I’m in the midst of writing an essay on how Genlighten can search for a bigger market. I’d like to claim I don’t need to, but have we really shown yet that we already have strong customer-perceived value?
This is, as Harper would say, pretty awesome.
My wife and I have recently become quite interested in putting together our family tree. It’s such a diverse family with various backgrounds and cultures. And a large family at that.
We signed up with Geni and with a bit of nudging and effort from various family members we now have a tree that spans over 380 people and growing.
We are getting a ton of details that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. It’s really quite excellent.
As we reviewed all the information and watch the tree develop, we started thinking about health matters and family medical history.
For example, my wife’s dad died at 50 years old. Her father’s father also died at a very young age as well. Her’s father’s grandfather also died at a young age. All of them died because of heart failure. It’s clear how important it is to understand your family medical history.
But aside from that striking data, we really don’t know much about other medical history we inherit from our family tree. Who in our family has diabetes? Or cancer? Or Alzheimer’s?
I realize that I’m walking into a hornets nest and patient records are highly confidential. But if I had a medical issue that might pass down to my kids and so on, I would very much want them to know about it. I assume my grandparents, parents, uncles & aunts feel the same way.
At some point, we are going to have better tools that give us data and access. Of course, we will need assurances & security to make sure that the right people have access to the right information.
Electronic medical records are a start. Stitching our medical records with our family tree is the next step after that. And we will all be better for it.
Can Genlighten tackle these issues? Not yet, but it’s something to keep returning to.
Today was the day we sent the first batch of private beta invitations out to interested Genlighten users we’ve met at conferences over the past few years or who’ve signed up on the site. So far it looks like about 20% have registered. Not as many new lookups offered as I would have hoped, but it’s a start. Great feedback from one potential power provider.
I could talk for ages about how awesome and valuable the beta process was. We learned so much during the first year when invitations were going out slowly and we were talking to the users of the site about what they wanted every single day. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat — start with something that works, get people in it, and build it together.
I love the way the founder Casey Forbes talks about his Knitting and Crocheting community site, Ravelry. I want our beta process to be just the way he describes his.
We spent Thursday and Friday in New York City.
Yesterday, we arrived at my parents in Long Island. Last night after the kids went to bed, my dad told us some amazing things about his childhood that I had never heard before.
My brother and I have learned a lot about my parents lives over the years but I know there are gaps missing from the stories. And there are certainly photos missing. The old photos we have aren’t tagged or organized at all and we don’t have any videos naturally.
I told my parents that they should write down their life story. Start at the beginning. They have led fascinating lives. One little tidbit: They both came from different countries to the United States in the 60’s. My mom is from Korea. My dad is from Iran. They met after medical school during their residency in New York. My mom was supposed to be arranged but she met my dad.
These days many of us are sharing our lives on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, blogs and flickr. It’s an attempt to write down and share our life story. From the seemingly mundane to the other end of the spectrum.
I hope my kids can one day check out my shared life to get another window into my life story.
And hopefully they will do the same for the next generation.
Dean’s take: So far, that’s two East Coast VCs (the other being Fred Wilson) who have indicated an interest in their family history on their blogs. This bodes well for our potential Genlighten Techstars presentation.
Startups make all kinds of excuses for delaying their launch. Most are equivalent to the ones people use for procrastinating in everyday life. There’s something that needs to happen first. Maybe. But if the software were 100% finished and ready to launch at the push of a button, would they still be waiting?
One reason to launch quickly is that it forces you to actually finish some quantum of work. Nothing is truly finished till it’s released; you can see that from the rush of work that’s always involved in releasing anything, no matter how finished you thought it was. The other reason you need to launch is that it’s only by bouncing your idea off users that you fully understand it.
Paul Graham, 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups, via Hiten
I’m really starting to run out of excuses for delaying our launch…
The whole entrepreneurial thing is that you kind of jump off a cliff and assemble your airplane on the way down. And financing, by the way, is a thermal draft, right? You’re a little further away, but the ground’s still coming at you if you can’t establish an airplane.
Reid Hoffman, as quoted by Jeff Bussgang in his new book, The VC Playbook (via fred-wilson)
The ground’s definitely coming at us. But it won’t take much revenue to keep us safely in the air.