Picture yourself at the edge of an Olympic-size pool on a hot summer day. The water looks inviting. No reason not to dive right in. But instead you get cold feet and just sit on the edge of the pool. Or you get overconfident and dive off the high board and get a bloody nose. The U.S. market is like that swimming pool for many European medical device and pharmaceutical companies that have successfully marketed products in Europe and the rest of the world — big and inviting. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to dive in. From dozens of US product launches, we have found that unsuccessful projects made 3 major mistakes that could have been avoided, they: 1. Based a full US launch on the limited experience of one or two company execs. 2. Jumped to conclusions about the US market from their businesses in other countries causing delays and extra costs. 3. Started following a good plan, but when US surprises happened they took shortcuts that impacted their success.