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Lessons from a startup CEO (about life)


Learning and applying what we learn is fundamental to cells, genes, and humans. If we don’t learn, eventually it affects us. And it’s important to reflect on how we learn.

If we play sports, we may learn about sports and life through the lens of the sport. A football player learns toughness. A skier learns to plan ahead and be flexible because of the conditions. A baseball player learns to think through scenarios. Similarly, we learn about our jobs (and life) through the types of information we are provided and how that information is presented. An Uber driver learns of the interconnectedness. A woman works at the factory who bottles drinks that the doctor buys to fuel him give a patient best advice. A barista learns about the preferences of his customers and to how to make that individual feel special. As a CEO of a biotech startup, I learn about life through these experiences.

First, I have to be flexible because whatever concrete settled underneath (whatever I learned and believed was true 24 hours ago), may not be all true so I have to be willing to jump and have one leg walk on one plank while the second leg walks on the other and I pray/hope there are no more planks to straddle but tomorrow there is.

Second, because I’m in a company dealing with gene editing, I think about data and how we decipher it. Are all chunks of knowledge sitting in database of rows and columns and is our job to quickly find the “cell” that magically unlocks the next?

Third, how do I treat each person from accomplished and likely wealth venture capitalist and a college intern in a way that makes them feel special while I connect the dots (like an Uber driver) and be honest with myself and what we can offer?

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