Friday, September 29, 2006

"Call these guys...use my name"

Last week, I was one of the sponsors of Toronto Biotech Initiative's second annual Research to Revenue seminar. This was a forum where CEOs, CFOs and CSOs from the biotechnology sector met to discuss and network to drive through their commercialization strategies.

One of the presenters was by Michael Denny, managing partner of Westwind Partners. Michael is a captivating speaker and had some key messages for anyone trying to gain influence.

- are you interested in being #1 or are you serious about being #1? The difference is self-discipline and execution.

- you should have a memorable pitch that sums you or your company up in one sentence. e.g. Chrondrogene is going to diagnose colon cancer from a drop of blood rather than a colonoscopy. [now that's memorable!]

- Michael told a revealing story about a founder of a new Canadian life science company. He was trying to raise capital from American Venture Capitalists. Rather than the standard cold-calls or unsolicited submisssions, he phoned 2 influential friends in New York and Los Angeles. Both gave him phone numbers of key US VC with the instructions "call these guys, use my name." Concurrently, he also sent out a number of unsolicited submissions to other VCs. None of the latter resulted in interviews or investments but the referred VCs ended up in a "pile-on" of capital as they were all competing to invest in his new company. Same company...different response.

What can we all learn from Michael's presentation?

1. Don't waste peoples' time. Get serious about what you want. When I talk about the 4 attributes of "a good guy" - reliability and accountability is the area many people need to improve.

2. If you can't be first - be different.

3. Reputation matters. Being "a good guy" will open doors and may results in millions of dollars. And it's all about POI> People first, objects second, ideas third.

Sign up for for the November 2 talk - practise these concepts and let's figure out a way to keep Canada's knowledge-based companies in Canada!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Left side - Right Side : Idiot or Hypocrite?

Becoming "a good guy" or "a good person" is really the essence of good networking.

Do you want a client, friend or associate to be your advocate? Someone to vouch for you? Open up their Rolodex? Pass along your resume? Attach their reputation to yours? Then you need to exemplify the 4 characteristics of knowledge, personality, reliability and altrusim.

On the other hand, if you want to ensure you never receive good word of mouth - just emulate the characters identified in the recent article by Jessica Leeder and Robert Cribb from the Toronto Star
about driving school instructors with unpaid fines and driving demerits.

One instructor argues that his poor driving record doesn't detract from his ability to teach and inspire others:

"When I'm sitting on the right side of the car, I'm a much different person. When I'm sitting in the driver's seat, I'm just like a normal driver," he said.

I have news for you pal...people talk. And if you're preaching one thing in front of your customers and doing something else in your spare time...then you're vacillating between being a hypocrite and an idiot.

Neither of which makes me your advocate.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lost in Translation

The purpose of networking is to generate a good impression and have people pass you along the line. But the danger of networking via word of mouth is that sometimes your message gets "lost in translation".

When associates say they they would be happy to introduce me to someone, they always ask:

"What do you want me to tell them about you?"

I always respond:

"Just tell them I'm a good guy, I'm an expert in their field and can I chat with them for about 5 minutes on the phone?"

If you ask your friend or associate to explain too much about you... your message may get lost in translation and you will never get that chat!

I used to give you an idea of what happens if you get your friend to translate:

1. Dear Dave,

Dear dave,
I was wondering if you could introduce me to your associate at GSK? I am a hard working person who has a Masters of Biotechnology degree and has a special interest in toxicology. I would like to combine business and science and perhaps get into a business development role iin Ontario or British Columbia. I don;t want to work in a lab as I find the conditions very boring and they do not challenge me much. I haven't had much success getting people to return my phone calls, I think this is because too many people are applying for these positions. This is really urgent as I need to find some work soon and am getting really frustrated. Please also ask your friend if the hiring cycle is now on. Please also tell your friend that I am enthusiastic and also worked for 5 years with a medium sized pharma company in Quebec where I helped develop some early stage generic drugs.

Thanks, Steve

(translate to Chinese)

2. 亲爱的菲, 不知你能支持我在美推出. 我奋斗的人掌握了技术,特别关心程度中毒. 我把科技企业或进入企业发展的作用和不列颠哥伦比亚省Iin. 我穿上. t要在实验室工作,我感到非常沉闷的情况,我不挑战很大. 我没什么成功使人们回到我的电话,就是因为太多人申请该职位. 这是我迫切需要尽快找到工作,让我很失望. 也请朋友提出,现在雇用周期. 也请告诉你们的朋友,我也积极努力,5年中型公司1049pharma,我培养出一些早期非专利药物. 由于Steve

(translate back to English)

3. Dear Philippines, launched in the United States, if you will support me. I who have struggled to master the technology, in particular concern poisoning. I role in the development of science and technology enterprises or enterprises and the Province of British Columbia, Iin. I wear. T to work in the laboratory, I am very boring, I am not an enormous challenge. I have nothing to ensure the success of returning my calls. This is because too many people for the jobs. This is the urgent need to find jobs as quickly as possible, so I am very disappointed. Please also note that the employment cycle now. also tell your friend, I would make positive efforts to medium-sized companies 1049pharma five years, I was able to cultivate some of the earliest generic drugs. As Steve

Monday, September 11, 2006

Putting things in perspective

Given today's date - I thought you might want to read a note I sent to my running class. While you are reading it, substitute your current goal for "marathon" and you'll find it helps put things in perspective.