Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Friday, July 29, 2005

...More about tech transfer offices...

So I started writing this blog less than a week ago, really just to let some steam off. I didn't think anyone, other than my wife, would actually read it. Suprisingly (at least to me), some people showed up and posted some comments. Right now, the sum total of two (2) are here. Not a stampede or enought to inflate my ego (if possible) but definatly greater than zero (0). I would assume that these folks showed up via the power of search engines.

This means that my less than 7 day old blog with, statistically speaking, zero(0) readers is more able to be found than the technology on most tech transfer web sites. I, by doing essentially nothing, am more findable than the technology that I need to find to do my job.

This boogles my mind. Stanford, which spawned google, is not well indexed. I can take a descriptive paragraph from their web page and paste it in to google and get no hits. I can take the subject and boil it down a bit (thus broaden it) and not get back their page. Making it tighter gets me fewer hits, but still doesn't get me the page. This means that even when I know what I want, I can't find it.

I am picking on Stanford here just to make a point, not becuase I think any of the other sites are any better. I rarely get Tech transfer offices to pop up in my google hits. I can find the inventor by using google with some search terms of stuff I am looking for, contact them, and then from there may make it to the tech transfer office. Alternativly, knowing where the person works I can look up the tech transfer office (Google not so useful for even this, have to be an AUTM member really to get that done) and contact them or search their site. Most sites seem to brag that they don't list all their technology and that I should contact them in order to see if they have what I am looking for. The only problem with this is that I am likely not in your time zone (random chance as I travel a lot) and it is probably late at night when I do a search or have time to call. So then I have to make a note to call you. That gets pushed down the priority list and I don't get to it for awhile. This doesn't help either one of us.

Another part of what I said above really gets to how tech transfer offices say people come to them. For the most part they say their leads come to them via the inventor. Of course they do. Read the paragraph above. I can't get direct to you as I can't find your site. If I haven't been to a universities site before, or they have moved it since I last was, they are really hard to find. There is no direct way to get there from the front page of a university web site unless you know where you are going. They are all called something different (tech transfer office, licensing office, knowledge transfer office.... blah blah blah) so you may get it wrong on first shot. SO - the only way, reliably, to get in is via the inventor. You have their name, can look up a paper or google them, and get the contact info. From the tech transfer offices point of view, we got to them from the inventor. Why can't I find the site in Google? Use Meta tags in the header of your web site in order to cover all the names that I list above and any others you think of.

So, there is my soap box for today. This came to a head as I just plain couldn't find anyone to talk to at this University this week. I gave in and just called the main operator. They directed me to the facilities department. This is garbage. Someone at the University filed the patent, so must be able to license the thing. The inventor is on vacation, so currently they are no help.

....and yes I was dealing with contracts all day, so all numbers shall be spelled out with a (0) following them.

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