Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dr. Joseph Kim on biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship

I can't take any credit here. Sometimes I like to blog about my namesake since I have such a common name. Joseph Kim is a very common name.

Well, Dr. J. Joseph Kim, the CEO of Inovio, spoke at Thunderbird about his remarkable entrepreneurial story. I hope that someday I may also have an entrepreneurial story to tell.

Dr. Kim primarily spoke about vaccine technology and DNA vaccines. He also shared some of his views on entrepreneurship:
• The importance of trust in business, especially in new ventures. How successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with people they trust and who don’t need to be monitored and controlled (”he’s running out of friends to hire”)
• The importance of a quality education (MIT and Penn in his case) not only as a source of knowledge, but as a source of mentors and friends
• The intrinsic value of failure in entrepreneurship. The odds are always against the entrepreneur. For every successful venture there may be dozen failures. And every successful entrepreneur has learned to deal with failure and use failure as learning
• How he’s main drive as an entrepreneur is to “have an impact”. One needs not be ashamed of profits. Profits drive business, and without business there would not be much technological progress (governments and NGOs have not proven too effective at producing new technologies and drugs). But at the end of the day, it is the passion for the product, the innovation, and the impact one has in the world that must drive the entrepreneur.
• Business leaders need to ask themselves whether the world would be any different if their business didn’t exist. If the answer is no, they’d better think about doing something else.
To read the full story on the Thunderbird website, click here.

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