- 17 октября 2012, 14:30
- Harvard Business Review
"With proper financial engineering, I am absolutely convinced we can solve cancer," MIT professor Andrew Lo says. It sounds like an unlikely elixer, but a little backstory from WBUR’s Radio Boston puts the problem into context. Most of the money tied to cancer research comes from the federal government via the National Institutes of Health, and like many programs facing financial scrutiny, the NIH’s budget is on the verge of being trimmed. Lo, who lost his mother to cancer last year, points to diversification theory as a possible way to bridge scientific breakthroughs with much-needed capital.
One cancer trial costs about $200 million and has fairly low odds of success. But if you do lots of research and conduct many trials at the same time, your odds of success are greater. So how do you pay for it? Lo proposes a $30 billion fund, with both institutional and retail investors. Investors will not only have the potential for a decent rate of return but can be secure in the knowledge that they’re "part of the social mission to cure."
New data on women in the male-dominated startup world is both encouraging and concerning. On the one hand, a recent Dow Jones study found that, if a company has more women in top jobs, it’s more likely to succeed. On the other, startups with women as CEOs – not simply VPs or boardmembers – are more likely to do poorly. Perhaps most troubling is the unbalanced startup playing field: women own 28 percent of U.S. businesses, fill 16 percent of seats on U.S. boards, and yet make up less than 7 percent of senior leadership at startups.
Imagining pouring a decade of work into a product. Imagine it sold like hotcakes. Now let’s say it stopped working, prompting a deluge of critical reviews. Time to panic, right? Or you could write a letter. Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman did both last December when his UP bracelet, designed to track a user’s health, malfunctioned. Rahman decided to address his customers and investors, apologizing and offering a full refund on all UPs sold. He expected the worst. But instead, the best happened: customers praised his decision and investors stuck by his side.