Sunday, March 21, 2010

iPods and Healthcare Reform

In the late 1990s, an engineer named Tony Fadell came up with the idea of a hard drive-based MP3 player coupled with a Napster-like music store to complement it. He shopped the idea around to several companies but was turned down at all of them except for one. That company was Apple.

After modifying, improving, changing Fadell's original concept, Apple released a new device in 2001 they called an iPod.

The initial reaction on Slashdot, a prominent tech site gave this one sentence review:
"No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."
At $399, it was also $150 more than a comparable $249 Nomad Jukebox. It wasn't compatible with Windows PC computers, just Macs which had a small market share at the time. You couldn't replace the battery. It had no FM radio. Many critics predicted it would flop.

And yet somehow the iPod went on to take over the music player industry. It now has about a 75% share of the market and has sold over 225 million units and counting.

It helped re-establish Apple as a top electronics brand, and paved the way for its subsequent successes with the iPhone and now the upcoming iPad.

The original iPod wasn't perfect. It was a start of something new, and it has improved gradually but continuously since then. But if Apple had listened to the naysayers and pundits at the time, none of this would have happened.

So I believe it will be with the current healthcare reform bill. It is not perfect, but there never could be such a thing as a perfect healthcare reform bill anyways. Those who criticize it and want it to fail because it doesn't have everything they want are short-sighted and unrealistic.

These are the same kind of people who couldn't see the potential in a little electronic music player, only the flaws.

If healthcare reform fails to pass now, it will be a loooonnnng time before any legislator attempts to try this again. And frankly, we can't afford to wait as the current system continues to crumble and cost everybody more and more money for worse and worse care.

As of now, I don't know if it will get the required votes or not, but I hope it passes. And if it does, I think it can be shaped and molded and upgraded over time to become a even better healthcare system.