Sunday, March 01, 2009

I've seen the lab from both sides now

Tonight I'm sitting in a hotel room near the campus of Big U where tomorrow the service engineer, who has worked this territory for years, will give me the grand tour and introduce me to some of the labs that currently use our technology. It's an interesting position to be in because for years, I was the PI that these people would come into the lab to see. And I was pretty consistently short with them - annoyed sometimes by their presence. Just people trying to sell me stuff I always mumbled.
Being on the other side now, I can tell you a couple of things:
1) It's hard work, physical work. And you spend a lot of time trying to track down PIs or lab managers.
2) More often these days your life science company account personnel are not "green behind the ears". I personally worked with another PhD. and knew of another from a different company. All came to their current jobs for different reasons -some family, some financial, some for other reasons.
3) It's not just about the sale. They really don't want to sell you something you don't need. That doesn't make sense because this creates a disgruntled customer which tends to take more time, which is time away from those good opportunities in other laboratories.
In some ways, the last two years have been a lesson in humility. So next time one of "us" walks into your lab or office, just keep an open mind.

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