Revolutionizing Healthcare: Andy Schoonover's Playbook for Disrupting Entrenched Industries

18 May 2024

Forget everything you think you know about healthcare.

I recently sat down with Andy Schoonover, the visionary founder of CrowdHealth, on my podcast. He's not just building another health insurance company; he's leading a full-on revolution against the industry's broken model. What he's doing is so disruptive that it's making waves far beyond healthcare – and tech giants are starting to sweat.

In this newsletter, we're going to dissect the eight strategies Andy's using to dismantle the status quo. These aren't just healthcare tactics; they're a playbook for anyone who wants to take on an entrenched industry and win. We're talking about:

  • Weaponizing data to outsmart the competition
  • Creating a community so loyal it becomes an unbreachable moat
  • Flipping the script on value to put customers first, not profits
  • And much more...

Whether you're an entrepreneur, an investor, or just someone who's fed up with how things are done, this is a story you need to hear. Get ready to rethink everything you thought you knew about disruption.

If you want to listen to the full podcast, listen on or on YouTube.

Forget Silicon Valley.

The real hotbed of innovation may be hiding in plain sight, nestled within the complex and often archaic healthcare industry.

Andy Schoonover, the founder of CrowdHealth, is the architect behind this disruption, tearing down traditional models with an unconventional approach that's turning heads and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.

CrowdHealth, at its core, is a health insurance alternative.

But it's far more than that. It's a community-powered model that leverages collective resources to cover medical expenses, eliminating the profit-driven middlemen and empowering individuals to take control of their health.

Schoonover's playbook is a treasure trove of tactical insights applicable to any industry ripe for disruption.

When I interviewed him, I picked up on eight important ideas he’s implemented that you can use to transform your business.

Asymmetrical Advantage: Redefining the Battlefield

Schoonover didn't just enter the healthcare arena; he redefined the battlefield. CrowdHealth isn't playing the traditional game of marketing budgets and lobbying power. Instead, they're employing asymmetric tactics to outmaneuver their Goliath competitors.

  • Community as a Moat: CrowdHealth isn't just building a customer base; they're fostering a passionate community of advocates. This isn't just about social media engagement; it's about creating a shared identity and purpose that strengthens the brand and creates a formidable barrier to entry for competitors.
  • Data as a Weapon: CrowdHealth harnesses the power of data to drive decision-making, optimize operations, and personalize the member experience. They're not just collecting data; they're weaponizing it to gain insights and competitive advantage.
  • Transparency as a Shield: In an industry notorious for opacity, CrowdHealth is radically transparent. They publish their financial data, share their decision-making processes, and actively seek feedback from members. This builds trust, fosters loyalty, and differentiates them from the competition.

The Takeaway: Don't try to beat the incumbents at their own game. Find your unique strengths, leverage unconventional tactics, and redefine the competitive landscape.

Value Creation Over Value Extraction

Traditional health insurance is often seen as a value extraction model, where profits are prioritized over patient care. CrowdHealth is flipping the script, focusing on value creation at every touchpoint.

  • Member-Centric Design: Every aspect of CrowdHealth, from the user interface to the claims process, is designed with the member in mind. They're constantly gathering feedback and iterating to ensure a seamless and empowering experience.
  • Holistic Wellness: CrowdHealth goes beyond just covering medical expenses; they promote holistic wellness through educational resources, community support, and preventative care initiatives.
  • Financial Alignment: By aligning their financial incentives with those of their members, CrowdHealth is able to create a win-win scenario where everyone benefits from lower costs and better outcomes.

The Takeaway: Don't just focus on extracting value from your customers; focus on creating value for them. Build a business that puts their needs first and delivers a truly exceptional experience.

The Network Effect: Unleashing Exponential Growth

CrowdHealth isn't just a company; it's a network. The more people join, the stronger and more resilient it becomes. This is the essence of the network effect, a powerful phenomenon that can propel a business to exponential growth.

  • Community-Driven Acquisition: CrowdHealth members aren't just customers; they're active participants in the growth of the network. They invite friends and family, share their experiences on social media, and create a ripple effect of organic growth.
  • Collective Bargaining Power: As the network grows, so does its collective bargaining power. CrowdHealth can negotiate better rates with healthcare providers, passing the savings on to members and further fueling growth.
  • Data-Driven Personalization: The larger the network, the richer the data pool. CrowdHealth can leverage this data to personalize the member experience, offer tailored recommendations, and continuously improve their product.

The Takeaway: Don't just build a product; build a network. Cultivate a community of users who are invested in the success of your platform. Leverage the network effect to drive exponential growth and create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Guerrilla Marketing: Hacking the Attention Economy

In a world saturated with marketing messages, CrowdHealth has mastered the art of guerrilla marketing. They've eschewed traditional advertising channels in favor of a more agile, creative, and cost-effective approach.

  • Content as a Currency: CrowdHealth doesn't just create content; they create a conversation. Their blog posts, social media posts, and newsletters aren't just promotional; they're educational, entertaining, and thought-provoking. They add value to their audience's lives and position CrowdHealth as a thought leader in the healthcare space.
  • Influencer Partnerships: CrowdHealth partners with influencers and thought leaders who share their values and mission. These partnerships provide a platform for authentic storytelling and reach a wider audience.
  • Viral Campaigns: CrowdHealth has launched several viral campaigns that have captured the public imagination and generated significant buzz. These campaigns aren't just about promoting the product; they're about sparking a conversation and challenging the status quo.

The Takeaway: Don't just market your product; create a movement. Embrace guerrilla marketing tactics that are creative, unexpected, and impactful. Hack the attention economy by providing value, sparking conversation, and challenging the norms.

Cultural Hacking: Rewriting the Rules of Engagement

CrowdHealth isn't just changing the business model of health insurance; it's hacking the culture of healthcare. They're not just a company; they're a movement, a tribe of individuals united by a shared ethos of empowerment, transparency, and collective action.

  • Community Building: CrowdHealth has created a vibrant online community where members share their stories, offer support, and advocate for change. This sense of belonging fosters loyalty, drives engagement, and fuels word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Empowerment: CrowdHealth members aren't passive consumers; they're active participants in their own health journey. They have a voice in the decision-making process, access to transparent information, and a platform to advocate for their needs.
  • Shared Values: CrowdHealth has built a brand that resonates with people's values. It's not just about health insurance; it's about fairness, transparency, and community. This emotional connection is a powerful driver of loyalty and engagement.

The Takeaway: Don't just sell a product or service; create a culture. Build a brand that resonates with your customers' values and aspirations. Empower them to become active participants in your community.

The Art of Antifragility: Thriving in Chaos

The healthcare industry is a complex and ever-changing landscape. Regulations shift, technologies evolve, and consumer expectations are constantly in flux. To thrive in this environment, businesses need to be antifragile – not just resilient, but able to grow stronger in the face of adversity.

CrowdHealth has embraced this antifragile mindset. They're constantly experimenting, iterating, and adapting to changing circumstances. They're not afraid to make mistakes as long as they learn from them and use them as fuel for growth.

  • Rapid Experimentation: CrowdHealth isn't afraid to try new things, even if they fail. They use a data-driven approach to test hypotheses, gather feedback, and quickly iterate on their product and services.
  • Embracing Feedback: CrowdHealth actively seeks feedback from members, using it to identify pain points, improve the user experience, and build a stronger community.
  • Learning from Failure: CrowdHealth sees failure as an opportunity for growth. They analyze their mistakes, learn from them, and use them to make better decisions in the future.

The Takeaway: Don't be afraid of failure. Embrace it as a learning opportunity. Build a business that is adaptable, resilient, and able to thrive in the face of chaos.

Hacking the Regulatory Landscape

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry, often seen as a minefield of bureaucracy and red tape. But Schoonover and his team have demonstrated that it's possible to navigate this landscape, not by playing by the rules but by rewriting them.

  • Regulatory Judo: Instead of fighting against regulations head-on, CrowdHealth has used them to their advantage. They've identified loopholes and gray areas that allow them to operate outside the traditional insurance framework.
  • Lobbying for Change: CrowdHealth isn't just working within the existing regulatory framework; they're actively pushing for change. They're lobbying lawmakers, educating the public, and advocating for policies that promote innovation and consumer choice.
  • Building Coalitions: CrowdHealth isn't going it alone. They're building coalitions with other healthcare disruptors, patient advocacy groups, and forward-thinking policymakers. By working together, they can amplify their impact and accelerate change.

The Takeaway: Don't let regulations stifle your innovation. Study the regulatory landscape, identify opportunities for disruption, and advocate for policies that align with your vision.

The Future of Disruption: Beyond Healthcare

While CrowdHealth's model is specifically tailored to the healthcare industry, the principles behind it are applicable to any industry ripe for disruption.

Whether you're in finance, education, or transportation, the strategies outlined in this manual can help you challenge the status quo, create a movement, and build a business that truly matters.

  • Identify the pain points: What are the biggest frustrations that customers face in your industry?
  • Challenge the assumptions: What are the outdated beliefs and practices that are holding back progress?
  • Build a community: Create a space where your customers can connect, share their experiences, and advocate for change.
  • Embrace transparency: Be open and honest about your operations, your challenges, and your successes.
  • Leverage data: Use data to gain insights, make informed decisions, and continuously improve your product or service.
  • Embrace experimentation: Don't be afraid to try new things, even if they fail.

The Takeaway: The future of business is about disruption, innovation, and creating value for customers. By following the principles outlined in this manual, you can position your business at the forefront of this revolution.

Final Thoughts

Andy Schoonover and CrowdHealth are more than just a healthcare story; they're a blueprint for the future of entrepreneurship.

They're a reminder that even the most entrenched industries can be disrupted, that even the most powerful incumbents can be challenged, and that even the most complex problems can be solved.

The future belongs to those who are willing to question the status quo, to embrace the unconventional, and to build businesses that truly matter.

It's a future where innovation is prized, where community is king, and where the customer is always at the center.

Are you ready to join the revolution?


If you want to listen to the full podcast, listen on or on YouTube.