Quotations

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Quotations referenced across the site sorted by date of post (descending). Click on the (light-blue) link(s) above the quotation to view the quotation within the context of an article. Quotations without links are pending for articles yet-to-be-published. Click here for a simple alphabetical listing of quotations


The general atmosphere [was such that] these people moved always in a field of resistance created by men and things … advances through the technical wilderness were achieved, inevitably, along false trails and circuitous routes … short trials and little errors; trial and tinker; trial, breakdown, change, and tinker was the way in which the machinery was slowly put together. [These were] tired men at the end of a day.

[The resistance they faced was great, and in order] to bring the experiment to a successful conclusion required in those days “a faith made perfect.” [but this struggle was] accompanied by a buoyancy in the air, a kind of high and wonderful excitement that is not usually associated with commercial enterprise.

[These men] wrote journals … and were rather astonishingly aware of the possible influence of their work, not only in the engineering and industrial fields, but on the structure of society as well. [They] never quite lost sight of the superior meanings of their work … never quite laid aside the feeling that they were caught up in a moment of great historic significance.

After the experimental period closed in 1866, there seemed to be a loss of interest on the part of the prime movers … [who] turned away to [other concerns]. Morison, Elting E. (1968). Men, Machines, and Modern Times

…it occurred to me that for something of this importance, that there was enough money out there for us to do whatever we needed to do. I always viewed my role - my ultimate responsibility - was to make sure that the company didn’t run out of money. That was my job. Tom Perkins (2002). Venture Capitalist for the early biotech firm Genentech, as cited in Chance, Nécessité, et Naïveté: Ingredients to create a new organizational form

…the innovators, the men without heavy commitments to the system of attitudes and prejudice built up in the [existing industry] … by virtue of the diversity of their interests they were, relatively, freer to assess the meaning of any new process and to throw their energy and intelligence behind its development. They could weigh the merits of [new approaches] not by trying to decide what it [meant for them in the old industry] but what problems it would solve for them in their [new industry]… [you see a] consistency that develops in any personality or attitude … an almost careless quality, a preoccupied note, runs through the activities of these [new industry] men as they strove … to put the innovation on a sound basis. Morison, Elting E. (1968). Men, Machines, and Modern Times

We can’t do any of the changes you recommend in World Class R&D. They’re too new. Head of R&D, Specialty Pharmaceutical Firm (2010). Personal communication

The reason that God was able to create the world in seven days is He didn't have to worry about the installed base. Enzo Torresi (1996 or earlier)

We tried counting work-in-process at each of the major milestones. That didn't work. We're switching to counting POC's (Proof-of-Concepts). I think that will work better. Chief Financial Officer for R&D, Major Pharmaceutical Company (2009). Private communication

Dr. Moriarity, a metaphysician, sets up fifty numbered dominoes standing in a straight line with their dots facing the same way on a table in a room, but puts a blind in front of the dominoes so that only numbers one and fifty are visible. You enter the room, and observe that domino number one and domino number fifty are lying flat with their tops pointing in the same direction… Does this mean that either domino caused the other to fall? Not necessarily ... Dr. Moriarty could have pushed over only dominoes number one and fifty, or bumped the table in a way that only these two dominoes fell, or that all the dominoes fell at once. It is essential to remove the blind and look at the intervening dominoes... Do their positions suggest they fell in sequence rather than being bumped or shaken? Did any reliable observers hear the telltale sound of dominoes slapping one another in sequence? From the positions of all the dominoes, can we eliminate rival causal mechanisms, such as earthquakes and wind, as well as human intervention? If the dominoes fell in sequence, can we tell by looking at whether the dots are face up whether the direction of the sequence was from number one to number fifty or the reverse? Bennett, George (1997). Process Tracing in Case Study Research

The reason a compound is placed in the compound library is because it's already dead. We've tried it and it hasn't worked! Pharmaceutical Industry DIA Survey+ Participant opining on the futility of capturing all new compounds developed by a pharmaceutical company into a single global repository

I worked at a start-up. It was fun. I looked forward to going into work every day. But I made no money. So I went back to the big companies to build up my savings, and then I went back to a start-up. It's becoming a pattern. Anonymous Researcher (2007). Translational Medicine Conference, Personal Communication

You have to know the rules in order to be able to break them. Old Saw