Now That’s a Vision

visionary_governanceIn our business, we often help our clients to develop and navigate their corporate vision. If done well, the vision of the company is aspirational, achievable, and distinctively ownable. Far too often when reading a company’s vision statement, you feel that you could simply replace Pharma Company A with Pharma Company B, and might at times even question their ability to achieve that vision. So it is with fascination and awe this holiday season that I reflect on one corporate leader’s amazing vision for his company and his unwavering commitment to delivering on that vision. In 1994, when Jeff Bezos founded Amazon, he articulated:

“Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

He has clearly redefined online retailing, and Amazon is the world’s top Internet retailing company.  While there are arguably many out there who may not agree with me, I applaud the customer experience that Amazon has created, and I have often tested the theory of whether they truly have “anything” I might want to buy online and my “cart” has yet to be disappointed, even for the most obscure or uncommon searches. So this month as I cross off items on my holiday shopping list and avoid carrying a heavy coat and shopping bags around a crowded shopping mall with annoying people, I thank you, Jeff Bezos and Amazon, for having an aspirational, achievable and distinctively ownable vision.

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The Glue in Life, and the Agency

glueWhat’s the glue in your life?

For me it is fitness. Running, triathlon, setting goals, eating clean, and having a training plan. That’s the glue that keeps it together for me, the hub around which my world revolves. When I am working towards a new goal, it makes me more balanced, positive and happy.

For others it’s other physical activity: yoga, cross-fit, hiking. Or other ways of being healthy: being a vegan, eating paleo, meditation. Or for you, it could be external: your pet, your children, your significant other. Your house, your car, your boat. It’s what you brag about, how you improve yourself, the destination and the journey. We all have something that feeds and rewards us, holds us together in mind and body and spirit. That’s our glue. One key to success and balance is to figure out what, exactly, your glue is.

So what is the glue at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide? Or rather, who?

Who is usually the first one in the office, and the last to leave? Who can rattle off the status of two dozen jobs from memory in 10 minutes during hot sheet? Who do we see in the corridors lugging those big job bags from floor to floor, securing, organizing or maintaining job cards, status reports, cover sheets, portal links, med/legal submissions, tagging and linking, night coverage plans, weekend plans, job number lists, finance reports, archiving, uploading files, downloading files, launches, RFPs, pitches, comps, spec sheets….

The glue that holds an ad agency together is the Traffic Coordination department, now known as Project Coordination (PC). PC is the hub of it all—from inception to completion, this group shepherds jobs from manuscript to release. PC works with every department—edit, copy, art, studio, account, business management, finance, project management, and production. If you don’t know something about an account, ask PC. There’s no better launch pad for new account executives or other staff positions at our agency than PC.

PC is a great place to learn, and a great place to stay. It’s everyone else’s glue, and it’s what makes us whole. It’s my glue too. What’s yours?

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Courtesy: A Workplace Essential

Thank You TypewriterThe rules of courtesy were programmed into my brain from a young age. The power of “please” and the testimony of “thank you” are the gods of courtesy, but like all greatness, there’s more than meets the eye. These words represent the beginning and the end of all things courtesy. Just as in life, the most important parts of courtesy are not the beginning (please) or the end (thank you), but what happens in between.

Growing up playing sports showed me how to work with others in the pursuit of something greater than myself. Working at OCHWW over the last few months has shown me that my coaches prepared me for what most new college grads consider “real life” more than I thought. At an advertising agency, everyone relies on others to accomplish their goals. The creative team might be the players on the ice (I played hockey), and the account team might be the coaches. Without these two teams working in tandem, the work does not get completed. If the creatives are the players and the account teams are the coaches, then the clients are the general managers and owners. All are in the pursuit of one thing, the Stanley Cup of advertising: a great ad and maybe a few accolades to go with it.

Now, how does all this work get done? With the help of courtesy, of course. Here’s an example: I pass the puck to you. You need to get it back to me for us to score. Simple, right?

Here’s another: I email you in the morning. “Can you please let me know where project “Protect the Puck” is on the timeline and when I can expect to receive it? Thank you.”

If I don’t hear back from you in a timely fashion, it might paralyze me. By simply taking a few seconds to respond, it helps me to prioritize my work that day and solve problems, finding a way to work around the situation, or work with you to complete the project. I understand that you are busy. We all are. But as a professional you know that all your colleagues are relying on each other to get things done. By giving your team members a quick heads-up, you help them do their jobs better. You also relieve some tension in your own day because it forces you to prioritize too.

There are other benefits that come from workplace courtesy too. When you are kind to and considerate of your colleagues, that will come back to you. The easier you interact with people, the more likely they will be to help you in a pinch if they can. In turn, this makes your team stronger because you can interact with great candor and camaraderie. A strong team in which everyone is working in tandem is tough to beat.

If you do not carry yourself with great workplace courtesy, may the gods of courtesy smite thee!

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Is it possible to get thousands of social media fans in healthcare?

Lourdes thumbnailConsumer Product and Service Communication has taken a Copernican turn since social media appeared. Content generated by users has led to a level of dynamization almost unthinkable a few years ago. Social networks have revitalized many withered sectors such as fashion and music which had been facing the new era with a certain amount of fright.

An inevitable question comes to mind: Are there any chances of creating the same revolution in the promotion of pharmaceutical products?

As a first thought, social networks are not a tool you can expect results from in every scenario. Just as TV campaigns or street boards aren’t applicable to every single target or product, social networks may not be efficient in the promotion of every pharmaceutical product.

Before answering the question posed in this post’s headline, it is best to ask ourselves three questions:

1.    Is the drug intended to treat severe illness?

In general terms, there’s a direct relation between the seriousness of the illness that the drug is for and the suitability of the social media campaign. Health sectors such as allergy, fertility, and smoking cessation, for example, are easily accessible through social networks, whilst campaigns in cancer, nosocomial infections, or stroke are not suitable to be lead through this channel.

2.    Are we managing an acute process or a chronic illness?

Social networks work better in communication environments where the disease is a chronic illness. The patient, his family, and caregivers are much more participatory when they know that they have to live with the illness for a long period of time.

3.    What is our target group—doctors or patients?

It’s always easier to drive health communication through social media to patients than to doctors. Doctors’ virtual communities are usually reluctant about direct or suggested presence of pharma companies or their brands.

In conclusion, if your client has sent to you a social network strategy brief regarding a drug treating a serious illness, with acute episodes, focusing the campaign to doctors, you have a hot potato in your hands. Surely it would be better to convince them to focus their effort on other channels. If, on the contrary, you have been briefed on a product indicated in a common chronic process and you have to reach patients, congratulations—social networks might possibly be the best solution.

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Interactivity—The Obvious Secret to Social Media

Social MediaI guess it’s a new world order.  Control has been replaced with influence.  And the tremendous exchange of everything from financial information to a simple “like” on Facebook has made interactivity the word of the future.  Interactions have now become a currency where brands and individuals seek out a level of validation—and power.  And in a funny way, this newfound power becomes the surrogate for control.

But interactivity is a two-way street.  And that’s best articulated in the name “social media.”  It’s  media and it’s social.  Pushing out one-way messages doesn’t fulfill the promise of social media.  A classic example is the Dalai Lama.  He has over 7 million followers on Twitter.  Yet he follows no one.  I’ll bypass the philosophical interpretation and cut right to the chase.  His social media currency isn’t very good.  And his utility as part of the social media community is limited by his one-sided communication.  Another interesting example is the pharmaceutical industry. It’s an industry that is generally regulated and has a guarded posture.  It often uses social media as more of a billboard for announcements than a basis for engagement.  And while adverse drug events and a host of other legal and regulatory issues support that position, I think it’s time for pharma…and even the Dalai Lama to say hello!

Get interactive—simple rules for building a great social media base.

Step ONE: Follow and follow back

Find people you like, have an interest in, or just take a chance—but follow people.  You’ll be surprised how much you can learn just from listening.

Step TWO: Say hello and thank you

But after you listen, follow up with a comment or retweet.  Even the biggest thought-leader gets a sense of gratification from a simple comment.  And always feel free to thank someone for an engagement.  It’s an easy and quick way to start to build a relationship.

Step THREE:  Engage with your network

The amazing thing about Twitter is that you can get on someone’s radar.  So, if you have an interesting idea or comment, let people know by including their handle on your tweet.  Be careful, you want to be engaging, and not a stalker.

Step FOUR: Add value, even if it’s just a small amount

Content is still king.   Don’t be afraid to enter a conversation or hashtag dialogue.  You can start small, but you have to start.  May people use Twitter as a static tool and only listen.  If you’re doing that, you’re missing a great opportunity to be part of a community.

Step FIVE: Think about blogging

Blogging is emerging as an essential tool to building a social media presence.  It also communicates that you’ve arrived in the digital world.  Your blog doesnt have to be a brilliant discourse, but it can start with reposted stories, photos and other ideas.  In the final analysis, Facebook is a blog-like narrative of your life that is easy to use.  It’s almost as simple to create your own blog and tell your story and build your own brand!

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Engaging HCPs via Doximity: the LinkedIn for Medical Professionals

doximityIt should come as no surprise that colleagues are the top source of medical information for practicing physicians—trusted above all other sources. Considering the influence of colleagues in the physical realm, cyber communities are quickly rising as one of the prominent go-to sources for all things professional. Stated simply, online social networking expands a physician’s circle of peers.

Research supports the trend. According to a 2013 survey released by Kantar, 42% of physicians report using professional online networks (e.g., Physician Connect, Sermo) for professional purposes vs. 30% for general online social sites (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn).

Doximity, an online network dubbed the “LinkedIn for Physicians,” is gaining popularity among U.S. prescribers as a closed-loop professional network. With Doximity, medical professionals can quickly connect with colleagues nationwide to collaborate on patient treatment, identify appropriate experts for patient referrals, or seek new professional opportunities.

Doximity is the brainchild of Jeff Tangney, co-founder of Epocrates. Launched in March 2011, the network secured 30,000 users within nine months, representing approximately 5% of total licensed physicians operating in the U.S.

Today there are currently 130,000 physicians—representing 20%+ of U.S. physicians—actively using the network, and growth remains positive.

The platform is both an active network and database, allowing users access to 700,000 prebuilt U.S. public physician profiles. Doximity prepopulates its directory with practice information from the National Provider Identifier, Medicare and other HHS databases. Physicians who want to access and update their profiles must complete a three-step identity verification process. Once on board, they can search Doximity members by clinical interests, hospital affiliation, specialty, languages spoken, insurance accepted, and PubMed citations, among other criteria. They can also post challenging cases via the physician-only “iRounds” discussion platform, receive and send HIPAA-secure messages and images, exchange private phone lists, and share numbers for their back lines and pagers.

Example screenshot: Online CV (profile), inbox and search feature:


Online CVs include professional and clinical information such as training, work history, faculty appointments, publications, trial work, clinical interests and other credentials.






For Doximity, members who access the platform once in 180 days are classified as active. In general, 40% are monthly active users; 16% are weekly active users. For most markets, the network boasts 20% to 25% of the universe in terms of active users.

There are currently several large and unique online networks for medical professionals.

In the 2012 Taking the Pulse® survey, 16% of physicians reported using Doximity in the prior three months. Use drops significantly after Doximity to <5% for other professional communities.


According to Compete Website Analytics, actual Doximity site traffic shows double-digit growth this year.


Just like consumers, each physician is unique and will select his or her professional network(s) based on individual preferences. There are a number of factors that physicians will consider when seeking to join a community.

All four leading medical social platforms verify physician credentials, but when it comes to anonymity, there are some stark differences. The rise in popularity of Doximity and QuantiaMD may be attributed to unique features and benefits, but one could also argue that by allowing users to remain anonymous, Sermo conversations lack bona fides—the credibility of knowing who is offering opinions.

Based on the growth of these platforms, it can be argued that physicians are growing more comfortable offering opinions in a social realm. This contrasts sharply with the ongoing perception that threat of malpractice and privacy concerns will keep medical professionals off online communities.

Because relevance is also a driver for use, more and more specialty and therapeutically focused communities are emerging.  For example, the American College of Gastroenterology launched a community in 2009 available by College invite only. The community, ACG GI Circle, is hosted by Within3 and boasts over 3,900 members.


Doximity offers industry the opportunity to message members via the platform, syndicate brand assets (slide decks, case studies, articles, etc.) or pose questions for discussion.

Understanding that a core appeal of the platform is to foster connections, the network infrastructure also allows professional customers the ability to connect with a sales representative.

A key benefit of partnering with Doximity is the ability to easily segment a target audience by geographic, demographic, socioeconomic, and most importantly, psychographic (clinical interest, trial work, coauthored articles) criteria. Target list matching is also available.

Example screenshot: DocNews Alert sponsored message:










Reach out to your Ogilvy CommonHealth Medical Media account manager today to find out more about partnership opportunities with Doximity or other relevant social communities for HCPs.


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Also posted in Data, Digital, Healthcare Communications, Marketing, Media, Physician Communications, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Response

Reflecting on Young Executives’ Night Out

I recently had the honor of attending Young Executives’ Night Out, an industry-wide event hosted by the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame. It was an evening of true inspiration, where the most influential giants of our industry shared knowledge and experience with the future stars.

As a panel of CEOs discussed their career experiences, challenges and highlights, I listened closely for pieces of advice I could take back and apply to my work and relationships. It was humbling to hear them speak of issues they had encountered as leaders, and solutions they developed to fix them. During the next portion of the evening, which offered workshops on a variety of topics, I attended two sessions which focused on evaluating creative, and client problem solving. At the close of the evening, I left with a lot to think about.

Since the event, I have been reflecting on what I learned, and have developed four rules for myself to follow moving forward as a rising professional in this industry.

– Be curious. Be hungry.

Next time I am struck with a 3 pm hunger spell and I feel the urge to run to the nearest vending machine for something sweet, I will think again. Instead of seeking junk food to satisfy my craving, I am going to take a moment and read something. Google something. Read an article. Ask a question. Learn something new that I can apply to my work and share with my clients. I will tell my clients something they didn’t know and think on their behalf before they have time to blink. Satisfying this type of hunger is pretty sweet, and doesn’t come with the guilt.

 – Be proactive.

When approaching someone with a problem, I will always present a potential solution. A logical and strategic thought process impresses people, even if the proposed solution isn’t what actually happens in the end.

 – Be passionate.

To put it simply—I want to do what I love, and support what I believe in.

 – Be nice.

I want to always act with kindness and integrity, and for my colleagues and clients to trust me. At the end of the day, we are all people, and it is important to remember the true value of relationships.

It is no coincidence that these key points have surfaced before, as our industry leaders are well aware of the value held by each. I hope the guiding principles I have set for myself are valuable to you and can be applied to your work. I encourage you to share your thoughts on other helpful guidelines that you follow, so we can all learn from each other and continue to grow.

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The Other Perspective of an Interview

Employees are our greatest asset, and going about finding that best talent is a challenging task. We dedicate a lot of time during the hiring process thinking about the types of candidates we need with the required skill set and experience, the right questions to ask during an interview, evaluating their responses, and then finally making a decision on whom to offer the position. Much less concentration and focus is spent thinking about the questions candidates should and/or could ask when researching opportunities and meeting with a potential new employer.  Recently I came across an article that addressed this view point and pointed out what questions the best candidates ask because they really want to know.  Below is the article that appeared on I thought it was informative and definitely worth the read.

5 Questions Great Job Candidates Ask – Jeff Haden

Be honest. Raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, “Do you have any questions for me?” is almost always a waste of time.

Thought so.

The problem is most candidates don’t actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking “smart” questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.

Great candidates ask questions they want answered because they’re evaluating you, your company–and whether they really want to work for you.

Here are five questions great candidates ask:

What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?

Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don’t want to spend weeks or months “getting to know the organization.”

They want to make a difference–right away.

What are the common attributes of your top performers?

Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.

Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe it’s a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment.

Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.

What are a few things that really drive results for the company?

Employees are investments, and every employee should generate a positive return on his or her salary. (Otherwise why are they on the payroll?)

In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR folks to fill job openings… but what you really want is for HR to find the right candidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.

You need your service techs to perform effective repairs… but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits–in short, to generate additional sales.

Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

What do employees do in their spare time?

Happy employees 1) like what they do and 2) like the people they work with.

Granted this is a tough question to answer. Unless the company is really small, all any interviewer can do is speak in generalities.

What’s important is that the candidate wants to make sure they have a reasonable chance of fitting in–because great job candidates usually have options.

How do you plan to deal with…?

Every business faces a major challenge: technological changes, competitors entering the market, shifting economic trends… there’s rarely a Warren Buffett moat protecting a small business.

So while a candidate may see your company as a stepping-stone, they still hope for growth and advancement… and if they do eventually leave, they want it to be on their terms and not because you were forced out of business.

Say I’m interviewing for a position at your bike shop. Another shop is opening less than a mile away: How do you plan to deal with the new competitor? Or you run a poultry farm (a huge industry in my area): What will you do to deal with rising feed costs?

A great candidate doesn’t just want to know what you think; they want to know what you plan to do–and how they will fit into those plans.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry from forklift driver to manager of a 250-employee book plant. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest innovators and leaders he knows in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.


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Skipta™ Anyone?

According to Manhattan Research, 71% of physicians use social networks. So it should come as no surprise that colleagues are the top source of medical information for practicing physicians, trusted above all other online and offline sources. Understanding the influence of colleagues, one must conclude that online social media platforms will quickly rise as one of the prominent go-to sources for all things professional. Stated simply, online social networking expands a physician’s circle of peers.

Just like consumers, each physician is unique and will select a social portal based on individual preferences and needs. There are a number of factors that physicians will consider when seeking to join a community. Obvious factors include closed-loop verification (members are validated professionals), potential risk (liability concerns over offering clinical advice and protection of patient privacy) and usefulness (content is relevant, learning improves patient outcomes, enhances career development).

  • 38% of physicians use online peer-to-peer networking for professional purposes
  • On average, users of professional social media sites indicated 230 uses per year
  • Physicians who do not see sales reps are less likely to use a physician social networking site for professional purposes (21%) than their counterparts who do see sales reps (39%)
  • Doctors in the 45-65 age group noted more annual uses than both their younger and older counterparts (source: Kantar Media)

With professional use of peer-to-peer networking on the rise, several Ning-like hosting companies catering to the healthcare space are emerging. Skipta™ is one to watch. Skipta™ helps organizations interested in engaging with medical professionals underwrite and launch structured communities.

Skipta™ caters to specialty demands and launched their first professional healthcare community in December 2010 with the Pharmacist Society. The portal boasts over 46,000 verified members, including registered pharmacists, students, and pharmacy school faculty members.

Several additional communities are on the docket for 2012 targeting urologists, primary care physicians, dentists, physician assistants, and registered nurses. All members are validated as medical professionals and students and qualified for relevance to the particular group. With Skipta™, the features of each community are based on research and completely tailored to the unique needs of the specific medical group. The company has also formed a partnership with WebMD that allows in-frame access to Medscape content right from the Skipta™ environment.

Skipta™ Features

  • Virtual whiteboards
  • Real-time chat (including groups)
  • RSS news aggregation
  • Social search engine
  • Video conferencing
  • File sharing (Dropbox)
  • Cloud-storage and sharing capabilities
  • Peer survey and polling
  • Job and employment listings
  •  Integrated calendar functions (national, regional and local conferences and events specific to the field)
  • Cross-platform accessibility (desktop, smartphone, tablet)
  • Cross-connection based on interest and sub-specialty (i.e., Diabetes Network)

Working with Skipta™, financial support from industry ensures the appropriate features are in place and physician concerns ranging from privacy to liability are addressed. Engagement opportunities for the sponsor include:

  • All community members automatically linked to sponsor group page
  • Survey and polling tools
  • Direct advertising and promotion
  • Digital library to house patient handouts, product information, company and product postings, co-pay cards, coupons, etc.
  • Video
  • Webinars
  • eDetails
  • Calendar integration to auto-populate company initiatives, product launches and attended conferences
  • Self-administered messages and alerts
  • Disease state-specific sponsorships

Supporting a robust and structured community should be of great importance to our clients. Proprietary data proves the power of syndication. Interaction rates with brand and company assets are significantly higher when hosted outside the brand site. Establishing a point of access to a validated group of professionals with a greater share-of-voice compared to traditional medical portals is invaluable in today’s cluttered media landscape. Insights gained from peer-to-peer dialogue drives real-world competitive advantage.

What value do you see?

To find out more about Skipta™ or structured communities, contact your Ogilvy CommonHealth Medical Media representative today.

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The Next Wave Of Healthcare Innovation

In 2010, Internet scholar Clay Shirky wrote an interesting book called “Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators.” His premise was simple yet powerful: The ongoing migration of people from passive pursuits (Shirky particularly calls out watching TV) to more engaging pursuits enabled by the Internet and other digital technologies is igniting an era of “collective creativity” where people are able to connect and aggregate their efforts toward positive ends. Examples of the output from this collective creativity include Wikipedia, the open source software movement, and the myriad companies that have used the Web for crowdsourcing (i.e., online group collaboration) consumer inputs to co-create new products and services.

“Abundance” — Activating the Crowd for Good Works

Now, a new book called “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think,” by Peter Diamandis (the founder of the nonprofit X PRIZE Foundation whose mission is to stimulate investment in R&D through incentive prize competitions) builds on Shirky’s premise by proposing that this cognitive surplus is starting to be harnessed in ways that will significantly raise global living standards.

Diamandis’ theory is that this collective creativity will soon reach a tipping point (to wit, a point of “abundance”) in a way that activates the intellectual capital and resources on a scale needed to solve intractable problems like hunger and disease. Diamandis sees the confluence of three macro-trends behind this transformation:

  • The exponential growth and accessibility of computer processing power
  • The do-it-yourself ethos of the Internet culture
  • And, the “rising billions” represented by the world’s poor who are coming online en masse thanks to the dropping cost of digital hardware and the growing ubiquity of mobile networks

Abundance and Health Care Innovation

What does all this have to do with health care innovation? Imagine the types of innovation that can be achieved by combining the democratization of clinical data through the open sourcing (i.e., free distribution) of scientific data sets, with the awesome computer processing firepower scientists now have access to over the cloud at minimal cost.

Another example: some countries are leveraging the Internet and mobile networks to bring quality health care to their poorest rural communities. For instance, India uses a combination of digital technologies like SMS, mobile phone cameras and remote monitoring systems to treat kidney disease patients in isolated communities at a cost that is roughly 90% less than traditional treatments. The real kicker is that these rural patients frequently have better outcomes than their urban counterparts who receive in-person treatments on an outpatient basis.

Diamandis’ vision is a bit rosy but by no means unrealistic—considering that today we carry smartphone devices in our pockets the size of a deck of cards that have roughly the same processing power that a mainframe computer the size of a 12×12 room had 40 years ago!

Click on the below links to purchase the books mentioned in this blog post:

Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

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