HBR had an article today about how bots will help us become better versions of ourselves. My overarching questions reading through the article is, will the bots really make us “better” versions of ourselves or just drive us toward some sort of homogeneity? The underlying bias in the article, especially around management behavior, is that there is some sort of platonic ideal that bots will help us achieve. Is that really true?
HBR a few weeks ago had two interesting articles on gender in the workplace. The unconscious biases highlighted in the VC funding article were eye-opening to me given that this occurred in what I perceive as a progressive northern European country. The second article is a nice reminder on silly sex segregation ideas that just don’t go away.
2010 In Review – The Recap
What a crazy 2010! We welcomed 2010 quietly, after a whirlwind December 2009 that involved three out-of-state trips between CB & I and our first married Christmas. The house was still in a state, with CB & I still needing time to sort out all of the generous gifts from the wedding PLUS both of our stuff.
Thankfully, MLK weekend gave us a chance. Over three days we moved out of and back in to the kitchen, emptying every cupboard, cabinet and drawer, picking and choosing what to keep and what we would find another home for. We finally were able to get rid of the last set of boxes in the dining room and take back our house.
January also served as the jumping off point for my MBA application process, with a GMAT prep class at the end of the month at Drexel. February brought the GMATs, a visit to Drexel, and Internet searches. CB took a cake decorating class with her sister, ensuring a beautiful, yummy cake would show up right around my birthday. The MBA apps wrapped up in March and the waiting began.
To celebrate the MBA apps finishing up, CB & I went off to DC for a long weekend. Biking around the capital, they revisited the site of their engagement at the FDR memorial. They also stopped in to see CB’s brother, and their family friend Didi.
In April, I took a new position in the company, landing in the R&D IT division. The next three months were filled with work-transition items, the second Emerging Leaders residency, and a flurry of “new project” work. Thankfully, though, Memorial Day weekend came, and with it a chance for some time away.
CB took off to Alaska for an adventure with her friend Janet, fulfilling a long-held promise once Janet finally finished her PhD program. Myself, not wanting to be left home alone, found a nearly-deserted island off the coast of Panama to sneak away to for a few days for some remote R&R.
Returning home, we were now just days away from our one year anniversary. Not wanting to let the occasion pass uncelebrated, we snuck off to NYC for the night. After a great Cuban dinner, we went up the Empire State building, then saw Memphis the next afternoon. And just like June 13th a year earlier, it poured rain in the afternoon.
June, July and August were hot in Philly as usual, so it was time to shift gears. Instead of trying to “get things done” around the house, CB & I spent our time running around having fun. From concerts to shows to dinners and dancing, we had plenty of fun.
The MBA acceptance letters also came back, and we knew it was just a matter of time before I would be tied up for two years getting my masters. To celebrate, we quickly planned a two week trip to Australia for Labor Day weekend. Despite some setbacks at work and having no time to plan, we did a whirlwind tour of Melbourne, Cairns, and Sydney. We saw penguins, kangaroos, wallabies, and birds galore, along with the Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and wine country outside Melbourne.
Two weeks after we landed I was off to the week-long kickoff session at Babson in Boston! From October until mid-December, I was in school and life was go-go-go! Despite some sad moments in the Fall, we slid in to the end of the year, with Thanksgiving at Cioci Deb’s and Uncle Burt’s in Sparta, Christmas Eve with CB’s family, and Christmas Day with both sides. Sure, we may have been decorating the tree again on Christmas Eve, but it was still a great holiday with our family.
Now, with 2010 in the books, we are thankful for all the great moments and we look forward to seeing what 2011 will bring us.
Happy New Year!
Merck Announces Earnings
Merck yesterday announced earnings which beat expectations. Most important, the increased 2008 earnings increased the 2008 company scorecard results.
Wholly Owned – Riiiight…
I’m no fan of el Presidente Bush, as anyone who reads my blog will know. That being said, I wholeheartedly disagree with the assessment, repeated here, that the FDA has been “a wholly owned subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry”.
Research has been done that has shown that FDA approvals rates are actually falling, especially in the wake of the COX-2 market withdrawls (VIOXX, Celebrex) in 2004. Pharma companies are increasingly finding it easier to get new products approved in Europe and other countries around the world but not in the US. Within Merck’s product suite, several products, including Arcoxia and ER niacin/laropiprant, cannot make it through the FDA without significant additional investment in research studies. The reality has been that the FDA has become significantly more conservative in its approach to approving new drugs under the Bush administration, not less.
The NY Times has a balanced, in-depth article on the benefits and drawbacks of Merck’s and GlaxoSmithKline’s efforts on the cervical cancer front. They recount the marketing efforts behind the vaccine as well as the questions surrounding the cost / benefit analysis that exists.
Merck Adds Solar Panels; Can’t Give Guidance
In the Merck news category, the overall news is less than stellar these days. On the one hand, there’s some news about Whitehouse Station that should be interesting – we’re adding an array of solar panels in some of the open field area later this year. On the downside, earnings guidance wasn’t provided and clinical trial news continues to be negative overall.
Back to Work
There’s nothing like coming back in to the office after a few days off to be greeted with over 250 emails. And with our handy dandy e-mail capacity restriction that blocks us from sending e-mail if we have too much already accumulated in our mailbox, it will take until the end of the day before I can reply to anything.
The FDA posted a request for clarification on Merck’s response to an FDA inspection in West Point in 2007.
Tough Day at Work
Today was a tough day for my employer. News of two FDA Not Approvable letters came out; the first about our Schering Plough Joint Venture product combining Singulair and Claritin and the second about our extended release Niacin table called Cordaptive.
I’m surprised by both and am curious considering no reasons have been identified yet that I’ve read for the rejections. Plus, as a user of both Singulair and Claritin, it would be a huge boon to only have to purchase and take one set of pills, not two. Hopefully the JV will get the FDA to re-evaluate.