Gregory Buehler, head of customer experience and digital products at Pebble Health, embraces working at the company’s Seattle office.
He loves the productive cadence of teammates coming and going from Capitol Hill, and the chatter of mission-based collaboration floating above the wooden floors. In the past year of conversations, Buehler and his peers have learned much about Pebble Health’s path forward — but two primary lessons rose to the surface. First, effective communication is key. Second, the power of focus is unimpeachable.
“Healthcare can be an intimidating topic,” Buehler told Built In. “We’ve put a lot of effort into making sure our communications — from apps to emails to member guides — are clear and concise.”
Focus, Buehler believes, takes these efforts to the next level. “We earn the trust to execute our long-term ambitions by focusing on a specific set of products and delivering those exceptionally well now,” he said.
Pebble Health’s laser focus is sharpened by its company mission: to empower startup founders to provide quality health benefits to their employees.
“Healthcare is one of the defining challenges of our era,” Buehler said. Long term, Pebble Health aims to help millions of Americans gain access to quality healthcare by lowering costs and bolstering member experience.
To mobilize Pebble Health’s vision, Buehler leads the customer experience and digital products teams. He also serves teams like onboarding, customer success and content to create cohesive experiences across the organization.
Built In sat down with Pebble Health’s employee No. 2 — “As employee No. 1 never ceases to remind me,” Buehler joked — to learn more about how the company delves into the nuances of health coverage to bring value to its customers, both online and off.
What gave rise to this project? What impact will this product launch have on the business or its customers?
Healthcare spending is almost 20 percent of our GDP, and it’s a complex system with many players, both public and private. As a mission-driven company, having an impact starts with giving startup founders and entrepreneurs the ability to offer best-in-class health benefits to their employees.
At the company level, we help startups stand up and administer benefits on par with Amazon and Google, at the cost of off-the-shelf options. At the member level, we make the end-to-end experience of finding and getting care as convenient and easy to understand as possible.
What role did you play in developing and launching the product?
Our product development process is very collaborative: Product, engineering and design are all involved in each step of the process. We write and review documents — one-pagers, PRDs, tech specs — in the early stages to refine our approach up front.
In terms of our tech stack, our backend is built on a modern Go-gRPC stack, and our frontend is built on React. We use Go because it is fast, easy-to-learn and has a relatively comprehensive set of tools and libraries. We also have several experienced engineers that are familiar with it. Using React enables us to build a single app and leverage that across all platforms, including iOS, Android and the web.
What obstacles did you encounter along the way?
Product development and company-building is fundamentally a team sport. If we’re trying to play the long game, there are going to be many wins and losses along the way.
As a product leader, I emphasize that it’s an iterative process. Each setback is an opportunity to learn and get better. It’s all about taking on those kinds of shared challenges with a spirit of optimism and a sense of humor.
When you think of other companies in your industry, how does your employer compare when it comes to how you build and launch new products?
At its core, Pebble is a technology company. What makes Pebble different comes down to people and culture.
Our hiring bar is elevated: We’re focused on finding exceptional people who can step in and join a high-performing team without missing a beat. The Pebbles I’m working with everyday are very good at what they do and expect the same from you.
We all act as owners, and attention to detail permeates everything we do — even in our casual conversations. In fact, we may have had several passionate discussions about the best design and color for chairs to put in our office’s shared eating space.
What’s different about your workplace?
Joining an early stage startup is fundamentally making a bet on its founders. Manoj Pinna and Vinay Reddy had both built successful companies at scale prior to Pebble and were looking for a hard problem to solve with real impact.
Our founders are close friends who have known each other for more than twenty years. I often call this out to candidates for two reasons: First, Manoj and Vinay are happy to work together, which sets a baseline for our everyday atmosphere.
Second, they are great at working through difficult decisions. This kind of direct communication is a core part of how we work together.