An incredible eight years, aka “the best summer sausage ever”

Usually words come easily to me. When it’s time to write something, I’ll think about it a bit in the shower or on a drive, and then it just kind of happens. Not so this time. I’ve been staring at this empty Word doc for a few days trying to figure it out. Finally concluded that it was just going to be awkward, so time to jump in: at the end of the month, I’ll be leaving Microsoft and the HealthVault team to try something new.

That sounds really weird to say out loud --- HealthVault has been my life for eight years now (I even have the logo on my car). But it’s the right time for me, and actually a great time for the service as well. HealthVault is in a solid place at Microsoft with an executive sponsor that cares deeply about the mission and business --- it is an inevitability that our consumer-controlled model will win the day. Two years ago I’m not sure I would have had the same level of confidence, but now I can hand it off knowing all is well.

I asked my daughter, who was twelve years old when I came back to Microsoft, what she remembered most about that time --- she said “you got a gift basket with the best summer sausage ever.” I don’t actually recall the sausage. What I do remember is formulating a mission that resonates unchanged even all these years later. I dug these “talking points” out of my archives from HealthVault launch day back in October, 2007:

  • We want to deliver technology solutions to help people live better, longer lives by enabling people to make the best health & wellness decisions. We are delivering a consumer-centric platform enabling an environment of new online services to search, securely store and connect people with their health information, putting them in control of  their (and their family’s) health & wellness.
  • Transforming healthcare is an incredibly complex challenge – one which no single organization can solve alone. It will require the participation of leaders in every sector of the healthcare ecosystem if success is to be achieved.
  • We’re embarking on this challenge today with other innovative organizations – from leading medical providers, health management device manufacturers, and national health agencies – and we invite the rest of the health industry to join us. 

Sure sounds like HealthVault 2014 to me. Still playing the long game --- but with more than two million users worldwide, hundreds of connected applications and devices, and a clinical ecosystem that is increasingly integrated thanks to Direct, Blue Button and other awesomeness --- we’ve made a ton of progress.

I’m not sure exactly what is next for me. I’m going to hang out for a month or so --- and then who knows, maybe I’ll jump industries again, or maybe not. I’ve been dipping my toes into the world of genetics and biotech the last couple of months … maybe something there? We’ll see.

For now --- a deep and sincere THANK YOU to those of you who have been my partners on this journey. Peter, for creating the opportunity and being the best partner/mentor ever --- I will work with you anytime, anywhere. Steve and Craig, for sponsoring this crazy experiment at Microsoft. Farzad, Todd, Aneesh, David, Wes, Rich and Arien, for finding a way to make government a positive force for change (who would have believed that?). Scott, Mel, Umesh and Steve, for being the best, most loyal leadership team ever. Too many more to name without screwing it up and missing somebody important. I can’t say this enough --- THANK YOU for giving me the chance to be part of this great work.

I guess that’s it for now. If you need to get in touch --- look for me on Linked In.

Schmidt, OUT.


PS. Family Health Guy will remain online but I won’t be adding to it any more --- seems weird to take it with me and weirder to hand it to somebody else.


Comments (12)

  1. Vaibhav Bhandari says:

    Good luck Sean! Looking forward to staying in touch.

  2. Sharon Wentz, RN, Business Development, State of Oregon CareAccord Program says:


    We LOVED working with you on the ONC/NATE (National Association for Trusted Exchange)PHR pilot.  Thank you for helping us set the foundation for patient controlled HIE. Your enthusiasm and passion for this work is incredible.  Now you can put that passion to use in a new way!  Cheers as you enter the next chapter of your career. Hopefully we will cross paths again some day.      

  3. Tracey Ferriss says:

    End of an era. Big hugs and high fives headed your way.

  4. Bill Beighe says:

    Microsoft could not of had a better person driving HealthVault. I truly appreciate all the support and encouragement you provided over the years as Santa Cruz went through pilots,and demos and finally launched with HealthVault.

  5. will ross says:

    yay sean!  it's awesome trail you blazed.  see you in your next gig!  from your friends at redwood mednet.

  6. Marcel van den Dungen says:

    Good luck Sean! Honored to have worked for you.

  7. Pantelis Georgiadis says:

    It was a true HONOR to work with you!!! Good luck Sean!

  8. Mike Raymer says:

    Good luck Sean and thanks for making a difference in health and healthcare!

  9. Sean Maloney says:

    Amazing how much you accomplished. Good luck Sean!  Wishing you the best.

  10. Bob Janacek says:

    Sean, thanks for your leadership, dedication and vision!

  11. Bill Crounse, MD says:

    For every parent there comes a time when the child is ready to stand on his own, is now fully grown, mature, and ready to take on the world. At that point, the parent must let go knowing he did his best to prepare his child for that moment and that the child will go on to do great things without him. You should be a very proud parent. Thanks Dad.

  12. Tony Curcio says:

    Congratulations and awesome job you have done with HealthVault!!

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