“The genes we inherit from our parents can be considered as the ‘luck’ factor.”

“The genes we inherit from our parents can be considered as the ‘luck’ factor.”

As the story goes

When the idea of offering personal genomics services to customers first came up, we did our due diligence, made a terrific presentation and introduced the concept to the board members at Ocimum Biosolutions. The Board was skeptical about introducing a new concept that had no market and moving to a direct-to-consumer model and hence, they rejected the idea. We, however, had the vision of transforming healthcare in India and had done all the groundwork. It was time for Plan B. We decided to start a new company and to call the product ‘Genomepatri’. We became the pioneers of personal genomics in India, and as a startup, achieved the kind of success that couldn’t have been possible with Ocimum Biosolutions.

Anu Acharya, Founder, Mapmygenome

Another instance where luck played its part, was soon after I received the ET Startup Award in the ‘Women Ahead’ category. A brilliant young man working for a rival company was walking on the road after a no-show from his client. He saw the board ‘Genomepatri’ and on the spur of that moment, he decided to offer his congratulations. Incidentally, our HR manager was near the reception area, they both began a conversation and she told him about an open position and asked him to talk to some people in the team. The team was impressed and we got a great resource to work with, in a matter of hours.

How you see it

As a founder and CEO of a genomics and molecular diagnostics company there are times when we see how luck works. In fact, the genes we inherit from our parents can be considered the ‘luck’ factor. Just as luck alone cannot be entirely responsible for success, our genes alone are not always responsible for our health and behavioural patterns. Lifestyle and environment also have a role to play and these are variable and controllable. I’m not saying that this is always the rule – there are some conditions with a strong genetic component, where luck may play a bigger role. But science offers us routes to circumvent the bad luck. Angelina Jolie may have inherited pathogenic variants of the BRCA gene (to do with breast cancer) but she chose to act on it.

When people hear about a predictive genomics test some initially think that a high risk for a condition is bad luck. Once they take the test and have a genetic counselling session, they get a report that provides actionable steps to prevent diseases. We have had success stories of people who have overcome bad luck and moved to a healthy lifestyle.

Favourite quote on luck

Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger. – Mehmet Oz, a Turkish-American cardiothoracic surgeon

The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act. – Barbara Sher, a lifestyle coach and author

In a measure

Luck may take you to the right place at the right time but planning and execution are key to success. Planning involves due diligence – understanding your requirements and your capacity to fulfil them before moving to the ‘how to’ plan.

What’s your Plan L?

Start early. Do your due diligence. Plan well. Have a Plan B. Act on your plans. Stand back and see how they are working. Change your plans if required.

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