Saturday, May 31, 2008
I'm also tempted to punish the offenders by clicking the "report as spam" option in Google. I wonder what Google does if I report Home Depot email, for example, as spam?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
TV ads have gotten much, much better. Many of them are visually compelling, at least on the first or second viewing. Quite a contrast to the repetitive, jingle-based stuff I remember from my childhood. Radio, on the other hand, seems relatively unchanged. It's pretty intolerable, I find--once you have developed the NPR temperament, I don't see how you could tolerate the grating ads, even if the content were compelling.
Monday, May 26, 2008
1. IT as a profession isn't all that fun any more.
2. IT if factionalized and balkanized.
3. Outsourcing and off-shoring have lots of problems, including quite possibly not saving money, just buying a much higher volume of labor at lower prices.
Choice quotes for each:
One of the real miracles of the PC revolution was that it often was led by super-users -- enthusiasts who had a PC at home before they had one at work and who led their co-workers as much through example as skill. Well those days of the 1970s and '80s are long gone and IT is today as entrenched and isolated as it was during the mainframe era of the 1960s.
in most organizations power ultimately manifests itself in head count, so IT organizations grow like crazy, becoming ever less efficient in the process. The typical power structure of corporate (which includes government) IT tends to discourage efficiency while encouraging factionalization. Except in the rare instance where the IT director rises from the ranks of super-users, there is a prideful disconnect between the IT culture and the user culture.
Outsourcing, while a very popular recommendation to improve IT, is treating the symptom and not the problem. The problem is IT applications require lots of ongoing maintenance and that costs labor, meaning REAL MONEY. Rather than make applications more reliable and reduce problems, IT managers seem to prefer shopping for cheaper labor. The problems are still there. It is cheaper to fix them with offshoring and outsourcing, true, but it often takes longer. If the end users -- the people who actually make MONEY for the company (IT doesn't, Lord knows) -- are unable to work from time to time, this is okay because IT is spending less money.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
So Express Scripts surveyed thousands of customers to understand better their concerns about generics. It learned some were uncomfortable with how to tell their doctors they wanted to switch, or felt it wasn't their role as patients to bring up the topic. Others found the whole topic too complicated to bother with.Interesting. I wonder if there could ever be a "tipping point" effect, whereby the idea becomes "socialized" that, like recycling, seeking healthcare cost savings is A Good Thing.
With those concerns in mind, Express Scripts made several changes to how customers were informed about simvastatin, such as shortening the text in its literature and changing its color and including a letter that patients could just hand to their doctor requesting a switch.
The company also framed the message to focus not merely on cost savings, but on how generics can be the better value -- explaining that drugs that cost more but don't do more aren't a better value. People often believe branded or costlier drugs simply are better, says Dr. Nease, whereas Express Scripts' new message stated that the "best buys" are drugs that cost less and do the same thing.
Generic statin use among its customers soared to 53% as of March of this year, Express Scripts is expected to say at a conference Tuesday.
Among employers, the hardest pressed may be small businesses. Their insurance premiums tend to be proportionately higher than ones paid by large employers, because small companies have little bargaining clout with insurers.So, another reason for small business to find different rules to play by.
Health costs are "burying small business," said Mike Roach, who owns a small clothing store in Portland, Ore.
Apple, on the other hand, was all about style, elegance, Steve Jobs' vision. What made Jobs happy was having the coolest products, good profit margins, if not the biggest total profits, and getting to boss people around. It was like Wal-Mart and Nordstrom's--same industry, but totally different approaches.
Now, however, Cringely observes that Apple has become a "lean and mean profit machine". So it seems that, finally, Jobs even matching Gates at his own game--winning in volume.
One strategic beneft would be to get a whole lot more people to have a Google login. I would like to use newsgroups and member-only weblogs for organizing various teams my children are on, but the high number of parents who need a Google login is a barrier.
LinkedIn doesn't have the cachet Facebook had, I bet they could buy it for a reasonable price.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Saturday, May 03, 2008
But critics say that the technique's advantage over X-rays has not been proved, except in certain rare tumors, and that proton therapy might not be worth the substantial extra cost. They say hospitals are engaged in a wasteful "arms race" for the prestige and profits that come from having a proton center.I have read for years about this kind of hospital "arms race". When the administrators for each hospital are interviewed, they predictably all say "Yes, there should only be one of these--but OUR hospital is clearly the best place for it". I hope the government-mandated collaboration works out...