STEM Entrepreneurship: Are Women on a Level Playing Field?
Office of Advocacy report identifies gender differences in STEM entrepreneurship and strives to find avenues for improvement.
House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today released the following statement about the ongoing problems of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) one year into Obamacare’s troubled operations.
“From the time then-Speaker Pelosi proclaimed Obamacare should be passed ‘so you can find out what’s in it’ to today’s one-year anniversary of this burdensome law’s botched implementation, the administration has wildly over-promised and painfully under-delivered every step of the way. The past year has been littered with problems, including rising costs, cancellation notices and a faulty $2 billion website. Likewise, Obamacare’s Small Business Health Options Program has fallen woefully short of any kind of acceptable standard. To this day, the administration is unable to answer basic questions such as how many are enrolled in the program – the question this Committee has asked repeatedly since January. Instead of simplifying the health insurance process for small businesses, the SHOPs program has created confusion and uncertainty with five delays along the way. Small businesses have paid the price of this inept management. Many questions remain, including this straightforward one: How many small businesses are enrolled?”
During the recent September 18, 2014 hearing of the Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, Chairman Chris Collins (R-NY) specifically asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) witness, Director of State Exchange Group, Mayra Alvarez, about the SHOP enrollment data, yet the administration was still unable to provide the information, despite repeated claims of transparency. Beginning in January, Chairman Graves has repeatedly pressed the administration to provide data on the enrollment and updated compliance timeline of federal or state SHOPs, but the requests have gone unanswered. A June 2013 GAO report requested by Chairman Graves confirmed the administration was ill-equipped for the implementation of the SHOPs, as evidenced by the program’s track record since. The Committee’s first hearing on the SHOPs mismanagement took place in December 2013.
The SHOPs challenges have occurred while small businesses are grappling with rising health insurance costs; in fact, costs are increasing for nearly two-thirds of small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees. And the National Federation of Independent Business found that 64 percent of small business owners paid more per employee for health insurance in 2013 than in 2012.
On September 17, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the Department of Labor released a proposed rule that would prohibit federal contractors from maintaining pay secrecy policies. The rule, which implements Executive Order 13655, would require most contractors and subcontractors to change the nondiscrimination provisions in their contracts to state that they will not discharge or discriminate against their employees and job applicants for disclosing or inquiring about their pay.
In this day and age so many people are looking to make the quick buck…quick fix…the quick/biggest return…especially in the Silicon Valley. They will bounce around from one company/job/thing to another trying to make it happen…there is no loyalty. If someone is willing to pay them a bit more they jump ship…then they do it again and again and again. They are always chasing the next “sweet deal”. It’s not just real estate but really every industry…really everything in life.
In the end it has been my observation that most of those who do that end up missing out on the real big opportunities in business and life…they end up losing in the end because they never create that bond and those longer term relationships that open doors and opportunities in the future that only loyalty can provide. They are so obsessed with the here and now and what’s in it for me today that they lose focus on the long term. Kind of like the difference between a short term investor and a long term investor. 19 out of 20 times the long term investor may not make the most today, but long term, they end up being the winner ten times over.
I often tell people that the reason I have been blessed with the opportunities I have had in my life and business is because I am loyal…loyal like a dog. I owe it to my parents because it was the way I was raised. I am loyal to my Faith, to my Wife and Family, to my Friends, to my Fitness and to my Finances…my F5. When I am committed to something or someone, nothing is going to break that bond. I know, for a fact, it is why I sit in the seat I sit in today professionally and the life I have personally. Yes I worked my butt off, but it was that combined with loyalty that got me here.
Look…I don’t have it all figured out but I am that guy that if you are “one of mine”, you never need to look over your shoulder and wonder if I’ve got your back. You can ask anyone who knows me. I have worked with the same group of people through thick and thin for over a quarter of a decade. Along the way there have been trials and tribulations…fights and disagreements. There were also many opportunities presented to me that on the surface looked sweet…a promotion… more money…more perks…blah blah blah. You know what I am talking about. I have to admit there are times that it was pretty tempting, but you know what…I always turned it down because I was loyal to my company, my friends and my relationships. So, here I sit today as President and CEO of Intero and in many ways I think that is why.
So, here is my recommendation. Don’t make decisions based on what is best for today but make decisions on what is best for a life time or a career…don’t be a short term thinker. When you figure out what it is you want to do and where it is you want to work and who it is you want to work with, be loyal like a dog. Don’t get enticed by all those short term perks because in the end, they will never measure up to the opportunities that only come with being loyal like a dog.
Loyal like a dog
I’m doing a seminar this week about foods which cause headaches and foods which help reduce headaches. It dawned on me that probably every person alive has had at some point a headache. There are of course, many factors and instigators of why a person has a headache…but if there are certain foods which provoke this painful issue, wouldn’t you want to avoid them? Here’s a simple list of what foods are commonly known to provoke this uncomfortable problem:
First, it’s good to know many headaches are caused by tyramine.
Unfortunately, for cheese lovers, aged cheeses have more tyramine in them than others. Some of these cheeses include blue cheeses, Brie, Cheddar, Stilton, Feta, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Muenster, Parmesan, Swiss and processed cheese.
Other foods high in tyramine include processed meats, pickles, onions, olives, certain types of beans, raisins, nuts, avocados, canned soups, and even red wine.
Certain food additives, including nitrites and some food colorings, are also common headache triggers. Like tyramine, these additives may increase blood flow to the brain causing headaches in some:
Other common foods which are known to cause headaches in my research are:
- Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), Splenda, and other artificial sweeteners; foods with meat tenderizers or yeast or yeast extracts
- Caffeine in even in small amounts can trigger a migraine in some people
- Chocolate and cocoa
- Alcoholic beverages in addition to red wine, beer, and sherry
- Aged, canned, cured, or processed meats such as chicken livers and other organ meats, and sardines. Also foods prepared with nitrates (like packaged meats) can cause problems.
- Cultured dairy products such as sour cream or buttermilk
- Dried fruits including figs, raisins, and dates
- Breads and crackers containing cheese including pizza
- Canned soups, or soups made from bouillon or based with MSG
- and (drum roll…) Sugar!
The good news is there are certain nutrients and foods which HELP when you have a headache.
One of the most used mineral is magnesium (about 400mg) in a supplement. Deficiency of magnesium interferes with transmission of nerve and muscle impulses, causing irritability and nervousness which might trigger headaches. A lot of headaches/migraines are caused by hormonal changes as well.
Look to add these in if experiencing a migraine or a headache.
More water is number one. Dehydration can cause a plethora of ailments…headaches being the top of the list.
In addition add in…
- Fiber rich foods, such as:
- vegetables, fruits and berries: papaya, avocado, mangos, bananas, apples, carrots, winter squash, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, collard greens, turnip greens, yams, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatos, fresh figs
- legumes: all beans (kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, etc.) and lentils
- seeds and nuts (walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds)
- Magnesium rich foods such as almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, brown rice, garlic, leafy vegetables, grapefruit, cantaloupe, sesame seeds, spinach, wild salmon
- Potassium rich foods: apricots, avocados, lima beans, bananas, garlic, raisins, nuts, winter squash, yams and yogurt
- Vitamin E rich foods: oatmeal, sweet potatoes, watercress, dandelion, flax seed, legumes, seeds and nuts, olive oil
So, next time you experience some pain between the ears, consider if it might be food related and pull out this list!
It’s no secret that California is in a pretty severe drought and although we did get a little splash of rain yesterday, we all still need to do our part. A lot can be saved in your yard with our previously highlighted app, Greenbox but what about inside your home?
You may not even notice how much water falls from the faucet while you’re washing your hands, filling the sink to scrub the dishes or spraying out of your shower head while waiting for it to warm up. Each one of those everyday occurrence of wasted water can really add up.
So what can you do to alter your routine ever so slightly to make an impact on this drought? You can start by getting yourself a Waterpebble.
Waterpebble is a device designed to help you save water effortlessly. It monitors the amount of water going down your drain each time you take a shower. To use it all you have to do is place it on the shower floor next to your drain. Don’t worry, it’s super small so you’ll barely know it’s there. The first time you use it, the device will memorize the length and amount of water used. It will use this as your benchmark of water usage.
Each time you shower after that, Waterpebble will automatically reduce your shower time by a small fraction, helping you to save water without even thinking about it. How does it do this you might ask? The device has a series of “traffic lights” which indicate where you are in your shower process. It starts with green, then turns to amber when you’re half way done, then red when it’s time to stop. You’ll be saving water before you know it! You could even up your game and get one for each of your showers and your sinks. Just imagine the difference one household could make with this simple device.
In my recent travels to New York, Hawaii and Minneapolis I caught up on several books I’ve had in queue. As many of you know, I usually listen to audio books and then buy the hard copies of my favorites for ongoing reference. Re-reading my hard copy of Unbeatable Mind, by former Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine, I was struck by what the author called “The Five Mountains.” These are domains of intelligence that must be mastered for success in leadership and in life. Here they are:
- The Physical Mountain: methodically developing the ability to use your body fully and functionally. This builds confidence and self-esteem and makes you more useful in life and to your team. This includes the physical skills of strength, stamina, work capacity, endurance and durability, as well as properly fueling the body, sleep and recovery.
- The Mental Mountain: cultivating mental control for a positive contribution to the world, the mental toughness to stay in the fight, and the creativity for more potent work. This includes learning to tap into and rewire subconscious programming and to master the skills, knowledge and expertise necessary to your personal or professional calling.
- The Emotional Mountain: understanding, harnessing and controlling your vast emotional power, transmuting negative emotional baggage into powerful drivers, and forging resiliency in the face of great challenges.
- The Intuition (and Awareness) Mountain: becoming an aware and intuitive leader by learning to look within and develop your sixth sense, to listen with your belly, and get “sheepdog strong.”
- The Kokoro Mountain: the word kokoro has Japanese origin and means to merge one’s heart and mind in action. This mountain is about learning to lead and act with heart, authentically connecting with others, and striving for an integrated worldview and inclusive consciousness that benefits all mankind. Kokoro can also be described as positive willpower, a non-quitting spirit, and is associated with your spiritual development.
As the old saying goes, the view is always best from the top of the mountain.
Whenever someone is struggling in their business or life and they come in to meet with me to get some advice the first question I always ask is “let me see your schedule.” Inevitably 99% of the time I get this blank stare back at me…then they look to the ground and tell me either they don’t have a schedule or their schedule has nothing in it.
Not having a schedule or having a schedule with nothing in it is a success killer. It is amazing to me how people can expect to do all of the things you need to do to be successful in business and life but not operate a schedule. It’s just not going to happen. Some people seem to think they can just remember all of the stuff they need to do in their head. If that is the case then either they don’t have enough stuff going on to have an amazing life and business or they are going to have to spend 24 hours a day to get just 6 to 8 hours of work done because most of their time they are running around in circles trying to remember what they need to do. It’s like you need to run a bunch of errands to different places you have never been before and instead of googling directions and an efficient route how to get where you need to go you just jump in your car and start driving…driving in circles. Sure you might eventually get all of your errands done, but it is going to take you way way longer and you are going to waste a bunch of time that could be put towards doing other important things.
I know some people that don’t have a bunch of appointments in the day tend to think that they don’t need a schedule, but they are wrong. Here is my recommendation on how to get started if you are one of those who is not using a schedule, your schedule is blank, or you are using a schedule but still can’t seem to get everything done you need to get done. You have all heard me talk about your F5 (Faith-Family-Friends-Fitness-Finance). I put F5 in that order because in my opinion that is the order of importance in living a successful and fulfilling life…each one builds on top of the other. Unfortunately what a lot of people do is get their priorities wrong and end up putting finance/work first and in the end everything suffers…including their finances because they are out of balance and are not working from a solid foundation.
So here is what I would do. Start with Faith…what is the 1, 2, or 3 things you need to do each week to strengthen your Faith? It could be going to church, donating some time to a non-profit, working at your kids’ school, praying and giving thanks. Whatever it is you need to do, put those 1, 2 or 3 things in your schedule first. Then go to Family…what is the 1, 2 or 3 things you need to do each week in this equity of your life? It could be date night with your spouse, playing catch with your kids, attending your kids’ events, calling your mom and dad, etc. Then go to Friends, then Fitness, and then your Finances. Do this with each area of your life. Now don’t put so much stuff in your schedule you don’t have room to maneuver. Just put the 1 to 3 most important things in each equity. I like a lot of white space in my schedule, because I know if I am doing all of these other things that white space will get filled up with opportunities. White space is opportunity time.
Does all of that make sense? I hope it does. I know it may be hard in the beginning to get started, but once you do it I promise it will be a very freeing feeling and in the end you will get way more accomplished, you will be way less stressed, you will have a much more balanced life and business, and you will have a way more amazing life and business.