The Takeaways: Week 29 of 2021

A periodic review of articles, newsletters, and podcasts that I found interesting, inspiring, or otherwise worth remembering.


Python Bytes. Episode #243: Django unicorns and multi-region PostgreSQL (July 21, 2021)


Stacie Dusetzina, Tradeoffs newsletter Obamacare Olympics: Research Corner (July 23, 2021)

Auto-renewal has been shown to increase coverage by making it easier for people to stay enrolled, but this study shows it can also lead to enrollment in objectively worse coverage because picking the “right” plan once doesn’t mean the same plan will work the best for you next year.

Ted Gioia, Can We Stop Talking About "Rebranding" Classical Music? July 18. 2021

If the real decision-makers made rebranding their top priority, they wouldn’t worry about squiggles. The wouldn’t sit around laying out business cards in patterns like a storefront fortune teller. Even more to the point, they wouldn’t call it a rebranding project. They would be practicing leadership, not massaging an image. They would be making hard choices on priorities.

Ted Gioia, The Secret Music Technology of Raymond Scott (July 21, 2021)

Meanwhile the inventions kept coming, but Scott seemed determined to undermine his own innovations—this time with his trademark sense for the absurd. In 1963, he developed a drum machine, but decided to name it “Bandito the Bongo Artist.” How could you take this technology seriously? But that had always been Scott’s modus operandi. Even back in the 1940s, he had developed a $10,000 piece of equipment named the Karloff (after horror film actor Boris Karloff), which emulated the sounds of coughs and wheezes, a steak frying in the pan, and other esoteric noises.

Kevin O’Leary and Ryan Russell, Health Tech Nerds. Weekly Health Tech Reads 7/18

Chas Roades and Lisa Bielamowicz, MD, The Weekly Gist. July 23, 2021

A mounting specialist access crisis: Patients who delayed care last year are reemerging, and ones who were seen by telemedicine now want to come in person. “We are booked solid in almost every specialty, with wait times double what they were before COVID,” one medical group president shared. The spike in demand is compounded by staffing challenges...

Ernie Smith, Tedium. The Dial-Up Volunteer Army July 23, 2021

In some ways, one wonders if the true innovation of modern social media was not its way of connecting people, at least not on its own. But rather, it was seen as a way to convince people to do things for free that in a prior generation, or with a slightly different framing, they would have expected to be paid or in some way compensated for.


Courtenay Brown, Axios. Virtual doctor visits shrivel (July 22, 2021)

The share [of American adults who had a virtual doctor appointment within the past month] has steadily eased — slightly, by a total of 1 percentage point — since the Census Bureau began asking the question in April.

Marty Cagan, Silicon Valley Product Group. Discovery vs. Design July 9, 2021

Another way of explaining this is that discovery is all about trying out different approaches to a problem to find one that works. On a feature team, you are essentially already given the approach, and you need to do what you can to make it as good as possible.

John Cutler, Amplitude blog. Product Lessons Learned: A Conversation with Shreyas Doshi & John Cutler (July 13, 2021)

Steve Hardgrove, The Caseload. The Upside-Down Insurance Incentive (March 5, 2020)

Paige Minemyer, Fierce Healthcare. Oscar launches new functionality for transgender, nonbinary members (July 14, 2021)

Through the "MyIdentity" functionality, Oscar members can use the insurer's app to input their names, pronouns and gender identities into the system. This allows Oscar to provide a member experience that better reflects their identities.

Jeff Patton. The Mindset That Kills Product Thinking (June 18, 2021)

So what if the process your kitchen modeler uses happens to match the process we use in our company? I’ll tell you what. Some nasty things happen if you mistake your business for your actual customer.

Dennis Pillion, ‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’: Alabama doctor on treating unvaccinated, dying COVID patients (July 21, 2021)

Dr. Brytney Cobia said Monday that all but one of her COVID patients in Alabama did not receive the vaccine. The vaccinated patient, she said, just needed a little oxygen and is expected to fully recover. Some of the others are dying.

Richard Smith, The BMJ Opinion. Time to assume that health research is fraudulent until proven otherwise? (July 5, 2021)

We have long known that peer review is ineffective at detecting fraud, especially if the reviewers start, as most have until now, by assuming that the research is honestly reported... We have now reached a point where those doing systematic reviews must start by assuming that a study is fraudulent until they can have some evidence to the contrary.

Koen Witters, deWITTERS. I had to give a wrong answer to get the job (November 24, 2017)

  • A tale of social skills and situational awareness.