Digital Debt, Digital Depreciation, and Digital Communities

By Chris Lane-Lightfoot

Spoiler alert… this article is not about finance.

New products and product updates require constant refreshes to existing digital assets.  Before you create your next asset, let Tricycle assist you in considering the digital debt and digital depreciation implications so you reap all the benefits of your asset throughout its entire lifecycle.

Digital Debt

Digital Debt is only loosely associated with financial debt.  Digital debt pertains more to assets that are created in a manner that makes it challenging to evolve the asset further. For example, you may have a PowerPoint deck that’s gained popularity in your organization.  Perhaps this same PowerPoint is modified by other people and possibly in other mediums (websites, etc.). If you did not make your slide deck easily modifiable and portable you now start to experience the effects of Digital Debt.  Although initially using PowerPoint as a tool (and yourself as a builder) may have been a great option, as the needs for assets expand it can become more painful to enhance because you did not build it with enhancement in mind (or you figured that you would deal with that later). Digital Debt requires you to expend significant effort to rework the asset to suit the new needs.

Digital Depreciation

Like owning a house, when you create a digital asset, no matter how well you build it, over time that asset will require maintenance as technology evolves around it.  In the life of a digital asset, many factors determine the depreciation of the asset.  For example, if you develop an App that runs on an Apple iPad you must continue to maintain the App as new versions of Apple iOS are released or the app may cease to function properly and lose value.  Continuing with the iPad App example… as other similar Apps are developed, users may find that these new Apps have features that your App does not provide and your App may decrease in usefulness.  Additionally, as visual styles evolve, your App may start looking too “old school” causing users to look for other options.  The message here is that the digital landscape is rapidly evolving and digital assets must be continually maintained or they will depreciate in value.

Both Digital Debt and Digital Depreciation can be limited by choices that are made during conceptualization and development of a digital asset.

Digital Community

The final factor to consider is the Digital Community that you choose to associate with.  Digital Communities include groups like the Microsoft Windows community, the UNIX community, the Open-Source community, etc.  By choosing one or more digital communities to associate with, you are in essence making a bet on which group will provide the best environment for the success and longevity of your digital asset.  Often there are many factors that limit the digital communities you associate with.  These may include; company policy (“we require all assets to be compatible with Microsoft Windows”), needs of the asset you are creating (“internet access is unreliable in hospital environments”), and personal choices (“I prefer to use Open-Source options if available”), etc.


Tricycle is committed to helping our clients make the best choices when building digital assets.  When creating a new asset, it’s helpful to understand the digital debt your company may accrue and, to some extent, the rate with which you can expect to incur digital depreciation.  Strategies for managing digital assets are critical, and when you partner with Tricycle, we’ll work with you to ensure you gain continual value from your digital assets.


5 Tips for a Snooze-Free Meeting

By Chaz Brueggemann

Meetings can help us achieve consensus, hold one another accountable, and plan future success.  Unfortunately, meetings are not always fun.  Here are a few tips to help keep your next meeting more engaging, creative, and fun!

  1.  Keep Your Meeting Short. In Tom Searcy’s article, Meetings Suck? Make Them Better, he mentions that in order to increase engagement, “a tight agenda with clear outcomes,” is imperative to success.  Furthermore, “Simplicity is not just the hallmark of elegance; it is also critical for effectiveness.”
  2. Invite The Right Attendees.  Have you invited those attendees who really need to be at your meeting?  In 3 Ways To Make Meetings Much Less Boring And Much More Useful the author discusses the importance of having the right attendees involved in meetings.  “Poor meetings are generally either somebody talking and everyone else is pretending to listen, or a conversation that only involves a couple of people.”
  3. Make Sure You Have A Clear Purpose. Dale Carnegie’s  strategy for presenting is sometimes one of the best meeting format strategies, “Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.”  For example, make sure you have an agenda, start off by telling everyone the purpose of the meeting.  As you generate ideas and form a consensus on key topics, make sure you record this information.  When you close the meeting, make sure you repeat the key points of the meeting as well as next steps.
  4. Get Involvement Once you have the right attendees, make sure you get everyone involved in the room.  The Harvard Business Review article, Tips on Meetings, offers a few ways to help with meeting participation.  First, don’t control the meeting (even if you organized it).  Make sure you get other people to speak up and share their thoughts before you speak again.  Second, be positive.  Thank people for their involvement.  Even if it’s a heated meeting look for ways to keep the meeting positive and show appreciation for new ideas and feedback given.
  5. Finish Early.  Once your meeting has achieved all of its goals, why not adjourn a little early?

8 Tips to Take the Fear Out of Interactive Promotional Media


Social networking concept

Recently, Institute Biochimique got its “hand slapped” by the FDA because of its hypothyroid drug Tirosint’s Facebook page.  The page was subsequently removed after the FDA concluded that the drug’s manufacturer omitted risk information about the inability of the drug to treat obesity and weight loss, as well as the drug not being suitable for children.  The FDA has proved it’s watching: do you think it’s worth the risk for medical companies to engage in social media?

Examples like the Tirosint Facebook page, offer a possible explanation as to the reasons many medical device and pharmaceutical companies are resistant to integrating various streams of social media such as Facebook, blogs, and Twitter, due to the inherent risk posed by real-time engagement with potential patients.  However, with the growing increase of social networking, directors of marketing are eagerly looking for an approach to manage engagement throughout the various channels of social media.  The FDA’s recent draft guidance released in January of this year, attempts to narrow down the ambiguity over user-generated content (UGC).

Here are 8 tips to take the fear out of Promotional and User Generated Content based on the FDA Draft Guidelines:

1. When in doubt, Submit to FDA per Postmarketing Submission Requirements.  The FDA says in the draft recommendations that it “recognizes the challenges of submitting promotional materials that display real-time information.”  In recognizing this, a firm that follows the proper postmarketing submission requirements will receive, “enforcement discretion regarding the regulatory requirements for post marketing submissions related to promotional labeling and advertising.”  A best practice for medical device and pharmaceutical marketing teams would be to maintain a habit of continually keeping the FDA informed by submitting your FDA 2253 or FDA 2301 and additional information as specified in part V.

2.  Submit If You Place It, Manage, or Review Content.  Product promotional messaging on Twitter, Facebook, or your company’s blog, for example, and other types of digital content you create and place in various social channels, come with the added responsibility for submitting this information to the FDA as required by postmarketing submission requirements.  This also applies if your company is managing the material creation, editing it, or giving approval.

3.  Submit If You Pay for a Third-Party Site.  When your company pays, or has any kind of editorial influence over the material on a third-party site, then you must submit.

4.  Don’t Submit If You Pay but Don’t Have Control.  The example given by the January 2014 FDA Draft Guidelines is if your company pays for a third-party site “through an unrestricted educational grant” and your company has no access to control or manage the site, then you don’t have to submit content to meet post marketing submission requirements.

5.  Don’t Submit UGC.  If you don’t have control or influence the UGC on a site under your control, or there is UGC on a site you don’t control, you don’t have to submit.

6.  Submit if You “Like”.  If your company representative responds to UGC or “Like’s” something, then you will need to submit.

7.  Submit if the Content Is Generated by Authorized Company Representative.  Your company is responsible for any content created by those employees and sales reps promoting products for the firm, “A firm is responsible for the content generated by its employees or any agents acting on behalf of the firm who promote the firm’s product.”

8.  Submit Content from Paid Bloggers.  A paid blogger’s content would need to be submitted per FDA postmarketing submission requirements.


Trending Now: App Repurposing



Mobile devices have become “the great communicator” for businesses and most companies have adopted some kind of mobile footprint.  This footprint may be as simple as using off-the-shelf App Store apps or as far reaching as adopting enterprise-wide platforms that provide services such as syncing content on team members iPads or providing CRM and other data sharing tools across the enterprise.

A new trend that is starting to generate interest is repurposing of existing apps.  With the Apple App Store approaching one million apps, some thought leaders have started to look at how apps developed for one purpose can be repurposed for similar-but-different needs.

An example of how app repurposing is providing benefit can be found in health organizations that are gathering health metrics in developing countries.  A surprising increase in the accessibility of mobile technology in remote and previously “un-wired” communities (think of cellphones in Mongolia) has allowed healthcare watchers to start gathering health related metrics from remote regions.  These groups have found simple ways to repurpose existing apps for little or no cost.  Apps can often be repurposed without modification by using the app differently (e.g. putting blood pressure values into zip code fields in a cloud based mobile address book).  When no app will fit a need, these groups may approach the developers of an existing app and ask if they would make small changes to support a needed feature.  Jan Edwards of Paving the Way has been working with several countries in Africa to collect health metrics using this approach.

Looking at things differently is one of the talents we have at Tricycle Studios.  Let us show you how thinking differently can benefit your organization.


The Doctor Won’t See You Now

Ironically, the best bet to increase sales reps’ in-person interaction time is better digital engagement.

Doctor Wont

This story isn’t new to anyone in healthcare sales: Reps see their access to physicians dwindling.  We all know that.  The bigger questions for marketers and sales leaders are, why and what can we do about it?  I was hoping you’d ask that.  There are two significant influencers in the decreasing access to doctors and one clear way to address them.

Why: Age & Organization
The doctors who have been working with sales reps throughout their careers are being outnumbered by new, younger doctors who have not experienced value from relationships with reps.  It’s not just their age that’s changing the in-person visit dynamic, though. Around 70 to 80% of these larger organizations enforce limitations on how often physicians can see reps. With 90% of new doctors joining health systems after graduation, these restrictions are a major factor affecting the doctor and rep dynamic.

More Why: Value
Both younger and more experienced doctors, whether in group practices or independent, show a strong preference for digital contact. Physicians’ busy schedules require them to make the most of every interaction.  Respondents say that digital sales materials, such as emails, e-details, websites and social media, provide greater value because they are more flexible and provide personalized content.

When doctors do see reps, they primarily look to them for product information.  They cite printed and digital material as preferred resources for clinical information.  There is a lot that we can learn from this.  For reps that are selling commodities or disposable goods, this may not be tremendously important; for those trying to reinforce their role as a trusted information resource, this is crucial.

What We Can Do: Bring the Value
First and foremost, reps need to be better equipped to bring value to a clinical conversation.  They need the training and the tools to support real clinical conversations, conversations that uncover needs physicians face in their practices, and offer solutions.

Specifically, medical sales teams need interactive digital tools to engage doctors.  If doctors are already comfortable with digital contact, let’s use that to elevate the role of the rep rather than replace it. For example, digital follow up sent directly from a rep’s iPad-based e-detailing tool during a conversation gives the customer personalized information that she can review at her convenience and more value from the meeting.

Many no-see restrictions are the result of doctors feeling that their time has been wasted by reps.  To increase face time, reps have to increase value.  52% of physicians surveyed agree that the role of the sales rep needs to evolve.  All of this means one big opportunity for medical sales organizations to maintain their role as trusted advisors by more effectively leveraging digital engagement strategies.



Great Minds Think Alike


Tricycle employees received a gift package last night after the Holiday Party that included an “I Love Ybor” t-shirt.  It appears great minds think alike, as several Tricycle employees made a fabulous fashion statement this morning by wearing the t-shirt.  What a stylish group!


Job Opportunity: Application Programmer

Tricycle Studios is a fast growing medical marketing communications agency that is looking for a Application Programmer to join our team. Our studio values innovation, attention to detail, and a quest for beauty in creating compelling multi-media applications. The right candidate is an application programmer with 5 years of experience and not a website developer. Previous experience in science and healthcare would be a plus.

What you will be doing:

  • Develop highly interactive media rich applications using cutting edge software tools and Agile SCRUM methods
  • Interact with QA staff to insure the highest standards of quality
  • Work and participate in a team with an open and collaborative style of communications
  • Demonstrate your ability to quickly adapt to new process requirements, speed and diversity of development tasks, and your personal drive to perform

What you will need

// title:  jobapp.js
// author:  Tricycle Studios ( Tampa, FL )
// contact:
// version:  1.0

function applyForJob( applicant ) {

var skillPoints = 0;

// Skills an applicant needs.
var requiredSkills = [ “Knockout.js”, “Pager.js”, “Javascript”, “CSS3”, “HTML5”, “Mobile Web”, “OS X” ];

// These skills would be super.
var extraSkills = [ “Github”, “Python”, “Django”, “iOS”, “Xcode”, “Linux” ];

// Attributes needed in an applicant.
var attributes = [
“Experienced application developer”,
“Implements clean code”,
“Codes with reusability in mind”,
“Knows modern JS tools and techniques”,
“Works well as both a leader and a member of a team”

// Check attributes.
for ( attributeName in attributes ) {
if ( !applicant.attributes[ attributeName ] ) return;

// Add up the skills.
for ( skillName in requiredSkills.concat( extraSkills ) ) {
skillsPoints += applicant.skills[ skillName ];

// Do we hire this applicant?
if ( skillPoints > 600 ) hire();


What’s in it for you:

This is a full-time position with paid holidays, vacation, and parking, health insurance options, free yoga, and IRA eligibility. Outstanding work environment. Salary commensurate with experience. Position is based in Tampa, FL.

Sound good? Here’s what you need to do…

Please send us your information to
Tell us about yourself. Resume, bio, haiku, whatever. Just show us some personality!
No phone calls please.

About Tricycle Studios:

Tricycle Studios is a medical marketing agency that creates solutions for medical device and diagnostics, biotech and pharma companies around the world. For 17 years we have been a partner, catalyst and colleague with our Fortune 500 clients. Tricycle Studios specializes in educational videos and O.R. filming; to immersive media experiences from large screen interactive video environments to intimate touch screen experiences on mobile platforms.


A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words; An Infographic is Priceless

Shaun Pope, Director of Client Solutions – Tricycle Studios

Infographics have become popular over the last year or so.  Why? It’s the classic rule of two…

< The attention span is becoming shorter.

With the constant go-go-go of modern life, consumers have shorter attention spans. You have approximately 2-4 seconds to make your mark, or lose them forever. (PS: Are you still reading this?)

> The intake of information is exponentially greater.

With the world’s information currently doubling every two years*, your consumers are continuously experiencing information overload. With ever-growing access to smartphones and tablets, people are constantly receiving, analyzing, and sharing anything that pops in front of their face.

Infographics help consumers visually understand how to choose the product that is right for them. And they’re fun! Best of all, they can be developed for practically any business. Our friends at** designed an infographic to help make purchasing your perfect yoga mat completely stress-free.




*Josh Catone Mashable ©2011