#BIO2017 – Dealmaking By Wandering Around 
Posted by Carlos on Jul 10, 2017

My next meeting is over there...

According to Wikipedia, Management by Wandering Around (MBWA) is

…refers to a style of business management which involves managers wandering around, in an unstructured manner, through the workplace(s), at random, to check with employees, equipment, or on the status of ongoing work.

At Lacerta Bio, we’re not big fans of words such as “wandering” or “unstructured.”

But, the concept of getting out of the office and gaining face time with employees, colleagues, and business partners is one we fully endorse.

I was reminded of MBWA when looking at our step count from #BIO2017. And, wow did we wander around!

I clocked 70.4 kilometers (43.7 miles, if you insist) from Sunday morning (departing from JFK) through Friday morning (landing back in JFK after the red-eye). By comparison, I clocked a mere 35.6 kilometers (22 miles) at #BIO2016.

A lot of attendees complained about the layout in San Francisco last year, especially our scrambling from building to building in between meetings.

Yet the stretched layout of the San Diego Convention Center resulted in a much greater distance traversed, and for roughly the same number of meetings and social events (including another epic Wednesday evening festivity).

I harp on this point because one of the fallacies of business development is that it can be done from a chair in an office, in front of a laptop. Indeed, virtual conferences were in vogue for a while ~10 years ago. And video and related technologies are invaluable for moving processes forward.

But there is nothing like scheduling a meeting, shaking a hand, and having that 20 minute discussion to set the stage for future interactions.

Now it is possible to schedule only a few meetings (10 or less) and have a successful convention. That is largely asset-dependent.

However, for assets which require a bit more energy and creativity behind them, a 40+ kilometer conference is not, and should not be, unusual nor remarkable.

I have vague memories of the last time BIO was held in San Diego. If memory serves, the exhibition was compressed more than it was this time around. This set up felt overly stretched, resulting in a quiet vibe. Lost was the sensation of walking into a crowded Vegas casino when stepping onto the Exhibition floor.

An interesting twist to BIO was the presence of the RESI conference on the Monday. We participated in a few meetings there, and can confirm that it was jam-packed on Monday morning.

The one-on-one meeting salon was quite crowded and noisy…and I mean that in a positive way. The Exhibition was small, as one would probably expect from a one-day, investor-focused conference.

In hindsight, it’s slightly surprising that there are not more attempts to have more parallel conferences to BIO. It will be interesting to see if other conference companies try to piggyback onto BIO as they do for JP Morgan.

Now I recognize that we are comparing apples to oranges. Having JP Morgan at the exact same place and the exact same time every year makes it far easier to plan and execute a piggy back conference.

Nevertheless, with BIO opening on Monday afternoon, having a one-day Monday conference is an excellent idea. Will others follow suit?

What happened outside of Partnering and selected receptions?

We have no idea.

We do recommend the daily round ups by Lisa LaMotta at BioPharmaDive.com.

Other summaries by Rob Wright of Life Science Leader are also time well spent.

Finally, trolling through the tweets #BIO2017 may also yield some good summaries and pictures.

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