April 27, 2012

Why am I doing this?

Don't worry, this is not that post where I start asking existentialist questions. Instead, I ask what I should have asked when I started Seqonomics half a year ago: What is my motivation for writing this blog?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with someone working in public relations. He asked me exactly that question. I had not thought about it before, so I could not answer him adequately. He suggested that there are only two reasons why people in the life sciences blog: Either they want to become science journalists, or they enjoy the attention.

I am sure that I do not want to become a journalist of any kind, and I think I know better ways to attract attention than to blog about a subject as dry as the economics of DNA sequencing. So what drives me?

Recently, I read two books on motivation, one awful and the other one pretty good. They got me thinking, and I now know that the ultimate reason why I write this blog is that I believe that there is a deficit in making science useful. Academia produces so many good ideas, yet so few make it out there and become genuinely useful to non-academics. I believe that the best way to change that is by commercialising those ideas. Despite having worked in management consulting for some time, I do not share the naïve cynicism of many of my academic colleagues concerning private business.

One of the things that need to happen for science to be commercialised is that ideas from the world of business and the world of science mix. That is what Seqonomics is about. There may be better ways to make science useful than to blog about it. But they take time, and until then, I'll keep writing.

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