On My Mind…Mr. D’s Bizdom Blog

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Well…where do I begin

Posted by mkdryden on April 14, 2008

3 months move pretty fast when your nose is to the grinder.  I started my biz about three months ago and it has been a task.  I made a valuable purchase and that was half the battle.  Now I must get licensed as well as form partnerships to make this investment pay for itself.  What biz is this you might be asking.  I small niche in the transporting biz.

I see things are steadily changing over at the school I was at…same thing different people.  Trying to get a biz going is quite a task.  It is even more interesting when you have a family and are working a full time job (gotta love the rat race lol).  Patience is a virtue and is the hardest thing to deal with when you want (need) everything to happen instantly.  This is where I use the term of a beloved sports announcer…:You have to have Sticktuitiveness.”

Until the next time…

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Flight of this Phoenix…

Posted by mkdryden on January 8, 2008

Wow…it has been 4 months since being in the school based on WSU campus and I must say things are looking very good.  After having the rug snatched from under my feet I quickly got my bearings and saw that I had to succeed.  “The sweetest revenge is success”…that is my new adopted saying.  Having a saying and living by that saying (making success a reality) I found can be a challenge in itself.

I am back and ready to roll…my business is coming together and success is within my grasp.

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Gizmo’s and Social Applications…

Posted by mkdryden on August 17, 2007

Recently in Gizmo’s and Gadget’s we discussed social applications and how the related to the business world. The 4 major types of apps are Sharing, Collaboration, Opinion and Voting, Networking, Tazonomy. There is another type however it is a combination of the various types called a Hybrid site. Each type of site has it’s advantages depending on the intention of the user. I will focus on a few of the applications that would help myself in future business endeavor.

Linkedin is a site that helps you build professional contacts in various industries. Think of it as the business version of MySpace. I would search people that would fall within a criteria and them send them a note as well as putting them in my contact list. I like to think of these contact giving me access to a host of other professionals that they would know. Remember it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

The other site is the collaboration sites. Recently our class used a wiki to work on an assignment that required all of our input. The beauty of the wiki is that we could all work on it at the same time and not get in each other’s way. It lets multiple users work on one project. 12 minds are better than 1. A wiki can cut down the amount of time it takes to work on a project. The bonus is you get to see it all come together.

 

 

 

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Yoga anyone…

Posted by mkdryden on August 17, 2007

Last week we met the King of flexibilty Vince Thomas founder and CEO of Billhighway.com. The company has been in existence for 8 yrs. What started out as a way of creating a system that helped his roommates pay bills on time has turned into a lucrative business. The 29 year old now runs a $500 million company. Billhighway.com is a web based financial services platform for both organizations and consumers with an emphasis on groups and peoples social matters.

The company was founded in 1999 while he was attending EMU on a baseball scholarship. He came from a family full of entrepreneurs that mostly own restaurants. Like most successful entrepreneurs do he recognized a problem and created a business to solve it. His story is one of many winding roads with many changes of direction along the way.

The lesson I received, was this precious pearl of wisdom from Vince, was being aware of when change is needed. In order to succeed you must be flexible. You must learn to recognize when you need to do something different. Many businesses go under because they won’t make necessary changes when the brutal facts are in front of them. If Vince didn’t learn that valuable lesson early he wouldn’t be telling me his success story.

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From Rapping to Riches…

Posted by mkdryden on August 17, 2007

Rap mogul Jay-Z has been recently name the richest rapper of the year by Forbes magazine. This is based on 2006 income in which Jigga banked $34 million. Yahoo states in their article that he is the Hip-Hop Cash King. Since his debut album in 1996, Reasonable Doubt, he has always been known for his business savvy ways.

He was the co-founder of Roc-a-fella Records and the creator of Roca-wear jeans. He sold the record label in 2005 to Def Jam Record and also became president and CEO of Def Jam Records. He recently sold Roca-wear for over $50 million. He also is a minority owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. He has endorsement deals with Budweiser, Hewlett-Packard and General Motors (where he has a patented color, Jay-Z blue).

Hova doesn’t share the spot light alone as a rapper with riches. He is joined by other big name rap heavy weights such as 50 Cent and Sean “Diddy” Combs who round out the top three spots. According to the article “Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson ranks second with an estimated $32 million. The 31-year-old rapper-businessman oversees his G-Unit record label, clothing line, ring tones and other enterprises, and has sold more than 11 million albums. Diddy , who is 37, placed third with an estimated $28 million. He has a clothing line, Sean John, and heads Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment whichs host of MTV’s “Making the Band” series.”

Obviously I am in the wrong industry. I guess I need to start working on a rap album and start my own label.

http://www.forbes.com

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070816/ap_on_en_mu/forbes_hip_hop_kings

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Wii get fit…

Posted by mkdryden on August 10, 2007

I found the coolest article in Reuters Life! There is a Canadian health club in Vancouver, BC that is using video game technology as a means of working out. The article states that the “new form of exercise is for people bored with the treadmill or cycling classes.” The Wii Workout Station is at Studeo 55 in Vancouver. Reuters reported that they “incorporated Nintendo Wii workout station into circuit training where users can punch, run and jump with the system’s movement-sensitive controller.”

This is a great example of finding a niche and using technology to fill that gap. People are always trying to find challenging ways to workout. Using the Wii is ingenious because there are a variety of interactive games chose from. Instead of paying thousands of dollars in equipment you can get a few $200+ Wii and let single or multiple users compete. Get a workout and have fun doing it. The Wii has proved to be more than a toy.

The Wii has shown steady sales because it does something that no other home console does. It makes it’s users become more active. My brother is a die hard X-box and PS3 user. He used the Wii and was instantly addicted. I have had some exposure to the console as well and observed that people had more fun. Not only does it challenge your mind but challenges your body as well.

I remember when the big 3 released their console and I personally thought that the Wii was going to flop. I even was willing to bet money. Glad I was to broke to bet because I would have lost big. I am truly eating my words. Nintendo released a console that couldn’t even play DVD’s or its former games. I have found that people don’t care. Instead of making the gaming experience more complex they simplified it.

Nintendo means fun and thats exactly what its users are doing!!!

http://www.reuters.com

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Quicken Tour…Day 2

Posted by mkdryden on August 10, 2007

Day two started off with meeting the metrics team. Nicole Martin, who ironically was hired and worked with Bizdom U’s very own Ross Sanders, taught us the importance of following the numbers. The numbers that are collected in anyone’s business can help you make decisions based on data. The various data can help you to see how to predict and avoid problems.

The data that the metrics team collects comes from internal systems such as LOLA. Tim Sudz, who is a training leader, showed how using metrics helps bankers. The systems help predict what potential customer has the best odds (and characteristics) of closing a loan. At this point you can see how data is so important to the loan process.

After Tim showed us how the data can help steer the company in the right direction Brad explained what the Mortgage Insiders do. The Insiders are committed to servicing Quicken employees and its affiliates with quicken products and services. This is a prime example of the ism “eating your own dog food.” In any business you should always patronize your own company. Also you should make sure that your own employees take advantage of the products you produce.

Following up the Insiders was another internal organization. Nick Flees is with the Rat Pact, which is part of the Mouse Trap. The Rat trap is responsible for identifying opportunities for growth and improving the business’s performance. In our future business’s it is important to “always find a better way.” We did an exercise that showed how there is constant variants that can cause things to go awry. As a business owner you must see these changes and create solutions and implement them.

This concludes our tour of Quicken Loans. I can see now how Quicken is able to perform at such high levels. They have the processes and technology that keep them ahead of the game. These factors cannot be easily duplicated. As to how this tour relates to us as future business owners?

There were many valuable lessons that I learned. To insure that your business succeeds you must build quality measures into its fabric. Business owners must pay attention to data and have a culture that is proactive and solving problems.

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Quicken Tour…Day 1

Posted by mkdryden on August 8, 2007

Today and next Tuesday our Bizdom U class will assemble over at Quicken Loans. We are going on a company tour put together by Chris McCallum of Envision U at the Livonia Corporate Head Quarters. The purpose of this trip is to see how the company works while also applying those principles to our future businesses. We will get a snapshot of the company from the beginning to the end of the loan process. We will also gain an understanding of their support mechanisms and departments.

I have a few friends that are in the mortgage broker business. As you can imagine times are very tough in the lending industry. The sub-prime market has collapsed and just last week a major residential mortgage company had to close it’s doors leaving over 7000 unemployed. So I had asked myself a few questions as to how Quicken remains competitive and continues to grow. When we began this program Quicken had just over 3600 employees, now they are well over 5000.

That is amazing growth in the matter of 7 months. So while everyone is downsizing or being forced to close their doors Quicken continues to stride along. As I have come to see first hand it all starts with the culture. It is all based around a set of what I would call common sense principles. However what I have seen when comparing them to the competition is that what you would think is standard practices are not.

Doing the little things, or raising the level of awareness as the ism states, is what separates Quicken. Returning all phone calls within a 24 hour period is standard policy. I have been through the mortgage process before and you would be surprised how long some of these brokers and banks respond. I sometimes feel as if I am chasing people just to give them money. How absurd is that.

We had a “tour guide” by the name of Melanie Roy who is a trainer in recruiting. She was in charge of facilitating our interaction with the different departments we would encounter. Our first stop was in HR where we met James McCloskey. He gave us an overview of the hiring process, how they interview and select employees. This information proved useful in understanding what type questions to ask potential employees. Most importantly you most watch out for professional interviewers.

When the time comes for us to begin our companies it will be vital that we put the right people in place. Good to Great phrased it as “putting the right people in the right seat on the bus.” Just as it is important to ask the right questions you must be very upfront with candidates on how things operate on a daily basis. This is important so that people will not feel overwhelmed when they are performing their job function.

Next we met Dan Majewski who is the VP of recruiting (Melanie’s boss). He expanded on what James had told us by explaining where one might look for candidates. I agree with Dan that the best source to get candidates is through referrals of current performing employees. I gather they rely on the laws of attraction, good workers attract other good workers.

Eric Stoddard who is the VP of Banker Training stressed the importance of having proper training in place. One should strive to make the training as close to real as possible. This instills confidence in employees so that they can “hit the ground running.” Eric stressed that employees are in most cases the first contact your company has with the customer. So when an employee does something incorrectly make sure you address it immediately.

Once a Banker graduates from banker training they will always have someone to help guide them. Kristan Hamilton who is a banker coach allowed us to listen to incoming and outgoing calls. The reason that they listen in is for quality assurance purposes. If they feel the banker is missing vital steps in the sales they can coach them to correct their mistakes. This concludes day one of our tour.

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To Infinity and Beyond…the Unlimited Warranty

Posted by mkdryden on August 3, 2007

Under the new ownership of Cerebus Chrysler has made one of the boldest moves in the market. Never before has a automaker offered such a warranty. Just this past Thursday Chrysler rolled out an engine warranty plan second to none. They currently offered a 3 year 36000 mile warranty on their powertrains which covers engine and transmission repair. The lifetime warranty is only effective for vehicles that were purchased as of July 26, 2007 according to an article in the Detroit news.

Autoblog (http://www.autoblog.com/2007/07/26/breaking-chrysler-announces-lifetime-powertrain-warranty/) reported this comment by a Chrysler executive that “This new Chrysler Lifetime Powertrain Warranty is a statement of confidence to our customers to the reliability of their powertrain. It’s peace-of-mind reassurance for as long as they own the vehicle,” said Steven Landry, Executive Vice President – North America, Sales and Marketing, Service and Parts, Chrysler Group.

Chrysler has surpassed the best warranty on the market which was 100000 miles. KIA and GM offered these warranties as a best in class offering. I am not sure how this strategy will effect them in the long run. Recalls can destroy a company, just ask Ford and some other OEM’s. When Ford had the tire blow-out problem with the explorer it appeared to be the beginning of concurrent recalls.

What would be great is Chrysler being the example (and catalyst) that has all other OEM’s following in their footsteps. With an offer such as this it is a great way to say you stand behind your work.

http://www.detnews.com

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Hybrid Porshe on the Horizon

Posted by mkdryden on July 27, 2007

According to a report from Auto briefs in the Friday edition of the Detroit News (page 4C). Porsche is currently developing a new prototype SUV hybrid based on the hot-selling Cayenne. They claim that it will be capable of cruising at speeds up to 70 miles an hour on the electric engine alone. That is faster than any hybrid currently selling on the market today according to CNN Money (CNN Money (http://money.cnn.com/2007/07/24/autos/porsche_hybrid/index.htm).

porsche_cayenne.03.jpg

The non-hybrid Porsche Cayenne.

They foresee the hybrid version of Cayenne to be on showroom floors within the next two or three years as per the article. The SUV will not be able to reach 70 miles per hour without the traditional engine like some of the smaller hybrid cars. However once it accelerates to a cruising speed of 70 it won’t need for it’s gasoline engine. At that point the electric motor will sufficiently propel the vehicle to cruise at that speed. The CNN article also states that the end product is an SUV that is said to be “25 percent more efficient than current models and can cruise considerably faster than the current 40 mph top cruising speed of the hybrid Toyota Camry.”

“If Porsche was going to do a hybrid, it makes sense to do it from a performance standpoint,” said company spokesman Tony Fouladpour according to the CNN article. This is the first Hybrid hailing from the pure performance-minded niche automaker. It seems they are following in the footsteps of luxury carmaker Lexus. They currently have 3 models that have hybrid technology. Although Lexus uses it for boosting the performance of their vehicles, this in turn makes a V-8 engine as powerful as a V-12.

Porshe is sticking close to their hedgehog (and heritage) and pursuing this from a performance first direction. Needless to say I am happy that another automaker is taking a step towards becoming greener while not abandoning who they are. It’s expected to be in the same general price range as the basic Cayenne, which starts at $44,000.

http://www.detnews.com

http://www.cnnmoney.com

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