We had the good fortune of connecting with Malcolm Bohm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Malcolm, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Recognizing the need to take a risk to realize an opportunity has been something I’ve always been comfortable with. If I don’t do this, I won’t make it or I won’t achieve it or I won’t win it. Looking for the opportunity, assessing the risk and taking it is part of my makeup. It’s not that I’m cavalier or reckless, I always look at the risk reward balance but I won’t shy away from the unknown. Throughout my professional career this is true. I recall my first interview at my first pharmaceutical company – I truly had no idea what the job really entailed but I took the offer and jumped in head first. When I decided to leave the relative security and comfort of corporate America to start a new company I knew it was the right thing to do. I always describe it as jumping off the Titanic without a parachute. I was free falling to a fatal crash or I’d make it back to the surface and swim to safety. As my career has progressed through 3 of my own companies over approx 20 years I have gained more experience (some might say wisdom) and that gives you greater ability to assess the risk.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Definitely not easy to build. A lot of hard work and sometimes a lot of stress. But throughout my career I wanted to leave something behind that I could be proud of. I joined the pharmaceutical industry instead of pursuing medicine in the field because I thought I could impact more lives in total by helping developing new and impactful drugs. Little did I know that most who join never realize that but I was lucky and played a role in several important drugs for Angina, Stroke, Overactive Bladder, Erectile Dysfunction and several rare diseases including Lupus. When I started my first company I wanted to change the way clinical trials are recruited by using a data driven approach. It worked and today it’s standard practice but at the time being the pioneer was a real uphill climb. I had to find the people willing to try something new and that was hard in the very conservative world of clinical trials. But as I look back I’m proud of what I achieved. I grew and sold the company and set a new course for patient recruitment in the US. I built my current company, a software company, without knowing a single word about software. I met this great tech guy and he said, Malcolm if you can write it down, I can code it. So we did so and the foundation of Liquid Grids was born. If I’d given up because of my own shortcomings the company would never have been formed. Today we communicate with millions of consumers daily about their health and enable brands across the industry to leverage what we have built. I’d like to think people think I made a difference in the things I’ve done in my career.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So many things but first and foremost anything in the sun, especially when the weather sucks everywhere else!University Club at Symphony Towers for the spectacular views of the city. Mission Bay for flat water paddle boarding (I’m not a surfer). A Long Beach walk at Torrey Pines State Park. Lunch down at La Valencia in La Jolla or Leroy’s on Coronado. Happy Hour for fish tacos and tequila at El Pueblo in Del Mar. Watch some of the jets taking off and landing at Miramar Air Base.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It sounds cliché but honestly I equate risk taking to confidence and I owe my confidence to my Mother. My mum always pushed me to feel and be a winner at all things I tried. And to hold my head high if I failed or it didn’t work out. In addition to my mum, I also have to give a shoutout to the various boarding schools I attended. These places taught me how to be independent and I think this shaped my character in both confidence and also willingness to take risks.