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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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

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February 1, 2013

A Traffic Record

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Posted by Derek

I wanted to thank everyone who comes here for making January the biggest traffic month ever on the site: just over 480,000 page views. That seems like a lot for a site that features no cat videos (not that there's anything wrong with cat videos), no partially clad women (not that there's anything wrong with them, either), and no continually raging flamewars in the comments section. Actually, the comments section here has one of the highest signal-to-noise ratios in the whole blogging world.. Other blog owners have asked me many times how I do that last part, and I just have to tell them honestly that I don't - the people who read the site are responsible. So thanks again to everyone who visits!

Thanks are also due to those who have hit the various Amazon links that I put up from time to time. The affiliate payments those bring in get spent in, among other things, swelling the book collections around here to even more alarming levels.

Comments (33) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blog Housekeeping


1. Henry's cat on February 1, 2013 7:49 AM writes...

Yeah but just think how good this blog would be if you just added a few partially clad cats....

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2. Stiv on February 1, 2013 8:24 AM writes...

Or if it featured awesome videos like August Schram singing Carmen 'Habanera'

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3. T on February 1, 2013 8:40 AM writes...

I wouldn't say the high signal-to-noise ratio was entirely unrelated to the content. I'd imagine such a high concentration of sensible, informed, well thought out arguments would be pretty toxic to the sorts of people who like to fill comments sections with inflammatory garbage?

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4. T on February 1, 2013 8:40 AM writes...

I wouldn't say the high signal-to-noise ratio was entirely unrelated to the content. I'd imagine such a high concentration of sensible, informed, well thought out arguments would be pretty toxic to the sorts of people who like to fill comments sections with inflammatory garbage?

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5. T on February 1, 2013 8:41 AM writes...

I wouldn't say the high signal-to-noise ratio was entirely unrelated to the content. I'd imagine such a high concentration of sensible, informed, well thought out arguments would be pretty toxic to the sorts of people who like to fill comments sections with inflammatory garbage?

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6. BioDueDiligence on February 1, 2013 9:10 AM writes...

Congrats, Derek! I had a great January at BiotechDueDiligence as well, but you are at another level. Looking forward to another year of great insight. And you are right - I often return to your posts after a day or two to read the comments. It's like a 2 for 1 deal...

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7. eugene on February 1, 2013 9:15 AM writes...

The high signal to noise ratio must be because I've started to comment semi-regularly again after a couple of years off. Yes... that's it.

I think that your content is a bit different now than when you used to get those 100 comment flame wars. Post regularly on Lance Armstrong doping (not so controversial anymore), Blacklight Power and Millsian software, or a miracle cancer cure from a crank in Texas, and you'll see the noise level rise. It would still be incredibly smooth by blogging world standards though.

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8. John Wayne on February 1, 2013 9:27 AM writes...

I love it when somebody does go trolling with some partially informed, passionate ignorance ... and nobody replies.

It is beautiful *wipes away some tears*

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9. z on February 1, 2013 10:07 AM writes...

Do people who read the posts via RSS feed contribute to traffic numbers? I've never really known how that works, whether those are separate statistics? Most of my blog reading does not bring me to the actual website. Of course, around here it is different and I often click through precisely because of the great signal-to-noise ratio in the comments.

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10. luysii on February 1, 2013 11:15 AM writes...

Richly deserved. Always interesting. Bravo ! !

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11. My 0.02 on February 1, 2013 11:18 AM writes...


How about that long-overdue new photo of yours?

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12. Chemjobber on February 1, 2013 11:53 AM writes...

About time for the "MLB pitcher and med chemist" to show up.

Congrats, Derek! Well-deserved. (Which posts brought them in?)

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13. Curious Wavefunction on February 1, 2013 12:37 PM writes...

Agreed; one of the best comments sections I have ever seen, not just on a blog but anywhere on the internet. What's interesting is that the comments section here is reasonable even when Derek is posting about hucksters advertising magical cures. This leads me to believe that the general level of civility in the comments is a reflection of the civility in writing. Derek is always respectful, often witty, sometimes sarcastic but never mean-spirited or hateful. From comparing this blog to others, I have found out that the comments section often of a blog (but certainly not always) is a reflection of the blog itself. It's definitely something to learn from.

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14. Doug Steinman on February 1, 2013 12:58 PM writes...

Congratulations! I only read other blogs occasionally but I find yours not only informative but hugely entertaining as well. Unfortunately, due to my schedule and time zone I am usually one of the last to post comments but I live with it. Keep up the good work and I look forward to many more years of you helping me stay in touch with what's happening in pharma.

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15. Patrick on February 1, 2013 1:12 PM writes...

Derek, you have long been essential reading every morning. Sometimes even the second site visited. And you nearly always reward that visit with something witty, interesting and entertaining.

If you ever need to give up your day job, then writing should keep the wolf from the door.

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16. Anonymous on February 1, 2013 2:38 PM writes...

The quality of the comments section is especially impressive considering you don't even need to sign up for a login or anything. The ability to write completely anonymous comments on a blog without any effort usually leads to the internet at its worst. What is this sorcery?

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17. RM on February 1, 2013 3:03 PM writes...

Regarding comment civility, part of the secret is probably obscurity. "Most famous blogger in the chemistry/drug development field" doesn't really equate to absolute fame, as these things go (no offense Derek). Most trolls probably don't know you exist. Having specialized content also helps. It's probably really boring trying to instigate a flamewar on a site where the question of whether to divide by molecular weight or heavy atom count is a hot and contentious issue.

I also agree with Curious Wavefunction - it helps that Derek keeps a calm and level tone, and doesn't go into the invective and comment bating tone that you sometimes see on some blogs. Being on a blog site where you're really the only thing going on (e.g. the front page is still advertising content from 2007) also keeps you from getting carry over from other, more invective filled blogs on the site.

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18. gippgig on February 1, 2013 3:30 PM writes...

There really needs to be an "Allow a few minutes for comments to be processed" warning so people don't keep hitting Post & creating duplicate entries (i.e. 3-5).

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19. MoMo on February 1, 2013 3:34 PM writes...

Congratulations Derek! Keep pushing the envelop on the Pharma and drug discovery issues as this industry and field needs outspoken individuals and leaders!

RW- Chemists risk their lives daily to work on molecules that may save miscreants like you someday, and it goes way beyond MW or heavy atom count. And this site and its influence must push your buttons and for that I am glad, civility aside.

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20. gippgig on February 1, 2013 3:38 PM writes...

#1: ...and some nude mice?

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21. LJStewartTweet on February 1, 2013 3:47 PM writes...

Derek. Congratulations ! Your blog is amazing. Agree with #6 BioDueDiligence, 2 for price of 1... except there is no charge.

I email and retweet links to many of your posts. I even had the great chance to e-mail one to my wife on Dr. Oz... She didn't agree, but hey everyone has their opinion.

Thanks and keep going !

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22. Josh Bloom on February 1, 2013 4:17 PM writes...

With all the idiots in the world listening to Dr. Oz, Andrew Weil and Oprah, it is truly satisfying (although rare) to see that it is still possible to build a huge fan base by simply offering a page with smarts, great writing, and an insane variety of topics—all well explained.
Keep it up. We need it. I feel like I'm drowning in morons most of the time.

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23. anon the II on February 1, 2013 5:10 PM writes...

I've enjoyed your blog since very early on. Wouldn't miss it. Keep up the good work.

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24. MIMD on February 2, 2013 1:02 AM writes...

Answer is simple: you post fascinating material in a most civilized and erudite manner.

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25. Nick K on February 2, 2013 6:37 AM writes...

A really valuable and interesting blog, and not just for the Medchem community. Thanks, Derek!

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26. Anonymous on February 2, 2013 11:40 AM writes...

Daily reader for a couple years and I must say the content and the comments get better all the time. I read from home and from work so double page counts from me.

The increased number of blog posts per day as of late always keeps me checking back. The constant scientific and somewhat skeptical nature completely reflects the way I think about things myself. Openly skeptical until data exists, but always willing to be wrong. Bravo and congrats.

Keep it up!

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27. Liz R on February 2, 2013 11:53 AM writes...

Just to chime in- I'm a former humanities major whose last chemistry class was in 10th grade, and I have this blog in my RSS reader. I don't always understand 100% of everything you write, but you present your posts in such a clear and friendly manner that I feel I've learned a bit about chemistry and pharma by following your blog. (Plus, "things I won't work with" is freakin' hilarious, and makes me think of chemists as real-life elemental wizards...)

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28. Scientist on February 2, 2013 7:05 PM writes...

"I just have to tell them honestly that I don't"

Great, insightful writing inspires.

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29. Cellbio on February 2, 2013 11:38 PM writes...

Exceptional quality, so well deserved. When reading the blog, I feel informed but inspired to think more deeply and critically.

Comments are fabulous too. When adding my thoughts, I am driven to raise my game by the quality that precedes me.

Quite a community here!

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30. Yazeran on February 3, 2013 2:47 PM writes...

#27 Yep, and add in "How not to do it" and I start thinking about "Wild surge" magic, aka "Watch this... Hu? It was not suppose to do THAT .. *Boom* " :-)


Plan: To go to Mars one day with a hammer.

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31. newnickname on February 4, 2013 6:04 AM writes...

I agree with all the good stuff.

@17 mentions "invective" but I can't find a free copy of Davenport's 1987 ChemTech on the Invective Effect in chemistry. Here's a fragment:

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32. anon on February 4, 2013 5:45 PM writes...

this blog and its comments are great, but the signal-to-noise ratio in the blogroll on the left has a little room for improvement. for example, appears to be gone for good. it would be great if you could remove the dead links and maybe separate retired blogs into their own category when you get the chance. Also, if anyone knows of other good blogs to link (Blog Syn isn't listed there) they should be included as well

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33. ItaBlogger on February 5, 2013 7:17 AM writes...

Derek, What about the geographical distribution of the 480,000 page views? mostly US? Anyway, also in Europe we appreciate your posts. All the Best.

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