Number Wanted

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Well, right out of the date, I’m guessing that we can give the ‘best graphic accompanying a post’ award to Ryan for a real cracker!

Ryan at least knows EXACTLY what he needs in order to get to his Number (BTW: a great place to start); I think it’s the ‘how’ that’s bugging him … any help, anyone?


My number is set at $16,000,000 in 8 years which leaves me with a monstrous (though not as big as some!) compound growth rate of 82%. When you look at Masterson’s Table you will see that I am left with only one option to get me to my number…start my own business.

This is actually quite convenient as I’ve been wanting to do this for as long as I can remember anyway! The problem is, I’ve never been able to decide WHICH business to start. That is, until now. If I were advertising on craigslist for exactly what I want in a business to get me to my number, here is how it would look:

Wanted: 1 Big Idea. Specifically for an innovative medical device implant designed for use in spine surgery to alleviate a very common back condition. Must be easily and inexpensively manufactured and come complete with drawings and ready to be patented. Also should be easily approvable through the FDA with limited amount of testing and human studies needed. Once approved, must have the option to be saleable at that point or be easily distributed through contractors or licensing and then either sold at a later date or taken to IPO.

As you might have guessed, I have never patented an idea, done marketing research, manufactured a product, gotten approval for and coordinated studies, gotten FDA approval, sold a business, or taken any business public, so this will be quite an adventure and learning experience for me. I’m really looking forward to it, but want to make sure I have a solid idea for a wide total available market before I take the leap. The good news is, I have a lot of contacts and a lot of ideas so it’s just a matter of finding the right one.

The even better news is that I have a whole community (that’s you) to help me through this process. So, for starters, what do you think of my plan to get to my number? See any flaws? Have any personal experience with any of these things you’ll be able to share with me? Leave me a comment below and let’s get a discussion going!

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Ryan you are in the same type boat I’m in, not knowing the details of business start up. Several people have told me that what I need to do first is get an attorney on board who specializes in business starts and let him/her direct you you in what to do first.

Ryan, you definitely need a good team of advisers to assist you. I think the Bay area has a lot of resources for entrepreneurs. It is a lot easier to model after someone who has done it before. I believe you can find a few that can help you with your activities. Another idea that I was thinking a while back is to engage a local business school to help you. You can offer an unpaid / paid internship for students to do some research for you. You gain by having some help and they gain by having experience.

Ryan, have you started a business for this idea, having a business name and tax id may open up some doors for you or save you time in the future because I would assume at some point this would be needed.
But this suggestion is just the sames as Lee’s suggestion. It sounds like you need some clear professional guidance from a pro or someone who has been there before.
When I first started my online business, I found a source on a web site (run by New York State) that put you in touch with retired people who worked in your industry and were offering free help. Maybe your state offers the same resource.
Also sounds like you make be a prime target for the right venture capitalist…

@ Ryan – I believe that you have two paths right now? …

a) Continue to work on your existing idea to see if you can make it financially attractive for the doctors?


b) Find a new idea?

If I have this correct, then you should obviously pursue the bird in the hand – i.e. (a) – until your gut and/or the market says that it’s not really the opportunity that you thought it would be and invest some spare time in researching (b) i.e. 80/20 … 80% of your time on the former, 20% on the latter.

I wouldn’t worry about attorneys, company structures etc. until you have something that the market has a demonstrated need and desire for, which is what I believe you are currently assessing?

Then, I would go straight to a patent attorney to get some protection …

… you can always ‘roll’ your IP into an LLC (or whatever the attorney recommends) later.


@ Lee – I agree with Adrian, get the attorney after you get your idea. And I think we both just need to start moving forward with something instead of waiting for the perfect idea.

@ Mark – You are right in that it is easier to model after someone who has done it before (a big reason why we’re all on 7m7y!) There are a lot of medical device start ups in southern CA too, I should look into networking with that ilk.

I have a friend who got interns from undergrad and business schools and was very pleased with the results. I don’t think I’m at that point yet though.

@ Josh – I have two S corporations, one of which I will be using to primarily develop my ideas (patents) and start this business under. I’m not sure that is the best entity for what I’m doing, but I will get a business attorney down the road a little bit.

I think the service you talked about is called SCORE here in California, and I have heard mixed reviews about it. Were they helpful to you?

@ AJC – I think the 80/20 is great advice. That way I’m moving forward instead of getting analysis paralysis. Thanks!

@ all – great advice, please keep it coming!

The following is communication between Adrian and myself. He asked me to post it due to some difficulty he is having. Lee

To Adrian
How is this any different that the “share your number” page that we are already on? If we go to the link you gave in this most recent e-mail and then click “my page” it indicates we are already there. So to join this most recent request seems to be a duplication. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

From Adrian
Good question; I think it means that you can contribute to this specific discussion group (as can I and the other MITs), but nobody else can … it’s like our own ‘exclusive corner’ of Share Your Number.

Lee, could you do me a favor and put this comment up on BOTH blogs … I am locked out for some reason and WordPress Support isn’t responding to any help requests. Pretty poor form, but I can’t do anything about it: