This is a bittersweet but truly wonderful announcement. After a year-plus as my very-part-time assistant, Cheryl Paradiso has gotten a great full-time job! She starts Monday, November 28.
I really should have posted this in advance, but, well, I’ve been busy.
And that’s due in no small part to how Cheryl has helped implement the systems I now use today. I did most of the picking (because I’m picky), she didn’t know any of them, and she learned them all to the point of managing the business:
- Gmail, which hosts epatientdave.com mail and our calendars. These are essential to our sanity.
- We use Gmail’s less-than-obvious features such as labels, Conversation View and Priority Inbox. This was all new to her.
- Thanks immensely to Cheryl Greene, SPM co-founder and executive producer of DrGreene.com, for convincing me to get over the initial hump and learn Gmail’s unorthodox approach to email. She was right: it’s worth the hump.
Tripit.com, the travel tracking site that I’ve blogged about. It says since we started using it 11/8/2010, I’ve had 47 trips, 186 days on the road, 146,000 miles, 59 cities, 11 countries. So you can imagine the amount of coordination Cheryl’s done … because it’s not just air and hotel, we also have to organize getting to and from airports, tracking who’s paying for what, etc.
- Tripit scans my emails and finds confirmations for hotel, air etc and copies them into my Google Calendar, where they show up on my Droid, and my wife’s, and Cheryl’s.
- For the extra details, we’ve used a customized Excel spreadsheet, where any cell that’s unfinished turns yellow automatically.
Kayak.com for flight searches. (We started to use a travel agent, but my travel can be so complicated that it often requires intimate knowledge of priorities and trade-offs, even when the client is purchasing the ticket for me.)
This summer we added Zoho.com, a clone of sales database Salesforce.com, which I customized to keep track of upcoming events, potential gigs, next steps, status of invoices … lots of stuff.
As the business has grown, in recent months Cheryl began to negotiate to have someone pick me up at the airport, to reduce uncertainty and simplify reimbursement. Many thanks to my clients who have supported this.
You might ask, why did I select somebody who didn’t already know my tools? For one thing, most of them weren’t in use when she came on board – she learned with me.
But more importantly, it takes a very special personality to work well with me. I’m energetic, passionate, and forgetful as all get-out. (Some of my clients know that all too well.) Cheryl’s ability to roll with it all, constantly reschedule our daily calls, and manage things with good nature amid my travels has been a major enabler of the growth of ePatientDave in the past year.
Happily, her departure is well timed, just as my travel year draws to a close, so the logistics load is way down. For the time being I’ll be taking over while I’m mainly working in the home office. As winter rolls along and 2012 plans unfold, we’ll see how my needs turn out.
Some people wonder why I could be happy to send her off. Well folks, I know how scarce good jobs are, and I believe in justice and fair rewards for competence.
Cheryl, fare well: you were essential in getting this business off the ground. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.