Mid-Game Overview

Mid-game+ is where we make you a success. You will be much better off than if you went it alone; or with those other guys. We know this because this is what we track. We’re so sure of this that we’re happy if you first take an offer from someone else simply because they offer more money. You’ll either be back (and starting again at square one) or you’ll show you were only in it for the quick money, and not what we wanted anyway. People join our team because they know membership+ leads to long-term continued success and happiness, both in the thrill of the hunt, and in the money.

You’ve had 12-18 months of prep time in pre-game+, complete with full coaching and resources. You have a great technology. You have a great team. You have direct access to the best technical and business resources available in the industry. You are in competition with peers who are the best of the best, to push you to be the best you can be. Here is where you are judged on your own merits, side-by-side against peers on a level playing field. We’ve removed all excuses. We’ve removed all obstacles. We don’t meddle. We don’t penny-pinch. You’re executing to a game plan you wrote. You have only yourself to blame should success not come.

We do mid-game well or the whole edifice collapses. Mid-game is the source of our reputation in Pre-game. Mid-game is the source of products and services we move into commercialization+. End-game+ goes well only because of the great experience researchers had in Mid-game. We focus our best efforts in mid-game, because, like Willie Sutton, this is where the bulk of arms-length+ money is spent (although much more overall money will probably be spent internally for commercialization). Mid-game can span decades and will be by far the largest external dollar spend. Potential candidates, members, funding agents, and competitors will closely watch the success of Mid-game.

Your success will be genuine. You won’t blow smoke in our eyes. You’ll have one, maybe two Independent Evaluators. These are technical experts that you and your team respect. They’ll be on the ground: daily. They’ll probably cover multiple research teams. They’ll be your sole representative in the side-by-side beauty pageants. They will be a strong advocate for your position. But they go up against their peers who are just as urgent in their advocacy. You will be satisfied that your position was well-stated and your evaluation was on-the-level. You and your peers are evaluated on genuine results, as level-set against other similarly challenged teams.

Mid-game is not a numbers game. There are no fixed investment limits. There are no fixed number of winners and losers. We compare across teams to unmask the truth of the results, not to weed out lesser performers. Likewise the funding agent (i.e., the corporation) will not be held hostage+ to making investments into any team. We invest in successful teams or none at all. Our level of investment is determined only by the need to maintain our reputation, to drive successful products to commercialization, and to ensure a smooth transition+ to end-game. Funding is not directly a means toward outrageous returns: it’s a means toward driving behaviors and culture that lead to long-term, continuous, outrageous returns (and fun).

Walter Sneader, in a personal communication, pointed out that 20th century success in R&D in the pharmaceutical industry was due mainly to the efforts of a handful of exceptional R&D leaders. Now we require a handful of exceptional leaders for each of our smaller Investible Units+. How is this even thinkable? This is one of the key benefits of World Class R&D. We can’t find that many exceptional leaders. Instead we take merely good leaders and make them exceptional in how we structure our research investments and the work. The structure of our investments (i.e., how pre-game, mid-game, end-game and commercialization are mutually supportive) allows great leaders to emerge. Mid-game shoulders the greatest burden across these four investment categories+ – it’s where leadership meets results (which in turn are driven by that scrupulously objective marketplace).


For links to biographies of discoverers of medicine spanning the first two millennium, see here.


Home Page July 2010

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