Awards Season

Well it’s Awards season…the Oscars are coming up and the buzz from Hollywood grows louder by the day.  Not to be outdone, BioInformatics, LLC and The Scientist magazine are teaming up again to host the 2008 Life Science Industry Awards.

There are still a few details to be worked out but one thing that you can count on is that this year’s awards gala will be held in Boston on June 3rd to coincide with the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Last year, more than 3,000 life scientists from around the world voted for the “best-in-class” supplier in 14 different product categories and six categories representing customer communications and support.  The 2007 list of finalists and winners represented all of the big names serving the life science market, but yet there persists a degree of skepticism in industry that these are meaningful awards.

To me, this is incomprehensible!  When thousands of customers from academia and industry, and every regional market around the globe take time away from their important research to voice their opinions on who is “best”, industry would be wise to take notice.

With apologies to the original authors (who probably want to remain anonymous) here’s a selection of comments I received when we announce the results of last year’s voting:

“Just because they have more customers than anyone else doesn’t mean they’re better.”

“Innovation is more important than market share.”

“Our customers are too busy to join The Science Advisory Board.”

“The majority of our customers say we’re better than Invitrogen.”

“We don’t have a sales force so we can’t compete in that category.”

“Scientists don’t care about catalogs – that’s a bogus award.”

“How much does an award cost?”

“You listed our new company name so nobody knew who we were.”

“You used our old company name so nobody knew who we were.”

“Being called the ‘best’ is a meaningless way to measure corporate performance.”

“Your data suggests we are an inconsequential player when in fact there are many companies smaller than we are.”

In a maturing market where consolidation is occurring there’s no shame in being a niche player in the product categories we’ve defined as representing the life science market.  But to say that the opinions of customers don’t reflect the reality of the market is to deny the fact that our industry is increasingly dominated by a relatively small number of powerful companies.

Our philosophy has always been “Let the scientists have their say!”  And if you don’t like what they’ve got to say, you can always buy an award from that other market research company.