An incredible eight years, aka “the best summer sausage ever”

Usually words come easily to me. When it’s time to write something, I’ll think about it a bit in the shower or on a drive, and then it just kind of happens. Not so this time. I’ve been staring at this empty Word doc for a few days trying to figure it out. Finally concluded that it was just going to be awkward, so time to jump in: at the end of the month, I’ll be leaving Microsoft and the HealthVault team to try something new.

That sounds really weird to say out loud --- HealthVault has been my life for eight years now (I even have the logo on my car). But it’s the right time for me, and actually a great time for the service as well. HealthVault is in a solid place at Microsoft with an executive sponsor that cares deeply about the mission and business --- it is an inevitability that our consumer-controlled model will win the day. Two years ago I’m not sure I would have had the same level of confidence, but now I can hand it off knowing all is well.

I asked my daughter, who was twelve years old when I came back to Microsoft, what she remembered most about that time --- she said “you got a gift basket with the best summer sausage ever.” I don’t actually recall the sausage. What I do remember is formulating a mission that resonates unchanged even all these years later. I dug these “talking points” out of my archives from HealthVault launch day back in October, 2007:

  • We want to deliver technology solutions to help people live better, longer lives by enabling people to make the best health & wellness decisions. We are delivering a consumer-centric platform enabling an environment of new online services to search, securely store and connect people with their health information, putting them in control of their (and their family’s) health & wellness.
  • Transforming healthcare is an incredibly complex challenge – one which no single organization can solve alone. It will require the participation of leaders in every sector of the healthcare ecosystem if success is to be achieved.
  • We’re embarking on this challenge today with other innovative organizations – from leading medical providers, health management device manufacturers, and national health agencies – and we invite the rest of the health industry to join us.  

Sure sounds like HealthVault 2014 to me. Still playing the long game --- but with more than two million users worldwide, hundreds of connected applications and devices, and a clinical ecosystem that is increasingly integrated thanks to Direct, Blue Button and other awesomeness --- we’ve made a ton of progress.

I’m not sure exactly what is next for me. I’m going to hang out for a month or so --- and then who knows, maybe I’ll jump industries again, or maybe not. I’ve been dipping my toes into the world of genetics and biotech the last couple of months … maybe something there? We’ll see.

For now --- a deep and sincere THANK YOU to those of you who have been my partners on this journey. Peter, for creating the opportunity and being the best partner/mentor ever --- I will work with you anytime, anywhere. Steve and Craig, for sponsoring this crazy experiment at Microsoft. Farzad, Todd, Aneesh, David, Wes, Rich and Arien, for finding a way to make government a positive force for change (who would have believed that?). Scott, Mel, Umesh and Steve, for being the best, most loyal leadership team ever. Too many more to name without screwing it up and missing somebody important. I can’t say this enough --- THANK YOU for giving me the chance to be part of this great work.

I guess that’s it for now. If you need to get in touch --- look for me on Linked In.

Schmidt, OUT.


PS. Family Health Guy will remain online but I won’t be adding to it any more --- seems weird to take it with me and weirder to hand it to somebody else.