Opportunity in compliance-as-a-service
The last month has been a nerve wracking time while Wenlin and I have been working on her residency and green card petitions. I wish I could say the paperwork was straightforward but it has been anything but. Forums like visajourney.com have been a help but it’s often tell what is correct, proven advice vs. anecdotal or outdated information. We thought we could do it all ourselves but after getting rejected once for an incorrect check, it felt safer to hire an immigration lawyer to review all the paperwork. Luckily, Wenlin had a reliable, local lawyer that helped with her previous H-1B available immediately but not everyone is so lucky.
So when @balajis wrote his latest tweet-essay about compliance-as-a-service, I identified with this right away. Balaji specifically pointed out immigration paperwork as a prime example. Just going by the huge membership at the visajourney.com forms multiplied by application and lawyer fees, this is definitely a market ripe for efficiency improvements.
I’m reminded of the example of Athenahealth’s model which is to aid doctor’s office in processing claims, another area where improved compliance and throughput by compiling data on what works and what didn’t, is a service worth paying for. In the case of claims processing, Athenahealth takes a small percentage of the claims, an easily justifiable cost to a doctor or clinic when it means reducing headcount. With immigration services, bridge.us seems to have the right model with free application services but making an immigration lawyer available for consultation and review. Over time, assuming these services are tracking the entered data in online forms relative to success rates, these could become very much like TurboTax, guiding us through a decision tree to success.
As an entrepreneur making decisions for your company, always go back to your first principles of what’s important to you and why you started in the first place.
The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed.
The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.
"The camera’s dollar worth is hard to estimate, since it is an art piece as much as a functioning object, but the value of the time Ive, Newson, and Leica’s own engineers put into it probably totals well into six figures, and possibly seven. The process of designing and making the camera took more than nine months, and involved 947 different prototype parts and 561 different models before the design was completed. According to Apple, 55 engineers assisted at some part in the process, spending a collective total of 2,149 hours on the project. Final assembly of the actual camera took one engineer 50 hours, the equivalent of more than six workdays, all of which makes Ive’s comment to me that he thought the Leica might bring $6 million seem not so far-fetched."
Paul Goldberger estimating the cost of the Jony Ive and Marc Newson designed Leica M7 for the Product Red auction in Vanity Fair
It’s not often that you read about the operations end of an app company. It’s even more rare when they tell you about how they approach customer support. Dave Wiskus of Q Branch goes over his guidelines for support on Vesper app. It seems to be a hallmark of a well-run operation when the guy at the top (even Jeff Bezos) is reading, replying, and handling customer interaction on a regular basis.
via Brett Simmons
“At every moment, […] we are simultaneously faced with an indefinite number of overlapping and intermingling situations.”
It is our job, as organisms that want to live, to make sense of that chaos. We do it by having the right concepts come to mind. This happens automatically, all the time.
"Look at your conversations. You’ll see over and over again, to your surprise, that this is the process of analogy-making."
Someone says something, which reminds you of something else; you say something, which reminds the other person of something else—that’s a conversation. It couldn’t be more straightforward. But at each step, Hofstadter argues, there’s an analogy, a mental leap so stunningly complex that it’s a computational miracle: somehow your brain is able to strip any remark of the irrelevant surface details and extract its gist, its “skeletal essence,” and retrieve, from your own repertoire of ideas and experiences, the story or remark that best relates.
For our vacation, we spent just under a week in Turkey. While the plan was to stay in Istanbul, we couldn’t resist the chance to visit another city. A question at a tourism office turned into an overnight trip to Cappadocia, complete with an early morning balloon ride.