Entrepreneurial Advice from Nobel Laureate

On January 28, 2011, in Commercialisation, Nobel Prize, by Tan Yinglan

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Nobel Laureate Robert Grubbs and founder of many enterprises (Materia.) Many gems of insights from the dinner:

Founders with a scientific background and no business backgroud often destroy business value by insisting on taking care of the business. Scientists who know the technology needs to find someone who knows the market. Technology is an asset. One would need to flip around inward focus on technology to a outward focus on markets.

Scientists who start companies are often frustrated at science reaching limits commercialization. It is also common for large companies who license the intellectual property to often file a few patent but end up messing up the long term potential of the research.

Talent and motivation are two factors necessary for success. Of the two, motivation is more important. You see a lot of wasted talent. However, if you work hard enough, you may get lucky.

Great inventors dont follow markets, they understand people’s needs and create needs

The analogy of a Ph.D training for business is that Ph.D is trained to identify and solve problems. A good CEO do not take engineering solution off the shelf. They often do not take views at face value but dig deeper. The salary of a Ph.D is lower than a MBA initially but they catch up.

When a civilization transits from living off the land to living off the brain, the economic growth takes off.

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