Week 7 – Hype vs Substance – Is Selling FOMO the Key to Success?
Hope all is going well. June continued to be a productive month, even though historically it tends to get a little quieter from June through August. We were excited to share with you our good news a few weeks back related to securing a two-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health (https://www.biosurfaces.us/single-post/biosurfaces-receives-1-72-million-small-business-innovation-research-sbir-direct-phase-ii-grant). We continue to build our IVRT business, looking to establish new strategic opportunities, provide new product offerings and optimize our manufacturing process to meet future demand. Our technology continues to be evaluated by both large and small companies for use in an existing device or as a component for a next generation device. We also continue to expand on our technology platform. We are planning to have another announcement about our continued technology development in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to receive this information as well as any other breaking news or announcements, please click on our sign-up link at the bottom of this blog.
One thing that you may notice when I write about the technology is that I do not overhype what we are doing. We have promising technology that I truly believe can and will help people in some form or fashion someday. We have been always realistic about our technology. We understand that it cannot be used to solve every problem, but we do know that many companies and institutions have evaluated our Bio-Spun™ materials. We can always tell someone what we’ve seen in our experiments, but it is another thing to have an outside group demonstrate the benefits themselves. That is a huge value add for sure. For example, we had one global company visit this month. We applied our drug-loaded Bio-Spun™ material onto their device and they stored it away in a compressed form in a catheter (tube) for a year after sterilizing it. During our meeting, they decided to remove it from the catheter. The device went right back to its original shape. They were blown away about how good it looked. This is just one example of many. That being said, you would think we would have companies or big investors banging down our door to acquire the technology. Not that this is our goal, but you would think the offers would exist. I question myself sometimes in terms of how good of a job am I doing as a leader at really promoting what we have. Should I be overhyping projections about the technology like many CEOs do, creating more of a buzz? Is it really about the science, or is generating a fear of missing out (FOMO for those not familiar with the acronym) really the better strategy? Why is it that we struggle at times to bring in the “money people” when the technology is stellar? These are fair questions, I think.
Case in point. I was reading the New York Times (NYT) today about the background of one of the presidential candidates. No, I am not going to get all political in this post. I won’t even share the person’s name because it is not the point of my blog. This candidate made his fortune off of starting and selling his biotech company. Was the company successful? I guess you could say the results are mixed, but as the NYT reporter says “the story of a financier more than a scientist, and a prospector who went bargain hunting, hyped his vision, drew investment and then cashed out in two huge payouts — totaling more than $200 million.” His vision was clear, even when he named the company Roivant Sciences, with the “Roi” standing for “Return on investment.” The hype around the company allowed him to raises billions in an initial public offering for a subsidiary, only to see the company value plunge 75% on a failed clinical trial for an Alzheimer’s drug. His salesmanship was able to bring in big supporting names, but yet at the end of the day, the science did not succeed. That, however, did not stop him from making a lot of money, which typically seems to be the end goal. As one industry commentator speaking about this person and the drug’s failure wrote, “I think whipping people up into thinking this was a wonder drug was unconscionable.”
The sad thing is that this is same story that I continue to see over and over again. Large companies (several of which we have worked with) or investors paying tens to hundreds of millions of dollars for companies with limited technology but a lot of overhyping. For example, a large company we were aware of paid tens of millions of dollars to a smaller company to access their technology, only to have their technology not even work. The smaller company then asked the larger company for more money (several million dollars more) to get it to work. AND THEY AGREED TO THAT! The promise of the billion-dollar payout on an overhyped technology was too tempting even upon complete initial failure. Surprise, surprise! It still did not work. The biotech news is littered with these types of stories.
You could be asking yourself why I am so focused on this. Am I just jealous these companies are able to net hundreds of millions of dollars by overpromising and underdelivering? I would tell you I do get frustrated as I see how good our technology works and how hard our team works, yet we continue to have to earn every dollar to keep the company moving forward. It feels that we have to keep proving the technology to different groups every time, even with 20 years of positive data. We’ve generated so much data, that I am starting to forget all we’ve done. It’s really that much. Maybe if I was able to create the FOMO that so many CEOs create (and the scientist in me won’t allow me to do), maybe BioSurfaces would become a bigger player and be further along in terms of its products. We legitimately have a lot to brag about, but I just can’t bring myself to overhyping potential markets to the level that others do. Potentials of millions instead of billions will just not do. BioSurfaces will continue to keep its reputation as a good company to work with that has excellent technology (we’ve heard this from many customers and partners). While I have FOMO when I see all of these unrealistic deals being executed, I know that the company will get the recognition it deserves in spite of all of the crazy business deals that should be directed at us.
I hope that our US readers have an excellent July 4th celebration. For the July calendar, we will have Factual Friday on July 7th, the Monthly Spin-Off on July13th ,our next blog on July 20th and a webcast on July 27th.