The first 30 days at Included Health have been a blur! It’s been an energetic flurry of decoding acronyms (RCM, VPC, GMI – I was behind before I even started), meeting very helpful people and being simply too busy to complete my onboarding training videos.

I joined this company for the standard reasons anyone joins a company: commendable mission, financial upside, smart coworkers; but a lot of companies fit that build. To me, a couple unconventional things specific to me made this company stand out.

Real world problems.

I’ve spent my career to date building online experiences via subscriptions that deliver some sort of intangible value. These products impact people’s lives for the better, but it exists in a nice software silo insulated from the world. If the service goes down, the worst that could happen is someone can’t play their bedtime story or God forbid we were slow to upload someone’s bike ride.

Even in my brief tenure, there’s a much more real aspect to this space. At Included Health, we’re integrating with existing societal and economic structures in order to substantially change health outcomes. It’s a bit scary because connecting people to doctors and helping them navigate healthcare finances is much more stressful, but I wanted my work to sit closer to my reality.

A healthcare company held to consumer product quality.

A company typically provides a good or service to a customer and gets paid accordingly. If the offering isn’t satisfactory, the customer will not keep paying and the market will swallow the company. In healthcare, providers of care are not paid by the consumer, but rather by payors. The quality bar is allowed to be lower because whether the provider does a good job or not, the insurance company still pays out. Included Health is incentivized to deliver outcomes (i.e. accurate diagnoses and proper long-term care) and a superior customer experience otherwise companies will not renew. We endlessly prioritize the patient in product discussions.

Not a classic tech company.

In Silicon Valley and beyond, your workplace is a subtle indication of status. I no longer get the familiar nod that I’m used to – people won’t stop me on my bike at a stoplight to complain about a Strava bug or tell me how they can’t sleep without a Calm Sleep Story. While it was nice to have these moments of external validation about my career choices, I also felt like I was conflating the brand of my company with the work that I wanted to do. While the Included brand may not be sexy, I’ve found strong leaders at the company and my work has been intellectually fulfilling. To me it feels like choosing to date someone conventionally unattractive.

A lot can change in the coming days but I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be building in this space for a long time. Take a peek at some roles I’m hiring – they won’t be open long! (The team skews heavily backend FYI, so you can think about all of these roles as full-stack.)