Wednesday 5 April 2023

Sample Chapter of Strategists @ Work

 Alongside a longstanding interest in research methods, I do research on strategy, leadership and change. I am delighted to share that the second edition of Strategists @ work is released tomorrow and you can access a free sample chapter here. I'd be interested in your views on the book and hopefully you can see how the research that underpins the book was conducted. 

Monday 15 November 2021 Landmark

I created the PhDBlog in 2009 which seems positively ages ago. At the time I was responsible for an Executive PhD Programme at the University of Glasgow and spent a fair amount of time on the phone (remember those) to potential applicants talking through the challenge of doing a part-time doctorate. Those conversations tended to follow some familiar themes. What should you study? How would you study it? How would you find a supervisor and how much time will it take? A former colleague suggested that I capture some of these topics in the form of a blog.

Having never heard of a blog, I was sceptical to say the least, but I found my way to the tool and spent a few afternoons creating the early posts on this website. I then used the blog as a useful resource, a form of FAQs, for potential applicants. "I'll send you a link, read the material and then call me back" I would say when my phone rang about the PhD programme. Beyond this, I forgot all about it until one day, years later, at a conference someone said "I love your blog". Unaware that I had a blog, it took some time to figure out what they were referring to.

By that point I was working at Heriot-Watt and had to provide Google with a scan of my passport and a 1 cent transaction on my credit card to prove I was genuine in my claim that I had forgotten the log-in details to my own blog. When I did regain access to the site, I was amazed to find how often it had been read. I was more amazed, and a little embarrased to find a stack of unanswered queries from readers. With the help of another new colleague, it was rebranded as ThePhDBlog, I bought a URL for it and commissioned a lovely logo. I still can't quite believe that at one point is was Google's top answer to "what's the difference between ontology, epistemology and methodology?" ... this is still, by a country mile, the most popular post on the site. Over the last 5 to 10 years I have been more disciplined in answering queries from people and peeked behind the curtain to read the stats every now and then.

Last month, the site passed through half a million reads making it the most read thing I've ever produced. Thank you to those who have read the contents and reached out to say that they found it helpful. There are far fewer comments these days and the vast majority of those are from people offering "thesis writing" services so they get blocked and deleted by me. However, I remain passionate about research and about the joys / challenges of undertaking doctoral level work. I hope that the blog remains a useful resource and thank you for helping me to clock up 500,000 reads.

I am now based at Northumbria University in Newcastle and still speak regularly to doctoral students in conferences, events and training sessions. If you have completed your docotorate, well done. If you are studying toward your doctorate ... good luck and don't give up.

Best wishes

Robert MacIntosh

(sometime blogger)

Thursday 1 April 2021

Measuring Research Excellence: where does the UK REF go next ?

April Fool’s Day 2021 marks the start of a new cycle for UK universities. Yesterday saw the deadline for submissions to the national census of research effectiveness, now branded as the Research Excellence Framework or REF. This is the sixth such census dating back to 1992. This time around the sector was granted a short, Covid-related extension and now the long wait for feedback begins. That feedback will impact individual careers and institutional bragging rights as well as being a key mechanism by which billions of pounds of public funding flows into the sector. If you aren’t familiar with the process, every few years, each academic discipline is asked to report on its best research in the form of papers, research grant income, doctoral completions and impact. The last exercise took place in 2014 meaning that this cycle which closed yesterday covered 7 years for each of these categories.

Alongside some simple facts and figures (how many people, how much grant income, how many PhD graduates) there is a lengthy narrative about research strategy, the organisational support and environment which accounts for 15% of the overall grade. There are then two other more contentious and subjective elements.

First, are research outputs. REF 2021 is the first time that universities have been compelled to return everyone that they employ to do research. Up until 2104, universities employed careful selection processes to find the sweet spot between the highest rated individual researcher and the financial reward which was made available on a per person basis. Gaming the system in this way was frowned upon but everyone did it. The regulatory response was to insist that everyone must be returned and each individual returned must put forward their best work. Those items (journal articles, books, reports, etc.) are reviewed by judging panels and rated. Such judgements are made by leading scholars but remain open to concerns about subjectivity. After all, how easy is it to classify an individual paper as a primary or essential point of reference (4 star), an important point of reference (3 star) or a recognised point of reference (2 star)? In my own discipline of management research there are stark differences within and across a diverse range of sub-disciplines; these are further exacerbated by methodological differences meaning that defining “good” is not unproblematic. Your “essential” reference point might only be “recognised” to me. This is challenging given that outputs account for 60% of the overall grade. Whilst a REF panel, consisting of recognised experts will allocate the eventual score, most universities have spent the last several years evaluating and revaluating outputs in an attempt to second guess the nuances around a subtle scoring system. This represents a significant investment of time fretting about research which has already been published and, in the vast majority of cases, peer-reviewed. By extension, that time is not being spent on the doing of new research.

The second subjective element of REF 2021 is that of impact. Using case studies, each discipline in each university is asked to present evidence that their research has made a difference in the world. Perhaps a theoretical model has informed policy or practice such that it has been adopted widely. This accounts for the remaining 25% of the overall outcome but again is subject to interpretation and opinion. Referring to my own discipline of management again, it is reasonably clear to see how ideas, models and concepts could influence the ways in which people actually manage in practice. Arguably a less straightforward translation process might face those in some other disciplines. Even in management impact is a complex, temporal phenomenon which, with colleagues, I have written about at length (see here).

Over the last three decades, REF and its predecessor exercises (the Research Assessment Exercise or RAE) has profoundly changed the behaviour of academics and universities. Peer-reviewed publication had long been a key activity, testing as it does, the quality of ideas and contributions. The top rating in REF terms is referred to as four star and producing a four star paper is arduous. It typically involves multiple rounds of double or triple blind review and high rejection rates. Success in management journals rests on demonstrating a novel theoretical contribution often through recourse to theories which are difficult to follow. Using management as an example, the kind of four star work which appears in top-rated journals isn’t easy to read unless you are another well-read and informed academic researcher. Elliot Green’s excellent blog piece sets out the most heavily cited works in social science. Most professional management researchers would find this list familiar and could probably guess a fair number of entries on the list were it a game show format. Most practicing managers would probably not be familiar with the entries on this list. Why does that disjuncture matter?

Take the global pandemic as an example. It has been tragic for each and every family that has lost a loved one but it has also wrought rapid and radical changes to the world of work. Organisations in a variety of sectors are rethinking whether they need all that office space. Employees are rethinking whether they can face all the time and cost associated with commuting. Given this real world problem, it would seem sensible to do some research on who might do what over the next few years since such findings could inform both policy decisions and the choices for individual firms. A survey, by sector, geography, organisation size, etc. would be very helpful and indeed many such surveys have been undertaken by me and others. The kind of insight required to help decide whether to renew your office lease is not however, the kind of insight required to get published in a top-tier journal. Few policy makers or business leaders would thank you for extensively theorising the social processes underpinning the decision they need to make but this is what will help secure a spot in a prestigious journal.

 Taking this issue of mismatched incentives a little further, let’s consider the similarities between academic and sporting excellence. Tokyo has finally set the Olympic torch alight. Packed stadia may not fill our screens this summer but we can expect coverage of crowning achievements, gold medals and world records. Amidst the sweat, tears and elation, elite athletes will hope that their victory inspires more participants to take up the sport. The public health benefits of mass participation in sport is a laudable aim but only loosely related to the specialist training, infrastructure and skills required to top the medal table. Similarly in disciplines such as management, education, nursing or medicine elite, peer-reviewed research may push back the boundaries of knowledge but those on the ground delivering services are just as important when it comes to making a positive difference in the world. Educating managers, teachers, doctors and nurses is closer to mass participation in sport than to Olympic gold medals. Knowledge doesn’t always have to be world-leading to be world-changing. Reaching a wide cross-section of practicing professionals depends on the knowledge concerned being relevant and digestible. Since these are not the primary criteria by which elite peer-reviewed publication operates, these are not always the criteria that incentivise academics.

The basic premise of measuring research performance, especially in connection to the dispersal of public monies, is a good one. After all, some means of dispersing £14bn is needed and there seems little appetite for a flat, per capita arrangement though this would be radically simpler. The problem that REF faces is that it is labour intensive, focuses too heavily on a narrow, specialist form of research activity and has become institutionalised in ways which are not particularly helpful. As the panel members for REF2021 gear up to read thousands of pages of research it would seem timely to pause. Rather than turning the handle of what will probably be REF 2027, we should really consider a radical rethink of the purpose, process and unintended consequences of the current system. To not do so would seem (April) foolish.



Tuesday 12 May 2020

How COVID-19 might alter the priorities of University Interview Panels

Universities are currently fretting over the seemingly inevitable gaps in next academic year’s finances. In the short term, staff recruitment is one obvious locus for cost constraint. Beyond the financial drive to slow or stop recruitment there are the practical matters of assembling interview panels, making appointment decisions, connecting new staff to university systems and the more existential question of whether they can usefully begin working remotely. However, at some stage, large employers like universities will return to something more like normal operating circumstances. Will recruitment decisions be shaped by different priorities post-lockdown?

Before answering this, it is important to make two observations. First, COVID-19 is extracting a terrible human cost from society. Our staff and student populations are experiencing anxiety, loss and isolation in the same way as everyone else. Second, the speculations expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of either the Chartered Association of Business Schools or of Heriot-Watt University.

Digital Skills

The most obvious pedagogical consequence of lockdown has been the wholesale switch to online supported learning. A few pioneering universities have been engaged in online learning at scale for some time. Many more have been quietly contemplating the balance of online and face-to-face learning for several years. Suddenly however, the whole sector has moved further and faster than anyone would have thought possible. When campuses do reopen, there will be far greater emphasis on online literacy in the recruitment process. Previously at an interview you may have encountered one or two random early adopters of this new fangled technology. Examples of innovation that I’ve encountered when interviewing have included the use of online polls, flipped classrooms, webinars, etc. Though not particularly revolutionary, such examples have tended to be reasonably well received. Going forward, everyone on the panel will likely have completed a “how to teach online” course offered by their own institution’s learning and teaching specialists or a third party provider. Being seen as an online enthusiast, innovator or expert will be both more important and more demanding for interviewees.

International Networks

In selecting new members of your university’s academic community, there’s an allure to marrying upwards. Recruiting early career academics from the best schools, preferably once they’ve been supervised to doctoral standard by the world’s leading scholars, is a familiar pattern. It promises a low-cost way to cross pollinate world-leading research culture with your own, perhaps less esteemed but no less ambitious culture. Research networks may matter even more since the ways in which such relationships can be nurtured in a post-COVID19 environment may change. The familiar practice of networking with leading thinkers at conferences was already under question in terms of environmental consequences. Now there are new reasons to worry about such mass gatherings. Coming with a pre-formed research network will make you an attractive candidate. Demonstrating the digital skills to build and expand that network will make you even more attractive.

Local Networks

It is striking that the university sector has resisted the kinds of consolidation and extinction events that have characterised other industries from retail to financial services and beyond. If you can access the best minds from the best institutions digitally, why would you go to your local, mid-ranked university? The answer may be a new localism. This must not be confused with parochialism. Many universities pride themselves on their civic mission and descriptions of them as anchor tenants or engines of their local economy are often hard earned. Few organisations are better placed to reach out into their local community to provide knowledge, skills, research and training. Both local and national governments will rarely have been in greater need of help in nurturing local economies and talk of levelling up will likely be taken up with renewed vigour. Knowing your local environment, creating and leveraging relationships within that local environment could go from being a perceived weakness in candidates to a source of real competitive advantage. Would an ivy league import be able to find their feet as quickly in your university’s community of public, private, family and charitable organisations? Maybe it’s a time for a new breed of local heroes. Those who can combine international excellence with local economic impact are likely to be in high demand.

NB. A version of this article appeared in Times Higher Education on 12 May 2020 and can be found here.

Tuesday 9 July 2019

The New Enlightenment ?

For PhD students it is easy to be fixated on individual scholars with high citation counts. Last week I had the privelege of being in the room with a group around 80 scholars of economics, management, strategy and organisation with a collective citation count in excess of 1 million! Here are some notes on their conversation which was about the need to reshape capitalism.

Credited as the father of modern economics, Adam Smith was a man of broad ranging interests. The Scot was born in Kirkcaldy and grew up in proximity to a port where goods were imported and exported thus shaping a lifelong fascination with trade. Following an education that took in the universities of Glasgow, Oxford and Edinburgh, he toured Europe as a tutor before returning to life in Scotland. This international perspective led influenced his writing and he moved to Edinburgh in 1778 where he took up residence at Panmure House, his last and only remaining home. Edinburgh at that time boasted a range of sparkling intellects that helped shape his thinking and writing about individual entrepreneurs and their collective behaviour in national economies.

Having restored Panmure House, the Edinburgh Business School (at Heriot-Watt University) in conjunction with the Haas School of Business (at UC Berkley) hosted a conference of contemporary scholars to discuss the challenges facing entrepreneurs and economies today. Gathered at what Professor David Teece called “hallowed ground”, a collection of academics whose writings have been cited over a million times discussed the challenge of reshaping capitalism?

Three interlinked themes arose over two days of discussion. The first relates to the importance of economic growth. The impact of inequality, be it in health, education or income, is something that concerns many democracies. The disparity between the haves and have nots has grown in many countries. In addressing inequality, the Group Chairman and CEO of private equity firm PAG Group,  Weijan Shan, spoke powerfully of his formative experience during large scale attempts to achieve equality. Growing up in China, Shan lived through the abolition of education for a decade and spent his formative years working 16 hours a day in the Gobi desert, harvesting reeds for a local paper mill. His book Out of the Gobi tells his remarkable journey via San Francisco, and a PhD under the guidance of David Teece at UC Berkley, to managing a large private equity fund from his current base in Hong Kong. He is perhaps uniquely well positioned to suggest that the end game of the new enlightenment should be growth not equality. In his own words, tens of millions died of starvation whilst hundreds of millions lived in abject poverty. Equality of itself is therefore not necessarily a positive aspiration. As Shan argues, he would probably have no concerns if Warren Buffett or Jeff Bezos were earning a few extra trillion dollars, if his own income was going up. Unrest and indignation are the products of a stagnating economy whilst growth is the most compelling route to inclusion.

A second theme was introduced by the historian and Stanford Professor Niall Ferguson who pointed to the enabling importance of the rule of law, especially in relation to trade. Ferguson noted that the fundamental ideals of socialism and capitalism, which have shaped political discourse for more than a century, are poorly understood by today’s electorate with the result that traditional labels of left and right are increasingly being usurped by a new politics. With adherence to the rule of law in place, the key decision facing entrepreneurs and the economies in which they sit is one’s attitude to redistribution. A generation of entrepreneurs, regulators and voters, who have grown up with the pervasive presence of information and communication, are beginning to make their way into the workforce. The high school and university curricula offered to the so-called i-Generation have not routinely offered a thorough grounding in our traditional political and economic labels. Worse, this same generation appear to have lost faith and interest in our political process and institutions. Rather than pledging allegiance to particular political parties, they are more likely to connect to issues and individuals. Greta Thunberg is not aligned to traditional political groupings of left or right, rather she is an example of challenge or issue based campaigning that are replicated in the #metoo phenomenon and many others. Modern entrepreneurs and economies face concerns of sustainability and responsibility that not in the forefront of Smith’s mind and a new focus on redistribution is required.

Finally, this all led to a third theme from the Panmure House conference, namely that of community. Having started with moral sentiments, Smith’s later work focused on The Wealth of Nations. Yet today, some of our global corporations are sometimes bigger than the nation states he would have had in the foreground of his attention. These new corporate actors are in part responsible for an unprecedented boom in global, social connectivity. Thus it makes sense to shift from a focus exclusively on the Wealth of Nations to one which encompasses the wealth of communities. Those communities may by constructed of surprising strata that don’t fit our conventional units of analysis such as young and old or left and right but they are the very communities that will mobilise and reshape capitalism.

As the gathering of great economic, commercial, organisational and political minds drew to a close, 80 scholars signed the Panmure House Declaration. It urges “international leaders to base their policies and decision-making on a set of common principles, as espoused and formulated by Adam Smith, which cherish the required values of an ethically-based liberal democratic system, a moral commitment to the well-being of our communities and affirm responsibility to protect economic, political and social freedoms, use resources wisely, avoid unintentional consequences, follow the rule of law, favour markets and prices as guides to resource allocation and take a long term view of private and public investments, to support inclusive economic growth and prosperity for all.

Will this declaration help reshape capitalism ? Only time will tell.

Robert MacIntosh,   9 July 2019

Thursday 11 April 2019

Under New Management

The university sector is often accused of creeping managerialism. Some hypothesise that this is in response to ever fiercer competition for students, research funds and talent.  Others suggest that the contemporary obsession with leadership is part of the problem not the solution. Regardless of one’s viewpoint, there has been a noticeable increase in the number and type of senior management positions in our universities; some populated by academics and others by colleagues in professional services roles. Academic leadership roles are typically tied to a three or five year tenure, meaning that new bosses come around on a fairly regular basis. Add in the fact that individual academic staff are often accountable to different individuals for their teaching, their research and their administrative duties and it might feel that you’re under new management more frequently than a modern day Premier League footballer. How should you handle a new boss ?

A version of this article appeared in Times Higher Education and can be found here. Many of the themes it raises are equally applicable to the circumstances when you get a new member of a PhD supervisory team. I hope it it of interest and use.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss ?

New incumbents of leadership roles are usually keen to make their mark. After all, few careers are enhanced by a CV narrative that reads “2017-present: minded the shop and kept things ticking along.” Rather, your new boss is likely to want to be able demonstrate that they improved, streamlined or transformed the activities for which they are responsible. Such career narratives are reason why your new boss is unlikely to be the same as your old boss. Recognising this will help you cope with the inevitable trauma that comes when tried and trusted systems and processes are changed under the new regime.

Do your homework

Academia is a relatively closed community. Somewhere in your network will be colleagues who knew your new boss when she was a PhD student or who worked under him at his previous university. Ask around and ask what makes them tick. At the more experienced end of the leadership spectrum, your new boss may have fulfilled the same role in more than one institution. If so, it might be possible to spot a pattern in their tendency to centralise or decentralise or to adopt particular structures. In the corporate world such characters develop brand names such as Dangerous Dave and Fred the Shred. Of course, the more refined world of academia is above such nonsense. Isn’t it ?

Control, Alt, Delete

A new boss can offer those of longer standing in your current university the opportunity to press reset and get things back to “normal.”  Finally, they’ll cry, we can abandon the folly of X and get back to Y. In a shifting political landscape, you might want to get in early and make sure that your new boss is fully briefed on what they should prioritise. Stand a little further back from the detail however and you might see a pattern. Radical and ambitious entrepreneurs tend to be followed by consolidaters; dictators tend to be succeeded by advocates of participative democracy and so forth. A brief examination of the outgoing boss and the recruitment process might give valuable clues as to the priorities that your new boss was recruited to deliver. You can then judge how well these match with your own and to assess the potential for career-limiting consequences when ridiculing the old regime. It would be a shame to discover after the fact that your new boss and your old boss were in fact, former colleagues and remain close friends.

Actions speak louder than words

In the early days of their appointment, your new boss will be suffering from information overload. So many new faces, names to remember and issues to address. You face a choice between shouting first and loudest or being patient. Your long-term credibility might best be served by simply getting on and delivering. If the new regime wants more interdisciplinary research, focus your attention on how you can help. Academic freedom is so deeply embedded in our culture that doing what we are asked doesn’t always come naturally but maybe, just maybe, there might be merit in some of the new initiatives. Giving it your best shot might be invigorating and it will certainly give you something to talk to your new boss about.

Just ask

All of this is good advice if your new boss has been clear and directive in the early days of their appointment. If, however, they have been somewhat more enigmatic about their new priorities, what should you do? Deceptively simple though it may seem, you could just ask. Bear in mind that the tone of your enquiry will matter. Consider the subtle shift in object and emphasis in the following. Boss, do you have any idea what you’re doing? Boss, what should I be prioritising? The latter is the less entertaining but probably more sensible approach. My favourite variant of such questioning however, arose in the context of a leadership programme and was “how do you get the best out me?” Working through that simple question in both directions will provide a good foundation for your new working relationship. Incidentally, part of my answer to that question was never, under any circumstances, call me Bob!

Wednesday 18 July 2018

The Future of Universities

This blog post first appeared on the Times Higher's website and can be found here.

The full text is ...

Universities have formed part of our landscape for almost a thousand years. Today, the higher education sector is populated by over 20,000 universities with various rankings that permit potential staff, students or research funders to make comparisons. Despite clear differences in research intensity, size and age, most universities share four common assumptions about how they deliver undergraduate education. Students generally attend campus; where fees are being paid, they are paid directly to the university; the default setting remains full-time study and all of the credits for your qualification usually come from the same provider.

Predicting the future of a sector isn’t easy. After all, most of us are struggling to create free time rather than worrying about how best to spend the time saved by flying cars and domestic robots.  Nevertheless, higher education does feel like it is poised on the edge of a revolutionary period. Some institutions have tinkered with the four assumptions set out above, whilst others like Woolf are making more radical moves. It may be timely to explore each of these assumptions in turn and see what lessons other industries might offer.

Going to university has always been something of a rite of passage; leaving home for the first time, making new friends and fending for yourself. All of this was easier when financial support, in the form of grants, was widely available. Today’s students, and their families, make major financial investment decisions when choosing where to go and what to study. The movie business has been facing a similar “place” challenge for at least two decades. If you wanted to see the latest release, there was no choice but to travel, pay for a ticket and watch on the big screen. The advent of video rental and now streaming has fundamentally changed the assumption that they customer has to come to your premises. The result has been an arms race. Movie theatres introduced IMAX screens, reclining seats, 3D systems and the like. Individual customers can mimic surround sound and big screens in the comfort of their own home. In higher education, distance and online learning have thrived in the postgraduate market but most undergraduates aren’t yet making the decision to learn at home rather than paying the sticker price for the full campus experience. Perhaps because of this, universities and private firms are building student accommodation blocks on the basis place will continue to be important.

A second assumption is that the transaction for a degree is between the student and the university with the academic as a salaried employee. There are subtle differences where funding comes direct from the government as is the case in Scotland but even there, the fees flow to the university which in turn hires academic and professional service staff to deliver the educational experience. In sports and entertainment, the power of the individual has grown whilst that of the corporate provider has weakened. Image rights and royalties now tend to flow to a smaller number of elite performers meaning that a higher proportion of the “fee” flows direct to the “talent”. The twenty teams in the English Premier League have a collective wage bill of a staggering £48m per week. Star academics do get well paid but imagine a parallel YouTube world, where the individual educator was selling their content direct to the student and keeping most of the fee. Surely that would be unworkable? Yet, Woolf is attempting to create a blockchain university with low operating costs and the majority of the money flowing to individual academics for the delivery of the educational experience.

This links to the third assumption, that students study for the totality of their degree with a single provider. Yes, it is true that most institutions will accredit prior learning to enable students to transfer in from another university but this is the exception not the norm. Health issues or simply realising that your first choice of degree wasn’t for you tend to be one-off situations looked at sympathetically on a case-by-case basis. The music industry operated with a similar mentality where customers had to buy a whole album until iTunes came along, allowing them customers to buy individual tracks. Since then, the ground has shifted again to subscription-based streaming from Spotify and other providers. What if you could build your own degree by choosing the best courses from a range of universities? In effect, you’d be creating your own academic playlist.

Finally, whilst post experience students studying MBAs and other postgraduate qualifications on a flexible, part-time basis, most undergraduates are still full-time students. The introduction of graduate apprentice degrees is chipping away at the accepted norm of full-time study followed by full-time employment for first degrees. Indeed, Sam Gyimah has already said that three year, full-time degrees should not be the norm and of course they aren’t in Scotland where undergraduate degrees tend to take four years. But both pattern and pacing count. A generation of students raised with the expectation that you can binge watch an entire series on the day of its release, or just as easily pick something up seamlessly after a lengthy break might begin to think about their degree studies in the same way. The traditional TV broadcasters have had to adjust their mindset in response to the bold strategic moves of new entrants like Netflix. Could universities cope with a mix of starting points and a range of paces from binge educators to meandering laggards?

Some of these assumptions are being stretched and tested by individual universities. Where it gets really interesting is looking at the assumptions as an interlocking set. IKEA, Amazon, Google and other global behemoths came at established markets with a distinctive reconfiguration the business norms used by existing providers. Other sectors have said it can’t happen here. Just ask your local bookseller, if you still have one. What if one university, a new entrant or an established player, were to revolutionise the university sector by offering more choice, more flexibility, lower cost and higher quality? Allowing students to pick and choose individual courses from leading experts at a range of universities, accrediting these to validate a degree that flexes from lightening quick to slow roast depending on circumstances and offering the option of dropping into and out of campus-based experiences as required. Then we’d all be losing sleep. Unless of course, we were working for the university that was reinventing the game.