-One of the last South by Southwest events I attended, the Ogilvy/Humble Ventures Digital Health Pop-Up, proved to be one of the liveliest. The idea, per Ogilvy chief digital officer for health and wellness Ritesh Patel was a simple one: throw a bunch of smart folks from different professional walks of life such as big pharma, medium VC, and little startup in a room and push them to talk candidly about health innovation and investment.
It worked much better than most such panels — there are, what, 60 on the same exact topic every year? — because most every person in the room, including audience members, said the quiet parts loudly. For instance, a VC exec in the audience pressed the three-person panel of innovation and investment chiefs from Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation to commit to a 90-day timetable to complete deals with startups. When one panelist equivocated, a startup executive pushed back with “forget 90 days, could you just commit to 180?” J&J’s Cris DeLuca parried the frustration by noting that “most of the time that you see as stalling and delays is about trying to find the [internal] fit.” Fascinating, candid stuff.
-Smart people saying smart, pithily quotable things: “Ask, ‘What can we do for $90,000 in 90 days?’ Think small, then double down” — Humble Ventures founder and general partner Ajit Verghese on health innovation projects.
–MM&M needs to add a “hostess with the mostest” award to its annual program. Plug time: 2019 entries are due in early April. If we ever go that route, today’s event should serve as Patel’s for-your-consideration reel. He wondered aloud about the timetable for 3D printing of pizzas and prompted the audience to ask questions of the big-pharma investment gatekeepers by announcing, “Come on, you’ve got three people here with gobs of money!” He’s a hoot in this environment.
– For the second of three installments of our SXSW Takeout Mini-Podcast series, we sat down with entrepreneur-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-entrepreneur-again-turned-author-turned-cancer-patient-and-caregiver-advocate Bill Rancic, who’s working with Astellas on the next edition of its C3 Prize competition for non-treatment cancer-care innovations. The dude practically radiates empathy and intelligence. Listen to it here and here and here and here. We’ll have another one up later on Tuesday with Erin Hagan, deputy director of Evidence For Action.
– Aaaaaaand the winner of the 2019 Award for Distinction in Geographical Cliché is… [drum roll]…a 15,750-way tie! Congratulations to each of the 15,750 SXSW attendees who uttered some variation of “Austin may be in Texas, but it doesn’t feel like Texas!” You can pick up your trophy, a mangled-beyond-repair scooter, on pretty much any corner.
-Let’s end on a serious and sober note. My biggest-picture SXSW Health takeaway is that there’s gonna be a data-privacy reckoning sooner rather than later. If companies don’t get ahead of this — the time to do it was yesterday — so much of the data-reliant good that the industry hopes to do will be frustrated when patients and consumers pull back on their permissions. This is a disaster in the making.
-That’s it from here. Check out all our SXSW coverage at mmm-online.com, plus photos and videos with questionable relevance to health can be found on our Instagram page. Thanks for reading, interacting, and engaging and all that other good 21st century media stuff.