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Archive for March, 2011

The Internet = So Gen X

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I knew there was a reason why I love the internet so.  We share something in common.  We are the same age, and both therefore in Generation X!

We were born the same year: somewhere in the 1970s.  (Technically, born in the 60s, but love can transcend a couple of years, no problem and packet switching technology didn’t come online until the 70s)  I won’t say which YEAR in the 70s anyway. (I’ll let your fingers do the googling to figure that one out)–but the internet was created from something called Arpanet – an advanced research project during the height of the cold war to have a backup way to talk to others in the country if our traditional telecomm systems were wiped out by nuclear attack.  Only bummer was – they forgot to include Indiana in the original nodes of Arpanet – east coast, to Ohio, then west coast…(really)?

Anyway, the internet rocks!  If you think about it – it is so many awesome things.  I know so many more awesome people because of the internet.  Despite the fact that there’s a lot of evilness going on here in cyberspace (you know who you are), there’s also a whole lot o’ awesome too!

Cyber non-geek that I am, this post was brought to you by my internet law notes I’m studying for the final exam tonight, which is coming up frighteningly soon.  Hopefully, my shared age Gen X mojo with the ‘net will rub off as good luck for me on the test!

(Cue the Breakfast Club-ian-Don’t-You-Forget-About-Me moment…) And if you don’t understand the Breakfast Club-ian moment, clearly you don’t share the same original birthday with me and my homie–the internet!

The Adventures of the Not-So-Desperate Entrepreneurs’ Club

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Question: What do the following businesses share in common?

-TOMS shoes
-Zappos.com
-lilly lane flowers
-K Sherrie + Company Planning Atelier
-GoodGuide
-Cupcake

Give up?

Answer: They were each included in my entrepreneurship lecture today at Butler COPHS.

In the construct of social business (having business that figures out there’s more to life than just profit), I talked about GoodGuide (as a company that does nothing but rate other companies on social and community impact), TOMS shoes (about the One for OneTM program (while subtly extolling my underground secret crush on Blake Mycoskie), Cupcake (as a company that gives parties back to deserving groups, and educating on good nutrition habits) and lastly lilly lane flowers – who only purchases flowers if they’re already under contract (hence, no waste, and green).

K Sherrie and lilly lane also came in at giving true, honest to goodness Butler University college graduates out there in the real world, running real businesses (one as a COPHS grad, the other as a LAS grad).  They were also in the last book with Cupcake.

All I can say is: WOW!  Every year I give my students an entrepreneur quiz to find out who in the class might truly have the impetus to start a business–and this year, I was pleasantly surprised (OK, shocked) to see all the paws that went up when I asked about the highest category for likelihood of entrepreneurship.  That. Is. Awesome!

Here’s why: our country is going save itself by getting back to that scrappy, boot-strapping entrepreneurial passion that we once had.  And by watching my students today, I was feeling a little more at ease (i.e. less desperate) about the fate of this country in the years to come.

We’ve got those willing – now we just need to educate them and enable them to become the very best entrepreneurs they can be.  I’m glad to feel not-quite-so-desperate about this country after today’s lecture. Maybe we’re not so desperate after all.

(And Blake – if you’re reading this, I also showed the students this video about a one day without shoes, coming up April 5, 2011 as you know. Hopefully they will go without for the day!)

Some SWEet Reviews: Single. Women. Entrepreneurs.

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Big time reviews out this week and recently on the new book!  Thanks to:

Dan Pink – his blog has a good review of 14 points of advice from our SWEs.

Adriana Gardella – reporter/blogger at the NY Times – her review of several new books on entrepreneurship!

And the classic from Jeff Cornwall - blogger/professor at the Entrepreneurial Mind.

Congrats to the women and their businesses in the book!

“That’s Not Our Policy”

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

I’ve had this happen to me twice in the last 24 hours – so it’s worth a rant.  Here goes.

Whenever companies get a little too big for their britches, their employees start learning how to say no.  Better yet, they sugar coat it and say “that’s not our policy.”  While the customer isn’t right in EVERY situation, they should, theoretically, be right most of the time.

First example of this happened to me yesterday, when I went to one of my banks to make a deposit and get an affidavit signed.  Of course, I entered the building with about 7 men standing around barking orders at each other while one woman in the place was actually doing work, but I digress… Anyway, I fill out my deposit slips then try to go to the teller, only to be yanked aside, thrown into an office and had all my accounts “reviewed” along with all my account information and what I do professionally (not their business, but again, I digress…) Then, this guy takes the deposits out to the one woman doing work in the place while he continues to go through my information.  Then, I ask if I can have the affidavit signed.  They had to actually make a phone call to determine whether or not to do this (of course I had the opportunity to waste my own time staring at the bank guy making the call) and then only for him to tell me, “Sorry, we can’t do that.  We can notarize it, but we can’t sign it.”

Huh?

(As an aside, I cannot WAIT to fire this bank, which will be very, very soon.  Just need one more form and one more book of checks to burn through, then they are SO fired, I will actually enjoy Donald Trumping them!)

Second case in point – went to another place I do business this morning.  It was early, there was no security in the place, and there’s a sign at the security desk stating to go to the library to get help.  So I did.  I simply wanted to drop two items off for people who work there (who don’t have mailboxes anywhere for the public.  A dumb move on whomever designed the building…again, I digress…)  Of course, I was told I couldn’t leave the 2 small envelopes at the library for the employees, because that’s “not their policy.”  When I reminded them there was a sign at the security desk telling people to come over to the library for help, they didn’t seem to care.

Here’s my bottom line on this: CARE.  Make it your point to take some action for your customers. If you’re an employer: GIVE SOME POWER, freedom and autonomy to your employees to help them do the best thing for the customer.  If you don’t, guess what?  Your customers will leave you.  In fact, they’ll ENJOY leaving you.  I will personally be gleefully enjoying firing my bank, as an example.  I don’t care if you have a stake in ownership of your employer or not – but if you keep falling back on the “That’s not our policy” excuse, you’re going to end up saying that at the unemployment office.

The question is: will that be the same excuse the unemployment office uses on you?

Driven…The Butler Way

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Enjoy the post over at Yuspie.com today – and Go. Dawgs!!!!!!

Intrinsic Motivation, Lower Cost and Enhanced

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

So, I’ve blogged about this one before – but never in paperback.

Dan Pink’s latest book all about the power of intrinsic motivation, Drive, is now out in paperback, with enhanced material, and lower priced! I think everyone on the planet who is trying to figure out who they are, why they are here, AND everyone with kids struggling to figure out the same thing should read this book.  Here’s why.

Intrinsic motivation is what sets the exceptional apart from the herd.  The IMs do stuff because they WANT or feel they NEED to do it, rather than getting some carrot/stick for doing it.  That is an AWESOME, mad skill power that from what I’ve seen is truly unstoppable.

I see college students each and every day that say they want a certain major or to study harder or to be in a certain program, but honestly, those who have the fire within them are the ones who make it through.  The students who are worried about the absolute minimum to get by, or who nitpick at details, rather than looking at the big academic picture and keep on motivating themselves to move ahead are those who succeed professionally in the long term.

If you don’t know what drives you, get this book.  Because, as I’ve ranted on this blog here before, we are all here for a reason.  Finding out why and for what reason is tough work.  But, our intrinsic motivation can be the force that gets us to that calling or higher purpose – and honestly, what could possibly be more important than that?

Pharmacy + Law + MBA Education = Does Not Compute

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

As you know, I rarely discuss my first profession at this blog (pharmacy), and I don’t think I’ve ever discussed MBA education here either, but this needs to be said. Here goes.

As I sat last night in one of my law classes discussing health care “reform” (PPACA) and the new laws surrounding Stark and and Anti-kickback legislation, I grew more disturbed.   Here’s why.

In pharmacy school (one of the most heavily regulated professions of all–pharmacy–), we learned about how to not only put tablets in a vial (which sometimes I think is the perception that this is ALL pharmacists do–for the record, we do more) but now, we teach about how to put new services and other products into the pharmacy to improve the lives and health of our patients.  In MBA school, they call this “vertical marketing.”  That is, it is serving the patient population of communities in different ways, through the same organization.  For example, having a pharmacy provide Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services to their patients, and have durable medical equipment (DME), and sell other over the counter drugs on top of filling prescriptions–all 3 are available at the same store.  Cool.  Great.  It’s convenient for the patient, and good for the store, even the community around the store.  You can go to one store to get all 3 things or services.  Vertical marketing is a marketer’s/MBA’s biggest dream!

However, now with new health care reform (PPACA), Stark, and Anti-kickback legislation, that same dream of vertical marketing for the MBA can now be an illegal nightmare for health care professionals.  For example, if a doctor owns a lab and sends her patients there without disclosure and list of other labs in the patient’s area (as if the doctor could know that off of the top of her head), that could be self referral violations under Stark–which means, potential loss of provider status, fines, and yes, even prison time.

Who created Stark, you may ask?  But of course!  Congress.  How many medical professionals are actually in Congress and understand good patient care?  Not enough.  This “health care reform” law is being made by non-medical professionals (mainly lawyers).  But here’s what I think needs to be said about all this: the more regulation you put on top of health care, the less likely you are to get students into the professions, and less likely you are going to have health care providers at all.

Case in point: primary care.  There is a current shortage of primary care doctors in this country, and it is only going to get worse.  But then again, as students racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, I honestly don’t know how medical students could justify return on their educational investment to go into primary care anymore.  If all they can do is work as a doctor, making half or a third of what a specialist makes, with a crushing patient load and pressure from managed care to see a new patient every 8 minutes, how long would it take to pay off a couple hundred grand in education debt?  FOREVER!  Why do that if they can go specialize, make at least twice the salary, and not have the onslaught of patients?

There’s also some major changes on doctors owning hospitals in health care reform, i.e. less of it happening now.  Here’s what I think as a patient, and a business owner: I WANT my doctor to be invested in the place and community where I’m getting care.  I want her to CARE about my surrounding neighborhood.  I want her to make enough money to be comfortable and ensure that she’s able to pay off her student loans, and I would be happy to go to her lab, because she got me in when I was sick and took care of me!  She takes care of me, so I’d be thrilled to help her out in return.  We all do this, each and every day–help others out who help us!

Now, Stark and Anti-kickback came about because some were abusing the system, and technically it only directly applies to Medicare.  But should EVERY doctor be punished?  Why can’t a doctor own a lab next to her office to make it more convenient for the patient and maybe even able to provide better care?  The argument (by the lawmakers) is that there’s no arm’s length deal between a patient and her doctor, and that makes it unfair competition.  Do lawmakers really think we as patients are that naive?  Frankly, I resent lawmakers assuming that the population of this country is that stupid and ignorant.

I think a lot of these “laws” on “reform” are actually fragmenting health care and making it more cumbersome and difficult FOR OUR PATIENTS, especially for our elderly patients, who, by the way, are going to be the biggest population in need of medical care from now until the Baby Boomers come to end of life. Can you even imagine a 90 year old patient driving from her doctor’s office, across town to a lab for her bloodwork, and then across town yet again to get her DXA?

My point…?  One education’s utopia (the MBA and the pharmacist who creatively busted their hump and grew a business by vertical marketing to help their patients/customers and YES, their businesses too) has turned into a nightmare for health care now. I recently heard we spend more than 2 days in line waiting every year for various appointments.  Isn’t there value in vertical marketing and getting all your products and services from the same place?  I don’t see Congress putting Stark and Anti-kickback legislation on to big box retailers…(at least yet…)

With the most expensive health care system on the planet, you think we could do better.  I know we can.  And if you’re a lawmaker reading this post – PLEASE don’t try to fix the problem by slapping on more legislation!  You’re going to regulate us out of having a doctor to go to when we are ill.

On Picking Yourself, and Humiliation

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Seth Godin had a super cool blog post on picking yourself recently.  I thought it was really good, and really relevant right now.  In particular, for women.  Women are really bad at picking themselves.  (Ok, we suck at it.)  But this is something I’m personally trying to work on.

If we can’t advocate for ourselves, who will?  I think this is worst of all for single women.  They might not easily have a cheering section.

Personal case in point: made a decision on attending and speaking at a conference just this weekend.  With a colleague, we joked that if it is an utter failure and humiliation with potentially no one showing up, we still decided to try it.  Why not?  I suffer from humiliation on a moment by moment basis wearing my multiple hats ANYWAY!  But that is OK, because humiliation and failure mean you are that much closer to success.

The lesson here: just do it.  GO FOR IT!  Pick yourself, and let your fear of failure and humiliation drive you to potentially succeed with that much more via channeled energy.  The worst thing that could happen…?  You wait for someone else to pick you.  As Seth says, you could be waiting awhile – and that is the worst thing of all.  Why?

Because you’re not trying and daring to live.

Vacation from the Vacation

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

I should in no way, shape or form be complaining about taking a vacation.  But, I have to indulge for a second to anyway.  I beg for your forgiveness in advance.

Every time I go away on a vacation, I come back with a pile of work and a little regret for taking it.  However, sometimes, you just must get away for a while.  Even though I’m on the back end and feeling the pressure of the pile of work on top of me and the slight tinge of regret at this point, it was good to go away, get in the sun, and enjoy the fruits of labor for a day or two.

My burning question that always remains upon my return is – where and how do I dig back in?  What priorities come first?  I’ve never had a really good solution to this, other than writing a list of stuff to be done out, and then knocking them off, one by one.  If anyone out there in cyberspace has a good way to manage the return from vacation mess, I’m all ears.

The sun and heat were nice.  I did manage to fry out my cold.  And, got to put my paws in the sand on a hot sunny day at the beach.  Nothing like a clear blue sky and some white, sugary sand to make you block out that pile of paperwork waiting for you upon your return.

And now…back to the pile!

My Own March Madness

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Every March, around spring break time, I generally tend to have my once a year illness.  Unfortunately, this year is no exception to that rule.

This week is my spring break at law school.  I attended an all day board meeting for work yesterday, got home at 6 pm, ate, took diphenhydramine because I have a head cold that has allowed me the opportunity to become a mouth breather….and literally fell into a coma until 6:30 am this morning.  Lights out!

Now, I’ve never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I can tell you that I do work hard.  But, it is nice to have a break during my own madness.  Even if that means being happy with having a head cold, because it forces one to slow down a bit.  (But let me be clear: I prefer a spring break involving sun and sand over viral illness.)

Here’s hoping you get a little break in your own March madness, preferably of the sun & sand ilk, and not the viral variety.