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#4 Chad Robins

Chad Robins is the CEO of Adaptive Biotechnologies. His company, which he co-founded with his brother Harlan, has received over $400 million in funding as it drives ground-breaking research in cancer and other immune-mediated diseases. Chad simplifies his role as a CEO into three categories and breaks down this complex industry for everyone to understand. Listen to this riveting episode and hear how he moved from investment banking to biotech, what working with his brother is like and how 100 days spent in the wilderness is what influences his leadership style to this day.

Updated on June 25
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Exercising, hiking, and spending time with his wife.

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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.

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