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Select IndividualAnthony J. AdducciKurt AmplatzEarl E. BakkenPerry L. Blackshear, Jr.Norman DannRichard DeWallSandra HollenhorstThomas E. HolloranC. Walton LilleheiRonald A. MatricariaPatricia NeumanDemetre M. NicoloffGerald TimmManuel VillafañaWinston R. WallinGeorge Waters

Norman Dann:
Transcript of Interview 2 Excerpt

Norman Dann, interviewed by David Rhees, on June 26, 1998 in Shorewood, Minnesota.

“So in the medical-device area, it was totally a professional decision. I mean, if the doctor felt that the device was better than having a patient die—it was a risk/reward analysis that he did in his head—and if he felt that the reward outweighed the risk, he did it. Okay. And we were probably standing right there with him.

But I think one of the things that’s unfortunate, because we’ve lost sight of that process, of how many of those early devices got developed, because, first of all, my recollection is that most of these people were very dedicated people. I don’t recall what we seem to see today, you know, people doing this because they were money-hungry, or just trying to take a shortcut to success. They were trying to solve a problem. I mean, it isn’t that they were against money; it’s just that the commercial aspect was not the prime motivation.

I worked with a lot of these guys. I held them in very high regard. They were all concerned about the safety of the patient. I mean, there was no question that that was their guiding thing. You can always second-guess the decision. You can always say, well, should they or shouldn’t they, or whatnot, but the point is that these were very dedicated people. The point being that that is the learning laboratory, and whether you want to believe it or not, the iterative process that goes on in trying something, finding out what’s wrong with it, improving it, going back, trying, is the way you get a good device.”


Biographical Information

Norman Dann was born in Ohio. He graduated from college in Pennsylvania. He has headed his own medical device design and servicing companies, one of which was acquired by Medtronic. He worked for Medtronic after the acquisition. He has done consulting and administered venture capital funds. He is now working with several non-profit organizations.

Norman Dann