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on at least three days of quick, high-energy foods like bagels, peanut butter, Clif Bars, apples, and bananas. These items will help you get a jump on the day with a fast breakfast before the long march of meetings, and you can carry them in your bag for lunch. Nobody has time to go grocery shopping during the conference, so it’s best to do this on Sunday night. I have had too many moments when I forgot to eat anything from 6 am to 6 pm, and I know I’m not alone. Get enough food to function.
Meet some new people, some old people, some random people doing cool stuff you know little about. This is about strategic networking. Part of the magic of JP Morgan is the sheer density, and diversity, of people in one place doing so many interesting things. It’s a great opportunity to strengthen your network by seeking out new people you want to know, and staying in touch with people who live far away. JP Morgan week is also an opportunity to meet someone doing something cool on the edges of your field of expertise. If you’re a chemist talking to another chemist, that’s great, but a chemist talking to a bioinformaticist might lead to a different kind of creative spark. All you have to do is show up at a reception, and be genuinely curious about what other people are doing. They might bore you, in which case you can easily move on. But they might surprise you, or even help you come up with a great new idea.
Don’t get so focused on one thing you lose sight of the big picture. Everybody needs goals, and biotech requires an ability to intensely focus on that single goal for a long time. Maybe instead of spending 100 percent of the time trying to close that deal or woo the investors to support your IPO, it would be wise to take the blinders off occasionally. Maybe that perfect VP of R&D candidate just shook your hand at a party, and you didn’t even know it because you were so distracted by thoughts of buttonholing the guy from OrbiMed in the corner.
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