Focus is my favorite business word and my most challengingobjective. We know from established science that multitasking doesn't work. Itis dangerous in moving vehicles and not too effective in classrooms, businessor government. Texting is rivaling alcohol as a way to reduce the population onour highways, and thus, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. We are dismayed bythe bowed heads at business meetings of those addicted to their Blackberriesand iPhones.
I'd like to take back all the times in the past where aperson came into my office and I divided my attention between them and thee-mails scrolling in on my computer. Those people I admire most give me fullattention and have taught me to do the same for others.
Very early on, my mother announced thatthere would be no reading of the newspaper at the dinner table. Such poorbehavior had consequences. These days, my empty-nest wife and I readvoraciously at all meals, including the very insightful Drug Discovery News.
Given all of the anxieties in our industry about healthcarereform, many of us believe that a carefully debated (and transparent)incremental approach would be better. There is palpable anxiety about theimpact of potential changes on life science innovation and the instrumentationand reagent industries that support it. When an experiment doesn't work asexpected, we know that changing too many things at once is not going toenlighten us. A serial approach totroubleshooting works better.
In the past, our most noted presidents worked from majorthemes such as "preserve the union" and "defeat communism." Other goals wereattempted as well, but picking a few and driving them hard seems best. It is along-held business notion that more companies fail from indigestion than starvation.Putting 10 percent of the effort into each of 10 things is a sure way to loseon all of them. Attempts to mitigate risk with too much diversificationincreases risk. Venture investing is discouraged by uncertainty. I'm hopingthat by the time this column appears, things will settle down a bit withrespect to healthcare reform. After all, I've got two great start-up companiesto fund.
I'm suffering from information overload and multitaskingaddiction (IOMA). I've got to leave this column now and attend to more socialnetwork invitations, e-mail and tweeting at www.twitter.com/Farbuncle. It maybe too late for me, but I hope not. Getting in focus is being less dizzy.Please prescribe something with no likely idiosyncratic adverse events.