NOTE: The opinions I express here are strictly my own and are not representative of my employer or any other entity or individual other than myself.
I want to commend the PIUG Board and my fellow volunteers for another successful annual conference. As with previous conferences, I left Cincinnati last Wednesday with a wealth of useful information from the program and the workshops I attended.
However, I must highlight an incident that I feel was a black eye inflicted upon this year's program. I was troubled by the remarks of Ricardo Vieira of Fairview Research during Monday's and Tuesday's plenary sessions, and even more troubled that, as of Tuesday evening, no one had publicly challenged him. My purpose in posting this message is to ensure that Mr. Vieira's behavior at the podium receives the rebuttal it deserves.
Mr. Vieira's remarks insulted my intelligence and sensibility: I am confident that I was not the only attendee that reacted this way. He abused a five-minute product review as an opportunity to deliver a fear-mongering harangue in which he imputed a bogus employment trend solely from anecdotal evidence. This he did to support a dubious new business plan for IFI that, as near as I could understand, depends heavily on the alleged downward employment trend. In other words, the success of IFI, according to this plan, hinges on the loss of employment of a large number patent information professionals. Such a plan stands in direct conflict with PIUG's stated interest and goal of supporting the employment and career development of patent information professionals.
Moreover, the anecdotes cited by Mr. Vieira involved two of our colleagues whom he mentioned by name - doubtless without their knowledge, let alone their consent - to augment his fearful message and promote his business plan. This singular act constituted a crass, deplorable invasion of privacy that cannot be allowed to stand.
After his Tuesday appearance, I heard some attendees describe Mr. Vieira's diatribes as "courageous". I have to wonder whether any of our recently unemployed colleagues in attendance would have agreed with that assessment. During both of his plenary appearances, Mr. Vieira demonstrated spectacular insensitivity and poor judgment, the like of which I never before witnessed in a professional setting. His misleading extrapolation of an employment trend from anecdotes was a statistical fallacy that should have incited the skepticism of every trained scientist in that ballroom.
Although I acknowledge and even support his right to express himself on behalf of his company, Mr. Vieira's conduct was inappropriate to a professional forum such as our annual conference. His behavior brought discredit to conference attendees and to PIUG, and it reflected particularly poorly on IFI, a longstanding sponsor.
Before posting this statement, I communicated my concerns to Tony Trippe, who has assured me that he and the Board will review this incident and carefully consider subsequent action. For my own part, as long as Mr. Vieira engages in this sort of "promotion", I will actively oppose the licensing into my company of any product or service associated with him.
Whether or not you agree with my statement, I would welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.