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Losing Ralph Biggadike - The World is a Poorer Place without him

Ralph passed away last week.  I am staring unhappily at those words even as I write them.  You can read the school's official note about Ralph at this link.

My memories of Ralph go back a long way.  An accomplished academic, he published a truly groundbreaking piece of work on corporate venturing, finding that a typical new manufactured product took seven years from concept to commercial launch.  It was one of the first empirical pieces to ever tackle that question. So I obviously cited him in my later work on corporate ventures.  He left Academia to take a number of managerial jobs, most recently at Becton Dickinson.  While he was there, I had the chance to interview him about some work that we were doing on multi-market maneuvering and he was generous with his time and most thoughtful.

When he was considering joining Columbia, I was one of the faculty he spoke to.  I remember discussing the book, "Built To Last" and what our students were like.  Ralph was mesmerizing in the classroom – he kindly let me sit in as I was just beginning to learn to teach – and it was incredibly useful to learn from such a master.  He was always generous with his time and willing to take his colleagues' issues seriously. 

It is a tremendous loss, and he will be deeply missed.



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