The two former Facebookers, who built the social network’s photo-sharing application, launched GoodRx last year. The site and mobile app allow users to search a database of 400 million prescription-drug prices to find the best deals.
EMBRACE A MESS
Hirsch: People at Facebook are attracted to messy problems. If you can take a problem, listen to the real issues, and find a way to dumb it down to something that can impact people’s lives, you have a solution. People were talking about how they couldn’t afford their prescription drugs. So we built GoodRx.
Marlette: There’s a saying in Silicon Valley: If you’re not embarrassed about your product, you’ve spent too much time on it. You build, test the product a little, launch, then figure out what people want. At GoodRx, we’ve taken a development approach of "Let’s do a good job and just get it out there." We don’t need to perfect so much behind the scenes.
SMALL GROUPS WIN
Marlette: When we created the photo platform for Facebook, it was just a front-end engineer and the two of us in one room. With GoodRx, we’re developing in tandem all the time and making fluid decisions. Our iPhone app was not the result of a huge project. Our engineer just wanted to learn how to develop an iPhone app.
Hirsch: Facebook has persevered because it kept true to sheer utility. It’s not a coincidence that the home page of GoodRx is yellow: We’re trying to evoke the idea of the Yellow Pages. There’s a cleanliness and a focus. You could step back 20 feet and still understand what the site means to do.
Marlette: If you look at how Facebook was designed, it’s focused on putting the most important thing front and center, and stripping the rest out. For us, we distilled the process of having a prescription, deciding where to go, understanding forms, dosages, and insurance into just one function. It’s simply a logo and a search box.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.