To the Editor

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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.

Last week’s coverage of the Prosperity New Jersey life sciences

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.

Top Of Page
To the Editor

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

Research Corridor.

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?

Dick Woodbridge

Woodbridge & Associates PC

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