14 October 2008

Amidst the financial crisis, Forbes publishes a very interesting appeal to Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs. After enumerating various achievements of Silicon Valley, Sramana Mitra starts here main point:
In all this, leaders of Silicon Valley, you have identified problems, found technology-leveraged solutions and built industries, not just companies.

I ask you, then, to rise up to the challenge again. Education, health care, social security: These domains need your voices, your intellect, your credibility, your time and your money. In each of these domains, there are some early successes. Edward Fields is breaking through the morass of education problems with his start-up, HotChalk (see "A Technological Fix For Education"). Kirk Loevner is cracking health care with Epocrates. Their experiences offer some insight into alternative business models, marketing models and approaches to problem solving--most notably using advertising dollars to fund resources for teachers, students, doctors and patients. In education and health care, a tremendous amount of inefficiencies can be tackled with technology.

For me, the appeal is interesting - it does not call only for a government action, but also for a grassroot approach to problems. The question is, however, whether technology and new business models can solve very intricate reality of American healthcare. They may solve the problem of costs, but coverage may pose greater political challenges. Whoever heard what happened to Hillary Clinton's efforts know what I am talking about.

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