Editors Note: This content was contributed by Strainprint Technologies.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re selling pickaxes and dynamite to panhandlers during the gold rush or selling market research and patient engagement software during the green rush,” said David Berg, Chief Technology Officer of Strainprint. “The lessons are universal.”
Berg finds that when it comes to business, everything that is old is new again.
“Throughout history, we’ve seen recurring behavioural, technological and business themes. The key is identifying these themes and not ignoring their calling.” He continued by applying his technology experience to his work in the cannabis industry.
Lessons Learned in the Y2K Bubble Burst
Berg has more than two decades of experience in the technology industry, where he helped build large infrastructure and security projects for Fortune 500 companies, defense and aerospace contractors, educational institutions and government organizations. He describes the moment he met Strainprint founder Stephanie Karasick and CEO Andrew Muroff as serendipitous, leading him to dedicate his career to developing Strainprint, a cannabis intelligence company that generates user data about medical cannabis strain efficacy for medical and research purposes through a free patient app and data and analytics tool. Most recently, they launched Strainprint Community, a real-time, online platform that provides education and support for the growing cannabis community
“When I entered the workforce, it was the end of the nineties, right at the peak of the boom.” Berg recalls. “It was a unique time in history – and as we all know everything came to a massive halt after the Y2K bubble burst. While an extraordinary amount of technology was developed during this time frame, there was also a lot of waste and a general sense of inflated value that ultimately hurt and undermined the capabilities of software companies who had been thriving. I saw a lot of companies fall as fast as they rose, which was unfortunate but ultimately and learned a lot from their experiences.” He carried over these lessons to his work at Strainprint.
Berg describes the importance of building strong foundations for any company. “Form follows function,” he said as he recounts Strainprint’s early days. “When we set out to build Strainprint we spent a year in stealth mode. During this time we built out a lot of core scalable infrastructure that would be the key to the growth of our company.” The result was a technology infrastructure designed to empower cannabis users, medical professionals and researchers with more than 38 million data points collected on cannabis chemovar (strain) efficacy for more than 350 medical conditions with 60 associated symptoms.
Personal Motivations for a Foray into Cannabis
Like many people, Berg’s personal journey with cannabis began with recreational use as a teenager, but with the birth of his second son, the concept of cannabis as medicine began to take on new meaning.
Living with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, Berg’s son relies on expensive IV infused biological drugs to help control his disease. While in remission, the long-term use of his medications could lead to lymphoma, a risk Berg and his family aren’t willing to take.
While developing Strainprint, Berg began to recognize the potential of cannabis therapies for diseases like Crohn’s.
“Over the past five years, I’ve had numerous conversations with my son’s pediatric gastroenterologist, and have not been successful in convincing the physician to
endorse a CBD-backed therapy,” he explained, “Each time I brought up the topic, I was told that there was not enough clinical or empirical research to prove cannabis as a reasonable therapy, let alone that a physician would feel comfortable prescribing to a child.”
“As a business, community, and the world’s largest longitudinal medical cannabis study, Strainprint seeks to change this “We are a company founded by patients, for patients,” said Berg. “We’re here to drive the key research and answer questions for patients, physicians, and the research community.”
A Bright Future for Cannabis and Technology
“The technology industry has a strong foundation of building and establishing infrastructure,” he continued.“Strainprint allows us to use technology to discover the way the human condition interacts with cannabis.”
As Berg describes it, Strainprint is about building a series of tools that people enjoy using because they’re improving their quality of life, helping to use cannabis in a way that represents being mindfully medicated. User feedback is key for Berg, who leads the roll-out of updates for theapp based on user feedback every two weeks.
Strainprint’s work is a fine balance of building and retaining a community of users. At a growing at a rate of 20 per cent new users per month, the team continues to manage partnerships and relationships with medical professionals, researchers, labs, licensed producers, processors and customers alike to ensure that Strainprint’s data is utilized to drive research on cannabis.
“Our job is to build an understanding of the ways the human body and its endocannabinoid system reacts to various chemovars and composition,” Berg explained.“As we continue to track patient interaction over the coming years, in line with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes program, we will identify core areas that will drive medical discovery and research.”
Berg is particularly excited about the recent launch of Strainprint Community, a place where the canna-curious and experienced patients can co-exist and discuss any cannabis or treatment-oriented topic.
The community, which is directly integrated with the Strainprint mobile app, provides a foundation for education, support and expanded information based on the most up-to-date data findings.
So what’s next for Strainprint? “We will continue to study product use and user interaction so that we can guide the next generation of medical discovery and drug development.”
In addition, Berg’s technology and programming team has been hard at work developing new tools surrounding cannabis use data. “We have four new products that will be launching into the market over the next three months and we’ll be announcing some groundbreaking academic and industry-led research studies along with findings.”
When asked what he loves about his work, Berg said, “I feel very blessed to be able to combine my past experience with the meaningful and pioneering work I’m doing now. It has a very personal implication for me and my family, what else could I possibly ask for?”