Medical Technology Start Ups

Did 23andMe Hire a John Sculley?

23andme john sculley apple 23andme

Did 23andme make a mistake with Andy Page as President as Sculley did with Steve?

Two issues here.

23andme’s marketing strategy changed dramatically in the recent past. It became “in your face” in a retail consumer manner, morphing quickly from a more subtle place.  Genetic testing was more mainstream now than even a year go, but big box store-like it was not so the advertising seemed out of place.

And when the FDA stopped 23andme from sending health information I kept thinking, “Legal must know what they are doing.”

But, it turns out, there was no legal. Not after former legal counsel Ashley Gould left six months ago.

And the person running the company has no experience in health related tech issues – Andy Page is the new President as of June, 2013. He is experienced, yes.   John Sculley was likewise experienced in running Pepsi, but ran Apple into the ground.

Venturebeat has this to say about Andy Page:

Page has extensive experience in growing online businesses. Until recently, he was the president of Gilt Groupe. That explains the drastic uptick in advertising, and the slew of broadcast television ads in the past six months, which appear to have been highly troubling to the feds. For all his e-commerce expertise, Page does not seem to have much experience dealing with the complexities of medical device regulation.

Ok, now it comes together. Great as he may be, and no doubt he is, was Andy Page the wrong person to be in charge of so much at a company he had experience with as a Board member, but not in the intimate manner someone from the field of genetics might be?

Sculley was not right about Steve Jobs.  In the end, everything turned out ok. My most favorite recent quote is, “If everything is not ok, it’s not the end.”  So here’s to the future, OTC genetic testing, 23andme, Anne Wojcicki, and less FDA intrusion.

Speaking of the FDA – they want evidence they say. OF WHAT? 23andme reads our genes and gives us the results. Then they send out published literature with the results that contextualizes what they gave us. And so? As usual, no one invited logic to this party.

To the random few who do not get it: The FDA is doing this not for the consumer, but for the people who see the dollar signs in the field of genetic testing. They are big.

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