Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Craig Wortmann on Creating Your Business Story

Monday, October 15th, 2012

According to Craig Wortmann, Clinical Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, people today tend to collect too much information – via Facebook, blogging, tweeting, reading other people’s blogs – information overload typically becomes a problem shared by humanity.  In a recent interview for the Alter+Care Inspire Podcasts, Wortmann said that while the technique of telling stories is the oldest form of communication — it’s also the one form that rises above the din of our information-saturated environment and delivers messages that connect with people, bringing ideas to life.

Wortmann is founder and CEO of The Sales Engine and the author of the book “What’s Your Story?”, which discusses how to use stories to ignite performance and be more successful.

Wortmann believes that we are reaching back to our earliest human ancestors whose cave drawings created a narrative structure – stories that remain compelling through the ages.  We still create stories to make daily experiences meaningful for people, to differentiate them from what Wortmann calls facts or data.  Stories do two things:  they create context and provide an emotional connection.  By “emotional”, Wortmann doesn’t mean fluffy or characterized by high drama.  Rather, it is emotional because we are all human beings who thrive on creating emotional connections.  This is why stories – when told persuasively – can be so powerful.

According to Wortmann, “One of the things we say in business school that drives our students crazy is that people will not work to understand your message.”  Instead, you have to work to be understood.  For example, a sales trailer is to a business as a movie trailer is to a feature film.  In both cases, we struggle to have our message understood because people have accumulated knowledge.

Wortmann helps entrepreneurs create their sales trailer, which acts as a hook that prompts the potential client to ask questions.  Whatever way you send the message – whether spoken, written, e-mailed, tweeted or otherwise transmitted – always err on the side of conciseness.  An e-mail, for example, should be three or four lines — maximum.

The same philosophy of brevity should apply to any presentation, which Wortmann believes in limiting to a single word per slide.  He shares that same affinity with Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki and the late Steve Jobs.

To listen to Craig Wortmann’s full interview on the art of the sale, click here.

The Doctor Will Tweet You Now

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Physicians are often pigeonholed as technophobes because they fear that using technology might threaten patient privacy and their own incomes.  But, an increasing number of physicians are texting health messages to patients, tracking disease trends on Twitter, and communicating with patients via email.  Kansas City pediatrician Natasha Burgert is one of this new breed, offering child-rearing advice on her blog,  Facebook and Twitter pages, and answering patients’ questions by email and text messages.  According to Burgert, she sends messages between checkups and it’s easier than calling a lot of people back at the end of the day.

These tools are embedded in my work day,” Burgert said. “It’s much easier for me to shoot you an email and show you a blog post than it is to phone you back.  That’s what old-school physicians are going to be doing, spending an hour at the end of the day” returning patients’ phone calls, she said.  Burgert doesn’t charge for virtual communication, although some physicians do.  She believes that it augments but doesn’t replace office visits or other personal contact with patients.  Colleagues “look at me and kind of shake their heads when I tell them what I do. They don’t have an understanding of the tools,” Burgert said.  “For the next generation that’s coming behind me, I think this will be much more common.”

Sarah Hartley, whose daughters are Dr. Burgert’s patients, loves having e-access to her pediatrician and says that even emails late in the evening typically are responded to quickly.  “It’s so useful,” Hartley said.  “Sometimes parents get concerned about a lot of things that maybe aren’t necessarily big deals” and getting after-hours reassurance is comforting.

Writing for the Associated Press, Lindsey Tanner says that “So far, those numbers are small.  Many doctors still cling to pen and paper, and are most comfortable using e-technology to communicate with each other — not with patients.  But from the nation’s top public health agency, to medical clinics in the heartland, some physicians realize patients want more than a 15-minute office visit and callback at the end of the day.”

Dr. Steven Nissen, who is in his 60s, is experimenting with e-technology.  A cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, Nissen insists that he’s not a member of “the Twitterati.”  With technical assistance from clinic staffers, he recently led a live Twitter chat about things like heart failure and cholesterol problems, and found the process “in some ways maybe a little exhilarating.  This was an opportunity to use a different communication channel to find an audience to talk about heart health,” Nissen said.  “The downside is that we dumb it down,” he said.  “It’s very challenging for physicians, primarily because the messages that we have are not conducive to 140 characters.  If you ask me a question, you’re likely to get a five-minute answer.”

Some physicians are still technology averse.  Dr. Raoul Wolf, a pediatrics professor at the University of Chicago, doesn’t use social media sites in his personal or profession life and is concerned about the permanence of online communication.  “With anything on the Internet, it’s there forever. There’s no calling it back,” Wolf said.  “Ask any politician.”

A survey of 501 randomly selected doctors found that more than 20 percent sent emails to patients over secure networks.  Another six percent communicated with patients through other social media.

The American Medical Association recognizes the benefits of using social media, but also cautions doctors to protect patient privacy and “maintain appropriate boundaries” with patients.  In a case of technology use gone bad, a Rhode island state disciplinary board last year reprimanded an emergency medicine physician for “unprofessional conduct” and fined her $500 after she posted on Facebook about a patient’s injury.  Even though she didn’t post the patients names, others figured out the identity.  Hard numbers are scarce on exactly how many of the nation’s nearly one million physician communicate virtually with their patients, but anecdotal evidence suggests the numbers are on the rise.

Don’t Text and Treat: How Mobile Technology Is Distracting Physicians

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Dr. Henry Feldman, nicknamed the iDoctor, of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a hospitalist and programmer who is constantly armed with an iPhone and iPad.  According to Kaiser Health News, mobile technology has helped Feldman become a better, faster physician.  “It lets me do everything I could do if I was sitting at my desktop at the patient’s bedside, and actually some things I couldn’t easily do,” he said.  According to Kaiser Health News, this includes showing patients impressive apps, diagrams, medical records and even photos from their own surgeries.  Beth Israel, one of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals, is one of the most technically sophisticated hospitals in the nation, particularly in terms of mobile technology.

A somewhat different viewpoint is offered by Dr. John Halamka, the hospital’s chief information officer who helped make Beth Israel electronically advanced.  Halamka warns that mobile technology has a serious downside — it can distract doctors from patient care.  Physicians who carry mobile devices often receive texts, e-mails, Facebook messages, tweets and other notifications that automatically appear on the screen, he said.  Because the vast majority of smart phones and tablets are personal devices, the problem can be virtually impossible for hospitals to control.  “I think all of us who use mobile devices have what I will call continuous partial attention,” Halamka said.  “We’re engaged in our work but at the same time we’re checking that e-mail or we’re glancing at that instant message.”

Last winter, Halamka wrote a case study for the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality about an incident in which a 56-year-old man was admitted to have his feeding tube replaced.  A team of doctors decided to stop giving the patient a blood thinner, but as one of the residents was entering the new order into her smart phone, she got a text about a party.  Because she was busy responding, she never completed the drug order.  It wasn’t a minor mistake; the patient almost died.  “If you forgot to pick something up at grocery store, it’s an inconvenience,” according to Halamka.  “If you forgot to stop a blood thinner, it can result in significant harm.”

To avoid such errors from occurring at Beth Israel, Halamka has implemented policies advising doctors on minimizing distraction on their mobile devices.  The hospital is testing software products that separate the devices’ personal and professional functions and wants to launch the new programs within the next six months.  The problem is that new technology fast outpaces the policies that regulate its use.  “The consumer technology industry is bringing more tech to doctor hands faster than policy can be made,” he said.  “How long did it take to pass laws against texting while driving,” Halamka noted.  “And we had how many people die because they were distracted drivers. There was a lag. I think maybe we’re at that point in healthcare.”

Writing on KevinMD.com, Dr. Kevin Pho “We’re encouraging more doctors to use ‘point-of-care’ apps, which, in theory, should benefit patients. But unaccounted for is the fact that smartphones and tablets carry many other functions that are non-clinical — like Facebook, for instance.  A simple answer, some say, would be to ban non-medical use of smart phone and tablet apps.  But like trying to ban texting and driving, that would be near impossible to enforce.  A better way would be to increase awareness and education of the phenomenon.  I had no idea how bad the problem was.  In medical school and residency, there are few courses on online professionalism.  Perhaps that needs to be part of the curriculum.  We need social media and health 2.0 role models who can teach physicians, residents and medical students not only how to act professional online, but also on appropriate mobile technology use in the clinic and hospital.  The problem is, there are too few of these role models.  In their absence, much of what we do to address this issue will be reactionary, and likely after a well-publicized malpractice case.”

Jonathan Mack, director of clinical research and development with the West Wireless Health Institute, a San Diego-based non-profit that focuses on cutting the cost of healthcare through new technology, believes that distraction from mobile technology “is case by case, but it’s not a huge problem overall.  It’s a learning curve” as hospitals adapt to the new technology.  Hospital administrators should be comfortable calling doctors on bad behavior if they see it and offer training so that they don’t become a barrier to care.

Writing for informationweek.com, Larry Seltzer says that “But of course, like the rest of us, doctors are going to use these devices for non-business reasons from time to time.  Yes, smart phones are especially good distractions, but it’s not like they invented distraction.  If nurses and techs weren’t playing Angry Birds 10 years ago when they had nothing to do, they might have been reading People magazine or doing a crossword puzzle.  Surgeons might not have been making personal phone calls while sewing up patients, but they might have been having personal conversations with others in the room.  What’s the difference?  There are good reasons why doctors and techs might want to access computers or the Internet while working on patients, and there are bad reasons.  These are people who we already entrust with a lot.  It’s just common sense to expect them to use these devices responsibly.”

Planned Parenthood, Susan G. Komen For the Cure Disagree, Then Make Up

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

After setting off a firestorm by threatening to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen For the Cure — the nation’s largest breast-cancer advocacy agency — backtracked and promised to amend the criteria.  “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants,” Nancy G. Brinker said.  “We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.”  According to Brinker, the decision was not “done for political reasons, or specifically to penalize Planned Parenthood.”

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards expressed gratitude and said her agency could resume longstanding relations with Komen and that she anticipated continuing to receive ongoing funding.  “I really take them at their word that this is behind us,” according to Richards.  She gave credit to an outpouring of support, especially on social media sites, with forcing the reversal.  In just three days, Planned Parenthood raised $3 million and acquired 10,000 new Facebook supporters, Richards said.

Komen executives insisted that their decision was not compelled by pressure from anti-abortion groups.  Planned Parenthood said its national network of health centers performed more than four million breast exams over the last five years, including nearly 170,000 paid for by Komen grants.  The grants totaled $680,000 in 2011.  As the controversy developed, Planned Parenthood received $400,000 in smaller donations from 6,000 people, as well as a $250,000 pledge from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to match future donations.  Komen was flooded with negative emails and Facebook posts, accusing it of bowing to pressure from anti-abortion groups.

Although the dispute between the two sides appears to have reached an amicable solution, the debate continued as Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life Committee, said Komen’s decision to reverse its decision will almost certainly cost the group contributions.  “I think right now pro-lifers are going to be reluctant to support them because the money may go to the country’s largest abortion provider,” Tobias said.

According to Mike Paul, president of MGP & Associates, a reputation management firm, Komen will have to “build up trust” following the commotion.  Komen was the world’s most valuable non-profit brand, according to a 2010 report by market-research firm Harris Interactive.  Now, the Komen brand could become a subject for political debate, Paul said.  “People wanted to be associated with every single thing they did,” he said.  “And now we hear politics and policy has influence.  The same affinity people had on the positive side became the same affinity they’ve having on the negative perspective,” he said.

“Politics should never come between women and their healthcare, and I am very glad that Komen did the right thing and reversed their misguided and deeply damaging decision,” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), said.  Taking an opposite position was Senator David Vitter (R-LA), who originally applauded the move.  Commenting on Friday’s announcement, Vitter said that “While Komen now claims that they don’t want their mission to be ‘marred by politics,’ unfortunately it seems that Komen caved to political pressure from the pro-abortion movement and its enforcers in the media.”

The backlash is still adversely affecting the Susan G. Komen organization. Many long-time donors, irked by the foundation’s decision to pull their funding from Planned Parenthood, have said they’ll no longer give to the organization.  Others, disappointed that the decision was reversed, also will no longer provide financial support.  Melissa Berman, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, is optimistic that the foundation will eventually recover.  “They changed their mind pretty quickly, and so they’re going to be able to make a recovery here,” Berman said.  “Susan G. Komen will have to tell the story of how many women they reach, how many women get access to care, how many women participate in their events, how much research they’re funding.  They’ll just have to continue to tell that story clearly and concisely,” according to Berman.

Writing in Forbes, contributor Davia Temin says that “In one of the more bizarre series of actions I have ever witnessed, Susan G. Komen for the Cure completely compromised its sterling reputation by first caving in to one set of political pressures, and then another.  And in the process, they left us all wondering who these people really are, and what they stand for.”

“Although, in their somewhat grudging apology requesting that ‘everyone who has participated in this conversation…help us move past this issue,’ they clearly want to put the past week behind them, it will never happen.  At least not for a good, long time.  I bet the folks at Komen wish they could have a do-over.  Or that in true Groundhog Day movie fashion, they could replay the week over and over again until they got it right.  Reputational suicide is not too extreme to call it.  Because no one is happy with them now.  And the questioning from all sides will continue, and spill over to their every action.  On this one, I predict our memories will be long.”

Craig Wortmann on Being an Entrepreneur

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Virtually anyone can be an entrepreneur, although starting one’s own business is a giant leap.  Many people look at becoming an entrepreneur as a cause and effect – the academic term being “causal logic”.  That may not be the optimal way to view entrepreneurship, however.  Rather, the world’s most successful entrepreneurs use effectual logic.  According to Craig Wortmann, Clinical Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, “It goes like this:  I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve got this idea, I’ve got this limited set of resources and I’m just going to begin, and I’m not exactly sure what the effect will be.”  Wortmann has more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial sales and marketing strategy experience.

According to Wortmann, this is a powerful way to think about entrepreneurship because the concept has such an underlying vibe of optimism.  This notion of entrepreneurship is just start the business, anyone can do it.  They are all personality types; they don’t have to be deep in domain knowledge.  Anyone can start a business.  The research suggests that as long as people are not rigid about reaching a certain outcome, they will be successful.

Wortmann asks budding entrepreneurs to think about the idea they have and ask what is the relative value to the idea.  He believes that many people get stuck as entrepreneurs because they say “I can’t be an entrepreneur because I don’t have the next Google.  I’m not waking up in the middle of the night with the next idea for Facebook.”  Any idea that will change the focus of people or get them to do something better or a bit different – you have a potential business.

Would-be entrepreneurs need to begin taking action.  They need to talk to potential customers and partners, and start to formulate a product or service to offer to people.  Chances are the fledgling entrepreneur will be rejected; there is no question about that.  But if they keep embracing that chaos and making contact with the market, things will begin to take shape.  They need to get out there and realize that they are the structure and the process.

The challenge for entrepreneurs can be maintaining momentum.  It it’s the product, stay close to the product.  If it’s the people, get out into the market, meet people and maintain energy.  According to Wortmann, “One of the things I like to talk to students about:  is shutting down a business failure?  It is in a way, but we’re all on a journey and that’s just a chapter.  In a microcosm, it is a failure.  But is it really a failure if you take those lessons and start something new or go back to a big company and leverage all those things you learned?  That looks like success to me.”

To listen to Craig Wortmann’s full interview on entrepreneurship, click here.

Was the NY 26th District Upset A Turning Point in the Medicare Debate?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Was Kathy Hochul’s upset victory in a special election in New York’s 26th Congressional district a game changer in attempts to eliminate Medicare for Americans currently under the age of 55?  Medicare proved to be the decisive issue in the New York election, giving the Democrats a crucial campaign theme for the 2012 presidential election.  The party slammed Republican nominee Jane Corwin for her support of Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) controversial budget plan and its proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher-like system.  Corwin lost to Hochul (D-NY) by four points in a Republican-leaning district. 

Almost immediately after Hochul was declared the winner, Democrats issued statements crediting her win to opposition to the plan “to end Medicare.”  Polling appears to support the Democrats’ approach.  A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll determined that 58 percent of the public opposes the plan to change Medicare to a voucher program, while just 35 percent support it.  “Our message is simply: Take Medicare off the table,” Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) said.

There is still disagreement across the aisle.  According to a senior Republican aide, “Everyone knows that the surest way to destroy Medicare is to pretend like it doesn’t need to be fixed, which is why nearly every Democrat that matters has made clear that Medicare is on the table.  But Democrats are in a tough spot.  And they’re trying to use Medicare to provide a temporary solution to a much larger political problem they’re facing.”  Republicans get “huffy” when you call Ryan’s Medicare plan a voucher scheme, according to the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who points out that they are trying to replace Medicare with “an entirely different program — call it ‘Vouchercare’.  According to Krugman, it isn’t “demagoguery, it’s just pointing out the truth.”

Senate Democrats warned after Hochul’s victory that they’d take their Medicare message to the stump in other contentious races, and that is what they’re doing with locally focused ads targeting Nevada, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia.  The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to “mobilize thousands of online activists,” through ads on Google, Facebook, and other websites, to “stand up for Medicare” by calling on their Republican senators to withdraw their support for changes to Medicare.

Writing in the Columbia Missourian, Joseph Sparks explains the dilemma that turning Medicare into a voucher problem can create for people caught in the middle. “Proponents of Representative Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal have said that people older than 55 would not be affected by his proposal to change Medicare into a voucher system.  They forgot about the Medisplit Effect.  My wife and I represent the perfect paradigm for this effect.  I will be 55 before the end of the year, but my wife is younger.  So, while I will get Medicare, my wife, under Ryan’s plan, will get a voucher to buy private insurance, and it will cost my family an extra $6,400 to $7,000 per year after 2022.  This Medisplit Effect, depending on the age of someone’s spouse, could still drastically affect people 55 and older.  It is disingenuous for Ryan or anybody else to suggest otherwise.  After the initial $6,400 hit, the plan’s severe impact on the economic health of future seniors, such as my spouse, just gets worse.  Based on a report from the Congressional Budget Office, theCenter for Economic and Policy Research calculated that in 2022, Ryan’s proposal would require that seniors pay 35 percent of their projected median income for health insurance.  Since the proposal does not require the government to increase the subsidy enough to match inflation, the percentage of median income required per senior increases to 44 and 68 percent in 2030 and 2050, respectively.  Medicare would be ‘saved’ at the expense of seniors being unable to afford it.”

Taking an opposite viewpoint is the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin.  In her “Right Turn” column, Rubin says that “Mediscare isn’t working on everyone.  Republicans should take heart: There are non-conservatives who are persuadable by reason and specifics.  It would be best if they found someone entirely familiar with the facts, calm in his delivery and earnest in his approach to lead their party on this monumentally important issue.  Gosh, do we know anyone who fits that bill?”

Jonathan Chait, writing in The New Republic disagrees.  According to Chait:

“How are Republicans responding to the unpopularity of the Medicare plan in their budget?  Phase one is for anybody not already committed to the plan to slowly, slowly edge toward the door:  (Republican presidential candidate Tim) Pawlenty congratulated himself on Tuesday for speaking bold truths. ‘I promised to level with the American people,’ he said.  ‘To look them in the eye.  And tell them the truth.’  Here’s a truth: The biggest fiscal threat to the country is the exploding growth of healthcare costs, especially through Medicare.  Pawlenty’s speech did not mention the word ‘Medicare’ a single time.  It will be interesting to see if Republicans let this stand.  Pawlenty’s plan involves staggeringly high tax cuts — will that be enough to get him off the hook for leaving healthcare untouched?  Phase two is for everybody already committed to Vouchercare to try to get to the left of the Democrats.”