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to promote their companies to investment bankers looking for IPO prospects. Then Big Pharma started coming out in force, using this meeting to scout for biotech companies with innovative products that could fit into their pipelines. Squeezing your way through those narrow St. Francis hallways to hear a public presentation is really only a small part of the picture. “There’s plenty of action at the St. Francis, but there’s a lot of action everywhere else too,” Gillis says.
The other thing that happens at an event like this, is an absolute ton of impromptu interactions, which I actually wrote about last year. This is about seeing old friends walking down the street, in the line at Starbucks, and mingling in the lobby of the Clift, the Hilton, the JW Marriott, take your pick. Lou Bock, a partner with Scale Venture Partners, and a former scientist at Genentech and Gilead Sciences, says catching up with old friends is a big part of what makes the thing special.
“There’s a lot to be said about the old fashioned way of doing things,” Bock says. “We can all do e-mail, and see PowerPoints over the web, but face time is important.”
My personal strategy for covering this meeting has changed through the years. I will be meeting with companies big and small, connecting with the newsmakers who are making innovative things happen in life sciences in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Boston, and Michigan—all five places where Xconomy covers innovation. I will be on the lookout for the original feature stories and scoops that I hope will distinguish our coverage in 2011. Good luck to you and whatever it is you’re shooting for in the year to come. Have a great confidence.
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