Top of Their Minds?

Smart and Online

Online Recruiting

Gaming Not a Gamble

Corrections or additions?

These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on October 21, 1998. All rights reserved.

Getting It Done

"There is so much we have to do. But equally important is who we have to be," says Carol E. Gerrish, founder and president of Landmark Strategies Inc., a company that aims to help people improve performance, unlock creativity, and gain personal satisfaction. Gerrish speaks on "Getting It Done Without Self-Destructing" at the YWCA business and professional women's breakfast Wednesday, October 28, at 7:45 a.m. at the Nassau Club. Preregister: $20. For information call: 609-252-2006. To register call 609-497-2100.

In the pursuit of successful careers, women often tend to be self-destructive, says Gerrish. "We have formed work habits that have turned us into adrenalin junkies. We like having problems, perhaps it makes us feel important and powerful. In the course of which we tend to over-promise and end up under-delivering."

"We put ourselves at the bottom of the list. We end up being rundown, wornout, helpless and powerless. How can we take care of our work, our husbands, our children, if we run down our own engine?" Instead, Gerrish says, "We have to think of under-promising and over-delivering."

We all adopt time management systems. "But all the to-do lists, and schedules we make can take us only so far," she says. "We have to be tough and clear about the things that are really important to us."

A "corporate escapee and recovering workaholic" Gerrish Gerrish enjoyed a successful corporate career, including executive and management positions with Continental Insurance and Hartford Insurance. A graduate of University of Rochester, Class of '72, Gerrish serves as director of the Central Jersey Women's Network, an 80-member network affiliate of National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)

Getting things done requires collaborating with other people to a great extent. Gerrish believes that women seem to take more readily to collaboration, are more willing to be part of a team, and can take advantage of the strengths other people have.

"We have to be people who know what we want, what is really important, and why. And we have to be people who know and use the power of other people. Pamper, prioritize and partner, then you will be able to live your passion," she says.

-- Teena Chandy

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Top of Their Minds?

Do consumers think of your business first? Or does the competition come to their minds more easily? Find out in the "Top of Mind Awareness" (TOMA) seminar on Wednesday, October 28, at 8 a.m. at the Marriott. Sponsored by Nassau Broadcasting Partners and the Mercer Chamber, the seminar is free by reservation. Call Toni Sitoy at 609-419-0300, extension 480, or fax 609-419-0143.

Dozens of studies have shown there is a direct correlation between TOMA and market share, says Larry Messick, vice president of American Consulting Services, who will present the seminar. Those who attend will learn how their business ranks and how to increase its TOMA level. Deadline for reservations is Friday, October 23.

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Smart and Online

Whether you are starting an Internet business, promoting an upcoming event, or simply want to increase the number of hits to your Web site, you have to make your online approach intelligently. Not only can the online community be insensitive to those who don't know the rules, competition for any audience growth is tremendous.

Steve O'Keefe, Internet publicity pioneer and author of "Publicity on the Internet," has some ideas on how to effectively market online. He will share them Tuesday, October 27, at 11:30 a.m. at the New Jersey CAMA meeting at the Forrestal Hotel. Cost: $40. Call 609-890-9207.

As director of Internet publicity services at Texas-based Tenagra, he leads the Tenagra team that handles online marketing and promotion exclusively for book publishers and authors. His own writing has appeared in various publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Internet World, Harper's, and Curio. He has launched Internet publicity campaigns for over 100 books and more than two dozen websites.

O'Keefe lists three key mistakes that beginners to Internet publicity often make: deception, selectivity and formatting.

"Deception involves pretending to be a disinterested party recommending some product or service in online discussion groups. People online aren't stupid. When you're discovered, it will discredit you and your client," says O'Keefe.

"Selectivity involves thinking that because it's inexpensive, you'll be able to send your advertising material out to everyone rather than going through the time-consuming process of narrowing your target audience. For most clients, the short-term benefits of `Spam' (online mass mailings equivalent to junk mail) are dwarfed by the negative impacts."

As for formatting, it's hard for people to understand that the end user controls the look of online documents -- not the producer. "You have to design for your audience, and that means avoiding things like file attachments, audio, and video -- or at least providing easy alternatives to them."

Formatting mistakes could alienate the vast majority of Internet users who have slower dial-up connections. "Every day I battle with length issues. The net requires a brutal brevity that is difficult to adjust to. Everything must be kept small: news releases, Web pages, graphics -- everything," he says.

But what happens when the inevitable breach of "Netiquette," the online equivalent to an accepted set of good manners, does occur? Aren't particular Internet users notorious for the ferocity of their attacks? "People will often give you a warning before attacking. They might complain about you in a discussion group, or send your service provider a nasty letter," O'Keefe says. "You should apologize or defend yourself immediately, because next time the action could be very unpleasant. Once you've been blacklisted or E-mail bombed, you'll have to change your domain name -- a potentially costly loss. Nowadays there are even legal repercussions for bad online behavior."

And what about when everything seems to work? One of O'Keefe's more popular online successes was the Seinfeld Aptitude Test, an idea that came from the book of the same name. O'Keefe has an interesting take on the test's success, with a somewhat sobering realization. "Quite honestly, it was effective because it tickled the fancy of a People magazine reporter, who wrote about it," he says. "Maybe a few thousand people played the quiz online -- maybe a few hundred thousand saw the People article. I think this demonstrates how powerful the mainstream media are compared to online media, and suggests a strategy of using the Internet to reach the media rather than the public."

There are also challenges in the near future that potential Internet publicists need to be aware of -- the speed of the vast majority of modems won't be restrictive indefinitely, effectively reversing a current restriction. "The closer we get to `broadband' (high speed, high capacity Internet access), the closer the Web gets to cable TV. Public expectations have been shaped by television and motion pictures," he says. "People will demand production standards that will be very expensive to meet: good writing, lighting, sound, color, animation, etc. A lot of us will go down in flames trying to meet those expectations. It won't be pretty. People will lose a lot of money before they realize they can't afford to compete."

-- Bill Loguidice

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Online Recruiting

One's ability to do Internet searches is directly proportional to the amount of time and effort one expends learning the tricks of the search engines. Earlier this year the Yardley-based technology writers, Emily and Albert Glossbrenner, published a Peachpit Press guide on search engines, showing that no two search engines were alike. Now, a Hanover, New Hampshire-based firm, Intelligent Search, is traveling around the northeast teaching recruiters that the best stuff on the Internet isn't really supposed to be on the Internet.

Its class, "Advanced Internet Retrieval Strategies," charges a hefty one-day fee of $895, but the trainers claim that's nothing compared to the cost of hiring a headhunter. The classes are Thursday and Friday, October 22 and 23, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Marriott Courtyard in Mount Laurel. The first day focuses on finding resumes on the Internet. The seminars held on the second day detail the art of finding "passive" job candidates on a desktop. For more information call 888-999-8844 (http://www.intell-search.com).

Cost aside, Intelligent Search's proactive Internet-searching techniques can solve some of the staffing problems in the grossly understaffed IT industry. It merges Internet acumen with headhunting techniques. "Today people are applying those same techniques to people who aren't so senior," says Bill Craib, the director of marketing and media relations, who was a headhunter before he started working with search engines. "What we really do is teach people how to proactively look for people with skills that they already have."

"Let's say you're working for Microsoft and you're looking for a software engineer," he says. "Your choices are posting on an online job-wanted board or doing what traditional headhunting firms do -- see if a person working at another company has the skills you're looking for. Now that's just been expanded to looking on the 'Net."

For instance, many large IT firms keep information on their programmers behind firewalls, some of which can be penetrated by the right commands, says Craib. Here are some ways to gain this kind of cyber competitive intelligence:

The X-ray command. This finds all the documents on the server, regardless of whether they are accessible from the home page. On AltaVista, type "Host:Netscape.com" to find everything on Netscape's servers. It works on several other search engines as well. On HotBot, the command is Domain. On Northern Light, click on power search box for a similar function. "No search engine has indexed everything," says Craib.

The link command. This nifty field search command finds all the links to a specific site. On AltaVista, type link:princetoninfo.com to find all 700-plus pages linked, in either direction, to the U.S. 1 site. This command can be especially useful, Craib explains, for recruiters in the information technology industry.

When searching for resumes online, Craib explains, it helps to use more precise Boolean indicators. For example, on AltaVista, say "resume AND software engineers AND NOT (submit or opening)." This would filter out all of the job advertisements and find a higher percentage of software engineers, he says. "We teach ways to really maximize your time on the 'Net."

A promotional E-mail says, "Our trainers are researchers themselves and know the material cold, so can think on their feet and provide honest, direct answers and simple solutions to your questions. All day long we look for candidates by rooting around in Web servers on the 'Net. Together we sort through ISPs, virtual communities, online services, Internet E-mail directories, colleges and universities, alumni chapters, conferences, organizations, discussion groups and the public and not-so-public Web servers of over 3,000 companies."

Do-it-yourselfers, take note: Some of the material -- namely those extra search commands -- can be found by anyone wise enough to click on the help button at any search engine.

-- Peter J. Mladineo

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Gaming Not a Gamble

Say whatever you like about the future of the gaming industry, but don't call it a gamble. "It's an enormous growth industry," says Mike Pollock, publisher of Michael Pollock's Gaming Industry Observer, and never more than now, thanks to a rapidly advancing technology that has transformed traditional slot machines from simple mechanical devices into "PCs with handles."

Pollock moderates "An Insider's View of the Technology of Gaming" on Wednesday, October 21, at 4 p.m. at Atlantic City's Tropicana Hotel. Sponsored by the New Jersey Technology Council, the event will bring together experts at the intersection of technology and gaming, where issues range from flashy to button-down.

Also on the panel: Lawrence Cole, president of Advanced Casino Systems; Richard Franz, director of compliance for the Casino Control Commission; Mac Selig, president of A.C. Coin and Slot Service Co. in Pleasantville; and Richard Robbins of Arthur Andersen. Cost: $50. Call 609-452-1010.

Along with designing the new games and environmental enhancements to keep first-time players and casino habitues seated and spending, there are also, inevitably, matters of regulation and of tracking where all those revenues go. Although gaming is so tightly regulated at the state level that "it doesn't mix with technology like other industries do," Pollock is betting that the industry "will be in the vanguard of growth in technology that allows companies to better service their retail customers."

The impact of technology is simultaneously being felt and anticipated all along the gaming spectrum, which is vast. Just those 12 buildings, says Pollock, speaking of the casinos in Atlantic City, generate $4 billion a year from some 30 million "visitor trips."

Selig says that what every casino wants is "to make a better experience for the players." The object is "the creation of more fun. Players don't change. Just the technology keeps changing."

As a distributor of slot machines and marketer of a variety of gaming equipment and casino accouterments, Selig views the casino as a "total environment," one in which every element -- signage, slot machine glass, casino millwork, seating, food quality, rest-room cleanliness, even the boxes upon which the games sit -- can affect the industry's ultimate measurement, which is "time in front of device."

Selig says that casinos are always on the lookout for games that are new, different, and exciting. One new game, Empire, displays a gorilla climbing up the side of the Empire State Building. The sound effects, particularly the grunting noises that the gorilla emits while climbing, "make you laugh," Selig says. "We're all looking for entertainment and laughter."

Empire, which lasts about a minute and a half, is also an example of game-within-a-game technology. Even if a player is losing the primary game, there is the possibility of a bonus, a second chance to win, something to hope for until the very end. If the player wins the bonus despite losing the title game, he has, in a way, defeated defeat. Bonuses are paid out the same way as conventional wins.

Other advancements that technology is making possible include "interactive slots," a new generation of automated and adjustable seating, and a great variety of atmospherics designed to keep players in the casino regardless of their luck.

Less visibly, technology is also being used behind the scenes to improve casino safety for players and operators, and to enable regulators to do their jobs more effectively.

But it's a bad bet that anything technologically possible is destined to find its way into gaming. Three out of four players are over the age of 55, which means that research and development must be controlled. Ideas must be weeded out that go too far or too fast for an older generation that is not high-tech. "The idea is to offer entertainment," Selig says, "not frustration."

-- Emily Nelson


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