Sometimes people make simple things complex. However, most of the time we make complex things impossible. George Whitesides has a knack for making complex things seem easy. He is a professor of chemistry at Harvard and a serial entrepreneur. Whitesides co-founded 12 companies which at one point had a combined market capitalization of over $20 billion. These companies included Genzyme, GelTex, Theravance, Surface Logix, Nano-Terra, and WMR Biomedical.
In a post, William Crawford references Whitesides talk on “Challenges to Successful Innovation and Translation” of medical research where he outlined “Whitesides Rules for Biotech Entrepreneurs” or “Uncle George’s Homey Rules for Entrepreneurs”. These 14 simple rules are, well… simple, but like viewing life in a rear-view mirror, some of these may be seem obvious as you read them but they were most likely borne through adversity.
For instance, rule #10 “Regulatory Agencies are Motivated to Avoid Risk. Nobody ever lost their job for not approving a product” For the biotech entrepreneur, the lesson is, when developing and testing your product, be sure to plan on examining every reasonable risk imaginable…and then find a few more”. The FDA is a risk-averse agency by nature. Help them do their job by appropriately removing the guesswork from as many product risks as reasonably possible.