Monday, July 28, 2008

Hanging Up Stethoscopes For Laptops

Arnold Kim's story is only indirectly tied to medicine, but I think it is striking nonetheless. As a recent article noted, Kim has made his "hobby" his full-time job and decided to stop practicing medicine:

Jay Paul for The New York Times

For eight years, Arnold Kim has been trading gossip, rumor and facts about Apple, the notoriously secretive computer company, on his Web site, It had been a hobby — albeit a time-consuming one — while Dr. Kim earned his medical degree. He kept at it as he completed his medical training and began diagnosing patients’ kidney problems. Dr. Kim’s Web site now attracts more than 4.4 million people and 40 million page views a month, according to Quantcast, making it one of the most popular technology Web sites.

It is enough to make Dr. Kim hang up his stethoscope. This month he stopped practicing medicine and started blogging full time.

While many people may say 'Oh cool' and move on, if you really think about it, this is quite unbelievable. Imagine if 50 years ago, a doctor had left medicine to write poetry. Some may have praised it, but no one would have seen it as a lucrative career move. This speaks volumes about both the rise of network economies as well as the fall in medicine's perceived value as a career. It no longer carries the prestige or the financial renumeration to even compete with a blog (albeit a pretty darn good one)!

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  1. Actually, W. Somerset Maugham left medicine early on to become a world-traveling writer. He was smart and came from a wealthy background, though. He made some key financial investments that supported him throughout his interesting life.

    W. Carlos Williams is one of the few writers I can think of who stayed in medicine for the long haul. Most docs who hit paydirt in some other field leave medicine (I've done the research on this). The guys who founded BioWare are family docs (who still practice in their spare time for fun!). One of the richest men in North America is a former family doc who began to collect domain names while in residency. Michael Crichton left medicine to write novels. Khaled Hosseini recently left his general internist practice in California to do other things and write full-time. (Previously, he would get up in the wee hours of the morning, make a pot of black coffee, and write for a few hours before going to work. He wrote the Kite Runner in one year with this method. Amazing, no?)

    Dude, I just called you and you weren't there.

    Your classmate

  2. Interesting stuff. I knew about Crichton, and feel like I knew about Williams at one point, but was unaware of Hosseini. I think having doctors who work in other fields is a net plus for physicians because they serve as ambassadors for the profession. Plus, heh, I'm kind of jealous of their multi-talentedness

    Really? I don't recall seeing a missed call from you. Then again, your post is 2 weeks old...

  3. Really the outrageous blog and article is really interesting but don't you think that in a world of fast changing technology, products, services and companies are continually being evaluated.



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