A: At Beckman I enjoyed my scientific studies, however, the constant diversion of having to look for funding became frustrating. But what ultimately changed my view of academics occurred in the Spring of 1993 when I applied for a university professor position.
Q: What happened to alter your view?
A: Following my interview and presentation, I received a handwritten letter informing me that because the search committee had ranked me as their #2 candidate, but had only one position to fill, that I would not be offered the position.
Q: No doubt you were disappointed, but how many candidates applied for the position?
A: Yes, I was very disappointed. Over 500 candidates from around the world applied for the position, so it would appear that being chosen #2 was a notable achievement, but to me being ranked #2 out of 500 wasn’t good enough, so I made up my mind that there was really no future for me in academics.
Q: Having come to that realization, what did you do next?
A: As I was working at the office one day in the Spring of 1993, I just decided to leave. I didn’t even take time to clean out my desk, but just walked away and never looked back.
Q: How did you begin to negotiate this career detour?
A: I had always wanted to be scientist, so had never considered opening a business or even working outside of science and research. But once I had made the decision to leave, I began to apply my scientific research skills to the study of business. I read hundreds of books on how to run a business, and spent thousands of hours in the libraries researching business principles.