Monday, March 9, 2009
Greetings from Chicago
It is cold and sunny here, after a weekend of rain and delayed arrivals. I am working PittCon, (Pittsburg Conference for historical reasons). This is a huge meeting, and yesterday was booth training and old home week for the sales staff and product managers who work the booths displaying our latest and greatest. This year, some 200 of us are working the show, down from 300 last year. We had the usual hours of blah blah blahblah training followed by dinner and lots of motivational rah-rah by high managers. They did a good job of making our part of the company sounding not as bad off as it could be. At least one of our competitors pulled out of this show altogether, which is where companies come to introduce new equipment and historically, at least, customers come to make buying decisions. It is apparent that the stimulus package will include a big $$$ for instrumentation, and the east coast account managers are reporting a deluge of requests for quotes from scientists expecting funding added to existing grants to arrive the end of April. Even a one-time influx of $$ would be most welcome. So it's all about keeping the game face on, moving the tire-kickers along and sniffing for customers with budget, and keeping the feet in shape for the long hours on the show floor. At least women are no longer expected to wear heels!
This comment deserves a separate post, not a footnote, but I am short on time so i will just say, THE PRESIDENT STATES NOW SCIENTIFIC POLICY WILL BE DETERMINED BY SCIENCE FIRST NOT PARTY POLICY FIRST. Now anyone who believes there won't still be an agenda would be naive, but policy can't deal with problems that policy refuses to acknowledge exist. Lots of bad news out there, but this is a return to how things should be.