Updates from July, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • drdianehamilton 1:10 pm on July 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , U.S. News & World Report, ,   

    The Ethics of Google 

    “Don’t Be Evil” is Google’s informal corporate slogan. The founders of Google claimed that this motto explained their culture that “prohibited conflicts of interest, and required objectivity and an absence of bias.” According to Google’s code of conduct page this slogan is, “about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.”

    Can Google do business in an ethical manner if they allow for people to search for unethical content? Laws may decide what is legal, but who decides what is unethical or evil?

    Every day someone searches for how to do something illegal and/or unethical through utilizing Google’s search engine. How much content should Google censor?  The following articles address Google censorship issues:

    U.S. News reported, “The company is based in the United States, and thus must comply with U.S. laws. As a part of its policy, Google already censors things like child pornography, and complies with copyright infringement requests (a heavy volume of which come from videos uploaded on YouTube). Yet because services such as YouTube and Blogger are popular around the world, the company must decide to what extent it will remove content deemed illegal or offensive to foreign governments.”

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  • drdianehamilton 8:31 am on July 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Goleman, , , ,   

    Sheldon Cooper is in an EQ Stupor 

    The Big Bang Theories’ Sheldon Cooper is a classic example of why it is important to have a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). In the TV sitcom, Sheldon demonstrates what it is like to have a high IQ without a corresponding high EQ.  Daniel Goleman wrote about why this may be problematic in his book Emotional Intelligence:  Why it can Matter More than IQ.

    Sheldon is a very intelligent human being. This is something that he constantly points out to nearly everyone he meets.  However, his high IQ is not tempered with interpersonal skills. Having strong intrapersonal and interpersonal skills are an important part of having a well-developed EQ.   Sheldon may be an over-exaggeration of someone that lacks these skills, but we have all met book-smart people who just do not seem to understand how to interact with others.

    Some companies’ yearly performance reviews may consider how employees demonstrate  “concern for impact”.  In other words, the company want employees to be aware of how they came across to other people.  Any employee that has to deal with other people on a daily basis must learn to see themselves as other see them. What may seem as perfectly acceptable behavior to an individual may come across as offensive to someone else.  Companies are placing more importance on developing individuals’ EQ levels and hiring people that have already developed interpersonal skills.

    Sheldon is almost robotic in his lack of people skills.  He does things because he has been taught that “it is the social convention” to do so.  For people who see any part of their personality in the Sheldon character, I recommend reading Goleman’s book.  I also think that it is important to read books about how to improve EQ levels.  There are some sites on the Internet that help people improve emotional intelligence.  Check out the following links:

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  • drdianehamilton 8:05 am on July 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Avastin, , , , Counterfeit medications, , , , ,   

    Patients Unknowingly Risk Their Lives with Fake Meds from Canada 

    Patients who obtain medications from Canadian-based suppliers may be risking their lives. Avastin is a legitimate drug used for cancer patients. Some fake Avastin drug has been discovered in the U.S.  It made its way here from Canada.  Although it originated from Turkey, it traveled through several middlemen.  U.S. citizens bought it from a Canadian pharmaceutical supplier. According to the Wall Street Journal article How Fake Cancer Drugs Entered the U.S., Kris Thorkelson’s Canada Drugs Group of Cos sold two batches of fake Avastin to doctors in the United States.

    In my 15 years as a pharmaceutical sales representative, I sat through a number of speeches from company leaders regarding the dangers of obtaining medications from outside of the U.S.  My Arizona territory was close to Mexico. Therefore, I heard a lot of stories about patients going across the border to get cheaper medications.  Mexico seemed a little scary to some people due to the economy and developing nature of the country.  Therefore, later, Canada seemed to be the place people went to get a “good deal” on pricing.

    Canada used to be able to obtain good medications more easily.  However the Wall Street Journal explained that, “by 2003, big drug makers seeking to protect their U.S. sales shut online pharmacies out of the Canadian supply chain, forcing them to seek supplies elsewhere.” It was at that point that pharmacies like Canada Drugs Group started looking to foreign countries to obtain medications.  Some of these countries do not have the strict guidelines that we have here in the U.S.

    The sad thing about this particular case is that many cancer patients may have received fake medications that could cost them serious health issues.  The fake medication contained no active ingredient to help fight patients’ cancer.  The Wall Street Journal article cited a New York oncologist who claimed, “People who receive a fake medication instead of Avastin could have lost several months of their lives.”

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  • drdianehamilton 8:52 am on July 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Marketers Use Retina-Tracking and Facial-Scanning Devices 

    The latest technological advances have allowed for marketers to perform experiments that used to be the things only considered in science fiction.   Shoppers may soon have their retinas and facial expressions scanned to determine their product preferences.  Although these scans are not available on the grocery store shelf, they have been used in product research.

    The Wall Street Journal reported, “Kimberly-Clark’s researchers used computer screens outfitted with retina-tracking cameras when testing the newest packaging for its Viva paper towels in 2009. Their goal was to find which designs got noticed in the first 10 seconds a shopper looked at a shelf—a crucial window when products are recognized and placed in the shopping cart. They also wanted to know if the preferences held up on different count packages, from single rolls to multipacks.”

    Researchers have found that they may obtain more accurate data this way than through the use of traditional surveys.  The retina-tracking devices are useful because the human eye can detect information very quickly.  It’s not just our eyes that can give marketers important information.  Some companies have used brain scans to determine product preferences.  Now with facial recognition software, even more customer data can be compiled as companies can “track involuntary facial expressions to gauge true emotional reaction.”

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    • drdianehamilton 7:05 am on July 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Raymond,

      Thanks for your comments. My links to my sites like Linkedin and Facebook at listed at the top right of my blog. You can also find out more on the about Dr. Diane Hamilton page listed below that. 🙂

      Dr. Diane

  • drdianehamilton 9:04 am on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CRM, , , , Paul Greenberg, Social CRM,   

    10 Top Links to Explain Social CRM 

    Organizations use technology to keep track of customers’ information.  The hope is to build relationships with current and potential customers.  This is referred to as customer relationship management or CRM.  Social media has changed the way companies handle customer relationships.  The following is a compilation of some of the top sources that I have found regarding how social media has impacted CRM:

    1. How Social Media CRM Affects ROI
    2. Don’t Cold Call – Social Call
    3. Facebook is the Future of CRM
    4. Search Engine Marketing:  Effects on CRM and Online Exposure
    5. How Social Media is Changing CRM
    6. Connection Between Social Networks and Cloud Computing
    7. The Impact of Social Media on CRM
    8. Social Network Management Enhances Customer Relationship
    9. How QR Codes Affect Cloud CRM
    10. Empirical Study of Social Network Effects on CRM

    As social networking changes and grows, organizations must keep up with those changes in order to remain competitive.  The company that does not create a Facebook page or is not on Twitter, may lose out to companies that have taken advantage of these sites.  There are unique ways to utilize these social networks.  British Airways uses online surveys for customer satisfaction.  Burberry launched a fragrance with Facebook, Salesforce.com and Twitter.

    To find out more about social networking and CRM, check out a video by Salesforce.com titled:   What is Social CRM.  Paul Greenberg defines Social CRM as, “a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, process, and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.  Social CRM is the company’s response to customers’ ownership of the conversation.”

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  • drdianehamilton 7:03 am on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Equifax, Experian, , Homebuyer, , , Payment, , , Transunion   

    Basics Every New Home Buyer Should Know 

    It may not be as easy to purchase a new home in today’s real estate market.  I teach real estate courses, I have a real estate license, and I spent years working in the lending industry.  Because of that, people often ask me about what a home buyer should know about the process.

    When I was a loan officer, the market was considerably better.  First time home buyers had more options.  Currently banks are hesitant to lend and buyers need to come up with more funds on their own.  In the past, it wasn’t unusual for banks to lend at least 95% of the cost of the home. Now it isn’t unusual for banks to only cover 80% of the cost.  FHA loans offer higher percentages but the amount you can borrow is limited.

    Getting the Loan

    As a loan officer, I did a lot of first time home buyer seminars.  At those seminars, people had a lot of questions about the home-buying process.  A big part of what they wanted to know was how their credit score affected their ability to get a loan.

    A person’s credit score is extremely important in the loan process.  The score alone does not dictate whether you will get the loan, but it is a big piece of the puzzle.  Banks will also look at your work history, income and how much money you have for the down payment.

    If you have a poor credit history, it doesn’t mean that will hurt you forever.  As time goes by, your poor credit history fades if you do the right things and is replaced with good payment history.  Your credit score should not vary that much from month to month.  However, if you have had late house payments in the past or a bankruptcy, it can drop your score more quickly than other things.  Improving your score takes longer than hurting your score.  It isn’t common under normal circumstances for a score to change 20 points in a few months’ time.

    That is why it is important to periodically check your credit report and contact the credit agencies if there is incorrect information on it.  There are three main credit agencies:  Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

    If you report an error to these agencies, they must investigate it and respond to you within 30 days.  Sometimes certain information will show up on one agency report and not on another.  In order to get information removed from all of them, you need to contact all of them.  Don’t assume that because you take care of contacting one agency, that the others will be corrected automatically.

    Your score is sometimes referred to as a FICO score, which stands for Fair Isaac and Co., the software company that developed the score.  In order to have a FICO score, you must have at least one account that has been open for 6 months or longer.  Also, there has to be one account that has been updated in the past 6 months.  The higher your score, the better risk you are and the more likely a bank will lend you money.

    There are 5 main categories of information that are taken into account in determining your FICO score:

    •           Payment history accounts for about 35 percent of the score.  Do you pay your bills on time?  Are there any collections or bankruptcies? Bankruptcies will stay on a report for seven to ten years, depending on the type.

    •           Amounts owed accounts for about 30% of the score.  How much do you pay on your accounts? How high of a balance do you have?  How much of the credit granted do you actually taken advantage of?

    •           Length of credit history accounts for about 15%. How long have your credit accounts been established?

    •           New credit accounts for about 10%.  How many recent requests for credit do you have?

    •           Type of credit accounts for 10%.  What kind of credit mix do you have?  Do you have credit cards, retail cards, mortgages, etc?  You don’t have to have all types, and it isn’t a good idea to have accounts that you don’t use.  However, it is worse to close an account that you don’t use than to leave it.

    Here are some tips you can use to raise your credit score:

    •           Pay on time.

    •           If you missed payments, get current.

    •           Paying off a collection doesn’t remove it from your report, though it does improve your score.

    •           Contact creditors if you are having trouble making payments to see if they can help you.

    •           Don’t maximize how much you take out on your accounts. Keep balances as low as possible.

    •           Don’t move debt around unless it means you’ll be getting a lower interest rate. You still owe the same amount of money.

    •           Don’t think closing unused cards will raise your score.

    •           Don’t open a lot of cards just to have available credit.

    •           Don’t open too many new accounts too quickly.

    •           If you have had problems, re-establish new credit history.

    •           Check out your credit score from time to time.

    •           Only get new credit cards as needed.

    •           Manage the cards you have responsibly.

    •           A closed account will still show up on your credit report.

    When people came to me to apply for a loan, I would ask them if I could run their credit.  That is what you can expect a loan officer to do as well.  They have to know what your credit is in order to know if you will qualify for the loan.  Although many people are worried that their credit will affect their credit score, one inquiry will take less than 5 points off of their score.  Rate-sopping can cause multiple requests on a report, but as long as the inquiries are within a 14-da6 period, it will only count as one inquiry as far as points taken off.  Also the score ignores all inquiries made during the 30 days prior to scoring, so if you find a loan within 30 days, those inquiries will not affect your score while you are shopping.

    What is a good score?  Traditionally lenders usually liked to see at least 620 to get better rates.  Scores over 700 sometimes can get even better rates.  If your score was under 620, you could still get a loan, but you would pay a higher interest rate.  The numbers change as programs change, but it is a good idea to try and keep scores as high as possible.

    Once you get into a house and have house payments to make, whatever you do, do not be late on it.  That is one of the worst things you can do to your credit.  Should you be late with a house payment, the next time you go for a home loan, the bank is less likely to forget that tardiness than a late credit card payment.  Having one late house payment in the last 12 months prior to applying for a home loan can severely affect your ability to qualify for a home loan.  If you have a 30 day late payment in the last year, you will have to pay a higher interest rate on your new loan, which could cost you many thousands of dollars.  Many lenders offer automatic withdrawal from your checking account.  If you have problems remembering to pay your payments, I highly recommend calling your bank and signing up for that service.

    Finding the Agent

    The first part of the home-buying process is actually getting pre-approved for the home loan.  It is only after you have received that, that you can actually start looking for a home.  If you don’t have a real estate agent, you might ask your lender to recommend someone.

    Another good place to find an agent is by asking friends and family.  If they haven’t really had a chance to use anyone yet, you might drive through neighborhoods where you are interested in buying and see if there are any signs up of agents in the area.  If you see several signs with a certain agents name on it, it probably means they know the area well and may be a good person to contact.

    Remember you do not need to stay with a real estate agent or loan officer that you do not like.  You have the right to drop them.  They are working for you and if they make you feel uncomfortable or aren’t responsive, you should exercise your right to pick someone else.

    The good news about being the home buyer is that the home seller is the one who pays the real estate agent.  Your agent will receive a commission for helping you but it will not have to come from you.

    Protecting Yourself

    There are a lot of things you can do to protect yourself in the home-buying process.  Your agent should help you with home inspections and direct you to appropriate insurance agents if you don’t have one.

    The Important Things to Remember

    Here is the minimum you should know about Home Buying and Renting:

    •           If you can afford to buy, there are tax advantages over renting.

    •           Understand what constitutes a FICO score.

    •           Fix any bad things you have on your FICO score by contacting all 3 credit agencies.

    •           Get preapproved for a loan before ever looking at homes.

    •           Find a real estate agent through referral or through checking out neighborhoods where you are interested in buying.

    •           If you don’t feel comfortable with your agent, get a new one.

    •           Remember the home buyer does not have to pay the real estate agent.

    •           Protect yourself with home inspections and insurance.

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  • drdianehamilton 8:41 am on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   

    LinkedIn vs. Facebook IPO Success 

    LinkedIn’s recent IPO performance appears to have crushed the perception of big named company IPOs from Facebook, Yelp, Zynga, Groupon and Pandora. Based on their recent closing price, LinkedIn is up 141%. According to BusinessInsider Linkedin is, “the best-performing IPO this year by a huge margin. The next closest competitor, Bankrate, is up about 28 percent from its initial public offering.”

    Timing may have been a factor for LinkedIn’s success. They have also seen consistent growth in unique visitors. Investors waiting for highly anticipated IPOs like Facebook may have helped increase the success of LinkedIn as well.

    Although Facebook has had a lot of negative press regarding its IPO, CBS news reported that Facebook’s IPO was actually a success. CBS explained, “LinkedIn (LNKD) shares popped from the start in the professional networking company’s 2011 IPO and more than doubled in the first few days.”  Investment bankers made a bundle. This led people to think Facebook had been a flop. However, CBS author Allan Roth explained, “my definition of a successful launch of a new publicly traded stock doesn’t rest on how much money the investment bankers make. It rests on how close the offering price is to where the stock actually trades. The fact that Facebook shares closed at nearly their offering price tells me that that investors thought it was fairly priced. That’s pretty amazing, in my view, given all the hype over Facebook.”

    Colin Lokey from SeekingAlpha explained that when comparing Facebook to Linkedin, fundamentals show that Linkedin is overvalued. Lokey warned, “Investors should of course, keep in mind that the fact that LinkedIn is far too expensive doesn’t mean Facebook is fairly valued at half of LinkedIn’s price.”  Prices have been affected by the recent Facebook IPO. Yahoo’s Finance writer Jeff Macke did not share Lokey’s opinion on pricing when he stated, “Linkedin stock has been dragged down over the last few weeks by the undercurrent of the Facebook Titanic.” He sees LinkedIn as a “screaming buy”.

    Only time will tell how well LinkedIn and Facebook will perform. BizJournals recently quoted Linkedin’s CFO Steve Sordello about the importance of a company’s IPO results. “”An IPO is a one-time event, and what really matters is the long term. If it rains on your wedding day, you’re going to remember it rained but it’s not going to influence the marriage.”

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  • drdianehamilton 10:55 am on July 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Createspace, , ,   

    Self-Publishing with CreateSpace 

    Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  I am interested in self-publishing a book.  Can you tell me about your experience with self-publishing and things you have done to market your books?

    That is a good question and one that I often receive.  Check out my previous posting:  How to Publish or Self-Publish Your Book.  I used Createspace for self-publishing.  I had a great experience with them. They are affiliated with Amazon.  The site offers different options based on authors’ needs.  Some of those options included:

    • Do-it-yourself tools to design interiors and covers
    • Comprehensive design and editing
    • Expanded distribution options

    I found that the company was very responsive to my questions.  They took my design ideas and gave me a couple of covers to choose from based on my input.

    Createspace is not limited to book publishing. They also work with musicians and filmmakers.

    Once your book is published, and available on Amazon, you will then have the ability to create an Amazon author page.  That author page can incorporate links from your blog. Authors also have the option of making their books available on Amazon’s Europe-based site.

    There are plenty of books that can help increase your sales on Amazon’s site.  One book that I thought was pretty useful was: Aiming at Amazon.

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    • matthew feldman 5:35 pm on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Was this a pay for posting? I have seen several paid postings for this and wonder if yours is too? Do you have a policy of telling readers when you pay for post or do you never accept pay for posting?

      • drdianehamilton 5:45 pm on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Matthew,

        No I did not receive anything for this. I have never posted anything that I received money for posting.

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