About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Bad Day at AstraZeneca | Main | The Brute Force Bias »

March 9, 2012

Coaching For Success. Sure.

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Posted by Derek

As some of you know, I'm guest-blogging at The Atlantic this week and next. I think the readership here would enjoy the post I have up today, which draws on some drug-industry experiences of mine. . .

Comments (15) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets | Drug Industry History


1. Fries With That? on March 9, 2012 1:38 PM writes...

VC are so impatient, PIs equally so, and none of them work in a lab.

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2. Hap on March 9, 2012 1:46 PM writes...

Oh, and you had said before that the benefits and profit sharing were determined by your base pay.

I hate that bottomless cynicism with respect to HR policy is so rarely unrewarded.

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3. Sean on March 9, 2012 1:49 PM writes...

"I'm in research, and my real bosses are a bunch of cells in a dish and a bunch of rats in cages."


Discovery is working in the unknown, the best of us have a decent compass and certainly no one has a map.

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4. RKN on March 9, 2012 1:54 PM writes...

I would not like the count the number of vision statements, [...]

s/b: I would not like to count ...

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5. Louis Barbier on March 9, 2012 2:18 PM writes...

I've never worked in industry, but it sounds like management just needs to not have a stick up their ass and realize that R&D is hands off.

Also, another typo. "No one, though, was foolish enough to thing that it would be the last brainstorm we'd see."

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6. Eric on March 9, 2012 2:25 PM writes...

"was foolish enough to thing that it would be the last brainstorm we'd see."

that typo in the last sentence is distracting

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7. Anonymous on March 9, 2012 2:52 PM writes...

Between this, the sad news from AZ and the damning-with-faint-praise news in your "Are the numbers improving?' post, I'm wondering if there'd be any use in an "Occupy" movement specifically for pharma R&D... Probably more productive to spend the weekend thinking about spring gardening.

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8. Chemjobber on March 9, 2012 3:25 PM writes...

I used to work with a business-management-type who would say "Our chemists love chemistry so much, they'd work for free!"

After the 2nd time he said that, I let him have it.

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9. Hap on March 9, 2012 3:26 PM writes...

I think the gardening would be much more useful - at least you can eat what comes out (hopefully).

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10. ex-Pfizerite on March 9, 2012 3:35 PM writes...

I still carry my Pfizer management behavior card because if you want to succeed at Pfizer you just do the opposite of what the card says ...

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11. Hap on March 9, 2012 3:44 PM writes...

Funny how business-management people don't say that they'd work for free. At least based on some of the results, they'd still be overpaid.

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12. Alsadius on March 9, 2012 9:23 PM writes...

The link just went 404 on me while I was in the middle of commenting. Can you yell at the Atlantic web staff to get it sorted out, please? Thanks.

(Also, keep up the quality guest-blogging. And some more entries in the Things I Won't Work With/Things I'm Glad I Don't Do categories would be awesome too.)

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13. Steve parent on March 11, 2012 1:09 PM writes...

Great post!

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14. Legacy Merck Guy on March 11, 2012 3:34 PM writes...

Nice post Derek. The really sad part is that if anyone high up read that, they's probably just say you have "lack of vision" or some other catchphrase.

@ chemjobber: was this guy upper or middle management and did he say it in a meeting or memo? Just curious.

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15. Morten G on March 12, 2012 7:21 AM writes...

@8 Chemjobber: You could just have mentioned to his superior how he always implies in meetings that he hates his job. He wouldn't have known what hit 'im.

If you want to play along with HR you could possibly suggest that bonuses be based on FDA approvals. That would ensure that there were actually money to pay out generous bonuses.

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