Monday, January 2, 2012

Diabetes Chic

I'm wrapping up a terrific vacation with my brother-in-law Caleb and sister-in-law Victoria with their two little kids, Cody and Morgan.  Only 6 weeks ago 2 year old Cody was diagnosed with diabetes and their life has changed dramatically. Caleb is also an insulin-dependent diabetic, but he came down with it just a few years ago at age 30.  One of Caleb's older sisters has been a diabetic since age 5.

Caleb and Victoria inspired me with their grace, persistence and total lack of self-pity in managing their toddler's sudden diabetes.  They shared some frustration about the lack of really well-designed diabetic accessories, and Caleb mentioned his preliminary ideas for a combined blood-sugar monitor and insulin pump.  Apparently these devices are available separately but not as a single unit.

A flood of questions and ideas have come to me as I stayed with them over Christmas.  Most importantly, how do we harness the intelligence of the crowd to create resilient, lower-cost access to the daily life-saving medicine and technology that diabetics need?  As I said yesterday:
...I’ll bet there’s a way to build an Open Venture along the lines sketched by John Robb in this talk.  One of Robb’s key insights is to pay the crowd rather than follow a pure volunteer model like Wikipedia.  Robb’s initial effort is the wiki for home and community resilience.
There must be millions of insulin-dependent diabetics in the U.S. alone. (I'll need to find some demographic statistics.)  If even just a few of them, their families, or entrepreneurial types see this as an opportunity we could generate some amazing results that would make life better and more secure for diabetics and their families.

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