Monday, April 03, 2006

Guest Blogger #1 - Harry Ross

I was recently asked one of those questions that at the same time is both incredibly simple and complex: In a few paragraphs what would you tell someone who is thinking of jumping in and doing their first start up company? Certain aspects are obvious. Do the appropriate research. Make sure what you are offering is not just unique (technology, marketing, price, IP, etc.) but realistically achievable in a realistic time frame with realistic resources.

Almost by definition, it has to be risky. If it was easy it would likely have already been done or wouldn’t have great intrinsic value. Accepting this risk doesn’t mean you can suspend belief on basics or be reckless. The risks need to be identified and mitigated as intelligently as possible. What if the technology fails its first (or second or fifth) trial? What if funding runs short or doesn’t materialize at the expected times? What if competition arises from an unexpected quarter? These all do and will happen. Expect setbacks and failure but resolve to overcome them. They may have to do with the technology; they may have to do with people.

Surround yourself with the best people possible. No company is built around a single individual. Mediocre partners or employees are often worse then leaving the position empty. Make sure that the individuals share enough of the common goal to avoid conflict on direction. Independent thought is critical with the understanding that it facilitates not distracts from the process. A good team can overcome technology sets backs but the inverse is rarely true.

6 comments:

joseph c. said...

Dr. Ross --

I suppose these issues are characteristic of all start-ups, not just in biotech. My experience with IT start-ups was for all intents and purposes, the same. Someone had the seed of an idea and engaged others with like energy and mind to execute the idea. Start-ups are living (and dying organisms) made up of many organelles. The nucleus forms the core values, the group's DNA and as the organism grows, differentiates, and specialises (evolves) a greater need arises for specialized units. Perhaps, since the mitochondria is the 'powerhouse of the cell,' it reperesents that much needed 'cash-injection.' However, I may be misrepresenting the mitochondria -- for it has evolved much earlier than the nucleus. Forgive me for extending the metaphor - it is not often that I have the opportunity to respond to such an important figure as yourself.

One question: What is your opinion about loyalty to your core team, versus searchin outside of the start-up team for fresh opinions? I find that in most organizations, the ones that work the best are open to change and will often do away with loyalty for the good and direction of the start-up through buy-outs, firings, or attrition through competition - What is your take on this? Sometimes there are individuals of the original team that aren't performing poorly, but, they aren't performing as well as some new blood with specialized skills and ambition? Would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Very nice! I found a place where you can
make some nice extra cash secret shopping. Just go to the site below
and put in your zip to see what's available in your area.
I made over $900 last month having fun!
make extra money

Anonymous said...

Very nice! I found a place where you can
make some nice extra cash secret shopping. Just go to the site below
and put in your zip to see what's available in your area.
I made over $900 last month having fun!
make extra money

Anonymous said...

Nice site!
[url=http://mqhsrxtw.com/lvgy/fqjm.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://qmmqucya.com/zlbo/jscg.html]Cool site[/url]

Anonymous said...

Great work!
My homepage | Please visit

Anonymous said...

Great work!
http://mqhsrxtw.com/lvgy/fqjm.html | http://qbbglpzt.com/ftzj/rctt.html