Welcome to RAWWERKS! This site features the work of Raymond Weitekamp.

I mostly make materials and music. I run polySpectra and help scientists become entrepreneurs at PhD to CEO.

Permission to Fail: RIP Karen's Hub

An experiment needs permission to fail. The reason why has nothing to do with the methods and everything to do with the psychology of the experimenter. If the experiment is not allowed to fail, you will always find a way to justify some exception, discount a subset of the data, re-run it over again with a new hat, and then again with your lucky bowling shoes on. It’s very hard to imagine giving your startup permission to fail. »

How to Find Your Founding Values

One of the most fun (and philosophical) parts of starting your own organization is finding your founding values. Today, entrepreneurship is easier than ever, cooler than ever, more valued than ever. As a result, I think that many people are jumping in without any real sense of why. Why is the most important part. The value discovery process I’m going to outline is relevant to anyone starting a company. However, I think it is particularly relevant to the PhD to CEO for a few reasons: »

Money Can't Buy Knives

Most technology startups involve some amount of engineering risk. Can we build it at scale? Can we build it for $X by our launch date? Can we refine the product to be attractive before we run out of money? There is a ton of material from the lean/agile world on how to approach these challenges. I’ve read it all. Frankly, while much of this advice has been useful to me in my transition from PhD to CEO - the existing literature just wasn’t very applicable to the very early stages of polySpectra. »

Ergodic Entrepreneurship

Last November I spent a full week in the basement of a masonic temple in Manhattan, an oddly appropriate venue for a workshop about risk. The Real World Risk Institute was founded as a hedge against a very specific real life risk - the possibility that author and risk expert Nassim Taleb might lose (or quit) his part-time position as a professor at NYU. Tired of the bureaucracy? Why not start your own institute? »

So Many Feels

I am elated and disgusted, inspired and despondent. I am waking up to the fact that I have been missing out on a huge opportunity. I have been ignoring a large part of the breadth of human communication – now I am realizing how it has hampered my career and the growth of my company. What was I missing? I just finished an intensive “touchy feely” workshop, led by InnerSpace and FortLight. »