To say I am a huge fan of the TV show Shark Tank would be an understatement. At this point, in my watching, I usually can tell who is going to be ‘eaten alive’ and who has a shot at getting funding.
In case you do not know, Shark Tank consists of 5 people from varying degrees of business and financial success (but all hugely successful), who sit on 5 chairs as potential entrepreneurs walk in and give a ‘pitch’. They are seeking funding to help them grow their business.
The entrepreneurs present, and the five decide if any one of them thinks it is a good idea to become a partner. They can ‘make an offer’ or say ‘I’m out’. All can drop out–and they get no funding and leave, or one can want to become a partner, or some can even ‘partner up’ if they think it is a good idea and the presenter could end up with 2-3-4….and hugely rare–even all 5 sharks investing in their idea; many have become millionaires themselves when a ‘shark’ becomes a partner.
Shark Tank is an engaging show. People who have started small businesses and want to expand their product line can become hugely successful…….if you have a “Scrub Daddy’ in your house; Shark Tank is the reason why.
There is also much you may not know about the research world. People have no idea of the difficulty in obtaining funding for scientific research’ diabetes or for any disease-state. Proposal, upon proposal, must be created and sometimes they are one-two-three hundred pages in length. These proposals are submitted by researchers to obtain funding. Almost any funding source, whether it be government, private, or from organizations will require this arduous process. It kills me when I see all of this time being spent on proposals. I get it. There needs to be some sort of mechanism in place to know what is good or not; I really get it. BUT (you knew there was a but) when I read about business deals ‘done on a handshake’ for millions of dollars, I ask myself why do researchers have to take so much time out of their schedules and exhaust themselves in this process; and then I read that company XYZ is partnering with ABC to the tune of millions–basically—-on a hand shake (okay I get that too, there are discussions regarding the product but I also know some of these deals, and they are done on a lot less than what a researcher must go through)? It’s just not fair.
Then it hit me.
We need a Shark Tank approach. Five of the biggest funding sources, or richest people in the world; imagine Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, Christy Walton and Michael Bloomberg sitting on chairs, okay–very comfortable couches; all set up to listen to those who need funding in our diabetes research world…..Imagine?
No hundreds of pages, no boxes and boxes of grant writing material, just someone in front of the five money sources hearing the pitch. Of course everything would be contingent on scientific data, but that can all be validated after the verbal pitch for funding…….wouldn’t that be cool?
You may have no idea how much time is spent in ‘grant writing’—-I can share that it is a lot. That translates to time out of the lab, and focus being shared….and not looking for a cure. In addition, if it was a television show…..imagine the exposure for different disease-states? Imagine if they decided to fund something with the contingent that their money gets matched by Americans, or by anyone who watches around the world. XYZ will give 5 million dollars but viewers have to donate the same amount via 5-10-15 (or more) dollar donations.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………..this could be a real hit series.
Hey Hollywood…………..do I have an offer?
I am a diabetes dad.
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