Cindy Eckert is an entrepreneur who built and sold two pharmaceutical companies, notably Sprout Pharmaceuticals, creator of “female Viagra,” for more than $1B. She subsequently founded The Pink Ceiling which invests in companies founded by, or delivering products for, women.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Moving every year during her childhood taught her how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. This experience of constant change would lay the foundation for the rest of her life.
  • While she had been surrounded by incredibly smart and hard working people in prior companies, she knew in her heart they weren’t any smarter or harder working than she was, so why not take a chance on herself.
  • She initially got turned down by the FDA for her drug for female low libido but rather that accept the verdict, she had the guts to challenge the FDA which eventually led to a reversal of their decision and approval for the drug.
  • After just four short years from the time she first purchased the drug, following the FDA approval, she sold the company for a billion dollars.
  • Culture is very important. Her company is the land of the misfit toys and they actually hire for quirkiness.  There is permission to bring your entire self to work and to be respectfully irreverent.
  • She tries not to get too obsessed with where things will lead. She’s just focused every day on getting up and doing a great job and creating value.
  • “I fail every day. Failure is just part of the test of how committed you are to the venture.”
  • “Empathy is the female DNA of a rule breaker.”
  • “Success isn’t about having all the answers. It’s about having the courage. If you feel you need to have all the answers, you’ll never succeed at entrepreneurship.”
  • “Why do we treat our career like a ladder? Why can’t it be a jungle gym?”

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