Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the February 26, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
Times are tough for information technology companies.
Tech entrepreneur Abhay Joshi, who gives a February 28 workshop on
getting government contracts, speaks with empathy about all the brilliant
scientists and engineers who have been laid off (see page 7). "It’s
brutal out there, just brutal," says Joshi, not once, but over
and over again.
Nevertheless, in this week’s roundup of computer companies we found
some good news. We report on 20 of the 403 computer companies in our
database — consultants, software developers, software service
firms, hardware makers, Internet service providers, Web designers,
multimedia designers, trainers, and sales companies.
Half of the 20 firms surveyed have closed, left town, or drastically
downsized. Yet four companies are expanding, three have put new strategies
in place to survive, and four are brand-new startups with intriguing
business plans. Those laid-off engineers have evolved into entrepreneurs.
See pages 47-50.
study drew a response from Richard Woodbridge, a Nassau Street-based
patent attorney. Michael E. Porter, a Harvard expert on strategy and
competitiveness, did the $250,000 study.
Your article caught the spirit and substance of the
presentation perfectly. I was cynically expecting the presentation
to be a big fuzzy pharma hug and was amazed that Michael Porter really
nailed the situation. If he were a high diver he would have been given
a 10.0 out of 10.0.
Porter’s statistics strengthened the position of those who believe
the state should be promoting the Route 1 Research Corridor (R1RC).
He also touched on issues that we have been harping on for years such
as: the lack of state resources put into entrepreneurship (note that
the state proposes to cut all funding for the Commission on Science
and Technology), the high cost of doing business in this state, and
the lack of federal funding. New Jersey is 50th out of 50 states,
and the National Institutes of Health’s lack of funding, with New
Jersey in 26th place, is just part of a bigger problem. Other issues:
the lack of state "enthusiasm" for entrepreneurs, tech transfer
issues, an erosion of our previously strong patent position, weak
industry/academia interaction, and the overemphasis on life science
in view of the fact that IT and other non-Life Science areas are growing
faster in New Jersey.
These are exactly some of the things Ed Cohen was concerned
about in 1989 when he introduced the idea of the Princeton & Rutgers
I was very pleased by Professor Porter’s candor and detail. I should
say, in all fairness, that he didn’t paint an entirely bleak picture
— we are not in a crisis — but we are losing ground rapidly.
The state is to be congratulated for having the courage and intelligence
to commission this project. Does the state have what it takes to make
something useful out of it?
Woodbridge & Associates PC
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