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Back be Better August 30, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Mouse Clicks.
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I’m having a slow day as far as inspiration to write about, so I’ll leave you with a quick link to another site. While surfing blogging community, I ran across Back Be Better. I was doing some research this summer over what types of training and one type I ran across was proper lifting and back safety techniques. Back Be Better looks like a good site for simple back care tips.

You knew that box was too heavy, but you lifted it anyway—and threw your back out.

Because your back is a sensitive mass of nerves, bones, tendons, and muscles, any strain from lifting, bending, or twisting can throw it out of kilter. Activities like shoveling snow or moving furniture can be back hazards if you’re not careful.

Falls, accidents, poor posture, or the wrong chair or mattress also can trigger back pain. So can conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, ruptured or bulging back discs, or shifting vertebrae in your spine. Since your lower back supports most of your body’s weight, it’s the area most likely to get hurt.

Backaches are second only to headaches as the most common source of pain: 80 percent of American adults will have back pain some time in their lives.


Burrito… Big Burrito… August 29, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Clear Tracks.
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Imagine building an entire marketing campaign around one signature product. With lines such as “Burrito? or Body pillow?” and “Burrito’s so big they should be called Burros” one company has done just that. Created in 1993 Chipotle (pronounced chi-POAT-lay) has grown to more than 500 stores, across the United States.

I had been doing research for a McDonald’s project, and remembered that McDonald owned shares in Chipotle, which of course led me over to their site. Once there, their ads called to me. 149 ads using a burrito and a tag line. And no, I don’t mean 149 ads showing different types of burritos with glamour shots of the ingrediants. I mean 149 ads showing the same simple silver wrapped burrito as above.

The image that comes to my mind is a scene of a conference room with the entire marketing staff sitting around it. In the middle of the table sits the burrito. Then, they are asked to come up with as many tag lines as possible. No idea is pushed out as being horrible. This leads to such great lines as, “Donde esta la casa de big-ass burritos?” and “It’s like one of those Freaky dreams where everything is really big.” What amazes me about Chipotle is that they are so on target with their target market, the 18-24 year old category.

With everything from t-shirts to a burrito costume contest, Chipotle easily portrays a fun enviroment with good quality food. Even their website conveys this. When you go to visit the ads area (and I highly suggest you do) their icons fall down like tetris tiles! So far as I can tell, the smallest detail has not been overlooked. The one bad press thing I’ve heard about Chipotle is that they are tied to McDonald’s.

iTunes U? August 28, 2006

Posted by Amanda in A Better Mouse Trap.
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It all starts with learning.Apple shares common goals with education — to advance teaching, learning, and research through innovation, and engage and empower students. Students expect a campus environment that accommodates their digital lifestyle, adapts to their individual learning needs, and encourages collaboration and teamwork. Introducing a way to simplify and meet all these needs — iTunes U.”

It’s an interesting concept. Putting podcasts of professor’s lectures online for students to access at their leisure, 24/7 from the same place many get their music from these days. Stanford University was one of the first schools to pilot a program called Stanford on iTunes which premiered last fall. iTunes has picked up the idea and started to run and it is now expanding to include my school as well. The University of Missouri has always had close ties to Apple. Our tech store sells mostly apple products, and our world class journalism school recommends Apple computers for all students. Many students have ipods, sold with a discount to students, so iTunes U has a nice jumping off point on our campus.

It seems like a great idea, and I would use it. Imagine studying for a test. Just download the lectures and have them play while you fold clothes or do other chores. Play them while you’re getting ready for bed, or even sleeping (yes, I’ve been told that doesn’t actually work)

The one thing that worries me about the entire project is what it will do for class attendance. I know students who do not attend class when a teacher posts slides online, imagine if they could get the audio too! This could hurt in class discussions, but are those who don’t attend really going to participate? Time will tell whether podcasts are the new media of the classroom.

Check it out: iTunes U

The Green Scene August 24, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Business Tails.
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Is your business green? I’m not talking about the color of the lawn or the walls of your office. Does your business do all that it can to help the environment? There are simple things you can do to encourage your employees to pitch in. Do you recycle?

  • Aluminum Cans
  • Printer Paper
  • Junk Mail
  • printer and photocopier toner cartridges

These are easy things to recycle. Some towns even have recycling pickup for cans and sometimes paper. If paper recycling is not available around you, simply cut the printer paper and use the blank side of it for scratch paper. You can also use e-mail whenever possible instead of printing documents, establish a policy of double-sided photocopying and printing, and circulate one copy of memos and reports for review instead of printing hard copies for everyone. Store and access as much information as possible using computers.

In your office kitchen, look at providing reusable flatware, plates, glasses, and mugs in dining areas instead of disposable paper and plastic items. Encourage employees and students to use their own mugs for beverages.

Electronics such as computers and cell phones can be recycled, too

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS If possible, calculate how much you are recycling every so often. Keep a progress chart in a common area that shows employees how many pounds of aluminum, glass or paper they’ve collected. You might also want to set goals and reward employees when they’re reached. It’s a great way to get your employees to work together as well as help the environment!

How secure is your Data? August 23, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Business Tails.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs now says over two million active service men and women could be at risk for identity theft. Hotels.com is Just Latest Victim of Old-Fashioned Data Theft. You’ve probably heard these stories all over the news, and it brings up the issue, just how safe is your data?

I got the opportunity this summer to tour a data center in person. And yes, they had a fancy log in system, and they had a thumb reader on the main door into the center. However, when we continued our tour out the back door of the facility, there was no thumb reader on the back door, and I’m not even sure that door was locked. What good are the security systems, if they only seem to be for show? We had all logged into the system, but we never logged out. Also, the data reels are copied and transported to another location, to protect against such disasters as fire. However, how much security is provided to the data at that point?

So really investigate where you store your data, and don’t just take the security systems on face value. They could just be for show. Ask questions and don’t settle till you’re satisfied.

Inexperience is an asset August 22, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Business Tails.
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When “Tag-surfing” a new a feature of WordPress, I ran across Mike Foroobar’s Weblog and he had some interesting thoughts.

In hiring an employee or contractor, experience is almost always at the top of the list. But it’s this type of thinking that breeds insularity. Experience is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but your payroll should be healthily balanced between inexperienced, outside-the-box thinkers and those who know the in’s and out’s of the industry. The key is hiring people who are looking to learn, who aren’t afraid to take risks, and who, most importantly, hold themselves accountable for their failures as well as successes. Like everything else, even failure, in moderation, is a good thing.

It is too easy for people to get stuck in a rut of just saying, “Well, that’s not how we did it last time.” and we all need the little reminders to shake it up. Innovation can be brought by a different approach to an old problem. And just because you have a solution does not mean it is the best, or most effective one.

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Tech Presence August 21, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Business Tails.

Well, I’m halfway through my first day of school, and I thought I would put up some of the interesting thoughts my E-Marketing teacher gave today.

In order to be credible and interesting in a tech filled environment, you need more than just a powerpoint these days. Newer technology can be used to help capture the attention of your tech savvy audience. So whether you are presenting at a conference or trying to get funding for your tech based business, look at the technology around you and see what you can use to improve your presentation.

For example: My teacher has a PDA. Many people do, nothing special. But he can use his PDA as the remote for his powerpoint as well as have notes for the slides on the PDA. That way, he’s not carrying around those clunky hand written notes, it’s just a part of the remote for the slide show.

Look around and see how new technology can be used to market yourself better.

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It’s been a while August 11, 2006

Posted by Amanda in New Squeaks.
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I know it has been quite a while since I’ve posted here, but rest assured I haven’t forgotten about it.

As this is my last day at my summer internship, I wanted to make sure and post a special message for my co-workers (most keep up with my blog).  Thanks to all of you, for making this summer as much fun as it could possibly be.  Everyone was helpful and great to hang out with.  My only regret is that I couldn’t stay longer.  Alas, school calls.  So may all of you have many happy years here and continue to enjoy it as much as I have.

What do you think…. August 3, 2006

Posted by Amanda in The Job Maze.

My Human Resource Management Professor brought this up in class, and I found it extremely interesting, so I asked her for a copy of the article. Called the “Seven common misconceptions about human resource practices: Research findings versus practitioner beliefs” by Sara L. Hynes, Kenneth G. Blown, and Amy E. Colbert

Recent research suggests that HR practices can have considerable impact on both individual and organizational performance. These findings strongly suggest that not knowing this HR research can be costly to organizations. In this article, we pinpoint areas where HR practitioners seem to be most unaware of research findings related to effective HR practices, based on responses by a large sample of HR managers. The seven questions that exhibited the greatest disagreement between current research findings and respondents’ beliefs are explored, along with their management implications and suggestions for implementing the findings.

There are seven major findings mentioned in this article, but the six I found most interesting are below. You might write down whether you think each one is true or false. You just may be surprised 🙂


1. On average, conscientiousness is a better predictor of employee performance than intelligence.

2. Companies that screen job applicants for values have higher performance than those that screen for intelligence.

3. Integrity tests do not work well in practice because so many people lie on them.


4. Encouraging employees to practice in decision making is more effective for improving organizational performance than setting performance goals.

5. Most errors in performance appraisals can be eliminated by providing training that describes the kinds of errors managers tend to make and suggesting ways to avoid them.

6. If employees are asked how important pay is to them, they are likely to overestimate its true importance.






And here is what the study found… Apparently many of us have wrong perceptions.

1. 72% of participants agreed with this, but research shows that it is incorrect. Intelligence or General Mental Ability (GMA) is a better predictor.

2. 57% of the participants agreed with it, but The research does NOT support it. Fit is positively related with employee attitudes and length of service, while GMA predicts performance.

3. 68% agreed with the statement while it is not correct. Integrity tests are valid and work well in conjunction with GMA tests.

4. 83% agreed with the statement, while research shows that it is false, Performance improves only after goal-setting interventions.

5. 70% thought this is true, while it is not. It is hard to correct behaviors through training and strict requirements and follow up are needed.

6. 56% agreed with this statement while the evidence shows otherwise. People tend to DEFLATE the importance of pay.

Were your perceptions correct?