Instantly get your health records from any doctor

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Tyler Hayes — Blab
@rrhoover I never would have left Disqus for anything less than Prime. Secret up until now: I started 2 other projects (listed at that came very close to pulling me away from Disqus but shut both down before they got too much traction because: competing loves — Disqus won.

For us I think we always knew the idea itself was special but we needed to know we had hit a big enough idea and one we could execute on to justify leaving our jobs. Owen was at Intel and I wouldn't have asked him to leave if I didn't think we had something really special to build.

So we did nights + weekends to validate the idea (late 2012-early 2013) -> prototyping to validate the feel of the app (early 2013) -> left our jobs to jump full in and build the MVP (June 2013).

^^ That last step — leaving a job to build an MVP — may be a bit unconventional. But we had to. Here's why: we learned that health records are incredibly difficult to access, let alone in electronic form, let alone standardize. Nights + weekends were no longer going to work to build the magical tech that would actually allow us to automatically get your health records. We spent literally the entire summer working 16-hour days building the tech stack that makes Prime's automatic + instant nature possible. NB: we did not know we were going to be able to pull this off. We had a mutual agreement that if we couldn't do it, we could walk away smarter and knowing we'd given it our all.

Of course this all seems very clearcut when I type it now. But it wasn't anywhere near that clean. It was so incredibly messy. We never knew for sure we were doing the right thing at any given time. I'd like to say I could see through my crystal ball that it was the clear path but really at some point we just had to take that leap of faith.
Will Imholte — Designer, Prime
@TheTylerHayes just published a new blog post about some stuff we've learned in the past few weeks, thought I'd post it here in case anyone is interested.

The short version: our conversion rate was low for a few weeks, then we learned stuff. Thanks for all the support everyone!
Tyler Hayes — Blab
Hey my name's Tyler and they tell me I'm cofounder/CEO of this jamboree so feel free to toss questions my way, I'm here all day.
Ryan Hoover — Product Hunt
Hey, @thetylerhayes / homer! Thanks for jumping in.

We met last year when you were transitioning out of Disqus to work on Prime. It's ballsy to leave a good job at a kickass company to go on your own. How did you make that decision?
Will Imholte — Designer, Prime
@rrhoover — I'll chime in as the co-founder of Prime that didn't have a full-time job before we started. I had been doing contract design work for startups in and around SF for about a year (and in MN before that) and the decision was easy for me. Contracting can be pretty lucrative, and I got to work with some cool teams that are going to be very successful, but when @thetylerhayes approached me it was obvious and easy to say yes.
Tyler Hayes — Blab
I can confirm that @willimholte is indeed easy.
Ryan Hoover — Product Hunt
Love it. And now you guys live together across the Bay Bridge, right? Are you sick of each other yet? j/k :)

@willimholte / @thetylerhayes - What's the most difficult challenge you've faced starting up that you didn't anticipate?
Will Imholte — Designer, Prime
+1 sick of each other (and my brother @owenfi our CTO). Thankfully Oakland apartments are like seventy times the size SF apartments and we don't get too crazy.

As for challenges; when Tyler and I were talking about the idea my reaction was along the lines of 'that'll be impossible technically, and even if you can find a technical way to do it we won't be able to get past the regulatory hurdles in healthcare' — for the most part that hasn't been true. The technical stack we built is certainly complicated beyond most startups' products (as Tyler mentioned in his long post)—but tech is easy when you're using it to solve problems this obvious, you just have to work really ridiculously hard.

Similarly, HIPAA is patient focused, and we are helping people instead of institutions, so it helps us quite a bit. Example: if your doctor stores your record electronically (they almost certainly do) they have to give you electronic records—and starting in Sep '13 you can specify the format. So that's cool.

Really, I think the challenges we face are pretty similar to every startup—finding product market fit is an abstract process and there are a thousand different threads we can follow. We've certainly had people express concern about the nature of sharing health info, and many of those concerns are immature which can be it's own challenge—but it's also a gigantic problem for hundreds of millions of people—so that helps us cut through some of the non-sense.

A challenge more specific to health-startups is the lack of community support. There are tons of meetup groups, tons of conferences for health tech, etc… but lots of them are filled with cronyism and old-world thinkers, doctors who won't listen to anyone who isn't a doctor, people who don't take startups seriously, people who think the only way to make it in this industry is to follow the 18-24 month sales cycle to hospitals, and so on.

That's not to say the people in the industry don't want to provide support, pretty much everyone we've reached out to directly (and everyone who has reached out to us) is awesome, hard-working, and passionate about making the world a better place. It's just hard to find groups of them like you might find four nights a week for every other industry in SF.

Good news on that front: times are changing. There are some awesome groups (shoutout to and, which is smaller/newer) making waves.

On a personal note, I've certainly been challenged with productivity and creative block (which is a bullshit term but mostly applies) and all sorts of issues that come with growing something like this for the first time. I've launched products and helped make companies before—but the ones I had direct responsibility for were games or art related—I can't quite name the reason that's different, but it somehow is. Luckily, this is another easy problem to solve, as my co-founders are smarter than me and also have strong vision and can recognize the cause of these problems and help me get past them.

SORRYTHISGOTABITRAMBLY. I'm happy to expand on anything that didn't make sense.
Rahul Varshneya — Cofounder - Arkenea LLC
Fantastic story on how you built Prime @willimholte @thetylerhayes. Would love to catch up with you guys when I'm in SF next (sometime around April/May).
Ryan Hoover — Product Hunt
Yes, this is the most thorough, well-thought discussion yet. We should start giving out awards. :)

Btw, @thetylerhayes, @willimholte, you might want to chat with my friend and CEO of Emissary, @staringispolite. Maybe there's a partnership opportunity or if nothing else, a new drinking buddy.
Tyler Hayes — Blab
@rahulvarshneya We're around. Say hi! Our emails are on our Team page.

@rrhoover Until you have trophies we accept cash awards, don't even worry about it.
Ryan Hoover — Product Hunt
@thetylerhayes - we need to integrate dogecoin into Product Hunt. No joke. Much serious.
Jonathan Howard — Cofounder, Emissary
@rrhoover You have twitter accounts right? Add @tipdoge support!

Also: meeting up with @thetylerhayes next week. Thanks for the intro!
Ryan Hoover — Product Hunt
Good idea, Jonathan!
Angela Tran Kingyens — Associate, Version One Ventures
@thetylerhayes: I think @willimholte caught your "verbose" bug :P but seriously... love the discussion here and you know I'm a huge fan :)
Tyler Hayes — Blab
@atkingyens If only Product Hunt had image support I could respond to you in proper .gif fashion. Until then d._.b thanks :)
Angela Tran Kingyens — Associate, Version One Ventures
@thetylerhayes: I know! It's as though the founder of @ProductHunt is not a fan gifs ;)
Ryan Hoover — Product Hunt
@thetylerhayes @ATKingyens you're going to like tomorrow morning's email. ;)
Will Imholte — Designer, Prime
Whah now, just seeing all of this.

@ATKingyens — Pretty sure this is one of those 'it's a feature not a bug' situations.

My roommates may disagree.
David Spinks — CEO, CMX Media
Love this. I always forget when I got my last shots/vaccinations, what my glasses prescriptions are and all that info. Definitely a pain point for me. Hope this helps.
Tyler Hayes — Blab
*shhh* don't tell anyone but we just silently launched new freemium plans:

PH has been so kind to us. We want to return the favor.

Email me for a free 12-month Prime Plus invite (unlimited healthcare provider connections).

Thanks for all the <3!
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