Wednesday, October 07, 2009

MIT Enterprise Forum and the Art of Positioning

If you're a PR professional, thinking in terms of positioning and messaging is second nature, but you're probably not very comfortable with molecular mayhem. And if you're a PhD chemist, you're likely more at home in the world of stoichiometric equations than with elevator pitches and mission statements.

Our worlds collided last night at a session on "The Art of Positioning," part of the MIT Enterprise Forum's Start Smart series. Start Smart is a nine-week workshop (a mini-MBA program) designed for new and early stage entrepreneurs looking to delve into each phase of getting a new venture going. This particular Fall series is tailored for medical device entrepreneurs. Different experts present the workshops each week, and last night I teamed up with Kara Della Vecchia of KDV Communications to do the positioning workshop. We blended a dash of Guy Kawasaki and a touch of Geoffrey Moore to present our own take on the fastest path to positioning. Kara presented a case study on her client Starion Instruments, whose CEO (Kirt Kirtland) graciously called in from an airport to field some questions. The variety of presenters seemed to keep the students engaged, and we hope we helped them a bit on their path to commercializing their devices.

Whenever I meet with area entrepreneurs, I'm always impressed with the diversity of business concepts that are percolating out there. We had a gentleman with a device to address COPD, a fellow with a biodegradable staple for surgeries and a PhD physicist with a filtering technology with medical applications, to name just a few.

Thanks to Pete McDonald of Silicon Valley Bank for hosting and facilitating last night's session.

You can check out upcoming MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge sessions here.

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