My Library and Courses
Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Leave The Nest

Gunars Valkirs and his two partners, Ken Buechler and  Kim Blickenstaff,  were bored by big business and its lack of courage and insight.  More....

Key Question:


To work on a new idea, unfettered by protocol, is what every entrepreneur needs so we have to leave the comfort of the paycheck.

And remember, there is no such thing as corporate entrepreneurship. We know some academics who disagree with us and we are happy to use the Biosite case to strengthen our argument.


Why did Kim, Ken and Gunars leave Eli Lilly?
A: Because, like all big companies, Eli Lilly can only handle a certain level of creativity. Big companies thrive and prosper on the systems they put in place to serve their markets efficiently. They don't want the messy activity that surrounds inventing a whole new way of doing things. Big companies want to keep doing what they do best and when they see a new idea working, they buy it -- lock, stock and barrel.

Questions for this clip: 1 | 2

Think about it

What's your next new thing?

Clip from: Biosite is helping to save healthcare.

San Diego: Early insights by three people, Dr. Gunars Valkirs, Kim Blickenstaff and Dr. Ken Buechler, opened the way to develop devices that are now used virtually every second of a day to aid hundreds of thousands of emergency medical technicians, nurses, doctors and patients to diagnose medical conditions faster and more accurately. In this episode of the show, you will see their little device, Biosite Triage® for rapid diagnostic testing, in action.

When they had the idea, everyone told them, "You're crazy. No way! It'll never work." 

They began their business in 1988. Today, it is a global organization with annual revenues over $250 million. And it is all based on a product line that never ever existed before they created it. The firm's first product, The Triage Drugs of Abuse Panel, was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992.

They didn't stop there. They now test for congestive heart failure, heart attack, and a long check list of diseases with very strange names. Beyond their unstoppable energy and passion for continued research and exploration is the belief that their success to date does not begin to scratch the surface of the potential of diagnostics. Here you look into the heart of creativity.  

Editor's Note:  Since this episode was taped, Biosite was purchases by Innverness Medical Innovations.

Go to all the Key Ideas and Videos of this episode...   
Go to the homepage for this episode...   

Biosite, Inc.

Kenneth Buechler, co-founder, President, Chief Scientific Officer

9975 Summers Ridge Road
888.BIOSITE (Customer Service)
San Diego, CA 92121

Visit our web site:

Office: 858.805.8378

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1988

Leave The Nest

KIM: So later on the company was acquired by Eli Lilly, and Ken and Gunars and I were all in the top-10 people that needed to be retained. And I should mention that all the executives got shot within about two weeks of the acquisition, so they were out.

But Lily looked at the product growth going forward and said this is a key group that's very successful that we have to figure out how to keep. We didn't like the corporate bureaucracy. I liked this creative, open and environment that I had with Gunars and Ken. If I could find a way to do that again, I'd be willing to take a career risk going forward and try to do that. But that wasn't available in Lilly.

In fact we actually tried to pitch to Lilly put us, Gunars, Kim and Ken off in a separate building, away from your bureaucracy and let us look at new ideas again. And they said no we don't operate that way. So we tried to do this sort of intrapreneur concept, but that ultimately became the genesis of the plan, hey let's got to find some money on our own and go out and find a garage, lab somewhere and do this on our own.

KEN: Well it wasn't really any fun anymore. We weren't really able to be innovative in what we wanted to do. It was more of a situation where we were told what to do. We couldn't really be scientists I guess is the best way to say it.

GUNARS: Kim I think at one point said well if you guys ever decide to leave this place, give me a call. And so that call was made and we started getting together deciding whether it was reasonable and could we get money to start something.


Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!