Monday, August 3, 2009

The Long Sabbatical

I know what you’re thinking. “William Osler - Didn’t he kick the bucket about a zillion years ago?” Long story. Allow me to summarize. Most people believe the carefully-crafted cover story that I succumbed to the 1919 Spanish influenza epidemic. Not true. Merely a convenient coincidence. Seriously, do you really think that I, Sir William Osler, Professor of Medicine at Penn, Johns Hopkins, and Oxford – the guy who practically invented modern medicine and literally wrote the book (Principles and Practice of Medicine – still available at Amazon. And by the way - where are my royalties?) would allow myself to shuffle off the mortal coil with the flu? Please. I had every medical student, intern, and resident on the East Coast sucking up to me, hoping for a good letter of recommendation and maybe even a teaching gig. No way they would have let me die before I finished their yearly evaluations.

No, I was just bored. Simple as that. To be honest, I was also a little bummed by the Great War (how was I to know they would start giving them numbers, like some customer in line at the deli?). I was bored, so I decided to go on sabbatical. A very long sabbatical.

The plan was 100 years. Disappear in 1919, come back in 2019. Simple, right? But along the way, somebody made a little arithmetic error, and pushed the button in 2009 instead of 2019. Whatevs. (I’m still looking into this; heads will roll. Don't they teach addition these days?) The important thing is that I’m back now, catching up on all the important stuff in my inbox. You wouldn’t believe how many emails piled up. One of them is from some guy in Nigeria who's going to give me a few $K just for helping him with a wire transfer. And what the hell is Viagra, anyway?

How did I do it? I’ll bet you’d love to know, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m afraid that will just have to remain our little proprietary and confidential information for the time being, at least until the IP lawyers have signed off and all the patent apps are filed. Don’t even ask me to tell you. Not even with a 20-page CDA. I’m going to monetize this puppy.

You may not realize this, but medical school professors didn’t make that much money back in my day. Not even me. And yes, I did leave some investments in place to cover my overhead when I came back, but I see there were a couple of little economic bumps in the road – especially the one that began in 1929, and the other one that just hit last year. Let me tell you, I took a beating. Especially the money my estate had parked with some guy named Madoff.

So naturally, after a few site visits, I decided to move out to California and set up shop in the Valley. I found some nice digs close to Stanford and the VCs on Sand Hill Road, and got a pretty good deal on some office space vacated by a deadpooled social networking company that never had a viable business model.

You can’t imagine how much paper work all this has taken, especially with the state medical board and my malpractice carrier. I did take one guy at Stanford into my confidence. He knows about my “sabbatical” and who I really am. Had to be done so I could get admitting privileges under another identity at the hospital and get a few laughs grilling medical students on attending rounds about the 12 causes of renal failure in amyloidosis or something like that. It never gets old. I love it.

So the plan is to raise some Series A money at a decent valuation from a couple of VCs to get my stealth biotech biz off the ground, recruit some board members that will do what I tell them, and hire a PA to get me coffee, pick up my dry cleaning, and make sure I always get an aisle seat in first class.

Otherwise, while I’m waiting for things to get rolling, I decided to share some of my observations, experience, and opinions with you on this site. The internet. What a cool idea. Why didn’t I think of that?

In any event, please check back soon and often. There’s a lot of stuff I can’t wait to tell you.


Doctor (Sir) William Osler. But you can call me Bill. Just don’t tell the medical students.

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