Social life in a petri dish

I’ve spent the past three months thinking about life sciences, and it’s place on the web. Business social networks are forming and growing each day, and with it comes the need for valuable, meaningful, and useful, relevant resources.

Are life sciences social? Yes!There are communities, for sure, and forums too (which I despise), that try to offer industry news, or white papers, or groups which quickly grow to sizes hard to keep up with, it’s hard to cull through all the updates to find something you need.

Twitter offers lists, which are great for reading a certain group or subsection of people interested in something, but they are hardly two-way conversations. Twitter I see more of a “find out about new software”, “find a good video link”, or receive an “unmanageable amount of inline and inbox spam”.

Facebook offers groups and pages, not regularly attended by any group of people though of course it is a community — but I don’t think of it as a place to meet professionals, especially if they’ve seen my Facebook page, a mix of my personal and professional life, scattered with pleas for response from companies I was frustrated with, a string of pages set up for places I’ve consulted or worked for.

LinkedIn, though 10th in line for popularity of social networks in the U.S. (Marketing Charts, 12/10) is the closest thing I’ve found to finding serious professionals, those who could mentor or further your career. In only a handful of the top segments in life sciences, there are 3 million LinkedIn members.

Which is why the company I’m consulting for, Executive Mindshare, partnered with LinkedIn when we released a site this past December called BioMindshare. Industry thought leaders and quality curated content, with the promise of premium services like reports, event coverage and recruiting coming online this year.

In the meantime, I can assure you though my research, that life sciences, biotechnology, and similar industries are growing fast. For those looking for a job in this field, I’ve brought along a list of science jobs I found through one of my groups on LinkedIn (also if you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn, my email address is You can also follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook.

Science Jobs from LinkedIn:

Academia Jobs:
Analytical Chemists:
Clinical Research:
Cosmetic Science:
Chemical Engineers:
Freelance Jobs:
Health Economics:
Internship Jobs:
IT & Computer Science:
Laboratory Jobs:
Lab Technician Jobs:
Logistics & Supply Chain:
Marketing & Med Comms:
Medical Devices:
Medical Engineering:
Medical Information & Drug Safety:
Medical Writing:
Molecular Biology:
NGO & Charity Jobs:
Organic Chemists:
Part Time Jobs:
Quality Assurance:
Regulatory Affairs:
Sales (Medical/Pharma):
Sales (Science):
Translator Jobs Network:

Happy hunting and happy new year!


Anticipatory web services

The Anticipatory/Predictive/ Intention Web

We all have silent little conversations with our computers, don’t we? Admit it. “No, that’s not what I meant.” “Go back.” “Are you still alive?” We talk to them like they are pets. We hope they will understand a few words we give them, knowing we will have to remind them again and again to get down off the couch, to stop eating slippers, to sit. We talk to other things too, lots of things, that don’t talk back with us.

Computers (software, web services), however, enable more complex discussions and as technology is taking hold of more and more of our time, there exists the early inefficiencies of any major change. The creation and distribution of information online, your information, and that of everyone else remains for the moment at a pivot point, balancing between traditional media control and a rising of consumer-driven content. The time is ripe for a significant advancement* in the “anticipatory web.” A change in the user experience is about to come.

Sit. Stay. Good Web.

CartoonIt’s fair to say I have spent a lot of my life on computers, on software development, and the marketing of each. Five years ago, my attention centered on connecting companies with their customers primarily by paying for lead information, casting test advertising nets into the Internet ocean, and mitigating their adoption concerns (i.e. understanding why they wouldn’t buy.) Now, working on our own software (finally) at Grabbit I am thinking more about the intelligence of software to understand a user’s needs, preferences, patterns, etc. (all without endangering their trust.)

The complex equations of algorithms combined with the implicit behavior and data given to us by the user will help developers create next-generation software systems that anticipate more fully who you are and what you want from an end-user perspective. We’ve seen baby steps in this direction for many years online. Auto-fill forms, “keep me logged in” buttons, and so on. But software can take a big step — a step that produces interaction.

Companies can address product or service concerns, or open public discussions about other issues concerning their customers and by doing so, anticipate what user’s want (importantly) based on use AND explicit feedback, for instance. In turn, customers can offer – by way of behavior or explicitly-given feedback – additional information about themselves. Also, because of periodic down economies, lack of capital and simple software that provides basic information, many software companies (especially internal divisions of large corporations and underfunded start-ups) circumvent market research, focus groups and other comprehensive testing techniques for the web services and pay for it in adoption or poor press.

* The term Anticipatory web is not in any way a ‘new’ term. Q. Why now? A. Product and service providers have conglomerated into several the major categories. They have matured enough to offer partner programs, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), and support for these. Concurrently, web service developers are creating sophisticated programs to anticipate consumer behavior, therefor unlocking revenue for many of the software companies who will have otherwise failed. Happy customer. Happy company. Happy investors.

Have an example to share? I’d love to hear about it!

You thought PayPal was it?


Finally, some true innovation for peer-to-peer online payments from a company establishing itself with partners who will really help distribute their service. Partners like AOL and Facebook.


Jason Hogg grew up in the finance industry, in fact his father works for MasterCard. Jason was a founder of MBNA Canada and served as chief business development and marketing operations for them.

Over a year ago, I met Jason, along with members of his board (Steve Case included) for an intimate briefing to a handful of interest journalists. The parent company Revolution, was premiering a subsidiary of that company called RevolutionMoney. I was in that group, sitting along “real” journalists, with their tattered notebooks, scribbling furiously as Jason spoke. Me, with my iPhone, trying for one of the first times, to type quickly. Unable to keep up, I resorted to jotting down topics, looking with envy to the fast-moving pens beside me on either side. Well, I thought, I’ll get it all in an interview. People tell me Steve doesn’t have the best business sense all the time, but I still have a soft spot for him because of my time at Netscape. Jason sticking it to his dad for the interests rates alone seemed satisfying enough to chase him down for a chat.

And after all, what Jason was doing, seemed like an interesting story — putting the power of money lending, and terms of those relationships into the hands of the people actually at risk. I liked it. I thought it would allow so many people across the world, from those who get caught in the problem of “we can’t lend you money because you need it” to those in 3rd world countries still just hearing rumors of technological advances, sheltered from the knowledge of the opportunities around them.

There was something I liked too, about what Jason must have learned from his father. The enormous interest rates and late fees credit card companies change consumers is a large problem. So many people are in debt, or have debt war stories. RevolutionMoney was sounding like EvolutionMoney. Terms negotiated directly between two (or more) parties. I thought more than once about my Indian friend Arijit, with whom I would trust to back for a business initiative he may have, regardless of his resources.

I called RevolutionMoney’s press contact a couple of times. She didn’t return my calls. I tried email, finally she told me she was no longer with the company and gave me a new name. I tried the new name, to the same end. Eventually they told me that Jason was too busy for an interview, and now I know why.

American Express bought them! What a sell out. Back to Paypal and looking into services like