Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the November 17, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
If you are a creative person, with a great idea for a movie, (and who
isn’t), new technology allows you to shoot your film on video pretty
darn inexpensively. But assuming you eventually want to make money,
and get the film seen, there are a lot of business details that need
to be taken care of. (A lot!)
Recognizing that creative people generally don’t know about the legal
and business side of independent filmmaking, attorney Mukesh M. Patel
has set up a practice geared to the first-time filmmaker. He speaks at
a meeting of the Princeton Media Communications Association on
Wednesday, November 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Templeton Hall of the
Princeton Theological Seminary. Cost: $15. 609-466-2828, ext. 20.
Come learn what it takes to keep your production on track legally,
before and after production. The meeting addresses investors, deferred
payments, distribution agreements, music rights, and many other issues
that can derail the best creative concept.
Patel is a member of the New Jersey and New York bars as well as the
U.S. District Court for the Federal District of New Jersey. He holds a
juris doctor degree from Fordham University School of Law. He also
graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers with a B.S. in economics and
statistics, and a minor in film production and theater arts.
His law practice based in South Plainfield, represents entrepreneurial
clients in areas of corporate law, commercial transactions,
entertainment, finance, information technology, real estate,
immigration, and litigation. Entertainment clientele include
independent filmmakers, producers, directors, investors, distributors,
exhibitors, talent, and management, for which he has provided services
involving incorporations, corporate governance, contracts, deal
negotiations, litigation, strategy, and networking. He has also been a
seed investor in several independent entertainment productions.
It is an idea whose time is long overdue. Three decades ago if you had
seen a seminar listing entitled "Getting More from Less: Improving
Profitability Through Workplace Efficiency," your mind would have
conjured images of production flow, fiscal belt tightening, and
equipment relocation. We still saw Ford’s main asset as his assembly
line. But slowly a different truth has been invited into board rooms:
A company’s main assets lie in its people.
A free seminar reflecting that new paradigm takes place on Thursday,
November 18, at 7:30 a.m. at the Forsgate Country Club. Call
609-896-1221. This seminar does not deal at all with tangibles. Rather
it addresses a more complex and more valuable asset: the individuals
who make things work. The sponsor is the Lawrenceville branch of
accounting firm J.H. Cohn, located on 997 Lenox Drive.
Peter Minck, one of the speakers, is a native of Upper Saddle River
who has bounced around the entire corporate spectrum before becoming a
J.H. Cohn partner. Graduating from St. Bonaventure in l983 with a B.A.
in management information systems, he obtained an MBA from Fairleigh
Dickinson University and thenworked for ADP in its computer lab. He
then took his technical expertise to the Rockefeller group, starting
up a telecom group that expanded from 5 to 50 employees before he sold
it. Looking for new ventures, he took on the vice presidency of
internal consulting for Goldman Sachs. In 1995 Minck bought into
Roseland-based Don Aux Consulting, which, through mergers, became part
of JH Cohn, where he is a human resource consultant and partner.
Another speaker, Eric Taylor, began his career by selling pots and
pans in his hometown of Wall. "I loved it instantly," he says. "The
whole psychology and contact of selling was totally for me." Entering
Monmouth Community College he aimed at majors in communications and
psychology. While he worked toward them, a process that took many
years, he sold "every product on the planet." He then founded Elite
Entertainment, which provided DJs for parties, sold it, and on a whim
bought a sales training franchise. Finding its rules too restrictive,
Taylor founded his own multifaceted training company, the Empowerment
Group, which is based in Eatontown, Pennsylvania.
While experiences and methods may vary, both Minck and Taylor agree
that sales and profits can best be increased by enhancing the
performance of existing employees. The trendy practice of making
massive layoffs, while turning a blind eye to the resulting morale and
productivity drop, continues to fail. Instead, both speakers suggest
that management hire with precision and then focus on polishing its
employees for utmost output.
Star search. Most of our desks are manned by billers. Those reliable
folks who turn in the invoices or billing hours at a solid,
predictable rate. "What you’re really looking for instead of billers,
is builders," says Minck. "You’ve got to seek out those individuals
who act and create with a company, not just react." For Minck, this
begins right at the resume. The biller will write that he "has a
working knowledge of" or "took part in," or "was responsible for."
Basically, the candidate is reporting that he performed as he was
directed. An admirable quality, though scarcely stellar.
The builder, on the other hand, will indicate how he took charge in
this situation, or how he developed a particular process. Others may
tell you what they "participated in." Minck admits there is a fine
line here. You seek the aggressive, rather than the reactive employee,
yet you don’t want the pompous old soul, who fills your offices with
the patter of his own little feats. Beyond the verbal interview, Minck
likes behavioral tests that judge a candidate’s response to various
Burnishing the shine. Too frequently the testing and reviews end with
the hiring. Minck insists that reviews be constant – and not
necessarily scheduled. These reviews must lead somewhere. Calling an
employee into your office and presenting a laundry list of his faults
is quick, but is not a fix. Both Taylor and Minck agree that employees
must be praised for their successes, and their flaws should be met
with retraining. By setting up a system of constant review, you may
find 20 individuals with the same problems, and develop a group
But what about that one employee who never seems to catch on, even
though the department and his peers all seem to click? "The first
thing I would do," responds Taylor, "is to seek out the source of this
individual’s motivation. Each of us is inspired by different things."
It may be that rather than high salary, he works best with a personal
Additionally, Taylor advises a hard study this individual’s hours. He
may be spending his day making cold calls, when a much higher return
could be gained from working with existing customers. "The key here,"
insists Taylor, "is not to lambaste him publicly, but rather to guide
his restructuring – provide formal coaching if necessary."
Employees unified. Despite an increased emphasis on human resources,
Minck points out that buddy and mentoring systems are not getting the
emphasis they need. Those who try to mentor a newcomer very often make
the mistake of pairing him off with an almost equally novice employee
because the two are of the same age. Match experience with innovative
freshness, advises Minck. Look for basic personality fits and let the
two people learn from each other.
Beyond individual buddies, the flow of information from the top down
must remain constant – in both directions. Minck is a strong proponent
of giving surveys with each intended major shift in a company. "I have
gotten pearls of wisdom from guys four levels down in the warehouse
that have saved management hundreds of thousands of dollars – if they
listen," he reports.
Taylor notes that the same unity must proceed through all the
training. "Both the sales techniques and the entire company philosophy
must be known to the top management, the sales manager, and the entire
sales staff," says Taylor. If everyone buys into the same philosophy
and endorses the same techniques, the client receives a more solid,
Team play. The machine set the company back $2.3 million and now it
sits idle 60 percent of the time. This challenge is one of Minck’s
favorite examples of team dynamics. At his suggestion, the client
company formed a team to handle the problem. It selected individuals
from directly connected areas (plant engineering) and from
less-obviously-connected areas (shipping and quality control).
The group measured the down time of this manufacturing unit, and
established its failure schedule. Then they began seeking root causes.
They kept pulling threads and asking why? In the end they discovered
that the humidity in the plant area was too high. Why? because the
machine was too near an air conditioner. A $15 curtain performed the
fix. But had it been just a mechanical crew or one individual, the
search probably have ended there. Instead, the team, working together,
discovered a bottleneck four steps back in the production process that
had left the expensive machine underutilized.
If a cohesive team is selected and given good latitude, they may
discover more than a quick fix to a problem, but they may uncover a
whole set of possible improvements. Question is, are you flexible
enough to adopt their findings?
Businesses of yesteryear can scarcely be blamed for their focus on the
fiscal and physical plant. Things are easier than people. Numbers add
up more neatly than employees. But today it’s grow or die, and
companies have realized that they can expand no further than their
innovative workforce allows.
– Bart Jackson
As the debate over stem cell research rages, it is worthwhile to note
that some professed opponents of abortion are stalwart supporters of
embryo research. In his book "Redesigning Humans: Changing our Genes,
Changing Our Future," Greg Stock points out that South Carolina’s
Senator Strom Thurmond "supported embryo research years before other
conservative pro-lifers began to mute their opposition."
Stock, the CEO of Signum BioSciences, speaks on a panel "Embryonic
Stem Cell Research: Prometheus or Pandora?" sponsored by the Princeton
HealthCare System Foundation to mark the 85th anniversary of the
University Medical Center at Princeton. Set for Thursday, November 18,
at 7:30 p.m. at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium, the
event is free and no reservations are needed. Call 609-497-4190 for
Stem cell research is a particularly important topic in New Jersey,
the home of the first publicly funded stem cell research institute,
established six months ago. But broad public support is needed,
particularly in light of competition coming from California, which
just passed a $3 billion bond issue for this purpose. Of the estimated
$90 million that it will cost to build New Jersey’s institute, only
$10 million has been received from state sources, says Wise Young,
chairman of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers
University, who co-directs the institute with Ira Black, chairman of
neuroscience and cell biology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School. And whether New Jersey residents will support research using
all cells – both embryonic and adult cells – is not clear.
Gina Kolata, author and New York Times science reporter, is the
moderator of the panel, which includes Douglas Melton of Harvard
University and Ruth R. Faden of Johns Hopkins University. Also
speaking are Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University, and
Barry S. Rabner, CEO of Princeton Healthcare System.
Melton focuses on making pancreatic tissue in culture for
transplantation into people who have diabetes. He has also been
successful in deriving new embryonic stem cells and distributing them
freely to other researchers. A graduate of Cambridge with a PhD in
molecular biology from Trinity College, he will discuss the technology
of embryonic stem cell research.
Faden teaches biomedical ethics and heads the Phoebe R. Berman
Bioethics Institute at Hopkins; she is the co-author of "A History and
Theory of Informed Consent." A graduate of the University of
Pennsylvania with a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and
a doctor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, she
will cover the ethical considerations of the this research.
Stock will give a "glimpse of the future." As director of the program
on medicine, technology, and society at UCLA’s School of Public
Health, he aims to stimulate public debate on critical technologies
and their implications, so that wise public policies can be created.
He has a undergraduate and doctoral degrees in biophysics from Johns
Hopkins and an MBA from Harvard.
Kolata’s books include "Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead,"
"The Baby Doctors," and "Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about
Exercise and Health."
Senator Thurmond’s own daughter has juvenile diabetes, Stock points
out: Her plight "brought home the toll that research restrictions can
exact if they delay the discovery of life-saving medical
You like jazz – but only Dixieland, not improv. You gobble up
mainstream action films, but tune out sci fi. Why? By what psychic
schematic of likes and dislikes do we make our choices? Searching out
this complex answer has guided the technical elite toward the latest
generation of personalized web platforms.
For years now online retailers and their consumers have been
discovering that more is not necessarily better. Scrolling through
Rhapsody.com’s 250,000 music selections or Amazon.com’s millions of
book offerings has sent many a frustrated cyber shopper clicking off
in disgust. So how can an Internet site offer exhaustive choices while
still serving individuals with very definite tastes?
The puzzles of how we choose and how to design programs that help are
the subject of "Personalization Technology," a free talk taking place
on Thursday, November 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Sarnoff. (A 6 p.m. dinner at
Ruby Tuesday’s in South Brunswick precedes the meeting.) Call
908-582-7086 for more information. Sponsored by ACM/IEEE, the program
features Jayendu Patel, econmetrics research scientist for Choice
Stream in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The psychology and philosophy of human judgment has remained Patel’s
passion through a long list of varied degrees and career stops, both
academic and corporate. Following a boyhood in Bombay, India, where he
graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering from the national
university in l977, he immigrated to Massachusetts, gaining a Ph.D. in
econometrics and public finance. He has taught economics at Harvard’s
Kennedy School of Government and at Boston University. Along the way
he has studied everything from library science to psychology.
In 2001 Patel joined the initial staff of Choice Stream. Formed by
former AOL executive Steve Johnson and software startup whiz Michael
Strichman, the firm seeks to provide consumers with technology for
navigating the overwhelming numbers of online choices.
The first generation. Back in the 1990s personalized sites gained
great popularity, sifting and suggesting from pages and pages of
poorly organized offerings. Yahoo, AOL, Google, and all major
providers attempted to bring manageability to the Internet. Amazon,
which had the ideal product, became the leader. Based on general
categories or group buying patterns, a suggested list of probable
interest items accompanied each purchase.
People who like X will probably like Y and Z, the system figured. And
it was right in large part. An individual who purchased "Huckleberry
Finn" might be introduced to other Mark Twain novels and perhaps to
similar American classics. Those buying Huck in book form might be
shown DVDs or audio tapes of the work. The cross-selling works well as
far as it goes, and does indeed provide the consumer with a manageable
list of items to consider.
Why versus what. "But what you’ve chosen," says Patel, "is not nearly
so indicative as why you have chosen it" With others at Choice Stream,
Patel has developed the Attributized Bayesian Choice Modeling system
(ABCM). This program classifies product and content based not on some
industry-organized category, but on various attributes individual
buyers care about.
According to the first generation model, if you buy a Peter, Paul &
Mary CD, you are one of those aging boomers who likes folk songs and
1960s stuff. If you buy Terminator, you like action films, and a full
roster of James Bond movies would flash on your "Might Also Enjoy"
list. The ABCM, however, is more sophisticated. It considers that you
may be 16 with no social conscience at all, but are really into Peter,
Paul & Mary’s three part harmony. You may have enjoyed a romantic
comedy only for the romance; and you may keep re-watching Terminator
strictly for Arnold’s muscles, thus the elegantly slender Pierce
Brosnan as 007 holds no allure for you.
Into your psyche. Patel’s genius comes in fully determining a
consumer’s preferred attributes with as little online annoyance as
possible. "I would like to give each consumer a 200 question
preference form once he logs on the domain," laughs Patel, "but who
would fill it out?" To help a customer establish his "Best Bets,"
(ChoiceStream’s latest personalized web platform product), Patel gets
the job done by asking age, gender, perhaps occupation, and about five
The questions are must be cleverly worded to reveal more than just the
single answer. For example, in all film preference questionnaires,
Patel includes some question about science fiction. "It’s not so much
that it is a huge genre by itself," Patel says, "but rather it says an
awful lot about a person’s other predilections."
Decision collisions. Patel notes several new trends currently guiding
Americans’ decision-making process that have him a little scared.
Foremost, he lists what he calls the choice explosion. The ease of
access to so much is absolutely staggering for us. You can travel to
virtually any of the globe’s 265 countries within hours. You have
hundreds of television channels, millions of songs and films available
on the Internet, not to mention billions of sprawling websites. You
can barely decide which ethnic group’s food will capture your tastes
Coupled with this rise in choices – and ease in obtaining them – comes
the inevitable rise in expectations. The more we have, explains Patel,
the more we feel we deserve. "We think ‘equal opportunity’
automatically should set us at the level of Bill Gates in everything
from healthcare to buying power. And we are naturally frustrated when
reality strikes," he says.
Countless studies, Patel points out, show that man is not naturally
wired for this kind of constant choice making. Modern man is descended
from hunter/gatherers who needed food hourly and shelter nightly. He
reproduced at all times of year – a being of immediacy, with immediate
needs. Thus today, we see it; we want it; our credit card flashes in
the jungle of the mall; and we buy it. No thought of impact.
When the choices were – chase down the antelope or the rabbit, there
was little stress. Later, when the choice was watch channel 2 or 4 or
7, there wasn’t much stress either. Patel and his company is trying to
return choice-stress levels to normal by taming the overwhelming
wealth of the Internet, by guiding consumers in a controlled corridor
toward choices tailored for them.
– Bart Jackson
Back in the stock market heyday of the 1990s, you could practically
eat your way through the week by attending evening sales
presentations by various brokers. But since the stock market downturn
in the year 2000, the offerings have been lean. Now, however, a
consortium of brokers and financial planners, organized by Nassau
Broadcasting’s MoneyTalk radio station at 1350-AM, is offering a
day-long spread Saturday, November 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the
Doral Forrestal. Admission is free; last-minute registrants are
welcome at the door. Call 888-RADIO-07, ext. 482, or visit
The "Investment Fest," with exhibits and seminars by more than a
dozen banks, mortgage companies, financial planners, and brokers, is
billed as the place where "finance meets fine food." The event will
feature both a free continental breakfast and free lunch-time
In addition to the food, there will be food for thought, presented by
financial radio talk show hosts Ray Lucia, Bill and Louise Cole, Lee
Siler (the Stock Doctor), Gary Kaltbaum, and Damon Vickers.
Working from home is not always easy because of the myriad of
distractions that can be caused by kids, ringing personal phones, and
a variety of non-business projects that need to be done around the
home. But, Feng Shui practitioner Jeanette Schwartz claims she can
help. When she gives a talk at the Princeton Center for Yoga and
Health in Skillman on Sunday, November 21, at 1 p.m. she addresses
Feng Shui issues for the home and small business. Cost: $35. Call
Schwartz, whose business, E.S.P. Developments, is located in Monmouth
Junction, defines the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui as the art
of placement for harmonious, healthy, and productive environments.
"What it all boils down to is the fact your body reacts in a certain
way to towering shapes and clutter in your home or home office," she
says. "If your autonomic nervous system is relaxed and comfortable,
you function that much more easily at peak efficiency."
Schwartz was born and raised in upstate New York and lived on an
organic farm until she was 16. She attended the Fashion Institute of
Technology. She graduated with a degree in international business from
New York University in 1982. Her mother was an herbalist and her
father a braucher, or a type of European shaman, a natural healer. "We
were always multi-lingual at home, and we spoke French, German, and
English," she says.
Schwartz got into Feng Shui at a textile design trade show in
Frankfurt, Germany, while working in the fashion industry. "From the
time I was 27, I began to study Feng Shui seriously," she says. "The
teachers who were most important to me were Ralph and Lahnie DeAmicis,
because they combined Eastern practices with Western sensibilities."
In the late 1980s Schwartz was living in a tiny Manhattan apartment.
"The apartment was too small," she admits, "but it was balanced." She
used space clearing techniques to make it comfortable. Space clearing
techniques? "The reason that space clearing is beneficial," she says,
"is it raises the vibration in the space so that the lower energies
and life forms cannot handle the vibrations and they can’t even come
in. Part of the reason we’re doing space clearing before the holidays
is that even certain humans cannot tolerate the higher vibrations, so
Feng Shui keeps your energy and your space clear."
Bedrooms, Schwartz argues, should be set up to be soothing, to help
one fall asleep and relax. "But in every room in your house you need
to adjust accordingly to its space and its function."
If you’re working from a home office that is also a bedroom, as some
people do, you may not be able to work at maximum efficiency all of
the time, Schwartz says. "If you’re trying to combine two purposes in
one space, such as a home office that is also a bedroom, number one,
if you’re sleeping next to your TV, computer, and all this other
electronic stuff, you’ve got 60 pulses per second of AC current coming
at you. Our bodies were never designed for this bombardment of
electricity, it’s akin to exposing yourself to lightning. All this
excess electricity is changing the ways our bodies function."
Whether operating from home or from a suite of offices in an office
park, small businesses can benefit from Feng Shui. "For small
businesses, it can really make a huge difference," says Schwartz, who
recently gave a talk on Feng Shui for small business at the Javits
Center, and discussed things like how the color psychology of your
office can affect mood and perceptions.
Careful arrangement of office furniture, and careful selection of
colors as well as striking a balance between sunlight and incandescent
or fluorescent lighting "can shift the way people perceive your
intentions and how much money they want to spend," says Schwartz.
"There are actually certain scents that promote spending money, so by
using color, lighting, scent, and visual cues, you can multiply your
business sometimes by 50 percent." She says that some of her clients
have achieved these results.
Schwartz advocates Feng Shui for the home, the office, and even the
car. In recent months, she has stepped away from corporate Feng Shui
work because she’s been traveling too much, she says, and instead has
focused on working with area school systems to create healthier
environments for learning. She has taught courses in Feng Shui at the
South Brunswick Adult School and has worked with the Waldorf School in
Princeton as well as the South Brunswick school system.
These practices work magic with children because children respond so
innately to their environment. You ever notice how really young kids
won’t stay in a crazy restaurant? When you work with children in
schools, you can really see a difference in a matter of hours.
Suddenly, they’re able to settle down and focus." The same is true in
the workplace. A well-organized office leads to a focused, productive
workday. Here are several Feng Shui steps to make it happen:
Cut down on electromagnetic emissions. Beware of overwhelming
electromagnetic emissions – fluorescent lighting, computers, cell
phones, and cordless phones contribute to tight muscles, headaches,
cramps, and indigestion. Use daylight, incandescent, or full spectrum
lighting as much as feasible. Use rose quartz or cobalt to diffuse
alternating current from computers and phones, and add extra magnesium
to your diet. All of these steps are especially important during the
winter months, when all daylight hours are spent at work.
Be in control of the door. Avoid the fight or flight syndrome that is
created by exposing your finely tuned autonomic nervous system to the
door. If you can’t move your desk or work station to face the door,
use strategically placed mirrors to gain control of the entrance to
Use aromatherapy. Consider using essential oils to combat office fumes
and to energize or keep stress at a minimum. Real essential oils
dispersed in an environment are anti-fungal and anti-viral. They help
fight airborne molds, yeast, dust and germs. They are beneficial to
asthma sufferers. Try lemon to boost productivity, eucalyptus to clear
nasal passages, and lavender or chamomile to beat stress.
Harness the power of color psychology. For business, two of the most
important colors are green and blue.Traditional businesses like
banking, interior design, real estate or anything that has to do with
beauty, pleasure, and self satisfaction do well with shades of green.
For a place that requires a great deal of interpersonal communication,
especially of the kind that needs to transpire at a rapid rate, try
shades of blue – it helps everyone keep a cool head.
– Richard J. Skelly
When you check into a hospital these days, for anything ranging from
an X-ray to an overnight stay, the first question you are asked, even
before your name, is your date of birth. This date, as it turns out,
is an important tool in locating the correct record for you.
More times than the hospitals would like to admit, admissions clerks
do not find the right record, and so they make a new one. Two or three
records for the same patient spell administrative aggravation and,
potentially, medical danger.
Duplicate records and records with invalid information are termed
"dirty data," as are "overlays" (when your medical record is confused
with another person’s). And here we thought that germs were the only
"dirt" problem that hospitals had to watch out for.
If you work for a healthcare institution and are concerned about dirty
data, consider the solution offered by Netrics, a State Road-based
firm with a machine learning solution, E-Mend.
Netrics has partnered with Just Associates, a health information
management consulting firm that focuses on medical records integrity.
Just Associates will help hospitals use E-mend to efficiently and
quickly reconcile data quality issues in their database. The web-based
software is supposed to minimize the use of paper and save money.
"As compared with traditional approaches," says Stefanos Damianakis,
the president and CEO of Netrics, Netrics’ patented matching
offer significant technical advances for discovering errors that have
been made in patient records and avoiding those inaccuracies in the
"The Netrics software is the most flexible that we’ve ever used," says
Just in a press release. "Its machine learning models allow the
software to tailor its algorithms to continually improve the matching
process. Netrics can also customize the output reports. This makes our
process far more efficient and saves the client money."
Located at 707 Route 206, Netrics was founded by former NEC researcher
Peter Yianilos (www.Netrics.com U.S. 1, February 13, 2002). Yianilos
licensed the technology he had worked on at NEC to devise machine
learning algorithms. Their first use was for Likeit, which improved
the intelligence of search engines. In addition to healthcare clients,
Damianakis has sold similar systems to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and
Los Alamos National Laboratories.
Hospitals pay from $5,000 to $100,000 for a one-week to 12-week
patient record cleanup project, says Damianakis in a telephone
interview. Pricing for the project depends on the amount of data, the
number of users, and the amount of time needed.
Beth Just of the Denver-based Just Associates evokes industry
estimates that any healthcare facility has a dirty data problem
ranging from 3 to 15 percent. If the clean-up cost seems steep, she
adds, consider that the direct cost of leaving duplicates in a Master
Patient Index database ranges from $20 per duplicate to several
hundred dollars. "The lower cost reflects the organization’s labor and
supply cost to identify and fix the duplicate record," says Just.
"Higher costs reflect the cost of repeated diagnostic tests done on a
patient because the patient’s previous medical record could not be
located, or not located in a timely fashion."
She points out that the hospital’s liability exposure can be
significant if patient care is compromised because the right record
cannot be found. Duplicate records also wreak havoc with insurance
payments. As Master Patient Index (MPI) data integrity becomes
compromised by human error (bad spellings, use of nicknames, and
typos, for instance), more duplicates are created. "We have found that
the rate of growth for duplicates within a MPI is not linear," says
Just. "When a database is cluttered with duplicates, the duplicate
growth rate becomes exponential. This underscores the need to address
the issue and perform a MPI Data Reconciliation (clean up) sooner
rather than later."
Damianakis grew up in Montreal, where his father owned a restaurant.
He graduated from McGill University in 1990 and earned a PhD in
computer science from Princeton University, and worked for IBM’s
Watson Institute, for Panasonic, and for NEC. He joined Netrics as
president and CEO in 2000.
Working in the family restaurant contributed to his success,
Damianakis says. "It gave me an appreciation for all the different
types of people in the world, and how you can learn from any of them.
If you are interacting with people in a more casual atmosphere, you
are better able to understand where they are coming from, and agreeing
to disagree can be very satisfying. The restaurant was about
conversation, and most of my day, I spend practicing the art of
"We had some early successes for searching documents, but the clearest
signal is in healthcare, where the problem is more acute," says
Damianakis. "We have benefited from doing that and achieved our first
profitable quarter at the beginning of this year." He is now touring
the regional hospital associations with his sales pitch, sometimes
called "the dog and pony show," but as he says, the product has to
work for the sales pitch to succeed. "You do good work and everything
follows from that."
– Barbara Fox
In our world, filled with new dangers and new definitions of
"disaster," the mission and role of the American Red Cross are more
vital than ever. But the Red Cross’s capacity to help people in
Hunterdon, Middlesex, and Mercer counties become more educated,
prepared, and safe requires dramatic expansion.
On Thursday, November 4, the Red Cross announced a $6 million
initiative to confront these new dangers – with $3 million already
raised by central New Jersey corporations. "Donations from
corporations are critical to our chapter," said Kevin Sullivan, CEO of
the Red Cross of Central Jersey in a prepared statement. They help to
support "programs and services that touch the lives of people living
and working in central New Jersey." The Central Jersey chapter hopes
to raise pledges for the remaining $3 million by September, 2005.
In recent months hurricanes and flooding have caused extensive damage
to communities locally and in the Southeastern states. While the
outpouring of support directed towards the disaster relief effort
continues, funding for regular day-to-day operations and to prepare
for possible terrorism remains. In New Jersey, the need for the Red
Cross’s services is great. Problem areas include:
Blood shortage. There is a chronic shortage of blood and, therefore, a
need to import it from out of state. An estimated 2 percent of
eligible blood donors actually donate.
Inadequate CPR training. Only 1 in 25 people are trained in CPR. If
you have a massive heart attack, you have only a 4 percent chance of
survival. But if you lived in Seattle, where 1 in 4 are CPR-trained,
you would have a 25 percent chance of survival.
Funding shortfall. Governments urge the Red Cross to expand its role
in disaster response, but they provide no funding. Philanthropy
supports 68 percent of the organizations budget. Public demand for
disaster preparedness is growing. Since September 11, 2001, attendance
at Red Cross training classes has increased 28 percent.
This campaign for a safer community, "Keeping the Promise," requires
an unprecedented community investment in this chapter’s capacity to
meet unprecedented needs.
The fundraising efforts of this campaign will support the creation of
a new facility, equipment and expertise for a Disaster Relief and
Resource Center. Coordination of disaster relief operations for all of
New Jersey will be housed at this new facility. In addition, the money
will fund a blood donor center. Efforts to maintain a blood supply to
area hospitals will be housed in this facility. This is a critical
first step in a national effort to ensure a safe and available blood
Other purchases from this fundraising effort will include equipment
and upgraded disaster systems, emergency vehicles, equipment, plans,
and communications systems necessary for handling the constantly
changing scale and complexity of disasters – before disasters strike.
Finally, the Red Cross of Central New Jersey hopes that new funds will
be adequate to support expanded lifesaving programs.The demand for
training and services from all segments of the community – youth and
seniors, businesses and families – now far exceeds its current
For more information on the programs and services provided by the
American Red Cross of Central New Jersey visit www.njredcross.org or
One central New Jersey company that has recently heeded the Red Cross
call: Selective of Hamilton, which donated $5,000 to benefit programs
and services of the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey. For more
information on the programs and services provided by the American Red
Cross of Central New Jersey visit www.njredcross.org or call
Together we can save a life, including a donation of $5,000 donation
from Hamilton’s Selective Insurance Group.
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