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Scientist Entrepreneur

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Obviously, the article below was written by a non-scientist! I outlined my arguments in bold.

Retrieved from

How to Recognize a Scientist Entrepreneur

Some scientists are interested strictly in science. Others have a propensity for entrepreneurship. Here’s how to tell if you are a scientist who has entrepreneurial interests and potential.
Scientific development and entrepreneurship go hand in hand.

But most entrepreneurs don’t have a background in science. They rely on entrepreneurially-minded scientists for the expertise their goals require. So how do you spot one of these scientist-entrepreneurs when they come along?

Ideally, you are looking for someone with one foot in science and the other in business. The problem is that you will rarely encounter someone with both a PhD and an MBA. It’s usually not that clear cut. In other words, you will need to keep your eyes open for scientists who have the personality and characteristics to help you transform the science into a marketable product.
I have met those with both a PhD and an MBA, my mentor is a living example.

Above all else, scientist-entrepreneurs are innovative. Rather than trying to do what everyone else is doing, these folks are always searching for ways to improve on current designs and take them one step further than everyone else. Since innovation is an entrepreneurial trait, you shouldn’t have a hard time noticing innovation when you see it in someone else.

Along with innovation, scientist-entrepreneurs embrace risk when necessary. Scientists are often risk-averse, so when you see one who is willing to take risks, it’s usually an indication that they are suited to the high-risk climate of today’s business world. Scientific pursuits are among the higher risk career, you could trying to find an answer to a problem for days, months, and years.

“Sometimes, after two years of hard work, you just have to accept that a project is not going anywhere.” Kaspar Locher. Assuming on average people start to work and retire at the age of 25 and 65 respectively, each of us has only 40 years of working. A loss of 2 years mean 5% of our productive life is gone!

If your scientist finds timelines and schedules intimidating, then he probably isn’t a good candidate for an entrepreneurial endeavor. Imagine telling a bank or an investor that you need a $1 million to create a product with an indeterminate target roll-out date. They would laugh you out of the meeting room because business doesn’t work that way. However, if you partner with a scientist who scoffs at schedules, that is the kind of scenario you can expect to endure on a daily basis.

Science and applied science are two different things. Although a discovery may be groundbreaking from a scientific perspective, it’s of no use to you unless you are able to comprehend the full range of its commercial applications. Effective scientist-entrepreneurs appreciate science for its own sake, but also understand that the goal is to create commercially successful applications from the research. Be on the lookout for scientists who consistently engage in research likely to produce commercial applications.


The process of taking a product from the research lab to store shelves hinges on collaboration. Individuals who spend significant amounts of time alone in a lab are not always the best collaborators. Make sure your candidate has a history of successful collaboration and understands that the highly collaborative nature of the work ahead. Unlike the past century, it is not possible to be a loner scientist, the only way to survive is to collaborate, collaborate, and collaborate.
Business Sense
It isn’t necessary for a scientist-entrepreneur to be an expert in the nuances of business. However, he at least needs to understand the basics of business and demonstrate a willingness to learn more along the way. A scientist who loathes the mechanisms of free market capitalism is clearly not a good candidate for an entrepreneurial partnership. Sciences are the business of the scientists. Scientists have to sell their findings to their peers, journals, media, funding bodies, etc. Unknown to the people outside the field, sometimes you are fighting a zero-sum game in sciences. Fortunately, I have met many values-upholding scientists.


Written by blueroselady

March 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

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