MCED Blog

MCED helps innovators fill in the gaps between their deep industry expertise and the strategic business skills critical to launching a scalable, sustainable venture. Maine's unique economic and geographic challenges demand more that a traditional business incubator. They demand a catalyst.

Props to Mr. Descartes

Todd O'Brien, DPM

O'Brien Medical, LLC

Top Gun Grad 2012


As I delved into the suggested reading for Top Gun, I was surprised by some striking similarities with

my medical training. In particular, it appears that the venerable scientific method had at long last

found its way into the realm of entrepreneurship. Building on the work of ancient Greek scientists

ranging from Thales and Aristotle down to the great Arab scholar Alhazen, the modern scientific

method was crystallized in Renee Descartes’, Discourse on Method. This process of forming hypotheses

based on observation and conjecture and then testing the validity of those educated guesses through

experimentation and data collection is well known among scientists and non-scientists alike. The

iterative twist of repeating experiments based on new data creates the ubiquitous feedback loop seen

across numerous fields.

Now thanks to thought leaders like Steve Blank and Alexander Osterwalder (see his book Business

Model Generation), those same scientific principles are being applied to startup entrepreneurship.

Instead of scientists “interrogating” the nature of the physical world, entrepreneurial scientists are

interrogating the nature of potential markets for their products. This new approach encourages

entrepreneurs to test the validity of their business models through a small scale, iterative process before

taking on the significant risks inherent in launching a company.

This seems to make sense given my training as a biology major, podiatrist and inventor. As has been

pointed out by our Top Gun mentors, many of us intent upon changing the world come from a technical

orientation. I believe these same scientific skills can be leveraged to our advantage in this new

approach to the startup. The concepts of experimental design, data collection and the feedback loop

are already such a familiar part of the mental landscape for many of us that its somewhat reassuring to

be able to put them to use in our business ventures.

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Top Gun Maine Expands to Third Location and Announces 2015 Applications Open
The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED), the Target Technology Incubator and the Foster Center for Student Innovation announced today plans to expand the Top Gun Maine program to a third location, in Rockland.
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