I See Dead Business Models

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I think it's about time to lay off of the DTC genomics companies for a while. They're like the ghosts in The Sixth Sense... wandering around dead and deeply confused why they can't turn the doorknob. They seem committed to the idea that there's still some clever argument about empowerment or number of hits on their web site that's going to make this unworkable business model work out.

So how would you kill an undead business model if you wanted to take a more proactive approach? As political silver bullets go, the GAO report unveiled at last week's Congressional hearings was a great piece of work. It was equal parts theater and fact. Who says the Federal government doesn't get the YouTube era?

Yes, the GAO report is partly theater. It's not fair, it's not balanced and it's certainly not an effort to tell the whole story. It's an effort to substantiate a narrative of corporate recklessness and misbehavior. It performed that function quite effectively.

Feeling persecuted, no doubt, 23andMe is calling out GAO for showing a lack of scientific rigor in their investigation. I can totally sympathize, but I'm going to have to stop laughing and catch my breath first.

Gosh, doesn't it just suck when a bunch of people decide to make overly broad assessments about your health and prospects for improvement based on limited and incomplete data? How dare they only pay attention to certain facts and populations, thereby slanting and corrupting the validity of their data? It's almost like they have an agenda or something, like the truth itself is secondary.

The GAO report may be unfair to 23andMe, but you have to admit the dramatic irony is rich. 

I can appreciate that the DTC companies think they're still thriving and can't quite understand why their world has suddenly become filled with invisible barriers. Their willingness to howl and moan isn't going to help, however, and it's about time the rest of us stopped pretending that it might.

It's probably just kinder to ignore them and hope they find a way to move on to whatever dimension dead business models go to.

Tags: Industry, LDTs

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