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My ADA Impressions: The Big Story

Jun 17, 2017

By guest writer David Kliff, Diabetic Investor

Why Google, Apple, and Amazon entering the diabetes market is the real “big story” from ADA.


As I get ready to head home (at least I think Chicago is home)  it’s time for my annual “wacky dance” wrap up. This was a “wacky dance” that was devoid of buzz, something everyone was talking about. Unlike past years, there was no one story or event that had everyone talking. It could be the reason for this lack of excitement (and seriously I’ve had more fun watching golf or soccer on TV) that this lack of buzz stems from the fact that two of three big companies who will dominate our wacky world in the future weren’t even officially here. Yes, Google was in attendance but unless they were wearing disguises (and given how the folks in Silicon Valley can be slightly paranoid,  it would not surprise me if they were) Apple and Amazon were not in attendance.

Years ago, Diabetic Investor predicted that with devices and drugs becoming commodities, combined with the latest craze of interconnected diabetes management (IDM), patients would be prescribed diabetes management systems (DMS). Systems which would include drugs, devices, apps, coaching and Momma Kliff’s matzo ball soup, which is damn tasty. Well at long last it looks like we are about to reach that point, with only thing missing being Momma Kliff’s soup (and her mushroom barley soup was also outstanding).

The main difference between today and a few years ago is that we can substitute the word systems for platforms. This is why Google, Apple and Amazon are diving into the deep end of the diabetes pool: this is a battle over platforms. See, none of these companies come with heavy baggage of being in this wacky world since Moses led my people out of Egypt. Their revenues and profits are not dependent on being in this wacky world. They want to be in diabetes; they do not need to be in diabetes. And that statement alone makes me question their sanity, but I digress.

What also separates these three amigos from the old guard, other than having ungodly sums of money and a fresh perspective, is they don’t look down upon the patient. They see the patient as a consumer of health care, who besides generating revenue from drugs and devices, will also generate revenue using their respective platforms. Apple pickers will have Siri reminding them after they refilled their scripts, why not buy some other stuff in the Apple store? Not to be outdone Alexa, when she isn’t being snarky and arguing with Siri, will be asking her patients if they would like some Tide along with their metformin. Google (and seriously Google really should give their digital assistant a sexy name –I’ll call her Aphrodite after the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and you can’t get sexier than that– but again I digress).  Aphrodite will ask her patients to buy a GoPro camera along with their Dexcom, slap it on turn it on sensor.

The three amigos also have another advantage over the old guard, as everyone — and I mean everyone — wants to partner with them. These are the three pretty ladies at the dance and all the boys want to dance with them. And let’s be clear Siri, Alexa and Aphrodite will leverage their beauty to the fullest extent possible. As Momma Kliff used to say; “Find a pretty woman and you’ll be happy for a night. Find a pretty woman who is also smart and you’ll be happy for a lifetime. Find a pretty, smart woman with ungodly sums of money and you are the luckiest person on the planet.”

Yes, Siri, Alexa, and Aphrodite will have the pick of the litter. Partners who will pay for the privilege of a dance. Heck, Aphrodite has already proven this as she got our Merlot-chugging friends to pony up $250 million for a dance.

Let’s face some of those pesky facts. Siri, Alexa, and Aphrodite hold the keys to the kingdom. They are pretty, smart and have gobs of money, the winningest trifecta. Hazel, Eunice, Gertrude and her friends have not aged well and are in a serious need of plastic surgery. Some will embrace this new world order, go under the knife and attempt to play in the sandbox with the pretty woman. Others will end up only with scars. But it is Siri, Alexa, and Aphrodite who’ll be in control of these relationships and will have no problem dumping their new partners if a newer better-looking partner comes along.

As Momma Kliff liked to say; “Pretty, smart and gobs of money is an attractive yet dangerous combination.”