Mind to Market

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Three (or Four) P's of Entrepreneurship

The Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) convened an all-star cast of Colorado biotech entrepreneurs yesterday morning for a Q&A session. On the panel were Richard Duke, President of Apoplogic, Larry Gold, CEO of SomaLogic, Steve Orndorff, President of Accera, Tim Rodell, President of GlobeImmune, and Jack Wheeler, CMO of MicroPhage.

All five were serial entrepreneurs; they had endured the highs and lows of entrepreneurship multiple times and had lived to tell about it. What does it take to be an entrepreneur? Jack presented his "three P's of entrepreneurship": patience, persistence and perseverance. To this Steve added a fourth P: passion. Since persistence and perseverance seem to be synonyms perhaps we should substitute passion for perseverance.

Patience is good, you've got to wait for the right opportunity, not act simply because of the lack of time (which is synonymous for money for the most part). You must persist in your endeavor despite obstacles that will indeed arise. If you tend to avoid difficulties and rejections, entrepreneurship is not the path for you. And what carries you through the difficult times is a true belief in what you're doing; a passionate belief in the product or technology.

When it came to what the biggest stumbling blocks to success were, most stated the technical hurdles they had to overcome. Larry's company had overcome those hurdles and was now facing an even more daunting challenge: the U.S. healthcare system. How to get payers to pay for new diagnostic tests? Although the life sciences industry can be very entrepreneurial and open to new ideas and technologies, the healthcare industry is much different and imposes many obstacles for new products.

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