Shots on Goal


We bundle research investments into a single perpetual fund+. Here’s what’s different from how that approach is used today.

Shots on Goal! We’ll make many investments and let each one thrive or perish in a Darwinian competition.

Chinese Crested Hairless Dog – The ugly can still win an ugliest dog contest.
Nope. We’re in the domestication business. We take our stock of investments and nurture each one so its best characteristics surface. In the domestication business what may first appear as a dimple or wart may later turn out to be the feature most valued by consumers (think Viagra™)1 Having more stock at the onset often means paying less attention to the needs of the individual animal.

"Shots on Goal" is fundamentally flawed in both the selection and in the nurturing of investments. We don’t select those already domesticated; we seek promising genetic stock. We don’t shut down lines that no longer conform to a preconceived (read artificial) notion we had for their success two or more years ago. We continually look ahead to its potential for the future. Success is often far afield from where we “guess” when we start.

Our World Class R&D funding agent+ is not simply a pass-through conduit for funds from the passive investors to the managers of the investments: the funding agent takes an active role in ensuring each investment shines, both during selection and as they grow and mature (here).

What does it take to be successful at domestication?

  1. Set it up in the beginning so each investment can win, and
  2. Set it up in the beginning so we can know as best as possible when they’re not going to win.

These may seem trivial, but there are over a thousand pages of discussion on this website belying the ease of doing this right. We’ve highlighted a few of the more salient features in this month’s Editors’ Picks.

Domestication takes time and money. We take these wild creatures and domesticate them2 into forms that create commercial products generating billions of dollars in revenue. Regular readers of the World Class R&D Institute website know this is not a community with sympathy for one-size-fits-all+ answers; each creation will be crafted into a personalized, never-before-seen approach that addresses the specific research and commercialization+ challenges of the investment. But we have certain expectations:

  • Pursuit of early commercial success, even if it’s not blockbuster+ success
  • Pursuit of early fund-raising success, even in token amounts
  • Pursuit of effectiveness in research and commercial activities, as measured by progress toward blockbuster success
  • Protection and extension of the original Scientific Competitive Edge+ as the foundation for a long-term sustainable business
  • Acknowledgment should Mother Nature Leave the Building (MNLB+). Researchers had better be the first to sound the alarm when their dog no longer has Westminster potential.

The entire funding enterprise rises and falls based its ability to make investments more successful than they could be otherwise. If we can’t show we’re better at this than the alternates (e.g., venture capital), and this difference must be interocular+, then the enterprise will collapse under its own weight. Franchise Capital Management+ is expensive and the results of our domestication work must unambiguously justify the expense.

With unpredictable R&D+ you can’t know when or where the next blockbuster success will happen. Managers of many persuasions have tried various approaches (e.g., shots-on-goal+, deadline bias+) to get around this inherent unpredictability, all to the detriment of the creativity and researcher passions needed to make this work. The answer is domestication, and this comes from being good at both picking and nurturing our investments.

Editor's Picks for April, 2011

  • 1. Nicholas Terrett and colleague Peter Ellis discovered during the trial studies of Sildenafil as a heart medicine that it also increased blood flow to the penis, allowing men to reverse erectile dysfunctions. – Viagra, the patenting of an aphrodisiac.
  • 2. Researchers left to their own devices will not be any more successful than seen today – they bring forward organizational forms with which they are familiar and do not think to create new ones.
Further Reading