The Medical Device Excise Tax: 18 Months Later

When the Medical Device Excise Tax was announced it generated much-heated debate ( That heat seems to have dissipated over the past months as other issues have floated to the top of the news heap.

The End Is Near

Many didn’t seem to understand the furor over a relatively small 2.3% tax on medical devices. The tax, however, is taken right off the top-line sales rather than net profit, and this calculation has the potential of a large impact on the operations of medical device firms (

A lot of speculation was offered as to why the tax would be either a good thing for healthcare or the death knell for the medical device industry. I, too, provided my opinion on what I felt were 5 likely outcomes regarding the future of the tax from repeal, through modification to inaction. But the fact is that no one knew outcomes for certain because the actual effect of the law hadn’t yet played out. Everyone was guessing which still seems to be the case.

After all the debate over the past year-and-a-half, hard evidence is apparently still in short supply, and polarization and entrenchment on positions have filled in the void. Lacking objective evidence regarding the actual impact of the tax, how can anyone be expected to make reasonable decisions about the tax? Yet it seems that practically no one, including our legislators, has demanded that objective evidence is produced for deliberation.

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Is Holacracy a Dyson?

Dyson DC15

Yeah, like the vacuum cleaner.  Let me explain.

I always have a canine companion (or two) in my home, and fur is an inevitable result.  So when I went looking for a new vacuum cleaner a few years ago, the Dyson brand caught my eye.  It appeared well designed, made an interesting pitch about easy maneuvering and never losing vacuum, and seemed to get pretty good reviews. Although there were other name-brand alternatives that were less expensive, I decided to go with the Dyson.

And the Dyson does a nice job of cleaning as I easily maneuver it around furniture and other obstacles (like my canine companions).  I like my Dyson, but here’s the thing — when all said and done, it’s a vacuum cleaner.

Yes, my Dyson pivots on a ball; other brands also pivot by different but effective means.  My Dyson doesn’t use a bag, but after having disassembled the unit to wash and dry the filters, a bag doesn’t seem so inconvenient anymore.  And my friends and family who have their own furry pets express satisfaction with the performance of their non-Dyson vacuum cleaners.  All other things being equal, it seems that any well-designed vacuum cleaner will suck up dirt and fur.

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Did Henry Ford’s Customers Really Want Faster Horses?

Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919)
Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know if the use of “celebrity quotations” is a new trend that I noticed, or if I’m just fatigued from reading such worn-out proclamations and overly sensitive to them.  The quote that caught my attention recently was the oft-referenced quote that is attributed to Henry Ford about innovation, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, then they would have said a faster horse.”

The problem with this particular quote is not only that Ford may have never said those words, but that so many people seem to have latched onto the quote as some kind of proof source in support their world view.  The recycling of the quote seems to have cemented it into the mythology of our times.

I’ve certainly been guilty of tossing out celebrity quotes myself as a kind of short-hand answer that is usually met with knowing-nods as a perfectly acceptable response.  This horse quote in particular doesn’t ring true to me.

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