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Time Capsule: My Lifelong Clock-Puncher’s Entrepreneurial Brainstorm: How the HIStalk Home Shopping Channel Will Make Me Rich

June 30, 2013 Time Capsule No Comments

I wrote weekly editorials for a boutique industry newsletter for several years, anxious for both audience and income. I learned a lot about coming up with ideas for the weekly grind, trying to be simultaneously opinionated and entertaining in a few hundred words, and not sleeping much because I was working all the time. They’re fun to read as a look back at what was important then (and often still important now).

I wrote this piece in February 2009.

My Lifelong Clock-Puncher’s Entrepreneurial Brainstorm: How the HIStalk Home Shopping Channel Will Make Me Rich
By Mr. HIStalk


I’m a veritable font of business ideas. That might surprise you since I’ve worked my entire career as someone else’s employee (I’m pretty sure my puzzling lack of distinction there is because they haven’t properly motivated me.) Still, one of these days, I’m going to start a company and reap a massive windfall from my pent-up entrepreneurial ability. I may be on Social Security by then, but I know it will happen and I’ll be a great yet humble CEO.

So here’s my latest and greatest idea (you are hereby non-disclosed): the HIStalk Home Shopping Channel.

I’m turning a liability into an asset. Everyone knows that conference speakers and site visit hosts nearly always have a hidden agenda — to say good things about their vendors and get something in return. Maybe they want extra-special support, or free registration to the user conference, or an eventual vendor job. Maybe they just want to convince themselves that they made a smart decision (even if they didn’t.) I’ll make that the foundation of my fledgling enterprise.

I’ll start out with a genial, eternally curious host. They’ll need to be disturbingly cheery and clueless, the on-screen empty vessel who can bond with the equally clueless audience, shrieking with unrestrained delight like the QVC crowd when Wolfgang Puck performs expert chef tasks like frying onions or whisking eggs. I’m sure some vendor marketing person can handle the role admirably, beaming with obvious delight as the celebrity physician effortlessly works the EMR system that’s on sale while dropping the occasional bon mot.

The EMR they demo won’t be the same as the one they actually use in real life, of course. Surely no one believes that Wolfgang’s restaurants use his 28-piece, $249.90 Bistro Elite Stainless Cookware Set, which would withstand about five minutes of heat from a real restaurant stove before melting into a sad, molten, Puck-endorsed puddle.

We’ll have theme shows for clinical disciplines. Blowout sales of slow-moving systems. Huge discounts on previous software versions. Maybe we’ll even cash your federal stimulus check like those sleazy "buy here, pay here" car lots.

Here’s where you come in. What moves the goods on shopping channels is ringing, hysterical endorsements of the product by telephone callers who have been carefully screened and coached to keep it positive. They’ll say anything that gets them on TV with Wolfgang since most of them sound like they watch TV all day. Plus, who wants to admit that the Bistro Elite set looks much better when Wolfgang is sautéing shallots in it instead of burning store brand tomato soup in it after getting too engrossed in Oprah to whisk?

So we’ve got a clueless host, a product-pimping celebrity, and some questionably knowledgeable and objective endorsers. All we need is some flattering camera angles, some "order now because they’re flying out of here" on-screen graphics, and offshore order-takers.

HIStalk Home Shopping would generate entirely new buyer motivations. Mobility through consumption! Picture yourself improving care with cool PowerPoint-ware! Call our Demo-Doc any time as long as you say great things – he will be your pal and you will have all kinds of fun and hijinks together!

I don’t know, maybe it isn’t such a great idea. It sounds too much like the HIMSS annual conference

OK, how about this: paid product placements in popular TV shows. Say, isn’t that a Cerner CPOE system Dr. McDreamy is using? You know you want one!

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Reader Comments

  • Bill Grana: Thanks for this commentary and I am in complete agreement. I had a similar (but less complex) patient portal experience...
  • Anomyus: Wow, I agree. It's all about compassion and caring for people. Many of the new technology applications teams have so ma...
  • UsefulMeaning: The amount of competition in your state is mostly determined by the decisions of your insurance commissioner, your AG, a...
  • Jayne Histalk MD: Angela - thanks for the tip. I'll definitely check them out, if not for myself then for patients....
  • Jayne Histalk MD: Dawn - drop me an email and send me a pic of your socks! Would love to feature them....
  • Mr. HIStalk: I immediately came up with at least 20 fun things that I started to say about this item, but I held my tongue....
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  • Angela Witt: Dr. Jayne: I am a Type 1 diabetic, so I use special extra-depth shoes prescribed by a physician, with custom inserts me...
  • Marshall: "home inspector finds jars of human tongues stored in a house’s foundation, later determined to have been placed there...
  • Andy Spooner: Very encouraging perspective. The entire clinical informatics community depends on places like Vanderbilt to advance the...

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