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My first brush with Synthetic Biology, 13 years ago, was a baptism by fire, but exciting nonetheless. It was late in 2000 while I was working as part of the NewcoGen Group (a Flagship Ventures fund) where we founded a synthetic biology company called engeneOS (Engineered Genomic Operating Systems). The business plan included innovative but optimistic strategies to develop engineered genomic parts that could be assembled to provide bio-organisms with a range of novel properties. We also envisioned assembly of whole modified organisms,...

The rate at which Next Gen Systems have impacted the speed and costs of DNA sequencing has been astonishing over the last decade or so. Now there is a focus on dramatically shrinking instruments in size that may fundamentally affect how and where sequencing can be done. John Boyce first introduced the GNU Bio sequencer as the “K” cup for sequencing; a bench-top model that would be as easy to use as making a cup of coffee. The idea of being able to do DNA sequencing in every medical lab was appealing enough for Biorad to quickly acquir...

I often get requests from hiring managers to provide benchmark compensation ranges and increasingly that becomes more and more difficult, especially for early stage companies. There was a great article in a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review that speaks to this – “Why it’s so hard to figure out what to pay top talent” by Tim Low.

To summarize, he talks about several things including the evolution of “micro-industries”. Over the years the explosion of developments in technologies such as, synthetic biology, next generation sequ...

One of my favorite questions when talking to prospective clients and candidates is, “what’s your story?”   It’s a great way of breaking the ice and getting some quick insights to their background, aspirations, and motivations. I find that it is a very helpful way of finding out how I might work with a particular start-up company or present a candidate to the hiring manager in a meaningful way. It is a great question and also happens to be the subject of a New York Times article this week, “Storytelling Your Way to a Better Job or...

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