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an inspiring and entertaining talk

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A couple of nights ago I had the opportunity to listen to Dr.Michael Phelps from UCLA. He is the inventor of an imaging technique popularly known as PET (Positron Emission Tomography). Since its invention, it has been used 37 million times worldwide to help  detect tumors in vivo!

His early years were steeped in tragedy. He lost his two young siblings in a fire. His mother had 50% burns on her body. Due to the circumstances, he was given up for adoption to a neighbor. He was a boxer and a welterweight champion, till a coma suffered in a car accident put paid to his dreams of a boxing career. A friend coaxed him into attending college (“with the promise of women, sex, and booze….”).  Eventually, he obtained a PhD in Chemistry and started out a as faculty somewhere in Washington State. From here, he went on to describe the journey that lead to the invention (a key ingredient was passion …. with a little help from friends along the way). All this culminated in tremendous monetary success (he sold his company to Siemens for, I think, a couple of billion dollars).

He is a great speaker, peppering his talk with lots of well placed humor . He was speaking to an audience of wannabe entrepreneurs as well as seasoned entrepreneurs. His messaging was near perfect. In the space of 45 minutes, he told a beautiful story of tragedy, resilience, serendipity, entrepreneurship, innovation, success, humor, goodwill, passion, and friendships. This is a talk that will stay with me for a long time.

He ended the talk with this joke (not original) – I have reproduced it from this site

This Middle aged man was going through his mid-life crisis so he went out and bought him a new bright red Porsche. So he decided to take his new Porsche on a test drive down the interstate one day.He got up to about 85 mph and all of a sudden he saw this highway patrolman with his blue lights and siren blaring coming toward him. He decided he and his new Porsche would outrun the officer. So the man sped up to 95 mph,and then to 105 mph, but the patrolman was still coming.The man finally came to his senses and said to himself, “This is crazy, I could go to jail for this,” so he pulled over. The patrolman came to the car and told the man, “It has been a long week , it’s Friday and I am ready to go home.. If you can give me one excuse that I have never heard before , I will let you go.”

So the man told the officer, “Last night my wife ran off with a cop and when I seen you chasing me I thought you were trying to bring her back.”

The officer looked at the man and said, “Have a great weekend pal !”


Written by asterix98

May 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Launch of a new venture

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I jumped off the cliff, so to speak, at the end of February 2011. I have embarked on a new venture, mpallette. It has been a very rewarding five months so far, filled with everything from meeting lots of interesting people, continuously evolving product and business plans, the complexity of evaluating multiple markets and their unique needs, distilling one’s value proposition with crystal clarity, persuading, influencing and winning people over to your point of view, raising funds, the list is a fascinating one. In subsequent blogs, I will try and catalog, in more detail, this sojourn(hopefully it will be a long and successful one). I will try and bring the sense of excitement, frustration, and sometimes downright self-doubt that characterizes the journey.

For now, I can say, the space I am going to operate in, for the forseeable future, is at the confluence of technology + healthcare. There is opportunity for tremendous value creation. It gets even better. If I can persevere, with a little bit of luck, there is the potential to change the way medicine is practiced, in that, there will be unprecedented access to fine grained data : at the individual level, at the family level, and so on, all the way to the world population level.

This has the twin benefits of making money (who doesn’t want to) while more importantly, influencing every human life, in a positive way, by enabling the delivery of better healthcare, thereby helping every individual protect their most important asset – their health.

Now, the challenge is to deliver on that vision………

Written by asterix98

July 10, 2011 at 1:26 am

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