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

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

off topic...but really funny

This is good stuff.

Read the ingredients when you get down to that part....

pretty much off topic, but funny none the less.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Someone actually reads an "A list" blogger and tries to decipher it...

There are many posts that I read by "pundits" that make me wonder how I can have back that time I wasted. So many that I stopped reading them as they thought they were telling me the future. The problem being that they are so busy talking about it that they aren't really helping it happen. I long ago got the feeling that they weren't actually saying anything and were just writing for the sake of seeing their words on the screen. I would imagine they check how many people read on an hourly basis. The fact that I didn't totally "get it" was also a bit annoying. I didn't want to spend the time to understand...

SO - Joel went and used the secret decoder ring on one article and after he wasted a bunch of time he shows that my hunch was right. Now any lingering doubt I had has been erased.... I am sorry Joel had to waste that hour (more than an hour he says...) , but better him than me!

Washington Post on working X-mas...

In grad school, I didn't get a Washington Post article about going to work on a Holiday. I got some flak from my now wife, but no article. I would rank this under the things that they trot out once a year to say "look at the weirdo's" and "aren't these people great slaving away to keep you healthy". Good to get some press, but I am a little too jaded to think it actually means anything other than it was a slow news day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some random links...

To a really old dudes blog (he is 93).... Life lessons learned.

To the new google patents site. This brings patent search to the way the patent office should do it. When dealing with the patent office, you would be amazed at them. From the notice of allowance (that tells your patent is done, accepted, and will issue) to you acutally getting the patent is 6 months. In that time it moves from office A to office B. You pay a small fee. It issues. Their web site is horrid. Google has done the right thing and made it more searchable. Oh yeah - google went back to before 1976 and made all of that searchable as well (meaning the google site is more searchable than the patent office...go figure). Now all they need to do is add patent applications to it and it will really be useful.

Bad time of year

Those of you not in a sales/quarterly based world (hello academia) probably enjoy this time of year. For me, this is horrid. Our fiscal year wraps up at the end of the year, so any money I can earn before Dec 31 goes in to this year and all of the financial implications that has for both the company and for myself. There is a great incentive to close deals before Dec 31. Sleep is unneccesary.

For me to close deals, Airplanes are involved. Airplanes at this time of year are full of the "non professional" traveller. Many of you would call these people "families" or "students". I look at them as road blocks in security lines and people who fill in the middle seats on airplanes. They also get in the way at check in counters.

SO - to sum up this time of year for myself and many in similar positions....

High stress to close deals, which requires travel that is itself made more stressfull by the large number of people who don't travel that much.

... to top it all off, many people start going on vacation so stuff has to be done even more quickly. Those that are still at work are really about 50% gone.

Every year I get crabby about this...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Positive about your work....

Over on YoungFemaleScientist she has a post about liking what you do. A couple of points.

1. I can't imagine doing something I didn't like. I invest too much, be they hours, thought, interruption of my personal life...whatever... to not like what I am working on.

2. She points to a difference between men and woman that I don't know what I think of.

She states.
This phrase, "I don't think I can" is something I hear all the time from women, but not so often from men.

That's not to say the men don't feel the same way. But more often what I hear from men who leave academia is that they think the system sucks, not that they wouldn't be good enough, if they wanted to be a professor.
...when it comes to the discussion of men vs. woman who have come over to the dark side. She is pointing out something that she hears woman say about academia and use as a justification of why they left.

My initial response was to call BS, because I am argumentative that way... but I don't know. I know why I left, and I know why some others left, but in speaking with the folks who are on the dark side (small n, but mix of both men and woman) none of them say "I don't think I would have made it". I get a lot of "I don't know why you would try" and that comes from both men and woman. BUT => we are all saying that to each other after we have moved. Sample bias and eleborate self justification all rolled in to one.

So, I don't know. Part of me thinks I could have made it if I wanted to, but since I didn't want to I didn't even try. This is true for me -> if I am not in to it, I will be bad at it. SO, the justification is that I "wasn't in to it" and thus punted to avoid being unhappy.

3. Random note about self flaggelation, discussing one of her friends.
She misses the bench (sound familiar? I've heard this from young PIs before)
Why would these people not flee to industry where you can, if you choose, stay at the bench for a long time and make a really good living doing it? This I will never understand.

News flash: a PhD degree by itself doesn't have magical powers.

Oh yeah. Totally true. Don't know you need to add much to this. A Ph.D. should, if done properly, teach you how to analyze stuff and think for yourself. The rest is up to you.

5. LOVE the competitivness

Statements like
And part of me says, Move over sister, soon it will be my turn!

At the end of the day, I feel we should all like what we are doing. Really love it. I feel that I am worth quite a bit of money per year and that someone should pay me that because I am smart enough to make it pay off for them. I feel that I should be allowed to set priorities for a lot of reasearch groups, and that you should pay me for that. But- most of all- This is what I like doing. I think I am good at all of those things becuase that is what I like doing. I am not doing it becuase someone has set a bar out there that says "this is how you are successful" or "do this to get ahead" -> becuase I think if you are doing it becuase someone else has set a bar that you will be miserable at it and it will haul you down.

If you don't like what you are doing. Change.

sounds so simple....

Sunday, December 10, 2006


In looking through the comments on Derek's post about his site shutting, there was a link to here, talking about recruiters. WOW> I didn't really think it was that bad. My jobs have all come via recruiters. In my current role, I have moved to exclusivly using them to fill spots. They bring me higher quality people than I am getting via monster/biospace/craigs list. HR makes me post and advertise to places, but I try and limit it to what I have to in order to keep them happy. It just drains my budget to do that.

I get an unsoliciated call/email a day for new positions. I am pretty good about writing back to people saying "thanks, but no thanks for right now". You can sort of smell the useless ones that don't know what they are talking about. Those, I am still polite to. I got my current job becuase a recruiter sent me in for the "wrong" job, but the hiring person recognized that I would be useful for what I am currently doing.

So - I pretty much disagree with the poster at the medicine vault pretty completly. To get a senior position I think they are the ONLY way to get the job. For entry level positions, I am a lot less sure. Would guess that you get a lower quality recruiter at that level, so the posting might be accurate or reflective of that - but that is buried in a little sentance at the end of the post.

Holiday gifts

It is the time of year that I have to give gifts to the folks who report to me. Always stressful. What to get them? The standard gift seems to be a good bottle of wine. It is what I gave last year and is likely what I will give this year.

However, due to some turnover, I have some "newer" employees, who have only been working for me for a breif while. Don't know them that well. Is wine acceptable? Hope so, as that is whay I bought this weekend...Hope none of them are recovering alcoholics (or practicing one for that matter) as that would be a kick in the teeth.

....more stuff I didn't think about in grad school.

The other side of a shut down...

A while ago Derek reported that his site (place of work, not Blog) was shutting down. I am sympatheitc to that as that isn't fun, but didn't think too much more about it. Then we started getting the termination of agreement letters and the sales rep in that territory is reporting that there will be a hole. We had a couple of licenses with the site that were lucrative for us. Termination means they won't be paying us that money next year. This means I have a hole that I have to dig out of in my department if I want to show growth and get a bonus. Nothing like what Derek is going through, but I have to say I didn't think of it. Little stupid on my part, as there is pretty much no pharma site around from which I don't derive some part of my yearly income.

These things ripple outward in ways I should have thought about but didn't. In thinking about it, my previous company had a pretty big license in there as well. No idea if they kept it alive for the last few years (no reason to think they wouldn't...) and to them as a smaller company this shut down could be a pretty big deal.