Monday, January 31, 2011

Always make the most from the least!

I attended a retreat at Stanford University this weekend.  This retreat was about my least favorite current project, so I was not excited to go.  One of the presentations was by a Stanford professor that used to work in industry.  He said that he is always asked about the biggest difference between Industry and Academia.  He said that Academia makes the least from the most and Industry makes the most from the least.

At first pass, this seems to be about money and backwards.  Industry definitely has more capital devoted to their projects than Academia.  In Academia you are working with taxpayer dollars (not in every case, but in most cases either state or federal funding) so you are expected to generate the most data with the least money.

However, he explained that in Industry you have one idea that works kinda well.  But you push that one idea as far as it will possibly go.  You use that idea to treat multiple diseases or develop multiple tests.  You make the most from the least.  In Academia you have a great idea and you generate incredible data and you write one paper and then you move on. "You are only as good as your next paper." You make the least (one paper) from the most (great idea).

I really took this message to heart.  I want to make this my new motto.  I want to live my life this way!

Always make the most from the least!

What more can a person want?

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