Finding Success: The Keys to Entrepreneurship
On Tuesday night, October 13th, Dr. Barry Libin has revealed how to start a business and achieve success in entrepreneurship. Libin is a successful entrepreneur, doctor, playwright, composer and author, and there is a story behind each of his achievements.
He received his DDS and MSD from the NYU medical school, and his M.S. in Management and Policy from Stony Brook University. Dr. Libin led a periodontics and oral medicine practice in New York before deciding to pursue his dreams and aspirations in pharmaceutical research. He was the founder and chairman of BML Pharmaceuticals before its multi-million dollar sale, but his big break was the project he started and saw to completion, the Sustained Nano Systems Company (SNS).
The concept behind SNS is essentially implanting compressed nanoparticles that contain some kind of medication into a patient and then letting the nanoparticle pill melt away, releasing the medication slowly but surely into the patient. Now, with this genius concept, a patient need not remember to take their prescribed medication. One implant can last weeks, months, years - virtually for as long as the medicine must be prescribed – based on how much the nanoparticles are compressed!
Dr. Libin came up with this idea like any entrepreneur would have. As he explained, an entrepreneur is constantly ruminating over whatever objective he or she has, always thinking how to capitalize and make the most out of available resources. "Entrepreneurship is an attitude," Dr. Libin said: "Taking the smallest thing and making something bigger out of it. Everything you see and hear, store, because you will most likely end up using it."
Between 35 to 40 students heard Dr. Libin tell his success story. Quite a few boxes of pizza and bottles of coke were served. It was a great showing and a great presentation, all thanks to TAMID, the Pre-Dental Society, and Entrepreneurship and Biotechnology Club. Co-Founder of the YU TAMID chapter (and Regional Director in NYC), Ezra Kapetansky, a senior, said, “Dr. Libin eloquently explained how entrepreneurship and innovation can come from the most unassuming places. Who knew a successful biotechnology was inspired by a melting snowman?!”
Kapetansky refers to an anecdote Dr. Libin told: one fine spring day, during the intermediate days of Passover, Dr. Libin was playing tennis with a few colleagues and was musing over this problem to which he had been introduced. Patients weren't using the drugs they were given. Anti-cholesterol medication is a stark example. After nine months, only 27% of patients were taking this sixteen billion-dollar pill! Similarly, glaucoma: a person with glaucoma must put 4 drops in each eye everyday for the rest of his or life. However, it is common that three out of four of the drops end up on the floor, especially for seniors. This means that three fourths of two and a half billion dollars are being spilled on the floor.
Considering all the possible ways that doctors can remind their patients to take the medication, you would come up with only a few possibilities: pill boxes with calendars, maybe even color-coded, or reminder emails, texts or calls. The problem with all of these options is that the patient is still the deciding factor as to whether the medication gets into his or her system.
While he was playing tennis, Dr. Libin, recounted, he looked at his front lawn. There was a man just sitting there, watching the match. He was a big guy, really round, and he had a nose like a bulbous carrot. Even in the seventy degree weather the guy looked cold. Dr. Libin had seen this man before, around January-February time, but now the man looked much thinner than he had in the winter. This man gave Dr. Libin the idea for his nanotechnology.
Dr. Libin looked at the snowman on his lawn--the snowman who was slowly melting away in the sun, and he realized that if he could create something that would allow the medicine to "melt" more slowly into a person's body (like the water of the snowman), there will be no need for a pill once a week or drops every day--just a one-time installment would be enough.
At that point, Dr. Libin had a goal, an intention, and a concept. The next step for any entrepreneur would be to make some tough, critical decisions. Is the idea significant and important enough to drop everything and pursue that idea? Is it worth the time to follow the idea through to completion?
A budding entrepreneur must keep in mind two concerns. First of all, the return on investment; because research takes such a long time, you must be fairly certain of the success of the product. Second, patient care; the final product must be something useful enough for someone to purchase or invest in the product.
After establishing the idea’s validity, the entrepreneur must check that no one else has come up with this idea before because the only thing protecting the idea would be a patent. Thus, entrepreneurs must make a visit to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, hire the right patent attorney, and then form a support base and find investors. Dr. Libin said, "Try to use other people's money; It's cheaper than using your own!” Finally comes the complete the product.
The FDA had to approve Dr. Libin's SNS and then the drug had to complete the test trials. After a couple years, Dr. Libin put his drug on the market. The most amazing part is that this all came from a melting snowman while the good doctor was playing tennis.
While he was waiting for his product to pass tests, receive approval and make its way to completion, Dr. Libin wrote both a musical and a book. He explained that it is important to keep busy during the waiting period for a few reasons. Because, first off, if the product doesn't make it through to the end, the entrepreneur still comes out with something accomplished, even if it isn't what he or she set out to do. Second, although the excitement of a new idea coming to fruition is mind-blowingly awesome, the main part of the process is simple drudgery and it’s easy to lose sight of the goal. That point is the most crucial and requires the most focus on the goal. It is important not to worry over every little thing that can go wrong as there is nothing that can be done. Third, to be a serial entrepreneur, as Dr. Libin considers himself, one must be constantly creating. Dr. Libin's compositions are the manifestation of that entrepreneurial drive.
Dr. Libin gave a few steps on how to create something, including being clear and specific about desired accomplishments, fixating on this project every day so that it permeates the entrepreneur’s overall mental state, and knowing how far the entrepreneur is willing to go. Furthermore, Dr. Libin stressed, “Stay with what you know!” One of his biggest mistakes, he said, was going into the tech business without knowing much about it. The good news, he reassured, is that one can learn about anything and then it’s time to rock and roll!