Everybody’s life is an entrepreneurial project

Humbling. Inspiring. Amazing. Do you ever meet people who make you feel like a tiny crumb and inspire you at the same time? Dr. Martine Rothblatt is such a person; she connects dots like few business leaders I’ve ever seen.

Watch her video here.

I’m listening to her and Dean Olian live, onstage here in Korn Hall at UCLA Anderson. Dr. Rothblatt graduated from UCLA Anderson in 1981 with MBA and JD degrees–she’s a triple-Bruin overall. From her field study at UCLA Anderson she went on to be founder, chairman and CEO of Sirius XM Satellite Radio and then co-founder of the global satellite system PanAmSat. She shared today about being on Howard Stern and him thanking her for “making radio free.”

While founding Sirius might have been a lifetime achievement for most, when faced with a life-threatening illness in her daughter, she created a biotech company to seek a cure. She is currently founder, chairman and CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation, the privately-held, 14th largest biotech company, larger than the bottom half of the fortune 500.

In the early ’90s, she also underwent a gender transition, and she shared about that today. Her human rights work includes articulating equal marital rights in “The Apartheid of Sex,” reproductive rights in “Unzipped Genes” and patient rights in “Your Life or Mine.”

Her tips for success to today’s audience are:

  1. Be Open-Minded:
    Get the ideas on the whiteboard; give them a chance
  2. Be Practical:
    She quoted Warren Buffet, “Better to be almost right, than 100% wrong.”
  3. Never give up:
    She uses her alarm on her phone to schedule small units of daily time to pursue her top 5-10 interests, including wellness, flute, piano, astronomy, cyber-consciousness and helicopter piloting–she flew herself here today. Even small increments of time, if allowed to happen 80% of ones days, will accrue to big results.
20140127 Dr Martine Rothblatt and Dean Judy Olian

Dr. Martine Rothblatt Ph.D., MBA ’81, J.D. ’81 and Dean Judy Olian onstage in Korn Convocation Hall, January 27, 2014.

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