As we shift more into a mode where we interview management of all companies that are our long ideas, it's occurred to me more than once that what I'd love to have is a set of questions for these CEOs that makes for a definitive interview. I don't want the interview to be a perfect storm or trial by ordeal, but I want a core list of questions that transcends mere dissection of the company. These people often have vast insights that interviews miss because of the nature of the industry, its chatter, its oral traditions, the ephemeral insights in the caches of their minds that may not make it to hard drive.
- For example, here are some questions I'd like to start asking every CEO I speak with:
- (1) If you could invest $25,000 right now in any biotech company other than your own, what company would that be and why?
- (2) What biotech CEO's do you admire and why?
- (3) What do you regard as your company's greatest liability?
- (4) If someone offered you $500M in non-dilutive funding today, what would you do with it?
- (5) Lucrative buyouts of small-cap biotechs by Big Pharma: do you think successes in this arena result from posturing and courtship, or from hunkering down and doing the best possible work?
- (6) What do you regard as the single most regrettable or unfortunate thing about the American biotech industry?
I need some more incisive questions that rise above the quotidian. How to extract real insight from these people? I'd appreciate your suggestions.
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