Track Time to Make It Work for You

Tech Showcase

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This article was prepared for the

September 12, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights

reserved.

Caveats for Gathering New Economy Information

Harold (Chip) Jerry, now a principal in the 731

Alexander

Road law firm of Jerry & Jerry, spent nearly a decade and a half in

banking beginning in the early 1980s. From that vantage point, he

saw that collection of customer data was a common — and lucrative

— practice. "That was my introduction to data processing,"

he says.

The banks for which Jerry worked as legal counsel began to add more

and more products throughout the 1980s. Institutions once prohibited

from doing much more than setting up passbook accounts and making

loans began offering business checking accounts, insurance, brokerage

services, estate management, electronic banking, Internet banking,

and more.

"As the barriers broke down, banks saw they could market other

products to existing customers," Jerry says. Banks invested

heavily

in data mining software, and enthusiastically found out all they could

about customer’s banking habits. Customers, meanwhile, were rarely

aware that data they had submitted, and transactions they had

completed,

were being used as marketing tools.

Banks weren’t the only businesses that gathered customer data.

Companies

of all kinds have used customer data to cross-sell their products

for decades, and any number of companies have boosted their bottom

lines substantially by selling customer information. "Companies

in the old economy — the pre-Internet economy — routinely

did what the Internet companies now are doing," says Jerry.

"They

always gathered information, and they often sold it." So why the

uproar over these practices on the Internet?

"What the Internet is doing," says Jerry, "is making

people

aware of how much information is available." Traffic violations,

criminal records, home addresses, phone numbers, voter registration,

it’s all oh-so-easy to call up on the Internet. "People thought

they were anonymous, invisible," says Jerry. "But not

anymore."

The information individuals are appalled to find available to

absolutely

anyone has long been accessible to those who knew how to look.

"You

used to have to hire an investigator," says Jerry. But now anyone

with Internet access can call up his daughter’s boyfriend’s arrest

record or find out the selling price for the house next door.

Jerry explains how to "Protect Yourself in CyberSpace: Legal

Essentials

for Business," when he addresses the Princeton Chamber of Commerce

on Wednesday, September 19, at 7:30 a.m. at the Nassau Club. Also

speaking is Cathryn Mitchell, principal with the State Road

law firm of Miller & Mitchell. Cost: $21. Call 609-520-1776.

Jerry studied history, specifically the intellectual history of 19th

and 20th century Europe, at Princeton (Class of 1969). A member of

the university’s press club, he briefly considered a career in

journalism,

but found the need "to turn everything into news" distasteful.

A conscientious objector, he took two years out from law school to

work in a hospital during the Vietnam War. He graduated from Columbia

Law School in 1974.

Upon graduation, he practiced litigation at Shearson & Sterling, then

the largest law firm in Manhattan, where one his cases involved

intellectual

property rights to amoxicillin. Beecham claimed that Bristol-Myers

Squibb had infringed on its rights to what is one of the most popular

antibiotics. The case settled with Bristol-Myers obtaining a license

to distribute the drug.

Jerry left Shearson after nine years, and spent the next 13 years

in banking before starting his own firm. "It’s something I had

always wanted to do," he says. Much of the impetus for the move,

however, came from his wife, Marilyn, who also is a lawyer. The couple

have three children, Christopher, a senior at the University of

Chicago;

Elizabeth, a sophomore at George Washington; and Steven, a junior

at Princeton High School. Marilyn Jerry had been at home raising the

children, but eventually felt it was time to return to her career.

In 1996 the couple started their firm, which specializes in general

corporate law and commercial litigation, including debt collection.

Jerry says businesses have to be careful in using the Internet,

especially

as a tool to collect customer data. "My years in banking

sensitized

me to privacy, and to people’s expectation of privacy," he says.

In addition, companies have to be careful about how their employees

use on-site Internet connections. Here are some suggestions.

Post a privacy statement. This is not optional, Jerry

says. Every business must put language on its Internet site assuring

customers that their private information will be safeguarded, and

will not be sold to third parties without their knowledge.

Watch the wording of the privacy statement. When Toysmart,

an Internet toy store, declared bankruptcy, consumer groups objected

to the sale of its customer list. Eventually, Disney, which had an

interest in the company, paid $50,000 to buy — and destroy —

the list. Had the case gone to trial, however, Jerry says the court

most likely would have allowed the list to be sold, probably to

another

toy company, which could be expected to use it responsibly. In the

wake of this case, companies are being more cautious about telling

consumers their information will not be sold.

"Amazon has changed the wording on its site," Jerry says.

It now reads that in the "unlikely" event that it is acquired

or sold, its customer list would be sold along with the company. This

is a smart move, one that every company would do well to emulate,

Jerry says. Consumers may not know it, but their names, E-mail

addresses,

home addressees, and other personal information is worth a bundle.

In many cases, lists of this information is among the most valuable

assets a company has. Don’t give away rights to them, Jerry says.

Tailor privacy language in a way that it will reassure customers,

but at the same time, allow the company to retain rights to lists

of their names and data.

Post an Internet policy. "It is vital that a company

have a policy in place on Internet use," says Jerry. Absent such

a policy, it can be difficult for an employer to punish, or rein in

the activities, of a worker who is using the Internet to view

pornography,

set up a business of his own, or send out offensive E-mails.

When he headed up bank legal departments, Jerry routinely saw lists

of employee phone use detailing every number each employee dialed

and how long each call lasted. Telephone monitoring was common, and

so is Internet monitoring now. Employers still have a broad scope

of power in looking into what their employees are looking at online.

While Jerry says eavesdropping on employees’ private phone

conversations

is now forbidden by law, there is no such prohibition against reading

their E-mails. "If E-mail is written at work, it is assumed to

be for purposes of the company’s business," he says.

Consider E-mail a conversation that lasts forever.

Claiming

a power few speechmakers achieve, E-mail missives "live virtually

forever," says Jerry. He advises employers to educate their

workers

to this fact, stressing that pressing the "delete" button

does not erase their messages, which will still be retrievable years

down the road.

Jerry points to Bill Gates, in some ways the father of E-mail, or

at least father of the software that allowed it to become ubiquitous,

as one of its victims. Some of the most damaging testimony against

Microsoft in its anti-trust battle came in the form of E-mails Gates

had written years before that were trotted out to refute his

testimony.

Employees should also be drilled on editing E-mail carefully. "We

only retain something like 10 percent of what we hear," says

Jerry.

"The written word has a much greater impact."

Free doesn’t mean help yourself. Because there is no cost

for reading the wealth of information, news, and stories on the

Internet,

many businessmen feel free to take it and use it any way they want

to. This, says Jerry, can be an invitation to be sued.

One of his early clients was putting together an information website

and asked Jerry’s advice on whether he could include material freely

available on other websites. "No," was the answer, at least

not without permission.

"Gigantic" is the way Jerry describes businesses’

Internet-enabled

ability to gather customer data. Their obligation to do so responsibly

now may be critical. He says there are 30 or 40 bills in Congress

aiming to limit Internet data gathering. The new administration is

less eager to see these measures get through than was the last

administration,

so businesses may have time to avoid being regulated. Assuring

consumers

that their data won’t be sold to everyone with the cash to buy it,

may be key.

Top Of Page
Track Time to Make It Work for You

Robin Fogel, former assistant treasurer for the

state of New Jersey, knows what she wants to get out of life. "I

want to be present in my children’s lives," the mother of teenage

children says. She also wants to spend time in her garden and to do

more reading. As for work, Fogel, now principal in Robin Fogel and

Associates, a Titusville-based coaching firm, wants flexibility and

"control over my career."

Fogel is on the way to achieving her goals. In a recent family

meeting,

she announced that she would be spending half an hour reading —

uninterrupted, please — two evenings a week. A master gardener,

she makes time for her plants, but marshals that scarce commodity

by turning a blind eye to the nearby lawn. "My real joy is

gardening,"

she says. "I could care less about the grass." In starting

her own company, Fogel has the flexibility to spend time with her

children when they need her, and a vehicle to grow her career in ways

she finds satisfying.

Fogel shares her strategies for creating the life she wants when she

speaks on "Making Time in Your Life for What Matters to You"

at a meeting of the Central Jersey Women’s Network on Wednesday,

September

19, at 6p.m. at the Princeton Raddison. Cost: $35. Call 908-281-9234.

A graduate of Stockton College, where she majored in finance and

accounting,

Fogel holds a graduate degree in human development from Fairleigh

Dickinson. She says the two disciplines, with little in common at

first blush, have melded exceptionally well in her career. She has

worked as an accountant and as a banker in private industry. She began

her career with the state in accounting, and when an opportunity to

switch to human resources came up, she took it, and found it a good

fit. Among the posts she has held are personnel director for New

Jersey’s

Office of Administrative Law and for the state’s Treasury Department.

Like many busy career women, Fogel has had to work to get time on

her side, but she is quick to point out that finding enough time to

fit in the basics of a satisfying life is not a women’s problem. Men

too are crunched between work and family, and are often hard-pressed

to find time for exercise and leisure activities. It’s not easy, she

says, but given thought, the week can be carved up into enough slices

to yield a living, as well as a life. Here are some of her

suggestions:

Track those minutes. "Be clear about how you actually

are spending time," says Fogel. Her clients often are surprised

about how the precious hours really are spent.

Keep a diary. The best way to find out how many hours

a week pass in semi-somnolent TV watching, marathon phone

conversations

with gabby acquaintances, waiting on line, picking up after the kids,

or reading junk E-mail is to write it all down. Only when you

understand

where your time going will you be able to grab hold of it and use

it in ways that satisfy, rather than frustrate.

Beware the arm-twisters. Fogel says it’s important to

separate out the things you do because you want to from the things

you get sucked into doing by an inability to say no. Time demands

are intense. Every volunteer group badly needs committee chairs, most

youth sports teams could use another coach, many bosses have projects

they are eager to unload. Before saying yes, Fogel suggests, do some

research. How long will the project take? Just how many hours a week

are required to keep the soccer team’s snack stand manned?

Set limits. If you see your charity’s fundraiser as an

important event that will raise needed money for an important cause,

go ahead and volunteer to help, but, says Fogel, decide just how many

hours you can spend. "Say you are able to give two hours

month,"

Fogel gives as an example. And then stick to it.

Unload some burdens. Fogel speaks of a woman with too

little time who shed her nightly responsibility for preparing dinner

by enlisting her husband and each of her teenage children to take

one night of the week. She now has to come up with an evening meal

not more than two nights a week, and has gained no fewer than five

hours to spend as she pleases. A key here, which can apply to the

office as well as to the home, is to avoid hovering, and to accept

that the work delegated may not be done exactly as you would do it,

and that that is okay.

Figure out why you have to stay late. One of Fogel’s

clients

could not get away from work into well into the evening. A little

gentle probing revealed that she was so tied up in reading and

answering

E-mail that she didn’t get to her assigned projects until late in

the day. Fogel suggested that she set aside two or three time slots

each day for reading E-mail, and let it sit the rest of the day.

There are people, says Fogel, who waste a lot of time between 9 and

5 and end up having to work late when a little time management earlier

in the day could have gotten them out the door on time. For models

of productivity, she says, look back to the early days of flex-time.

"Some of the most productive workers were young mothers who wanted

to be home," she says. Given the incentive of a young child

waiting

for them, these women, she recalls, organized themselves and got their

work done in record time.

Fogel admits, however, that in some companies it doesn’t matter how

much work has been accomplished before sunset. There are corporate

cultures that value face time, and want to see a full parking lot

no matter what the status of projects and deadlines. "Certain

cultures just want you around," says Fogel. She suggests that

anyone with different priorities might do well to look elsewhere for

work.

It’s all about control, says Fogel. Figuring out where your

time is going, and then making decisions about how to re-allocate

to accommodate your priorities is the path to a fulfilling life. But

this isn’t always easy. On the very first night after Fogel’s

announcement

that she would be unavailable at the end of the evening because she

was reading, one of her children came to her with an urgent request.

There was a school project that could not wait. "I jumped up,"

Fogel says. But then she reconsidered, and told her child that it

could wait until the next day.

Top Of Page
Tech Showcase

Venture Association New Jersey and the New Jersey

Business

Incubator Network hold their fourth annual Business Incubator and

Technology Showcase on Monday, September 24, at 9 a.m. at the Westin

Hotel in Morristown. There is no charge to visit company exhibits,

but the cost for a morning workshop, limited to 50 participants, is

$50, and the cost for a luncheon program is $60. Call 973-267-4200.

The showcase offers young tech companies an opportunity to network

with venture capital firms, angel investors, other early stage

start-up

companies, professional service providers, and corporate product

planners.

Fifty New Jersey incubator startups are expected to exhibit at the

showcase. The exhibition area will be open from 10 a.m. through 4

p.m. The morning workshop, beginning at 9 a.m., features a talk by

Randy Harmon, director of technology commercialization for the

New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers.

The luncheon program is an angel investor and venture capitalist panel

discussion. Panelists include John Ason, an angel investor

specializing

in early stage pre-revenue companies; Warren Bagatelle, managing

director of Loeb Partners; Joseph Falkenstein, general partner

of the NJ Technology Council Venture Fund; Bryan Finkel,

managing

director of Advanta Growth Capital; and Ronald Hahn, president

of ESE Partners.


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