Sometimes professors stop being pedantic and say the darndest, profound things. Then they rush along and continue with important technical information that it’s easy to forget the sage advice they just dropped on you. So, I scribble it down and I decided to try and find a couple of these quotes and share my thoughts on them.
“The closer you get to optimum, the closer you are to disaster.”
- Jerry Loeb, BME 620: He followed this up with the example that a perfect race car would be one that falls apart as it crosses the finish line. If it falls apart before, it wasn’t robust enough. If it falls apart after, it had extra weight slowing it down. I thought this concept was fascinating – build a device to do just what is intended, no more and no less. Maybe it could even be applied to my personal life – stop searching for the optimal schedule to be productive or the optimal friendship. Being in the general vicinity is good enough because it’s a fine line between the intact car and the one that’s fallen apart.
“Ideas are cheap. People and technology are valuable.”
- Terry Sanger, HTE@USC: His point was whether in academic research or entrepreneurship, you may have a great idea. But so did someone else. What sets you apart is the team you have to help you turn your idea into an actual product or reality and the technical resources and equipment available to you to accomplish that goal. I’ve slowly been removing “finding the lightbulb idea” thought from the pedestal I’ve put it on since childhood. This comment forced me to completely abandon that thought.
“Separate your revenue stream from content generation.”
- George Tolomiczenko, HTE@USC: This was his feedback to a team developing a medically related website. Successful websites separate their source of revenue from their actual content. That was interesting because it means developing a website is more than just an idea or a service, but also a way to pay for that service. While I don’t have a website of my own yet, I may have one or be involved in a company that has one, and understanding the financial models for online content will become necessary.