A conversation on modern behavioral science with Optimity CEO Jane Wang

Jane Wang, the CEO, and co-founder of Optimity, joined Nick to discuss behavioral science and how her company uses mobile technology to nudge millions of users worldwide; helping them achieve their wellness pursuits.

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Transcript

Nick
And welcome back, everyone. This is the Coverager Podcast. This is the podcast where we have conversations with Insurtech. leaders, insurance leaders, people who are making change occur in insurance and doing things that are quite interesting. And to continue on the topic that we've been going on for, you know, better part of this year since the pandemic started just talking about, you know, everything that's occurred, a lot of people have really gotten into fitness and wellness, and I just can't get enough of it. And so when we see a company that's doing really interesting things around there, we want to have them on and have that talk. And so, Jane, welcome Jane from Optimity. Welcome to the Coverager Podcast.

Jane W
Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be talking about this topic. It's my favorite topic. So...

Nick
Good, good. Well, let's really dig into it. Because it's been my favorite topic I have. Just so you know, I have my drink with vitamins in there. And for you, I am prepared. I have my Halo and my iWatch. So I want to, I want to really dig into it. Jane, I start all of these podcasts by going into or giving an elevator pitch allowing the guests to have an elevator pitch. So why don't you go into there? Who are you? What do you do? And why is it important?

Jane W
Sure. So my name is Jang Wang and I'm CEO and co founder of Optimity. We make a tool for people to use behavior science and gamification to personalize goal achievement. And most of those goals are around health. But now health is more holistic. So physical health, nutrition, mental health, social connectedness and financial wellness. We work with different types of enterprises, every one from I would say, employers to insurance companies as customer engagement and health outcomes driving type of software apps on their phone - health rewards programs.

Nick
Okay. So it's your favorite topic. Right? It's one of mine as well. I want to learn more what talked before Optimity existed? What was going through your mind? What did you see what what was underserved? And why did you feel the need that OPtimity needed to be born?

Jane W
Yeah, so prior to this life, I was working. So my background is a mortality risk specialist. I was building technology for some of the largest big pharma companies for patient tracking. So we were using behavioral science as well. But for mortality outcomes for the more complex and exciting phase two, phase three trials, I built, for example, one of the first apps that is collecting information from everything from the EMR to MRI scans for HIV, ovarian cancer, MS and Alzheimer's. So it's different types of problems. And in 2010/2011, I was working on early cancer prevention, ovarian cancer. And unfortunately, during that same time period, my mother was diagnosed with late stage cancer, and she was really young at the time, 52. And then she passed away six months later, that it was a definitely a painful experience, for me, seeing someone that I love, go through something that I'm working so closely on, but just not quite able to provide some of the state of the art tools that we had, that we're expensive and awesome that we're keeping 1000s of strangers alive and well, but are not able to do the same thing for someone in my own backyard. So it's, it's kind of out of that pain that I started thinking about how can we take those complex tools and commercialize it in a way that the consumers in our own backyard can get access to it? And and I guess it wasn't only me that's feeling that. At the same time, Apple had just released Apple health kit. And then there was this little Fitbit company coming out from Silicon Valley. And I'm like, wow, like there's really big market forces here to democratize the data and to be able to allow someone, the consumer to get access to it. So since you know 2014, which is when Optimity has come to life with me and several other co founders from the tech scene. We decided to make this tool and we've been on this path to think about how do we commercialize it in a way that's self sustainable. And that will also be able to really fulfill our mission to have one in three people in the world. Basically, it be a tool in every single household.

Nick
Yeah. So how have you done that? So talk about that aspect of it, you're, balancing a lot, you're on a tightrope, right? There's the commercialization because you, you need that, again, you talked about self sustaining. It's a brand, it's a was roughly a brand new market as these tools are starting to come out. It hasn't really been figured out how everyone can see the benefit of it. But to extrapolate that to various commercial entities to figure out, here's the value that this can create for you. Walk us through how you how you connected some of the dots, how did you commercialize that for activity? And, you know, if given if you can give us like a sneak peek of the the value creation and the value capture elements of what you're doing?

Jane W
Sure. So I think you're asking two questions here is like one is what's going to

Nick
I think I asked five, but I, I can't help it.

Jane W
I'll try to condense it in.

Nick
Okay, please, help me.

Jane W
Okay, so So I think the first one you were asking was, what is the market kind of innovation journey for a tool like opportunity? And then I think the second one you were saying is, what is you know, your business model? Or, you know, what's the secret apart about the commercialization? So answering that perspective, I think the first one is, it's it was very interesting in 2014, because I think it was a passion project for a lot of a lot of different companies. And you can see some of the models work and some of the models not. And I found that when we first came on the market, it was a corporate wellness tool, it was an employer tool. And the employers that really got it were the ones that either had, you know, the Affordable Care Act came out that really had really cost issues, or the ones that were very forward looking that said, Hey, this is the right thing to do, we're gonna, you know, improve benefits. And this is part of the benefits that we should offer. So we were able to get good traction, I think we, over three, four years, were able to get to about like 2 million in revenue in just that business. We served about 100 different clients on the employer side, and it was it was really awesome. But what I found was that,

Nick
can I stop you for a second? So So initially, are you saying that you are working directly directly with like corporations? And so as like a perk or benefit to the employees, something like that?

Jane W
Yes. So they will buy the program. We specialize in micro activities. So small things, think of it almost as work recess. So these are little things that people can do, even as you're sitting with me, like, you know, you can do things for your back pain and right, are you are you crossing your legs? Are you actually exercising your core, these are basic things you could be doing to improve your well being. So we help with that. And we reward them for the activities they do. And we've actually done a study with SunLife in 2016. SunLife is one of the large carriers in Canada, specifically on a client that we were working with, and looking at, you know, cases of sciatica, back pain and how that's reduced in the drug plans, the prescription pills, pain medication pills for these specific conditions by just mobile coaching to help them with these tiny little habits that improve outcomes. So that was the core use case. But it really took the awesome Employers to be able to do that. And we were growing at a rate where it's, it's I think it's kind of good, but it's not it. It will take me for example, I'm a math person. So it'll take me like 65 years to get to the mission of getting it in one in you know, one in three people Canadians or US people's hands. So like, that's way too slow. I'm not, you know, it didn't wake up

Nick
your math person and you're impatient.

Jane W
Absolutely. Right. So I'm, I'm very interested in getting something out in my own lifetime. So what we decided is, hey, we have all these cases of really good case studies. And with the carriers who are really putting their brand behind, you know, healthy living sunlight being one of them, but there's so many others that are doing that. We started having conversations especially we establish our office in Silicon Valley, so our San Francisco office, and we found that through a few different ecosystems, all these insurance companies from all over the world, you know, Japan, Canada, like you know, Latin America, so on Europe, coming to the valley to look at solutions. So we were able to present our solutions to them and Lo and behold, within a year we had six insurance carriers that were looking to pilot this type of program. So in the US, or I think our first one was a carrier called Emeritus, and they were amazing. And they were very, you know, very nimble midsized company. And they had this vision of being, adding value back to their policyholders. And that was our first life insurance project. And that has been amazing as a start, because it for it led us into a much larger population to start with. So we're looking now at 10s of 1000s, instead of just the few 1000s. So 10s of 1000s. And then for each account, so on, so that was great. And then COVID happened, and we were able to just before COVID, in 2019, we bought a consumer company called Carrot, Carrot Rewards. And we bought them because of two things. One is that their technology was science backed. So we had good behavior science that worked with our behavior science model. And then two is that they had over a million Canadians on their platform. So like, for example, the City of Toronto, or Vancouver had one in nine, one in 10 people that had the app on their phone, I'm like, Wow, that's great, you know, helped me accelerate the mission, which is to be on all these people's, you know, hands. So we were exploring the model and COVID happened. It was really fascinating, because it, the COVID 15 is real. People like you, Oh, right, are very interested in, in, in just maintaining or going coming back shape. There's so much stuff happening,

Nick
I think I think people's sense of mortality kicked in, like they're seeing all of this death around them. And you can't help but just say, Well, for one thing, I might catch this thing right, and for another just makes you, you see all that misery just makes you rethink, you know, what's important, and you're like, I want to live a long time, right, I'd better start, like making better decisions.

Jane W
Yeah, and you're trapped, um, you're trapped in your mom's right, you don't have the basil exercise that you need. Your mental health, you don't get the goodness that you we just all take for granted. And patterns have changed. And now we're feeling the effects of that, in a prolonged duration. This is the most intense scientific study on the mass population scale. And we fortunately, were able to basically capture that in a, in, in our growth, so we went, you know, kind of gangbusters on, on launching our program. First, very quickly on the COVID units with the carriers that we were already working with. And we, at that point, we had about 12 partners, over a dozen partners that we were launching different types of pilots and experimentations with and some of them were ready to scale. So we saw some scaling projects last year, which is actually kind of super fascinating during COVID. Because we were fully digital. So it's like, how does that work? And is it gonna be successful, and thank God it, you know, it, it was all fully ready, when when when March hit, and, and then we just saw like, a 15 times growth, a awesome cost of acquisition for every single user, which is also something that we had to watch very carefully. And, yeah, so so we were able to reach about, like, 2 million people on to our member list. And it was, it's, it's been, it's still growing at the, you know, this kind of sustained rate. So I'm, I'm excited for the cause, you know, post COVID recovery, to be honest.

Nick
So I'm like, in the having now this post COVID thing and double checking my life insurance, buying more, doing that sort of stuff. I can't help but think, you know, given my superpowers now, and my mental attitude, I'm getting quotes from life insurance companies, and, you know, I have two little ones. So I need to go out like 20 years, I want to make sure that they're taking care of, should anything happen all the way through college. So, you know, once they're done, they're on their own. And so, with the current suite of products, I keep thinking, Well, I'm locked into this price. Like even if the technology comes around, they're not going to lower the price if I do a good job taking care of myself. And so can you talk a little bit about how Omptimity can engage with let's focus on life in health carriers, but you know, however, you Want to split that up. But the ability to use this data for all different purposes, underwriting, pricing this and that, like I want, I want a partner company that I'm spending this money on, I want them to use this data, go ahead, use it. But if Good things come from it, give me the benefit. And give me the credit for that. And you're starting to hear little things out in the marketplace of companies wanting to do that. But I haven't really seen anyone kind of sink their teeth into, he talked a little bit about that and what OPtimity could do for companies that have these legacy products, and how they might be able to use that data to basically change the way the product is structured, underwritten, priced, and so on.

Jane W
Yeah, and I think that conversation is from a thread that comes from, you know, Vitality, like John Hancock products, that in health engagement. So we were pulled into this industry, I would say when John Hancock has already launched Vitality. So I've heard so much about this, and it's really..

Nick
We did, we did interview them. So that that's they're one of the few that have done something. You know, I think it's it hasn't become mass market yet.

Jane W
Yeah. So I think that's a challenge. Because if you, you know, if we were to like copy what they do, I think that's actually leaving a lot of stuff on the table. And I'm kind of glad not to be a person that grew up in the insurance industry, I grew up in kind of mass market consumer, like how like, so

Nick
you think differently?

Jane W
I think Well, I think, I don't think necessarily needs to be tied to product. So actually, in our implementation, it's not necessarily tied directly into product, although I think product discounts is one of the angles that it would work. And we do participate in experimental work in that, to replicate that model. I think there's a lot of other things on the table. So the first thing is that similar to you, during during COVID actually had a baby.

Nick
Congratulations!!

Jane W
Yeah, I have a three months old now. And it's a it's been such a life changing experience. So I mean, I had life insurance, but

Nick
Now you need more?

Jane W
I do need more, but my husband did not. So he's getting his first life insurance. And he got it now. But he definitely wanted to go fluid lis he didn't want a single person come into our house. Right? Like definitely not, I was pregnant at the time, like, I'm high risk. I'm definitely not going to do that. So we were looking for carriers that offered that, but how do you be a carrier that offer that but at the right rate, and also like, you know, we need a certain amount, because we also bought a new house. So with all those things, I think that's where a product like ours actually shined where we were collecting a lot of this information, we are already consistently updating that. So these people basically pre qualified into a product, and then you can put them through another form, I suppose if accelerated underwriting but they can get the coverage they want, at the, you know, higher amount, like we were covered, I think up to 2 million. So 2 million is so before I think COVID, he wanted to go accelerate, it's like half a million maybe went up. So that's been awesome. And kind of replace or augment the profile of the applicant to be.

Nick
Let's pull on that. Okay, so that's really interesting. You know, the traditional life insurance application with the medical exam. So there's, you know, blood tests and urine and all of that, how can it augment? or How can it replace? I'm extremely fascinated with that. I think like, the medical exam is probably one of the single biggest hurdles to preventing people from getting life insurance or getting more life insurance. Talk about the data you are collecting, and how what that can do to the traditional offering to augment or replace.

Jane W
Yes. So the information that we have is everything from basic step count. So we've worked with reinsurers in supplying the data we have one of the largest data sets like trillions of data points to 2.2 trillion, I think, was the number that we supplied last year, on for overall just like step count information, and that is correlated to activity level. So you have that as a, you know, easy, super easy baseline thing to do. And then on top of that, we build our own score. So I was doing that specifically with diseases. So we had all these different types of disease oriented score, but then an overall score is taking into account the holistic view. So it's not just family history or current activity, because steps is new, but it also looks at, you know, how often do you go to the dentist, all these types of like kind of lifestyle, qualities of it. And we boiled it down to basically 25 basic things that we that we pull into the score, and it's built like a FICO score. So, I had participated in specific score building for even new immigrants for some of the banking systems. So it's taking the same type of thinking but applying it to overall qualifying someone holistically as a person. And then we can also do disease specific ones, for example, diabetes, heart disease, all those ones that I worked on. And then on top of that, we can also augment it with different types of trends of habits. So as I talked about micro habits and things like that, these habits, we don't just look at the habits as their own, as people log them, or as we are syncing with their devices or anything like that, we look, we look on top, for the metadata in terms of coachability. So psychographics, we do these, like learn and earn quizzes, and these quizzes, this is very clever in terms of how we do behavior economics, because people talk about behavioral economics, sometimes they talk about like gamification, just putting, you know, points against something.

Nick
But that's, that's how I think of it. That's how I've thought of it. So I'm very interested to hear what you have to say here.

Jane W
Yeah, so we use the, basically, there's two models, there's the CAT model. And then there's also the basically the transtheoretical model of behavior science. So this is beyond just like points giving you points for stuff, because there's some there's fatigue, that that's associated to it in terms of long term, so you're not gonna get all the long term effects, unless you're really working on education. So micro-learning, micro-education. And that's actually the layer, the base layer of behavioral science that often, you know, some people don't really look at, and it's actually not really present in all gaming. So we, for example, a lot of our head of our head of product, and also engineering came from gaming companies. But we realized as we were working through building our product that we needed, this education layer, and this education layer is what really sets us apart in terms of how we ask questions, because as we ask people questions about themselves, or, for example, one of the opening questions is, which one's healthier for you? table salt, or sea salt?

Nick
I would say sea salt.

Jane W
Actually, they're pretty much the same, right? So and then we go into a Did you know, and we explain the science behind these things, and why people think certain way, it really triggers a curiosity cycle within people. versus a, you know, I'm not trying to sell you anything. I'm just, you know, educating you on different facts. And it helps people understand, learn the things that they think they know a lot about. But they probably just know a dangerous amount due, to be able to do anything about it. So we do that. And we drip that in literally over the whole year, in a really thoughtful way. And that is the mechanism for which we change behavior. And we incept this curiosity and self optimization, learning loop within the users, and then at the same time, we're in the background, looking at that data. And guess what the people that invest in themselves, they want to learn, they want to action, they want to track, their score goes up? Because they're not.

Nick
Yeah, that's

Jane W
those are the best patients that you want. And those are the best people that you want to have your policies.

Nick
I'm highly coachable Jane.

Jane W
That's great.

Nick
But, you know, sure, I, I fell into bad habits, right. I'm a startup founder myself, living in a rural area with cold weather. And I looked at like my walking stats. And it was shocking, like how little I did plus with two little kids, right? And so hey, I want to make up for it. And it was really disappointing taking that life insurance application and going through the questionnaire. Yeah, they simplified it. But when you ask me a question, like, How is your health and you give me three options, poor, average or great. I don't know how to answer that. I don't think it's poor. I don't think it's great. But I also don't think it's average. It's I think it's, I used to be great. And I think I can be great again, but I think I'm better than average. It could be what Lake Wobegon effect? Who knows. But I struggled going through that application especially like they asked a lot of questions that I thought like, this is not really relevant. And I have a feeling that they're asking it because they're being forced acid or it's legacy or whatever. And the stuff that you're collecting is a lot of it just really goes into really shows underlying motivation to do stuff, like you brought up dentistry. Right. And it's, I think it makes a big deal because it shows if you're taking care of your teeth, and you're probably the kind of person that's taking care of other things, too, you know, and but I was, I was disappointed with the the life insurance process as I'm going through it now. Because I felt like, there's that they're going, I'm going to get classified in a particular group, and there's nothing I can do to change it, even though I want to, and I'm eager to, so I could. So the rate today is not gonna like give me another year. And I think I could really get into a different category, but I won't have that chance. And I just found the whole thing disappointing.

Jane W
Yeah, you're touching upon, like, so many nice, really little, you know, points in there. So there's two that I can tell you, that really also resonates with me, and also the some of the clients that we work with some of the carriers. One is, you know, working on products that service either like diabetes or service, heart disease, like people that will normally not qualify for anything. Does directionality help them do that? So, you know, those are definitely curiosities as well. And then, and then the other part too, is that if you can tease out that type of personality out there, how many of them are kind of like my husband? Like, if he I? Like, I don't know, I don't? Who would? Who would sell to him? Like, I don't even know cuz he wouldn't talk to you. He doesn't answer his phone. Like, you know, he doesn't answer the cold calls, like, do you think he's gonna go to a strip mall and talk to an agent? I don't think so. He's on it, right? Like

Nick
it. And I'll tell you, the only reason I started doing this now is one, my wife's been, like, you got to do this. And I did not want to deal with an agent. I did not like I made a mistake of putting in my information to like one of those aggregation services. I couldn't stop them from texting me like they wouldn't leave me alone. And so as I saw these companies like Lemonade and others, go online, I'm just like, Okay, well, I'll do that. Because if they're anything like renter's insurance, this should be easy. And it wasn't. Right. So it's still it's still it's better. But it's still like it still has its aspects to it still don't necessarily jive with the modern day consumer, like your husband, or myself that we need we needed done in a particular way.

Jane W
Yeah, I think that's true. And it's also interesting that we are more well rounded in the people that we serve. So I'm not actually locked into just being an insurtech company, because we actually work with Grocery companies and other retailers to round out how we work. So for example, Samsung is a partner of ours, just beyond the gadgets as well. So how it works is that we are actually more we're, the consumer offering that we launched is more like a marketplace in a way we would work with the you know, health gadgets, how's the food subscriptions, right, like the hellofresh is of the world, or even like the politicians of the world and things like that. And we would reward the user for any sort of habitual activities that they do. So if they had a subscription to something that's a habitual activity. Excellent, you'll get points for that. Or we also do demand Gen for them as well. Because it's like, Yes, I like my meal kit. But hey, you do smoothies as well, I will totally buy a smoothie that makes sense to and I'll get extra points for that. So it's right. So it's a curated place for them to be like, Okay, this is easy, I can click on and kind of increase my basket size for all the healthy things that I'm doing. And what I find that's good for is that this no longer becomes just a mean, we do have white labeled version of it for some of the carriers and that's great vitality style. But I think the the fact that we have a consumer offering that kind of feeds into the the enterprise offering too, it helps the user get more value. They're on it for a long time. We've proven that now five years in the running, right, so like we have basically 200,000 monthly active users so it's huge, right? So they they're going through and playing around and you know discovering their own habits and They do that. And life insurance is only one thing that they could do, or health insurance or anything like that. And, um, and that's totally not where we stop. So for example, we do work for financial wellness. And that always has been, you know, we use it in scoring we always do with, you know, as an industry, people have always looked at no offense and stuff, um, but for the consumer, they don't really connect the two. And when we ask them about, you know, everything from tax to all these things, they're thinking about overall planning. And when we do the New Year new you, especially for 2021, so many of them not only wanted to make physical health changes, they also had all these financial goals, moving into a new house, being one of them a huge one, being able to, you know, change their environment, adding a new gym, like things like that, like very tangible, intense information. And then we were able to basically leverage that into everything from a home insurance conversation to just tap through and buy Oh to two other sorts of connections to wrap our hands around that user.

Nick
Do you? Do you work with any wellness communities?

Jane W
What do you mean by wellness communities,

Nick
just online groups where people get together and they encourage one another to do stuff? Right, I'm seeing more and more of these kind of pop ups. So David Goggins is one of them where, you know, he's, he went from overweight person to like the ultra marathoner, and has begun to encourage like this big movement where, you know, people are getting online and just like following his kind of path to do that, but you know, I've gotten connected with the the Go Ruck family, which is, you know, the backpacks, you put weights on them in them, and you can just go for a walk and make your make your standard exercise a little bit more challenging. And there's, there seems to me, like a really good, there's an overlap there of, of intention of what you're trying to do on the tech side and what they're doing. On the activity side, the group side, that piece, it seems like there's, there's a good fit to kind of combine these all.

Jane W
Yeah, that's a really good idea. I know, my marketing team is working with a lot of different, I would say everything from influencers, we have a lot of mom influencers and stuff like that. Because we're like, I guess a new secret is that we are launching a pregnancy content set, this year, we've beta some of it last year during a soldier. So yeah, really good. So my marketing teams doing that, but I do think that there's a lot of I was the pull, consumer pull to to, to that type of community. And then we build a community as well. So we partner with different types of communities. And we have a pretty big Facebook following where we launched different type of challenges and things like that, to the consumer. So they, you know, they can participate on there plus the app and stuff like that.

Nick
contest with cash prizes?

Jane W
Yes.

Nick
Really!?

Jane W
Yeah!

Nick
Oh, I was just joking.

Jane W
No serious, like, Can I get a new Samsung phone? Like, yeah.

Nick
It's so funny, like, how, how many times I will, on an email, someone will say, you know, hey, you know, fill out this customer survey, and you'll qualify for brand new iPhone, or something. I'm like, okay, sure, I'll do that. And I think contests are like one of the really under appreciated elements of, you know, people like competing for fun, some, you know, you get more serious people, but it is a really, I think it's a behavioral mechanism to get people to, like, come out of their shell, or do things they may not ordinarily do, just because we like games, we like board games, you're like competing, and if you especially if you can make it fun, make it like my group, my friends, my community. Now, it's like, we're in this together, like, let's do this and win or lose, but I'm gonna win type of thing. It becomes really fun. Yeah,

Jane W
I think so. Some of the most successful features that we've tested. And that's another amazing thing about having a consumer platform, we literally can run weekly tests, we don't have to, you know, go through like, three months or six months or 12 months cycles to innovate. I think what's really cool is that we did this step together challenge so this is not a commercial. There's always been competitions step like competitive things. But collaborative, right, like one of my favorite board games is Pandemic it's a collaborative game. So, I, we were testing different types of systems with that. So stuck together as your your friend together. And between the two of you, you have to hit 10, within two weeks. 10 times your step goal. So if your buddy is really carrying the team, you know, he or she could be doing seven times you three, you'll feel value, change your behavior, and so on. So that's been one of the things where we systematically reviewed the, like, the increase in step count of physical activity, it's been driving it up. And we actually have PubMed studies, we've been supplying some of the biggest data sets for research studies on just population health, and especially using our app. So there that one just got published, I think, in February this year. And then there's another one, I think you talked about, you know, rural. We actually get the study for rural activity between comparing urban and rural. And surprisingly, I thought, like you, I thought the rural is going to be much worse, it's not the only group that the physical activity is much lower, statistically significant was rural females with chronic disease. And that just made me sad. And, you know, and there's a lot of work that we can do to help that specific group, but that's the legging group where to..

Nick
you have that data. Right, like, you'll have that data, and then you can, you can then laser beam focus on that. It's like, okay, you know, how, how do we specifically help them? And that's an element that's been, you know, I think, significantly missing, because we haven't had the data. So you, you lump people into these big categories, diabetes, heart disease, overweight, you know, whatever. And, but rural women are, you know, they're probably because you know, that there's probably things that you can do that will register with them to get them excited to get them motivated, inspired, whatever, to to do the right things. We wouldn't have known that that would have been like a sub category, a small a small number. And I think everybody would have just shrugged their shoulders, because it's not, it's not the low hanging fruit. It's not that the easy stuff that's just like, just sort of sticks out like a sore thumb.

Jane W
Yeah, I think the way that we architected the program, because the view that we had to be in every single household, like one in three Americans, or one in three Canadians, has really allowed us to really think about how do we make this mass market enough, and, you know, not just the insurance, niche product, but really adopted overall. So I think it does help to have that mass market appeal. We were, you know, number one in the iOS App Store. Number eight in Google this Google App Store this week, I think that those things are the things that you can experiment on and really figure out, where is it resonating. And I think the insurance sell, it happens, as part of the nurture game, it's part of the having the relationship game, having the data game, I think tie it directly product is is is one way of doing it, it may, you know, if we did the RICE model, if we, you know, looked at reach, importance, effort, and, and basically our confidence in executing that, if we're using the RICE model, I don't know if it'll rank the highest, to be honest in how you get value out of it as a carrier, you may get value out of it from data right away, you may get value out of it in persistency, within the first year or two, you may get value out of it for cross sell within, you know, the first year or two like there are other things that you looked at the overall value, if you're not married to the business model that could help in in just really quickly seeing value from something.

Nick
And that's a really important takeaway, because I think there would be a rush to like, how do we use this for underwriting? How do we use this for pricing? And it's like, wait, there's an interim step you can take that's less risky and still quite useful, right? You can learn a lot and you don't have to rush it to underwriting, but during that validation stage where you're, you know, able to get some sort of value from it in a less risky fashion. Right, it's not embedded in our underwriting or pricing. You can then you'll have a little bit more time by yourself some time to then figure out okay, we're learning so much or so little but whatever but we're we're learning whether we can use this for underwriting whether we can use this for pricing, and it could spur like the the creative aspect within some of these companies to say, you know If we, you know, perhaps if we bent the product, this way we could create a whole new area. Like that's, that's the massive thing that's missing in insurance is, is there's a continuity of what has worked in the past and kind of kind of that inertia just kind of continues going forward in things like this will allow the ability to, to deviate from that. And it's like, well, if we just did, if we did this other thing, with this data, we'd have a whole new product, we'd have a whole new revenue model, we'd have a whole new business, I think insurers can get stuck, quite frankly. And they, they can't think their way out of that piece of it. And they need help from companies like yours that can deliver those sorts of things.

Jane W
Yeah. And, you know, in science, when you have, when you want a big reaction to happen, there's a big exchange of energy, but there's a big hump, right, it's called activation energy. So really big hump that you have to get to, to have that jump. And what's, what a catalyst is, is something in between that reaction that reduces the activation energy, so that you can get there faster. And I find that we are actually the catalysts in the very true sense of the word. Because even if you have the most slick, you know, buy it online type of system, right? Like, you can name them, quite a few of them. And they're wonderful, I really, really have, you know, super, you know, big applause to, you know, Ladder Ethos, like, all these companies that do these things. It's wonderful, and it's good. But if you look at the cost of acquisition, it's still gigantic. Because, you know, the consumer is still making that big jump. But for everyday consumer with that little catalyst is, you know, oh, yeah, I am looking for something to help me with my, you know, back pain, or I'm already tracking my steps, why don't I get some points for it, that's a baby jump. And then once they get into that, you now have bought yourself years of having a conversation with them. And doing that, and the monetary cap is a huge difference, I can tell you, it's at least a 1020 fold difference between what they spend on what we spend on on CAT. So it's very, um, I think, for all business reasons, I would challenge the insurance, like smart people to kind of unpack and unlearn the things that they have to have, and to start thinking about things like the scientist in terms of experimentation. And, you know, there's a great new book by Adam Grant, talking about the, you know, the awesomeness of being wrong, and really unlearning the ways to do things, I think is a really great book, because I find that by doing that, we arrive at better solutions faster.

Nick
Yeah, it is the one area that I am most appreciative of technology companies as they came in, you know, they, I agree with you 100%, like they came in, and from a customer experience perspective, they brought like a new wisdom. It was old for them, but new for us on like, this is how you need to engage with the customers. But all they did was basically take a paper based analog format and make it digital. And like you said, that didn't really change, because then everybody can do that. So that didn't really change their CAC. They're still like, they had to do that just to stay level. Right with the with everybody else, right. So the one thing I do appreciate those, the whole lien effort. I love the word catalyst. I studied chemistry in college. So like, it really resonates with me. And that is like a really good point. It's for you to evolve your business. You have to, you have to make mistakes, you have to tinker, you have to constantly Tinker, Tinker. And you know, but you want to do it in a smart way. You want to do it in a way that reduces risk, right in the least risky way possible. And that's the scientific piece of what I love about the lean elements that are coming in is how, what are the interim steps? We're making this big bet, but there has to be validated learning and validated learning is science. It's like, what experiments can we run what whether it's an A B test, or something that's more significant, it's what can we learn, that will prove that whether this hypothesis can stand on its own or not? And then we'll move to the next step and then to the next step. But if you're afraid to fail, like if risk is, hey, we're going to launch this thing and if it fails, my jobs on the line Then, maybe, you know, that's that's I think that's the area that you're what you're kind of hammering on is, we need to rethink that business process. If that's the case, that's not the right process. Like, let's bring it back to something that's a little bit simpler. And I think the technologies that have technology companies that have come in and brought like a more scientific based approach, that's like, yes, insurance companies pick this up and run with it, this will teach you a lot about how to make your business more resilient and robust.

Jane W
Yeah. And I find that the clients we work with are like, really bought into that. And also, I think it's kind of the anti marketing, like, not just marketing type of thought, because I think there is, you know, the the bad habit, the old habit is to, you know, buy something that doesn't change, and then announce it really, really big. After a big process, and then like, wait, right, like, that's kind of like what, and then you're locked into that. And that's, that's still I would say, it's normal, but it's still kind of most the majority, a lot of people are like that. But the smart companies has made a lot of progress with us, are really fast and nimble. They do a lot of changes, and they actually keep it under the radar. And I think now we're in year three, year four, there's going to be some announcements coming out with us, but I think it's just been they've been so smart. And you know, we were saying that we're super low key, that's kind of our style to like low key but make big progress. I think that's what it is, too. Because when you see those, the big announcements, I think sometimes it's there's a lot of, you know, everything from vaporware to things that are not well developed. Right? Like, it looks like somebody that really an iPhone, like okay, right.

Nick
Yeah, this has been fabulous. I learned a lot. I'm really interested to see how you pull this off. And so I will put all of your information on the show notes for anyone that wants to get in touch with you. And so, oh, the parting thoughts, right 2021 2022. If this This podcast is going to hit mostly people who are in the insurance space all across the board health life P&C. But Insurtech says, well, give us a parting thought on, you know how how we should be thinking about reacting the 2021 and 2022. To become the types of businesses we want to be given everything that's happened in the pandemic. Any any words of advice as we get go into the next two years?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah,

Jane W
I think I would actually like to do a scientific poll. So what I would like everyone to do is to now own a $10, virtual dollar, fake virtual dollar. And if you could just let me know, I mean, you can directly message me from Nixa the info that you're going to share. But I want to know, how would you spend that 10 virtual dollars on the initiatives that you have to make it more relevant and make it better for you know, if you're betting on the future? How would you divide up that $10? On the different work that you're going to do? Answer? Yeah.

Nick
And it's a poll on opportunity costs. Yeah, with a with a limited budget, how would you divide the pie up to execute on your business in the next two years, I will figure out a way to put that in. So if you're, if you're listening to this, and you've made it this far, it will be in the show notes. But I'll make sure it's there in big letters, we'll get some sort of Google form or something up to experiment on that. But I learned a lot and are appreciative of you coming on, and talking about optimality and how you view the world which is it's different enough that it's exciting, you know, so Best wishes to your baby, and to you and to optimize it for 2021.

Jane W
Thank you so much, Nick.

Nick
Okay, until next time, till next time for Jane. I'm Nick. Be safe everyone. We're still in a pandemic go. Keep washing your hands and get that vaccine and be good to one another. So until next time, thanks. Thanks, Jane.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai