Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Marketing what you love

I have been extremely dumb about choosing labs to work in for my Honors year. But at the same time I have been incredibly lucky to end up with my Honors Year Project. Not every honors student gets a project all to herself/himself! When I started working on this project, nobody was really interested in it, including my own post doc... the protein wouldn't express properly or it would give trouble when you tried to solubilize it. My post doc was busy elsewhere trying to crystalize some other protein while I would slog day and night and troubleshoot expression problems and then later, solubility problems, then purification problems. Only after a few months of independent struggling did I manage to refold the damn protein and catch everybody's attention!

After that everybody was all over my project. My post doc abandoned her other project and started cloning my protein in different vectors to help solve the solubilization problem and my prof went out of his way to get the reagents and equipment that I needed to effeciently refold my protein. I was a star. That really didn't matter to me because I had something more important in my hand. I had found a new love for science and a soft spot for my project in my heart. I knew the pathway inside out. I knew why my work was important. I knew what I had been through to get the project to the stage it was in. My project was like my baby! My protein was like my own blood! I know its sounds extreme but you try spending a semester fighting against the whole lab and being successful enough to capture everybody's attention!

Now it has come to an end. I am required to do a presentation on my project tomorrow. All I have been given is a 36 x 40 inch poster to fit in everything that I have done for the past year. While people all around me are trying to find stuff to fill up their posters, I am reducing the font size and increasing margin width to try and squeeze my most important data. 36 x 40 inches is not enough to pour your soul into!!!!

As I was practising my presentation with my friends... there's one comment that everybody puts across....

"Its pretty evident you have done a lot of work... but you need to sell your project to the audience with the way you present!!!"

You'd think that you'd be able to easily market something you love so dearly :-\

Why the heck am I struggling so much to find the right words to describe something I am so passionate about? :(

1 comment:

doublehead said...

Let me narrate a real life story. The former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, K. Kamaraj was a very honest and simple person, freedom fighter, passionate about the welfare of the poor, opened many schools in towns and villages, gave free education to kids, laid many good roads in those days. He was admired and appreciated by everyone. He was honest, not corrupt like the present day politician. When it came to re-election he lost the election. Why? He beleived that people ought to be aware of what he has done for the welfare of the society. During election he did not want to advertise his accomplishments and did not market his product well. He was confident that people will trust him and elect him again. He said " naan paduthukonde jaeippen" (I will win lying down). He beleived in people and their ability to judge. But he was thoroughly mistaken. The opposition group was good at marketing "NOTHING" very effectively to the people, they succeeded. Kamaraj lost, inspite of having stuff to sell decided not to. That made all the difference in that election. Yes, you have worked hard, you have been passionate about what you did during this semester, yes, your lab people and guide knew that you put in long hours. But at the end of it all, what is your USP (unique selling proposition!!, MBA jargan)? It is important to SELL, yeah that is the right word, SELL, not make people understand, because they have already understood! You are not alone. Many good scientists are very modest and very poor sales persons. You need to learn the ART of MARKETING. But be honest at all times when it comes to Science and sell only what you have got,and what you have understood reasonably well. Do not try to become a "used car salesman"!! You will understand what this term "used car salesman" means when you buy your first used car in the USA, beware!!!!