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Bureaucracy in industry March 26, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, research.
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A little while back, GEARS wrote an interesting post about how slow academia can be.  His argument is that industry is not really that faster, and is, in fact, rather short-sighted.

This post came to mind because I’ve noticed something in my experience with industry as of late.  If you don’t have something ready for production or there’s any question that the product may not pull in significant bucks, industry is actually slower than academia.

I’m sure there are exceptions.  For instance, I was recently talking with a person whose company really likes to be on the cutting edge and is willing to fund a lot of crazy ideas.  This company, however, is really a technological leader.  Most companies are, at best, fast adapters.  They want someone else to try out the cutting edge stuff and work out all the bugs.  Then everyone else will quickly jump on the band wagon and see if they can play catch up.

This is what happens when bean counters become responsible for all of your technical direction.

The other thing that bugs me is the characterization of academia as being bogged down by bureaucratic routines and paperwork.  I actually have to shake my head at that.  I realize that I may be at the university that is an exception, but my observation is that large companies are far worse in this regard.  In academia, if you have someone who wants to work on the project, they pretty much let you know, and once the money is in place, they’re ready to go.  In some ways, working with big government funding agencies is actually less painful than working with companies: they will give you a yes or no.  A lot of companies will hem and haw, say to get back to them once things are farther along (because they don’t want to invest in something that may not pan out), and then have to get the approval of the bean counters once they hesitantly decide that they might be interested in working with you.

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The light at the end of the tunnel May 11, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, homeschooling, older son, pets, younger son.
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It’s May, and the kids have 2 or 3 weeks left before school is out.

I can’t wait.

The school year seems SO overscheduled.  The end of this year has been particularly bad.  The younger boy’s new school has early morning language classes, which he wanted to take.  Swimming lessons have started up.  The older boy is finishing up courses and exams for his homeschool work.  He took his girlfriend to prom a couple weeks ago.  (Yes, he was handsome…no, I’m not posting pics.)  There are all the end-of-year school programs.  The flood is slowly receding.  Oh yeah…and there’s work and dissertation, too.

Gigadog is.  That takes enough time in itself.  I had no idea that a puppy was almost as bad as a kid…but man, they listen a lot better than kids!  🙂  We’re enjoying her, and though she’s not nearly as intensive as a human child, she’s definitely a lot more work than Macrocat and Microcat put together (and I thought Macrocat was needy).

We’ve had some family medical issues, involving a couple trips out to the western part of the state…and then a trip east to Minneapolis to see friends and take care of some grad school things.  Gigadog came with.  She enjoyed being mobbed by 15+ preschoolers at the park, and the hotel didn’t seem to notice that I’d underestimated her weight by thirteen pounds.  (Honestly, I didn’t know she’d gotten that big already!)

And the biggest issue contributing to my lack of sleep has been evening thunderstorms.  In fact, we ended up with some hail the other night, leaving a few nice dents in my car hood.  I even took a picture so you can check it out:

The good news is that all this will wind down eventually to be replaced with summer craziness.  But in the meantime, it might be quiet around here.

So what are your plans for the summer?

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