Most weeks, I write the post first and then figure out the title. But this time, knowing what we wanted to address, the title came to mind immediately as the dog and I were taking a walk over the weekend.
How could I not like that?
But I then had to think about a catchy intro, an opening before I pivoted to the real content. So, I searched for the etymology of ‘fizzle’ thinking that might prompt a clever idea.
Fizzle (v.) From the 1530s, meaning ‘to break wind without noise.’
Really? OK, we’ll just skip all those middle school boy ideas and cut straight to today’s subject.
We have to talk about the failure of the Haven joint venture before it quietly fades to a footnote in history. You remember Haven, that much ballyhooed joint venture between Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase that disbanded at the beginning of the year after a non-descript three-year run?
It would be easy to Monday Morning Quarterback this deal, kick dirt on them now. So, in the spirit of ‘accountable journalism’ (Yes, I know, that phrase is almost funny these days. And Lord knows we don’t even pretend that we are journalists here…only a bloviating blogger with an occasional insight.), we went back through the archives to see what we actually wrote about this deal.
In January 2018, right after the announcement of the JV, we observed that the financial markets thought it was a big deal as Wall Street pummeled many healthcare stocks that week. Then again, Warren Buffet is the patron saint of investing, Jamie Dimon runs a really big bank, and Jeff Bezos, well, he has more money than…anyone. Of course, this deal would be big. Of course, other healthcare companies were dead and didn’t know it.
We wrote about again in April of that year with skepticism and dripping sarcasm (Who? Me? What? Never). We mocked the JV for such ground-breaking insights as the need to align incentives, eliminate waste, empower employees, find costly and over-utilized treatments, and rethink what we spend on end-of-life care.
Friggin’ brilliant. Why didn’t we think of those things?
See, I am not sarcastic.
Three years later, they are done and selling the press release machine at a garage sale. I guess creating real change in healthcare is hard.
We did note in that post that while the three dancing elephants did not scare us as a group, one of them, by itself, did. We cautioned that anyone in healthcare should be on guard against the folks from Seattle with the cardboard boxes, that cloud technology thing, and everything else ‘Bezos, the Bond Villain’ could bring to bear against many segments of the industry.
Three years later, we’ll stand by that warning.
Adieu, Haven. You broke wind, but made little noise, much less impact.