By DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound)
Whod have thought we would see the day?
Charlie Sheen leaving TWO AND A HALF MEN. Demi leaving Ashton. Kim Kardashian leaving Kris Humphries (ok that one, I did see coming). Oprah leaving her own show. And now Jonathan Richman leaving the Pharma industry. Whats the world coming to?
Im not just trying to swell my friends (already sizable) ego with those comparisons. Over the past couple of years (at least since the FDA hearings on social media) Jon has been one of the leading voices in the ongoing conversation on how Pharma can use new tools and technologies to better serve our customers.
So when he told me privately a few weeks ago that he was leaving Possible Worldwide for a new start up in the hospitality industry my first reaction was sadness. Sadness that I wouldnt see him so often. Sadness that I wouldnt be harassing him about our Dosies nomination. And sadness that I wouldnt sit through another one of his presentations, usually the most entertaining and informative (and the most fun to heckle) at many of the conferences we attended together.
My second reaction was anger. Anger that Jon wasnt feeling challenged enough by the Pharma industry to want to stay. Anger that he often had to fight for speaking spots with “pay to play suits who would drone on about their latest “innovation while they outlined something that had been common practice in other industries years ago. And anger that there would be one less voice pushing the industry kicking and screaming in the direction that it must inevitably go.
Im over the sadness now and pretty excited about this new opportunity for my good friend. But the anger still lingers. Why? because there just arent enough people in our industry doing what Jon was doing. Asking the right questions, pushing the boundaries and making sense of sometimes cryptic subject matter (see his flow chart on the latest FDA guidance) so that we could all remove the obstacles for doing truly innovative work.
To paraphrase A FEW GOOD MEN, “We want Jonathan on that wall, we need Jonathan on that wall. Just like we need John Mack, Shwen Gwee, Kevin Kruse and all the other folks in our industry with the courage to do things differently and not be afraid to fail. And whenever, we lose one of these guys, I feel like our industry takes a step back.
In his public announcement of his new venture Jon writes “Be sure to stay in touch, and make sure I dont miss anything big in the world of healthcare. Im going to be sure to take him up on that and I hope you do too. And hopefully, sometime in the future (after hes made his millions with Zipscene) well be welcoming him back to an industry where voices like his are one among many instead of the exception to the rule.
Good luck, Jon. Well try and carry on your legacy here at PIXELS & PILLS.
Crap! I just thought of something else. Who am I going to heckle now?
Anybody got a copy of John Macks latest presentation?