Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another PR Disaster at

the University of Minnesota

Who's On First?

This is a sad commentary on the UofM. What is really going on at that institution? It and its leaders seem to be in a constant state of turmoil. Some experts from the outside need to come in and really take a look.

And what effect will this have on other research scientists that the U might have hoped to attract? Oh well, I guess they will always have the taxpayers to compensate for their bad business decisions. Seems like "Driven to Mediocrity" is the real operating principle.

The vaunted "U" seems to have failed again. Is doesn't seem odd that a board member would ask questions and lots of them, especially of the financial condition of a start up.  

Just another reason I will not be sending my kids to the U. This nearly seems criminal.

But it seems absolutely improper and a dereliction of duty for Mason to have decided to have her removed without speaking to her after he consulted everyone else. But not her? That's crazy.
Trust in the quality of decisions at the U is HURT when nobody knows why decisions are made. Other top scientists look and wonder and make quiet decisions on staying, leaving, recommending the U to friends. Taxpayers wonder why pay for petty fights. Take away trust and you have a collapse.

The U is Driven to Discover. Driven to commercializing discoveries? Not so much.

Good luck raising capital now. I wonder what she asked that had all the rats scurrying.

I see this as a disturbing example of the current trend in MN: public university faculty/public employee provides something of value expecting and deserving due respect and is immediately rebuked and derided by business interests that in turn confiscate and exploit the value for their own interests. Yet another example of privatizing profit and socializing loss. When individual accomplishments that are intended for the public good are being exploited for the good of a few, what does it matter if we call it capitalism or a plutocracy?

In other words,  my Alma mater fired the genius behind the company because she hurt the feelings of a bean counter. Makes a lot of sense, I see great promise for this company as long as the U keeps rewarding the accountants and embarrassing the talent and brains behind the company.
Another mess at the U.
One thing is blatantly obvious from the schism reported - the U hired someone to develop the company who could not handle the technical talent, and that failure is a MAJOR failing on the part of the U development department, one worthy of dismissal of whoever chose Cohen at most major firms. Very poor CEO and executive board skills over at the U is an ongoing problem.
The primary responsibility of any board member, scientist or otherwise, is fiduciary. If they are unwilling to ask questions about the finances, they have no place on the board. It sounds like she was pushed out for fulfilling her legal and ethical responsibilities.

Do I smell yet another lawsuit coming against the U ????? I can't believe there absolutely no accountability at this institution. The last decade or so it has been nothing but a speedy downhill spiral for technology, academics, athletics, financial and overall leadership at the U. It begs the questions, what the ---- is going on there?

"Scientists, Doctors and Engineer may have brilliant minds but their ability to run business is always suspect."... Facts disprove that business school myth -- a study done roughly ten years ago comparing U schools found half of the over-35 U of M Institute of Technology grads as CEOS, and 20% of the business school over-35 grads as CEOs. Engineers in particular are adept at running successful businesses, because a majority run budgeted projects daily, using diverse people of wide ranging skill sets, identifying and prioritizing issues. (Far more adept than lawyers or accountants in their breadth of skill sets uses.)

Hiss! Boo! My Alma Mater is involved in another fiasco that stinks. Who is steering this runaway train?
I don't think the leadership has any clue how badly this institution is perceived on so many levels by people who want to support and root for U.  When the inventor is more concerned about the burn-rate of the start-up money than the Guccis, that tells me more about her integrity than anything else. And theirs. 

Can U administrators learn to lead and make MN genuinely proud? When will the "U"  recognize that celebrating and supporting "our" talented faculty is in the best interest of building a strong MN? Our personal investment (through taxes) in the U should motivate faculty, students, and the public. Please focus on making the "U" a symbol of excellence and a destination for the best faculty and students.

As a graduate of the university I can tell you this ... the administration from 1978 straight through to today ... Is loaded with incompetence. Every step of the way they have done nothing but try to "duplicate" others success by following others models.... no creativity, nothing "U"nique ... just half-assed attempts at sports-teams, improving education quality, and converting brains to bucks. Brunincompoop's was the latest president in a series with lame and irrational goal setting agenda's. "World-Class this and next-gen spin-off that" . Shut off the marketing and bragging and get to work on the basics - educate students, foster research by faculty and wait for it ... let the magic work on its own. Quality and reputation are what you earn - not what you convince others you have.

The CEO clearly didn't like anyone challenging him. Off with her head! He'd da boss! What is the U thinking? This really exposes the bad thinking throughout the institution and leadership.
UofM needs to back to the drawing board and find a whole new model for spinning off technology -- this is not the first and I suspect it won't be the last until some major changes are made at the very top levels of this program. This is taxpayer money via the UofM and DEED and as a small business myself I don't have extra $$ to finance you other fools.

I guess the "free market" is not the great purifier that it is predicted to be. Universities exist for the benefit of humanity and mixing in a profit motive corrupts the original intention of the university. I'm not sure how to make it possible for the universities to directly benefit from their own developments. It is obvious that this model isn't working to the long term benefit of either research, profit, or the enhancement of humanity. Maybe it would be good to hire true professional managers who don't rely on personal greed to motivate them to practice their skills.

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