Fruiting Bodies and New Business

 

The unmistakable bright yellow fly agaric mushroom stood right in my path as I stepped out for a breath of fresh air in the East Woods last weekend. I had to stop and admire the fantastic color, texture, and symmetry of this fruiting body. Though we usually consider this visible part of the mushroom as the whole plant, in fact it is just the result of a long and arduous process of colonizing the ground with mycelium fibers. Only when ...

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Big Oaks and Life Science Platforms

 

As I watched the twitchy red squirrel gather the few remaining acorns on the ground, I realized that a large portion of the living and dying in the East Woods is dependent on a few keystone species, namely oak, maple and pine trees. These platforms provide food, shelter, environment, and nutrition for dozens of plants, fungi, birds, rodents, and even people (my firewood and maple syrup).

Similarly in the life sciences arena, there are a few significant companies that provide technology ...

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Uneven-Aged Stands and New Revenue

 

On Saturday I was out in the East Woods cutting down the last few trees for next year’s firewood, enjoying the smell of fresh-cut oak mixed with 2 cycle exhaust. Almost all the trees landed exactly as I had planned, except for a few recalcitrant ones that wouldn’t let go of their neighbors’ branches, but that’s another story.

One thing that struck me, though, was that almost all the trees were of a similar age, somewhere around 50-70 years – a ...

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Chickadees, Windows, and Markets

 

I felt bad for the little chickadee that sat dazed and confused after running into my office window yesterday. He thought he had a clear and obvious path to the next pile of tasty seeds, but instead went thud and got a headache.

I thought similar things this week when I spoke with a few companies at the Eastern Analytical Symposium in New Jersey. They all had new or pending products with great hopes of penetrating some very appealing and large ...

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The Art of Surprise

 

When I opened the grill last night, I was surprised to find three little gray mice staring back up at me. Though I was a little startled, I could tell that the pulsating little fur balls got the worst of it. It made me think of when I had been surprised, and how seldom it had happened. If I look at the life science marketplace, it is an even rarer occurrence.

So what is a surprise other than a mismatch between ...

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Rivulets, Diagnostics, and Growth

 

Walking through the East Woods the other day, I noticed dozens of little rivulets running downhill to join up into larger flows. They carried what is left of our winter snow pack (that has yet to really arrive in earnest…). Moving downstream is also a popular activity for many companies that sell research products – they view diagnostics as a neighbor to their current markets, and a profitable one at that.

They are flowing downstream with a few different approaches, and ...

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Log Trucks and New Products

 

As we squeezed by the overloaded log truck on the small road, my buddy said, “That wood’s gotta be worth a lot.” He couldn’t have been further from the truth. Those 4000 board-feet* of red oak will fetch about $2000 delivered to the sawmill. This similar assumption happens when people are developing new products and feel smug in their ownership of a patent or two.

If you trace the journey of a log from its stump to a piece of fine ...

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