Thanks Greg, it was a great panel!

From morning coffee to afternoon cocktails, I spend a lot of timing attending various networking events.  In my position, it’s imperative to make sure you are out and about, connecting with the who’s who of the life science industry. The challenge is that a lot of these events end up covering the same dry topic and I therefore end up networking with my favorite attorneys and accountants instead of my clients, potential clients and those few remaining VCs with deep pockets.

Yesterday, I attended a breakfast meeting which was thankfully an exception to what has become the status quo.  BIOCOM hosted Life Technologies’ Greg Lucier and Cooley’s Wain Fishburn in a fireside chat on the “future of personalized medicine.” The topic is one that I have heard at least a dozen times, but the format (basically it was Wain interviewing Greg) combined with Greg’s uncanny ability to simplify technical science, made for one of the best discussions I’ve attended in years.

Xconomy’s Bruce Bigelow covered the event so I won’t get much into the details, but I do encourage speakers at these types of meetings to take a lesson from Greg’s playbook. Here’s my 3-step opinion on why Greg was such a captivating speaker:

  1. He kept it simple. Again, Greg was talking about things as technical as whole genome sequencing but he did so at a level anybody could understand, even at an early breakfast meeting before the caffeine had fully set in!
  2. He grabbed the audience attention (over and over). Greg was full of great stats and analogies. From referencing the vast amount of food we need to feed the world’s growing population to helping the audience understand the enormous amount of data in a genome sequence, he dangled many interesting points to keep our attention (and this from me, who usually can’t go more than 3 minutes without looking at my iPhone!)
  3. He made it personal. Greg shared some personal stories about his family/friends which made the discussion real. He also told us he has plans to sequence his wife and kids to understand the “generational genome.” He’s one of a small group that has had his genome sequenced and will be the first to sequence his family. Way cool.

Kudos to BIOCOM for hosting such an entertaining and informative event. Keep them coming!

Carin Canale-Theakston is the president and founder of Canale Communications and can be reached at

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