Update 1/19/2017

Imagine my surprise when I experienced a huge surge in traffic to my out-of-date academic website.  Thanks to Google Analytics, I have a good idea why it happened.  Seems that I am now EJMR famous.  Still not sure how to feel about that, but c’est la vie.

Thought I’d take a moment to clarify and update a bit given the comments on the EJMR thread. 

I wasn’t actually trying to make some nasty public airing of dirty laundry or sling mud at Ernst, though what I wrote was true.  I needed to update/remove the contact info on the site because it still had my UM contact info, and I didn’t want anyone looking at my job applications to search for me online and mistakenly use that contact info.  Once a friend at the North American ESA meeting let me know the paper was being presented, I also realized that there may even be a few academics who were interested in the paper.  To save such people from searching for a newer version or sending me an email, I wanted to point out that the 2013 draft is indeed the most recent one.  I just checked the site traffic, and there was, as suspected, a bump in traffic that likely came as a result of Ernst’s keynote.

The following comment was posted, which some people interpreted as being from Ernst.  “Useless work, distributed in tiny bites and accompanied by his complaints about the publish and perish culture in academia. Ernst Fehr.”  I don’t think that was Ernst; I think it was someone criticizing Ernst. A few posts later, the same person posted, “no game changer = summary of Fehr's work.“  Yeah, I don’t think that was Ernst.

Has he seen the thread?  I don’t know.  I haven’t heard from him.  Last I heard from him was in early December say that he hoped to have revisions done by Christmas.  I can tell you that A LOT of people from Zurich have read the EJMR thread and followed the link to my site, so I assume it’s common knowledge in the department (or probably at least at BLU).

Speaking of visitors to my site from EJMR… nice to see those of you from Berkeley, Yale, Northwestern, Stanford, Harvard or MIT (or both), Penn, Oxford, Cambridge, and Michigan in addition to many MANY other places.  I always wondered how prevalent EJMR really was among academic departments, and now I know.

If you want to know what I was doing instead of writing papers, you can still find my academic CV on the site.  There was a lot of faculty turnover in my last job, and I could see the writing on the wall.  Rather than stick around for the remainder of my contract and be denied tenure, I chose to accept the reality of the situation, save myself a few years, and move on now rather than later.

For those who expressed positive thoughts, thank you.  I’ve taken the last few months to get reacclimated with the US after many years away, reconnect with friends and family, and travel across the country.  I’m in the midst of searching for jobs and am several rounds into the recruiting process for my dream job (all the behavioral and experimental research and freedom to set my schedule as in academia but with none of the teaching or administrative work).  Also took the time to explore machine learning and really enjoyed it, while also realizing just how many of the concepts are familiar to economists but using different terminology.  I have no doubt I'll go back to it and will probably also start teaching myself SQL, Python, and get into 'big data' with MapReduce/Hadoop, maybe even Scala and Spark and similar tools.  I’m still a nerd who likes data, programming, and learning new things.  I don’t think that’s ever going to change, academic job or no academic job.

If you knew me from academia but don’t have my personal email address, feel free to get in touch using tbwilliams@protonmail.com.

If you happen to be looking - or know someone else who is looking - for a person who does behavioral economics, experimental design, decision neuroscience, consumer insights, data analysis, or applied statistics or econometrics in R, Matlab, or Stata... or someone who is excited about adding machine learning and relational database programming to his skill set… please also get in touch with me at tbwilliams@protonmail.com or send along my contact information.

For what it’s worth, I’m a lot happier now than I have been for many years.  I decided back in 2004 that I wanted an academic research career and gave it my all.  I miss research.  I don’t miss academia.  But I also didn’t have the chance to do any research in academia for the last several years.  Life goes on, and I’m happy with my decisions.  I hope all of you are, too.