John Walmsley

Geyer’s Rules for Medical Device Entrepreneurs

Playbook 2015 Panel

John Walmsley moderates Medical Device Entrepreneurs panel discussion with (left to right) Paul Geyer, Steve Arless, Awni Ayoubi, Ramgopal Rao, and Michael Baker at Playbook 2015 in Vancouver.

I recently chaired a panel discussion on the success secrets of medical device executives  at the Medical Device Commercialization Playbook 2015.
The half day seminar for Vancouver BC medical device company leaders focused on learning from experts and peers across North America.
200 attendees packed the Terminal City Club on April 2, to hear from successful serial medical device entrepreneurs including Steve Arless, Awni Ayoubi, Michael Baker, Paul Geyer and Ramgopal Rao.
They also heard from Larry Spears—who is not an entrepreneur, but the former Deputy Director FDA/CDRH Office of Compliance and FDA Investigations, and currently an industry consultant.

My panel included all of the above entrepreneurs.  We’ll be covering several of the presentation topics in future blogs.  Today I’m pleased to share Paul Geyer’s (Uncensored) Rules for Entrepreneurs.

Paul is a successful Medtech Entrepreneur and experienced Board member. Over the past 20 years he has founded and led two companies through their growth phase, in one case to a successful private exit and in the other case through growth as a public company with numerous acquisitions. Both companies are anchor medical device companies in the Vancouver area, employing more than 350 people.

Paul is currently the CEO & Chairman of the Board of LightIntegra Technology Inc., a StarFish Medical client and a spin-off from Canadian Blood Services which has developed the ThromboLux technology, used to determine platelet quality for blood transfusions. He is also Chairman of the Board of Neovasc, a cardiovascular company, and is an active Angel Investor.


Geyer’s Rules for Entrepreneurs


  1. If you are not the right person to ‘Drive the Bus’… find the right person and hire them
  2. Know what you know….Know what you don’t know
  3. No Assholes
  4. Hire for Attitude and Team-fit first and for Skills and Experience second
  5. Bring on Board members with knowledge and experience the company needs, but you don’t have….remember Rule #3
  6. Bootstrap as long as you can….time is money
  7. When you think you are about 80% of the way to the goal line…you are probably only 20% of the way there
  8. Be reasonable about your valuation…leave money on the table for all investment rounds…remember Rule #7.
  9. Everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you think it will
  10. Under-promise and Over-perform – Add 3-6 months to when you think it will be done
  11. Know your Critical Path….Always have a Plan B
  12.  Don’t try to make it perfect the first time….get it in front of customers as soon as you can
  13. Shit Happens!….Things don’t always go the way you want them to….Be Prepared
  14. Give Back!

Geyer’s Rules for Entrepreneurs is Copyright – Paul Geyer – April 2015

John Walmsley is StarFish Medical’s Vice President of Product Development.  He leads a team of innovative medical device experts and speaks frequently on Digital Health & medical devices throughout North America.

Commercialization Consult

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2 responses to “Geyer’s Rules for Medical Device Entrepreneurs”

  1. Thanks for passing these tips along John!
    Looking forward to reading about advice from other successful entrepreneurs.

  2. Thanks, Matt. I know that you’ll make good use of Paul’s rules!

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