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In Boston, Laboratory Informatics is Important, but People Still Matter

September 24, 2009

Last night was the monthly LIMS/Laboratory Informatics meeting in Boston. This month’s speaker talked about biobanking LIMS and illustrated the differences between the traditional LIMS and a biobanking LIMS. Our speaker was a representative from a user company, and also someone with a great deal of general LIMS experience. So, we were once again in the situation where we had to leave because the building was closing, as the group was highly interested in the topics and had quite a number of questions.

Although we sometimes have good discussions in the online LIMS/Laboratory Informatics group ( http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=36640 ), this in-person off-shoot sparks enough interest from people that a two-hour time block is not enough to contain our enthusiasm.

So, while social networking sites continue to grow and be important in our work, they do not replace the importance of our human interactions, nor are they truly meant to. In fact, some would argue that the on-line networking helps illuminate the fact that we still need and desire to meet to speak in-person.

Another thing that happened to me, yesterday:

I gave a free “What’s LIMS and How is it Different From ELN?” talk, yesterday. The reason that came about is that I belong to quite a number of local groups here in Boston. In fact, for all the cities I’ve lived and worked in, I don’t think I’ve seen nearly as many active groups as there are here in Boston. Bostonians tend to be dedicated to joining and participating in their professional groups.

In any case, in one of the groups I belong to, one of the managers of a local company had done something especially nice for me. One day, they mentioned that they’d been trying to implement a LIMS, thinking about ELNs, and generally unsure that they were headed in the right direction. To repay their kindness, I said I’d be willing to come and give a general talk regarding the topics they were struggling with, people were allowed to ask questions, and this would hopefully help them get a vision of what kind of direction they should take regarding their laboratory informatics strategy.

So, get this, I got to hang out with a bunch of people who were interested in laboratory informatics. For an entire hour, I spoke about the topic and answered lots of questions. I had a great time! Also, I noticed that the puzzled looks people came into the presentation with seemed replaced by confident looks as they left. So, it was fun, and it had a good outcome.

But it’s not just me. At last night’s Boston LIMS/LI meeting, I was talking to yet another person about how fun it is to just hang-out with people and give more casual talks like these. So, even when it’s not for a sales presentation to get business, it’s really fun when you’re with an interested and animated group.

My Point

Get out there and discuss your issues in today’s social media, but also use this as a way to meet people. Find out what local groups you could attend that would expand your knowledge. Or, have lunch or coffee with someone you meet on-line to talk about common problems and issues. If you haven’t done this in awhile, you might be surprised how much more powerful these in-person meetings are.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises
http://www.GeoMetrick.com/

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