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COVID-19 Day 15+1

Okay, so here we are on 3/31, day 15 + 1 from the 15 day social distancing edict. We’ll have to wait a few more days to see if my prediction that our nation-wide effort will result in the US hitting its peak by 3/31. is accurate. It is encouraging to see that the number of daily new cases is increasing but at a decreasing rate. Only 400 new cases reported yesterday.

Troubling though is the quick rise in a few large cities: Detroit, New Orleans, for example.

COVID-19 Day 10

My day 10 observation of the number of new cases and the groundswell of support for the male identifying members of our society to cease shaving their facial hair until we have two consecutive days of a decline in the number of new cases of the corona virus in the US.

Several good signs in the data, many EU countries have recorded a one day drop from their peak of new cases and two countries have had a two day drop, suggesting that globally we may have hit the peak.

Covid-19 Virus Quarantine

Disclaimer: I am no epidemiologist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express in Burlingame, CA earlier this month. Importantly, I am an optimist with a bit of experience as a data analyst.

I am doing two things in regards to global Covid-19 virus event. First, I am not shaving my facial hair until we have two days in a row of new cases in the US increasing at a decreasing rate. I think that’s the same as having two days after the peak number of reported cases.

Second, since Day 6 I have been giving snippets of my analysis on youtube.

I have learned how to show the beard’s progress without having to do each day’s session in two video snippets. Day 9 is below:

I believe that the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin will be extremely helpful in flattening the curve and getting the country back to normal. Provided that there’s sufficient quantity of these drugs and if not, that generic companies fire up their plants and start cranking this out. Knocking the virus out in 3-6 days in early studies will reduce transmission to others and reduce the projected number of deaths. My prediction is that in the US we’ll reach our peak number of daily new cases by or before March 31. I am hopeful that we’ll be back to going to work in our offices and dining out the week of April 7.

Ocean-side Networking

The July networking event for the Wilmington Pharma/Bio/CRO Networking Group was held at Dockside in Wilmington. Dockside is located on the west side of the IntraCoastal Waterway. This is the site for this group’s events in the summertime. Wilmington Pharma/Bio/CRO Networking Group can be found on LinkedIn where updates to monthly events are posted.

Fortunately someone snapped a photo at some point so that we have some record of attendance. Not that attendance is ever taken and far too often we forget to take a picture.

L-R: John Cline, Lee King, Andrea Young, Jennifer Hutchison, Jackie Bilobran, Gayle Grandinetti, Chris Smith, Chris Matheus
A view from Dockside
View from Dockside

FOCM at DIA 2019

The annual Drug Information Association (DIA) conference in 2019 was held in San Diego June 23 – 27. It was a busy, busy conference making it memorable and historic. On Sunday night FOCM, Zymewire along with Almac, MC10 and Medable hosted “Clinical Reconnections”, the pre-DIA networking event at Social Tap Eatery. This was the 4th year of this event. Over 320 people attended.

Along with Michele Sacher, we presented on Self-Branding for Social Media. We added Christina Cantrell for the next workshop on the importance of knowing yourself for effective networking.

Several months ago I posted about Jodi Andrews receiving her FOCM card. There were two other card ceremonies, one each for Meghan Alonso and Rhonda Rusinski. I’ve known Rhonda from the early 2000’s having met while we were both working at ICON Clinical Research. Meghan had recently joined Clinipace and she asked her colleagues who would be a good person to connect with, someone known as an industry connector. They directed her to me. It was a pleasure to welcome them both into the organization.

Sunday Professional Development Workshops
Clinical Reconnections
Meghan Alonso FOCM Card Ceremony
Rhonda Rusinski FOCM Card Ceremony

Basic Human Rights

We’ve all heard some politicians say something akin to ” Health care is a basic human right. We are for basic human rights, and that’s Medicare-for-all. Everyone gets covered and the government should provide it free of charge.”

Should all “basic human rights” be provided for free by the government? A lot of these (read below) sure sound like they’re basic human rights and good things for everyone to have access to.

Access to housing is a basic human right. We fight for basic human rights and that’s housing for all. Everyone has a place to sleep (single people live in bunk houses, married people get a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1000 square foot apartment).

Clothing is a basic human right.  We fight for basic human rights and that’s clothing-for-all.  Everyone gets covered (Gray cotton pants, shirts and socks and flip flops).

Transportation is a basic human right.  We fight for basic human rights and that’s transportation for all.  Everyone gets a ride (on a bus at a bus stop 5 miles from where you live and it stops twice a day).

Food and nutrition is a basic human right. We fight for basic human rights and that’s food for all.  Everyone gets fed (what we think is best for them -daily menu: ham biscuit for breakfast, black beans for lunch, fried chicken and rice for dinner, orange jello for dessert).

Working and living in good buildings is a basic human right. Architect services should be covered. (why not have all buildings look the same, that would be cheaper.)

Monetary income is a basic human right.  We fight for basic human rights and that’s a guaranteed income for all.  Everyone gets paid ($12,000/year, with everything necessary paid by the government, this will be plenty, they’ll tell us.) Buying a Winnebago to travel the country in retirement or just traveling for fun will be too expensive plus the government thinks traveling needs to be reduced to protect the crumbling infrastructure.

All sound good, but when everything is provided, there’s no incentive to improve, to work hard, to discover new things. If clothing were provided by the government, we’d all be wearing the same thing, just like in Communist China and Russia for years in the 1950’s – 1970’s until they opened up to some capitalism. When you get something for free, it has little value to you. When you work hard for something, it is valuable to you.

Same with healthcare, if the government pays for everything, the quality of the care and the quick access to it declines. Budgets will play a big role in our care. For example, only 110,000 hip placements can be paid for in a year. Unfortunately, in July your hip is causing you excruciating pain, but you’re number 110,001 and it’s August, so you have to wait 5 months. Without the opportunity to have their efforts rewarded; inventors, doctors and pharma companies lose a powerful incentive to discover new and better drugs and procedures. Of course we would like to think they’ll still do this for the good of humanity and the prestige they get, but money and wealth is a very powerful incentive. Is this a trade-off Americans want to make?

Help – it’s what makes networking successful

Here are some interesting perspectives on networking from a recent interview published in Inc. magazine. It is an interview by Jeff Haden of Inc. with Dan Sillman, CEO of Relevent Sports.

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-art-of-networking-without-networking-and-why-you-should-never-ever-network-again.html?cid=hmside3

According to Sillman, “Networking” is a strange term. If you are a person the world perceives as good at networking… all that means is that you have great relationships.

The only way to do that — to build relationships — is to have a genuine desire to learn about someone: What they do, what drives them… some aspect of their life that interests you.  Getting relatively close to someone means you know a lot about them, they know a lot about you… and you’re much more inclined to help each other. I actually think I’m a terrible “networker.” But I do have good relationships.

A few take aways from the interview

When you go into a meeting or a conference, or approach people with the thought that you’re going to network… it’s transactional. You’re just trying to meet people that can immediately help you. And they want the same thing.

Building relationships is totally different. First you learn about the other person; only then can you start to build a relationship. Which never happens when you’re networking: People can tell in seconds that you only want to meet them for some kind of surface-level transaction.

Building relationships requires patience, just like any other relationship. Think about your friends: You didn’t go into those relationships looking for something. That’s why they’re your friends.

What he says is so true, in both Heather Hollick’s book, “Helpful: A Guide to Life, Careers, and the Art of Networking” and Porter Gale’s book “Your Network is your Net Worth”, both authors are adamant that successful networking is not short-term transactional – ‘who can I meet today that can help me get x.’  Successful networking is first being helpful.  Porter Gale describes networking as a give, give, get.  Do two helpful things to a new contact before asking for one in return.  Heather Hollick shares that it is innate that we want to help others.  By asking people what they’re working on, rather than what do you do – you gain information on what is important to them and thereby, how you could best help.

A good exchange occurred re: making introductions – Sillman said he used to immediately introduce people to each other when asked.   He points out that he failed to take into account the value of other people’s time and realized he had to do some filtering.  He also pointed out that when you make introductions, your credibility is on the line. You shouldn’t vouch for people you don’t really know, don’t have a relationship with, don’t know their interests and goals.

Sillman concludes with: People don’t want to be a transaction. If you aren’t interested in the actual person, if you’re only thinking in terms of a transactional relationship… that relationship will never be fruitful. But when you build a relationship, everything else follows: You won’t have to ask the other person how you can help them. You’ll know.  And you won’t have to ask for something you might need. The other person will know your interests, your goals… and will offer to help. You’ll both offer to help. And you’ll both mean it.

Funny things I have read

Seen in the Readers Digest Feb 2020 edition (www.rd.com)

Social Media accidents:

Accidentally connected my Fitbit account to Facebook and now everyone knows I only walked 13 steps yesterday – @thecatwhisperer

Accidentally changed my Facebook status to “single” and my mother-in-law posted, “WOO-HOO!” – @brianhope

Accidentally posted “happy buttday” instead of “Happy Birthday” on a Facebook Friend’s wall – @parkerlawyer

As we watched a program about a man with agoraphobia, my wife asked, “Is that a disability?”. “Yes”, I said. “Maybe I have that”, said my wife. I shook my head and said, “No, he’s afraid to leave the house. You just like to stay home.”

Excuses that ministers have heard for why people skip church:
– I couldn’t get the lid off the peanut butter
– The church is too close to drive and too far to walk
– Both of my girlfriends attend church there
– The pastor stays in the Bible too much
– The pastor is too attractive. When I see him preaching I have impure thoughts and I am distracted
– My wife cooked bacon for breakfast and our entire family smelled like bacon
– The worship leader pulls up his pants too often. It’s distracting
– I always get hemorrhoids on Sundays.
– Someone called me ‘brother’ instead of using my name

The Kindness of People

On December 1st, 2019, FOCM recommended (see “Recommended Businesses” tab) Craig Childs of C & R Photography had his photo equipment gear stolen out of his vehicle while doing an outdoor photo shoot. Through social media and a pick-up by the local news, the kindness and support of strangers during the holiday season was magnificently demonstrated. Craig and his wife Rachel (also on my Recommended Businesses tab for keeping my hair looking good; exceptional hair stylist) gave me permission to share this story.

Craig was photographing families at Fort Fisher, NC and donating all the proceeds to “A Safe Place” which helps victims of human trafficking. While doing so, approximately $4,000 worth of equipment was taken from his Jeep. The thieves also stole his sister-in-law’s purse and keys from the front seat and then broke into her car, parked nearby.

Thankfully, the money (around $600) raised for “A Safe Place” was not stolen and he still had his camera and all his family photos. .

Social media shared the story and a local friend started a GoFundMe drive to help Craig replace his gear. In less than 48 hours, $4,000 was raised allowing Craig to replace his photography gear.

Craig was very stunned and appreciative and wrote this on his C&R Photography Facebook page.

Thank you everyone so much!
The go fund me account that my friend set up for me reached its goal within less than two days! I am so overwhelmed right now. Because of your generosity I’m going to be able to order equipment in place of equipment that I lost. Because of y’all I will be able to continue on with my business/passion that I love. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart to the people that felt compelled to donate, send prayers, everyone that shared my post, everyone that offered to let me borrow their equipment if I needed it, just all of The love and support and friends that called to talk to me to cheer me up, I just really appreciate it all. For people that are wondering if there’s money left over from ordering my gear I plan to donate it to a charity and help my sister-in-law pay for a new key fob for her car!

Additionally, to show his appreciation to the community, Craig gave away two free family photo sessions drawn from people who commented on his thank you post.

Humanity: kindness at work, it is innate – people helping others.

Epic FOCM New Member Inductions

Twas (still thinking of Christmas stories) a fantastic week in May in Valley Forge, PA. Attending the Arena International Outsourcing in Clinical Trials East Coast meeting turned out to be truly historic and the pictures prove it.

A FOCM networking event was held on Monday 20 at J Alexander’s restaurant in the King of Prussia Mall area. As usual, I didn’t take attendance, but I do recall that in attendance were: Dave Gibboni, Christian McCracken, Pete Nieto, Kate Mullis, Vicky Martin, Scott Robertson and probably, possibly, Ted and/or Richard Gastineau. Some of us managed to get a picture taken.

Pete Nieto, Christian McCracken, Chris Matheus, Dave Gibboni

There were three FOCM membership card ceremonies. Two of the recipients are clinical research industry veterans, heavyweights, emerituses (emeritae?), big deals to be sure. And one recipient has a bright future now that he has his card. The joy on these people’s faces is undeniable. And a current member displays the FOCM nametag sticker. Scroll down to see.

Bill Taaffe
Mike Ruane
Kevin Keenan with Sue Ruane photo bombing this somber event
Mike DeBerry