Posted by MedTech Expert on 2008-03-02
Tags: Preparation Vision
Silicon Valley is where most everyone's goal is to be wildly successful in changing the world - creating a runaway success and being rewarded with a big payday. All know the odds, and the daily struggle of insatiable demands for the next big thing with the very least investment, and industry-wide contempt for those who have failed. Despite this, all are driven to grasp for the shiny brass ring that's always, though sometimes barely, out of reach. It is an environment of soaring hopes, crashing defeats, and maddening near-misses.
True out-of-box successes provide people in the business (both entrepreneurs and VCs) with a wonderfully rich smorgasbord of opportunities for bitterness, resentment, despair, and self-loathing. These successes go against the grain and were, early in their development cycle, disdained as not having the right stuff. They represent lost investment opportunities to those who passed (believing they were smarter than those who invested) and those who viewed them as non-threatening competitive businesses (believing a different view of the world). The same old dramas of love, fear, loss, anger, desire, ambition and envy are played out here.
In this business, there is no defined path for navigating the entrepreneurial career. Triumph and failure follow one another- in fact, feed one another - in a maddening erratic way. This is a notoriously fickle industry, where you can earn vast sums for a few years, then face a sudden and inexplicable loss of marketability, followed by a severe cash drought. Wondering whether to continue struggling against repeated rejections, chronic frustration, and financial hardship on the off chance of "making it," or else giving up and getting into something, anything more dependable - is the name of the game here.
Despite this, entrepreneurs never lose their yearning to change the world and be entrepreneurs. While they love the perceived freedom, they live in the constant state of self-consciousness (they may deny it), feeling their entire worth as a human being is being judged by people who are risk averse, lack vision, and not technically one's peers.
Fortunately for society, these talented people, once having tasted the wild nectar of forging a new path and trying to create a new world, find it almost impossible to quit the field, even when the odds are stacked against them.PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by MedTech Expert on 2008-04-30
Tags: Venture Business Vision
"Science Lessons: What the Business of BioTech Taught Me About Management" by Gordon Binder, Harvard Business School Press.
The firm (Amgen) was founded in 1980 by six venture capitalists who put up $81,000 each. Their strategy was, by today's standards, incredibly broad: to exploit the new science of genetic engineering for human health...Amgen consisted then of just three people and "couldn't point to any products or patents, only a plan."
One of the books central tenets is that there's never enough money.
Amgen made forays into various fields, from porcine growth hormone to detergent enzymes. None panned out. The company's central focus, however, remained human therapeutics, where it had five potential products. Of these, Binder describes erythropoietin (EPO) as "the runt of the litter."
The rest is history as EPO went on to become Amgen's runaway success making Amgen one of the most successful biotech start-ups of its day.
You can read more of David's review in the current issue of "The Journal of Life Science." It is clear that those building companies in the early 80s were a different breed. Have we become too institutionalized"PRIVATE: Members Only