Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hilarious TV ad shows that Lexus is growing up

Have you noticed a recent ad on TV where a Lexus SUV is sitting on a huge copier? It is being copied and out at the bottom come 3 other brand SUVs, among them a Mercedes.
This is absolutely hilarious! Lexus is the company that introduced replica cars to the world, that elevated the concept of shameless imitation to a new art!
In the 70s groups of Japanese traveled the world, and particularly visited Germany, back then as well as today home to the best cars, most advanced technology, outstanding craftsmanship and original innovations. The visitors were known for their broad smile, extreme politeness and constantly clicking cameras. Soon the purpose of all these photos became clear. A company called Lexus started shipping "luxus" cars that almost looked like an original Mercedes, especially in dim light.
According to unconfirmed rumors, several Lexus designers and whole design teams were fired on the spot when it became clear that you could easily distinguish their designs from a Mercedes. Another joke was that it takes ten people to design a new Lexus - one designer and nine copyright lawyers. The designer would start with the large photo of a Mercedes and modifiy the image ever so slightly while the lawyers were debating heatedly if the changes were enough to fend off copyright suits. We all have seen the results. How many Lexus models looked like last year's Mercedes? By far too many - or was it all of them?
Then, something unheard of happened in the upper management of Lexus - a dramatic, sudden shift in design! Unbelievable, a dramatic break with their tradition of copying Mercedes! About 4 years ago, they decided to drastically revamp their design guidelines! And so it they are "interpreting".....BMW.
And whereever Lexus designers strayed from direct copying they seemed to adhere to the principle of "noncommittal undecisive blandness". Other cars have style and are recognizable by design elements - Cadillac is a great example. Agressive styling, modeled after a pyramid, representing sportiveness, grip to the road and strength. You know a Cadillac when you see one. The same goes for Audi and BMW.
Lexus has no such characteristic styling elements that run through their whole line of cars. No styling elements are recognizable as "pure Lexus". This is not surprising at all, considering their history of "interpretive" designs and their history of avoiding anything edgy, innovative and unusual with a paranoia-like obsession. When a design team is forced to very closely copy for over a decade they most definitely are unable to develop their own visual language.
So, what does it mean that Lexus now tries to pull the wool over people's eyes by pretending that they have innovative designs? And even better, that they would like us to believe that they are in fact the original? What a daring thought! What chuzpah!
Are we going to see more ads like this? Maybe Toyota invented the pickup truck? Are we going to be treated to an ad where the Toyota pickup truck - what was it's name again? - stands on the copier and out comes....the Ford F150? Hey, Al Gore invented the internet! Lexus might as well have invented the SUV and the pick up truck...
People with enough money to buy whatever they want and whatever is best drive - Mercedes. Which head of state, minister, billionaire or multimillionaire has ever been seen driving a Lexus? We are still searching for them. Mercedes on the other hand....There is one in every ultrasuccessful human's garage.
Lexus in Germany? Rare - people know how to compare and they are able to distinguish an original from an interpretation...
Lexus in the US was always the "value option", the choice for all those that wanted to look like they were driving a Mercedes, but that did not want to spend the money to get the real thing. Very much like wearing a replica Rolex watch...
Another, more gentle interpretation comes to us if we compare the growth and development of a car company to the growth of a human being. According to this viewpoint Lexus has now reached young adulthood and behaves like my son, who claims to be independent and completely different from me and has forgotten where he got most of his genes and his education from - his parents. And I leave him be. I simply like his confidence and know that he sooner or later he will realize where he came from.
So will Lexus. After slogans remains true: "Lexus - the relentless pursuit of Mercedes!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

The "Munford Law Of Physician Job Search"

The more attractive a position is, the less likely it will be presented to you by a physician recruiter.
The more drawbacks a position has, the more likely it will be presented to you by a recruiter.

Looking for a physician job? Run if you hear these trigger words

Dear fellow physicians: If you are searching for a job, you are aware of the importance and power of words. Words can be powerful or devastating, the choice of words is often very revealing.
During your job search you may encounter certain words and expressions that should raise a flag and should trigger an immediate termination of a conversation about a position. These trigger words should also make you move on if you read them in a magazine or online ad.
What words are we talking about?

When you hear these words - run!

1. "opportunity", used to label positions or physician jobs. Typically used by salespeople that are neither potential employers nor colleagues. If you hear or read "opportunity" you are dealing with a middleman, and by nature of their training (if any) and experience they have not "walked in your shoes", they are not your colleagues, they do not feel for you. And this is an "opportunity" for THEM - an "opportunity" to make money off of - you. Physician recruiters are only hired when a job is hard to fill. The more drawbacks a job has, the more likely a salesperson will be needed to fill it! Have you ever seen recruiters advertising "Office in San Francisco/LA/Manhattan/Boston with harbor view and above average pay"? Why not? Those jobs are gone even before anybody ever places any ad in a magazine...Have you seen salespeople recruit for Harvard faculty position? When you hear "opportunity", a salesperson had to be hired at significant cost to sell you a left-over job! You know that recruiters receive 30,000 plus for a signed job contract. That is the "opportunity". Remember, employers have positions, salespeople hawk "opportunities". If you hear that word - Run!

2. "easy access to..." common sales euphemism that is slipped in to cover up a remote, unattractive location - usually 1-3 hours from where you want to be. An undesirable location is a common reason to have to hire help. Salespeople fudge over the fact that a location is unattractive by using vague, and positive sounding terms such as "easy access". This trigger word is usually accompanied by colorful description of supposedly available "culture" and "communities bursting with activity". Visiting just a few of these "easy access" communities will clarify the term and allow you to understand that "easy access" is a variation of "fly-over country". And remember, it is not the recruiter's fault that he or she has to sell this job, because those are the only jobs they get!

3. "low crime rate, affordable housing" "plenty of outdoor (sic!) recreational activities" are equally euphemisms for remote, unexciting locations. Ever heard of "affordable housing" on the shore in San Diego, Miami or Boston? I prefer to be in a more expensive housing area, and usually those areas just happen to come with low crime rates. In areas advertised by salespeople, sadly, the crime rate is usually low because there is nothing left to steal. And when everybody knows everybody else, the crime rate is naturally low...
Another often used term that should stop you in your tracks is "family oriented community". In those communities family is really the sole and exclusive focus of activity, since there is...really, really nothing else to do. You have 5 stores, 4 restaurants including all diners, 3 movie theaters and 2 hours of car travel along the 1 road that leads out of town to the city where you originally wanted to work. Should the ad mention "hunting and fishing", then the moose population is generally larger than the human population.

4. "This area is oversaturated" or "There are no jobs in this area". Immediately end contact to any person that utters these words! Seriously. "Oversaturated" means "nobody is willing to fork over $ 30,000 to have a job filled". A classic sign of an attractive area, where jobs are not advertised, but handed over without magazine ads, online ads and especially without involvement of recruiters. The more attractive a job is, the less likely it will come through a recruiter - the first law of job search. Of course there are jobs in those areas - actually there are a ton of people working in Boston, New York, Washington, San Francisco etc. And they change jobs as often as anywhere else!
You can easily find a position in any "oversaturated" - meaning attractive area by direct mail. You write your cover letter, CV, mailmerge the addresses of all physicians in your target area with the cover letter. For every 100 letters you send out you will receive 2 interested answers. Contact information of physcicians is readily available at and similar websites that sell physician contact info. You can download the excel or CSV list within seconds after paying with your credit card.

THAT is the real way to find a job! Or you can click over to "The Doctor" and have them do all that for you - for a fee of course. Might be worth it.
And do not forget to check the website of, where you will find job ads by actual employers - real people that are willing to employ you and that post their actual correct and complete address and telephone number as well as an email address!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The end of the physician recruiter era

The internet will soon make third party physician recruiters obsolete - and we are getting very close to that time.

Imagine internet services that have access to ALL email addresses of physicians in the US together with fairly complete contact information, data on education and professional experience as well as a few basics of personal preferences. Imagine the marketing possibilities.

At that point you can market any position as well as any job seeker in a most inexpensive way to any chosen target population. It will all come down to writing a good description of the job or a good presentation of the candidate. Then you can send this to any target group you wish, large or small - let's say, all physicians in one specialty in one state, all physicians that prefer to work in rural areas, all the ones that like warm climate or all who prefer cold climate or let's say skiing, that prefer to live on the water etc. You could market appealing to entertainment and hobby opportunities, to desired income etc.
And it all will cost close to nothing, and can be done from any keyboard.

We are almost there. The companies are still divided into those that look at job search from the perspective of the employer (the vast majority) and those that look at it from the perspective of the job seeker. On the employer side "" fulfills all above criteria and on the side of the job seeker "" is the clear winner and outstanding business and service.
Both services do exactly the same thing, one services the employers, the other one the job seekers. The service they provide is the same. Could they unite or merge? Could each one do the job of the other one as well?

There are new and useful ancillary services as well. A new service called "Physician's Agency" is able to analyze any location for a reasonable fee for any physician looking to relocate and is able to help with salary and contract negotiations.

The basic need for employers is to get the description of a position in front of candidates
The basic need for job seekers is to get their cover letter and CV in front of employers.
All this can easily be done through the net. No need for any middleman. It is solely a matter of information, access to information. And that access is spreading like a wildfire, every day and every night.

We have come a long, long way way and we are almost there.
Easy, hassle free, straighforward job and candidate search without much manipulation and misleading and money making monkey business are within reach.
We are very close. And the days of the fast talking overpromising pull-the-wool-over-your-eyes telephone salesman (aka recruiter) are coming to an end. Another benefit of the internet.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Physician Recruiters - be afraid, be very afraid!

After a few years of focussing on other issues I recently came back to my previous hobby , the issues of physician job search. the world has changed! cought my attention. It has evolved from a seemingly small recruitment and data company to a very smart enterprise that basically provides absolutely everything in the field of job search an employer could wish for! If hospitals and employers only realized what Practiematch can do, third party recruiters / commission based recruiters would be out of a job! Seriously.
Practicematch collects data on physicians, on all physicians. And, clever as they are, they "catch them when they are young". They start collecting info about residents and actually interview (!!) them over the phone, either in planned, targeted fashion or should the resident contact them. They collect email adresses - very smart, very smart - email marketing is dirt cheap...And they collect preferences of the residents and physicians -where do you want to practice, what kind of practice do you prefer, what do you want to do, are you married, what does your wife do? Excellent details to know when it comes to recruiting...
Then they follow physicians along their way and keep collecting data.
Where they get their data from is not revealed exactly, understandably - AMA? USPS confirmation?
But they claim to have excellent, tested, confirmed addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses on most physicians in the US.

Just imagine what you can do with this information!
You can target physician groups by email, literally for free! using the stored preferences you can target your marketing even better! Wonderful...
All this specifically to serve hospitals and other employers. Practicematch looks at the world throught the lens of the employer. Not bad, but not complete.
Not to forget the physician, they offer a fabulous job board as well - jobs are actually advertised here with exact location and include the precise contact information of the actual employer! Great!
No vague wishi-washi of "this opportunity is located in a wonderful family oriented community with easy access to blabla city" - which later turns out to be a backwood or backwater village and they "easy access" turns out to be an excruciating three hour drive to the next acceptable metropolis...this is the typical recuiter opportunity description....
None of this at Practicematch delivers real positions, with photos, precise location and contact info. Bravo!
That is what physicians are looking for!
Now, if you could just include the salary range. Please break that stupid taboo of "oy, you never talk about money". I never understood why employers seem deadly afraid of even mentioning a salary. No, dear employer, you do NOT lose negotiating power by being the one "who quotes a number first". Not true, nonsense. You simply allow the physician to walk into an interview with more certainty, with the reassurance that the position pays what he expects and is willing to work for.
I still remember how I had to withold my anger when I heard an unacceptable low salary offer - AFTER I had traveled a whole day, and gone through the whole interview and seen the whole practice and and and....I could have strangled the guy! The nerve!
Please, Practicematch, do something about that. Openness about money is a good thing - trust me!
And please, ban that stupid "competitive salary". Are your clients paying YOU "competitive fees"? And the salary is "competitive" with what? Oh, sure, competitive with MGMA guidelines - you got to be kidding - absolutely no resident knows what exactly the MGMA guidelines say, so why refer to them? "Competitive"? How "competitive"? Competitive without a chance of winning? Competing to lose? What is it now?
If you thought only 3 seconds about this phrase you would discover that "competitive salary" contains no information at all. You might as well leave it out. Please ban it from any and all adverstisements!

So, having all contact info for all US physicians allows Practicematch to target pretty much as many or as few physicians as they need or want to.
Practicematch actually has absolutely everything an employer could dream of having! Contact Practicematch - recruitment done! Can't do better than that....Who needs recruiters?
Again - who needs recruiters in view of what Practicematch can do?
Think about it, take a few minutes, let it sink it.
Third party recruiters are obsolete. Period.
Employers just have to figure it out.
And Practicematch works with in-house recruiters / the in-house recruiter network....and the hospitals are taking over more and more of medicine, so they reach of Practicematch is easily growing bigger and bigger.
Be afraid, third party recruiters, be very afraid.
The sign is on the wall, look at the bottom of the website - I looked and laughed!
Here is what it says:
"Third party recruiters are prohibited from using this website"
WOW! Confident and strong. They clearly can do without the dollars of third party recruiters...
Good for you!
I welcome the publication of more honest, clear, precise, straightforward information about job offers!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kiyosaki - bad, Tim Ferris - good. The 4-Hour Workweek

Self-help books, recently relabeled into the more euphemistic "self-development" category have been a secret vice of mine for quite a while. One book that stood out as particularly disappointing was Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". The basic concepts can be summarized on a single page. And yes, we know that it is better to have your money work for your instead of working for your money - gosh, who would have thought so? I just wish I already did have the money to do this. I can't wait to have my money work fr me instead of working for my money! My few thousand dollars of savings just do not seem to cut it when it comes to working for me! Well, I should invest? Sure, and then? Get $2,59 in return every month? You got to be kidding! And it was curious to have "asset" redefined as something that makes you money and "liability" as something that drains your account. And the "cash-flow quadrant" is certainly worth considering. This book actually seems to help you AFTER you made your money and then it is obsolete anyway.
But when you are done reading the book, boy, do you feeel confident that yes, you can be rich too. But then the trouble starts, you wake up and ask - how do I do it? Kiyosaki offers outstanding advice - after looking through the whole book looking for answers, I found the solution. I seems that our wise author finds it vital to form "your team" - consisting of a realtor, an attorney and a finacial advisor. Great! But...wait a minute, what I tell those poeple about what they are supposed to do? And "forming a team" is going to make me rich? Based on what the lawyer is cahrging me by the hour, the result will be quite the opposite.....
I probed further into the riches of Kiyosaki's adice, and finally, after a lot of leafing and leafing, I dug up a single sentence, truly one single sentence - no kidding - in the middle of another Kiyosaki book, here it comes, watch this, are you ready? "Turn your ideas into companies" - done, end of advice, finito, that's it, end of story, end of advice! And then he immediately proceeds to waffles on with the 5th, 6th and 7th repetition of the cash flow quadrant or another similar hot "economics 101 for 6 year olds" topic. Kiyosaki does not write "how to become rich". He simply writes motivational "feel-good" leaflets. Detailed advice that helps you in real life? Anything of practical use? None, zero, nada....
Yet, Kiyosaki mentiones an annoying amount of times how much he learned listenting to "Rich Dad" discuss business with his son during dinner - but, somehow he never gets around to sharing any of those pearls with us, the interested readers. What did he do with all that knowledge, with the accumulated wisdom of rich dad? Where is he hiding it? Why is Kiyosaki afraid of sharing it? Instead of sharing it, he repeats his basic concepts ad nauseam until you fall asleep or throw his books away or start writing bad reviews and bad blog posts about him. And here I am.
I did not fully realize just how pathetic Kiyosaki was until I read something that actually delivers the goods - the book by Tim Ferris titled "The 4-Hour Workweek".
Now here is a gem - fully packed with practical, usable information, and almost no fluff. Chock full of innovative ideas on how to come up with ideas, test ideas, create a product, how to test it, how to market it and how to outsource the whole manufacturing and advertising and administration and go traveling around the world with the money you make. Tremendous insights on how to work more efficiently and how to actually LIVE. An incredible amount of inspiration and information packed into one single book.
Ferris does not hold back, he does not ration his information nor his advice, because in the back of his mind, he is already planning to publish a whole series of similar books and does not want to share eveything at once - none of that. He freely tells you what he knows. Importantly - he mentions other books and people he learned from and gives you his sources. This is good, since you can read his sources and understand them better, learn more. I believe this to be the sign of a good author. You could almost call him charitable. He truly shares, he does not seem to sell. It is not one of those thin books with slightly larger print and wide margins that beats a single thought to death. He really lays it all out. Great! Great! Great!
Kiyosaki, you are a ...(can't print this here)!
If you, dear reader actually had the patience of finishing a Kiyosaki book, now is the time to throw it out, donate it to a Pre-Kindergarden program or give it to someone you don't like (great waste of her time).
Then read the real deal: The Four Hour Work Week. This is one of the few books with the potential to be life changing. Tim Ferris delivers what others only promise.