Behind The Scenes: Peachy's First Employee

Lex interviews Peachy's Director of Product Design, Josue Martinez, about building a design-driven healthcare company.

November 16, 2021

In the beginning, Peachy was Billbox. And instead of a team of 9, there was just Lex. Then, Josue Martinez, a designer with experience in healthcare who had an intimate knowledge of the pain of paying for healthcare, sent Lex a DM, then an email. The two jumped on a video call and the rest is history.

To chat about that story, and how Josue thinks about designing Peachy's core product, Lex sat down to chat with Peachy's Director of Product Design, Josue Martinez...

Lex: You've been doing this thing with me for a long time... How did you first hear about Peachy (then Billbox)?

Josue: I've been following you on Twitter for a long time, and I remember you uploading a photo of a late bill that a provider sent to your old address in Seattle. It only made it to you because your son's dad found it after you'd already moved. The stars had to align so perfectly for you to get that bill, and the frustration of that process just really resonated with me because I'd experienced it before. I had a bill back in college sent to my parents' house after moving out. Thankfully, my parents were still there because if not, I just never would have seen the bill. So the problem was very real for me.

Lex: From there, what happened?

Josue: At the time, I was happy where I was working. I wasn’t looking for a change, but I did have the bandwidth to take on some other work, so when I learned what you were doing, I had to reach out and offer to help.

I sent a DM and then didn't hear anything back for a few days... But then I saw a tweet of yours that said, "My DMs are out of control. If you haven't heard back from me, just send me an email."

So I did.

SUBJECT: "You’re building the future we all need to live in."

I knew you were super busy trying to start a company, so I set a reminder on my computer to follow up with you a few days later, but the next morning I woke up to see that you'd responded to me just 25 minutes later!

Working together ended up being an amazing fit for both of us. While you are an incredible designer, you had so much to do as a CEO, so it felt really natural for me to step in as a designer and help with things while you were trying to get the company running.

Lex: We’ve been hyper-focused on designing Peachy the right way: for patients. How has your life experience informed this effort?

Josue: A really important role I have in my life is as a caretaker. I have two elderly parents, and English is not their first language. Beyond that, one of my parents has Alzheimer's, which adds a lot of complexity. Because of that, I've taken on the responsibility of coordinating their healthcare–making sure that bills get paid on time and don't fall through the cracks. But these bills all seem to come from different places, especially with Alzheimer's because of all the specialists you need to see, so it becomes a really time-consuming and frustrating task.

And that's not what my role as a caretaker should be. I should be focused on caretaking, not keeping a ledger of all the bills, and making sure that things are getting paid. That's taking away from the time that I can spend with my parents.

On top of that, I also have my own life to live–my own bills and responsibilities. The current path for patients to pay for healthcare is so cumbersome and helps no one. We're talking about people trying to pay for their healthcare, but the current processes make it so difficult for patients. I mean, hell, you can order a Tesla, get a loan, and have it delivered to your house–from your phone–but I can't pay for a simple consultation with a specialist from my phone? How is that okay?

Lex: We’ve both had our bad experiences with healthcare in general, and that’s led us to take pride in being a design-driven company. Can you tell me more about why this is important to you?

Josue: I consider healthcare one of the most complicated industries to design in because you have to design for all backgrounds across all spectrums. It needs to work for everyone. But this also makes it incredibly fulfilling work. In many cases, we are essentially designing for people from inception all the way to death. And that's a really cool challenge!

We’re designing for busy people, and it’s unlikely that paying or sending bills is the highlight of their day. So the question is: how can I, as a designer, create an experience that is seamless, understandable, and hopefully a little bit enjoyable?

Our goal is not just to digitize a manual process. We’re trying to identify the pain points and ask more questions, like why do people need to take repetitive steps? How can we save information? Or alert patients better? How can we do some of the heavy lifting?

People in the design industry call it human-centered design, but I'm just hyper-focused on how we can provide a seamless service to really busy people.

Lex: You've been a huge champion of factoring accessibility into everything we do here. For those who aren't familiar, what does that mean?

Josue: At Peachy, accessibility isn't just window dressing. It has to be a core part of the product, or else it just won't work. We have to ship it from day one. It's not a task for us to do in the future; it’s the right thing to do–from the very beginning.

But from a business perspective as well, accessibility also makes sense. Why would you actively say no to money? If we create a product that every person can easily and seamlessly use, more people can use our product. It's not only non-disabled people that need healthcare. Everyone should have access to healthcare, and so everyone should have access to paying for healthcare.

At the end of the day, we just really can't build our product without building it for everyone. So ensuring that we are following accessible principles and giving everyone the opportunity to use our product is a non-negotiable.

Lex: What has been your favorite part of working at Peachy?

Josue: Immediate impact.

I've worked at very big companies and some other small companies, but at Peachy, the impact of each team member's work is very visible, and you can feel the ripples of your impact as an individual.

I also love that the team has doubled down on putting patients and providers first, learning from them, and then adapting the business model behind that. Oftentimes, startups don't operate that way. Instead, it's more of, here's a problem, here's how we can run a business and push our solution onto those experiencing the problem. But at Peachy, we actually listen to our customers, learn from them, and then adjust.

Finally, it's really fulfilling to help people empower themselves to manage the messiness that is healthcare.

Appendix
Published on: 
November 16, 2021

Note: This is not to be taken as tax, legal, benefits, health or financial advice. Since rules and regulations change over time and can vary by location, consult a lawyer or financial expert for specific guidance.

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