I have spent very large chunks of the last two weeks at two meetings here in San Diego. FASEB and AACR. My goal was the same as always... find new stuff and talk to people. I should say I haven't been to conferences in awhile, as I got caught up in a bunch of M+A stuff and this part of my job got deprecated. Went to these two just to see new stuff. Don't want to miss the "new".
In fact. Really nothing new. I did not, in all of the posters I looked at (and I think I looked at, quickly mind you, every poster at AACR and FASEB). I am good at looking at posters quickly and recognizing what techniques were used. Read every title to see what questions were asked. Scan figure legends if it doesn't immediately register as to what they are doing...
I talked to some of the people I work with saying "i got nothing, have been out of the loop for a year - am i totally missing?" and the general response was "no- thats the way it is right now". It seems, and this is the really big view, that new techniques aren't really being pushed right now. There is a lot of incremental improvement, ways to make things faster, etc... but I am not seeing discontinuous innovation. I know it is out there, I just can't find it and it annoys me. OR its not there at all right now. Everyone is catching up with the technology they have. They can answer a ton of questions that was unlocked by the last round of things and are still really figuring out how to use that technology- SO - they don't need new.
My bet is on the "just figuring out the old" for right now (and note - my definition of old in this context is like 4 years ago). There is a lot of making instruments cheaper going on, which drives the measurements possible in to more and more labs (good thing, but doesn't help with my "new" problem).
Overall, a bit of a disappointment.