In my recent post The Lack of the Ultimate System I was talking about my frustration that I do not have just one really great system option that I can give to customers who just need some basic system, where the problem is that, to actually “know” system is to implement it.
I think I’d mentioned that, last year, I’d learned the Autoscribe Informatics system. I never ended up getting a chance to implement it and, of course, have forgotten everything about it.
Not long ago, probably a month or so, I’d received the opportunity to learn the Thermo Fisher Scientific Nautilus LIMS . Here I have an opportunity I don’t get often – to learn a new system. However, making the time to learn these systems isn’t easy and then we all wonder whether we’ll learn the system then have no opportunity to implement and, as such, merely forget it.
Once you have learned a new system once or twice, before, it usually isn’t that it’s so difficult to do, but everyone has such limited time that even these “free” opportunities come at a cost.
As I’ve said, before, it’s not possible to be an expert at too many systems at one time. These days, my expertise is mainly with the LabWare LIMS / ELN and I do also work with the Thermo Fisher Scientific SampleManager LIMS / LES, as well as having a special relationship with the iVention LES system. Whenever you work to gain a new expertise, you have to consider whether to let something else go.
Questions to myself: Would I learn Nautilus and become an expert on that and replace my time with SampleManager after 30 or so years working with it? Would I drop the LabWare systems after 20 years of building myself to be an expert in those? You can imagine it’s not an easy choice. If I both learn Nautilus AND get an opportunity to implement it to actually “know” it, would it be the system I’ve been hoping to find for so long?
The bottom line is this: It’s a supply and demand situation. When customer don’t come to you with requests for you to work on specific systems it seems an easier choice to focus on something else. We sometimes bemoan the fact that we’re “throwing away” years of expertise and wonder if the market wouldn’t benefit from it. The problem is that, if the market isn’t buying that expertise, then the market doesn’t need that expertise from you.
It’s something I think we all have to remind ourselves of, from time-to-time.