Blogging again and Building again

Well, as some seem to know, I’ve left Google. And now that I’ve left, that old entrepreneurial fever has struck me again and I’m off working on a startup. Google is a wonderful company and I had a great time there and had a lot of fun building something I really believe in, Google Health, which I think has a great potential to change the way consumers manage their health when it launches. Still, for me, it is time to start a new company and I’m off and running.

I’ve been dusting off extremely rusty engineering habits and writing code. Not elegant code to be frank. Just enough to think through my ideas. Some extremely clear-headed and smart people can work out everything abstractly in their heads and then just go and implement it. I’m not one of them. Watching me write code is like watching an indecisive sculptor work with clay. I shape it. I look. I wince. I reshape it. I play with it. I wince some more. I ask my friends, nurse my wounds, and then reshape it yet again. And so on. Constant iterative development. It takes three tries before it is even close to the way it should be, best case. I think it is totally worth it. The arguments and design decisions are just way more concrete and tested.

However, I don’t delude myself that the code I’m writing is anything but prototype code. Prototype code is really sneaky. It sort of works and it is easy to kid oneself and that it is just a step from this code to the working product. Especially today with Amazon’s EC2 and DreamHost and frameworks and LAMP and Ruby on Rails where it seems that as soon as it works, you can scale it. In point of fact, I think the usual facts apply and it is still a long hard slog to get from prototype to product, but it is useful to get agreement about what needs to be done when, which kinds of people are required and when, and as a tool to chat with partners and potential employees and potential customers before the real thing is done. All that being said, Smart engineers welcome!! :)

Oh yeah, what am I building? Actually, I’m going to keep that to myself for a bit. Come work with me and you can find out, but otherwise, you’ll need to wait.

And why am I blogging again? Well, when at Google I noticed a strange thing. If I wrote a controversial post (and if you look at my sidebar on old posts you’ll see a few) people assumed I spoke for Google and got really annoyed at Google which wasn’t fair and was embarrassing since Google was treating me really well. So I desisted. But now, it is my company and I’m willing to take some of those risks. It is the great thing about it being your company. I’m always fascinated by what I learn. I should say that not all my posts will be about XML and databases or even AJAX. I do still care about technology and will write about it when the mood hits me, but I’m equally likely to write a review of a great book I’ve read or a complaint about the way the health system in this country works and what problems we’re running into building this startup.

And why did I switch URL’s from http://www.adambosworth.net? Sheer laziness. WordPress just makes it so easy and I liked some of the features.

Glad to be back in more ways than one.

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25 Responses to Blogging again and Building again

  1. Peter de Laat says:

    You write on your about page that you “intend to spend the next 25 years trying to help people live healthier lives and live longer by working with the Health community to help out where I can”.

    Does this mean that you have given up on your dream of building a new world wide distributed database?

    >> This is Adam – Actually, I’ve been dedicated to working on health for the last few years. The world wide distributed database is, in my humble opinion, a really good idea, but not one I personally want to build :)

    • Dave Struthwolf says:

      Adam,

      I hope you are well.

      I worked with you about 6 years ago at BEA. You may not remember me, but I was an overlay sales rep at BEA coverving the Northeast commercial teams and just Eastern Canada during my last year there.

      I have been with Informatica since then and it has been a great ride. I don’t know if you would be interested in a position back in the corporate world, but I thought I would reach out to you as I think you would find the company very exciting and I know your abilities would be a tremendous asset for Informatica. Please reply and let me know if this might be something you would like to learn more about. You can reply via email or you can call my cell, 201-906-2030.

      Hope to hear from you.

      Dave

      • adambosworth says:

        Thanks for the request but I’m very happy being the CTO of my own start up :)

  2. [...] that he has left Google and created a new startup, I’m looking forward to reading what he is up [...]

  3. cantheworldhearme says:

    Great post there and blogging is an excellent tool especially if you got a startup going for you. I’m also thinking of creating a startup along with my friends and the funny thing is, we’re still in high school! It seems great that you got to work with Google though and I fully support your endeavors.

  4. I switched to wordpress simply because they do things right. And I’m positive they’ll continue to grow.

    I found your blog featured on my dashboard. Nice! And quite readable, too.

  5. mikewhitejr says:

    welcome back in many ways….

  6. ianheath653 says:

    Google Health? I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for that. Keep up the great work and best of luck in your newest venture!

  7. jonie v. says:

    i am curious to know why you chose to blog at wordpress rather than blogger. some friends and i are having a very heated debate about this, and maybe as a pro you can shed some light.

    >> This is Adam answering. No particular reason. A friend of mine actually runs the engineering for Blogger and I think he is doing a fine job. But this seemed comfortable and it was easy to create the side bar.

  8. renata says:

    Have lots of FUN, Adam!!! :-)

  9. KHOI says:

    With one post and you’ve already made WordPress featured list? Very nice my friend! You don’t have the stick with the WordPress URL, you can map it to your old domain for $10/yr, you can read more about it here

    http://wordpress.com/blog/2006/10/24/domain-mapping-registration/

    I wish you the best of luck in your new venture and your new, unrestrained blogging perspective.

  10. Welcome back! WordPress seems like a fine option… :)

  11. Jim Mingle says:

    we launched with ADA…

    best of luck.

    jim

  12. I had not heard that you had left Google. I really enjoyed your talk that was on ITConversations about health and community. I will be paying attention to what your new startup is. You might not remember me but I worked at the front desk at Crossgain for a few months before everyone got laid off. Oct 2000 – Jan 2001. It was so fun to work there. All of that excitement. Good times!

  13. Cascadia says:

    Don’t forget to take care of your health during the chaotic energizing days of a startup. I still will never forget your lunch time address at the Markle Foundation – Connecting Americans to their Healthcare. (it is an online podcast) . http://www.phrconference.org/agenda.php

    My own Mom had breast cancer that Metasized to her liver and although thankfully she is alive and healthy today thanks to amazing care at Mayo it took a nerdy daughter like me to find the research study that saved her life, that developed a family medical blog to keep everyone informed. I now serve as the only consumer on the state hospital association patient safety committee and am a fierce advocate for patients owning their own health care data as result.

    Even though I install computer systems in hospitals I now carry my medical records on my Iphone and wonders if I can use Facebook to create a profile just for my records so I can give other people access to it.

    Glad to have your voice back on the blogosphere.

  14. Ravi Kumar says:

    Welldone Adam. I have heard you speak so passionately on Health matters… lets wish Google best to find someone to replace you there! I have just left a health IT company after a 17 long years there…and started off with a start-up of my own – I totally understand when you speak about entreprenurial bug! Good luck with your new venture . Look me up if you need any help!

  15. [...] Bosworth, officially formerly of Google now, is up to something new, and double-blogging about it. I found his talk at thr 2005 MySQL Users Conference inspirational. It’s one of a [...]

  16. [...] is back I have never met Adam, but I almost feel as though I have.  Shortly after I joined the SQL Server team in Redmond back [...]

  17. Tim Barg says:

    Hi Adam. Great to hear about your new (and your own!) gig. I wish you well!

    Glad to see you’re trying WordPress – we’re big fans and using it to power our own healthcare app – http://www.realityrn.com – to help keep new nurses in the profession.

    I really liked your thoughts on standards of care in some of your other posts. I would and that the nursing shortage, as well as high nursing turnover and the problem with younger nurses leaving the profession all together is a huge cost and standard of care issue.

    We’re all about new, practical and creative ways to solve that.

  18. prabsi says:

    Hi Adam,

    Best wishes for your new venture and good to see you back. I am one among the many people who heard your stories in sqlserver team in Redmond.

    If there is something I can help, please let me know.

    Thanks.
    Prabsi

  19. Heather Weller says:

    Hi Adam, I heard a lot about the good things you were doing for Google – they are surely going to miss you!! I read some article that Google is presenting new ideas to the pharm market – what is that all about? That sounds smart to me, I have been in the pharm industry forever and we need a lot of IT help, particularly in the management of clinical trials. Maybe they will come out with something good!

    Good luck with your start-up!! :-)

  20. Hi Adam:
    Bob Dylan once said “a poem is a naked person”. I guess it could be said that a response to a blog is a naked person too; so here I go in revelation to you and the World Wide Web, but it’s the only way I currently know of reaching you, and given that you wrote:
    “Come work with me and you can find out…” I’m going to give this forum an attempt, because as you can see from my memo to you of August 10 ( below), I would really like to work with you. And whereas my memo of August 10 was with respect to Google Health, my present memo is with respect to you; whatever it is you’re working on, I’d be delighted to contribute…

    My email to you of August 10, 2007:
    “Dear Adam:
    I tried to call you from Tel Aviv but got your message about not being “very good at voice mail” so I am following your suggestion to “just send me an email”.
    Yesterday I read for the first time the speech on Connecting Americans to Their Health Care that you gave last December at the National Conference sponsored by the Markle Foundation. It totally “blew me away”, as the saying goes; or as my mentor in Medicine would have said, it “brings a tear even to a glass eye”. It was an invigorating and inspiring speech, and all I could keep thinking was:” he GETS it!!!” (“travesty” – YAH- RIGHT ON!)
    But firstly, I was terribly moved by and sorry to hear the story about your Mom. Secondly, you were very gracious in thanking our profession (I’m an MD); I think we do try very hard–I’ve worked with hundreds of doctors and overall those I’ve seen have been passionately dedicated to providing optimal care for their patients. And thirdly, the vision you laid out just joyously invigorated me, because I have shared that same vision of a consumer-centric system for much of my career in Medical Informatics.
    I am a phyician living in Tel Aviv, Israel. I am Canadian-trained and licensed to practice Medicine in Ontario (Canada), New York State and Israel. I have worked in primary care clinical Medicine for 25 years and Medical Informatics for nearly a decade and a half. About a decade of that was in research and development of electronic medical records, and my area of expertise was in consumer-based medical records and the privacy, confidentiality and security of personal health information on electronic networks (I’ve attached my CV for your perusal)
    Forgive me, I don’t mean to be forthright or rude –I’m just a big believer in transparency — but after reading your speech I felt determined (with your permission:-) to work for you and with you and to contribute to what you’re creating at Google Health. I can share with you what I believe is the best (I’m not bashful to say so) privacy model possible for personal health information on the Web. I also have some radical new solutions for the current problem of data acquisition from the health system, and also for data entry issues. Finally, to create smart searches and clinical tools I believe you must have physicians creating medical knowledge base and here in Israel we have a thriving population of highly trained (many American-trained) and tech-savvy physicians (available at fractions of what it costs to pay U.S based MD’s); so if you’d ever consider setting up some of the Google Health R and D here along with your other Israeli Google division, I assure you it would be a productive venture.
    Finally (sorry at the length of this email (but Nathan Mhyrvold apparently wrote long ones too:-), I have to say I was delighted to see in your corporate profile that you earned a Bachelor’s degree in History at Harvard. I was at Harvard recently training some pulmonologists in a new lung imaging technique (and it was very cool to see the hallowed offices of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)). Anyway, what struck me about your History degree was that Lewis Thomas, who wrote the “Notes of a Biology Watcher” column in the NEJM and who was the Dean of Yale Medical School and later the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and a National Book Award winner to boot, wrote an essay called “How to Fix the Premedical Curriculum” in which he suggested that if there are to be MCAT tests to determine medical school entry, “the science part ought to be made the briefest, and weigh the least. A knowledge of literature and languages ought to be the major test, and the scariest. History should be tested, with rigor” (my emphasis). So, according to Lewis Thomas your History degree would have put you in good stead for a medical career, and here, in a way, you are in a medical career as the head of Google Health. So there.
    Adam, I would dearly like to have the opportunity to meet you and hopefully to work with you.I would be delighted if we could facilitate a meeting. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any hour at your earliest convenience to 972-3-523-3487 or mobile 972-544-312686, or of course to this email.
    Thanks you so kindly for your time and attention.
    With best regards from Tel Aviv,
    Shmuel Berger, B.A., B. Ed, MD

  21. Heather says:

    Hi Dr. Berger – have you heard anything about Google creating new solutions for the pharm industry? I have worked in this industry for a long time and we have a strong need for clinical trial data management systems. I think Google recently approached Avartis with a solution and am trying to find out more about this. Thank you for any insight you can provide. – Heather

  22. Dwayne says:

    Good luck with your project!

  23. Levi says:

    Both congress and the administration, treat themselves to a
    top-notch Medical Care Plan that costs them NOTHING at the cost of the tax payers. Arguably, this a a “government health care” system. In his campaign said we would be able to choose the same health care system that Congress gives to themselves. two questions:

    1) Why are Republicans objecting to a “goverment run” Health Care system that they are using now as members
    of congress? Maybe they should switch to private system like the citizens they represent?

    2) No wonder private health care programs are screeming
    holy hell if the have to compete with the same health care program that Congress gives to themselves?

    3) Are we getting a health program “just like” to quote
    President Obama, congress gives to itself? I’m sure Congress wouldn’t stand for health care system like medicare?

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