Marco Island Evening One – The Strange and the Good

Well, I made it through my talk at Marco Island without too many scars. It seemed to go pretty well – I talked about a new project in which I am involved at the Joint Genome Institute on creating a Genomic Encyclopedia for Bacteria and Archaea. I will write about that more here at another time.

But what I want to do now is discuss some of the marketing ploys from last night. One of the strangest was from the Pacific Biosciences group which sponsored a beach party with fireworks. It was completely surreal. People lingering at the beach with drinks and loud music and then all of a sudden – fireworks were launched into the sky. Not the “greenest” of activities I must say. But never mind that. What was the reason for fireworks in the middle of February? I guess the company is trying to make a big splash but the whole thing was just strange to me.

Much better was the party sponsored by Genome Technology magazine. It was a few hundred yards down the road at a bar. Everyone had to walk there which was good since many people end up never leaving the halls around the conference area. And the place was packed to the gills with people drinking and eating and seemingly having a good time. No fireworks (thankfully) and a good respite from the hotel.

Needless to say, these types of festivities do not happen at any evolution or ecology conference I have been to. The genomics world is still heavy on the marketing and self promotion. Sometimes that makes it fun (Genome Technology) and sometimes it just makes me want to run away (Pacific Biosciences).

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

6 thoughts on “Marco Island Evening One – The Strange and the Good”

  1. <>What was the reason for fireworks in the middle of February? I guess the company is trying to make a big splash but the whole thing was just strange to me<>You do know that yesterday was Chinese New Year, didn’t you? Arguably, last night was the *only* legit day to use fireworks.


  2. Although, I agree that Pacific Biosciences could have celebrated it in a less noisy and environmentally unfriendly manner. I hadn’t heard of them, but according to their website they are into resequencing. Given that the new year marks the start of the Year of the Rat, there’s an obvious application there…


  3. Just so you know, the Rat in Chinese culture symbolizes qualities of leadership, pioneering spirit, and great intelligence.


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