Management / Leadership

Gender representation in Biotech

This post summarizes gender representation in the founding, leadership, board, and scientific advisory teams of 162 biotech companies – observed between October and December of 2019. Out of 162 companies listed on the “portfolio” pages of the big three Boston biotech venture firms (Third Rock […]

Manufacturing improvements apply to HPC

The Strategy Board My former colleagues at the Broad Institute recently published a marvelous case study. They describe, in a delightfully brisk and jargon-free way, some of the process improvements they used to radically increase the productivity of the genome sequencing pipeline. This post is […]

Go Around

When I was working with the NY Genome Center from late 2011 through early 2014, I took the opportunity to drop in and train at Oishi Judo Club in southern Manhattan. It’s a great school filled with strong, friendly, skilled judoka of all ages and […]

Effective techniques for unicorn hunters

This is a follow-up to my earlier rant about unicorns. As with the data challenges of genomics, I feel like we’ve been talking about this unicorn thing forever, or at least long enough that it’s awkward to keep pretending that it’s a new thing. There […]

Language and listening

A friend and mentor once described language as “the operating system of organizations.” They said that a large portion of effective leadership lies in actually listening to the words that a team uses to describe their situation. It’s a subtle and powerful way to work, […]

The unicorn rant

In biotech these days, I hear a lot of talk about “unicorns.” Sometimes they are rare fancy unicorns … purple, or glittery. At Bio IT World, I found myself moderating a conversation that involved herds and farms of these imaginary animals. Of course, we were […]

Do Something

I see a lot of things in the world that could be better than they are. I’m not talking about the part where we will all get sick and weak and die eventually. That’s unavoidable. I’m talking about the crappy systems that we build for […]

The Opposite of Work

I saw a good talk by Jane McGonigal at PAX East. She spoke based on her book Reality is Broken, which is about how many of the traits developed in playing games (particularly video games) are terrifically useful to succeeding at life. One of her […]


My grandfather left behind a rather comprehensive stack of Army Field Manuals from the 40s and 50s. As I make my way through his effects, I’ve been paging through them for historical interest and education. Whatever else you can say about the military mind – […]