What's The Diff?

The things Quicken Loans team members care about and want to share with the world

Goodbye to the DIFF blog. Hello Zing!

Goodbye to the Quicken Loans DIFF blog. Hello Zing!I can’t believe it.

The DIFF blog is ending today. It’s over. Done.  Finished.

That’s right, the DIFF blog is officially retired.  We started the DIFF blog over four years ago as our original foray into blogging here at Quicken Loans. We wanted a blog. And we wanted to try something different. So, as part of a recruiting campaign, we launched the blog and wrote about things we found around the globe that made a difference.

The recruiting campaign ended a few months later, but the blog lived on. We’ve had several dozen writers over the years contribute to the blog. Almost a thousand posts in 4 years.

My favorite?

Just about a month or so after we launched the blog, my wife’s grandfather died. He had such an inspiring story, I wrote about it here. It pretty much cemented me as one of the main contributors to the blog for the next four years.  Check it out: Requiem for a Warrior.

One personal note about the DIFF blog. It was my writing here that eventually led to my current position leading the Quicken Loans Brainstorm team (content team).  It’s funny how things like this happen.  An opportunity opened up that I didn’t plan, and I can thank the DIFF for setting the stage for it.

I’ll miss this blog. I’m the first to admit I haven’t always given the DIFF blog the attention it deserved. Seems like other business priorities often got in the way of spending a lot of time writing here. But I never gave up on it and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working this for the past four and half years. Interestingly enough, I’ve never really considered myself a blogger. Just a writer working at a mortgage company that fell upon a pretty cool assignment.

So there you have it.

The time has come to say goodbye.

Goodbye to the DIFF blog, one of the favorite projects of my professional life..

Welcome, my friends, to Zing!

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Best Places to Work in IT

Computerworld Best Places to Work in IT Quicken LoansToday, Computerworld Magazine released its list of the “100 Best Places to Work in IT” and for the 7th straight year Quicken Loans is among the top-15 places to work on this prestigious list, coming in at #10.   That’s right, the top-10 of all companies in America. 

But that’s just the beginning.

Over the weekend, the Cleveland Plain Dealer also named Quicken Loans’ Cleveland Web Center as the 4th best mid-size company to work for in northern Ohio (they listed us as mid-size because they only surveyed our Ohio team members) in its annual “Top Workplaces” survey.   Way to go Crown Jewel (it’s what the folks in the Cleveland Web Center call their site)!!!!!!!!!

The best part of being on both lists is that the ranking is based almost entirely on Quicken Loans team member survey responses.  Makes me proud.

Congratulations to everyone involved in both awards.

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National Eat Your Vegetables Day!

National Eat Your Vegetables DayToday is National Eat Your Veggies Day – I’m eating a salad as I write this.

I love vegetables. So does Michelle Busch of Title Source (pictured left), who showed up at work today as a carrot. Way to go Michelle!

I have no idea how or why this is National Eat Your Vegetables Day, but I don’t care. I’m eating my vegetables in honor of it.

As I just said, I had a salad today. I also had some miso soup with carrots and daikon radish and mushrooms and some other funky Japanese vegetables.

And tonight I’m going to have some more veggies, no doubt.

I actually eat vegetables every day. I’m no health nut, mind you. I eat meat probably a lot more than I should and I love a big juicy rack of ribs a LOT MORE than I should.

I frankly love food. Since vegetables are food, I love them. In fact, there aren’t any vegetables I’ve had that I don’t like. I’ve had plenty of meat products that I didn’t like and made me want to barf, but not really any veggies.

Except fava beans. I can’t eat them. It’s the weirdest thing. Continue reading “National Eat Your Vegetables Day!” »

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Mitt Romney Visits Bizdom U and Detroit

Mitt Romney Visits Bizdom U and DetroitIt was an exciting morning for Bizdom U, which was visited by former Massachusetts Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.

Romney stopped by Bizdom as part of sweep through Michigan to address the media and sit down to chat with some of the Bizdom entrepreneurs.

During a roundtable discussion, entrepreneurs gave a brief presentation about their businesses, asked questions and received suggestions from Romney, a former venture capitalist. He even asked new Bizdom U company Picket Report for some info about the neighborhood surrounding 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C., the home he is hoping to relocate to.

Romney also spoke about the state of Michigan and noted that it is organizations like job-producing Bizdom U that will truly make a positive impact on our economy.

Check out this article from the Detroit Free Press for more information.

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Cleveland Cavaliers Strike it Rich in the NBA Draft Lottery

 

With the 2011 NBA Draft approaching fast, Thursday June 23rd, one team is making major headlines with two of the top four picks in the draft.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, represented by owner Dan Gilbert’s 14 – year old son Nick, won the draft lottery and walked away with the coveted number one overall pick.

Adding excitement to an already successful draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers were also awarded the number four overall pick in the 2011 draft.

It has been several years since one team collected two of the top 10 picks in the draft.  The last time one team won two pick so high was 2009, when the Minnesota Timberwolves won the second and sixth overall picks in the first round.  They selected point guards Ricky Rubio, from Europe, and Johnny Flynn, from Syracuse, respectively.

This is great news for a team who won 19 games last season looking to upgrade the roster and add excitement to The Q Arena while beginning a new era.

The excitement proved to be contagious as the Gilbert family, Dan, Grant, 13, and Nick high fived each other and celebrated with anyone in arms reach as the announcer revealed Cleveland as the winner of the number one overall pick.

As the reporter introduced Nick Gilbert, as the Cavaliers representative for the NBA draft lottery, he exclaimed the now famous and rhetorical phrase, “What’s not to like!” which is in fact the perfect slogan for the Cleveland Cavaliers future.

After acquiring the first overall and fourth pick of the first round, the Cavaliers also obtained the second and 24th pick in the second round of the NBA draft.  The success of the 2011 NBA draft lottery for the Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans adds truth to the common saying, “the rich get richer.”

With four picks in the 2011 NBA draft, great seats, season tickets available at The Quicken Loans Arena, and a breakout star and Ambassador of the National Children’s Tumor Association, Nick Gilbert…when it pertains to the Cleveland Cavaliers 2011 and future ask yourself “What’s not to like!”

 

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First Day Jitters Can Be Exciting

Ah, the excitement of the first day of a new job! It brings back memories for me of the first day of school. It’s new, exciting, overwhelming, and you feel like you might pee your pants at any moment. First days of anything is terrifying no matter how prepared you might feel.  It’s impossible to sleep the night before the first day for fear that everything that can go wrong does and it seems like no matter how early you leave you always end up running late.

My first day at Quicken Loans was full of the first day jitters and hiccups. I didn’t get much sleep but I at least heard the alarm clock go off. I felt like I had jumped over my first big hurdle of the day. The next step was driving into work. I live about an hour away from downtown, and I have never been downtown by myself so I was  terrified with a lack of direction.

I think downtown is really awesome but I never realized there were so many one-way streets. When I finally made it to the parking structure I pulled into the wrong gate. Luckily for me, the security guard was super nice and instructed me out of the wrong lane and I was able to pull into the correct one. I was too nervous to be embarrassed about what happened. I found the closest parking spot and made my way into the building.

I was so impressed when I walked into the lobby of the Compuware Building where Quicken Loans headquarters resides. I instantly heard the colorful fountain that stretched up to through the middle of the building. Everything seemed to sparkle and glisten. I was amazed by all the stores in the lobby and how busy it was with people going in and out of all the stores.  The lobby was impressive but what I remember the most is everyone I passed said hi to me with a smile on their face.  I felt welcomed and ready to take on whatever challenge I had waiting for me.

The rest of the day was pretty much the same stuff anyone would go through on a first day, the normal thing of filling out tax forms and other paperwork. Nitiah Caudle from Human Resources walked us through all the paperwork we had to fill out. She was very nice and took her time explaining what we needed to do. Then tech support came in and showed us newbies some tricks to help us use the computers efficiently. Most of which I don’t really remember – but I get plenty of help from the people around me in the area where I am working. After orientation we were taken to the lobby to meet with our team leaders.

I met my team leader Clay Closson in the lobby and he was great. He seemed very happy to have me on the team and I felt very welcomed. I also met with Victoria Araj who has been very patient and kind through my first few days.  I do have to say that the first day was very overwhelming but everyone I meet in this building is so nice and friendly. It has been a challenge so far and a little overwhelming at times. I just remember a quote I got from Michelle Salvatore, the director of recruiting, from my first project on the second day. She said to “be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”  It is a quote that will probably stick with me for the rest of my life. New projects and assignments can be tough,but if you dig deep and work hard, Quicken Loans can be an amazing experience. It’s only been my third day but I love every minute doing this job and working with my team.

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National Name Your Poison Day!



National Name Your Poison Day

After a hard day of herding 5000 head of cattle and chasin’ off rustlers, your only recourse for relaxation is to hit up the town saloon for a frosty brew. You round up your crew and walk on in to Dust Mug Saloon where the barkeep, Patrick Flannigan – Sudsy to his friends and regulars – looks up from polishing his beer mug and nods. Your boys pick a spot at a table, away from the door, and start playing Three-Card Monte. You take out a smoke and sidle up to the bar next to Sudsy.
“Hey, Bill” he says putting down his mug and wiping his hands on his apron.
“Hey, Suds,” you say with a voice that’s full of dust from the trail.
“What’ll it be?”
“What ya got, Suds? It’s been a hell of a day.”
“Name your poison, Bill. We just got a shipment from Laramie – all the best.”

…Wait, what? This isn’t the old West, and you’re not an honest cowboy just tryin’ to get by? Well, shuck my corn, partner! My mistake! I musta got confused, because you know what? Today IS national Name Your Poison day.

Continue reading “National Name Your Poison Day!” »

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My First Day at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans InternComing into my first day of work (as an intern at Quicken Loans) I was very nervous, but I soon realized there was nothing to be nervous about. After the hour long crawl down I-75 South, I entered this beautiful building that will be my new summer home.

I checked in with a friendly face, and then I (along with a group of interns) was taken to a room to fill out paperwork, take pictures for our security badges, and learn about the computers and voicemail set-up. I immediately found out that this work environment is not normal.  

I was amazed as we walked through colorful bright halls and sliding doors. I couldn’t believe the bizarre chairs that were everywhere or the kitchens with popcorn and slushee machines. I really wanted to sit on this specific red chair that forms to your body when you sit, but refrained due to the fact that I was convinced I would fall on my butt and embarrass myself on my first day

Continue reading “My First Day at Quicken Loans” »

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It’s Best Friends Day!

It’s time to celebrate because it’s Best Friends Day!  What? There’s a day for that?  Yes, there is, and today is the day to pick up the phone, type an email, send a text, or just hang out with your best friends to let them know how much you appreciate them being in your life!

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a friend is one attached to another by affection or esteem.  You may find that you have many friends over the course of your life, but only a few will truly have the honor of being your best friend.  It’s not an award given by an academy.  It’s not decided by the number of votes received. It’s an honor that can only be bestowed by you.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement coming from a highly educated individual.  But you don’t have to be a scholar to know that the value of friendship is immeasurable.  Whether you vocalize or sit in silence, your best friend knows what you’re about and loves you in the sunshine of life AND the rain.  And if you’ve had the same best friend for many years, as I have, you’ve probably worn out a few umbrellas together!

Regardless of where life takes you, true friends know neither time nor distance.  Whether your best friend is 1,000 miles a way or just a mile up the road, it’s comforting to know that someone cares far greater than any time or space could diminish. Elisabeth Foley said “The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”

I hope you take some time today to let your best friend know how special their friendship is to your life, your happiness and in this crazy busy world, your sanity.

I ran across this poem by Helen Steiner Rice.  Enjoy!

A Golden Chain

Friendship is a Golden Chain,

The links are friends so dear,

And like a rare and precious jewel

It’s treasured more each year…

It’s clasped together firmly

With a love that’s deep and true,

And it’s rich with happy memories

and fond recollections, too…

Time can’t destroy its beauty

For, as long as memory lives,

Years can’t erase the pleasure

That the joy of friendship gives…

For friendship is a priceless gift

That can’t be bought or sold,

But to have an understanding friend

Is worth far more than gold…

And the Golden Chain of Friendship

Is a strong and blessed tie

Binding kindred hearts together

As the years go passing by.

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Power to Oppress

Editor’s note: This post is a departure from our usually editorial content on the DIFF blog, but we wanted to share this with our readers, as the writer strongly believes in civil and human rights – something we all hold dear. The content here does not reflect or represent any official stance of Quicken Loans and is not intended to do so. This is simply the opinion of the writer and his position on world events he feels important. In most cases, if we were to write a post about civil or human rights, we would highlight a positive example of a person who has fought for them, such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. In this case, the writer points out a negative, with the main hope that civil and human rights can one day be enjoyed by people everyone on Earth.

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, found himself in World News headlines once again recently for what seems to be a never-ending list of political infractions.

In an arrest more senseless than Plaxico Burress‘s recent two-year sentence for shooting himself in the leg, President Mugabe had his own police sergeant, Alois Mahunu, arrested and imprisoned for using the “Presidential” toilet.

In one royal flush, Mahunu answered the unfortunate call of nature resulting in Mugabe’s operatives charging him with “suspicion of invading the Presidential privy.”

Mugabe, head of Zimbabwe for over for 31 years, is more renowned for his infamous “starve into submission” election tactics of 2004, when he used food scarcity as a political weapon to influence voters to vote for him in the upcoming election.

Records show that 125 people died of malnutrition in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, in 2004.  However, the toll is considered to be exponentially higher in rural areas of Zimbabwe - due to no available health statistics.

Mugabe, who received an honorary LLD degree from Michigan State in 1990, refused to accept or ask for international aid in order to keep the strong-arm on Zimbabwe’s depleted food supply.

The concept was simple, citizens who did not turnover their voter card did not eat.

Nonetheless, the “starve into submission” campaign had lost its influence by the time Mugabe ran for reelection in 2008 prompting his most blatant attempt to fix an election to date.

Reports ran rampant of Mugabe’s brutal killings, violence, and arrest of anyone involved with the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirais movement for Democratic Change.  These extreme measures taken by Mugabe to gain reelection influenced Tsvangirai to pull out of election stating, “a free and fair election is impossible.”

Here’s the thing – change is possible and the people of Zimbabwe deserve it.

In fact, change happened just recently. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ruled for 30 years before he abruptly stepped down in February of this year. 

For this reason, spreading awareness about the unrest in Zimbabwe is imperative for the aspirations of  peace, equality, and justice of the Zimbabwean people. I hope they too can enjoy the freedom I enjoy everyday and take for granted. That freedom, is something I consider “the DIFF’!

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Today's Date:
Monday, September 01, 2014