Feb 6, 2014

Incumbents Asleep At The Wheel #

Missed this piece by MG Siegler a few weeks back:

… one-third of the 8,500 or so taxi drivers in San Francisco – over 2,800 – have ditched driving a registered cab in the last 12 months to drive for a private transportation startup like Uber, Lyft or Sidecar instead.

That is insane. MG goes into what’s allowing this to happen:

So why is this happening so quickly? Technology is certainly a huge factor. But just as important of a factor is how incompetent the incumbents were (and are). […]

They’re not actually innovators. And there is no dilemma. All they’re doing is sitting around collecting money from increasingly unhappy customers and increasingly frustrated drivers under the blanket of bureaucracy. Their only hope for survival is some outdated regulation, but they can’t even be bothered to care.

That is not an overstatement. Getting a cab in SF before Uber was at best an annoying, at worst an impossible, experience. God help you if there was a big event going on somewhere else in the city than where you were.

When people ask me if/when I think innovation is coming to the patient side of healthcare, I like to be optimistic and say 12-24 months because I see lots of startups working on innovating towards these big problems — like getting your health records all in one place — that the healthcare incumbents are leaving wide open.

But if I had to remove those startups from the equation, and it was just incumbents (not) working on these problems, I honestly couldn’t put a date on when solutions would arrive.

Healthcare right now is in the same place the SF cab industry was two years ago (and really still today) — incumbents aren’t innovating and patients are suffering as a result of it. Disruption is coming.