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A few years ago, I advised an exec charged with creating a spinoff. It would serve as incubator for programs difficult to support within the parent firm.

Believing the new firm’s mission demanded top leadership to be creative & technically astute, the exec began recruiting.

I urged a focus on strong business & people skills at the top, to be sure the R&D geniuses collaborated productively.

Invested in the previous decision (ego?) he would not alter course.

18 months later, I had long since moved on, but ran into the firm’s VP. Over lunch, I learned the firm had run through more than 200% of it’s projected budget, was bleeding talent, had no income, committed partners, or customers…and the parent firm had cut ties.

What was left? A mostly abandoned website. 🙁


  • Leaders and managers *must* have good people skills.
  • Watch out for sunk-cost fallacies in decision-making.

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