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

Monday, November 28, 2005

Getting Caught up in it....

There are big things afoot in the industry.

Companies for sale. Products being release. Big stuff!!!!

But you know what....I still have to do my job.

Unfortunate, but true. With everything going on, I still have to put one foot in front of the other and get stuff done. Getting caught up in the hub-ub, calling friends, gossiping etc... is all fun, but it doesn't pay the bills. I get a bigger buzz out of doing some of the stuff that gets talked about, but that is much harder work.

Why keep doing it?

I guess it comes down to me wanting to be the one who is being talked about, not being one of the ones doing the talking.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Links about post Ph.D. life, and comments on them

Here, focussed on CS degrees. I don't agree with the top bit, but the warnings section is good. The statement "Don't get a Ph.D. if you don't want to do research is, to my mind, old school. I don't "do" research (althogh I am not divorced from it), so don't agree with this part. The warnings section is rock solid.

More on CS thesis.
There seem to be a lot of sites out there about Ph.D.'s in CS. Less in other fields (or my google mojo bites...)

A bunch of links, some better than others... The third link is very true in my case. Professionally I totally seperated from my base when I went commercial. Now years in to it, I have new network, but it is tough at the beginning. This mates well with my discussions on interviews. There is a lot here for the humanities that carries over to what I have been writing, so they may not be as weird as I thought they were. Still seems weird to have paid for graduate school (yes, in biology we are paid to go to school....).

Humorous take on why to get a Ph.D...ummmm I went to different school!!!!!

This is an incrdibly good summary of how to get through grad school and afterwards...

There are probably more, but this is some stuff I was reading ( I really need to get a life...)

Presenting Science in order to get money

Recently we went through the process, as we do somewhat quarterly, of reviewing projects to see what we keep working on and what we kill. In addition we go over what has just launched, what is about to launch, and general other strategy discussions. Leaving aside what actually happened in the meeting, here are some take home messages of how to talk people out of money, or how to keep your project alive. These cover more than just this kind of presentation, so are probably generalizable to other fields.
  • If you want a "YES" and you get it, shut up. More talking on the subject can only lead to "NO". You already have the yes, adding more to the discussion only hurts. You can't do better then yes. If the person was already disposed to agree with you, and therefore they say yes before you have made it all the way through your presentation, STOP. You don't need to do the rest of the presentation just because you can, you need to STOP. We know you work hard, talking more doesn't make that more/less clear.
  • On projects that are known to be unpopular, the less said the better. If you get grilled, it will happen whether or not you have a lot prepped. If you are up there for less time, and no grilling happens, count yourself lucky and sit down. The project lived to fight another day.
  • ALWAY assume that senior management talk to each other outside of the room. Don't change your presentation based on thinkning that A knows something because you think B talked to them, but don't be surprised when controversial things you are going to present go smoother or downhill more quickly. I watch as A and B talk outside, and there is communication there and surprises are prefaced and groundwork is lain. IF this isn't happening, run for the exits as your senior management is incompetent and your company is in deep doo doo.
  • Too much detail won't help. You should not ever assume that people want to hear everything. Hit the high points, get the approval, and get out the door. If you give too much detail, eyes glaze over and you move on....It just pisses people off an makes them tune you out. If you actually have something to say, then they will miss it as you already put them to sleep and they aren't paying attention any more.
These really tie in to what I had said about presentations, and it is really a lot of follow on to that, but the point is - Public Speaking matters. The more you do it, and the better you get at it, the easier your job is.

Personally, I suck at written stuff but am pretty good at speaking. This was pounded in to me in the field, so I am biased toward encouraging everyone to get in to the field. Customers will beat you up. Learn or die (or intellegently be designed....)

Monday, November 14, 2005

More not to do at an interview....

Don't, and I base this on several from today
  • Wear a T-shirt with a sport coat over it. Some stylish T-shirts, OK. Not a crappy white one.
  • Say "This is my dream job" with stars in your eyes. If your impressed by me, I am not by you, as you will be working with people smarter than me. We pay people to give good solid answers and use their brains, not blow smoke up our rears. IF - I read it wrong, and you were trying to brown nose your way to a job, then your horrible at it and you should move on...
This may be a continuing thread over time, and I am sure HR people have many worse stories of people doing horrible stuff, but I always imagine those people at lower level positions. Both people mentioned above have high level degrees. Conclusive proof that education doesn't actually teach you useful stuff.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Yahoo Finance Message Boards : Fiction or Nonsense?

Anyone who reads the Yahoo message boards for financial leads should just save themselves a lot of time and mail their money directly to me. I promise to use it in some decadent and wasteful manner, with possibly completly frivilous side effects.

Why would I say such heresey? Becuase I know what is happening at our company. I am, technically, an insider with access to non-public information. This makes reading the message boards entertaining becuase everyone who actually posts (and let me be clear here, I DO NOT POST on them) claims to have the knowledge that I actually have. Except in cases where two people are arguing and there are only two possible outcomes (thus, logically, one of them has to be right) I find it almost universally true that the people have no clue what they are talking about.

Posts normally demonstrate that the people, in fact, haven't even read the most basic bits of information about the stock they are talking about. I can't give good examples of this, as you would then figure out where I work, but people should be able to read our 10-Q's and other filings and refute the message board people in about 1 minute. If you cheat and use google, then your time may be even faster.

When people say "I have inside information" they NEVER do. They post some amazing drivel that I am ashamed to read.

I will say that the posters are all talked about at work. We cheer on their next bout of stupidity with great enthusiasm. When a particularly ripe nugget of stupidity is posted, word travels quickly and everyone reads it.

I apologize for not being able to give solid examples of the nonsense, but to point you to a company would sort of give me away. BUT - Please please please please don't base your stock picks on what you read on message boards. OR - if you insist, please leave me a note in the comments and I will send you some sort of address to which you can mail the money.

Friday, November 04, 2005

problems with Blogs

The real problem with a blog in my job is that I travel. Others are able to do that, but I have to do the rest of my work as well, so posting has been light although I have stuff to be said...

Oh yeah.... and Civ IV was released, so that didn't help...

Addictive computer game series should be illegal, as they consume WAY too much of my time.