The ultimate risk

Jan. 1, 2008
Any new venture carries with it a certain amount of risk. In this day and age we try to minimize that risk through business models, focus groups, market research, and the like.

Any new venture carries with it a certain amount of risk. In this day and age we try to minimize that risk through business models, focus groups, market research, and the like. But I like to think there is still a place for gut instinct and intuition.

Look at optical coherence tomography (OCT). Back in the early ’90s, when OCT was just another lab-based experiment in ultrafast technology, who could have imagined that it would one day become the first truly successful commercial application of optical imaging in medicine. The evolution of this technology from “benchtop to (nearly) bedside” has required countless hours of R&D and millions of investment dollars, not to mention the dedication of key researchers—pioneers like Jim Fujimoto, David Huang, Wolfgang Drexler, Joe Izatt, Eric Swanson, Brett Bouma, Stephen Boppart, Mark Brezinski, Carmen Puliafito, and others—who believed, deep down, that OCT could make a difference in the delivery of medical care. Perhaps they couldn’t quantify this vision, but still they believed in it. Ultimately it this kind of dedication and commitment, the willingness to take a chance on a new idea because it just feels right, that is the “magic dust” behind many successful new ventures.

We are so jaded these days, so often caught up in the need to justify in both our personal and professional lives why we should (or shouldn’t) pursue a new opportunity with unknown outcome. But sometimes we need to take less-calculated risks. Throughout history, the greatest inventions and inventors have often gone against conventional wisdom. And look where that’s got us.

This new venture, BioOptics World, is the result of both a vision and a business plan. Our goal is to do something that has not been done before: provide a comprehensive look at the growing markets and applications—as well as the research behind them—for optics, lasers, and imaging in the life sciences. This field no longer belongs just to the researchers but to the entrepreneurs as well. It is an emerging industry, and BioOptics World intends to be the voice of that industry.

About the Author

Kathy Kincade | Contributing Editor

Kathy Kincade is the founding editor of BioOptics World and a veteran reporter on optical technologies for biomedicine. She also served as the editor-in-chief of, a web portal for dental professionals.

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