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Lessons for CleanTech Entrepreneurs: Raychem CEO Paul Cook (Part 9)

Posted on Saturday, Aug 18th 2007

SM: The core research remains with the central development team? PC: The basic technology is being developed by a research group which is trying to solve problems for the divisions. The divisions in turn focus on solving the customer’s problem. The sales problem is typical sales except you have to learn what the customer’s problems are and know more about it than the customer does.

SM: What is the ideal profile of someone whom you put in charge of the R&D organization? PC: The leader of the central organization should be someone who is trained as a scientist and is an outstanding scientist himself or herself, yet is also very savvy about the market places. They cannot be a scientist whose sole concern is the science. They must be someone who is aware of the marketplaces.

SM: Is that a profile you found easily? PC: It is very difficult to find. I found one and he was killed in a tragic commercial airplane crash. His name was Vince Lanza, and that set the company back a huge amount because he was so good. In addition unfortunately our chief scientist, the Director of Research, was on the same plane. We lost both our Chief Technical Officer and Director or Research at the same time, and they were both very dear friends.

SM: After that incident, did you find someone else? PC: I never found anyone of that caliber again. Never.

SM: Also, on the same note, whom do you put in charge of the divisions? PC: There you look for someone who is totally market oriented who has a strong technical background. We hired many, many people who had a bachelor’s degree in some technology, and then a business degree. We hired more Harvard Business School graduates, per capita, than any other company in the Bay area and probably in the United States. Harvard and Stanford were the two most highly represented business schools at Raychem. Those people were market oriented, sales oriented, and business oriented, which was a combination we typically used to head up divisions. They were there to run a business.

SM: And they worked in that role? PC: Absolutely. They absolutely worked in that role.

(to be continued )

[Part 1]
[Part 2]
[Part 3]
[Part 4]
[Part 5]
[Part 6]
[Part 7]
[Part 8]

This segment is part 9 in the series : Lessons for CleanTech Entrepreneurs: Raychem CEO Paul Cook
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