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I want to Commercialize Science: just not discover it: Effects of Carree Choice

  1. Nov 17, 2009 #1
    I want to Commercialize Science: just not discover it: Effects of Career Choice

    I am in need of my major advice.

    My father is a Political Scientist and Economist, and he has personally wrote on current and future political and economical tyrannies. He sees the formation of a much more controlling government: a centralized source of power such as a world state and world currency.

    I know I am not going to be free in tomorrows world. There is huge, and ever growing divergence of wealth and power in our world. We can see that it has always been this way. People in power often seek more power. He has also wrote about the psychological effects of wealth and power of those in power and the effects on how they rule.

    With the advent of rapid scientific and technological change of today's world. It is without doubt that these changes will be used to control and subvert the masses. Many times, we have seen the rise and fall of dictatorial regimes, and feels the rise of another is due.

    I am still young, and must attend University, but I am rather worried about the extreme inequality that will plague tomorrows world. It is sad that others will not be able to escape its raise, but I will not stand to be taken by it.

    Our world is govern by the influence of corporations and money. We live in a capitalistic society. We seek gains by finding market imbalances or otherwise exploit the world or current social system in seek of profits or form of power. Is it wrong? I don't know - but it's capitalism.

    Research is the foundation of tomorrow, but often research discoveries are of little use, as they find little innovative application.

    I want to be able to bring science and people together. With the power and influence of a corporation, I can offer something, whilst securing my place in high society.

    I question my question is, do I seek a job as a CEO, or a researcher? I see myself doing some research work, making some discoveries and starting a start-up. My field of selection is genetics or nano-technology. Two of my best friends will be attending a Nanotech program in Waterloo, and have told me they are really to move on in society. However, for now, they will conduct research until they have made needed discoveries.

    It is survival of the fittest.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2009 #2
    You should seek a job as Carl Sagan.
  4. Nov 17, 2009 #3
    Re: I want to Commercialize Science: just not discover it: Effects of Career Choice

    I wouldn't be so pessimistic. It's probably true that the vast majority of wealth and power are going to be controlled by a few people, but what really matters is the total amount of wealth available. If there is enough stuff so that people at the bottom live decent lives then it really doesn't matter what the super-rich to.

    Think of it this way. We live in a country in which the biggest health problem is that people are too FAT. If you look at history, this is totally incredible.

    For the most part the people that run the world set things up so that the masses really want to be controlled. Bread and circuses. If you look on this board, the number one thing that people worry about is getting a job. If you are spending most of your time either trying to get a job or working at one, you are too exhausted to attend the demonstration, and you'd rather go home and watch your corporate supplied entertainment in your corporate made television set.

    The masses are mostly docile as it is, and as long as you keep people fed and entertained, if you try to get them to rise up in any real way, they'll get annoyed at you.

    You *don't* have to attend university. You may want to attend university, but you don't have to. The first thing that you have to do to break free of mind control is to realize that you *do* have choices. You can choose to skip university and work at a restaurant. Now you may not want to make such a choice, but if you think you *must* attend university, you are already losing your freedom.

    Also, one reason I got out of academia is that I found that academia is far, far more rigid, oppressive, and dictatorial than anything I've ever seen in the corporate world.

    In academia, if you go up to a professor, and say, that's it. I've had enough of you. I hate being here. You are a total fool. I don't want you to have any control over me, so I'm leaving. If you do that and just walk out of the classroom and refuse to take the test, then you are finished.

    I've actually done this twice in the corporate world. If tomorrow I go to work, and I find they they want me to do something awful, then I'll ask politely not to, and if that doesn't work, I'll quit a third time. Yes, I'll lose my job, but I've lost my job before, and that doesn't scare me.

    You are making a choice here. If you want to secure your place in high society, that's great, but you do have to realize there are costs. Also it's trivially easy to set up your corporation. For about $500, you can start your own corporation.

    What ever you think is most fun. Starting up a business is *tons* of hard work, and you need a team of people. You typically need someone that knows management, someone that knows finance, someone that knows marketing, and someone that knows technology. Also there are also private equity firms, stock analysts, etc. etc. Lots of choices.

    Don't do it for the money or power. That's the one big advice that I've gotten from people that have started their own company. The fact of the matter is that if you start your own company, you probably won't make that much money, and you won't end up very powerful. You will likely fall flat on your face and fail. However, the people that start companies, really don't care if they fail or not.
  5. Nov 17, 2009 #4


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    I think that job's still taken.
  6. Nov 17, 2009 #5


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    Re: I want to Commercialize Science: just not discover it: Effects of Career Choice

    Great post twofish. Here's my 2c:

    Since your dad deals with economics, for one that is a good thing to have someone close to you that knows about it.

    As for commercialization I would get into knowing a thing or two (or thirty) about the intellectual property system in both america and in other developed countries. There are a few schools that deal with intellectual property some specialize in things like licensing and litigation while others deal with the core issues engineers, scientists and CTO's need to know. Basically an IP portfolio is your insurance policy to protect you and your ability to innovate and provide something thats economically useful to the world.

    If you want to create commercial A grade inventions / products / processes then it will be in your favour to get a degree. You can think about areas that you are passionate about and come up with ideas during the process but I suggest getting some recognized qualifications because it helps you as a person and as a businessman sell yourself to a potential licensee or even to a direct customer/client.

    In regards to business there is a lot to know and its hard work. My family used to own a few small businesses but after about 10 years they decided that they wanted to be on "9 to 5" time. Even in a small business you are working 6 days a week and on the seventh you are doing accounting, sorting through resumes, updating a menu, doing some course work, catching up on home chores, lots of things: so you're essentially working seven days a week.

    If you thrive for that sort of work and the rewards from it then I would recommend you learn some things about business. Theres quite a few books out there on business plans but before getting into even starting a business I recommend you get free training on the job in some company that sells the type of products to the type of market that you intend to get into.

    During this time you will learn a lot about the economics of the business and its market, how the different departments coexist with one another, how it functions in the presence of competitors, how things are financed, how to deal with many different types of people from engineers to salesman, basically a tonne of things that are needed to know.

    Alternatively you could attempt to start a business without having worked in the field but I strongly recommend you don't do that. Also if you find a company that appeals to you and you come up with a great idea and make it a workable prototype/process/product then
    you could if you are so inclined, negotiate your idea to upper management. The pros for doing this include that you have at your disposal a company infrastructure that could
    support you. By doing this sort of thing you would also have a better chance of being
    promoted to upper level positions if your idea was successful.

    Like twofish pointed out, you will need a team. With venture capital you can do a thing which is known as an incubator which is essentially a team provided by a VC that allows you to get going sooner and of which has a level of standards that at least the VC is comfortable with. If you do this you sacrifice your ownership of the company (ie you will give up more stock).

    Alternatively you could look at instead of starting up a business that is in manufacturing, you could alternatively start up a services business where you license out your technology/invention/process etc.

    If you obtain patents on your innovations, you will need to find a good lawyer to help draw up licensing agreements and advise on negotiating with interested parties. Going to court when a company infringes your patent is extremely costly and I would be wary about whether you want to go the distance.

    Before you think about commercializing your inventions/innovations research what you're getting yourself into. Know or make as realistic a calculated guess as possible to see whether what you have other people want. One method of doing indirectly is having a solution to a problem that you have encountered in your past. Many inventions have this background to them and become successful because they fill a specific need in society.

    To find out if your idea/invention/innovation really is useful attempt to setup meetings with a lawyer and an investor. If you go to stanfords GSB channel on youtube theres a talk about doing business plans for VC's. Theres also tonnes of books but theres only so much
    you can learn from books.

    From my experience and from other books I find that businessman/businesswoman are going to have a better chance at success if they are passionate about they are doing and believe 110% that they are helping other people. In the initial stages if you are running a business you will most likely have to do be a jack of all trades and be a salesman, and general front man for the business. Remember that you represent the business. Its often easier (and a hell of a lot smarter) to have the experience of the various positions in someone elses business first before doing it on your own.

    Another thing to mention is if you work for another established business, read the contracts your sign very carefully. Companies may end up owning your ideas if you're not careful and it is one of the downsides of joining businesses especially established ones. Typically businesses start out in an 'entrepreneurial' type of organisation but once they become structured and organized it tends to move towards a beaurocracy. Larger businesses know the value of intellectual capital and the majority will enforce that clauses exist in your employment contract to protect it.

    One other thing to note is that the average entrepreneur is something like mid 30's to 40's (sorry I can't remember the source). If you factor in education, working for existing business, coming up with promising idea/solution to existing problem/innovation, then by adding everything up you can begin to see the amount of time it takes to not only get the appropriate education and learning required, but to even do things like get your patent filed and approved (which on average takes a few years), you can begin to see what is required of you.

    One final thing. When you start a business you will be risking it all. A lot of banks will want an asset-backed loan where it could be a mortgage or some other asset. VC's aren't the same but they will often more than not want a substantial stake in the ownership (which is fair enough). Depending on the resources you gain will typically sacrifice more ownership for more funds/expertise.

    Theres a lot more to know but hopefully I have provided a stimulant to get your curious and investigative juices flowing. Good luck if you go down the rabbit hole because you will definately need it.
  7. Nov 19, 2009 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Maybe, but not by Carl.:biggrin:
  8. Nov 19, 2009 #7


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    Wow! I have always said that parents are entitled to screw up their kids in their own unique way, but this is the most unique example I've seen in a long time. :biggrin:

    I think what you've described is much more of what is already here in the present day, and is bound to change for the better. That is, the ignorance of politicians who only fund the translational research and forget that basic science funding is needed to forge ahead toward FUTURE translational research. (Oh, and "translational research" is the current buzz phrase for "applied science." In biomedical research, we also call it "bench to bedside.") There will always be a need for both applied science and basic science research, but which one gets more weight varies along with the economy. When the economy is tight, and funding is tight, more emphasis goes toward short-term benefits and applied research. When the economy gets better and more funding is available, higher risk basic science projects get funding again.

    Someone who would like to have a successful career in science needs to learn to roll with the punches. If you get too focused on a single niche, you may struggle when the whims of Congress shift funding in a different direction.
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