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Re: lilly musings
Author: C172M Date: 11/29/01 10:32 AM Number: 721
I think Randy Tobias was a huge stabilizing influence on Lilly at a time when they needed it.
*....

I'm glad he was a positive influence, although I'd have been surprised otherwise. I think he was one of the best executives we ever had, and I've had the opportunity to talk to quite a few of them. (That's when I finally completely lost my fear of facing BOD meetings or CEOs. Being impervious to intimidation is useful in my work.)

What impressed me most about him was his people-oriented focus, and viewing a business as an interlocking system of which people were the most important part. In one of his more famous incidents while Vice Chairman at AT&T, when looking over our new CMSC's (Consumer Marketing Service Centers, we had 7, I think), he was infuriated to see every agent had 4 big, black, Teletype 4540 (tm) terminals surrounding him or her.

One of the many special and unique experiences of AT&T back then was its size, its mixture of business, revenues, regulatory issues, customers, and internal, eternal conflicts. I'd be surprised if Randy himself wasn't on Prozac back at Basking Ridge, imagining being a part of a management team that made the Borgias and Medicis look tame (not in public of course).

In any case, with 80-90 million residence long distance customers, it was simply too much data to process their accounts in one data center even with IBM's very largest and most powerful mainframes, so there was a terminal for each region. His legendary fit after seeing what these service reps went through day to day wasn't officially ever reported, but I do believe words like "what the Hell is this?", "are you kidding me?" and "We're the world leader in telecommunications and research and we have people with 4 terminals on their desks not counting a PC??".

I am sure purely by coincidence, rather overnight, Teletype Corporation, Western Electric, Bell Laboratories came up with a new series of IBM (synchronous type) compatible Teletype terminals that could support up to 6 sessions on one terminal, in little windows that could be expanded as needed. Curiously, a large quantity of this new equipment went immediately to the CMSCs, and replaced all that clutter with one terminal per person.

If he was able to cut through crap like that at Lilly, than Lilly was very lucky to have him. I am sure his many years in the Bell System, starting at Indiana Bell and ending at the near pinnacle of the corporation prepared him for any cow poop anyone wanted to throw at him at Lilly. He probably brought his food taster with him from New Jersey.

As far as the product pipeline goes, it does look solid, though I find it disappointing at what constitutes a 'short term pipeline's definition. But ah, Lilly has the FDA; AT&T had the FCC and 50 other monkeys on its back.

On the other hand, deregulation of the drug / medical device industry would be unthinkable to most people. But on the other other hand, if one examines closely what deregulation of telephony and energy have brought in terms of benefit to the average person, it gives one pause.

In any case BST, apart from the organic food/anti-genetic engineering loons like Jeremy Rifkin, was well thought out as an idea in isolation, but ignored the economic realities of the dairy industry. The USA already makes more milk than it can use, the combination of state-by-state differing rules on price ceilings and price floors, or no rules, is a place where Angels, and their opposite, Congress, even fear to tread. And Monsanto et al should have left this one well enough alone.
I personally wouldn't care whether my milk came from a BST cow or not, and I drink about 3/4 gallon a day; unfortunately though, I alone can't personally consume the USA fluid milk surplus.

Oh, as an aside, I wonder if Jeremy Rifkin were a diabetic that he would refuse to take Humulin? Or if he had a heart attack (God forbid) he'd refuse treatment with Activase or whatever it is?

As far as the other drugs in the pipe go, they all look solid. As far as the anti-septicemia agent, we lose patients too often, and a p=whatever, as long as the drug isn't actively toxic or dangerous, if I had a patient with acute septicemia, they'd be on it on a second along with pushed fluids, dopamine, gamma globulin, and any random powerful IV antibiotic, along with an appropriate drug for fever, until study results start coming back. If you asked the same question of any physician smarter than a cow, you'd probably get the same answer.

I hope.

Does anyone else involved with the drug industry wonder or worry that the tools are getting too complicated for the repairmen to understand and use safely and appropriately?

RSH.
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