April 11, 2014

To Define Success


Twenty years ago, I founded Paladin Labs Inc., a consistently profitable specialty pharmaceutical company with record revenue growth every year of its existence. As many people now know, Paladin was recently sold to Endo International plc in a multi-billion dollar value-creating transaction for all Paladin shareholders. This transaction simultaneously allowed me to spin-off Knight Therapeutics (GUD on TSXV) as an additional dividend for the shareholders of Paladin. I am once again at the helm of a new company to compete in the specialty pharmaceutical market. Since Knight was listed just four weeks ago, we have been busy. We received an FDA approval for our only product, Impavido, and through two rounds of financing, I have invested a lot of my personal net worth right alongside other investors with a total of $255 million having been raised. Not a bad start!

Success_PostPerhaps investors bet on Knight because Paladin generated a 100-fold (10,000%) return from inception ($1.50 per share grew to $150 per share, as of February 27, 2014), or because they believe Canada needs yet another company to in-license and acquire innovative drugs. The real answer is that Knight investors are counting on…me! That might sound arrogant, but it’s true. Investors are confident in me. They are confident that I have the passion and commitment Knight needs to succeed, that I respect with near obsession the money they have placed at risk, and that I have a solid track record of making bold and innovative deals with financially attractive outcomes. But is that what defines success?

Success is not defined by business metrics, such as the 100-fold return for investors, or the 19 years of consecutive revenue growth. Similarly, success in my personal life is not defined by binary events where I came out on top, such as licking cancer when I was only 26 years old, or recovering from my bicycle accident in 2011, which caused a traumatic brain injury, a five week coma, a pulmonary embolism, two heart attacks, double pneumonia and a bout with septic shock.

Success is defined by the good we do for others. Nobody on their death bed laments that they should have worked harder.

The most common regret is not spending enough time with family and not trying to repair our very broken world. You don’t need to be rich to make a difference and touch lives. I have set up 6 couples in marriage (some ex-girlfriends) who are now all happily married with children. The odds of this life altering feat are only slightly better than the odds of surviving my accident or leading a start-up company from $1.50 a share to $150 a share over 19 years (priceless).

The more you practice the cycle of giving, the easier and more rewarding it becomes – it is now my new addiction (I gave my bicycle to my cousin). Anyone can repair our world. Anyone can make a difference. Any currency can be used, whether it is money, knowledge or your time.

Knight’s stock ticker is GUD, not derived from Goodman, but for the hope we all do good.