12 Times around the World: Neotract Inc.’s Founder Discusses Business and the Art of Traveling

12 Times around the World: Neotract Inc.’s Founder Discusses Business and the Art of Traveling

By: Eliza Lamson

“My whole philosophy about traveling is that it’s Zen. You basically have to know how to go into hibernation” said Ted Lamson, the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Neotract, Inc. And he would know; Mr. Lamson has traveled over 300,000 miles in the last year.

“That’s roughly 12 times around the world” Lamson stated with a shake of the head.

All of this traveling is spurred by a need to promote the new medical device Mr. Lamson and his teams at Neotract, Inc. have created. Lamson founded Neotract back in 2006 and invented the company’s medical device, the UroLift. This device treats benign prostate disease, a disease 50% of men have by the age of 50. At age 70, 70% of men are afflicted by it. The idea came to Mr. Lamson after his uncle struggled with prostate cancer and was given a catheter which Mr. Lamson describes as “pretty medieval”. Through experimentation and interviews with doctors and patients, Lamson was able to draw up a plan for this latest invention.

The Urolift is now approved in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and, most recently, Canada. Trials in the United States have reached completion but it will be a bit longer before Americans see the product on the market. Mr. Lamson travels to various countries and states teaching doctors how to effectively implant the Urolift.

When I sat down to talk with Mr. Lamson, the main topic of conversation was travel. As a man who travels internationally on a regular basis, Lamson has some very helpful tips to offer fellow travelers.

“A lot of people don’t know this but in order to be a good traveler, you need to have an awesome suitcase.” It needs to be exactly the right size (which, according to Lamson, is 20 inches long). Americans don’t know this; most small suitcases made in the US are 24 inches long. When a suitcase is that long, it doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment well. And, it has to be the kind with 2 wheels. Lamson explained that this is because 4-wheeled suitcases are terrible to take on buses because they roll.

“I once saw an old lady taken out by a runaway rolling bag. It was like she got checked into the window by a hockey player” Lamson said while laughing guiltily.

When I asked him what he recommended people should wear on the plane, he emphasized blending. “If the steward or stewardess greets me in their native language, I know I’ve got it right. I like to be a chameleon”. He then listed off several other helpful tips. If at all possible, wear slip on shoes. When going through security, get in line behind people who are also wearing slip on shoes. Avoid families with strollers and elderly couples. On the flip side, while going through customs, families with strollers get waved through much faster than other travelers.

When on the plane, Lamson recommends never missing a meal and avoiding alcohol. He grinned. “That one I violates in spades.”

The Urolift still has a couple of years before it goes on the market, but in the mean time, Mr. Lamson will continue to teach doctors from all over the world how to use his device.

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Hopeless Romantics Anonymous

Today, while walking to class, the girl in front of me dropped her pencil. It wasn’t a fancy pencil by any stretch of the imagination, just a simple black mechanical pencil, nothing more. Despite its simplicity, another student walking in the opposite direction swooped down and picked it up. He called out to her, a bright expulsion of sound rounded like a stone, but she did not acknowledge his call or she did not hear it. He started to jog after her and in the span of the distance between them, I conjured up the future into the midday sun.

He would reach out and touch her softly on the shoulder, a ghost’s carress, and extend the pencil to her. She would be surprised, then laugh-bashful and embarrassed laughter like apologetic bubbles- and thank him. There they would stand, heads bent over the pencil that brought them together. They would talk and shuffle their feet and blush and giggle. Ultimately, after the shuffling and blushing and giggling, they would decide to get coffee, or ice cream, or a slice of pizza later in the day. Their mouths would not define it as a date, but their minds and hearts would real with the luck that her dropped pencil had brought them both.

All this came to me in the 4 or 5 steps it took him to catch up to her.

Of course, what really happened is: he handed her the pencil. She thanked him. They carried on their separate ways without a glance back.

Hello, my name is Eliza and I am a hopeless romantic.

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Just now, as I am sitting on Bart, there is a girl blowing bubbles sitting behind me. I was alerted to this strange action by a woman a few seats in front of me laughing loudly. That laughter has now extended to the whole car. An entire train car full of people laughing at bubbles, speeding through space, leaving a trail of glossy hiccups of sound behind us. There is a woman across the aisle from me who has a bubble perched atop the fringe of her bangs. It catches the light in a kaleidoscope of pastels. She seems to be unaware of it. The woman in front of me has one on the back of her head that is fluttering in some small breeze that is sneaking into the car like muffled voices whispering through the walls. It looks like how I imagine the heart of a hummingbird to look, as delicate as a dream. And everyone is still laughing. We are all affected by these tiny, gossamer orbs of joy. And the train moves on.

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Nicholas Cage as..The Madonna

This may be completely blasphemous, but it is also completely spot on. While eating lunch on Haight Street, I spotted this image hanging above my friend’s head. I nearly spit my food out I was laughing so hard.

The Madonna (the painting above my friend’s head)                            Nicholas Cage

My friends and I all decided that there was no way around it; the Madonna in the painting looked startlingly similar to Nicholas Cage. For the rest of lunch, none of us could stop giggling.

(This is not meant to offend anyone in any way-it is merely an observation made by my friends and I.)

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1 a.m. Poetry

1. In response to a text that asked, “How are you?”

Well I’m…

Inspired. And tired. Yet feeling pretty wired. And my rooms on fire and its getting pretty dire that I go to bed before I go brain dead. But my heads filled with words that are coming out in herds and pages that blur and its starting to stir

something crazy in me.

2. In response to a snippet of conversation overheard when one girl said “Oh you don’t even know”…

“Oh you don’t even know,”

She whispered to the snow

As she walked through the grove

To their secret cove

“All the things I have given

For this glimpse of heaven”

But the snow made no reply

Only watched with wary eyes

The sun on the horizon.


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The Sexiness of Spies: This Means War Review

Film: This Means War

Starring: Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, Chelsea Handler

Genre: Romance/Comedy/Action

Rating: B+


Throughout the screening of This Means War, one of my reoccurring thoughts was “people are not this beautiful in real life…” Indeed, every single actor or actress in the film was beautiful, from the two main men and their mutual romantic interest, to every waitress, bartender and extra in the film. It was a smorgasbord of sexiness.

Apart from that strangely belittling yet thoroughly enjoyable detail, the movie was entertaining, if entirely implausible. The film is as much about the bromance of the two (incredibly sexy) main characters, FDR Forester (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) as it is about the competition they establish to capture the heart of Lauren, played by the almost overwhelmingly cute Reese Witherspoon.

The movie begins in a classic Bondian type way that establishes the slickness (if not the subtleness) of FDR and Tuck. However, except for this one scene, which also introduces the ‘bad guy’ (the steely-eyed Til Schweiger as the evil Heinrich), the movie is less about spies and more about two guys using gadgets and kung-fu to gain intel about and woo the woman they have both become starry-eyed over. Witherspoon’s character is bubbly and fun but its Chelsea Handler, who plays Lauren’s best friend, who really takes the cake as the entertaining female role in the film. Having said that, it is truly amusing to watch Witherspoon’s character become bewildered by the introduction of FDR and Tuck into her otherwise sexy-man-less life.

The rest of the plot revolves around the two spies establishing a gentleman’s code to govern their competition and then both promptly breaking it. Instead, they both take Lauren on a series of wildly romantic and obnoxious dates (that any girl would be insane not to secretly long for) and literally battle each other for Lauren’s affections. Of course, Lauren has no idea the two know each other, which is revealed in a very destructive fight between the two spies that seems like it should leave both of them dead.

I’ll admit the film is hilarious, in a very B-rated rom-com meets spy movie meets bromantic comedy sort of way. The story is implausible and at times the plot drags, but I was surprised to find that it genuinely kept the audience guessing as to who Lauren would choose. The quips and back-and-forth between Pine and Hardy make up a good deal of the most hilarious scenes, as does any moment Chelsea Handler is on the screen. Her lines nearly had me rolling on the floor with laughter (but I didn’t because I didn’t want to miss a single moment of pure sexiness on the screen).

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Above the Breakers: McNee Ranch State Park

McNee Ranch State Park

Last weekend, Christian and I decided to head out towards Half Moon Bay with the intent of finding a trail and hiking it. Sadly, we planned rather poorly and when we finally did arrive in Half Moon Bay, it was only to discover that the tourist office was closed. Luckily, we stopped at a gas station (for essentials like trail mix and windshield wiper fluid) and were told to head north on Route One. We weren’t given a name and on several occasions almost gave up and went to the beach instead, but we eventually saw a sign for a state park and decided to give it ago. The sign for McNee Ranch State Park is barely noticeable (we didn’t spot it until we were practically on top of it) but the marvelous trails and views that it offers are well worth the U-turn it takes to get there. I highly recommend parking in the state beach parking lot several meters south of the actual trailhead as there is a great deal more room there than at McNee Ranch parking lot.

McNee Ranch State Park is part of the Montara State Beach Park. It offers some of the most spectacular views along the already overwhelmingly beautiful Route One. The park extends out towards San Pedro Valley Park on the other side of Montara Mountain and boasts some slightly challenging but stunning trails. These trails mostly consist of fire roads, but the Grey Whale Cove trail that runs along Route One is a foot path that has been carved out of the landscape. The fact that the trails are fire roads in no way hinders their beauty. California sagebrush, coyote brush, fennel and many other plants grow right along the edge of the roads and perfume the air with the heady aroma of the natural world. The fire roads do make the park a favorite of mountain bikers and hikers should be aware that they may come careening around a corner at any moment. There are several trails to choose from but Christian suggested we take the access road that appears at the beginning of the park so we did just that.

We followed North Peak Access Road and then cut over at the summit and went down along Grey Whale Cove Trail which follows Route One along the coast. Surprisingly, the noise from the road is not that audible. At first, I thought it was the cars I was hearing, but soon came to realize that it was actually the breaking of the large waves down on the beach hundreds of feet below us. I couldn’t help feeling that we had suddenly found ourselves on some remote island and that we were out surveying our new surroundings. Of course, I must say this: if you do choose to start out on the North Peak Access Road, be prepared for a steep scramble upwards. The road starts out running alongside Martini Creek, but almost immediately cuts up away from it at a steep grade. Luckily, there’s no need to rush up the mountain, and the incredible views of the ocean behind you as you hike are excuse enough to stop and catch your breath every once in awhile. We were incredibly lucky with the weather; it was brilliantly sunny and a warm breeze flicked about in the sunlight. However, the trail is along the coast and because of this, it is often foggy. When planning on visiting this park, I highly suggest wearing layers, just in case the fog does decide to roll in early. Having said that, the trail is close enough to civilization that if the weather were to suddenly change for the worse, it would be easy enough to get back to your car in one piece and without hypothermia.

Once we reached the Grey Whale Cove trail, we were met with even more spectacular views. It was that time of day when the sunlight doesn’t so much illuminate the world as make everything terrifically gold; the kind of light that photographers love to shoot in, where everything is thrown into utterly perfect detail. We decided to hike up along a deer path that wandered off from the main road and ended up standing on a patch of grass atop a small peak, looking out over the entirety of the Pacific Ocean. It truly was breath taking. If you do happen to find yourself there on a sunny day such as ours was, I highly recommend packing a light picnic and finding a place to sit and feast upon your lunch and the gorgeous views around you.

The way down is rather challenging in that the path is comprised of small, loose pebbles in some places. Try to stay on the grassy bits of path and wear sensible hiking shoes that can handle that sort of terrain. Having said that, it was hard to keep watching my step because all I wanted to do was look out at the marvelous beach that we were hiking down along. The combination of my fascination with the view and the speed at which I moved resulted in my slipping and landing solidly on my rear. I won’t deny, however, that I was happy to sit a moment and gaze unabashedly out at the glittering sea.

Here is a link to McNee Ranch State Park on Google maps:

McNee Ranch State Park

End note: the image of the state park sign is not mine. It is from the Yelp page that discusses this hike.

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