflix, Apple, Uber and Amazon.
“We’ve come so far in so many ways but still have a long way to go,” he says. “We can have a live video chat with a doctor but a majority of the world doesn’t own a smart phone. We have millions of Americans using wearables but 68% of our country is obese or overweight. The faster we innovate, the faster people live better and healthier lives. It’s really that simple.”