I thought you and your community might be interested in this video:
Where do I begin?
- How does a single blood glucose check simulate living with diabetes? You are nervous prior to poking your finger with a lancet? Try being nervous every time the countdown on your meter begins because you know the number is going to be out of range and you don’t want to confirm it. Or you don’t know if the number is going to be in range, so you err on the “ignorance is bliss” side of things. Or you know that, despite years of living with this disease, you will interpret that single number, that single point in time, not as data to help make a more informed medical decision but an indictment on your ability to manage this disease, live a healthy life, be a responsible adult (or caregiver), and brace for the shame, guilt, anger, and frustration that will come from that one number. And my prescription says I’m supposed to test 8-10 times a day.
- How does injecting saline simulate living with diabetes? Fun fact: Insulin can kill you if you mismanage your dose. The fear isn’t from the needle – that goes away after the first day. The fear comes from not knowing if the amount of insulin you’re taking will act appropriately in your system this time. The fear comes from hoping you remember you eat after you prebolus 15 minutes before your meal and avoid an unwanted hypoglycemia episode.
- Did you know it took me 15 minutes of scrolling through your fine print to discover your product was for basal insulin, only? Your product does literally nothing for me. I understand that companies choose to save time and character counts by saying “diabetes” when they actually mean “type 2 diabetes”, but it would behoove you to do a little research on your target audience before blindly distributing materials outside of your target demographic.
- Related: That text I quoted above was all I received along with the title of the email. Had you taken the time to introduce your product and your mission, this blog post would not be necessary.
- In discussing this video, and your product with my peers, there was a consensus that “pricks” were not the most difficult part of managing our diabetes. Yes, your diabetes may vary, but the physical mechanics of managing this disease are nothing compared to the mental jiu-jitsu required to get by day-to-day. Would you like to know what living with diabetes is really like for some people? Start scrolling.
- Your IndieGoGo pitch is littered with statements that are at the very least incredibly misleading and could potentially be interpreted as outright lies:
- “Diabetes is now a global epidemic requiring several painful injections each day” – You do realize some people living with diabetes are able to stay healthy through diet, exercise, and pills? You do realize type 1 diabetes, the diabetes that absolutely requires insulin delivered by an injection or through an insulin pump represents a small percentage of the total diabetes population? According to the CDC, 5% of adults with diabetes are living with type 1 diabetes.
- “Needles haven’t changed much since 1853. They create pain, suffering, infections, and dangerous medical waste” – I would like to think the manufacturing alone of my insulin pen needles has improved in the past 150 years. And all of those nouns apply to misused syringes. Your assertion is like saying cars cause accidents, human interaction is a key component. Also, do you know what really causes pain, suffering, infections, and dangerous medical waste? Lack of access and proper education.
- “Millions worldwide can’t get simple lifesaving treatments like insulin and vaccines because they lack refrigeration.” Close. They lack access to insulin, syringes, blood glucose meters, doctors, education (for themselves and their doctors), and much more. It isn’t about needing a refrigerator, it’s about needing a healthcare foundation.
- “[This IndieGoGo campaign] will also tell the world that we have a really big idea, and people like you want to make it happen.” This point has been expanded upon by others more eloquently, so I’ll briefly summarize their thoughts. Why are we the business foundation for your “big idea”? Why are we required to support the launch of your startup so you can turnaround and market your products back to us for an insurance-inflated price? Why are we the ones pumping money into a system that, with all due respect, requires a lot of effort to turn anything worthwhile back to us? If you want this in business terms: Why are your customers your investors?
- “Our team consists of world-class scientists and startup veterans.” Are there any people with diabetes on your team? Are there any patients on your team? Are there any people who could succinctly explain what life with diabetes is like so you could better appeal to your customers?
- “We can fight the world’s biggest public health problems with simple, scalable, and sustainable treatments. We’ll ensure that everyone on earth can access our products to empower them to achieve their maximum health potential.” If you brought this to any focus group, they would have ripped this part of the script up and translated it into something more approachable. I’m not an expert, but you just gave us a wall of business speak that does nothing to compel a donation.
- “Share the message that it’s time for a world with hashtag no pricks (#NoPricks).” Please, don’t say “hashtag”.
- Please, please, please, please, please stop using images of frightened children when talking about diabetes. Just stop.
- “For every dollar raised with this campaign, we will donate TWO dollars to a cure as soon as we are profitable.” This reads like you’re holding a cure ransom – and to my knowledge, there hasn’t be a cure for any type of diabetes developed yet. If you know something that we don’t, then you really are holding our lives hostage. Or you just need a copy editor.
This will come off like a rant, and for that, I’m sorry. I’m more upset than angry. I’m sure your technology is great, I’m sure there’s a worthwhile medical application for what you’re hoping to bring to the world, but you didn’t think this through. You didn’t consult the diabetes community on any part of your marketing or outreach. I’ve only listed 8 (or 13) points of contention, but there are more, I’m sure.
And if your first response to any of these is “we had no idea”, then that just proves you didn’t do enough work to figure this stuff out. We’ve been here all along. We want to help. Just ask. The fact that all of this misinformation and misdirection went into a $1 million fundraiser is troubling at best and if not disappointing.
You want a world with (hashtag) #NoPricks, I just want a world with #NoCompaniesLookingToProfitOffOfMyDiseaseInMiscalculatedMisunderstoodAndPotentiallyDeceitfulWays.