Courtesy of James Sherifi

To secure funding and succeed, a business enterprise requires a novel, patented technology that appeals to a broad market, a sound and professional business plan, and a strong scientific and commercial management team. Each of these elements is vital, related to the others, and mutually supportive. Yet businesses often place greater emphasis on the technology and its development than on the quality of the core management, particularly the CEO.

Scientists and businesspeople are created from entirely different gene pools. Each group has its own unique characteristics, which have evolved to ensure that they thrive in their separate environments. The caricatures of scientists who are unable to relate to other human beings, cocooned in their laboratories and driven by esoteric theories, counterbalance those of the business executives who are loud, brash, extroverted, and driven by financial greed.

These caricatures exaggerate traits that are truly present. Academics can...

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