Strategies for Improving Workplace Behavior and Performance

From Leadership Expert Dr. Diane Hamilton

Chad E. Cooper

Chad E. Cooper and Ron Klein

Advisor to C-suite executives in Fortune 500 companies advising leadership service, operation, and strategy Chad E. Cooper and the Grandfather of Possibilities creator of the MLS and credit card validity…

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Has a Book Become the New Business Card?

With the advent of self-publishing, realizing the dream of writing a book has become a reality for more people.  Many guests on my nationally-syndicated radio show have been authors. I was fortunate to interview Sharon Lechter recently, and she brought up how a book has become the new business card.  Sharon, of course, is the co-author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series and several best-selling books based on the recently re-energized Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich series.  Sharon is the ultimate example of a successful author.  Most authors do not have Napoleon Hill Foundation behind their work.  However, many have access to sites like Createspace and others to showcase their writing skills. Continue reading “Has a Book Become the New Business Card?”

One Key Word That Impacts Intelligence, Engagement, Sales, Soft Skills, Gamification, and Millennials

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There is an emotional component behind most of the things that will make or break employees’ and leaders’ success.  When someone first hears the word emotion, it may suggest emotional intelligence.  Developing emotional intelligence is one important factor that has been demonstrated to lead to success.  However, that is just part of the picture. Continue reading “One Key Word That Impacts Intelligence, Engagement, Sales, Soft Skills, Gamification, and Millennials”

Will Managers and Leaders be Replaced with AI?

 AIAs technology becomes more sophisticated, some activities previously completed by employees can be handled by computer programs.  HR professionals have already found that AI can perform candidate searches and determine best matches for jobs.  Using technology can help make candidate reviews more manageable.    AI can even monitor email to determine if employees are engaged at work and notify leaders of those who may be ready to leave the company.  Some companies already offer some AI-related assistance to track candidates or monitor workers. Some examples include SAP, Entelo, Veriato, and Bluvision. It is possible to receive alerts if employees have poor performance or if they are not where they should be at work. Continue reading “Will Managers and Leaders be Replaced with AI?”

First IQ, then EQ: Leaders Must Now Also Have CQ

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If IQ is a measure of intelligence, EQ a measure of emotional intelligence, then what is CQ? In each of these cases, the Q stands for quotient, which means a measure or degree of that characteristic. The Cultural Intelligence Center defines CQ as, “the capability to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse situations. It goes beyond existing notions of cultural sensitivity and awareness to highlight a theoretically-based set of capabilities needed to successfully and respectfully accomplish your objectives in culturally diverse settings.” Companies are becoming more culturally diverse, and that means leaders must adapt. Continue reading “First IQ, then EQ: Leaders Must Now Also Have CQ”

How to Develop Top Soft Skills Not Learned at School or Work

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Job listings often describe the skills needed to perform in a position. However, many of the skills required for success fall under the category of soft skills.  Many employees may be hired for their knowledge and yet may end up being fired for their behavior or lack of social skills.  Forbes reported that 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months.  Mitchell Communications Group found that companies lose $37 billion a year in the United States due to miscommunication.  Research from Adecco Staffing considered what the C-suite thinks about the type of skills employees lack. They found that the C-suite believed 44% lacked soft skills including communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.  This has led to missed growth opportunity, low productivity, and reduced profits. Continue reading “How to Develop Top Soft Skills Not Learned at School or Work”

What Leaders Need to Know About Engagement

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Gallup’s 2016 survey results have shed light on how poor engagement is in the workplace.  If only 13% of workers feel engaged, there are serious consequences for productivity, turnover, and team effectiveness.  Managers may be instrumental in encouraging employees and helping them improve their levels of engagement.  Gallup (2016) focuses on 12 elements that are important to having effective and productive workers, which include: Continue reading “What Leaders Need to Know About Engagement”

What John Tamny of Forbes Can Teach Us About Sexy Marketing

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On March 7, 2017, Forbes’ Editor John Tamny will speak in San Diego about the fed. What does that have to do with sexy marketing? Tamny has done a great job of utilizing celebrity examples to make his points about economics. Think about his latest book title:  Who Needs the Fed?: What Taylor Swift, Uber, and Robots Tell Us About Money, Credit, and Why We Should Abolish America’s Central Bank. If it were just titled Who Needs the Fed? that would not be nearly as intriguing. Taylor Swift is far sexier. What is great about Tamny’s writing is that he discusses important economic subjects, while bringing in celebrity examples to bring his points home. By using timely examples like Taylor Swift’s stance on Apple’s decision to give away music for free, he appeals to the masses. Tamny’s title and content choice demonstrate how even the most challenging topics can be made more appealing if the right picture is painted in consumers’ minds. Continue reading “What John Tamny of Forbes Can Teach Us About Sexy Marketing”

Top Companies and Leaders: Connecting Through Talk Radio

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Radio remains a leading platform for organizations to advertise and for individuals to learn lessons from inspirational speakers, authors, and leaders.  If an executive’s day is so packed with things to do, the thought of listening to a radio show may seem like a luxury.  However, the reality is, a lot of people are listening.  News Generation shared some important statistics. Continue reading “Top Companies and Leaders: Connecting Through Talk Radio”

Managing Millennials Requires Understanding Their Values

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Millennials are one of the most misunderstood generations, which has led to frustration in the workplace.  With so many generations working together, it is not unusual that there would be some conflict. The biggest issues have revolved around the clash between Boomers and Millennials.  With varying views on political and leadership issues, as well as differences in the frequency at which they embrace technology, conflict management has become a top concern for many leaders.  Part of learning to manage this unique generation includes understanding and embracing their values. Continue reading “Managing Millennials Requires Understanding Their Values”

The Cost of Low Engagement and How to Improve It

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Many people misunderstand the meaning of engagement. It is important to note that engagement does not mean satisfaction. Engagement refers to an emotional commitment to an organization and its goals.  Engagement, generational conflict, emotional intelligence, and other communication issues are some of the most requested speech topics by organizations. This is not surprising because 60-80% of all difficulties in organizations stem from relationship-based issues.  Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between engagement and performance.  Leaders with high levels of engagement also were more transformational, had higher levels of interpersonal skills, and had a better sense of well-being. Continue reading “The Cost of Low Engagement and How to Improve It”

Soft Skills: Critical to Employee Success

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Attend any leadership conference, and someone likely will bring up startling statistics regarding how employees and leaders lack something they refer to as soft skills. This term is used to describe many qualities that include interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and other personality-based issues. The problem that many organizations have experienced is that people are hired for their hard skills, or in other words, for what they know (knowledge). Then later, are often fired for their lack of soft skills, or what they do (behaviors). If employers recognize the importance of soft skills, they can avoid costly hiring and training mistakes, improve turnover, and boost productivity. Continue reading “Soft Skills: Critical to Employee Success”

Avoiding Teacher Burnout: New Research Explains How

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A recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at Penn State found that Teachers are burning out at an alarming rate.  Around 30-40% will leave their jobs by their fifth year of teaching. There are many reasons for this turnover.  The four main reasons are stress-related and include: Continue reading “Avoiding Teacher Burnout: New Research Explains How”

Entrepreneur Startup Terminology

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Entrepreneurs have created their own vocabulary.  The Wall Street Journal recently posted some important terms that every startup professional should know: Continue reading “Entrepreneur Startup Terminology”

Stop the Madness with Top Classroom Management Techniques

I have worked with educators in schools and universities across the United States since 2006.  My experience includes teaching, speaking, mentoring, training, program review, and curriculum design.  My goal is to help educators succeed and make a difference in the lives of students.  As a successful educator, coach, national trainer, and speaker, I promise to motivate and inspire educators through my on-site school training and district keynotes.  I share practical, proven strategies for immediate use in classrooms. Continue reading “Stop the Madness with Top Classroom Management Techniques”

Expert Speaker and Trainer, Dr. Diane Hamilton, Available for Corporate Events

I have updated my speaker and training bio. Please click on the picture below to watch the video. To contact me for an event, please go to http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/drdianehamilton/

Entrepreneurs: Help for Getting Started

I had to opportunity to interview Martin “Marty” Zwilling this week.  Marty has an impressive background.  He is a former executive with IBM.  He has served on multiple advisory boards.  He currently works as an author and consultant.  His company, Startup Professionals, is dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs succeed.  He gave some great insight regarding some of the toughest issues facing new entrepreneurs. The following is our six-part interview. Click on the link below the picture.  Scroll to next video with the arrow at the bottom after watching each one. Continue reading “Entrepreneurs: Help for Getting Started”

Grammar: When It Just Does Not Sound Correct

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My job has taught me that a lot of people struggle with grammar and spelling. My first sentence brought to mind one of the most common spelling errors. Many of my students type “a lot” as one word, which is incorrect. There is no such word as “alot”. If spelling is not hard enough, grammar is just as tricky because some things that are correct, do not sound correct. I know I tend to say things incorrectly just to sound like everyone else. For example, people might look at you funny if you correctly stated, “that is she” instead of incorrectly stated “that is her”. Continue reading “Grammar: When It Just Does Not Sound Correct”

Professors’ Media Choices in Online Classes

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There is limited research regarding the use of social media or other types of media in online courses. In 2013, I surveyed 110 adjunct professors from a Linkedin group to determine if they added media (including social media) to already developed curriculum. Due to the prevalence of online classes, it might help curriculum designers to determine media preferences. This type of study may also demonstrate the flexibility of online courses, the perception of content requirements in online courses, and professors’ best practices.

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Adjunct Faculty Members’ Perceptions of Online Education Compared to Traditional Education

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I am often asked to give my opinion regarding online education versus traditional education.  Because it is such a popular topic, I decided to conduct some research to determine how online instructors’ perceive online versus traditional degrees. The following is an abstract from my most recent study published in the Journal for Online Doctoral Education.

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Forbes School of Business Mentor Week

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Forbes Mentor Week was held on August 31, 2015. It was an excellent chance to learn career-changing habits and problem solving techniques critical in today’s workplace. This five-day online event brought together influencers and innovators from all corners of the business community for an interactive boot camp to sharpen your personal and professional skills.

Please see my recorded session here:

Professors’ Expectations: Helpful Writing Tips for College Students

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Students often struggle with writing essays.  Some have difficulty with structure. Others dread dealing with APA formatting. I teach everything from bachelor-level to doctoral-level courses.  The following contains some helpful writing tips that I have found may make writing essays a little easier.

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Entrepreneurs and Celebrities Use Kickstarter for Funding

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Kickstarter has been a successful crowdfunding option for potential entrepreneurs to garner cash.  However it has not been without some issues.  According to The Wall Street Journal article The Trouble With Kickstarter, “The only thing worse than having to watch your friend’s arty movie is having to pay for it too.” Aside from the problems associated with pestering friends to donate, there have been some successful ventures thanks to this site.  The following list contains some of names of celebrities who have used the site:

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Researchers Debate Importance of Introverts Acting like Extroverts

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Several courses I teach include discussion regarding the importance of understanding personality preferences.  Students often take personality tests to determine their “type”.  Part of their type includes whether they are introverts or extraverts (Myers Briggs spells extravert with an “a” instead of an “o”).  In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs MBTI trainer, I learned that people have preferences for how they like to receive and process information.  We were told it was similar to how people prefer to write with their right or left hand.  That is why I found the recent Wall Street Journal article titled How an Introvert Can Be Happier:  Act Like an Extrovert to be so interesting.  The title contradicts some of what I learned in my training.

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Millennial Student Entitlement Issues

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The word Millennials is used to describe adults born between the years of 1980 and 2000.  They are also known as Generation Y.  Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me explained Millennials tend to be more self-focused and may expect to receive a lot of recognition. Sixty Minutes aired an interesting story titled The Millennials are Coming.  In this show, they explained how this younger generation expects good things and expects them with little effort. I have noticed that this sense of entitlement has carried into the online classroom setting.

Most of my students are very respectful. They follow directions.  They ask questions with the proper tone.  However, there are a few that are more demanding.  Although I have not formally studied the age group of the students who demonstrate issues with entitlement, I have noticed that my older Baby Boomer students seem to demonstrate more respect.

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Facebook Better for Following Blogs than RSS

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Facebook has made it so much easier to follow just about anything.  RSS feeds and Twitter are still an option for many people. However, with Facebook, once someone “likes” a page, it shows up in their feed on their homepage whenever anything from that page is updated.  Unlike Twitter and RSS feeds, on Facebook, it is easier to see pictures and information.

It is simple to create a Facebook page that includes links to blogs like this one.  What I think is great about a Facebook page is that I can incorporate links to this blog, to my other blogs, and any other sites.  It is an all-in-one spot to access information. To see my Facebook page, click here.

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Online Classes Offer Balance

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Online classes offer a variety of advantages for working adults who have enough on their plate without adding the stress of finding time for an education.  Probably the hardest part of attending a traditional university, for me, was finding time to fit it into my schedule.  I worked the traditional workday and then I had to make it to three-hour class four nights a week.  This was brutal because by the time I drove home and got to bed, it was close to midnight.  I would have to get up at 6 am and start all over again.  Thankfully I was in my early 20s at the time.  I honesty do not think I could handle that sort of schedule now.

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Online vs. Traditional Faculty Demands

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MOOCs have drawn attention to the different requirements of online vs. traditional teaching jobs.  I recently watched Dr. Dani Babb’s Udemy presentation titled How to Make Money Teaching as an Online Professor.  She said something that I thought was interesting.  She had worked as a traditional professor prior to becoming an online professor.  When she discussed the job requirements of an online professor, she mentioned that online professors have to deal with students who expect a lot more interaction in the online environment than the traditional one.  This is very true.  This is also something that I do not think gets enough attention in the media.

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A Professor’s Top 15 Book Recommendations

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One of the hardest things I had to do when I moved was to get rid of some of my books.  My house was starting to look like a Barnes & Noble.  I kept the textbooks I use for my courses and a few others that I found especially useful or interesting.  The following list is in no particular order.  It contains some of my favorite books that I kept. I often recommend them to my students:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More than IQ by Daniel Goleman  – Goleman is one of the main thought-leaders in emotional intelligence.  This book is easy to read and explains the importance of emotional intelligence.
  2. The Happiness Advantage:  The Seven Principles of  Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by  Shaw Achor – This book included some interesting information about how to be happy.  I liked the author’s style.  It is entertaining and interesting.
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.  This book is required reading in many courses.  Although some students hesitate to pick up “self-help” books, this one is a classic for good reasons.
  4. Emotional Intelligence in Action by Marcia Hughes, Bonita Patterson, James Terrell, and Reuven Bar-On.  This book is a helpful tool to develop emotional intelligence in teams.
  5. The Pig That Wants to be Eaten:  100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher by Julian Baggini.  This strange little book was required reading for a course I taught about foresight.  My technology students love it.  It is filled with short stories. It is not for everyone. However, it is a book that will make you think.
  6. Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner. Gardner’s work in multiple intelligences is an important foundation for anyone studying personality assessments.
  7. The Effective Executive:  The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker. Drucker’s book is often required in management and leadership courses.
  8. The Bugaboo Review:  A Lighthearted Guide to Exterminating Confusion about Words, Spelling and Grammar by Sue Sommer.  This is a fun book to teach spelling and grammar.
  9. Between You and I: A Little Book of Bad English by James Cochrane.  This is helpful book to teach grammar.
  10. Eats, Shoots, & Leaves:  The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.  This is another fun book to explain the importance of punctuation.
  11. It’s Not You It’s Your Personality:  Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Modern Workplace by Diane Hamilton and Toni Rothpletz.  This is a book written by my daughter and me.  It explains all of the top personality assessments and helps readers understand how to get along with other people at work.
  12. The Elements of Style by William Strunk.  This is a classic book on  how to write correctly. Most authors keep a copy of this.
  13. On Writing Well:  The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zessner. I like how Zessner teaches writers to write in a simple way.
  14. The Online Student’s User Manual:  Everything You Need to Know to be a Successful Online Student by Diane Hamilton. This book will help new and continuing students to be successful in online classes.
  15. Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey.  This book contains a compilation of things that managers or entrepreneurs should know but may have never learned.

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Changing the Way Students Perform Online Research

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Google and other search engines have changed the way people locate information.  The problem is that online students think of Google as a proper tool to use to perform research for assignments.  Google Scholar may provide access to some scholarly research.  However, most online schools prefer that students use the school’s library search feature.  It is important that students consider the reliability of the type of content that is available on traditional websites.

Pew reported that the majority of students are not able to recognize bias in online content.  This has become frustrating for professors because these skills should be taught in first-year college courses.  Turnitin’s white paper titled What’s Wrong with Wikipedia, reported that in over 37 million papers submitted by students, there were 156 million matches to content found from the Internet.  This means that students use sites like Google Books, May Clinic, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, etc.  These are unacceptable sources to use for college-level courses.

According to Turnitin’s research, the following problems exist with student’s research behavior:

  • Problem: Students value immediacy over quality – Students use sites like Wikipedia to find quick answers.  Wikipedia may offer some valuable resources at the bottom of their site to support the content. Solution:  These sources are usually available through the school’s library search feature.  Schools’ search engines are quite easy to use. They access some of the best material available for free.  Students can easily mark a box for peer-reviewed studies.  This will ensure that their research contains quality information.
  • Problem:  Students often use cheat sites – Students may find sites that offer to write their papers for a fee.  Most of these papers are captured within Turnitin’s plagiarism detecting software. Therefore when students buy the paper and submit as their own, the software will detect it as plagiarized.  Solution:  The time it takes to find and buy a paper on the Internet could have been used to simply write an original paper.  Nothing is gained from submitted plagiarized work.  Students risk getting expelled.  Most assignments are not that long or difficult.  The point of writing them is to gain knowledge.  Students who attend school just to obtain a piece of paper will not be prepared for the working world.  They will spend money on a degree that will not help them if they have not learned the information.
  • Problem:  Research is not synonymous with search – Students may put a lot of faith in the information found on the Internet.  Just because a site allows people to ask and answer questions, does not mean that the answers are correct. Searching for answers on the Internet does not mean that the answers are based on actual research.  Solution:  Using peer-reviewed sources that are available through the school’s library ensures that the information in the article has been reviewed by the author’s peers.  These studies are actual research.

There are times when assignments allow for students to use websites like Apple.com, or other corporate or news sites.  If this is allowed by the instructor, students must be able to recognize if the site is highly regarded. An example might be The New York Times.  If students are in doubt, they should direct questions to their instructor for guidance.

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Advantages of Peer Interaction in Online Learning

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One of the most important ways students learn in online courses is through peer-to-peer interaction.  In my experience with traditional classrooms, there were far more lectures and much student involvement.  The professors spoke “at us” in traditional courses. In online courses, there is more of a group discussion. Students receive the professor’s perspective as well as viewpoints from every student in the course.  In my opinion, this makes for a much more interesting and interactive classroom.

Not all students are fans of lecture-based learning.  MOOCs may experience high dropout rates due to their lecture-based format. According to the article MOOCs: Will Online Courses Help More Students Stay in School, “Critics of MOOCs are quick to point out their low completion rates (fewer than 7% of students complete the courses on average). They also note that the courses take the ineffective lecture format and make it the primary mode of learning.”

The types of online courses I have taught rely very little, if at all, on lectures.  The courses include more peer interaction and written assignments. The peer interaction revolves around discussion questions.  There are usually at least two discussion topics posted each week.  Students must respond to the initial question and respond to their peers’ postings as well.  This requires students to address the question, discover other students’ perspectives, and develop critical thinking skills.

Students’ responses to their peers must include substantive comments and well-constructed follow-up questions.  These questions often develop the conversation and create a dialogue.  Every student can see these discussions.  Every student can interject their comments.  It creates a pool of information that would not be provided to students in a lecture hall.  It allows for much more depth to the exploration of the topic.

In a traditional course, the professor may give their insight and opinions about a topic.  In an online course, this is possible as well. What is different is the amount of interaction required by the students.  Granted, things may have changed since I took traditional courses in the 80’s.  However, based on what I read and what I hear from my students, traditional college courses have not changed that much.  I believe that is why there is such an interest in MOOCs.  They add a new dimension that traditional courses have lacked.  However, MOOCs may not provide the peer interaction is the same way that regular online classes can.  The reason for this is due to the number of students in class.  MOOCs are massive.  Most online courses I teach include fewer than 20 students. When there are too many students, the discussions become overwhelming and no one takes the time to read all of the postings.

The best part of peer interaction is that students can learn from everyone’s experiences. Many online students have had decades of experience. This provides a wealth of knowledge that may be added to the professor’s perspective.  This allows everyone, including the professor, to garner important insight.

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Online Student Safety and Behavioral Issues

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The online classroom may make it easier for students with personality problems or even mental health issues to go undetected.  It may provide a false sense of security for some students who make friends with other students who may appear to be well.  However, in any online situation, it is wise to look for some behavioral signals that may indicate some problems.

I have had students who ignore netiquette, aka rules of proper behavior in the online classroom. I have had a few students who concerned me to the point that I believed, for safety reasons, I had to report them.  Although I have not had this happen often, it can be frightening for innocent students who get bullied or are provoked by these behaviorally-challenged students.

I recently had a student send me a note that she felt uncomfortable by certain wording that another student used in class.  She asked me to ask the student to refrain from using what she considered profanity.  Although this “profanity” may have seemed very mild to some of the other students, it bothered her.  It is important for students to realize that everyone may not be comfortable with certain words.

In the Wall Street Journal article When Social Skills are a Warning, the author explained that it may be important to look for social skills that may indicate a warning of behavioral issues. Instructors and fellow students might be able to detect some early signs that are symptoms of problems like social indifference, lack of empathy, and inappropriate behavior.  Some students do not recognize when to “back off” in discussions.  In the article, the author explained how our brains are set up differently. “Some networks act as emotional brakes and others as the gas.  Everyone has a different balance of these networks, which contributes to our personalities, emotions and behaviors.”

When students notice something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should report it to their professor or counselor.  Many students are harmless and just do not realize how they may come across to others.  The problem is that there have been incidents that make the news that scare people.  These past tragedies may help to make people more aware of the importance of recognizing behavior.

Just because there is a computer screen between students, does not mean there is no danger.  Some students connect in online chat rooms.  Sometimes they exchange email and telephone numbers.  Just because a student is in an online college classroom, it does not ensure that this person is harmless.  In online, just as in traditional courses, there will be some students who have behavioral problems.  It is important that students do not let their guard down too far due to a possible incorrect assumption that all students must be normal.  I do not want to squelch the college connection experience. It is just important to remember that people may have issues whether they are in a traditional or online location.  Students should be just as vigilant about their safety in an online class as they would be in any other situation.

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Hiring Graduates Based on Personality Skills

shutterstock_36446959HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987.  The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given.  What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, “Prospective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.”  Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits.  Korn also explained, “Measuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”

I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance.  I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test.  Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.

I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses.  Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.

When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact.  It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior.  In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.

It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them.  Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives.  The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change.  This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths.  Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels.  The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace.  The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate.  By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.

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Use of Media and Copyright Issues in Online Courses

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Some students like to present papers with a bit of pizzazz. Many may add pictures or charts they have found on the Internet.  Unfortunately many of the things they try to incorporate into their work may create a copyright violation.  The good news is that there are sites where students can find media to share that is not protected.

The Creative Commons site is a good place to go to find content. According to their site, “If you’re looking for content that you can freely and legally use, there is a giant pool of CC-licensed creativity available to you. There are hundreds of millions of works — from songs and videos to scientific and academic material — available to the public for free and legal use under the terms of our copyright licenses, with more being contributed every day.”

Some famous sites like Google, Flickr, and Wikipedia use Creative Commons to access media. Wikipedia’s Public Domain Image Resources page also provides some great links to media that is not copyright-protected.  This site provides general as well as government resources.

Some students incorporate images they have found using the insert clipart function in Word. According to the Microsoft site, “The Clip Art and Media gallery provides a compilation of artwork. See the use terms for the description of permitted uses. If those terms do not meet your needs, our Clip Art partners at Office Online provide a variety of images you can license directly. Sample Art may be used for personal use only. You may not sell, lease, or distribute Sample Art, or any materials you create that use Sample images, for any commercial purposes.”

If students submit a Word document that has clip art obtained from Word, they may have questions about how to cite it in APA.  According to Owl Purdue’s site it is, “unnecessary to provide citation on a document presented via the Microsoft program for stock images that a specific to that software package.”

It may be difficult to find free clip art simply by searching for it on Google. Many sites that come up offer some free clip art that is usually not that great.  The better clip art usually requires a fee.  I am often contacted by people about the clipart used for my online education blog.  I have used a couple of sources that charge a fee, including Shutterstock and iStockPhoto.  The really good pictures like these usually require a fee.

When students insert pictures that are copyright protected, professors should explain this to them.  There are many students who assume they can copy and paste just about anything from the Internet into their assignments. Students may benefit from reading:  How to Avoid Copyright Infringement and Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images.

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What to Expect in Online Doctorate Degree Courses

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As a doctoral chair, it is my responsibility to help guide students through their doctoral dissertation process.  In order to receive a doctorate through online courses, there is a series of courses that students take prior to the time they begin writing the proposal for their dissertation.  Each online program varies to some degree.  Based on the two programs I have either taken or taught, I can say that they were pretty similar.  The following is what students might expect from an online doctoral program.

Students must first complete a series of online courses that address their field of study. For example, I received a degree that is titled: Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with a Specialization in Management.  That means that those initial courses included a specific focus on business management.  Some students may combine their Master’s with their Doctorate.  Assuming that students have already taken the thirty or so credits required for a Master’s degree, there may be another 10 or 15 courses required in the field of specialization. In this case, it would be to study business management.  These courses are not that different from taking graduate-level classes.

After finishing those courses, students begin taking courses that are more specific to the proposal and final dissertation.  It is difficult to state how many courses may be required at this point. Some students require fewer courses than others based on how much work they complete within the scheduled time for each course.  I have had some students make it through the dissertation in the process by taking only three dissertation courses.  Others may take a dozen or more courses to finish.  It depends upon how much students have done on their own prior to beginning the doctoral courses, how quickly they work, and the type of research they do.

The steps in the doctoral process include writing the proposal (which describes how the study will be performed, aka chapters 1-3 of the final dissertation), obtaining proposal approval, doing the research, writing the final dissertation (updating Chapters 1-3 and writing Chapters 4-5), obtaining approval for the dissertation, defending the dissertation in an oral presentation, and finally having the doctoral chair, doctoral committee, and dean give a final seal of approval.

The hardest part generally seems to be writing the proposal or the first three chapters.  This is difficult because students have to learn how to write in a very specific and scholarly way.  There are templates that may provide helpful information regarding alignment, content requirements, and formatting.   Students work very closely with their chair during this time.  Students must also have at least two committee members.  Some schools, like the one I attended, required an additional outside member to review the dissertation.  All members of the committee must have a doctorate.

Students usually work strictly with the chair until Chapters 1-3 are ready to submit. At that point, the committee looks at the work to give input and make suggestions.  After all adjustments are made, the proposal goes through several stages of approval.  Students may need to submit more than once if there are changes requested. This is commonly the case.  Once the proposal is approved, students can perform the study, and eventually write the last two chapters that describe the results.  This final document goes through the chair and committee approval process again, and eventually must meet with the dean’s approval.  The last step is for students to defend the dissertation in an oral presentation.  Usually that is the easiest part of the process because students know their study inside and out by that time.  It takes some students just a few years to go through the process.  Others take much longer. Some never finish.  It is a very difficult process.  However, in the end, it is worth it.

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The PayPal Mafia: What is a Serial Entrepreneur?

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The PayPal Mafia refers to a group of individuals who created multiple companies that created a frenzy of growth in the Silicon Valley.  The entrepreneurs created PayPal before they set out to develop other multiple successful technology-based companies.  These men are serial entrepreneurs or individuals who, “continuously come up with new ideas and starts new businesses. As opposed to a typical entrepreneur, who will often come up with an idea, start the company, and then see it through and play an important role in the day to day functioning of the new company, a serial entrepreneur will often come up with the idea and get things started, but then give responsibility to someone else and move on to a new idea and a new venture.”

To learn more about some of the individuals associated with the PayPal Mafia check out the following members and how their initial success led to other serial successes:

For a more complete list of the PayPal Mafia members and their accomplishments, click here.

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Creative Disruption or Destruction?

Idea

Leaders often have to deal with the effects of creative disruption. According to CreativeDisruption.net, “Creative disruption intentionally brings the challenge or change right to the organization to force it to change and adapt in advance of a random, unpredictable challenge that will eventually reach the organization.” With the creation of innovation, there may be fallout in terms of lost jobs.  However, with loss, there may also be creation of new jobs.  A computer may replace work that was done manually.  At the same time, someone must run the computer.

Creative disruption may be necessary in order to remain competitive. If the competition embraces innovation, they may gain a foothold in the market.  The key is being able to recognize the type of innovation that will allow companies to grow.

Some ideas have actually led to the demise of companies.  An example is the invention of digital images and its impact on Kodak.  The invention of digital images occurred in a lab at Kodak.  This invention not only changed the industry but caused the eventual demise of the company.  Kodak tried to embrace changes, but lacked foresight.   Companies like Kodak may need to embrace new business models when faced with innovative changes.

According to the article Big Data and the Creative Destruction of Today’s Business Model, having a grasp on the importance of managing and understanding data is critical.  “Companies are increasingly experimenting with and implementing ways to capture big data’s potential for both short- and long-term advantage. The crucial success factors are to first think of data as an asset—as the foundation upon which to build propositions and business models—and then to diligently build out the capabilities necessary to capitalize on big data’s potential. And perhaps most importantly, embrace the creative destruction of today’s business models.”

Uber is Uber Cool

Uber

Uber is an app (iPhone and Android) that allows you to request a black Towncar or SUV rather than a typical cab in the U.S. and Canada.  When you use the app, it finds your location and allows you to order an “Uber”.  You can see all of the black cars in your area on a map.  You can simply pick the closest driver and the system will send you an alert on your cellphone to let you know the car is on its way.  The service alert includes your driver’s name and his cell phone.  You can even watch the vehicle coming toward your location on the map.

I spoke to a frequent user of Uber who told me that it normally takes about 5-10 minutes for the vehicle to arrive.  The driver opens the car door for you.  They usually have bottles of water, candy, gum, and other handy items. The price is a little more than a standard cab.  However, she felt that the few dollar difference was well worth it.

When you reach your final destination, you do not have to worry about having cash, tipping, or even dealing with negotiations.  Since your information is stored in the app, the receipt is simply sent to your email. They ask you to rate the drivers so that they can be sure they have excellent service.  I was told that drivers need to maintain a 4.7 out of 5 star rating in order to continue driving for the company.

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How to Use iPhone to Connect Computer to the Internet

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If you are like me, you may want to use your laptop when you travel.  One way to gain access to the Internet is by using an iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature.  The cellular data connection on the phone will allow you to connect your laptop or desktop to the Internet.

To use this feature, go to the settings on the iPhone (3GS version or later) and chose general and then choose Personal Hotspot. Turn the Personal Hotspot to the “on” position.  The Wi-Fi password will be listed on the iPhone under the Personal Hotspot area next to Wi-Fi password.  The wireless connection should now be listed as a choice on the laptop or desktop computer.  To connect to the iPhone, go to the Internet Access area on the computer and select the iPhone connection option. Then enter that password listed on the iPhone when requested.

When the personal hotspot is turned on it may incur charges so it is important to turn it off when not using it for temporary access.  The Apple support website states that the Wi-Fi hotspot will turn off when no devices are detected, but I was told by a Verizon employee that there may be charges.  I was also told that the phone could not be used when in personal hotspot mode.

According to the Apple Support site, “While devices are connected to Personal Hotspot, the status bar will be blue and will indicate the number of connected users.  The maximum number of supported connections may vary depending on your carrier or iPhone model.”

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Are QR Codes Successful?

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I am currently reviewing a text about marketing.  Schools hire me to do this on occasion.  One thing that disappointed me was there was nothing in it about QR codes and some of the other newest marketing techniques. QR codes have been around for a while. If you have not noticed them, they are the little barcode-looking square that appears on newspapers billboards, flyers, and even cars.

While QR codes offer some great marketing opportunities, they have not been as successful as other techniques.  In the article QR Codes are Dead! Long Live QR Codes, the author stated, “One of the most popular Tumblr blogs of 2012 is Pictures of People Scanning QR Codes. If you click through to the site you will see that it is empty. The joke here? No one scans QR codes (short for Quick Response code). It is obvious that QR codes have a bad rep and haven’t gained much traction on the consumer end of the equation.”

QR codes have been utilized well by some companies.  I am currently reading the book Neuromarketology by Brian Fabiano.  He is a marketing guru who was wise enough to put a QR code at the end of each of his chapters with the note, “scan to learn more!” Other examples of successful QR code use include:

For more information about how to use QR codes, check out the following articles:

Entrepreneurs Replacing People with Tablets

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One of the hardest parts of getting a new business off of the ground is to have enough funding.  Many entrepreneurs use family members as personnel in order to avoid paying wages.  It may be quite expensive to hire people to take orders or process requests.  The Wall Street Journal article Can the Tablet Please Take Your Order Now included some examples of how some small businesses have begun to use tablets instead of people in the customer-ordering process.

If customers can order through a digital device, it may not only be cheaper but faster.  There are app-building tools that entrepreneurs can use to create a way for customers to input their orders.  Some companies have used QR codes to speed up the order process. Using apps is another logical alternative. With talk of increasing the minimum wage, some small businesses are looking for ways to remain profitable.  If tablets become a popular way to order, it may impact many minimum-wage workers.  “In all, one-third of low-wage workers are employed by businesses with fewer than 100 employees, according to the National employment Law Project, an organized-labor-backed advocacy group for low-wage workers.”

Not only may entrepreneurs experience some cost savings by utilizing tablets and apps, there may be some other entrepreneurial opportunities for the app designers.  According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Some entrepreneurs see a promising market in selling technologies to small businesses that might help them to streamline operations.”  While this may cost some minimum wage-earners jobs, it may also be opportunities to train them for higher-skilled positions.

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Credit Report Options

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Anyone who has applied for a home loan probably has some familiarity with the importance of having a strong FICO score.  FICO stands for Fair Isaac Company.  There are three major bureaus that provide credit information (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).  These bureaus got together and created a competing score called the VantageScore. CreditKarma explained, “The VantageScore offers additional features, such as predictive scoring and a 24-month review of credit history, that the classic FICO model doesn’t incorporate.” For a comparison of the Vantage Score to the FICO score, click here.

This new score has a different scale.  Experian, Equifax and TransUnion used a score that ranged from 300 to 850.  This new VantageScore has a range from 501 to 990.  This has led to some confusion as to how these scores compare.  Lenders usually charge consumers to check their credit. They obtain the three scores from the major bureaus and generally use the middle score to base the lending rate that they offer the borrower.  Some lenders have begun to use the VantageScore.  For more information see:  What Credit Scores to Mortgage Lenders Use?

Borrowers may want to obtain their score in order to repair any issues prior to applying for a loan. This can cost them around $20 if they want to receive a full Equifax or TransUnion score.  Experian does not offer reports to consumers.

There are some other free options for credit reports.  These include:

CreditKarma.com – Offers a TransUnion Transrisk and Vantage Score report.

CreditSesame.com – Offers Experian National Equivalency Score

Credit.com – Offers Vantage Score

While many sites offer different reporting options like these, they may not show exactly the same scores that the lender will obtain when they receive all three major bureau reports.  Consumers, who apply for a loan and have paid to have their credit checked, can ask for a copy of their credit report from their lender.

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How to Avoid Paying 85% Tax on Social Security

Tax

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have found out some hard lessons recently about how easily their retirement money can disappear.  One thing they may not have counted on is how much they may be taxed on Social Security benefits.

According to the Social Security Administration Website, the guidelines for paying taxes on social security include:

  • file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
    • between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.

Many adults receive social security as their only form of income. If that is the case, there income level would be low enough that they would not have to pay taxes or even file a tax form.  See topic 423.

For individuals who are lucky enough to have saved a few bucks for retirement, check out the following articles for help to avoid having to pay this high percentage:

  1. When Uncle Sam Wants His Money Back
  2. Avoiding the Social Security Tax Trap
  3. History of Taxation of Social Security
  4. AARP: Social Security and Taxes
  5. How Much Social Security Benefit May Be Taxed

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How to Keep Facebook Private

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Privacy issues have dogged Facebook and other social media sites for years.  There are so many areas within which to adjust settings, it may become so frustrating that people give up trying to figure it out.  The Wall Street Journal article, A Guide to Facebook’s Privacy Options, had a very good graphic that demonstrates where to go to make changes to privacy settings.  It is important that you go to the icon that looks like a lock with some lines next to it at the top right of the screen.  Once you click on that, click on “see more settings”, then click on security (listed at the top left under the word general).

Once you are on that page, the following list contains some suggested ways to improve security:

  • Turn on secure browsing which is listed first under security settings  – if it is on, it will show enabled.
  • Login approvals can be turned on for extra security.
  • Limit app settings (see left side of screen) so that certain things may not be posted to your profile. “Disable instant personalization if you don’t want Facebook to share your information with partner websites”.
  • Adjust ad settings (see left side of screen) to control what information appears in ads.

For more information about how to adjust the settings displayed in the picture below, click on it to go to the infographic.

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Picture from Wall Street Journal A Guide to Facebook Privacy

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Famous Entrepreneurs Provide Inspiration

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are plenty of examples of entrepreneurs who failed before they became successful.  Some of them even explain that failure has taught them their most valuable lessons.  While this may be true, many prospective entrepreneurs fear failure.  One way to avoid problems is to learn from those who have experienced negative issues and still managed to succeed.

Entrepreneur.com recently published the article 10 Inspirational Leaders Who Turned Around Their Companies.  In this article, author Stephanie Vozza explained, “From Apple’s Steve Jobs’ demanding personality to Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter’s frugal methods, these sometimes-controversial CEOs weren’t always popular with employees, but they earned the respect of shareholders.”

For some unusual entrepreneurial examples, check out the VentureVillage article The Top Ten Startup Founder Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Follow.  These entrepreneurs offer a different perspective and update their blogs on a regular basis.

For more information for how to be a successful entrepreneur check out:

Genetics Impact on Intelligence

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Was Einstein a genius because he inherited good genes?  That is just one of the questions some new research may be able to determine.  According to the article A Genetic Code for Genius in the Wall Street Journal, “In China, a research project aims to find the roots of intelligence in our DNA.”

There is no denying that emotional intelligence has become a buzz word in HR.  Employees’ emotional quotient or EQ may sometimes be more important than their IQ.  However, the roots of many personality and intelligence issues like IQ still remain a mystery.  According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Studies show that at less half of the variation of intelligence quotient, or IQ, is inherited. Truly important genetics that affect normal IQ variation have yet to be pinned down.”

The average person has an IQ of 100 and Nobel laureates have an average IQ of 145. In a study of intelligence in China, the researchers are looking at individuals who have an IQ of over 160.  To date, studies have not been large enough to give very useful information about IQ and genetics.  This latest study “will compare the genomes of 2,200 high-IQ individuals with the genomes of several thousand people drawn randomly from the general population.”  The problem is finding the people with such an extremely high IQ.  The researchers likened it to finding a bunch of people over 6-foot-9 inches tall.

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Linkedin Endorsements Poorly Utilized

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Linkedin has provided an opportunity for networkers to endorse the skills of people with whom they are connected.  This was meant to be a time saver for people who normally wrote full recommendations. The idea had promise.  However, it is not being utilized well.  When users sign onto their Linkedin profile, they are given a list of people in their network and asked if they want to endorse them for a particular skill. There is the option of being able to endorse all of the people that pop up as choices.  The problem is, many people are doing that.  People may receive many endorsements from people who have not witnessed some of the skills they have endorsed.  At that point, the Linkedin endorsements become meaningless.

It is far too easy to choose the option of endorsing people as it is currently configured.  If the point was to make recommendations easier, it is understandable that there should be some way to do that.  However, if everyone is endorsing everyone for everything, there is no value to the endorsement.

To find out more about Linkedin’s Endorsements check out the following articles

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Have You Been Retargeted?

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If you have ever shopped online for an item and then later noticed an ad for that exact item on another page, you have been retargeted.  It may cause some problems for people who are trying to surprise others with something special. Consider the scenario of the man who has searched for engagement rings. If his future fiancé should suddenly have ads for rings show up all over their shared computer screen, the jig may be up!

To see what it is like to be retargeted, try going to the site:  GreatCall.  Once you are on that site, you will notice they sell a phone service.  You might then decide to go to a site like Dictionary.com.  Once you get to the dictionary site, you might notice that suddenly there is an ad for GreatCall.

Now take a look at the top right corner of that ad. There is a little sideways triangle that you can click that explains AdSense.  “The AdChoices symbol appears on web pages and ads to let you know when information about your interests or demographics may have been collected or used to show you ads – what’s known as interest-based advertising. You can opt out of interest-based ads, as well interest-based advertising from other participating companies by visiting the aboutads.info choices page.” Click on the following link to find out how to manage your ad preferences.

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Problems with Crowdfunding

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Crowdfunding occurs when people network through the internet to raise money to support other people’s ideas or interests. Crowdfunding became popular when Obama signed the JOBS Act bill in April.  Since then, sites like Fundable and Kickstarter have garnered media attention.  Not all information about crowdfunding has been positive.  The Harvard Business Review’s article The Road to Crowdfunding Hell explained some of the problems associated with the process.

The Wall Street Journal’s article Crowdfunding Efforts Draw Suspicion contains some of the latest problems.  The SEC was supposed to review the rules for crowdfunding by January 1.  They missed this deadline. In the meantime there may be some people who have taken advantage of the situatoin.  “State regulators already have taken or considered enforcement action against a handful of companies for allegedly exploiting online fundraising to commit fraud—or simply jumping the gun on the planned rules changes.”

There have been a large number of websites dedicated to crowdfunding.  Over 9000 sites include the word in their website name.  “Crowdfunding enthusiasts say the number of websites being registered reflects the pent-up demand for the financing targeted by the JOBS Act.”

The concern is that there is a lot of interest without a lot of control. “The association of securities regulators says the JOBS Act doesn’t do enough to protect investors.” Crowdfunding Insider claims Education is the Best Weapon Against Crowdfunding Posers.

The following video explains:  The JOBS Act and its impact on crowdfunding.

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Successful Virtual Teams

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Teams may not necessarily occupy the same building or location.  This may create some unique challenges.  When I trained teams within organizations to be effective, we dealt with personality preferences.  Team members would take the Myers Briggs MBTI to determine their type.  Team members were more effective if they understood why people acted the way they did.

In virtual teams, it is still critical to understand people’s preferences.  However, there are some unique challenges.  Leaders may deal with loosely described job descriptions.  Members of a team may share similar roles.  If team members are in other countries, cultural differences may impact the speed at which decisions may be made.

Trust and communication are still critical.  However, influence may become affected.  According to the Forbes article The Four Keys to Success within Virtual Teams, “The upshot of all this is that managers with geographically scattered teams need a much broader skill set than those with traditional, co-located teams. More than that, they need the ability to switch between skill sets, based on the diversity of their team members and the distance between them. Welcome to a new virtual world of business.”

According to Virtual Team Builders, “80% of corporate managers work virtually at least part of the time; 40% of virtual team members believe their groups are underperforming; 1 in 3 executives agree that teams are poorly managed; 56% of poorly managed virtual teams experience misunderstandings as a result of cultural and language differences; and 70% of attendees multitask during meetings.”

For more information about virtual teams, check out the following articles:

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Top Links for Employee Onboarding

Onboarding

New employees go through a process that is referred to onboarding.  This is the time that the company can make employees feel welcome.  It is also a time when they can begin to work on things like creating open communication, sharing a corporate vision, and defining goals. In the article Employee Onboarding, the following list contains high-level objectives of onboarding:

  • Helping the employee to identify with their new employer.
  • Allowing the employee to understand some of the company’s values and priorities.
  • Building an optimistic attitude towards the company.
  • Avoiding misunderstandings.
  • Helping the employee feel valued.
  • Encouraging socialization and creating a sense of belonging.
  • Reducing new employee anxiety.
  • Setting of performance expectations.
  • Decreasing the learning curve.

For more information about how employers and employees can have a successful onboarding process, check out the following articles:

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Generation Ali Passes the Torch to Millennial Generation

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Muhammad Ali has been called the most recognizable man on earth. While he is still considered the champ from his boxing days, he has continued to inspire people around the world.  His belief that others can achieve greatness led to his most recent venture the Generation Ali Global Citizenship Scholarship Program.  This program, due to launch December 7, 2012, is aimed at the millennial generation. According to the Generation Ali site, the program is about “Fostering tomorrow’s leaders to achieve personal greatness, contribute positively to their communities, and change the world for the better.”

According to Alltech, Donald Lassere, president of the Muhammad Ali Center stated, “Muhammad Ali has proven that one person can be a spark that lights the flame of inspiration and change the world. Generation Ali will take up the torch and continue Muhammad’s legacy by inspiring a new generation of leaders to create better lives, better nations, and a better world.”

In order to apply for this program, applicants must

  • Be a high school senior or graduate or post-secondary undergraduate.
  • Plan to enroll or are currently enrolled in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited United States two- or four-year college, university or vocational technical school.
  • U.S. and international students encouraged to apply.

Ali’s Facebook site shows a graphic that mentions $10,000 scholarships. Ali stated, “This is it! The Greatest Scholarship of All Time is here! Start spreading the word. Online application starts December 7th! U.S. and international students encouraged to apply.”

To find out more about his program, check out the video Generation Ali and go to GenerationAli.org.

How Businesses can Maximize Online Presence

While business leaders may constantly hear they need to maximize their online presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, there may be more that they could do to succeed.  Just having a Facebook or Twitter page is not enough. These sites need to be managed and constantly promoted.

Technology entrepreneur Alex Zhardanovsky was recently interviewed by Fox News about ways businesses can improve their online presence. He explained that Facebook can be used like a newsletter.  He stated, “The nice thing about Facebook is that if you spend money building a Facebook page, you have an audience that does not go away.” This gives businesses an advantage of the old style of having people click on a link and then closing a page where they may never return again.

Facebook allows for more of a conversation where businesses can reach customers on a consistent basis.  The best part is it is a free way to build a relationship with people that may later become paying customers. Facebook Fan pages are a very important thing for business to create.  Businesses can post interesting content so that people will want to interact on that page.  Facebook also allows companies to target specific demographics.

Zhardanovsky recommends using a company called AlphaBoost to help companies build better advertising.  This site allows potential advertisers see how the competition’s ads are performing.  They can see the likes, clicks and views of the competition’s ad. The thought process is that if the business is similar, they will receive a similar reaction to a comparable ad.  He explained that once companies get the “likes” from posting a similar ad, then that is when they can differentiate their business from the competition.

To hear more tips about Twitter and other social media platforms, check out the video interview by clicking here:  Small Biz Tips from Top Tech Entrepreneur

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Play Free Social Games To Finance College Tuition

Grantoo is a startup company that is designed to allow college students to use free game playing to help fund their education.  Grantoo’s tagline is “Why Pay For College When You Can Play For It?”  According to Mashable, the co-founder of Grantoo stated, “Students are playing social games a lot so we want to make it useful to them by turning something that’s a distraction or a waste of time into something that’s positive. We want to promote philanthropy at an early age, introducing students at no cost.”

Grantoo’s games include:  Wordy Bird, Grantoo Hold ‘Em, and Quiz Night.  Students can “play their tuition bill.”  Companies can sponsor tournaments through donations.  This is good for the corporate image and helps students at the same time. Mashable stated, “All of the money companies donate goes toward the combination of philanthropy and college grants for students, according to the ration determined by the game winners. Grantoo generates its own operating cost through on-site advertising.”

Grantoo partners with colleges and corporate sponsors.  Students can take their money to pay for college expenses and can pledge a percentage of winnings to a favorite philanthropic cause.  This unique gaming platform is free.  According to Grantoo’s site, “Students spend hundreds of hours per year on casual games – Grantoo’s network goes beyond entertainment. Here, you can turn your gaming hours into financing your education. In addition, your success is directed towards meaningful social contributions.”

For more about Grantoo, check out the following video:

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Student Help Page

Big Business Embracing Entrepreneurial Thinking

Wal-Mart recently inspired an unusual entrepreneurial competition. Inventors could submit product ideas, with the hope of having their product available on the stores’ shelves.  Wal-Mart is not the first company to recognize the importance of fostering creativity in unusual ways. In college-level innovation and entrepreneurship courses, one of the things students learn is that organizations place a high value on entrepreneurial thinking.

Wal-Mart initially created the entrepreneurial contest  to create buzz in social media.  The popularity of the promotion led to some creative ideas by inventors who sought attention for their creations. The Wall Street Journal reported that the winner would have the opportunity to sell on Wal-Mart.com as well as in the physical stores.

The idea of organizations recognizing the importance of entrepreneurial talents is becoming more popular.  Check out some of the following articles that demonstrate the value of entrepreneurship in the modern workplac

  1. Forbes: A Growing Startup Should Hire Only Entrepreneurs
  2. Bloomberg:  Need Innovation? Hire an Entrepreneur
  3. Economic Times:  Top IT Companies Hiring Failed Entrepreneurs
  4. Google Hires Digg Entrepreneur
  5. Andrew Hamilton: Large Companies and Entrepreneurs Can Work Well Together
  6. Companies Hiring Entrepreneurs for Innovation
  7. UC Will Hire Entrepreneur to Set up Companies
  8. Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Large Companies
  9. Leveraging Dynamics Between Large Companies and Entrepreneurs
  10. Entrepreneurs Organization

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Perception and Motivation in Goal Achievement

It may be challenging for students to find motivation to reach set goals. People may be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to succeed.  However, there are different theories about what motivates behavior.  Some people believe that reinforcement is necessary for people to truly feel motivated to change behaviors. Albert Bandura is a name often associated with discussions of motivation and learning.  Bandura is a Canadian psychologist responsible for social learning theory. Along with Skinner, Freud, and Piaget, Bandura is one of the most frequently cited psychologists. Bandura believed that reinforcement alone did not account for all learning or motivation.  He felt people could learn through observation, intrinsic reinforcement, and modeling the behaviors of others. Intrinsic reinforcement occurs when people receive an internal reward, such as pride, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment.

Part of wanting to achieve a goal is to have the expectancy of reward associated with that goal.  Self-efficacy is another important component that is developed as students feel confidence in performing well.  An article by Nacada.KSU.edu explained the factors associated with motivation include:  Intrinsic goal orientation, extrinsic goal orientation, task value, control of learning beliefs, test anxiety, and self-efficacy for learning and performance.  The authors noted, “The self-efficacy construct postulated by Bandura in his social learning theory has guided extensive motivational research.”

Students must not only be motivated to achieve the goal, but be able to make the goal measurable.  The mnemonic “SMART” is often referred to in goal-setting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  In the article Set Specific Goals to Increase Success, the author suggests using the following formula in order to make goals measurable:  “I will (goal + performance measure) by (specific actions).” If a student wanted to receive an A as their goal, he or she would fill in the blanks with something like this:  I will receive an A in BUS101 by studying 2 hours a night Monday through Friday from 6-8 pm.”  Students often will state the goal without remembering to include the steps required to reach that goal.  By making the goal measurable, students can measure their progress toward attaining that goal.  This creates a roadmap to achieving the goal.

Reaching goals requires motivation. ZenHabits does a nice job of explaining motivation, as well as ways to achieve it and sustain it during times of struggle.  To find out more about motivation, check out the self-motivation quiz from Mindtools. After the quiz, there is a nice explanation of factors involved in self-motivation including:  self-confidence and efficacy, positive thinking, focus, and environment. The author from the article How Self-Motivated Are You noted, “Self-motivation doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And even those who are highly self-motivated need some extra help every now and then. Build your self-motivation by practicing goal-setting skills, and combining those with positive thinking, the creation of powerful visions of success, and the building of high levels of self-efficacy and self-confidence.”

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Entrepreneurs: Funding Options from Kickstarter

Entrepreneurs often find that one of the hardest parts of realizing their dream is to obtain financing.  Some have tried microlending sites like Kiva.org.  Others have discovered a new lending platform called Kickstarter.  The site’s tagline is “a new way to fund and follow creativity.”

Kickstarter describes its site as the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.  This unique site allows entrepreneurs to keep ownership and control over their work while tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars to help finance their creative ideas.  The idea must reach its funding goal or no money changes hands.  Entrepreneurs that receive their anticipated funds, can test concepts without risk.

Kickstarter’s Blog offers advice to those interested in creating a new project. The site allows for people to browse current ideas or to create their own.  To begin a new project dedicated to film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and more, creators can check out Kickstarter school.

Once a project is listed on the site, it displays timeline and pledge information including:  Percent Funded, Amount Pledged, Number of Days Left to Receive Funds.  The picture displayed below demonstrates some examples listed on Kickstarter’s site.  On the site’s curated page, it lists “projects curated by some of the world’s foremost creative communities.” The site also allows users to view projects by staff picks, most popular, recently launched, ending soon, small projects, most funded, as well as by category and location.

For additional help with the entrepreneurial process, check out the Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur.  

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Top Resources for Writing College Papers

Please review the following video and articles for help with formatting, APA, grammar and other writing issues.  To return to Dr. Diane Hamilton’s blog, click here. For updates on help with writing, bookmark the following page:  Dr. Diane’s Writing Help

Top Entrepreneurial Topics and Value of SBA

Are entrepreneurs made or born?  That is just one of the topics addressed in The Wall Street Journal’s report about Entrepreneurs and the Small Business Administration.  The Small Business Administration is one of the first sources my entrepreneurial students consider when asked where they would obtain funds for their venture. Check out some very interesting debates about six small-business issues:


The article about whether entrepreneurs are made or born is something that is discussed in several of my courses.  The above graphic demonstrates some of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.  This discussion creates an interesting debate considering some very talented entrepreneurs dropped out of school.  However, as noted in this article, there is a lot to be gained from education as well as from real life experience.

For more comprehensive information about how to be a successful entrepreneur, check out:  Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur.

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A Day in the Life of an Online Professor

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane Question:  I noticed you work for a lot of universities.  I’m considering working for several universities as well and I am curious what is your typical day like?

Answer:  My days vary, based on how many classes I teach.  I like to teach between 10-15 courses at a time.  I also serve as chair for 10 doctoral students and work on 5-10 doctoral committees.  Additionally I take courses to keep up with technology, education, etc. A typical day usually includes about 8-9 hours of grading papers, providing feedback, responding to discussions/emails, guiding doctoral students with dissertations, and developing curriculum.

I usually look at one school’s information at a time. However, I may have several school sites open at once, if my computer or the site is running slowly.  It helps that schools have different due dates for assignments.  For example, one school may require a “deliverable” or an assignment to be due on Mondays.  Another may have assignments due on Fridays, etc.  Usually it works out that all of the big assignments are spread out over the week.  However, most of them have discussions going on that I respond to on a daily basis. I will go to a school’s site to handle all email, questions, discussion responses, and grade any submitted assignments.  I do the same for the next school, and so on, until I have responded to every single item.  I do not stop working until everything is graded.   Most schools allow instructors a week to grade papers. I do not like to make students wait. If someone has submitted an assignment, I grade it as soon as I log on that day.

On weekends, less homework seems to be assigned, so I work less hours.  I probably work around 3-4 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays.  I do not usually take any days off, but that is not required. Schools usually require 5 or 6 days of work per week.  The nice thing about working as an adjunct is that you can decide how many courses you can handle. You can start off  with just a few and add more if you find you have the time.

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Pharmaceutical Job Candidates: Stand Out With CMR

The pharmaceutical job market is extremely competitive.  One way for potential applicants to stand out from the crowd is to become a Certified Medical Representative (CMR).  The Certified Medical Representative Institute has recently launched a pre-hire program, designed for someone interested in entering the biopharmaceutical arena. The program is designed to provide basic knowledge that would help make someone a better candidate or provide deeper knowledge to enhance their abilities in a potential position.

When I obtained my CMR, I found that the training was excellent.  Adding the CMR designation to my business card also demonstrated that I had received training that went above and beyond the industry standard.

CMR’s latest program covers the following topics:

The Biopharmaceutical Industry

  • Overview of the Drug Development Process
  • Promotion and Advertising in Pharmaceuticals

The Sales Environment

  • The Evolution of Managed Care
  • Healthcare Insurance Plans and Healthcare Financiers

The Science of Medicine

  • Systems of the Body
  • Evaluation of Disease
  • Medical Terminology

The Science of Pharmacology

  • Basic Principles of Drug Actions
  • Classification of Pharmaceutical Products

The Biopharmaceutical Representative’s Job

  • The Role of the Biopharmaceutical Representative
  • Elements of Good Communication
  • The Business Planning Process

For more information, check out the CMR Institute.

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Top 25 Links to Change Your Body, Career and More

MOOCs: Top 10 Sites for Free Education With Elite Universities

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses.  Although there has been access to free online courses on the Internet for years, the quality and quantity of courses has changed. Access to free courses has allowed students to obtain a level of education that many only could dream of in the past.  This has changed the face of education.  In The New York Times article Instruction for Masses Knocked Down Campus Walls, author Tamar Lewin stated, “in the past few months hundreds of thousands of motivated students around the world who lack access to elite universities have been embracing them as a path toward sophisticated skills and high-paying jobs, without paying tuition or collecting a college degree.”

Although MOOCs are the latest trend, not everyone agrees that schools should offer them.  Joshua Kim Insight Higher Ed article Why Every University Does Not Need a MOOC noted that offering free material may not make sense for the individual university.  It may be more important to stand out in other ways.

There may also be some issues for students who lack motivation.  Since a MOOC is voluntary and there is no penalty for dropping the program or lagging behind, there may be issues with course completion.  Although a student may have received an excellent education, there will not be a corresponding diploma.

For those who desire a free education and have the motivation, the following includes the:  Top 10 Sites for Information about MOOCs:

  1. Udemy Free Courses – Udemy is an example of a site allows anyone to build or take online courses.  Udemy’s site exclaims, “Our goal is to disrupt and democratize education by enabling anyone to learn from the world’s experts.” The New York Times reported that Udemy, “recently announced a new Faculty Project, in which award-winning professors from universities like Dartmouth, the University of Virginia and Northwestern offer free online courses. Its co-founder, Gagen Biyani, said the site has more than 100,000 students enrolled in its courses, including several, outside the Faculty Project, that charge fees.”
  2. ITunesU Free Courses – Apple’s free app “gives students access to all the materials for courses in a single place. Right in the app, they can play video or audio lectures. Read books and view presentations.”
  3. Stanford Free Courses –  From Quantum Mechanics to The Future of the Internet, Stanford offers a variety of free courses.  Stanford’s – Introduction to Artificial Intelligence was highly successful. According to Pontydysgu.org, “160000 students from 190 countries signed up to Stanford’s Introduction to AI” course, with 23000 reportedly completing.”  Check out Stanford’s Engineering Everywhere link.
  4. UC Berkeley Free Courses – From General Biology to Human Emotion, Berkley offers a variety of courses.  Check out:  Berkeley Webcasts and Berkeley RSS Feeds.
  5. MIT Free Courses – Check out MIT’s RSS MOOC feed.  Also see:  MIT’s Open Courseware.
  6. Duke Free Courses – Duke offers a variety of courses on ITunesU.
  7. Harvard Free Courses – From Computer Science to Shakespeare, students may now get a free Harvard education. “Take a class for professional development, enrichment, and degree credit. Courses run in the fall, spring, or intensive January session. No application is required.”
  8. UCLA Free Courses – Check out free courses such as their writing program that offers over 220 online writing courses each year.
  9. Yale Free Courses – At Open Yale, the school offers “free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.”
  10. Carnegie Mellon Free Courses – Carnegie Mellon boosts “No instructors, no credits, no charge.”

 

For younger students, check out the 60 Minutes video about Khan Academy and KhanAcademy.org.  Also check out Ted Ed.

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What is a Meme?

There may be some confusion as to the meaning of the word meme (rhymes with dream).  John Gunders and Damon Brown, authors of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Memes, define it as, “A cultural unit of measure.  It can be a thought, a phrase, a style, or any other cultural expression that can be imitated by individuals.  More important, a meme is a replicator; that is, a particle of culture that strives to get itself copied as many times as possible.”

Basically it is an idea that is replicated through imitation.  There is a lot of that going around on the Internet.  If an idea catches on there, it may be referred to as “going viral”.  There is much more than just Internet messages that are memes.  Gunders and Brown explain that things like philosophy, sex, religion and politics also exhibit meme qualities.

It is a unit of culture such as a tune, idea, habit, that makes its way from person to person. It must be short enough to catch on and easily understood.  There are a lot of versions of the following meme that are based on different job occupations.  The template of what others think that the job entails is the same.  People have had some fun putting in their own ideas of the different perspectives of a job.  Here is one for a sales professional:

Examples of Memes:

  • Technological:  Rick Rolling – Promising one web site but redirecting to Rick Astley’s music video.
  • Musical:  The opening five bars of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
  • Marketing:  Slogans like “Where’s the Beef?”  The trick is to have something be catchy, memorable and desirable.

The Players and How it Works:

  • The Creator:  Creates the Meme
  • The Hook:  The Enticement to Remember the Idea; Example:  Belief That Others Will Enjoy Idea or That Others Need to Experience the Idea
  • The Bait:  The Desired Result; Example: Positive Benefit of Meme is Realized
  • The Vector:  The Medium that Transports the Idea.  Example:  E-mail, Facebook, Youtube
  • The Host:  The Carrier of the Idea Who Initiates Delivery

Popular Internet Memes:

Popular Concept Memes:

Popular Video Memes:

Popular Picture Memes:

The following list are some websites that explain more about memes:

What is Pinterest and Why is it Growing so Fast?

Pinterest is a site that allows people to share things that they find on the Internet.  Users may use pinboards to plan their weddings, organize recipes, decorate their homes and more. Users may browse others’ boards to obtain ideas or share common interests. A “pin” is an image that may be captured from the internet through the use of a “pin it button”.  These images are then pinned to a board that is like a poster or page.

Mashable reported, “Development of Pinterest began in December 2009 and the site launched as a closed beta in March 2010. The site proceeded to operate in invitation-only open beta. Later, the site made registration possible after an email request. On August 16, 2011, Time magazine published Pinterest in its “50 Best Websites of 2011” column.”

Some of the reasons for Pinterest’s growth may include:

  • Strong word of mouth recommendations
  • Ease of image capture
  • Visual appeal

In the article The Explosive Growth of Pinterest, Sendblaster.com reported, “According to Business Insider, traffic to Pinterest has increased by more than 40 times since December of 2011. As of January 2012, Pinterest had 11.7 million unique users, and this social media site with a twist continues to experience explosive growth.”

Business Insider published 6 Charts That Reveal the Truth About Pinterest’s Crazy Growth.  Statista put together the following chart that demonstrates how the site has dramatically increased growth in unique visitors and average time spent per visitor.

Check out the FAQs for Pinterest by clicking here.

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How to Write a Perfect College Paper: Video Tutorial

The following is a video presentation that explains how to write the perfect college paper.  For a written version with more complete information, check out:  Checklist for Writing the Perfect College Paper.  There are some sources referred to in this video presentation.  Here are those sources and the links:

Click here for doctoral dissertation writing help.

Help With Yelp: Popularity of Site Important for Business

With all of the review sites out there, why is Yelp so important?  Yelp’s site helps connect people with businesses. According to their site, “Yelp had an average of approximately 66 million monthly unique visitors in Q4 2011.”  Statista put together the following infographic to demonstrate the importance of Yelp:


Businesses can use the site to post photos and connect to their customers. Yelp is most useful to businesses when customers write reviews.  It is important that the reviews are legitimate.  It is not recommended to improve ratings on Yelp through illegal means. BusinessInsider.com urges businesses to embrace Yelp or miss out on over 50 million Yelp users.

If owners are concerned about negative reviews, the following chart shows that it appears people enjoy spreading good news more than bad.

Is Yelp worth it?  That answer may be based on the type of company.  However, Bay Area Web Solutions explained that Yelp is one of the top review websites.  Check out how to use Yelp without paying for it.

Click here for the: Top Links for Help with Yelp.

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Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur


The following list contains the most popular articles used as supplements in my entrepreneurial courses.  Click on the title name to be directed to the article.

  1. Ten Entrepreneurs Who Hit It Big Before Turning 35
  2. Top 10 Companies Code of Ethics and Conduct
  3. Top 10 Company Mission Statements
  4. Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings
  5. Researching Apple: Top 10 Most Useful Links
  6. Value of Top Companies   
  7. The Top 10 Most Misunderstood Entrepreneurial Terms
  8. Top Five Things to Know to be a Successful Entrepreneur
  9. 50 Famous People Who Failed Before They Became Successful
  10. Top 50 Venture Funded Companies   
  11. Top 5 Networking Tips for Small Businesses
  12. Time for a New Career? Change the Daily Grind to a Job of Your Dreams
  13. 50 Excellent Lectures for the Small Business Owner
  14. An Entrepreneur’s Startup Business Model Checklist
  15. Importance of Being Proactive vs. Reactive
  16. Important Terminology for Entrepreneurs
  17. Chief Officer Acronyms Explained
  18. Top 20 TED Talks Not to be Missed
  19. Companies Rewarding Employees for Entrepreneurial Ideas
  20. Increasing Motivation:  Right Brain vs. Left Brain
  21. Women Becoming Successful Entrepreneurs
  22. Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women
  23. Capitalizing on Manic Depression
  24. What Happens When Genius Leaders Pass the Torch
  25. New Businesses Not Getting Loan Approval
  26. Serial Entrepreneurs Share Words of Wisdom
  27. 10 Famous Product Failures
  28. Microlending:  Funds for Small Businesses
  29. Brand Awareness:  The Importance of Facebook
  30. Top 25 Links to Change Your Body, Career and More

Brand Awareness: The Importance of Facebook

Youtube, Coca-Cola and Starbucks are just some of the most popular brands according to “fans” on Facebook.  Companies that have yet to embrace Facebook as an important marketing tool, are missing the boat.  Gourmet Marketing explained, “Businesses carve out an identity and following of customers through Social Media…none is more central than Facebook.”

Seattle Local Marketing’s article Tips on How to Find Fans for Facebook Fan Page stated, “Why is Facebook so useful? If you want to pull a lot of people to look and find out about your business then, the best way is Google since majority of these people use this search engines. However, Facebook comes almost as second in being one of the most accessed sites in the world.”

Social Media Today recently ran an article titled 15 Ways to Use Facebook for Business.  By creating a Facebook page, businesses can create a forum for discussion, facilitate word of mouth, research and test-market products, list press releases, and even hold contests.

Simply Zesty’s article Beer Company Generations $50.7 Million from 400,000 Facebook Fans demonstrates the impact on Facebook fan pages. New Belgium Brewing, “recently surveyed their Facebook fans and found that on average, their fans are spending $260 annually on the company’s products. This equates to $50.7 million in annual revenue, with 400,000 Facebook fans spread out across their products. Not a bad return on investment, given that the company had invested just $235,000 in 2011 in social media campaigns.”

To find out how some of the top companies rank on Facebook, check out the following chart:

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Importance of Unique and Repeat Visitors

Keeping track of unique visitors helps determine effectiveness of marketing strategies.  Webopedia explained that the term unique visitor “refers to a person who visits a Web site more than once within a specified period of time.” It may be difficult to determine the exact number of unique visitors a site may have.  PC Magazine explained, “Unique visitors are determined by the number of unique IP addresses on incoming requests that a site receives, but this can never be 100% accurate. Depending on configuration issues and type of ISP service, in some cases, one IP address can represent many users; in other cases, several IP addresses can be from the same user.”

How important are unique visitors?  Check out Unique Visitors are not everything. In this article, the author points out that it may be a “misleading stat, as Jakob Nielsen explains, Chasing higher unique-visitor counts will undermine your long-term positioning because you’ll design gimmicks rather than build features that bring people back and turn them into devotees and customers.”

There seems to be confusion between unique visitors and repeat visitors in some of the articles on the Internet.  In the article Defining Unique Visitors by Imediaconnection, Brant Dainow explained, “Understanding your repeat visitors is where the money is. The reason is simple: it takes an average of 2.4 visits to your site before someone will buy. In other words, most people buy on the second or third visit to your site. No one buys the first time they visit. Repeat visitors are the ones who matter. Repeat visitors buy the products, and therefore repeat visitors pay your bills.”

Statista created an infographic that demonstrates unique visitors per month as well as average monthly use per visitor for sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, MySpace, Google, Tumblr, and Pinterest.  Not only does Facebook far exceed all others in unique visitors, users are spending over 6 hours per month on the site.  This is over 600 times the amount of time spent on Google+.

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What is Typosquatting? When Misspelling is an Expensive Mistake

Typosquatting occurs when a website is created to prey on people who may have inadvertently typed in the wrong web address.  An example would be arifrance instead of airfrance.  Typosquatting is also referred to as URL hijacking, cybersquatting or brandjacking.

The registration of misspelled domain names is illegal. Sites like Wikapedia and Twtter have been shut down and fined $156,000 each.  Mashable reported that sites like these “are popping up on the web to trick unsuspecting web users into clicking on fake ads that claim the user has won a prize. In the case of these two sites, to receive a prize, like an iPad, people were asked for their cellphone number. The site sent a text with a pin and more texts with survey questions. Each time a person responded to the survey questions via texts he or she was charged.”

Alexa reported that some of the web’s most popular sites were typosquatted. Scambusters.org lists some helpful tips to identify typosquatting.  Some of the main uses for these sites include:

  • Revenue Generating
  • Transfer of Virus and/or Malware
  • Phishing Scams
  • Advertising Pay Per Click Scam

USA Today reported that, “most typosquatting domains lead to a bot network, used to steal passwords and obtain personal information such as financial or banking records. Bot networks aren’t obvious and can involve millions of computers.”  According to TGdaily.com, it is a good idea to get into the habit of bookmarking your favorite sites to be sure that you are landing on the correct page. Sixty Four percent of the typosquatted sites are US-based.  Bendelman.org compiled a list of popular domains and their typosquatted sites to compare number of daily visitors.  Click here for that report.

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HARP Gives Hope to those Upside Down in Mortgage

Key underwriting details for the  Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)  are anticipated to be available in mid-March. This program is intended to help people refinance homes that would not previously have qualified under the old system.  To find out if a home qualifies for this program, homeowners can go to the following links:

For those who have managed to stay current on their mortgage, there are some additional eligibility requirements.  The loan must be a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan that was sold on or before May 31, 2009.  The loan-to-value ratio must be greater than 80%.  Click here to find out more about eligibility requirements for HARP.

Nina Penny, Arizona loan officer, stated, “Not all mortgage service providers participate in HARP.  People may also be confused as to whether their home qualifies.  I personally have offered to look up homes for my customers to help them discover if their home qualifies.”

To find out if a loan qualifies for this program, check the above links.  If the home loan is listed on the site, then contact a participating mortgage service provider.  More information may be obtained by contacting HARP at 888-995-HOPE (4673). 

Also see:

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Education and ADHD: Changing How People Learn

In an excellent graphic presentation, Sir Ken Robinson discusses problems with education.  The video is informative, interesting and entertaining.  Of particular interest is around 3 minutes and 40 seconds into the video when he gives some startling information about the number of people being medicated for ADHD across the country.  While he acknowledges ADHD is a real problem, he does a nice job of showing that there is reason for concern regarding prescription habits.

 

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What is Socialnomics?

In Erik Qualman’s 2010 book Socialnomics, he described how socialnomics exists “where consumers and the societies they create online have a profound influence on our economy and the businesses that operate within it.”

Social media is the new word of mouth.  Now that individuals look online to find out information about products from their peers, marketing has taken a new turn. Companies must create a social networking presence in order to survive.

Click here to see some examples of socialnomics in action.

The following video gives some interesting statistics about the social media revolution.

 

Checklist for Writing the Perfect College Paper

Professors may assume that students understand the basics when it comes to writing college research papers. In reality, many students are frustrated by all of the requirements.  There are not a lot of easy checklists that put all of the requirements into one location. The following checklist should be used as a helpful guide to help college students write a well-researched and properly presented paper.

Write in introduction/body/conclusion format

  • Introduction – The first paragraph introduces what will be included in the paper.  It is a good idea to have the first sentence of the first paragraph include a hook to interest the reader.  Students should list a few sentences that summarize the main topics that will be addressed in the paper.  In this example, assume that three things will be covered based on the assignment requirements. End the introductory paragraph with the thesis statement.
  • Body – The body is where the three things, required for the assignment, are addressed. Students should start each paragraph with a topic sentence. Students should write a few sentences about that topic.  Students should end that paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads into the next topic that will be addressed in the following paragraph.  This process should be completed for all paragraphs until the last paragraph.
  • Conclusion – The last paragraph may begin with something like, “In conclusion”.  This last paragraph will sum up the three topics addressed. The last sentence should restate the thesis statement listed in the introduction, and end with some sort of final prediction or conclusion.

Write in complete paragraphs – Paragraphs should ideally contain between 4-8 sentences.  Students often make the mistake of writing in incomplete paragraphs or overly long paragraphs.  Click here for more information about paragraph structure.

Avoid run-on sentences – Sentences should not be overly complex.  Students should check how many times the word “and” is used.  This may signal a run-on sentence.

Write in APA format – Set up papers that include a title page, double-spacing, indented paragraphs, page numbers, correctly cited sources, etc. per APA.

Research the paper through the school’s library – Students often make the mistake of researching through the use of Google or other popular search engines.  Students may also make the mistake of relying on sources that are less than scholarly. Sites like Wikipedia may offer some good information but they are not considered reliable or scholarly sources for research papers.  Students should use the school’s search engine, located in the online library.  Students should click the box that searches for scholarly, peer-reviewed journals to ensure the sources are appropriate.

Cite consistently and correctly throughout the paper – Students often make the mistake of thinking they are story-telling when they should be demonstrating research.  Students should get into the habit of paraphrasing rather than listing direct quotations.  Students should avoid patchworking.  Students should not make the mistake of listing references without citations. This is a common mistake.  Research papers require both citations AND references.  Students should also not make the mistake of simply ending a paraphrased paragraph with (author last name, year) to cite all information covered in the paragraph. This is also a common mistake and can be considered plagiarism.  Every sentence of paraphrased work requires the author and year information.  Click here for information about how to cite.

Submit the paper to TurnItIn – Many schools offer TurnItIn’s plagiarism checker.  This is an excellent tool that is helpful to both the students and the schools. Students should get in the habit of submitting his or her papers through this software program to insure that they are not inadvertently plagiarizing information.

Check narrative mode – Many courses do not allow students to write in first person.  If this is the case, students should not refer to themselves.  Students should look for words like I, we, us, me.  These words should not be included if the paper does not allow first person.

Check Word document format – Students often overlook the settings in the Word document.  Students should be sure that the font, margins and settings are correctly set to APA requirements.

Check spelling and other miscellaneous issues – Students should read the final draft more than once. Even if everything seemed OK in the paper, it is a good idea, for students to read it several times to look for small errors.  Students should check for spacing issues.  Students should also check that there are two spaces after periods per APA.  Students should spell-check the document to be sure all spelling issues are resolved.

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Credit Score Savvy

With the New Year, people often make resolutions to fix problem financial situations.  Part of cleaning an individual’s financial house includes taking a hard look at his or her credit.  Credit Score Savvy (2003) was one of my earlier articles that I wrote for a local magazine. At that time, I was a loan officer and found that many people were confused by FICO scores and credit issues.  In the article I explained factors that affected scores and the ability to finance a home.  Although the market has changed since then, a lot has remained the same in terms of confusion about credit issues.  A more recent article titled Polish up Your Credit includes some information about things people can do to improve his or her credit score now.  What may be most useful from this article are some of the statistics. The following chart provides answers to some of the most basic credit-related questions.

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Doctoral Dissertation: Proposal Approval Checklist

In the years I have spent as a doctoral chair, I have read many excellent proposals and final dissertations.  Writing a dissertation takes a great deal of patience and time. Some students may become frustrated if he or she believes that the process takes longer than anticipated.  To avoid a lengthy proposal approval process, the student should spend time going over some common mistakes.  Although each school may have different requirements, the following checklist may be helpful to the doctoral learner prior to submitting his or her proposal for review.

Common Errors Place X to Signify Compliance
All Required Forms Are Included
Note That Data Will Be Saved 3 Years Then Destroyed
Paragraphs Must Contain At Least 3 Sentences
Any Defined Words Must Include A Citation
85% Of References Must Be Less Than 5 Years From Proposal Date
All Sections Are Listed In Proposal
References Are In APA Format
Submit to TurnItIn Or Plagiarism Checker
Submit To Editing Software Or Editor
Submit To Statistician If Necessary
Two Spaces Are Required After Periods
Design Is Carefully Described
Clarity – Person Reading Proposal Could Perform Study If Necessary
No Personal Opinions – All Conclusions Substantiated
The Word “Proposed” Is Listed Before Referring To Proposed Study
No Use Of The Wording “The Researcher” To Refer To Writer Of Proposal
No First Person References
No Fluff Words Including:  However, In Addition, Therefore, Etc.
Proposal In Future Tense; Will Change To Past Tense After Study
What Others Have Written In Past Tense
Long Tables Should Be In Appendix
Long Citations Cannot Be On Two Separate Pages – Must Be On One
No Slang Is Included
Use Words “Which and That” Correctly
There Should Not Be Any Tracking Changes Left In Document
Headings Must Be In APA 6th Format
Chapter 1 Must Start On Page 1
Proposal Author’s Name Must Be Listed And Current Month/Year
Watch Use Of The Word Randomly (Be Specific)
No Anthropomorphisms Should Be Used
Watch Implying Causal Relationship If None Exists
Do Not Make Predictions
Multiple Studies In Parentheses Require Names In Alphabetical Order
Avoid Vague Statements Like Something Was “Poor”
Articulate How Participants Were Selected
Articulate What Was Done To Reduce Researcher Bias
Do Not Use Vague Terminology Like “Others”
United States Is U.S. And Not US
1980s Should Be 1980s And Not 1980’s
Stick To One Subject Per Paragraph
Do Not Write In Contractions (Do Not Is Correct – Don’t Is Not)
Do Not Have Back to Back Charts With No Explanation
Use He or She Rather Than They To Define Subject
Be Sure All Chapters Include A Summary
Target Population And Sample Is Clearly Described
Hypotheses May Be Numbered And Supported By Narrative
Choice Of Method Is Clear And Substantive
Punctuation Should Be Inside Of Quotation Marks
Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Is Completed
Checklist Should Be Provided To Doctoral Chair
Application Should State If Exempt and Why

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Top Links Explaining Texting (SMS) and Short Codes

Just as Twitter has grown to be an important marketing tool, texting is not just for stating LOL anymore. There are some very important uses for texting, aka SMS (short messaging service). Check out some helpful links to explain texting terminology and uses:

  1. Donate to Charity – Pew Research recently reported that almost 1 in 10 Americans donate to charity through texting.
  2. Search Sites Like Google – By texting GOOGL (46645), you can search Google without opening your browser. Check out:  Six Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do. Word/number texts like GOOGL (46645) are called common short codes.  Check out:  Basics of CSCs to find out everything you need to know about common short codes.
  3. Send and Receive Email – To find out how to use SMS to access email, check out:  16 Things You  Can Do With SMS Text Messages.
  4. Check the Weather – By texting 4CAST (42278), you can access weather forecasts.  Check out:  Five Great Things You Can Do With a Text Message For Free.
  5. Check Calendar – By texting GEVENT (48368), you can access your Google calendar and schedule appointments.  Check out: Ten Terrific Things You Can Do With Text Messaging.
  6. Track Packages – Your SMS can track your UPS, Fed Ex, DHL and other packages through TrackThis.  Check out:  Run Your Life with SMS:  10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do Via Text.
  7. Learn Texting Abbreviations – You may know LOL, but there is an entire site of information dedicated to explaining what all of those text messaging and online chat abbreviations mean and text message abbreviations.
  8. Text From a Computer – If you have a computer and someone’s 10-digit phone number, you can text them without needing a phone.  The following explains how to text people based on their carrier (i.e., Verizon, AT&T, etc.):  Text from a Computer.
  9. Create a Common Short Code (CSC) – You can create your own CSC campaign by leasing a code.  Check out:  Obtaining a CSC.  Remember the CSC is like GOOGL or 4CAST noted above.  Keep in mind that leasing the code is the first step. You’ll still need to negotiate agreements with each of the wireless carriers to activate your short code. To be part of the CSCA directory listing, click here.
  10. Enhance Business – Business can utilize short codes for contests, lead capture and more.  Check out:  Top 10 Business Goals Enhanced by Short Codes.

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Importance of Being Proactive vs. Reactive

Many good foresight or business courses teach students to be proactive vs. reactive to change.  Anyone who has read The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People will tell you that the very first habit Covey lists is to be proactive. Covey explained that to be proactive “means more than merely taking initiative.  It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives.  Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.”

When a person is in control of an expected or anticipated occurrence, they have taken proactive measures.  When a person is reactive, they are responding to something that they had yet to have anticipated.

In leadership courses, they often give examples of a proactive vs. a reactive leader.  The following chart gives an example of the different mindset of these two styles of leaders. Click on the picture for more information.

Carol Shultz’s article Proactive vs. Reactive Approaches to Your Business and Talent explained two cases that demonstrated how reactive companies lost employees for different reasons, and the associated costs.

There are a number of theoretical models for change that include the importance of being proactive.  Some of these include:

To read more about these and other models for change, click here.

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Is Your Personality Making You Fat?

The Wall Street Journal’s article Is Your Personality Making You Put on Pounds listed some personality traits that may affect weight gain.  Some of the links between personality and weight gain include weight gain in people who are:

  • Less Agreeable
  • Night Owls
  • Stress Junkies
  • Mindless Multitaskers
  • Givers
  • Perfectionists

The author of the article provides some fixes for people who exhibit these traits.

Impulsiveness has also been linked to weight gain.  The Huffington Post reported, “A 2006 study by Maastricht University of 26 obese children found that the most overweight children were also the most impulsive. Another study, published in 2008 by the University of Alabama, found that obese women had significantly lower impulse control than normal weight women, while a 1976 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition similarly found that obese women were more likely to be “non-conforming and impulsive” than their non-obese peers.”

Neurotic people also have issues with weight gain.  The National Institute of Aging studied nearly 2000 people and found that people with high levels of neuroticism and low levels of conscientiousness displayed more frequent weight increases and decreases.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology released a study that studied participants based on the Big Five personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.  There were a total of 14,531 assessments across the 50 years of the study. Pyschcentral reported that the results showed, “greater weight gain among impulsive people; those who enjoy taking risks; and those who are antagonistic — especially those who are cynical, competitive and aggressive.”  ABCLocal reported that this study showed, “that people who are meaner are more likely to gain weight with age. Those considered more conscientious were likely to be leaner.”

A lead researcher from the Institute of Aging, Angelina Sutin, was interviewed by Boomer Health and Life.  Sutin stated, “We hope that by more clearly identifying the association between personality and obesity, more tailored treatments will be created. For example, lifestyle and exercise interventions that are done in a group setting may be more effective for extroverts than for introverts.”

WebMD claims that if you know your diet personality, it can help you lose weight.  Weight loss plans should be based on whether you are a:

  • Support Seeker
  • Serial Snacker
  • Free Spirit
  • Sweet Tooth
  • Distracted Diner

To find ideal diet plans based on each of these types, click here.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Big Pharmaceutical Companies are Failing: An Inside Perspective

The Wall Street Journal recently reported how drug companies are using cues taken from Disney to improve lagging sales.  I usually do not write opinion articles, but having worked as a pharmaceutical representative for 15 years, I witnessed a lot of mistakes in the industry that I believe should be uncovered.  While high pressured sales pitches may be causing some of the problems facing Big Pharma, there were plenty of other issues that I experienced.

  1. Too Many Reps – The biggest problem I saw was the number of sales representatives hired.  When I began selling pharmaceuticals in 1985, I had my own territory.  It consisted of several zip codes.  My job was to call on doctors within those zip codes once a month.  In that sales call, I presented information about my drug.  As time went by, leadership decided that if one person could do so well calling on doctors, having two people delivering the same message would just improve sales.  They began to think it was inspired to just double the amount of reps.  By the time I left in 2002, there were eight of us in my territory all delivering the same message to the same doctors.  It is no wonder that doctors began to stop seeing reps.  Doctors were tired of being overwhelmed by the same information.  While it may sound bad that a company like AstraZeneca is laying off 24% of its sales staff, perhaps it is important to realize that they may have had too many sales reps in the first place.
  2. Rewarding Mediocrity – The commission structure was set up in way that did not inspire motivation.  My company set up forecasts so that reps would attain around 105% of projections.  If a representative came in at 100%, the next year, their forecast would be decreased.  If the representative came in at 120%, the next year, their forecast would be increased.  There was no real incentive to do well, because it would catch up in the next cycle. Reps also were paid most of their income as a base salary.  Commissions were a smaller part of their income.  In the Wall Street Journal article, it mentioned that companies are now considering changing the way they pay commissions.  In the past, commissions were based on number of sales.  Companies like Glaxo are now considering basing commissions on physician satisfaction.  Now that I am just a patient and not a rep, I would rather a doctor wrote me a prescription for a drug because it is the best drug and not because they are satisfied with a drug rep’s performance.
  3. Lack of Control – A pharmaceutical rep either sold a drug that was or was not on a formulary.  A formulary is the list of medications an insurance company will pay for if a doctor prescribes it.  If the drug he or she sold was on the insurance company’s formulary that the doctor used, then the rep had a fighting chance of convincing the doctor to prescribe the medication.  If not, the rep had little effect because patients would not be willing to pay cash for their prescriptions.  The reps had no control over getting drugs on the formularies.  That was someone else’s job.  The lack of control led to low sales and poor performance.
  4. Training not Realistic – Pharmaceutical reps go through intense training before entering the field.  In that training, they are taught sales scripts.  These scripts were things they should say when they were in the doctors’ offices.  When a rep would get out into the field, they quickly saw that the training was not realistic.  They did not have the kind of time to say the kinds of things they were taught.  Doctors were too busy.  My boss basically told me to forget everything they taught me and just be conversational.  This is interesting to me now that the Wall Street Journal article claims that this style is now being embraced by Lilly.
  5. Doctors’ Preferences – Like it or not, many of the reasons people are given the medications are due to doctors’ friendships with and preferences for their reps.  I had a doctor tell me that he wrote a medication for a rep he hated just because he saw him so much it was “just in his mind” to do so.  He did not choose the drug because it was better.  The Wall Street Journal article explained that a psychiatrist deliberately wrote for a competitive product just because he did not like the rep.  It was disturbing to me to see the reasons why a doctor prescribed what they prescribed.  It usually was based on familiarity and friendship rather than anything else.

I was fortunate that I was successful in my 15 years as a pharmaceutical rep.  I was a multiple winner of their coveted “Presidents Circle of Sales” award. However, some of my success was based on luck.  If my drug was on a formulary, it made my job a lot easier.  Now that I am a Professor of Business, I see many problems with their business model.  It may have worked for a while, but over time, there have been cracks in a less than solid foundation.

I believe that a lot of the problem in that industry is due to the lack of time doctors put forth in terms of researching their medications.  I have witnessed a lot of scary things that doctors have done over the years.  I witnessed a lot of doctors who only obtained information about medications based on a sales pitch.  I would rather have a well-informed doctor that has done his research prescribe my medication, than a physician who liked the lunch or “performance” delivered by the rep that was just in his office before I arrived for my appointment.

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Top 5 Secrets for Online Student Success

Online education is growing at a pace that far exceeds general education enrollment.  Because of the popularity of online learning, many traditional universities are offering online courses.  Forbes recently reported that MIT will soon offer free education for everyone. With all of the online options available, students may be confused as to where to go for helpful information.  There are plenty of sites available to help online students find schools, locate loans and even determine majors.  What is not as readily available is information about how to be a successful online student once he or she is enrolled.

The following is the top 5 list of things that can help the new online student succeed once they have already chosen their school and major.  Click on the blue links for more information about each topic:

  1. Learn Goal Setting – Read about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.  The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (sometimes also Results-Based), and Timely (or Time-Bound).  Students should set S.M.A.R.T. education goals. Those that neglect to do this may find that it takes them longer to graduate, while they waste time and money.
  2. Learn Tools Offered – Most online universities offer some extremely helpful writing, editing and plagiarism-checking tools.  The school’s online site may also have helpful tutorials to explain how to use the software (also known as the platform) that delivers the classroom information.  Learning how to navigate in the online classroom may take a little time.  However, after taking the first class, many students feel more confident in their navigating abilities.
  3. Use the School’s Library – Students may forget that their university has an online library.  It is important that students do not get in the habit of searching for information using Google, Yahoo! and other similar engines. A well-written paper is supported by peer-reviewed articles.  These may be easily found using the school’s search engines located in their online library.
  4. Learn APA – APA stands for American Psychological Association.  For college students, APA refers to the format in which papers should be written.  While APA may seem daunting to the new learner, there are some very useful examples of APA papers online that can help explain the requirements.
  5. Learn How to Cite – Professors often require students to cite research in his or her papers.  Most often they must cite in APA format.  There are some helpful sites to help students learn how to cite correctly.  Students must also learn how to paraphrase, include in-text citations and avoid plagiarism.

Click here for more useful tips about how to be a successful online college student.

Related article:

Site Makes Citing Easy

Citation Machine is a website that helps students learn how to format citations and references. According to the site, “Citation machine helps students and professional researchers to properly credit the information that they use. Its primary goal is to make it so easy for student researchers to cite their information sources.”

The site also includes a “most cited today” section where it displays some of the most recently cited websites and books.

A student can simply put in a site and author information and it will give the appropriate example of how to cite that information within their paper in APA or MLA. If the student has the ISBN number, it is even easier.

The following example shows how entering the ISBN can return APA citation results.  First enter the ISBN.

Then hit submit.  That will pull up a page that looks something like this.

Click “Make Citation” and it will create the biographical citation information for the reference page as well as the in-text citation information that will look like this.

Note that I did not enter the publisher or publishing city information in the prior example.  This led to a citation that is lacking that information.  I purposely did that to show that if information is left out, the results may not be perfect.  Although the in-text citation information is correct here, the reference page information is missing the publisher and location.  Be sure to double-check that all appropriate information is input or the output may not be correct.

If you do not have the ISBN, you can enter the information you do have.  Note that on the left side of the screen, the site gives you choices of books, articles, journals, blogs and more.  Click on the appropriate source and enter the information that you have.

Although this system is not fool-proof, it can be a helpful instrument in guiding students regarding APA or MLA citation and reference formatting.

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One of the Best Times to Refinance

For those of you who are seeking ways to recover some of the money spent over the holidays, refinancing may help. The situation in Europe has caused mortgage rates to drop to some of the lowest rates available in 60 years.  With rates in the low to mid 4% range, it may be hard to envision rates getting much lower.  The Wall Street Journal reported that 30-year mortgage rates hit 4.05% in December.  If a person had a $300,000 loan at 6% and refinanced at that rate, they would have saved $128,880.  That is a substantial savings.  The following chart shows the savings that a person could achieve from refinancing a $300,000 loan at various interest rates.

Loan Amount

Interest Rate

Payment

Savings Over 30 Years From Refinancing 6% Loan

$300,000

6%

1798

0

$300,000

5.50%

1703

$34,200

$300,000

4.50%

1520

$100,080

$300,000

4.05%

1440

$128,880

This information does not include any fees that may be charged by the broker.  Be sure to look at the Annual Percentage Rate or APR.  This rate will include any extra fees that may be charged.  Even if the APR ends up at 4.5%, the person in this scenario would still save over $100,000 over the life of the loan.

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Words to Capitalize in a Title

Bloggers and other writers may experience confusion as to which words should be capitalized in a title of an article.  I sometimes capitalize all words so that I do not have to look up the rules.  But it is good form to learn how to write correctly.  The following rules apply to capitalizing titles:

  • Always capitalize the first as last words of the title as well as verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns and pronouns.
  • Consistently capitalize or do not capitalize conjunctions (examples:  but, for, and) or prepositions (examples: words that show a relationship between the noun/pronounce with another word – example:  from, over, around, about, before, behind) with five or more letters.  Older rules required no capitalization and newer rules require capitalization if words contain five letters or more. Exception: If the word is the last word or the first word in a title, then it should be capitalized.
  • Do not capitalize articles (example: a, an, the), prepositions (see examples above), conjunctions (see examples above) with four letters or fewer, and the particle “to” used with an infinitive (example: to do; to be).  Exception: If the word is the last word or the first word in a title, then it should be capitalized.

 

Never have your title all in CAPITALIZED LETTERS because this is not only incorrect, it is considered yelling. 

 

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Is the Millennial Generation the Best Generation Ever?

Check out an infographic about the Millennial Generation from OnlineGraduatePrograms.com.  This is based on research from the Pew Research Organization.  Note how the Millennials have differ from the Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Silent Generation. 

Millennials
Created by: Online Graduate Programs

 

Top 18 Personality Theorists Including Freud and More

Freud, Jung, Adler and other famous theorists’ names are commonly mentioned, but many people do not know the basis of their important research. Theorists have grappled with understanding factors that may impact personality.  Many theorists have dedicated their lives to helping people deal with complex personality-based issues. 

In the workplace, it is common to run into personality conflicts.  Many of these may be resolved by having a better understanding of personality preferences.  It’s Not You It’s Your Personality is a book that defines personality, gives detailed information about personality assessments, and explains how people can use this information to be more effective in the workplace. Personality assessments are based on the work of some very famous theorists. The following chart contains some of the top names in personality research. Click on links provided to find out more about these theorists and the importance of their research. 

Top Personality Theorists Theory Top Points and Terminology
Sigmund Freud Psychodynamic Psychosexual DevelopmentId, Ego, Super-Ego
Carl Jung Psychodynamic Collective Unconscious, True Persona, Introvert-Extrovert
Alfred Adler Psychodynamic Social Urges, Conscious Thoughts, Compensation for Inferiorities, Birth Order
Karen Horney Psychodynamic Biological Influences on Personality Rather  Than Social Forces
Harry Stack Sullivan Psychodynamic Interpersonal Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem
John Bowlby Attachment Parent Child Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem
Mary Ainsworth Attachment Strange Situation Theory, Observation of Parents
Erik Erikson Psychosocial Child’s Trust Relationship With Mother, Early Development
Carl Rogers Psychosocial Humanistic Theory Based on Subjective Experiences, Self-Understanding
John Watson Behavioral Environmental Impact on Behavior
Ivan Pavlov Behavioral Pavlov’s Dog, Classical Conditioning, Temperament
B. F. Skinner Behavioral Operant Conditioning, Rewards and Punishments for Behaviors
George Kelly Cognitive Self-Reflection, Perception and Interpretation Impact on Behavior
Albert Bandura Social Learning Human Capabilities, Structural Framework, Thinking Processes
Walter Mischel Social Learning Social Variables Explain Human Complexities, Delayed Gratification
Gordon Allport Trait Focus on Positive, Traits are Permanent
Raymond Cattell Trait Factor Analytic Trait Theory, 16 Source Traits Including Temperament and Dynamic, State and Roles Determine Personality
Hans Eysenck Trait Three Factor Theory, Introversion-Extroversion, Neuroticism, Psychoticism

8 Important Business Ethics Cases

For those interested in researching some interesting ethical businesses cases, there are plenty from which to choose. Business leaders may feel squeezed by shareholders to produce profits.  Some have made some ethical blunders in an attempt to remain competitive. Others have used their size to squeeze out the competition.  The following includes some important business ethics cases based on well-known organizations:

  1. Enron – Questionable accounting practices and manipulation of the energy supply brought down this company. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is an excellent documentary movie that explains the scandal.  Check out an excerpt from Enron’s Code of Ethics.
  2. Monsanto – Monsanto has been criticized for its mega-size.  Critics fear they are taking over the food supply as well as creating negative environmental issues. Check out Monsanto’s Code of Ethics for Chief Executives and Senior Financial Officers.
  3. Arthur Andersen – Arthur Andersen is known for its unethical auditing practices. Check out The Fall of Arthur Andersen for more complete details.
  4. WalMart – Studies have shown that WalMart may save people money but they may also negatively impact communities.  Their low prices may also hurt suppliers. The company received criticism when leadership announced they wanted to hire healthier, more productive employees. WalMart has been accused of being anti-union and has survived sweatshop and discrimination scandals. Check out WalMart’s Statement Regarding Code of Ethics.
  5. Countrywide – The company offered subprime loans that later resulted in default.  Critics have claimed that Countrywide employees told clients that their properties would increase in value and that their loans would be able to be refinanced when market values rose.  The market values declined causing many to lose their homes.  Check out Countrywide’s Code of Ethics.
  6. Beechnut – Beechnut’s ethics came into question when it was discovered that they were selling “apple juice” to foreign countries that contained something less than apple juice.  For more information on this scandal, check out Beechnut’s History and Apple Juice Scandal.
  7. Starbucks – Clustering strategy may force smaller companies out of business. There were so many Starbucks on street corners that movies like Best In Show made fun of how there might be one Starbucks right across the street from another.  Check out Starbucks’ Code of Ethics for CEO and Financial Leaders.
  8. Nike – Manufacturing practices included producing shoes offshore to save money. Nike has used its share of sweatshops in manufacturing. They have come under fire for human rights violations. Check out Nike’s Code of Ethics.

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Successful Students Use Plagiarism and Editing Programs

Students who do not use their school’s library writing centers are missing important, helpful information, and their grades may be suffering because of this.  Online universities offer some very useful tools that can help students to edit their papers, locate scholarly journals, and even double-check for plagiarism issues.  Some of the programs available to students include professional editing software like WritePoint, a database search engine like Proquest, and a plagiarism checker like TurnItIn.  Some schools may use different programs other than WritePoint or TurnItIn, but the programs function similarly.  Students should check their online library for availability of specific writing tools.

The successful student will do their research through the school’s library database search engines.  Once they have written their paper, and have double-checked that they have met all of the teacher’s requirements, they will submit it to the editing software (if available) and the plagiarism checker (required by many schools).  The following gives an explanation of how these three programs work:

  • Professional Editing Software – Example: WritePoint is a program that inserts comments directly into the student’s paper just like a professional editor.  The program will highlight grammar and spelling issues as well as other formatting issues including:  Capitalization issues, clichés, wording choices, use of second person, subject/verb agreement, weak or redundant wording, improper punctuation or hyphenation, and subject/pronoun disagreement.  The student will receive their paper back with comments. At this point, the student can make the appropriate suggested changes and then submit their paper as assigned.  This helps teach the student how to edit their own papers and dramatically improves their ability to get a higher grade.  This also allows professors to focus on the student’s content.  Not all schools offer editing software.

  • Database Search Engine – Example: Proquest is a program that offers over 30 databases of information including:  Dissertations, Newspapers and scholarly journals.  For students doing research that requires peer-reviewed scholarly sources, this can be a very helpful tool.  Students should use their school’s library search engine rather than researching through sites like Google or Yahoo!

 

 

  • Plagiarism Checker – Example: TurnItIn is the leading program that checks for plagiarism issues.  The program carries over 150 million archived papers.  There are a variety of websites where students can purchase papers.  Schools are very aware of these sites and programs like TurnItIn will catch these papers.  Students should be aware that professors will submit their papers to TurnItIn and will catch them if they try to submit work that is not their own.

Students may have had some initial training regarding these programs when they first entered school.  However, with all of the other things they had to learn at the time, many may have forgotten the importance of these tools. Students with questions about what his or her school offers, should ask their guidance counselor. 

The top articles on this site that are helpful to a student’s success include:

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How to Paraphrase and Avoid Using Direct Quotes

Some professors require that students avoid direct quotations within their writing.  One reason for this is that students may have a tendency to rely too much on what others have written.  They may take large amounts of directed quoted material and copy and paste it into their writing in order to meet page or word requirements.  This is not acceptable.

Students must still cite to explain where they obtained their research.  To cite correctly, students should get into the habit of paraphrasing. In this way, students give the original author credit for their work by citing the source of the information without quoting it word for word.  Citing means acknowledging where they obtained the information.  A student must be careful not to paraphrase everything they write.  The student should not neglect to include their own analysis.  Duke University provides useful information about avoiding patchworking and paraphrasing in APA style.

Paraphrasing occurs when the writer take someone else’s thoughts and information and restates it into his or her own words.  Think of it as more of a restatement than a summary. Owl Purdue explained that it is better than quoting word for word because it eliminates the temptation to cite too heavily.  Owl Purdue’s Paraphrase:  Write in Your Own Words is an excellent learning tool and it includes 6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing.

To learn how to cite correctly, check out a helpful link from plagiarism.com that explains how to paraphrase properly.  For more examples of how to paraphrase, check out:  Examples of how to paraphrase without plagiarizing.  The Writer’s Handbook also gives some helpful tips about methods of paraphrasing and how to paraphrase difficult texts.

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Could Augmented Reality Technology Inspire the Next Steve Jobs?

One of the biggest obstacles the new entrepreneur faces is coming up with a unique idea.  The Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world have raised the creativity bar.  By creating augmented reality phone apps, certain companies are getting attention.  Autonomy has developed a new technology called Arasmsa that may change how people interact with objects.  It works with a smart phone and can reveal some things that are not readily visible to the naked eye.  Check out the following video:

With the popularity of QR codes and now new technologies like Arasmsa, there is potential for some amazing app possibilities.  For example, you can now point your phone at a magazine and have an app translate the material from one language to another.  There are a variety of augmented reality apps already available on the market.  Check out 40 Best Augmented Reality Phone Apps and 2 Augmented Reality Technologies that are about to Change the World.

The question is who will be the next Zuckerberg or Jobs to create an idea that goes above and beyond what is already out there?  Perhaps they are listed in the article 8 Important Silicon Valley Innovators Not Named Steve Jobs.  Only time will tell.

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How to Get an A in Your College Courses

Some of the top reasons that students don’t pass courses, based on my experience as a professor, is that they do not read the requirements for the classes or they don’t turn in material on time.  If a student really wants to receive an “A”, there are some important things that they must do to achieve this.  The following list will help students improve their grades:

  1. Follow Instructions – Read the instructor’s materials for assignment requirements.   Print out a copy of the syllabus and any instructions on the first day of class. Some may post a rubric or a spreadsheet that lists the requirements and the number of possible points allocated for each part of the assignment.  Before turning in your assignment, go down the list of requirements and be sure that you have included all of them.
  2. Cite Correctly – It is best to paraphrase rather than to include large blocks of directly quoted material in your writing.  Some professors will not allow any direct quotations. An example of paraphrasing is:  Hamilton (2011) stated that paraphrasing was important.  An example of a direct quote is:  “It is better to paraphrase.” (Hamilton, 2011). 
  3. Submit Original Work – Schools have a tool called TurnItIn to check for plagiarism.  Be sure to run your paper through that system (or whatever plagiarism tool the school uses) before submitting papers, to ensure that your work is your own.  You can be sure professors will check it if you do not.  Keep in mind that citing incorrectly can be viewed as plagiarism. Plagiarism is grounds for being expelled.
  4. Write in APA – Professors can be very picky about formatting in APA.  Most schools use this formatting as compared to MLA or some other format.  Click here for some of the most important links to help with APA.  When writing in APA, students will need to have their paper include double-spacing, indented paragraphs, proper header information, proper page numbering, proper title and reference page, etc.
  5. Meet Discussion Requirements – Online colleges have specific writing and posting requirements for classroom discussions.  Students often disregard the minimum word count or the fact that the instructor requested cited materials.  It is not uncommon for a discussion question to require 150-500 word responses.  These responses may also require paraphrased information to show research to back up any points that the student makes. Students may also be required to respond to their fellow classmates’ postings as well.  There are usually minimum word count requirements for these responses as well. Discussions should be written in a formal manner.  Sentence and paragraph structure should be the same as if a student was writing an essay.  Simply agreeing with a fellow classmate’s points will not count for credit.
  6. Include Strong Sentences and Paragraphs – It is important to write correctly and in a formal manner in online discussions as well as in formal papers.  In higher-level courses, first person should not be used.  Unless it is an opinion paper and the professor has allowed it, do not refer to yourself in your writing.  Don’t write in run-on sentences.  Sentences vary in length but should average around 20 words.  Keep sentences between around 12-25 words.  Paragraphs should also contain complete information.  A paragraph should include between 4-8 sentences.  Remember to include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. 
  7. Plan Ahead – Many students post late due to not being prepared.  There may be an occasional emergency but in general most issues with late postings could be avoided.  Write papers early and back them up somewhere other than your main computer.  Some students send themselves a copy of their homework so that it is saved on their email server.  Computer issues are not considered a valid excuse for late assignments.
  8. Use Scholarly Sources – Professors often require that students include peer-reviewed scholarly journals as sources for their papers. To find out more about peer-reviewed journals, click here.  Students often confuse citations and references.  It is not correct to simply list a reference without having a corresponding citation.  For help with citations and references, click here.
  9. Never Copy and Paste – Students often try to copy and paste information into their papers.  Not only can this be plagiarism if not cited correctly, it can cause havoc with formatting. 
  10. Always Read Instructor Feedback – I see students submit the same mistakes every week because they will not read the feedback on their papers.  If a professor has taken the time to read your paper and give helpful advice, it is important to incorporate those suggestions into future assignments. 

For additional help, see The Top Ten Most Common Writing Mistakes and The Top Ten Sources for Help with APA.

Learn Terminology Before Changing Careers

In the current economy, many people have discovered that they must change careers or reinvent themselves in order to keep their current positions.  Some are entering into fields that contain jargon with which they are unfamiliar.  In the article 13 Words Every Sales Training Manager Should Know the author defined words and phrases like:  knowledge transfer, sales enablement, funnel, pipeline and more.  Those entering the field of sales and are unfamiliar with those terms, may feel frustrated and left out of the information loop. 

For those considering a new career, here are some important links to help learn terminology and avoid some embarrassing mistakes:

  1. Terminology Used in Sales
  2. Terminology Used in Business and Entrepreneurship
  3. Terminology Used in Technology
  4. Terminology Used in Online and Education
  5. Terminology Used in Social Networking Sites Like Twitter
  6. Vocabulary Words Adults Should Know
  7. Company Executive Title Explained
  8. Most Misunderstood Entrepreneurial Words
  9. Top Grammar Mistakes
  10. Social Media Writing Mistakes

To find out more about career reinvention click here.

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Chief Officer Abbreviations Explained: CEO, COO, CFO and More

There are a lot of abbreviations for top leadership positions that contain the words “Chief and Officer” in the title. It may be confusing to keep the players straight. It may help to explain that a corporate officer holds a management-level position, such as a President, Vice President, or General Manager. Other common positions include:

  • CEO – Chief Executive Officer – This person is the highest ranking corporate officer.  They are the head of management for an organization.  They report to the board of directors. They make high-level decisions about policy and strategy.  The people that report to the CEO include:  The CBDO (Chief Business Development Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), COO (Chief Operating Officer), CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), CCO (Chief Communications Officer), CLO (Chief Legal Officer), CTO (Chief Technology Officer), CRO (Chief Risk Officer), CCO (Chief Creative Officer), CCO (Chief Compliance Officer), CAE (Chief Audit Executive), CDO (Chief Diversity Officer), and CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer).  Steve Jobs was an example of a top CEO.  To find out more about these other chief officer positions, click here.  Check out:  The Best Performing CEO’s in the World.
  • COO – Chief Operating Officer – This person is responsible for the day to day operations or an organization.  Not all companies have one.  In 2006 more than 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies did not have a COO.  This person may also be called the company’s President.  This person could be thought of as the second in command behind the Chairman or CEO.  An example of a top COO is:  Tim Cook was the COO for Apple before replacing Steve Jobs as CEO. Check out: List of Famous Chief Operating Officers.
  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer – This person manages the corporation’s financial risk.  They deal with data analysis, financial planning and record keeping.  Although they report to the CEO, they may also sit on the board of directors.  Peter Oppenheimer is Apple’s CFO.  Check out:  Bonus Babies . . . The Best Paid CFO’s.
  • CMO – Chief Marketing Officer – This person is the head of sales, product development and all things marketing-related.  The CMO can report to either the CEO or COO. Their job is to obtain growth through sales and marketing.  The CMO has become more commonly discussed in recent years.  Check out:  The Chief Marketing Officer . . . A new Boardroom Role.
  • CIO – Chief Information Officer – This person is the head of information technology.  They may report to the CEO, CFO or COO.  They must create strategic goals to increase information accessibility and manage integrated systems.  The CIO and CTO roles are often confused.  Check out:  What is the Difference Between CIO and CTO.

There may be other chief officers’ positions in other industries as well.  For example in hospitals there could be a CMO (Chief Medical Officer), a CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) and a CMIO (Chief Medical Informatics Officer).

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Impact of Boomers Working Past Retirement Years

As people are living longer and the age for receiving social security payments is extended, baby boomers have found that they are working well into what used to be considered retirement years.  USA Today reported, “The Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll found a baby boom generation planning to work into retirement years — with 73% planning to work past retirement, up from 67% this spring. The poll involved online interviews with 1,095 baby boomers.” According to the Examiner, “boomers are likely going to work five to 10 years longer before retiring.”

There are currently 77 million baby boomers.  This group has found it difficult to retire because “41% of boomers said they are expecting to have to scale back their lifestyle in some way in retirement and 31% believe they will struggle financially.”

Having a lot of baby boomers in the workplace has had an impact on the post-boomer generations.  In the article Millennials Hoping for Boomers to Retire, it was noted that many people who used to retire in their 60s are continuing to work, making it harder for Millennials to find employment.

There are currently four generations coexisting in the workplace. These 4 generations include:

World War II Generation (aka depression babies) – Those born prior to 1945

Baby Boomers – Those born 1946 to 1964

Generation X – Those born 1965 to 1982

Generation Y (aka the Millennials) – Those born after 1982

Baby Boomers represent the largest segment of the American work force.  However, millennials will be replacing the baby boomer group soon.  According to Harvard Business Review /HBR.org, “The makeup of the global workforce is undergoing a seismic shift: In four years Millennials—the people born between 1977 and 1997—will account for nearly half the employees in the world. In some companies, they already constitute a majority.”

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Deathswitch: Send Messages From Beyond the Grave

Deathswitch is a company that provides what they call “an information service in the event of your death or disability”.  According to their site, they will store your passwords and information, while sending you regularly scheduled notices prompting your response to be sure that you are still alive.  Should you not respond after 90 days, they will assume you are dead or critically disabled and then they will contact anyone you have named to receive your information.

They offer a free account that entitles you to send one message once you are gone.  With a premium account, you can have 30 messages and up to 10 recipients.  These messages allow you to send videos, pictures and documents.

Although this service may be helpful in retrieving lost information and passwords, it could also include the ability to send e-messages from beyond the grave.  The site even states “Don’t die with secrets that need to be freed.” 

This opens up some unusual possible ways to contact people from beyond the grave.  Their site states that people will feel better knowing they will hear from you once you are gone.  In a perfect world, this service could be a good way to send loving messages to people.  However, what about those who send the “not so nice” messages?  There can be no rebuttal from the survivors. 

It is an interesting and patent-pending service.  One of the questions asked on the FAQ portion of the site is, “What if I go into a comma for 3 months and then recover?”  That is something to think about for those who may be considering sending a “not so nice” message.  However, they do claim that the timeframe can be adjusted if 3 months is not the desired amount of time.

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Top 10 Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big Before Turning 35

There was a time when it was unusual to hear about an entrepreneur becoming successful at a very young age.  With the technology boom, the story is becoming more commonplace.  The following list contains the top 10 entrepreneurs whose dreams came to fruition and made them very rich before they hit the ripe old age of 35.

  1. Apple – Creators:  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  Apple was established in 1976, the year Steve Jobs turned 21 and Steve Wozniak turned 26. 
  2. Amazon – Creator:  Jeff Bezos.  Amazon was founded in 1994, the year Jeff Bezos turned 30.
  3. Disney – Creator:  Walt Disney.  Disney was founded in 1923, the year Walt Disney turned 22.
  4. Facebook – Creators:  Mark Zuckerburg and his college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Facebook was launched in 2004, the year that Mark Zuckerburg turned 20. 
  5. Google – Creators:  Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Google was incorporated in 1998 the year that Larry Page and Sergey Brin turned 25.  Google’s IPO was in August of 2004, the year the men turned just 31. 
  6. Groupon– Creator:  Andrew Mason.  Groupon was created in 2008, the year Mason turned 29.
  7. LinkedIn – Creators:  Reid Hoffman and founders from PayPal.  LinkedIn was founded in late 2002 the year that Hoffman turned 35. 
  8. Microsoft – Creators:  Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  Microsoft was established in 1975, the year Bill Gates turned 20 and Paul Allen turned 22.
  9. Twitter – Creator:  Jack Dorsey.  Twitter was created in 2006, the year Dorsey turned 30. 
  10. Yahoo! – Creators: Jerry Yang and David Filo.  Yahoo! was incorporated in 1995, the year that Jerry Yang turned 27 and David Filo turned 29. 

Click on the company names above to find out more details and top stories about these unique companies. 

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Things To Know Before Investing in an IPO

There is a lot of talk about IPOs lately.  IPO stands for initial public offering.  When a company decides to make shares of the company available to the public, it may sound like a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.  However, it may not be easy or sometimes wise to buy into an IPO as soon as it is offered. 

USA Today had an excellent article about Five Things You Should Know Before Investing in an IPO.  According to this article, some of these things include:

  1. Learn the Lingo – Do you know what a red herring is or an IPO offer price?
  2. It’s Difficult to Get In – It may not be impossible, but you may have to be a preferred client.
  3. First-Day Investing May Be Risky – If you like the thrill of rolling the dice, the first day can be a wild ride.
  4. Know the Sales Figures – Find out about the company’s annual sales performance.
  5. Know the Long-Term Outlook – “The Federal Reserve identified two characteristics of successful IPOs in a 2004 study: The companies have been around longer than other companies issuing stock for the first time, and they’re making a profit before they do so.

To learn more about each of these 5 areas, check out the article by clicking the link listed above.

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What is a Peer-Reviewed Journal?

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  My professor told me I have to cite using scholarly, peer-reviewed journals.  What does that mean?

College students are often asked to include scholarly peer-reviewed journals as sources for citations.  If the school offers an online library, it can be easy to search for these journals by simply marking the box under the search line that lists something like “search for peer-reviewed journals only” or “scholarly peer-reviewed”.  By marking this box, anything that comes up in the search should be appropriate to use for college-level assignments.

A peer-reviewed journal insures that the article is of the highest quality and reflects sound research.  Library.usm.main.edu does a nice job of explaining the peer review process:

  • Articles submitted by authors are evaluated by a group of peer experts in the field.
  • The reviewers recommend whether the submitted article be published, revised, or rejected.
  • This review process is often performed “blind”, meaning the reviewers do not know the names or academic affiliations of the authors, and the authors do not know who is reviewing their work.

Ulrich’s Periodical Directory Online is a link where the journals’ title can be submitted to get a report about whether the journal is actually peer-reviewed. 

What is meant by scholarly journals?  CalPoly explained, “Scholarly journals contain articles written by, and addressed to, experts in a discipline. They are concerned with academic study, especially research, and demonstrate the methods and concerns of scholars. The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report original research or experimentation and to communicate this information to the rest of the scholarly world. The language of scholarly journals reflects the discipline covered, as it assumes some knowledge or background on the part of the reader. Scholarly journals always rigorously cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. Many scholarly journals are published by professional organizations.”

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Commencement Speeches: A Time to Shine Or Maybe Not

Steve Jobs’ death has led to many sites listing his commencement speech at Stanford.  While this is an excellent speech, there are some other excellent commencement addresses that should not be missed.  Often some of the best information comes from the valedictorians.  The valedictorian is the person who has been nominated to speak due to receiving the highest academic ranking in their class. 

The article The Top 10 Valedictorian Speeches on Youtube, lists some of the most inspirational and entertaining speeches from this intelligent and well-respected group. Not all of them are appropriate though.  There is one that is listed as an example of how not to give a valedictorian speech. 

To watch Steve Jobs’ commencement speech click here.  

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Top 8 Education-Related Tax Breaks for College Students

As people try to reinvent their careers, many are finding that they need more education in order to obtain their goals.  Attending college can be expensive and yet important investment.  The good news is that there are some tax breaks available to those who take the time to look for them.  The following are some important tax breaks that every prospective and current college student should know according to the Wallstreet Journal’s Back to School article:

  1. American Opportunity Tax Credit – $2500/year offset to taxes with possible $1000 refund
  2. Lifetime Learning Credit – $2000/year possible offset
  3. Student-Loan Interest Deduction – $2500 interest deduction per year
  4. 529 Plans – Earnings aren’t taxed
  5. IRAs – Taxed earnings but no 10% early withdrawal penalty
  6. Employer Assistance – Employers can pay up to $5250 not taxed
  7. Work-Related Education Deductions – Multiple expenses eligible for deductions
  8. Scholarships and Grants – Usually tax-free

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Job Outlook for College Grads in 2011

There is some good news for college graduates right now.  Employment numbers have improved for this group.  The WallStreet Journal reported that college graduates are, “more likely to be working: Unemployment among college grads is 4.2% vs. 9.7% for high-school grads. And they make more: The typical full-time worker with a four-year degree is earning 65% a week more than a high-school grad.”

CNNMoney reported, “College grads are getting offered bigger paychecks for the first time since 2008. Students who will graduate this spring are receiving job offers with starting salaries averaging $50,034 per year, up 3.5% from last year, according to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. ” Those obtaining business degrees saw the biggest increase. 

Simply hired lists the average college graduates’ salary at $46,000.  They offer a calculator to find out specific salaries for individual jobs.  Click here for the link to that salary calculator.

The following demonstrates the kind of information this calculator provides based on two jobs that require degrees.  The following are the results for a pharmaceutical sales representative and a high school teacher:

Things may be looking better for college graduates, but there are still 1 out of 6 who have a bachelor’s degree and are unemployed.  These numbers are worse for more recent graduates than those who have been in the job market for a while.  This has led to some pessimistic views by some graduates.  There are those that worry about the country’s economic future and its impact on their own financial future. To read more about this, check out:  Gloom Widespread as College Grades Face New Math.

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Google+ Uses for Educators: Good or Bad?

Easy accessibility to Google+ makes it an option for educators to share important information with their students.  The author of the article 25 Great Google+ Tips for Teachers explains some unusual ways that educators have found to use this new social networking tool. 

Google+ hangouts area can be used to create a virtual classroom.  Mindshift reported, “Google Hangouts allows up to 10 people to video chat with one another.” Students can follow each other to see the research that they are doing for group projects.  Interesting articles can be shared easily between members.  To read more about potential uses, click here.

However, not everyone is a fan of Google+ for educators.  ReadWriteWeb questioned whether Google+ is the tool that educators have been waiting for due to the privacy issues involved.  For more information check out the following related articles: 

 

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Famous People Who Were Fired Paving Way for Better Things

No one wants to hear the words “You’re Fired”!  It might be surprising to see some of the people out there who have been fired, only to come back and make it big later on in their careers.  The article 10 Famous People Who Flourished After Being Laid Off explained how some very famous people like Oprah, Walt Disney, J. K. Rowling and others were let go by some employers who probably wanted to kick themselves later for their decision.

Sometimes losing a job can actually lead to better things down the road.  Check out 50 People Who Failed Before Becoming Successful. Some of these “failures” include Bill Gates and Albert Einstein. 

Although it can be disheartening to lose a job, sometimes it works out for the best in the long run.  The book How to Reinvent Your Career addresses whether anything really is a failure of if it is just a learning experience.  Sometimes people are just in the wrong line of work based on their personality preferences.  When they get fired, it may force them to re-evaluate what is important to them. 

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Companies Rewarding Employees for Entrepreneurial Ideas

Gone are the old days of having a suggestion box at work.  Today’s modern company has set up some much more sophisticated ways of obtaining knowledge and creative ideas from their employees.  The following list contains some useful tools that employers have utilized that have even replaced their need to go to outside consulting firms:

  • Innovative Management Programs – Sites like Brainbank, InnoCentive and Spigit are just a few of the popular sites that companies use to allow employees to submit and vote on ideas.
  • Idea-Management Websites –  PriceWaterhouseCoopers created a company site to gather employees’ input about cost cutting, improving customer service and other ways to improve revenue.  These sites can be very successful.  IdeasAmerica, an association for suggestion administration, surveyed customers and found that ideas submitted by employees saved over $110 million or an average of $1256 per idea
  • Set up KiosksBruce Power is one of many companies who have set up idea kiosks.  Resembling ATMs, these kiosks are easily accessible and allow employees to vote on ideas. 
  • Create Financial IncentivesCompanies may give rewards for employees’ ideas that result in cost savings.  They may receive financial incentives or points to use toward rewards. 
  • Set Up Idea ChallengesAllstate created an online challenge for its employees to come up with some good ideas about how to create their company app. 

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Unusual Uses for QR Codes in the Classroom and Job Market

QR codes are those little barcode looking squares that are popping up everywhere.  They are an excellent marketing tool.  They have some unique applications as well.  The article 50 Great Ways to Use QR Codes in the College Classroom lists some unusual uses such as:

  • Using QR codes on name plates to find instructor office hours
  • Adding QR codes to the syllabus to link to classroom calendar
  • Adding to class announcements to create buzz for upcoming events
  • Linking QR codes to lectures, videos or answers to commonly asked questions
  • Linking QR codes to digital portfolios

These are just some of the unique classroom uses.  Click on the link above to read all 50 uses. 

For more articles about using QR Codes check out:

Stand Out In Job Market with Mini Resume Cards

Combining a resume with a business card in a smart, easy to read fashion, is a great way to capture a future employer’s attention.  ResuMiniMe is a site that has done a nice job of creating such a card.  In just minutes, job-seekers can create a traditional-sized business card that promotes their strengths while serving as a nice ice-breaker for networking opportunities.  Prices start at $90 for 1000 cards.  Gift packages are available.  A free profile on LinkedIn is required. 

They offer two style choices for the back of the card.  A traditional standard style that lists education and experience is one option.  Also offered is the option to include a QR code on the back.  For more information about using QR codes to find a job, click here. 

The following are examples of the cards that can be created on this site.  The back of the card is shown vertically here for easy readability.

Front (although not listed here, a phone number may be included):

Back Traditional:

Back QR Code Version:

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Top 10 Most Misunderstood Entrepreneurial Start-up Words

Some of the most interesting companies right now are considering going IPO?  If you are confused about what that means, you are not alone.  I find that a lot of my students would enjoy reading articles about new start-up companies but avoid them due to the writer’s use of confusing terminology.  Having taught entrepreneurship for many years, I have come up with a list of some of the most misunderstood words that have to deal with entrepreneurs and start-up companies to make things a little easier to understand.  Click on the links provided below for more information about the definition of the term:

  1. Angel Investors – Investors getting startup from self-funded stage to obtaining venture capital.
  2. Bridge Loan – a short-term way to obtain a loan that meets immediate needs for capital.
  3. IPO – Initial Public Offering – when a private company offers stock and becomes a public company. 
  4. Limit Liability Company or LLC – legal form of a company providing limited liability.
  5. Me-Too Product – when competitors’ products are basically indistinguishable for yours.
  6. Portfolio – Holdings of a private investor or institution.
  7. Seed-Funded – investment to start a business until the business can fund itself.
  8. Start-up – Differing opinions on this . . . Check out the article:  How do you define a startup?
  9. Valuation – Company’s market worth.
  10. Venture Capital – Money or capital provided to start a business.  Those providing money may be referred to as Venture Capitalists.

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Top Links for Help with Deciphering Web Analytics

Sites like Alexa, Compete, Google Analytics and Quantcast can give some important data about website visitors.  If these were the only choices available, it might not be so difficult to choose the best tools for web analytics.  However, there are a lot of sites out there.  They may also have some techy jargon. Some terms that may be confusing to some who are trying to decipher the data include:

To explain the importance of the type of visitor, check out the article: Total or Unique Visitors:   What is the Difference? While many people focus on unique visitors, in an article titled Unique Visitors are not Everything, Jakob Nielson was quoted as saying, “Chasing higher unique-visitor counts will undermine your long-term positioning because you’ll design gimmicks rather than build features that bring people back and turn them into devotees and customers.”

To try and keep it all straight and pick the correct site based on individual needs, check out the following top 10 links with information about web analytics, explanations of popular tools and what they measure:

  1. Web Analytics Demystified – Unique visitors ONLY come in one size.
  2. Alexa Analytics Explained – Take a tour of Alexa’s analytics.
  3. Compete Analytics Explained – Where they get their data and PDF of methodology.
  4. Google Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Google Analytics issues.
  5. Quantcast Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Quantcast Analytic issues.
  6. Top 24 Web Analytics Software Packages – Top software packages explained.
  7. 11 Best Web Analytic Tools – Includes Google, Yahoo, Crazy Egg, Compete, and more.
  8. Alltop Web Analytic News – News about all analytic issues.
  9. Web Analytics Review – Side by side comparison of top web analytic tools.
  10. Yahoo! Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Yahoo! Analytics issues.

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Online Classes So Important: Mandatory for Graduation

Times have certainly changed for high school education.  Alabama, Florida and Michigan are just some of the states that now require students to take at least one online course to graduate.  According to the article 10 Online Ed Trends Coming to a High School Near You, “Administrators believe that getting students to take online courses will better prepare them to work with the technologies they’ll face in college and the workforce.”

In Memphis online classes were increased due to an upswing in the desire by students to take these courses.  Online courses are available for both high school and middle school students.  An advantage for the schools is that they are less expensive.  In the article Online Class Required for Graduation in Memphis, the author points out that there will be some stringent requirements.  “The structure calls for accountability requiring students to log on, finish assignments, and participate in hour-long live chat sessions with an instructor and classmates. Teachers speak with students after each module to verify their identity. Proctored semester exams are administered on school grounds.”

The number of states adding online requirements continues to grow.  Idaho has a tech-focused school reform program that will require students to take two online courses.  Indiana has also jumped on the technology bandwagon.  Indiana state superintendent, Tony Bennett, recently announced that students will be required to take at least one online course in order to graduate.  In the article United States High Schools Including Online Coursework as Graduation Requirement, the author stated, “Mr. Bennett explained his rationale for an online course requirement by stating that he felt like experiencing an online course would help to prepare Indiana students for the technology they will be using at colleges and universities, as well as in the workforce.”

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Expressions That Have Jumped The Shark

There are a lot of expressions that may seem cute when they first come out but then may eventually become over-used.  Jump the Shark is an example of this type of phrase.  This expression is based on the episode of the TV show Happy Days when Fonzie, while wearing a leather jacket and waterskiing, managed to jumped over a shark.  Its use now indicates something has taken a turn for the worse. The article The True Origin of 10 Weird American Expressions notes the origins of some popular idioms including:

  • Take the Cake
  • Beat around the Bush
  • Pass the Buck
  • In like Flynn
  • Close but no Cigar
  • Go Postal
  • Cut to the Chase
  • Jump the Shark
  • No Dice
  • Gung ho

Every culture has its sayings that may sound funny to someone trying to learn their language.  A Croatian friend once used an expression that translated to “Stop Sitting on Your Ears” to express that someone wasn’t listening. 

For a more complete list explaining the origin of American idioms including Tongue-in-Cheek, Cat Got Your Tongue and more, check out:  English Daily’s list of American Idioms.

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Top 20 TED Talks Not To Be Missed

TED.com contains some of the most inspirational, educational and entertaining videos on the Internet.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  The site shares video-recorded talks given by some of the most intelligent and interesting people in the world.  There are plenty of top TED presentation lists on the Internet, that are created based on people’s interests.  One of the most recent subject-specific lists I’ve seen is 20 Essential Ted Talks for Entrepreneurial Students.  This is an excellent list for potential entrepreneurs. 

However, TED has far more than just entrepreneur-related topics to offer.  If you plan on getting lost on any site on the Internet, do it on TED. I try to view to as many TED talks as I can possibly fit into my schedule.  Of the ones I have watched recently, I have created my own top 20 list of TED talks that I feel should not be missed:

  1. Arthur Benjamin on Doing Mathemagic
  2. Alain de Botton on A Kinder Gentler Philosophy of Success
  3. Ted Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation
  4. Deb Roy on the Birth of a Word
  5. Dennis Hong on Making a Car for Blind Drivers
  6. Oliver Sacks on What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds
  7. David Bolinksy on Animating a Cell
  8. Anthony Atala on Printing a Human Kidney
  9. Stewart Brand on Does the World Need Nuclear Energy
  10. Adam Astrow on After Your Final Status Update
  11. Jeff Hawkins on How Brain Science Will Change Computing
  12. John Hodgman on Aliens, Love and Where Are They?
  13. Cameron Herald on Let’s Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs
  14. Edward Tenner on Unintended Consequences
  15. Misha Glenny on Hire the Hackers!
  16. Gregory Petsko on The Coming Neurological Epidemic
  17. Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce
  18. Joshua Walters on Being Just Crazy Enough
  19. Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice
  20. Steve Jobs on How to Live Before You Die Speech at Stanford

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The Most and Least Depressing Jobs

There are some jobs that have been listed as simply depressing. It is often cited that psychiatrists and dentists have a higher rate of depression and suicide due to their jobs.  How can a job that sounds good to some people actually be depressing to others? A lot may be based on how well a person’s personality is suited to that job. 

CNN reported 10 Careers with High Rates of Depression.  In this report they included:

  1. Nursing Home – Child Care
  2. Food Service Staff
  3. Social Workers
  4. Health Care Workers (includes Doctors, Nurses and Therapists)
  5. Artists, Entertainers, Writers
  6. Teachers
  7. Administrative Support Staff
  8. Maintenance and Ground Workers
  9. Financial Advisors and Accountants
  10. Sales People

This list is consistent with one reported by Psychology Today.  But where are the least depressing jobs?  Yahoo! Education came up with a list of Lovable Careers where they included:

  1. Paralegal
  2. Graphic Designer
  3. Police Officer (may be somewhat surprising to some people)
  4. Chef
  5. Massage Therapist
  6. Kindergarten Teacher (opposes what is listed above.

WorldWideLearn had their own idea of Top 5 Feel-Good Careers

  1. Registered Nurse (opposes what is listed above)
  2. Computer Support Specialist
  3. Day Care Provider (opposes what is listed above)
  4. Spa Manager
  5. Human Resource Assistant

Why are there inconsistencies about what people find depressing?  Perhaps it is due to the fact that careers should be based upon a person’s preferences.  If a person is mismatched with the wrong profession, they may find that job to be depressing.  For those trying to find a career that they do not find depressing, check out: How to Discover the Job that Best Fits Your Personality Preferences

Women Becoming More Successful Than Men

Women are passing men in their abilities to get a degree, handle families and garner success at work.  As men are falling behind, women are making huge strides.  CNN reported that, “For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men.”

Over half of college degrees are now being awarded to women. “In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women’s earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.”

Women are becoming stronger entrepreneurs as well.  Forbes recently reported:  “As of 2011, it is estimated that there are over 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Overall, women-owned firms have done better than their male counterparts over the past 14 years. The number of men-owned firms (which represent 51% of all U.S. firms) grew by only 25% between 1997 and 2011—half the rate of women-owned firms.”

A study by Barclays Wealth and Ledbury Research may have some of the answers to why women are surpassing men.  One of the reasons they found is that women are less likely to take unnecessary risks or make rash decisions.  The Huffington Post backed up this point stating, “A 2005 study by Merrill Lynch found that 35% of women held an investment too long, compared with 47% of men. More recently, in 2009, a study by the mutual fund company Vanguard involving 2.7 million personal investors concluded that during the recent financial crisis, men were more likely than women to sell shares of stocks at all-time lows, leading to bigger losses among male traders.”

Check out the following infographic about differences between women and men:
Girls in STEM
Created by: Engineering Degree

Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Doctoral Dissertation

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid the pitfalls many other doctoral students may have encountered when writing their dissertations?

As a doctoral chair, I guide students through the process of writing a dissertation.  There are different problems that many of them may face based on the topics they chose to study.  I prefer to chair quantitative, business-related studies, so my suggestions may be slanted in that direction.

Here are the top 10 things that I think a doctoral student should be made aware of from the beginning:

  1. The process will probably take longer than you think.  There may be a set of doctoral courses required for the dissertation part of your degree.  For example, there may be Class 1, 2, and 3.  They will explain that if you don’t finish 1, you can take 1a and 1b, etc.  Be prepared to take 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, etc.  Remember that every time you take the class, it costs money.  Have it in your budget in case you need extra courses.
  2. Find a good doctoral chair (also called doctoral mentor).  The school will probably have a website that lists professors that you can pick from, to be your chair.  Go through the lists carefully to find one that fits your topic and your needs.  Send them a very polite letter of request to be your chair/mentor.  Do not send a bulk message to a lot of potential chairs.  This is seen as tacky.   I recommend talking to them on the phone prior to signing up with any of them.  If they don’t want to do this, you may want to pick someone who is more hospitable.  Find out if they work at your speed.  I had two different chairs in my journey.  The first one was not a good fit for me.  The second was much better. Keep in mind that you can probably change chairs later if you find out it isn’t working for you.
  3. Become an APA expert.  Most schools require that your paper is in APA 6th edition right now.  Click here for writing help.  When you submit a dissertation, the review board will be beyond picky about this.  Every space, every heading, every table, etc. has to be exact.  Schools usually have writing centers that can help you with APA as well. 
  4. Find a good statistician.  If you are going to do a quantitative study, you will need an excellent statistician for guidance.  It helps to have SPSS software as well. It is important to understand how to do a Power Analysis when deciding on your population and sample size.
  5. Strong editing is a must.  Schools are very picky about anthropomorphisms and they don’t like what they call “fluff” wording.  They want the writing to sound scholarly.  Avoid using words like:  However, In Addition, Therefore.  Do not refer to yourself in the document.  Example:  The research did blah blah blah.  Don’t use the wording “the researcher” unless you are referring to someone other than you.  There should be no first person references in the paper at all. The proposal will be written in future tense so everything you write will be about what will happen.  The only thing that the proposal has in past tense is what others have written.  For example:  Hamilton (2011) stated blah blah blah is OK but everything that you propose to do must be in future tense.  There should be no personal bias.  Use research citations to back up your points.  When you write Chapters 1-3 of the proposal, you need to refer to your study as the proposed study.  Do not forget to include the word proposed
  6. Have a good template.  Some schools use a company called Bold that offers a dissertation template that has all of the formatting set up already.  These templates usually cost under $100 and are worth it.  They have the hard parts like the table of contents set up for you.  Some students try to write their dissertation in a regular Word document first and transfer it over to the Bold document later. This can cause a real headache with formatting and I don’t recommend it.
  7. Set up a schedule and become organized.  I have seen students flounder because they find the process overwhelming and don’t know where to begin.  Setting up a schedule for when you will do things is very helpful.  Set aside a certain number of hours in the week dedicated to your research and writing.   Usually the first doctoral class is set up to create Chapters 1-3 of your proposal.  It may be helpful to begin with Chapter 2 first to research the topic you have in mind. Look for areas in the research where there are gaps that still need addressing.  When you have written about everything others have done regarding your topic in Chapter 2, it should help highlight the exact area where you want to focus for Chapter 1.
  8. Download past dissertations. Looking at past dissertations written by students at your school can be very helpful.  It will give you a template of the format that is appropriate for your school and show you how others handled specific sections.
  9. Keep studies in notebooks.  I personally found it helpful to keep all of the studies I referenced in notebooks. I would alphabetize them by author last name.  I had 5 or 6 different notebooks based on the topics.  For example, since my dissertation was on emotional intelligence and its impact on sales performance, I would have a notebook about sales studies, another about emotional intelligence tests, another about emotional intelligence in workplace, etc. 
  10. Don’t give up.  Think of writing a dissertation as you would writing a book.  It has chapters and has to be approached one step at a time.  You wouldn’t write a book all in one day and you can’t write a dissertation that way either.  Sometimes students fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s there.  It just takes a while to get there.

I recommend reading some of the following books:

APA Publication Manual 6th Edition

Business Research Methods

Research Strategies

Methods in Behavioral Research

Women Dominating Sales Positions

Women are becoming a dominant force in sales positions.  In the article 10 Most Lucrative Industries for Women it was noted, “A recent study found that women are coming to dominate certain areas of sales, a traditionally lucrative field for those who excel. In fact, the study seemed to show that women tend to have better selling skills than men, translating into substantial earnings for saleswomen.”

When women were asked what their top 10 more desired sales careers would be, they chose:

1.    Pharmaceutical Sales

2.    Biotech Sales

3.    Dental Sales

4.    Insurance Sales

5.    Healthcare Sales

6.    IT Sales

7.    Medical Sales

8.    Advertising Sales

9.    Medical Equipment Sales

10.  Real Estate Sales

This is good news for women in the current questionable economy. Monster reported, “In 2010, more employers were willing to invest in their sales forces, having some faith that customers could be cajoled into buying. In October 2010 there were 145,000 more workers employed in sales and related occupations than a year earlier.”

For additional resources about women and sales positions, check out some of the following links:

Women Turning to Cosmetic Sales

Community of Women in Professional Sales

50 Best Careers of 2011

Sales Jobs for Women Search Site

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Using Personality Assessment to Ace the Job Interview

Showing up to a job interview without researching the company’s background, products and future potential is an error many job applicants make.  Even those who have properly researched the company may still make the mistake of not assessing the interviewer’s needs. There are some important tips that job-seekers can utilize to ace the interview even if they are not made aware of who will interview them ahead of time.  

Job candidates need to keep in mind that people like to receive information based on their personality preferences.  In an interview situation, that means that the job-seeker needs to assess the interviewer’s personality to look for clues about these preferences.

Based on the following personality types, tailor how information is delivered in the following way:

Interviewer is an Introvert (they prefer to think about what they want to say before they say it):  They may not want a lot of chit chat. Allow them to have time to ask questions and don’t talk over them. 

Interviewer is an Extrovert (they tend to say what they are thinking without processing first):  Realize they require information quickly and may talk over you or end sentences for you.  If they ask a question and you need more time, simply say something like, “That is a good question; let me think about that for a moment.”  That will buy you some time to formulate your answer.

Interviewer is Direct (they prefer to get to the point and may be abrasive): Don’t hem and haw around.  Get right to the bottom line information they require.

Interviewer is Structured (they like facts and figures):  If they have charts and graphs around and ask for statistics, give them data.  They like quantifiable answers.

One way to find out more about the person doing the interview is to look around the office for clues.  Try to find things that you have in common with them.  Show an interest in the things they showcase like pictures, plaques, awards, etc.  For more information about acing the interview, read 10 Most Important Steps to Obtain a Dream Job.

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New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism

Article first published as New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism on Technorati.

Two Pew Research studies conducted in the spring of 2011 have shown that technology has made it easier for college students to cheat.  TechNewsDaily reported, “A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 55 percent of college presidents said they noticed an increase in plagiarism over the past decade, and 89 percent of that group said technology has played a major role.”

Some are blaming this increase on the fact that more colleges are offering online courses. PewSocialTrends reported, “More than three-quarters of the nation’s colleges and universities now offer online classes, according to the survey of college presidents, and about one-in-four college graduates (23%) have taken a course online, according to the general public survey.” However, others are saying this is not only an online course issue as traditional courses allow students Internet access to do their research as well.  The traditional classroom has seen its share of technology-related issues including the use of portable cellular devices to text answers to test questions.

Research shows that there will be more growth in digital learning. With this growth has generally come more appreciation. Online learning has become a more well-respected form of learning.  “The vast majority of two-year colleges offer online courses (91%), and their leaders are among the most likely to believe that online learning is comparable to learning in a classroom.” However, with access to the Internet, schools must take steps to insure that students are submitting their own work. 

One of the biggest issues is plagiarism. Sometimes students plagiarize unintentionally due to a lack of understanding how to cite correctly in APA format.  However, many intentionally plagiarize. Schools have combatted this problem by requiring papers be run through a plagiarism-checker like TurnItIn.  Universities buy licenses to use the TurnItIn website which checks documents for originality.  TurnItIn boasts the following statistics:

  • 150+ million archived student papers
  • 90,000+ journals, periodicals & books
  • 1+ million active instructors
  • 14+ billion web pages crawled
  • 10,000 educational institutions
  • 20+ million licensed students
  • 126 countries

Sites like TurnItIn include many of the papers that are sold online.  Students who are caught submitting these papers face being expelled.  Plagiarism checkers are helpful finding papers that have already been written. However, they cannot detect papers that students pay others to write for them.

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SitePal and Voki: Add Pizzazz to Your Website or Classroom

There are some fun sites that can be used to animate pictures to add pizzazz to websites or online classrooms.  One of these sites, Voki, is free and is available for non-commercial use.  For commercial use, SitePal starts at just $9.95/month. 

Are you looking for a way to create content for an online classroom?  Consider adding a link to Voki.  “Voki enables users to express themselves on the web in their own voice using a talking character. You can customize your Voki to look like you or take on the identity of lots of other types of characters… animals, monsters, anime etc. Your Voki can speak with your own voice which is added via microphone, upload, or phone. Voki lives on your blog, social network profile and will soon be integrated in various instant messaging platforms. You will also be able to download it to most video supported phones.”

Click on the picture below to see what happens if you add a link to your Voki-created file.   Be sure to hit the play button to hear the message once you get there.

If you are looking for a way to stand out on your website, resume, email signature line, or other form of social media, consider SitePal. “SitePal is an easy-to-use service that allows you to create a speaking avatar for your website and empower your online communication.” Click on the picture below to see that animation. 

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Purchasers from Amazon Responsible for StateTaxes

Article first published as Purchasers from Amazon Responsible for StateTaxes on Technorati.

Amazon has enjoyed an advantage over their competition.  They have not had to add tax to the purchase amount in states where they don’t have a physical presence.  Slate reported, “According to Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, companies are only required to collect sales taxes from their customers when they have a presence in the state in which they reside.”

This has been a sore spot for many of Amazon’s competitors.  Many of them feel that if they should have to handle the taxes for customers, so should Amazon.  This advantage has made them undersell big competitors like the Apple Store and Best Buy. 

Purchasers from the Amazon site may think they are getting a better deal. In reality, there may be taxes owed, but it won’t be by Amazon.  What many people in certain states like Arizona don’t know about their purchases on Amazon, is that it is going to be up to them to keep financial records of what taxes are due.  At the end of the year, when they file their tax returns, these taxes should be included in any amount owed to the government. 

According to the Arizona Republic, “If you buy something online from a retailer who doesn’t have a physical presence in Arizona and they don’t charge state tax or the tax from the state where they’re located, then you’re probably liable for the use tax – the 6.6 percent tax. The safest thing to do is if you buy something online and you get a receipt, save it. It’ll probably show if there was any sales tax from the state where it was charged. If there’s not and there is no Arizona tax, then you should think about paying the use tax on that.”

What if you haven’t kept all of your Amazon receipts?  Go to your account page on Amazon and under Order History, click on Download Order Reports.  This tool allows you to put in the date range of purchases to request a report of purchased items.   

According to Amazon’s site, “Items sold by Amazon.com LLC, or its subsidiaries, and shipped to destinations in the states of Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, or Washington are subject to tax.”  It is wise to check with your state to see what your tax obligation is.  For more information from Amazon regarding taxes, click here.

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New Research Uses Imaging to Show Serotonin’s Link to Anger

Article first published as New Research Uses Imaging to Show Serotonin’s Link to Anger on Technorati.

The University of Cambridge recently published study in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry that provides insight into why some people are more aggressive. Scientists have known that when people haven’t eaten or are overly stressed, they have a harder time controlling their anger. Scientists now have the ability to use technology to scan the brain and visualize the connection between serotonin and the ability to handle emotions. 

According to The University of Cambridge News, “Although reduced serotonin levels have previously been implicated in aggression, this is the first study which has shown how this chemical helps regulate behavior in the brain as well as why some individuals may be more prone to aggression.”

Healthy volunteers had their serotonin levels altered through diet manipulation. Their brains were then scanned with a function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as researchers measured their reactions to images of faces showing anger, happiness or neutral expressions. The findings suggested that when the serotonin was low, the prefrontal cortex had a more difficult time controlling emotional responses.

According to author Dr. Molly Crockett, “We’ve known for decades that serotonin plays a key role in aggression, but it’s only very recently that we’ve had the technology to look into the brain and examine just how serotonin helps us regulate our emotional impulses. By combining a long tradition in behavioral research with new technology, we were finally able to uncover a mechanism for how serotonin might influence aggression.”

Serotonin has been the subject of many psychological studies.  In 2003 a popular study indicated that there was a gene responsible for people to be more receptive to becoming depressed.  However, in 2009, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association that analyzed data from 14 studies found that this serotonin gene was not linked to depression

How serotonin affects depression and aggression will continue to be studied. Currently, the most widely prescribed antidepressants are serotonin enhancers.  The researchers from the Cambridge study hope that this new discovery can help pave the way to new treatments of psychiatric disorders. 

WebMD offers a 9-question quiz to help sufferers recognize the symptoms of depression caused by low serotonin.

New Site Measures the Future of Social Business

Article first published as New Site Measures the Future of Social Business on Technorati.

Social Business Index is a new site that ranks and scores the social performance of top global companies. The list of companies on this site already includes such giants as Samsung, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Dell, Target, and IBM. The site is currently free and offers businesses analytics and competitive intelligence to improve social media performance.

According to the SBI site, some of the things they offer for companies include:

  • Company Index – View the rankings and strengths of companies using social business strategies.
  • Industry Performance – View cumulative social business scores for top industries.
  • Trends – View companies on the move and top performers.
  • Social Business Graph – View the strength of the constituents (company, market, employees, partners, influencers) of your social business community and the strengths of the conversations among them.
  • Compare – Compare conversation strength, account strength, and score of your company and its competitors.
  • Filter Settings – Filter your view by contexts built from region, subsidiary, department, or brand.

SBI is a project of Dachis Group, one of the world’s largest social business management consultancies.  According to ZDNet, “The new platform currently analyzes hundreds of millions of signals from tens of thousands of companies, through the use of natural language processing, machine learning, and clustering algorithms in near real-time.”

 

Social Business Intelligence is a hot topic right now because businesses can use this analytic information to deliver actionable information and make critical decisions.   According to TheNextWeb, “That treasure trove of data and potential insight is ripe for analysis and insight to understand the impact and value of a particular activity. That insight can be immediately acted on to optimize the strategies of a brand because of the unique nature of social’s authentic, two way communication with the market. Not only does this provide the potential for superior marketing results, but creates the opportunity to test many messages with many segments and measure them individually (in a way, similar to the unique A/B testing of performance marketings simpler marketing activities).”

Famous Computer Geniuses with Asperger’s

 

In a recent TED.com talk by Misha Glenny, titled Hire the Hackers,Glenny noted at the end of his talk that many famous computer hackers have characteristics that are consistent with Asperger’s Syndrome.  He mentioned he discussed this with Professor of Development Psychopathology at Cambridge, Simon Baron-Cohen, who “confirmed Gary McKinnon who is wanted by the United States for hacking into the Pentagon suffers from Asperger’s.  Cohen explained that certain disabilities can manifest themselves in the hacking computer world as tremendous skills.”

This is not the first time that there has been mention of famous hackers having this disorder.  Adrian Lamo, once hunted by the FBI, was institutionalized and diagnosed with Asperger’s.  Cnet News recently reported, “Ryan Cleary, the 19-year-old charged in the U.K. on five counts of computer hacking activity, has Asperger’s syndrome.”

According to Wired.com, “There are no reliable figures on how many people have Asperger’s, but anecdotally a lot of them are drawn into the computer field, particularly the logic-heavy world of coding. BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has diagnosed himself with the disorder, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is frequently speculated to have it.” According to Businessweek, Bram Cohen’s disorder is, “a condition that keeps him rooted in the world of objects and patterns, puzzles and computers, but leaves him floating, disoriented, in the everyday swirl of human interactions.” In the movie The Social Network, some of the mannerisms that the Mark Zuckerberg character displayed may have implied he had Asperger’s as well.

Some other famous minds that have been noted as having Asperger’s include Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.  The article, The Potential Genius of Asperger’s contains a long list of famous people who have been thought to have this disorder.

Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen developed an AQ test that measures the Autism Spectrum Quotient.  “In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger’s report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.” To take the Asperger’s test, click here.

The following is Misha Glenny’s talk from TED:

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Acceptance of Treatment of Depression

Article first published as Acceptance of Treatment of Depression on Technorati.

As more people find themselves suffering from depression, more individuals are not reporting their symptoms to their doctors. The reason for this is based on their fear of the treatment their doctor may recommend. 

The Annals of Family Medicine recently published an article titled Suffering in Silence: Reasons for Not Disclosing Depression in Primary Care.  In this study, they found that out of 1054 adults studied, 43% of them were reluctant to disclose symptoms of depression to their physicians. “Concern that the physician would prescribe antidepressants was the leading reason for nondisclosure of depression, far surpassing concerns about referral for psychotherapy. These findings suggest that patients lack confidence in their ability to negotiate an acceptable plan of care that reflects their treatment preferences.”

 

In the Annals study, the authors found that over 87% of respondents felt that their primary care physician was the appropriate source for depression care.  In the article Which Doctor is Best for Treating Depression, it was noted, “Studies show that 74% of people seeking help for depression will first go to their primary care physician. Of these cases, as many as 50% are misdiagnosed. Even of the cases that are correctly diagnosed, 80% are given too little medication for too short a time.”

In Medscape Today, it was noted that psychiatrists sometimes prefer for family practitioners to treat mild-to-moderate depression as long as they do the proper analysis, “Screening is best accomplished with the brief 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Patients are asked how often they experience certain problems, such as lack of interest in activities, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate, and thoughts about death. Easy to use and score, this tool allows you to determine the severity of the illness.”

For those who have had side effects to prior medications, the thought of trying something that may make them feel worse may be a real concern.  In The Journal of Internal Medicine article,  Older Patients’ Aversion to Antidepressants, the authors found, “Four themes characterized resistance to antidepressants: (1) fear of dependence; (2) resistance to viewing depressive symptoms as a medical illness; (3) concern that antidepressants will prevent natural sadness; (4) prior negative experiences with medications for depression.”

It may be easier for physicians to prescribe an antidepressant than to spend time researching other possible causes of their patients’ symptoms.  Primary care physicians are prescribing more antidepressants than ever.  “Nearly three-quarters of all prescriptions for anti-depressants are written without a specific diagnosis.  This has medical experts worried that anti-depressants are being prescribed too often to patients who may not need them. According to IMS Health, an estimated total of 254 million prescriptions were written for anti-depressants last year alone, up from 231 million in 2006.  Each year, Americans spend $10 billion on anti-depressants. Additionally, seven percent of all visits to a primary care doctor end up with a prescription being written for anti-depressants.”

While some may say that depression is on the rise, others argue that people are looking for a panacea or are requesting medications due to direct to consumer advertisements by the drug manufacturers. 

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Facebook Now Allows Subscriptions to Your Site

Facebook announced a new feature that will allow for people to expand their exposure on Facebook.  People can subscribe to your feed if you set it up for them to do so.  This is a useful tool for companies who have a profile but not a separate Facebook page to promote.  Without having a page set up, the profile site previously required an acceptance by the owner for people to view the content. 

With the new subscribe feature, all that has to be done to allow others to view the profile, is for the owner of the profile to look for the word subscriptions under their profile picture.  By clicking on that, they can enable others to see their updates.

 

This isn’t the only change announced by Facebook. According to TechCrunch, “In addition to Subscriptions, Facebook is also making it easier to tweak the amount and types of content that show up your News Feed. Now, when you’re viewing a user’s profile, you’ll be able to hit a button and choose from three subscription settings:

  • All updates: Everything your friend posts
  • Most updates: The amount you’d normally see
  • Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move

You’ll also be able to choose what kinds of content you want to see (for example, you could opt to block all game-related updates from one of your friends, but keep their photo updates).”

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Top 10 Companies’ Code of Ethics and Conduct

Companies have something called a code of ethics that outlines how they will run their business.  Sometimes they refer to this as their code of conduct. There aren’t always laws to govern things like ethics.  Therefore, it is up to companies to define some of their ethical behavior.

via searchenginewatch.com – Google a Little Evil

According to the International Labor Organization, “Unlike labor law, corporate codes of conduct do not have any authorized definition. The concept “corporate code of conduct” refers to companies’ policy statements that define ethical standards for their conduct. There is a great variance in the ways these statements are drafted. Corporate codes of conduct are completely voluntary. They can take a number of formats and address any issue – workplace issues and workers’ rights being just one possible category. Also, their implementation depends totally on the company concerned.”

Click here for an article on the difference between laws and ethics.

The following is a list of some major companies and their code of ethics:

In researching these companies, it was interesting that Facebook didn’t have a clearly defined code of ethics listed in the same way other companies did.  For more about Facebook, check out the Wall Street Journal article:  Facebook Agrees to Work With Government on Germany Privacy Code.

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Scary Things Doctors Do: New Investigative Tool for Patients

Most doctors do wonderful things. They take care of their patients and work very hard. I’m married to a fantastic doctor, so I know they exist.  However, having spent 15 years as a pharmaceutical representative, I saw some scary things out there.  It’s important to keep in mind that someone had to graduate last in their class.  Here is a list of things that I actually saw occur in doctors’ offices while I was in the field.

  1. Illegal drug use in doctor’s office – There was one office where the receptionist actually had her boyfriend shoot something (I assume heroine) into her arm while I talked to her through the glass partition that separated the waiting room from the doctor’s area.  The reaction she got from the medication made it clear it was some form of illegal substance.  The doctor walked right by and had no reaction. 
  2. Doctors popping pills – There was one doctor I called on who would take Prozac while he chatted, bragging, “I take these things to lose weight.”  This same guy was always popping some form of pill, usually for an off-label use.
  3. Doctors committing fraud – Another doctor in my territory was arrested for charging the government for testing blood that he never actually tested.
  4. Doctors not using best medications to save money – I called on a doctor who once told me that he would not prescribe a drug that he thought he was good for his patients because, as he put it, “that comes out of my budget  . . . if they go to the ER, someone else pays for it.”  He had no problem telling me that he didn’t mind if his patients suffered if it meant he could make a few more bucks from the HMO. 
  5. Doctors getting paid by pharmaceutical companies – It is not unusual for a doctor to get paid to speak for certain pharmaceutical companies.  I remember calling on a particular doctor who made it very clear that he not only spoke for a particular company but also had a great deal of stock in that company. Because of this relationship, he had no intention of using competitive products even if they were better. 

The good news is that the Internet allows for patients investigate issues with their doctors.  According to the article, How To Find Out if Your Doctor and Drugmakers Are In A Relationship, “The nonprofit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica has a tool you can use to see how much money your doctor has received from drug companies.”  To find out if your doctor is profiting from drug companies, click here to go to the ProPublica site.

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Some Surprising Celebrities Received Honorary Degrees

An honorary degree is offered when an institution waives the usual requirements to obtain the degree.  Usually it is awarded because that person has achieved enough in life to prove that they deserve this honor.  There are some very famous people who have received honorary degrees.   

Last year, I was fortunate to have been nominated to receive an honorary doctorate from a local university.  Because I already had received a traditional doctorate degree, I didn’t realize that it was possible to receive another honorary one.  Someone else received the doctorate for which I was nominated, but it made me interested in researching honorary degrees. 

In the article 9 Surprising People With Honorary Degrees, the author noted that there may be ulterior motives when giving out these degrees. “Honorary degrees are often handed out to people who have made important contributions to a field, but sometimes they end up in the hands of celebrities for vague reasons. More than likely, the university wants the publicity that comes with giving a doctorate to someone famous.”

The article lists the following 9 celebrities who have received honorary degrees and questions whether some of these are deserving of the honor:

Not all people accept honorary degrees.  William Shatner had been offered other degrees before McGill’s offer, but turned them down.  To find out more about these unique 9 celebrities and their honorary degrees, check out the article by clicking here.

Some other famous celebrities with honorary degrees include:

For a more complete list of honorary doctors, click here.

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10 Most Important Steps to Obtain Dream Job

I often speak to students and career groups about how to obtain a dream job or reinvent a career.  I have listed some of the most important points from my lectures, with appropriate links to articles, to explain the process.  Be sure to click on the links listed under each step to watch videos and read the articles to get step by step instructions.

  1. Define Your Goals:  People fear making mistakes.  Although it can be argued there are no mistakes, only learning experiences, part of avoid mistakes is to have good goals.  The goals must be measurable with timeframes listed for when you wish to achieve those goals.
  2. Analyze “You” as the Product:  To get a job, you must showcase your talents by thinking of “you” as the product.  When you are networking and interviewing, you are “selling” a product and that product is you.   Be sure to analyze your online reputation.  You can be sure that companies will check on this.
  3. Create a Personal SWOT Analysis:  SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  By creating a personal SWOT analysis, you can work on capitalizing on your strengths and find solutions for any weaknesses or threats. 
  4. Analyze Your Competition: When you are interviewing, you must remember there are a lot of others that are competing for the same job.  Think of those things that you bring to the table that your competition does not.  What do others have that you need to be working on in the meantime?  Have you done your research?  If an interviewer asks you the question: “Why did you pick our company?” . . . do you have a good answer?  Know the answers to difficult job interview questions.
  5. Capitalize on Personality Skills: Part of finding the right job is based on understanding your personality preferences.  Personality tests like Myers Briggs MBTI can be very helpful in leading you to the right job.  It is also important to work on developing emotional intelligence. Find out why employers are placing as much value on EQ as IQ.
  6. Analyze Jobs:  Find out what jobs pay:  One of the first steps is to find out what a job is worth.  Consider what types of jobs motivate you.  Check out top 10 ways to find a job or have a job find you.
  7. Showcase Your Talents:  Use social networking to get noticed.  Find out how you can use a simple PowerPoint presentation and Camtasia to showcase your abilities.  If you are not on LinkedIn, you should be.  Use Google Docs and LinkedIn to get noticed.  Rev up your business card by adding a QR code to it.  Avoid putting these top 10 wrong things on resumes.
  8. Ace the Interview:  Once you are able to obtain an interview, use personality skills to wow them.  Deliver information in the job interview based upon understanding introverts and extroverts.  Keep in mind the proper answer to tough interview questions.
  9. Follow up on the Interview:  Always follow up with a thank you note.  It is important to stand out from the crowd and having manners is very important.  It is important to realize that millennials have unique job expectations and may not come across as respectful at times.  
  10. Use what You Have Learned to Succeed: Continue to use the things you have learned in order to obtain the job.  Don’t stop setting goals.  Stay connected through social networking in case the job doesn’t work out. 

Researching Apple: Top 10 Most Useful Links

The following list was created to put all of the most useful information about Apple in one easy to find location:

  1. When Was Apple Incorporated?  “Apple was incorporated in the state of California on January 3, 1977.”
  2. When Apple Went IPO Apple’s initial public offering was on December 12, 1980 at $22 per share. “The stock has split three times since the IPO so on a split-adjusted basis the IPO share price was $2.75.”
  3. Apple’s Mission Statement:   Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.  The Apple website officially lists their mission statement as:  “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.”
  4. How to Find Up to the Minute Price on Apple Stock Apple’s ticker symbol is AAPL – click here for 20 minute delayed price.
  5. The First Apple Logo Featured Isaac Newton Newton was sitting under a tree with an apple about to fall on his head.
  6. The Name iPod Came From 2001: A Space Odyssey “As soon as I saw the white iPod, I thought 2001,” Chieco told Wired in 2006. “Open the pod bay door, Hal! Then it was just a matter of adding the ‘i’ prefix, as in ‘iMac.'”
  7. Apple Lists Detailed Information About their Environmental Footprint:  The Apple site lists their total footprint including information from manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and facilities.
  8. Apple’s Annual Report  “Apple does not produce a glossy annual report. Apple’s Form 10-K is available on our website. If you require a hard copy, go to the Request Information form and select the Form 10-K.”
  9. Apple’s Dividend History:  Find Apple dividend and stock split information.  Apple has had three 2- for-1 stock splits in 1987, 2000 and 2005.
  10. Apple Press Releases: This link includes all press releases, including Steve Jobs’ Retirement Letter to the Apple Board of Directors.

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Twitter Analytics: Who is Viewing and Tweeting Your Tweets?

It can be a challenge to get good analytics on Twitter.  However, there are some sites that can give some helpful information. One of these sites is The Archivist.  “The Archivist is a service that lets you search Twitter for Tweets. Then you can create an archive, analyze, export and share the tweets.”  Once you are on the site, simply type in your Twitter name and hit start analysis.  It will come up with something like this:

This site allows the Twitter user to visualize data and information through graphic representations. Some of the most important things that The Archivists can provide about a Twitter account are:

 

  • Tweet Volume Over Time
  • Users Who Have Tweeted the Most About You
  • Top URLs Used
  • Most Frequently Used Words
  • Tweet vs. ReTweet Percentage
  • Source Where Users Tweet From Originally

For frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about The Achivist, click here.

For more Twitter analytics and visualization tools, click here.

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Top 10 Sources for Help with APA 6th Edition

Students often find it challenging to write papers that meet APA guidelines.  The following table demonstrates how difficult it can be just to cite correctly.

The following is a list of some of the most useful resources to help write a paper that meets APA requirements.

  1. Purdue Online Writing Lab APA 6th Edition – One of the most excellent resources for all things APA, writing, punctuation, grammar, mechanics, MLA, and more . . . main Purdue site index.
  2. APA Style Lite for College Papers – Free style guide that gives excellent examples of how things should look in APA 6th edition.
  3. Sample APA Paper from Owl Purdue – Excellent example of a paper with arrows and text boxes pointing out each area of the paper and how it should look.
  4. APA 6th Edition Tutorial – Video demonstration of changes in most recent APA edition.
  5. APA 6th Edition Style Headings – Examples of the different levels of headings.
  6. Meeting APA 2 Spaces After Periods Requirement – Video of how to easily change from one space to two spaces after periods to meet 6th edition guidelines.
  7. Long Quotation Requirements – How to space longer quotations in APA 6th edition.
  8. Removing that Extra Space Between Paragraphs – Video demonstration of how to use the home tab in Word to find paragraph settings to remove any spaces from in between paragraphs.
  9. Accessing Headers and Page Numbers in Word – Video demonstration of how to set up headers and page numbers.
  10. Top 10 Most Common Writing Mistakes – Additional APA information, first person explanation, vocabulary, grammar, anthropomorphisms, Wikipedia, and more.

Famous People Capitalizing on Manic Depression

Manic depression or bipolar disorder is a mood disorder where people experience abnormal levels of high energy or depressive states. While generally thought of as a disorder, there are many examples of people who have this disorder and used it to their advantage.

In the article Manic Depression: The CEO’s Disease, the author points out that many leaders can be successful due to the mania involved.  They also may not even realize they have the disorder.  “On average, it takes 10 years from the onset of the illness for a manic depressive to receive a correct diagnosis. In the interim, some of them do very well in business. And as more and more such sufferers come forward, many psychiatrists are convinced that their good fortune is at least partly a result of their illness. Dr. Sagar Parikh, head of the Bipolar Clinic at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, says 10% of those who have manic depression actually perform better in their jobs than a “healthy” individual. “[Manic depression] gives them that extra bit of panache to do the big deal,” says Parikh.”

In Joshua Walters’ Ted.com video, he points out the importance of being just crazy enough. He explains that as a performer, the crazier he is on stage, the more entertaining the audience finds his act.   He decided to embrace his illness and now walks the line between what he calls mental illness and mental skillness.  He points out that there is a movement to reframe the hypomanic part of the illness and to look at it is a positive.  He refers to John Gartner’s book The Hypomanic Edge where Gartner writes about how this edge allows people to compete.  Walters explains that being this way maybe doesn’t mean you are crazy, but that you are more sensitive to what others can’t see or feel. 

In the New York Times article Just Manic Enough:  Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs, author David Segal explained how people could take advantage of being in the bipolar spectrum.  Segal noted, “The attributes that make great entrepreneurs, the experts say, are common in certain manias, though in milder forms and harnessed in ways that are hugely productive. Instead of recklessness, the entrepreneur loves risk. Instead of delusions, the entrepreneur imagines a product that sounds so compelling that it inspires people to bet their careers, or a lot of money, on something that doesn’t exist and may never sell.”

Tom Wooten, author founder of the Bipolar Advantage, has made it his “mission to help people with mental conditions shift their thinking and behavior so that they can lead extraordinary lives.” He sees it as being bipolar without requiring the word disorder.

The following is a list of famous successful people who have been labeled as having manic depression:

Ted Turner Manic Depression

Jim Carey Manic Depression

Abraham Lincoln Manic Depression

Vincent Van Gogh Manic Depression

Christopher Columbus Manic Depression

Edgar Allen Poe Manic Depression

Steve Jobs Manic Depression

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Manic Depression

Ludwig van Beethoven Manic Depression

Robin Williams Manic Depression

For a more complete list of famous people with manic depression, click here.

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An Entrepreneur’s Startup Business Model Checklist

Whether they write it down or keep it in their head, the new entrepreneur keeps a checklist about any new big idea they may be considering.  Startup expert Steve Blank has created a video series for the new entrepreneur on Udemy where he explains the importance of this checklist.

Udemy is a site where online courses can be created about any subject.  “Udemy’s goal is to disrupt and democratize the world of education by enabling anyone to teach and learn online.” There is a wealth of knowledge on the Udemy site.  Entrepreneurs can search the site for relevant courses to help them with their business ventures.

In a recent presentation about entrepreneurs and their business model checklist, “ Steve Blank outlines a few points of necessary focus for the emerging business start-up, including market opportunity, market regulations and distribution, competitors and complimentors, and technology breakthroughs. He notes that the customer is not always the same thing as the payer, and that this bifurcation is creating interesting new business models.”

 

The following are the links for Blank’s entrepreneurial presentations:  

An Entrepreneur’s Checklist

Is First to Market the Best?

Vertical vs. Horizontal Markets

Market Risk and Technology Risk

The Entrepreneur and the Family

Blank’s Entire One Hour Talk

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Adjunct Advantages: The Future of Education

Professors who work on a contracted, part-time basis are referred to as adjuncts.  There are advantages for universities that hire adjuncts rather than tenured faculty. However, many adjunct professors do not like this option.  Some refer to the way things have changed in the university system as adjunct purgatory, with low pay, few benefits and no security. 

There is no shortage of articles that point out the problems with adjuncts.  In an article from MindingTheCampus, author Mark Bauerlein stated, “The practice creates a two-tier system, with tenured and tenure-track folks on one, adjuncts on the other.  Adjuncts take up most of the undergraduate teaching, enabling the others to conduct their research and handle upper-division and graduate courses, thus maintaining a grating hierarchy that damages group morale.  Also, because of their tenuous status, adjuncts can’t give students the attention they deserve and they can’t apply the rigor they should.”

These problems are more often associated with traditional campuses.  However, the future of education is headed toward more online learning.  In fact, according to Campustechnology.com, “Nearly 12 million post-secondary students in the United States take some or all of their classes online right now. But this will skyrocket to more than 22 million in the next five years.”  In private online institutions, adjunct positions can actually be more lucrative due to the ability that faculty may teach multiple classes for multiple universities. 

 

The reason there are so many negative articles about adjuncts is that in the traditional setting, they have a completely different set of issues than those in the online setting.  There are many positives that should be noted for adjuncts in online learning. Some of the positives from the universities’ perspective (online or traditional) include: Not having to offer tenure, having flexibility in course offerings and paying less money per course.

There are even more advantages for online adjuncts from the faculty’s perspective:

  • Ability to work at multiple universities
  • No driving to campuses
  • Less meetings to attend
  • No need to publish research
  • Ability to work any time of the day in asynchronous courses
  • Ability to have other jobs at the same time
  • Ability to travel and still teach without taking time off
  • Option to have some of the same benefits with some universities offering 401k, insurance and reduced tuition costs for the adjunct and their family

For those considering an adjunct online position, a site like higheredjobsis a great place to find teaching opportunities. For more information about adjunct salaries, check out SalaryBlog.org.  

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What is a Backronym or Bacronym?

People often use the word acronym but what is a backronym?  First it may help to explain an acronym. An acronym is formed from initial letters of several words to make a specific word.  A good example would be how FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. 

A backronym works backward. It is constructed so that an acronym can be formed into a specific word.  An example would be when Amber Hagerman was abducted, there was something created called an AMBER Alert.  In this case AMBER stands for America’s Missing:  Broadcast Emergency Response. 

There are some more recent examples commonly used in the news.  Reporters have been using the TEA in Tea Party to stand for Taxed Enough Already.  Some older commonly used examples of using backronyms include:

Golf:  Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden

Bing:  Because It’s Not Google

AIG:  Arrogance Ignorance and Greed

One of the longest ones I’ve heard was OLDSMOBILE – Old Ladies Driving Slowly Making Others Behind Increasingly Late Everyday.

For an extensive list of backronyms, click here to check out a Businessballs article.

Anthropomorphisms: When Not to Use Them

There is a really big word that students should know, but may not.  That word is anthropomorphic.  Technically it means to give human form or attributes to something that is not human. It is popularly used in children’s books.  However, doctoral students often have their dissertations rejected for including anthropomorphisms

Anthropomorphism of a mailbox.

Here are some examples of what an anthropomorphism looks like:

  • The study assumed that people would not be interested.
  • The computer program thinks that the results are accurate.

Both of these sentences should not be used.  The reason is that a person can “assume” but a study cannot. Animate nouns are things like a person, a researcher or a participant.  Animate nouns can make an assumption.  An inanimate noun, like a research study, cannot.  Just like an animate noun, a researcher can “think”, but an inanimate noun, a computer, cannot. 

To put it more simply, think of it this way:

  • Person, Researcher, Participant = assume and think
  • Study, Computer, Inanimate Object ≠ assume and think

Social Media Presence Able to Continue Virtually After Death

Adam Astrow stated some interesting social media statistics in his recent TED.com presentation titled After Your Final Status Update. His talk was about what happens to your social media presence after you die and whether it can be saved in a virtual personality.

He cited some pretty interesting numbers for how much data is being uploaded to Youtube, Twitter and Facebook and claimed that that data could possibly be used to create a presence after one has passed away. 

He pointed out that there are already some sites and apps that can create postings for people post-mortem. There is an “If I Die” app can that can create video to be posted on Facebook after one’s death.  There is a site called 1000 Memories that states, “1000memories is a free site that celebrates the lives of people who matter most – our friends and family, past and present. We help bring the albums, scrapbooks, and photo-filled shoeboxes of our lives out of the closet and into an online, shareable space where they can be remembered and celebrated, together in one place.”

Although one may have passed on, their lives can be remembered indefinitely through the use of technology.

Have a Laugh from Site that Compiles Past Tweets

There is a fun little site called That Can Be My Next Tweet. It pulls information from your Twitter account and calculates what your possible next Tweet could include based on what you have Tweeted in the past.  Every time you push the “get your next Tweet” button, it comes up with a new jumble of words combined from your past postings.  I put in drdianehamilton and the first three times I pushed the button, I got the following responses:

  1. You are emotionally intelligent? 3 Answers: Consumer Trends to Target its 90 Million From Russian?  
  2. Develop Socially You About Your Current Job Google and Psychological Bloggers and Business Review: How?
  3. Boomerang Generation: College Tuition Really Want This New Pew Is Your Current Job Google Using QR code!

It was fun for a few minutes.  I’m not sure it has lasting appeal, but it can be good for a few laughs. I put in a few personalities that can tend to be characters to see what their next Tweet might be.  Here is what it generated: 

Charlie Sheen:  Sloppy TunaGet you’re going to Colombia, it’s my page & ! KH & RH RT!! Anger Management ANGER & coke round.

Ashton Kutcher:  I’m a joke. retweet to keep spending millions to people sounds funnier than astronauts.

Kanye West:  Chilling with my stress and I just threw some bassoon on Yeezy’s and the right thing but I know Howie?

BrianWilson (the closing pitcher for the San Francisco Giants):  Charlie Sheen is why. The Tux. Made of the Wharf. you enjoy choking on today’s run, upon reaching the 1st!

To check out: That Can Be My Next Tweet, click here.

Have Some Fun with Common Grammar Mistakes

If you’ve ever been confused about when to use the words lay vs. lie or break vs. brake, there is a fun little book that uses some cartoons to help you.  The Bugaboo Review, written by high school teacher Sue Sommer, uses cartoons to present “the most commonly misspelled or misused words.  Sommer gives students and the grammar-curious the tools they need, without confusing jargon. Colorful examples and artful mnemonics encourage readers to learn…They’ll master how to pronounce commonly mispronounced words, and the differences between similar words.”

It’s nice to see some easy and fun ways to remember how to speak and spell correctly.  Some specific examples of things that she covered in her book include the correct way to use “I” and “me” as well as how to spell some of the trickiest of commonly used words.  Because the book is in alphabetical order, it is easy to navigate.

The Huffington Post included a sample slide show of what to expect from the book.  The reason Sommer chose the name Bugagoo for her book is “Bugaboo is from the archaic term bogy boo — a term for a hobgoblin or anything that haunts, bothers, bugs, harasses, irks, annoys, or frightens, like the bogeyman.” For those who use this book as a reference, they might find it is a little fun to scare away the bogeyman.

Via HuffingtonPost.com

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How to Publish or Self-Publish Your Book

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  I am thinking about publishing a book.  What do I need to know about finding a publisher or trying to self-publish?

It can be quite challenging to get your first book published through a large publishing house.  Many new authors find that they must end up self-publishing.  Some are choosing to self-publish now because of the way that the industry is changing as well.

Seth Godin, is a well-established author who used to use the big publishing houses, recently decided to self-publish.  Godin decided to do this because he had enough customer relationships and felt he no longer needed the publisher.  Publishers can offer a lot of advantages for a new author.  However, once an author is established and has identified their audience, they may not be as necessary.  According to the Wall Street Journal Godin is quoted as saying, “Publishers provide a huge resource to authors who don’t know who reads their books. What the Internet has done for me, and a lot of others, is enable me to know my readers.”

If you decide to go the publisher house route, here are some things you must keep in mind.  There is a very high probability that publishers will turn down you book unless you have an agent, a strong proposal, a very unique book idea, and most importantly a strong platform. 

The word platform gets tossed around quite a bit in the publishing world.  What they mean when they say they want you to have a strong platform is that they want you to have a “following” of people that will probably already want to buy your book once it comes out.  They would like to see you have a popular blog, a TV show, a radio show, are a celebrity or have written previous books, etc.  If you don’t have a platform, there is a good chance that they will turn you down. 

If you do have a platform and want to use a publishing house, you will need to start the process by finding an agent.  To do this, you must develop a query letter.  Once you develop a good query letter, you will send this to agents that handle the type of writing that interests you.  I suggest reading Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents.

Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! (Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents) Cover

Once you send your query letters to agents, you may get some that respond.  If so, you must be prepared to have a strong book proposal to give them.  There are plenty of books about how to write a book proposal based on the type of book (fiction or nonfiction). There is a very specific format about how to write a proposal and it is important that you stick to that format.  The proposal will contain several things including some brief information about the proposed chapters. 

Many people think they need to have written the complete book prior to finding an agent. This is not true.  It is good to have one solid chapter to send to the agent, though, in case they do like your proposal.  Do not send this chapter until it is requested though.  It is important to start with the query letter. If there is interest, then you would send the proposal.  If there is interest, then you would send the sample chapter. 

If you cannot get a publishing house to publish your book, many people go the route of self-publishing.  There are some very simple ways to self-publish including using Amazon’s CreateSpace. Sites like this have made it easier and less expensive than ever before to get your book published.  The nice thing is that the days of having to print large amounts of books that require storage are gone.  With sites like Createspace, books are printed as they are ordered. 

Self-publishing has changed the publishing industry.  Because of sites like Amazon, many stores like Borders have had to close their doors.  People have enjoyed the ability to have a variety of book choices and the ease of ordering online. 

If you do decide to self-publish, be sure that you have a good editor and an indexer.  Createspace and others like them, offer help with a lot of things like cover design and more.  The more things that you need help with, the more it will cost.  However, these sites have made self-publishing a much easier and more realistic choice for authors than anything offered in the past.

Social Networking Use Doubled: Future for Neuromarketing

Recent Pew Research found that 65% of adult online users are taking advantage of social media sites. That is more than double the 29% of users in 2008.  According to Pew, “The pace with which new users have flocked to social networking sites has been staggering; when we first asked about social networking sites in February of 2005, just 8% of internet users – or 5% of all adults – said they used them.”  With such an increase in adults frequenting social media sites, this could have a dramatic impact on how companies market their products.

Adults are making social networking a normal part of their daily routine.  The only part of daily Internet usage by adults that takes up more time than social networking was checking email and using search engines.   Women were more likely to use social networking than men. Young adult usage has been more stable, while older users are increasing their frequency. 

Half of American adults now use Facebook. This increase in how people use the Internet has a strong impact on how marketers must focus their advertising.  Previous research has already shown that women were more likely to use the “like” button on Facebook.  However, this requires action on the part of the user to hit the “like” button. 

Now the trick would be to somehow combine neuromarketing with social networking. If there are QR readers that can read information, what is next . . . eye tracking programs to register product appeal?  Eye tracking is just one form of neuromarketing.  Neuromarketing is one of many routes that the future of advertising may be headed.  Several companies have used neuromarketing techniques.  “Frito-Lay has been studying female brains to learn how to better appeal to women. Findings showed the company should avoid pitches related to “guilt” and guilt-free and play up “healthy” associations.” 

Now if the programmers who created the QR reader can create an app for eye tracking, think of the neuromarketing possibilities.  If women are flocking to social media sites, companies like Frito-Lay could use these techniques to find out much more about the appeal of their products.  This possibility may not be so far off in the future.

Make a Free Easy App Without iTunes

It can be quite frustrating and difficult to create an app that iTunes will accept.  I found a quick little way to create a free app that is easily accessed through a site called ConduitMobile.  You need to access the site to create the app through Safari instead of Explorer though.  If you don’t have Safari, you can download that easily for free.  

Once on the ConduitMobile site, it is very simple to create a decent app that contains things like RSS feeds, websites, Youtube feeds, contact forms and more.  When you are finished creating the app, you can test it on your computer screen to see how it looks.  When you are happy with the app, you can simply pick the option of “Web-based App Open on Mobile Phone”.  This will generate a QR code that you can scan with your QR Reader.  You can have this QR code and link sent to your email address.

If you scan the QR code, that will open the page to your app on your phone.  At this point, you click on the icon at the bottom of your iPhone that looks like a circle with a pen in it.  At that point, it will ask you if you want to open in Safari.  Pick yes and this will open up the website on your phone so that you can save it to your home screen. 

To see how it works, scan this code into your reader or click here to see more about the code and app.  By scanning in my code listed below, you can have access to my articles, Youtube videos and more on your iPhone. 

An even easier way to get the app onto your iPhone is to just use the link that is sent to your email that contains the QR code.  The link for the one above is http://drdianehamilton.mobapp.at/.  Simply open the site like this one on your phone and save it to your desktop.  You can also go to that link and forward it to people by entering their email address.  Keep in mind though that, unlike an app you download from iTunes, this app will be web-based and will require an Internet connection to display the information. 

Watch the following video for step by step directions about how to create your free app without having to go through iTunes:

Top Sites to Find Statistics and Charts for Writing Articles

Have you ever wondered where journalists find all of those great charts and graphs to show their statistics?  Here is a list of some of the most helpful free sites to find important data and charts to use when doing research for articles:

  • Alexa.com – “Free traffic metrics, search analytics, demographics, and more for websites.
  • Census Figures:  U S Census Bureau – Topics Include: People and Households, Business and Industry, Geography, Fraudulent Activities and Scams, Newsroom and Related Sites that include information about Jobs, Research Programs and Other Agencies.
  • Labor Statistics:  U S Department of Labor – Topics Include:  Inflation, Pay and Benefits, Consumer Spending, Unemployment, Employment, Workplace Injuries, and Productivity.
  • Morningstar.com – “Morningstar provides stock market analysis; equity, mutual fund, and ETF research, ratings, and picks; portfolio tools; and option, hedge fund, IRA, 401k, and 529 plan research.
  • Nationmaster.com – “a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations.”
  • Pew Research Center – Numbers, Facts and Trends:   – Topics Include:  Population Trends, Domestic Policy, Economics, Elections, Energy and Environment, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Internet and Technology, Legal, News Media, Politics and Elections, Polling, Public Opinion, Religion, Research Methodology, and Social Trends.
  • Quantcast.com – “Free direct audience measurement for all website owners including traffic, demographics, business, lifestyle, interests and more.
  • Real Time World Statistics:  Worldometers – Topics Include:  Current World Population, Current Government and Economics Statistics, Current Society and Media Statistics, Current Environment Statistics,  Current Food Water and Energy Statistics, and Current Health Statistics.

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Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Steve Jobs has officially resigned from Apple.   Jobs picked Tim Cook as his successor.   Apple shares fall after Jobs’ resignation announcement but ended slightly up at the end of the day.  WSJOnline.com has a very complete article about Steve Jobs’ resignation including a slideshow of his life. 

The following from TechCrunch shows his letter of resignation to the board of directors:

steve-jobs1
 

Title says it all. More to come. For now, the letter from Steve Jobs himself:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

Update: Apple has confirmed that Apple COO Tim Cook will replace Jobs as CEO, following Jobs’ own recommendation. Considering that Cook has filled in for Jobs in the times of his medical leaves (including the one he has been on this year), this has been widely expected if and when it came time for Jobs to step down.

Best Apps for Students and Everyone Else

mobile apps

It can be hard to keep up with all of the apps out there. There are over 425,000 apps on Itunes now and that number grows daily.

In the article 48 Apps That College Students Love, they have listed some very important apps.  The apps are broken down the into the following categories:  Essential Tools, Education, Communication, Entertainment, Information Management, Organization, Budget, and News.

This article listed some of my own very favorite apps, including TED, which includes some of the greatest talks from TED.com.

There are also some fun ones like Rate My Professor. Check out Posting Teacher Reviews Online – What is Rate My Professor.

There are a few that I would like to add to the list, though, that I think are awesome apps:

HowStuffWorks – This app has all of their great podcasts including my favorite from Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant of Stuff You Should Know fame.

StitcherRadio – Great way to access multiple ratio stations and more.

GoogleCalendar –  Google’s Calendar is a great way to keep things organized. 

Words with Friends – I like this version better than Scrabble’s and it can connect to Facebook as well.

Does Your Current Job or Future Job Pay a Fair Salary?

There are a number of salary-related sites that include helpful information for the career-seeker, currently employed person, or employers to find out what jobs are actually worth.  In the past Salary.com was the go-to site for many underwriters analyzing job salaries as well as a place for job-seekers to gain helpful insight as to what jobs pay. 

Payscale.com is another free site that includes everything from salary information, career research/planning, to education help, and job listings.  What is nice about Payscale.com is the amount of charts, graphs and general helpful information that is provided in a user-friendly format. 

If you are interested in finding out what you are worth, you can take their “know your worth quiz”.  Within that quiz, you can pick options that most closely resemble your situation, i.e., if you are currently employed and want to know your market value. Should you choose that option, after answering questions about your current position, it gives you a free detailed report with information like:

  • How your compensation compares to your peers
  • Would more education be worth it in your profession
  • Ability to browse job listings
  • See career details from people like you
  • Find out cost of living in other cities
  • Research current or future employer
  • Advice from people like you

There are also numerous charts that include information like your average salary range and your health benefits.

If you are not currently employed, there are other options on the quiz, including:

  • If you have a job offer, if the offer is high enough
  • What other jobs pay
  • If you are the employer, are you paying people enough

There are a vast number of charts and graphs that contain helpful information for job-seekers, those currently employed as well as employers.  Some of the more helpful reports include:

For those interested in the education information the site, you can find out if your college tuition has a good return on investment

If you are considering obtaining a college degree, check out the best undergrad college degrees by salary:

 
Degrees Degrees
Methodology
Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 2 years of experience; mid-career have 15 years. See full methodology for more.

Increasing Motivation, Right vs. Left Brain, MBTI and Who Will Rule the World

Dan Pink, author of several books about motivation and left vs. right brain thinking, presented a very entertaining and informative talk at a TED.com conference called Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation. The premise of his presentation was that there is a mismatch between what science knows about, and what business does, in terms of motivating people. 

He made a strong argument for the importance of how having autonomy may help creativity.  A famous example he used is how Google allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on any project they want.  He noted how ½ of all products developed at Google are created during this time.  He argued for something he called ROWE which stands for Results Only Work Environment.  This is when people don’t have to have schedules, attend meetings or do anything specific other than to be sure that they get their work done.  By following these guidelines studies have shown it will increase productivity and reduce turnover. 

Two of Pink’s books include:  Drive . . . The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us; and A Whole New Mind . . .Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World.  After looking through his book on “right-brainers”, I found a lot of what he had to say to be quite interesting.  He pointed out the importance of empathy which is a big part of emotional intelligence.  For my dissertation, I studied quite a bit about empathy and the part it plays in one’s emotional intelligence.  Researchers like Daniel Goleman, Ruevan Bar-On and others have shown that emotional intelligence can be developed.  In this respect, what Pink had to say is good news for everyone because we can all work on becoming more empathetic. 

The part of Pink’s information that may not be such good news for me and others like me is that he thinks that, as you can see from the title of his book, right-brainers will rule the world.  Before reading any further, you might want to take this right or left brain quiz to find out your type.  I’ll let you know that I received a 2 which means I am strongly left-brained.  Not much right-brained thinking going on here!

To define the difference between left and right-brained, think of it this way:  Left-brainers are sequential, logical and analytical.  Right-brainers are non-linear, intuitive and holistic. 

His theory supports that those with a high N or Intuitive personality type in the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) may be the ones who rule the world.  The N is the opposite of the S or Sensing personality who uses their senses rather than intuition in their processing of information.  In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, I learned quite a bit about the differences between the personality types assigned by the MBTI. One of the main things researchers have found is that your MBTI results don’t change much over time.  It’s about preferences . . . .like whether you prefer to write with your right or your left hand. Think of the MBTI results as your preferences for how you obtain information and this won’t change.  So if you are an intuitive or an “N”, you will always be an intuitive and if you are a sensor or “S”, you will always be a sensor.  Some people may be very close to the middle of the scale between S and N and so their results won’t be as cut and dry as they may find their type changes slightly when they take the MBTI.   

Dichotomies
Extraversion (E) – (I) Introversion
Sensing (S) – (N) Intuition
Thinking (T) – (F) Feeling
Judgment (J) – (P) Perception

In our book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, Toni Rothpletz and I gave several examples of famous people with different MBTI results.  The qualities of the right-brainer, as described by Pink, fall very much into the category of the “N” or intuitive personality portion of the 4 letter type given by MBTI. What is interesting to me is that less than half of people have an “N” or intuitive personality type according to Myers-Briggs MBTI which is close to the about 50% figure experts say are right-brained. 

If our type is pretty much set in stone, then 50% of us aren’t going to rule the world!  I guess I am OK with that.  However, I do take solace in knowing that my MBTI personality type, ESTJ, accounts for l0-12% of the population and of that population some very big names also share that type including Sam Walton, creator of WalMart.  He may not have ruled the world, but he came pretty darn close.

How to Use QR Codes on Your Resume and Business Cards

QR codes are the latest thing in marketing.  They are in the newspapers, on billboards and on just about every kind of marketing material you can imagine. Now you can utilize this amazing new technology to make your business card and/or resume stand out from the rest.  This is an innovative way to show prospective employers that you are tech savvy.  It also can redirect them to important information on your website that you cannot include in your resume. 

Here is an example of how to put one on your business card. 

Anyone with a smartphone that has an app for reading QR codes can easily point their phone at your card and find out more information about you.  If you don’t have a QR reader app on your phone, they are easy to download from sites like iTunes and they are free.  I use QR Reader for iPhone.  Once you have the app on your phone, open it, and point the phone’s camera at the square on my card.  See how it directs you to a site. 

The QR codes are simple to create.  Check out this article:  how to create your own QR codes.

Here is an example of how to include them on your resume:

 
If you used your reader to scan these codes listed here, you can see they each will send you to a different site.  You may just want to send them to your LinkedIn page or some other website that showcases your abilities.  You could create a presentation in Google Docs or on YouTube that would make you stand out from the crowd.  If you have always felt that you could get that job if only they could see you, now is your chance.  Just be careful to create quality content on the site where you direct potential employers. 

To see QR codes in action, check out this video about how QR codes are changing the way people shop:

Neuromarketing: The Future of Advertising

In Morgan Spurlock’s movie, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, there is a scene where they discuss neuromarketing. Spurlock is put into an MRI machine and shown product images.  The information obtained showed dopamine was released when he looked at images of Coca Cola.  His desire for the product was actually visible on the brain scan. 

What is neuromarketing?  Tech.FAQ defines neuromarketing as, “a field of marketing that involves studying the way people react to marketing techniques and adjusting those techniques to maximize sales and inform the public about a specific product, idea, or campaign. Neuromarketing includes the use of biometric sensors, social studies, and subliminal messaging. While neuromarketing is a relatively new technique, it has been widely implemented in recent years and nearly every marketing agency and medium-large company in the world now uses it.”

Just less than a year ago the question was asked:  Is neuromarketing the future?  AdvertisingAge stated, “Neuromarketing offers a chance to get accurate, factual data about the buying habits of target markets.” However, they also pointed out that, “At the end of the day, neuromarketing is still in its infancy. A technology that is unproven outside of laboratory conditions, prohibitively expensive, and potentially a legal minefield is a technology that requires a lot of capital and a solid brand to experiment with.”

The future may be here sooner than anticipated.  Combining neuroscience and marketing may just be the next big thing available through the use of apps.  ThreeMinds reported, “large companies like Google, Disney, Microsoft and Chevron have already begun to dip their toes in the neuromarketing waters.  And research vendors have responded, recently announcing the availability of portable EEG devices that can wirelessly transmit brain scans to iPads, as well as “full-brain home panels” for original research studies.”

Marketing professionals may be able to use this technology prior to products coming onto market.  Currently researchers from Duke and Emery are studying how products appeal to the human brain

iTunes offers a free series of videos from the University of Warwick about neuromarketing. In these videos, find out how “Cognitive neuroscience has revolutionized our understanding of the consumer’s brain – a fact with huge implications for business and marketing…you will hear from practitioners, clients and academics at the forefront of neuromarketing. Hear how neuroscience is being applied commercially to research and develop new products and services, improve the effectiveness of communications and boost revenue.”

Facebook Making People More Empathetic

Several studies have shown that online communication has facilitated friendships, honesty and sense of belonging.  New research is showing that Facebook time may actually improve people’s empathy as well. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “The more time on Facebook subjects in a recent study spent, the more empathy they said they felt online and off.”

This information may come as a surprise with the number of reported cyber bullying cases. Internet Solutions for Kids reported that 17% of 13- to 18-year-olds were bullied online in the past year. However, this is low compared to the reported 40% in-person bullying.   

Fear of dealing with social settings has led many to online platforms like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Some newer studies have shown that this form of online communication can be helpful for those who are shy or introverted and who may normally find social settings stressful.  The WSJ article noted, “In a study of New York University students who described themselves as either socially anxious or non-anxious, participants were randomly assigned to interact in groups of three, either in-person or through an Internet chat room.  Anxious students reported greatest shyness and discomfort than non-anxious students in face-to-face groups.  In the chat room, however, they said they felt significantly less shy, more comfortable and better accepted by their peers.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) reported some results at a Washington, DC conference this year from 1,283 people aged 18-30.  This group was asked about their time spent online and its impact on how much empathy they felt toward their online and offline friends.  The participants reported “a significant amount of empathy online, and that the more time college students spent on Facebook, the more empathy they expressed online and in real life.”

Young Adults and Unique Identity Theft Issues

As more people have embraced technology, more opportunities for identity theft have been created.  PC Magazine author Larry Seltzer interviewed a cyber-crimes expert and found that there are some unique new ways that people have their identities stolen.  One of the things that may come as a surprise is that misconfigured peer-to-peer apps like Limewire can share information from your “My Documents” folder. 

While you may be hip to the Nigerian scams, you may not be aware of skimmers on ATMs that can read your credit cards. Seltzer explains, “These are devices which install over the reader appear to be part of the machine. When you insert your card the skimmer reads it and records the information on it. They are often used in combination with surreptitious cameras to record the keys you press for the PIN. Skimmers are especially popular on gas pump, but they are also being used on the smaller point of sale readers found in stores.”

CNN Money reported that the top consumer complaint is identity fraud.  “The Federal Trade Commission counted 250,854 complaints about identity theft in 2010, according to a report issued Tuesday. That was 19% of the 1.3 million total complaints the agency received, putting it at the top of the consumer complaint list for the 11th year in a row. The most common form of identity theft was through fraudulent government documents. Credit card fraud garnered the second highest number of identity theft complaints, followed by phone and utilities fraud.”

Many young adults are going back to school soon.  College students may feel they are invincible and not notice identity theft as quickly as they should.  They are less likely to track their bank accounts and credit card statements.  Mainstreet.com reported, “Studies have shown that it takes 18- to 24-year-old Americans twice as long to find out they’ve been the victim of I.D. fraud – which is usually too late to do anything about it.”

Wells Fargo has come up with tips for college students to safeguard their financial information.

Fraudpreventionunit.org also has listed 10 Tips for an Identity-Theft Free 2011.

Doctors’ Time Running Out To Meet HIPAA 5010 Requirements

Effective January 1, 2012 there will be a new HIPAA 5010 version that will be a required for doctors to use for electronic filing.  If physicians don’t use version 5010 for all HIPAA electronic transactions by that date, their claims will be rejected and they won’t be paid.  Doctors are feeling the pressure to get their systems ready for this change.  Many physican practices have not embraced the electronic age as well as other businesses have and are now behind the eight ball, scrambling to meet these new standards.  

Medcost.com reported, “The purpose of 5010 is to facilitate the country’s ongoing goal of transitioning to an electronic health care environment by updating the current standards for electronic health care and pharmacy transactions. The updated 5010 versions replace the current versions of the standards and will promote greater use of electronic transactions. This change has been driven by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”

There are some helpful resources to show doctors how to prepare for this transition.  GetReady5010 offers free webinars.  The AMA also has some excellent resources. Despite all of these free offerings, many physicians are not prepared for this change. American Med News reported, “Many physicians have not even begun to see if they are compliant with what are known as HIPAA Version 5010 standards. According to a survey released in March by the Medical Group Management Assn., 56% of practices have not scheduled any internal testing for 5010, and 61% have not scheduled any testing with their major health plans. The survey covered 349 practices with 13,290 doctors.”

What’s new in the HIPAA 5010 version? Some of the changes include: 

  • Physicians must submit a nine-digit, rather than a five-digit, ZIP code
  • Physicians may distinguish between principal diagnosis, admitting diagnosis, external cause of injury and patient reason for visit codes
  • 5010 set will allow for the inclusion of ICD-10 codes

Nextgen.com listed the following frequently asked questions relate to HIPAA 5010 to help understand requirements.  Click on the links for answers to each of the questions. 

  1. What is HIPAA 5010?
  2. Who will need to upgrade to HIPAA 5010?
  3. Why must I upgrade to HIPAA 5010?
  4. How is HIPAA 5010 different from HIPAA 4010?
  5. What are the key dates for HIPAA 5010 and what is the deadline for HIPAA 5010 implementation?
  6. What happens if I’m not ready by the compliance deadline?
  7. Is there a chance for a delay in the compliance date?
  8. What do I need to do to prepare for the upgrade to 5010?
  9. If I finish all of this work before the compliance deadline, can I start to use the 5010 transactions?
  10. What provider transactions are implemented with HIPAA 5010?
  11. Where can you obtain the X12 Technical Reports?

College Students Beware of Financial Aid Scams

In the recent article 15 Common Financial Aid Scams to Watch Out For, the author points out that college students may be a vulnerable demographic.  So-called financial aid experts may be out to take advantage of those looking for legitimate ways to finance their education.  Watch out for some of the following wording:  Unclaimed Money, Buy Now, Application Fees, Free Seminar, and Guaranteed.  For the complete list of scams with explanations, click here

Finaid.org claims, “Every year, several hundred thousand students and parents are defrauded by scholarship scams. The victims of these scams lose more than $100 million annually.”  There is some protection against fraud.  The Scholarship Fraud Protection Act of 2000 has increased the penalties for this fraud, including a maximum fine of $500,000 and jail time. 

If you feel you have been scammed, you have recourse.  According to the Finaid.org site, “The following organizations can help you determine whether an offer is legitimate. They will tell you whether they have received any complaints about the company, or whether it’s currently under investigation. They can also provide you with additional information or assistance.

National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
In addition to providing helpful information, the NFIC will pass your complaints along to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your state’s Attorney General’s Office. The NFIC also maintains a toll-free hotline at 1-800-876-7060.”

Who is Buying Stocks When Everyone Is Selling?

With the recent stock market drop, there was a mass sale off of stocks.  This may lead to the question:  If everyone is selling, is there a chance that there are stocks that no one wants to purchase?  The answer is technically no.  There are always as many buyers as there are sellers and that keeps the system going. 

If you are wondering who would want to buy stocks when the market is going down, the answer is:  a lot of people.  Some shares are picked up through options and some are picked up through money managers that have been waiting for a strike price. 

There are many people who set up stock limit orders so that when a stock hits a certain dollar amount, it is automatically purchased.  According to Money.cnn.com, “If you place a market order with your broker, then you are saying that you’re willing to buy at whatever happens to be the prevailing price for the stock. If you have a specific price in mind, you can set a limit order specifying the price you’re willing to pay. If the stock dips down to that level, your order will be automatically filled. Limit orders can be left open for a single day (a day order) or indefinitely (good until canceled). After you’ve bought a stock, you can instruct your broker to sell it if the price drops to a level you specify (a stop loss order). That’s a kind of insurance; it means that no matter what happens to a stock’s price you’ll never lose more than a specified amount.”

Some may look at this as legalized gambling.  A capitalist is always on the look out to get a better price or better dividend yield.  Dividend yields are based on the price of the stock.  If the stock goes down, the yield may go up.  For example since dividends are in dollar amounts and not percentages, if a $1 dividend is divided by a $20/share price then the dividend yields 5%.  If that $1 dividend is divided by an $18/share price then that dividend yields more at 5.5%.

The sheer volume of trading is staggering.  A local stock broker looked up today’s trade volume.  For August 9, 2011, 9 billion shares traded. 

How to Reinvent Your Career

Due to changes in the economy, many people have been forced to change jobs and learn how to reinvent themselves.  Sharon Simpson, aka The Reinvention Diva, contacted me recently to ask me if she could review my book How to Reinvent Your Career.  Sharon is a speaker, consultant and self-help guru who assists those that want to change habits and behaviors.  The following is the article she wrote about my book.  For more information about How to Reinvent Your Career, click here.  For The Reinvention Diva site, click here

How To Reinvent Your Career – Book Review

How to Reinvent Your Career – by Dr Diane Hamilton PhD

Dr Diane Hamilton’s book How to Reinvent Your Career is a holistic approach to finding and doing the job you love.

The first great thing I notice about this book is Dr Hamilton’s willingness to share personal experiences of how she reinvented herself (several times) to the position which she now holds.

Dr Diane Hamilton is a writer and a college professor teaching bachelor, master and doctoral-level business courses for six online universities. She kindly responded to my request to read and review her book in line with our focus here at The Reinvention Diva magazine on Career Reinvention.

The second great thing I found in her book is the systematic way she covers almost every aspect of change that would be involved in reinventing your career. There are ten chapters that cover everything from educating yourself to the right foods to eat to keep you healthy. From what to wear to your interview and taking a personality test. It is a well rounded 360º approach to the most important thing involved in change: YOU!

This book is about YOU, if you are serious about investing in your life, moving forward and learning whatever it is you need to live the life you want, I would suggest Dr Diane Hamilton’s book as an excellent place to start. And here’s why:

Dr Hamilton uses space at the end of each chapter to:

Celebrity Doppelgangers and Facial Recognition Fun

The word Doppelganger can be roughly translated as “evil twin”.   In German, doppel means double. Facebook previously instituted “doppelganger week” where everyone could post their celebrity look-alikes as their outgoing picture.  How can you decide which celebrity you resemble the most? MyHeritage.com has a fun little program that can help.  This site lets you upload a picture of yourself to see your celebrity look-alikes.  Don’t be surprised if the results don’t necessarily come back as the same gender.  It’s best to use a picture that shows your face looking straight ahead, without glasses and doesn’t contain anyone else in the shot. 

This site has more facial recognition software applications that are a lot of fun.  Have you ever wondered if you looked more like your mother or your father?  MyHeritage.com can tell you that as well.  The site allows you to enter pictures of you and your parents, and then it analyzes who you resemble most.  Apparently I look 10% more like my mother.

Related articles

Loss Leaders and the Old Bait and Switch

Go Daddy is in the news right now due to their consideration of global expansion. One of the ways they have become so successful is that they utilized a marketing technique where they offered a “loss leader”.  For those who have not taken a business course, this term may not be familiar.  The Business Dictionary defines a loss leader as a, “Good or service advertised and sold at below cost price. Its purpose is to bring in (lead) customers in the retail store (usually a supermarket) on the assumption that, once inside the store, the customers will be stimulated to buy full priced items as well.”

In Go Daddy’s case, they charged customers only around $10 to register domains while their competition charged closer to $35.  The Arizona Republic reported, “Then, they were able to capitalize on that by figuring out that domain names are a loss leader or a low margin item, and the way you really make money in the business is not with the domain names, but it’s with everything else that people buy with them.”

How does a loss leader differ from what people refer to as the “old bait and switch”?  First of all, the old bait and switch is considered fraud.  “Customers are “baited” by advertising for a product or service at a low price; then customers discover that the advertised good is not available and are “switched” to a costlier product.”  This is considered false advertising.

The use of loss leaders is a smart marketing move because it gives customers what they want at a lower price and allows companies to make more money on any additional items purchased.  The old bait and switch is illegal and causes a loss of business in the end through word of mouth about shady practices.    

Importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Anyone who has taken a business course has probably seen the acronym CRM. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to ways of keeping track of interactions with customers.  However, it is much more than that.  Bain.com does a nice job of defining CRM:  “Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process companies use to understand their customer groups and respond quickly—and at times, instantly—to shifting customer desires. CRM technology allows firms to collect and manage large amounts of customer data and then carry out strategies based on that information. Data collected through focused CRM initiatives help firms solve specific problems throughout their customer relationship cycle—the chain of activities from the initial targeting of customers to efforts to win them back for more. CRM data also provide companies with important new insights into customers’ needs and behaviors, allowing them to tailor products to targeted customer segments. Information gathered through CRM programs often generates solutions to problems outside a company’s marketing functions, such as supply chain management and new product development.”

Forward-thinking companies must learn to embrace CRM to remain competitive.  An article in BusinessBalls.com pointed out, “The ultimate purpose of CRM, like any organizational initiative, is to increase profit. In the case of CRM this is achieved mainly by providing a better service to your customers than your competitors. CRM not only improves the service to customers though; a good CRM capability will also reduce costs, wastage, and complaints.”

In the business world, Pareto’s Principle is often cited.   This principle states that 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes.   This has been translated to:  companies obtain 80% of their business from 20% of their clients.   As the BusinessBalls.com article pointed out this also means:

  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your turnover
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your profits
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your service and supply problems

In order to avoid wasting time and energy, relationship building is critical.  To develop these relationships, it is important to have a strong CRM system.  There are plenty of web-based CRMs.  A popular cloud-based CRM is available through Salesforce.com.  This popular system boasts ease of use stating, “Using Salesforce CRM is as easy as buying a book on Amazon.com. That means your employees will actually use it, so it will be a more effective tool for your business.”

Apps are popping up all over to help with CRM.  Salesforce.com has their own that is good for a sales-based industry.  SmallBusinessTrends.com did a nice review of some other top CRM apps that are useful for small businesses.

Female Career Choices That May Surprise You

On the first day of work as a pharmaceutical representative in the 80’s, I was struck by the similarity of my newly-hired peers.  There were about 10 of us that started at the same time.  Nine out of 10 of us were women.  I hadn’t given much thought as to whether women dominated in the pharmaceutical business at that time.  However, sitting at that long table full of women, most of whom had business degrees, made me realize that things were changing for women and their career choices.   

Since I currently teach for many different online universities, a recent article about women and their online degree choices caught my eye.  In the article 10 Majors That Are No longer Male-Dominated, the author pointed out, “Historically, women have dominated majors like education, English and psychology, while men were more likely to study engineering, computer science or math. Although this may ring true at some schools, it isn’t the standard at every traditional or online college. More than ever, college women are opting to study traditionally male-dominated majors and are breaking enrollment records while they’re at it. As the line between male- and female-dominated academic fields continues to fade, there will be less segregation in the job market and more opportunities for both sexes.”

The article lists the following online majors as currently female-dominant:

Computer Science

Business

Engineering

Agriculture

Biological Science

Construction Management

Fire Science

Criminal Justice

Information Technology

Sports Management

For more information about the increase in women majoring in each of these areas, click here to read the full article.

Spot the Fake Smile: Fun Test That May Surprise You

Have you ever wondered if that smile someone flashed you is sincere?  You might want to check out some research on the BBC Science site.  “Their experiment is designed to test whether you can spot the difference between a fake smile and a real one.  It has 20 questions and should take you 10 minutes. It is based on research by Professor Paul Ekman, a psychologist at the University of California. Each video clip will take approximately 15 seconds to load on a 56k modem and you can only play each smile once.”

I took the test and only got 14 out of 20 correct.  According to this research, I am not alone in having difficulty spotting the fake smiles.  “Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don’t always know what others are really feeling. Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain.”

If that is the case, I guess getting a 70% is that bad.  I personally found one of the smiles to be a little disturbing.  I noticed that I did get that one correct.  Click here to take the Spot The Fake Smile Test.

Top Things You Should Know about Google Plus (Google+)

You may have started to receive emails announcing that you have been added by someone on Google+ and be confused by what that means.  First of all it is important to understand Google+.  SEOdesk includes a nice article explaining what is Google+.  This new system is not unlike the Facebook “Like” feature. 

The author of the SEOdesk article pointed out how Google’s new system works. “A small transparent plus one button will appear near your search results (log into your public Google account first), when you click on it, it should turn blue; this indicates that you have +1’d that particular link, it will appear on a new tab in your account which keeps a record of the various things online that you have +1’d (the plus one tab).” For a more detailed explanation, read the entire article

How can people add you to Google+?  First of all, people can find you to add through a search function.  See how to find people on Google+.  They can then invite people to be friends with them on Google+. How can you protect your information if you don’t want others to see it?  Check out: protecting your Google+ profile information. For more information check out:  guide to working with circles in Google+.   

If you receive a notification that someone has added you to Google+, it may include a statement like:  Don’t know this person? You don’t have to add them back (they’ll just see the stuff you share publicly). If you want to block someone, you can do so by following these instructions on blocking someone on Google+.

Are Women Making Teams Smarter?

Harvard Business Review recently published an article about how having women on a team makes the team smarter.  Although they didn’t find a correlation between the collective intelligence of the group and the IQ of individuals within that group, they did find that if women were in the group, the collective intelligence was higher. 

The Female Factor:  The chart plots the collective intelligence scores of the 192 teams in the study against the percentage of women those teams contained. The red bars indicate the range of scores in the group of teams at each level, and the blue circles, the average. Teams with more women tended to fall above the average; teams with more men tended to fall below it.

Professors Anita Wooley (Carnegie Mellon) and Thomas Malone (MIT) gave “subjects aged 18 to 60 standard intelligence tests and assigned them randomly to teams. Each team was asked to complete several tasks—including brainstorming, decision making, and visual puzzles—and to solve one complex problem. Teams were given intelligence scores based on their performance. Though the teams that had members with higher IQs didn’t earn much higher scores, those that had more women did.”

Finding the right mix of people on a team has been a consideration many organizations have dealt with in the past.  These researchers hope to see how this information can help teams perform better in the future through changing members or incentives. 

In the past, I taught teams how to get along better through the use of the Myers Briggs MBTI personality assessment instrument.  Through understanding personalities, team members could learn about each other’s preferences for how they like to obtain information. This became more useful to the team as a whole.  In my training experience, I found that even if a team had members with high IQ’s, they needed to understand why other members of the teams did the things they did and required the information they required in the format that fit their needs.  It was important to understand the collective needs of the team in order for the team to be successful. 

With the study by Wooley and Malone, they bring up the use of their findings in understanding collective intelligence.  According to Malone, “Families, companies, and cities all have collective intelligence. But as face-to-face groups get bigger, they’re less able to take advantage of their members. That suggests size could diminish group intelligence. But we suspect that technology may allow a group to get smarter as it goes from 10 people to 50 to 500 or even 5,000. Google’s harvesting of knowledge, Wikipedia’s high-quality product with almost no centralized control—these are just the beginning. What we’re starting to ask is, How can you increase the collective intelligence of companies, or countries, or the whole world?”

Top Apps for 2011

 
 

mobile apps

 

The list of apps that are available for iPads and other tablet devices can sometimes seem staggering.  Entrepreneur.com recently listed their 10 Must-Have Business Apps for 2011.  Most of these apps had to do with productivity.  For a more productivity apps click here.

Hubspot had a more complete article titled The 25 Most Important Mobile Media Apps. This list is nice because it is broken down into financial tools, organizers/time savers, utilities, news/information, shopping, social, and productivity applications.

One application that any mobile device should have is for reading QR codes. For more information about QR codes and their use, click here.

Top 100 Vocabulary Words That Adults Should Know

Educators often use words with meanings that students may not fully understand.  Rather than looking foolish and asking for an explanation, students may go through years of schooling and not truly grasp the meaning of important terminology.

After consulting with a past English teacher, my sister, Lesley Hamilton, and a future English teacher, my daughter, Terra Rothpletz, we came up with a list of 100 words that are dispersed by educators but not necessarily understood by students.  Rather than list the definitions here, I thought it might be better to just include the link so that you could test yourself.  Look at the following words and see how well you do.  To find out the definitions, just click on the word. 

  1. Acquiesce
  2. Acronym
  3. Ambiguity
  4. Analogy
  5. Anachronism
  6. Andragogy
  7. Antithesis
  8. Antonym
  9. Articulate
  10. Assonance
  11. Benchmarking
  12. Brainstorming
  13. Circumspect
  14. Clandestine
  15. Cognition
  16. Collaborate
  17. Colloquial
  18. Connotation
  19. Contrived
  20. Conundrum
  21. Correlation
  22. Criterion
  23. Cumulative
  24. Curriculum
  25. Deference
  26. Developmental
  27. Dialect
  28. Diction
  29. Didactic
  30. Dissertation
  31. Divergent
  32. Egregious
  33. Eloquence
  34. Emergent
  35. Empathy
  36. Enigma
  37. Epitome
  38. Epiphany
  39. Epitaph
  40. Erudite
  41. Existential
  42. Exponential
  43. Formative
  44. Holistic
  45. Homonym
  46. Hubris
  47. Hyperbole
  48. Incongruous
  49. Infamy
  50. Initiation
  51. Innate
  52. Intellectual
  53. Interactive
  54. Irony
  55. Jargon
  56. Juxtaposition
  57. Malapropism
  58. Magnanimous
  59. Mentor
  60. Metaphor
  61. Meticulous
  62. Mnemonic
  63. Monologue
  64. Motif
  65. Myriad
  66. Nemesis
  67. Nominal
  68. Norms
  69. Obfuscate
  70. Obtuse
  71. Onomatopoeia
  72. Ostentatious
  73. Oxymoron
  74. Paradox
  75. Paraphrase
  76. Pedantic
  77. Pedagogy
  78. Perusal
  79. Phonemes
  80. Phonological
  81. Plagiarism
  82. Plethora
  83. Posthumously
  84. Preposition
  85. Pretentious
  86. Pseudonym
  87. References
  88. Reflection
  89. Rubric
  90. Sardonic
  91. Satire
  92. Simile
  93. Soliloquy
  94. Superfluous
  95. Syntax
  96. Thesis
  97. Validity
  98. Vernacular
  99. Virtual
  100. Vocational

Boomers Worry More about Their Brain than Their Body

Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, have long been associated with having rejected traditional values.  Their notions about what they value in terms of their mind and body may not fit the traditional outlook as well.  Although they fear cancer and heart disease, it may be a surprise to note that they list “fear of memory loss” as their second biggest concern.  Cancer is their first and heart disease their third.  This information was obtained from a Strong.com poll by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, conducted through interviewing 1078 Baby Boomers. 

As boomers age, they aren’t taking care of their health as well as they could.  In the article Boomers Losing the Battle of the Bulge, the Arizona Republic reported, “Boomers are more obese than other generations, a new poll says, setting them up for unhealthy senior years.  Only half of the obese Boomers say they are regularly exercising.”

Rather than focusing on having a healthy weight, Boomers are working on avoiding dementia.  In this same article it was noted, “More than half of Boomers polled say they regularly do mental exercises such as crossword puzzles.” 

Marilynn Mobley from Baby Boomer Insights reported, “We boomers live in fear of being diagnosed with Alzheimers. Too many of us have watched our grandparents die with it and some of us are already dealing with parents who are showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Now, there’s evidence that our fear is not unfounded. We boomers are actually now regarded as “Generation Alzheimers.” One out of every eight of us will die with or from the disease. And unlike other common boomer diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and heart conditions, there’s really nothing we can do about it. There’s no cure; in fact, there’s not even a known way to significantly slow the progression of the disease.”

Boomers are not the only ones that fear Alzheimer’s.  They may have good reason for this.  The Examiner.com recently reported statistics from: The Metlife Foundation survey, What America Thinks. “Recent estimates show more than 26 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s. The number of Americans aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to reach 7.7 million in 2030 – a greater than 50 percent increase from today because of the aging Baby Boomer population.”

Value of Top Companies

The following is a list of the estimated value of some of the top companies in 2011.  They are listed in order of highest to lowest value.

Apple – TechCrunch recently reported that Apple’s value is now worth as much as Microsoft, HP and Dell combined.  Valued at over $300 billion, Apple continues to grow.  For more specifics, click here:  Apple Value

Microsoft – Recent estimates put Microsoft’s value at about $200 billion.  Skype – Microsoft’s recent purchase assessed Skype’s value at $8.5 billion.

GoogleGoogle’s value has been estimated to be $192 billion as of January, 2011.  For more specifics on this income including Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s net income, click here:  Google ValueYoutube – Recent estimates put Youtube’s value around $1.3 billion.  Google paid $1.6 billion for Youtube in 2006.

FacebookFacebook was valued at $82.9 billion in January and that number continues to grow.

Amazon – In January, it was reported that Facebook passed Amazon’s value.  Amazon still showed a $75.2 billion worth.  For more specifics, click here:  Amazon Value

HP – Recent estimates put HP’s value at about $72.8 billion.

Dell – Recent estimates put Dell’s value at about $29.3 billion.

Groupon – Recent estimates put Groupon’s Value at as much as $25 billion.

Twitter – It is suggested that Twitter’s value is around $7.7 billion.

Linkedin – Recent estimates put LinkedIn’s value at over $4 billion.

The Most Useful Articles about How to Use Twitter

As Twitter grows and develops, so does the need to understand how to use Twitter as an effective marketing tool.  Companies and individuals that still have confusion with understanding hashtags, obtaining followers or how to remove annoying followers, should check out this list of the top Twitter articles:

  • Best Twitter Articles of 2010 – Bloggodown.com gives an exhaustive list of everything you want to know about Twitter. 
  • How to Find Hashtags on Twitter – This article explain hashtags and joining conversations on Twitter.  Hashtags are a popular way to start up a conversation about a specific topic within Twitter.  By putting the # sign before a subject, it creates a conversation that others can join.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Getting Twitter Followers – Dave Larson from Tweetsmarter.com explains the 6 ways to get Twitter followers including how to build a reputation, self-promotion, becoming a reciprocator, understanding automation, joining following groups, and avoiding spamming.    
  • Deciphering Twitter:   Twictionary Terms can be Very Intwesting – As Twitter grows in popularity, so does the number of terms that are associated with the site. Check out some of the most popularly used Twitter terms.
  • How to Block People on Twitter – One big difference between being on Twitter as compared to being on Facebook is tha