By Brian Fahey

The Merits of Pessimism

“Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” — G.B. Stern

I’ve heard it said that one of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can have is an abnormal capacity for optimism. This makes sense: in an environment fraught with incredible risk, large-scale uncertainty, and emotional distress, there may be nothing more valuable than optimism and perseverance. Founding or leading a start-up consumes your life, in essence it is your life, and you absolutely need to believe that your immense effort will someday translate into something tangible. But though profound optimism is a priceless asset, a team composed entirely of optimists may be one that is incomplete or flawed. Read more

Links edition: Lessons for the founder

For me, the hardest part of contributing to a blog is the idea-generation phase, or more precisely, the ‘what can I write about that anybody else is going to want to read?’ phase. Perhaps I’m overly hard on myself, but I struggle with this quite a bit (suggestions, anyone?). In other words, the smart money was on me copping-out and producing a ‘links’ post early in my blogging career. As a placeholder while I think of a new topic to write about, I will cleverly buy time by linking to other authors who have some interesting thoughts worthy of mass-appeal. I’m confident that these articles/blogs are so good, that in the end nobody will notice that I only generated about three sentences of original content for this post. These folks can all write better than me, anyway. These are my favorite pieces that I’ve come across recently (most were originally linked to by the Venture Capital Dispatch page, associated with the Wall Street Journal). Read more

The Tricky Side of Tackling Latent Clinical Needs

There may be nothing more exciting for a medical device entrepreneur than the discovery of a latent clinical need.  But not long after the throbbing from the over-zealous celebratory high-fives has subsided, an uphill battle generally awaits the clever innovators. For whatever reason, the tough part about working on latent needs doesn’t get a lot of attention. To that end, I thought that it might be an interesting topic for discussion, and I could begin my tossing in my own $0.02.

To take a step back, it might be useful to define what (at least in my mind) a latent clinical need is: a compelling clinical problem that is generally overlooked or undetected by the medical device community. Like many things in life, a great latent need is often obvious in retrospect — the true genius lies in the insight or viewpoint that drives the discovery process. Read more

Starting Your Own Company: Why It’s Hard and Why It’s Worth It

Starting a company is like playing Frogger: though the goal is well-defined, the obstacles are constantly changing and you have to take one step at a time.

Life for a young entrepreneur isn’t exactly glamorous. In fact, for a young innovator with admittedly minimal practical experience, it can be downright draining. Don’t let the legends confuse you;  You’re not Mark Zuckerberg, and you’re not going to stroll into a venture capital firm at age 20, wearing pajamas, and raise millions of dollars. Your age and lack of experience are strikes against you, and no matter how qualified you think you are, you’ll have to work twice as hard to convince anyone that your ideas are well-construed and even remotely legitimate.

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