Monday, January 13, 2014

I Have An Idea That Will Make A Billion Dollars

I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad
Buy all of the things I never had.
I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen.

Oh everytime I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights.
A different city every night alright
I swear the world better prepare
For when I'm a billionaire.

Billionaire, Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars

Today Google announced it is buying a small private company called Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. What is Nest Labs, you ask? Well if you're not one of the digital cognoscenti, you'll be astonished to know that Nest Labs makes...thermostats. But not just any thermostats. These thermostats have a pedigree. Its founders are former Apple executives. Tony Fadell helped develop the iPod when that was still a hot technology. Matt Rogers was an engineer at the computer company. They thought they could build a better mousetrap outside the limiting confines of Apple and set out on their own, forming Nest in 2010 to build internet connected thermostats.

Nest thermostats are all the rage among the digital well to do. They have motion sensors to detect if a room is empty! The temperature can be monitored with smartphone apps! These thermostats are so great they are actually stocked at Apple stores around the world! The company is on the front lines of the next digital frontier called the Internet of Things. In other words, we will all soon be connected by wifi and ethernet to everything we see and touch in the entire world. That has made this company the darling of the same people who love their iPhones and Tesla Model S. These digerati are so enamored of a digital thermostat company that they are spending over $3 billion for a three year old company whose products don't seem to have too much of a competitive advantage if HVAC behemoths like Honeywell decide to get in on the action.

If Silicon Valley billionaires are so willing to throw their mountains of cash around on companies with little to no revenue (I'm talking to you Snapchat), I propose an idea that I'm sure somebody would be willing to pony up at least ten figures to deposit into my checking account: the internet connected stethoscope. Auscultating a person's heartbeat through a couple of rubber tubes is so 19th century. Imagine a little disk that one can place on a person's chest that has an embedded microphone on one side and a speaker on the other. The heart sounds would be recorded digitally, of course. If the doctor wishes, he can listen to the sound through the speaker.

But here's the beauty of the Internet of Things. The device, which I am calling the Zethoscope, will have Wifi or Bluetooth connectivity. The sounds will be analyzed with a smartphone app similar to Shazam, which will contain all known heart murmurs and clicks. The app will be able to give the physician a diagnosis of any cardiac disease the way skilled cardiologists used to be able to do before the echocardiogram was invented. Because the recordings are digitized, it can be readily distributed to the medical students' and residents' smartphones and tablets in the room, or around the world, for educational purposes. Let's face it, the number of people who actually listens to a patient's heart and can give an accurate diagnosis has probably dwindled down to the single percentages. With my Zethoscope, this ambiguity will be resolved and the patient and healthcare system will be all the better because of it. Plus this will bring one of the vestiges of analog thinking up to the 21st century.

So are you reading this Larry Page of Google? John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, I'm sitting eagerly by the computer awaiting the massive check you are about to electronically send me for this awesomely brilliant idea. It's a can't miss combination of healthcare and internet, two of the largest industries in the world with trillions of dollars willingly spent by consumers and governments. You know my email address. Write me. Z needs a new car.


  1. Great idea, I'm a fan! - Medical Student

  2. Maybe I should get a Kickstarter campaign going on this?