#4 Chad Robins
What Fuels You
download episode


Who is Chad Robins? 00:44

Chad Robins is the co-founder and CEO of Adaptive Biotechnologies which he launched in 2009 with his brother.


What does Adaptative Biotechnologies do ? 00:54

It facilitates groundbreaking research in cancer and other immune-mediated diseases.


What fuels Chad Robins ? 01:57



What was Chad's childhood like ? 03:00

Chad's mom always made breakfast and his dad would always leave by 5am so that he could be home in the evenings to spend time with his kids.


Would Chad's childhood friends have seen him as a CEO? 06:00

He never desired to be a baseball player or anything of those sorts. At 11 years old, he wanted to be a CEO.


Who influenced Chad when he was younger ? 07:24

His parents, especially his dad's ability to connect with people and what they had to say. His dad taught him great lessons on humanity as he networked with people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels.


What education of great value in his home ? 09:07

It was of huge value. His mom was a lifelong educator and made it clear that education very important. She taught Chad and his brother a lot about reading, writing, and critical thinking.


How does Chad see a successful person ? 10:14

His parents made it very clear early on that money was never the driving force that make a good or successful person.


Why did Chad choose Cornell for his undergraduate studies ? 12:42

He thought the campus was beautiful and he loved the outdoors. They also had an entrepreneurial program that appealed to him.


How did Chad's experiences in hedgefunds, investment banking, and the real estate industry prepare him to be a CEO ? 19:23

Chad believes having the hardcore experiences of those fields were critical. It was rigorous in that you had to put in your time and that you had to acquire technical skills (income statements, balance sheets, etc.) and then develop presentation abilities as well.


What skills end up differentiating professionals over time ? 22:38

Softskills - working with people, connecting, presenting, etc.


What is Chad's passion ? 24:30

Company culture.


Does Chad see a common thread in successful company culture ? 24:35

Every culture is different. It is top down and bottom up. CEOs set the feel for a company and company values help put words to priorities.


What is immunosequencing ? 28:35

It is now popularized. They use the advances in next-generation sequencing hardware to develop chemistry and infomatics to profile one's immune system.


How does immunosequencing work ? 30:04

The immune system's job is to scan for anything foreign, react to it, kill it, and remember it. DNA actually rearrange on these cells and forms receptors, or scanners, which look for pathogens, viruses, bacterias, etc. Essentially, Adaptive Technologies can study immune systems based on profiling the receptors that form.


How can the immunosequencing platform be used? 31:47

It can impact how doctors handle treatment plans for patients. It can also assist in how therapies are developed, such as cancer therapeutics.


What are some other facets of Adaptive Technologies ? 33:30

They were recently granted clearance from the FDA for their first diagnostic product, clonoSEQ, which measures immune system responses to therapies and whether the issue being treated (i.e. cancer) is coming back or not.


How can consumers access clonoSEQ ? 34:15

It is on the market now and the official commercial launch will be in December. They are working through medicare reimbursement.


How does Chad spend his time today vs. 2009? 35:53

Today he spends much of his time on people. With business development relationships, with recruiting for his company, and with providing his employees the resources needed to work better together.


What should you spend money on as the CEO? 36:24

Chad Robbins breaks the job down into 3 categories: money, people, and strategy. Without money, you can't get the right people and without the right people, you can't develop the best strategies possible.


What attributes does an employee need in order to be successful at Adaptive Technologies ? 38:26

Common attributes such as debating openly and communicating ideas as well as the ability to be kind. Help people out, work collaboratively, and give credit where credit is due.


What are some time management hacks for a CEO? 40:56

Chad's assistant is incredibly helpful. One of his strengths is the ability to process a lot of information while synthesizing it and compartmentalizing it. Chad can move quickly from one thing to another without issues.


How does Chad decompress ? 45:01

Exercising, hiking, and spending time with his wife.


What fuels Chad in his personal life ? 46:08

He's currently reading the book "What School Should Be" and has become more involved in education, particularly his daughter's schooling. He finds importance in helping people with how to think instead of what to think.