fheasley at chemistry.com
Fri Apr 19 06:27:21 EST 1996
Bert Gold wrote:
> In 1986, when I was fresh from my post-doctoral work at Haravard, I began
> working for a biotechnology company, newly founded then, which became
> nefarious for spending money and getting little done.
> Among those who started the company was a snappy dressing Canadian
> gentlemen-entrepreneur, who had held esteemed posts at L'Institut
> Pasteur in Paris and The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton
> before taking his position at the little company I worked for.
> This gentlemen was sufficiently well-heeled that he had talked some
> of this boyhood friends out of $ 500,000 to start the business, and
> to give a lecture on starting businesses at Harvard Business School.
> The running joke within the company, during the time that I was there
> was a phrase the well-heeled gent always used to describe how things
> were going: When asked, he would say "EVERYTHING'S FINE".
> When the company had lost $ 14 million of its first offering:
> "EVERYTHING'S FINE".
> When Monsanto threatened to terminate the contract to develop
> Bovine Growth Hormone, "EVERYTHING'S FINE".
> When they frittered away the $ 50 Million from the debenture
> offering "EVERYTHING'S FINE".
> With this kind of a guy, I discovered, along with my laughing
> colleagues, "EVERYTHING" was always "FINE".
> In those days, the stock price of that company was about 10.
> Today, it is certainly less than 1.
> I suppose for that well-heeled gent, though, as for many
> in America, "EVERYTHING'S FINE".
> Bert Gold, Ph.D.
In the example you cite, the problem started at the top. In other cases, this attitude permeates,
and poisons, the entire organization.
It starts with little white lies at the bottom. From the receptionist who automatically says "Oh,
he's in a meeting" when he's really out having donuts and coffee, to the lab tech who reports "Nope,
there were no errors in the data". Disnformation flows from bottom to top, and from top to bottom.
Nobody wants to hear bad news, especially not the stockholders, so all they get is good news.
Companies in crash and burn mode seem not to know it until the very end.
Frank Heasley, Ph.D.
The Franklin Search Group, Inc.
FSG MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC EMPLOYMENT
More information about the Bioforum