Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Between the Rivers - Number 1

I was listening to "Jimmy Lee Baker" off the first "Between the Rivers" CD on the way to work. What a great song. Guess I should go pick up Vol 2 soon.

I was meaning to do a post about this, but Dave's tip of the hat this morning motivated me to go ahead and blog it.

Now if I could just get the spell check to run in the blogger editor I would be on my way!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why doesn't SIUC have a patent portfolio?

One of the ways for a University to do better, maybe much better is to establish a culture of patenting their inventions. SIUC does a really poor job of this (check the SIUC ORDA website for examples of how bad it is). I have drafted a little plan to improve this situation -

1 - give the professors job credit equal to a publication in a major journal (or better) for a patient. Believe it or not this is not part of the SIU policy.

2 - hire a lawyer to do patients in house. Now you could say that we should kill all the lawyers and we don't need more SIU bureaucrats, but since they are spending more than one head count on patient fees every year anyway what the heck. Currently the limit on patients is 3 per year.

3 - monitor the people who are doing the patient work. You know, figure out best practices, monitor results, improve, standard management stuff.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The stupidest business plan in Carbondale, IL?

I have contended for several years that the dumbest business idea is to open a pizza place between Quatro's and Pags in downtown. Once again, we have added a marginal chain (Gumby's) to make two places with bad pizza in that small area (the other being that really bad place on College). Both these places had better hope that bar crowd from 11 pm to 3 am treats them well.

There is also a second pizza place in the old Murphy's location on E. Walnut. I hear it is a straight up clone of Italian Village, owned by the long time manager of IV's? I still find it hard to believe if you were going into that location you wouldn't be better off staying with the higher profit margin steak, hamburger and fries menu of Murphy's.

Time will tell if either of these places is in business in a year or two. For me, I don't know what they were thinking.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Planning and the message from SIU

As I ended my planning for my little company (see last post), I found myself thinking about SIUC. What does SIU want to be when it grows up, what are they planning to do and how do they communicate it to the employees, public and lawmakers?

If I was put in charge, my goal would be to extract about 10 to 20% more results out of my highly qualified, but mostly underpaid staff. How to do that you ask? I would go do a study of other universities that were well run and copy/steal their ideas? You know, standard best practices stuff.

It looks like the big plans for SIUC is to build a mess of buildings. That is it. I'm willing to bet that there is not path to success to be found through this method when you study other successful universities. It has to be about getting the people to have better results for the same money. It isn't about the buildings, it is about the people.

A very large problem that SIUC seems to have is that there is no message that makes sense. Building more buildings doesn't make a lot of sense. The whole Saluki Way, Southern at 150 seems to have no message for the workers or citizens that makes them think it is anything but a management boondoggle. We all know that the money for these long range plans is not there and will not be there unless the results of the current workers gets much better.

I have other thoughts, but that is enough for now.

Planning and PR

I have been doing a large amount of planning for www.BoundlessGallery.com (BG for short) of late. You know the deal, what technology projects we should do, how the PR should work for them, where we should advertise and things of that nature. But to a large extent, what I am really trying to figure out is what we want to be when we grow up. For the BG fans out there, we have big plans for where we are going this summer. Upgrade of user interface and buying experience, new systems, more PR and marketing.

There is an implied message of a company like BG that we are here to succeed, make a profit, pay the people who work here a good wage and all that other private sector stuff.