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

Friday, August 19, 2005

Computers vs. Biology...RSS feeds and Tech transfer

...with Regards to RSS feeds....
"Perhaps most importantly, I think it underscores that VCs have to be careful not overestimate near term adoption rates. Just because something is "hot" within the incestuous and self-centered world of Silicon Valley doesn't mean that it is hot elsewhere or even destined to be hot elsewhere."
from O' Rielly Radar, talking about RSS feeds and there lack of adoption outside of tech fields. Really pointing onward to here, but the point remains the same.

I see this so much in Biology it isn't funny. I was talking recently to yet another tech transfer office about yet more Biology. The director has a Ph.D. and has published in the bio field. I suggested to the director that setting up an RSS feed of their technologies would help me know when they had something new without them really having to do anything. We were on the phone, so I couldn't see the blank stare, but the response was "I am not familiar with that". I did a bit of explaining, but I don't think I did too well.

Now, Biologists aren't stupid, so that isn't the problem. Tech transfer people aren't stupid, so that isn't the problem. The problem is, I think, that are 10 gazillion things going on in the world and you don't have time for all of them. I can argue, and have argued, that this would save them a bunch of time, but I think that for the most part there is no one there who is too bothered by the current status quo so they don't have any real impetus to change. They go to AUTM meetings and say that they are unhappy, but there doesn't seem to be a real impetus.

I still get so many invites to join email lists with offices saying "latest greatest" (U. Florida being the most recent example), and I really sort of pause, think about how it works on the Computer side of things, and just shake my head. Email lists were a good invention in the mid 90's, and I was subsribed to a lot while doing informatics in grad school, but we are in 2005 now...

Sort of depressing really to know what could be, yet getting people to do something new is hard. My uncle claims, and acts this way, that if you want to upgrade his software that whatever you want him to use ( and learn how to use) better be 10 times better. If it isn't, he won't be bothered to learn it.

I suffer from Shiny shiny disease, and want all new all the time, but I have to keep in mind that many don't. For me the number is more like 1.5X better and I will shift.

RSS feeds for Technology transfer offices would help me. Do other Bus Dev people have my disease, and would it help them? I don't know. Half of our marketing department knows what Blogs are and what RSS is. Our VP in charge knows what they are. R+D folks, not a full survey, but under 1/2 know (of the ones I asked). The younger the person, the more likely they know. Unfortunatly, the younger the person the less senior they are, so you will only get to target the non-decision makers.

I guess I should continue to pray for indexable web pages and hold out for RSS feeds later.

No comments: