Monday, June 8, 2015

CAS buzzword bingo blackout

Also in this week's C&EN, an interview with the new head of CAS, Manuel Guzman with the editor-in-chief of C&EN, Bibiana Campos Seijo:
C&EN: You’ve now been president of CAS for more than 18 months. How has CAS changed in that time? 
...So if we want to continue to serve researchers around the globe as effectively as possible while providing the society with steady growth in financial contribution, we have to be able to provide other value-added services to expedite scientific discoveries. The transformation moves CAS away from a pure publisher, whether in print or digital format, to become a full-service information solutions provider, which includes content as well as workflow solutions or tools that managers can use to make informed decisions.... 
C&EN: What are the main hurdles or challenges that CAS faces to achieve your growth objectives? 
Guzman: The only inhibitor is our own ability to execute. We are challenging the organization to think differently, more strategically, about how to build, deliver, and sell solutions. We are challenging folks to think outside the box in terms of product models and the types of resources, investment, and talent that it takes to achieve those product visions. And this is part of the transformation as well. 
From a market perspective, we are fortunate that many of the areas where we see opportunities are highly fragmented in terms of the competition. So there are not necessarily dominant players today, and we are able to leverage the strong reputation of CAS and our brands in the chemical information space to venture into these other markets.
Lots of buzzwords in there. I figure this has something to do with rolling out new products or making SciFinder better? "Tools for managers" is not what I think of, when I think about CAS. "Information tools for chemists?" Sure.

That "NCI Global" program sounds intriguing to those in the chemical manufacturing industry, though. 


  1. "The only inhibitor is our own ability to execute."

    Spoken like a true monopoly.

  2. From my perspective SciFinder has still continued to decline. When concerning reactions or product characterization I usually go to Reaxys first.

  3. Heaven forbid that CAS concentrate on doing one thing well, reducing costs and fees, and not hiring "strategists". If you substitute the word "bullsh*t" for the words strategic and paradigm, you'll get just as much meaning from these statements.

  4. "Think outside the box" was a stupid cliche more than a decade ago. Most people who advocate "thinking outside the box" in those terms, are not doing it themselves.

    Hackneyed phrase, buzzword, buzzword, cliche, buzzword, really tired cliche, buzzword, mildly interesting assessment too vague to be of any real use, buzzword, assertion of strength, buzzword, meaningless statement about future plans.

    I guess that M.B.A. pays off.

    1. To my mind statements like:
      "think outside the box"
      "work smarter"
      "think strategically"
      and maybe a dozen of others are part of communication training. They all mean "go away and put more work into the problem without using any other resources". The buzz part is designed to inhibit resistance in the subject.

      In a previous life I took some NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) training, so it is easier to pick these patterns of speech even though I don't use NLP myself. Every time I hear them I get shivers from understanding the goals of the speaker.

  5. I believe that attendees at conferences with execs speaking should be issued air horns to blow each time they hear one of these buzz-phrases.

  6. CAS is all about "shareholder value", not "value to chemists". Reaxys goes back a lot further in time than does SciFinder, because it includes the old Beilstein database.