What's The Diff?

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

Cora Bledsoe

Google donates $20 million to world charities

Google holiday 09
Google is celebrating the 2009 Holiday Season by donating $20 million to charities around the world. I know I’ve pat Google on the back before, but I just see it as giving credit where credit is due. Sure Google is a huge company that I’m sure makes huge profits. And really there are a bunch of other things they could’ve done with this money. But instead of adding to their empire or throwing an epic party, they decided to be The DIFF and do the most good by donating to those in need.

So hats off to Google again. They’ve put their money in the right place and done a world of good in the process.

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Caribou Coffee Keeps it Real

Caribou Coffee Cup Sleeve

Real is always better than fake. And apparently Caribou Coffee agrees. On our most recent after-lunch coffee run, we discovered that they've switched from using chocolate syrup to pieces of real chocolate instead.

Now, I didn't get a chocolate drink myself this time, but my friend did and she gave it rave reviews.

Caribou even took the extra step and gave a little blurb about the switch on the cup sleeves…As if the wonderful chocolatey goodness you're sipping on wasn't enough of a clue.

So good job Caribou, for switching to the real stuff and making your coffee that much better.

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Quicken Loans Helps out at Career Day and Gets Something in Return

Quicken Loans does Career Day at Blair Moody Elementary in Taylor, MI Career day at Blair Moody Elementary School was truly a day to remember. Myself, Rebecca, Kelly and her brother Matt took a few hours to visit with the students there and talk to them about their future careers. All of the students were very well behaved and had plenty of good questions up their sleeves.

Although we had a great time I have to admit we weren’t, by far, the coolest act in the house. The firefighters came complete with their bright red fire engine and the police officers came with their official police dogs in tow.

Quicken Loans does Career Day at Blair Moody Elementary in Taylor, MI Despite our lack of props and puppies, the students still seemed to like us and participated during our sessions. We gave them lots of information about what we do and just to be sure they were really paying attention, we quizzed them at the end. Let’s just say there were plenty of arms anxiously waving in the air to answer the questions and lots of candy passed around the room as rewards for correct responses.
At the end of career day, I think I speak for all of us when I say we had a great time and would absolutely participate again.

Then, a few weeks later I got a pleasant little surprise in my mailbox.
Thank you cards!

Thank You CardsThe students made thank you cards for all of the career day participants. There’s something about unexpected gifts of construction paper and crayon that just brighten up a person’s day. If I wasn’t so sure about participating again, this certainly sealed my commitment.

Thanks again Blair Moody for inviting us and being such wonderful hosts!

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popchips Goes the Extra Mile on Taste and Service

Read about popchips on the Quicken Loans Diff Blog

I love a good chip. But unfortunately good chips don’t really love me. The best ones always seem to be the ones with the worst nutrition facts.

I was resigned to simply limit my intake until I saw a post about popchips on Consumerist.
Apparently, not only are there chips really good but they’ve got lots of other stuff going for them too. They’ve got about the same amount of fat as baked chips but all the taste of fried chips. And on the business end, they’ve got superstar customer service and talented copywriters for their website, popchips.com. They even ventured to call themselves, “all that and a bag of chips” :-)

I haven’t tasted popchips yet, but believe me when I tell you I’ll be picking some up as soon as I can find them.

Have you tasted them yet? Any flavor recommendations?

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I Will Stay in Detroit if… by the Great Lakes Urban Exchange

The Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE) recently did a campaign around the streets of Detroit. They walked around with dry-erase boards encouraging passersby to express their ideas about the future of the city. Everyone was asked to use the board to write what could keep them in Detroit by completing the sentence: “I will stay if…”

Responses ranged from reliable regional transportation to improved education within the city. Everyone had great ideas and I’d guess people are very passionate about what they wrote. It just goes to show you that regular old citizens have plenty of ideas about how to make the city better and that they have faith that it can happen. 

Check out all of the project images,  I Will Stay If…

Inspired by the GLUE project, we decided to recreate it with a few members of The Diff team. While we don’t all currently live in Detroit, we all have strong ties to the city, so we wrote our statements accordingly.

What would make you stay in/ go back to Detroit?

I Will Stay If 004

Kelly: …Mass Transit

Continue reading “I Will Stay in Detroit if… by the Great Lakes Urban Exchange” »

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Why I and Everyone Else Love Detroit

Why I and Everyone Else Love Detroit

Detroit is commonly pegged as a run-down city with little to offer. And to the untrained eye, that might seem accurate, but look beneath the surface and you’ll find a different story. The people of Detroit are what truly make it a city worth living in.

CNN recently did a piece on the city called Why I Love Detroit. It covers the stories of 13 residents and why they choose to stay, when many other choose to leave.

Everyone lists their favorite spot in the city as well as why the love Detroit, and the answers run the gamut.  From Michigan Avenue to Eastern Market and everything in between, the residents acknowledge the city’s hardships while celebrating its rich history, exciting culture and everything else that makes the city great.

Check out the entire series here:

Why I Love Detroit: 13 stories

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Detroit Free Press DIFF story: Nurse Susan Zayan saves a life

From Detroit Free Press: Susan the Nurse Saves A Life I read the Detroit Free Press online everyday. In a city where so much happens every day, I am rarely caught off guard anymore. Today, I was pleasantly surprised.

This morning, the Freep featured a story about Susan Zayan. She is a nurse with the St. Joseph Mercy Health System. And yesterday she saved a man's life while not on the clock. Scott Parker had gotten out of his car to check his windshield wipers when he was hit by a semi-truck. By the time Susan got to him, he'd already lost a lot of blood from a main artery in his leg that had been severed.

Susan sprung into action and did all she could to minimize the blood loss while the ambulance was en route. She even did double-duty, keeping Scott's wife calm and having her keep her husband alert.

In the end, Scott lived. He was transported to the hospital and is doing much better now. But without the help of Susan, the story could have ended very differently.

So hats off to Susan, who is definitely The DIFF!  She took the time to help a stranger in need and ended up saving his life.

Read this great story in its entirety in this Detroit Free Press article.

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The Web Behavior and Pizza Meeting at Quicken Loans

Web Behavior / Pizza Party Meeting at Quicken LoansEvery Tuesday, people from several teams on the fourth floor
of our building convene for the meeting commonly known as Web Behavior.

The agenda for this meeting changes week to week and can
range from cool stuff on the web to the latest usability test results. Today we
reviewed a visitor’s experience on our site and did some brainstorming around
ways to make it better.

 As an added bonus, we’ve recently started serving pizza at
this meeting. And although attendance was decent before, believe me when I tell
you, it’s increased tenfold.

Web Behavior / Pizza Party Meeting at Quicken Loans
The meeting was so well attended that we had people standing
up lining the perimeter of the room. I don’t know if that helped keep everyone
more alert but we had a lot of great participation. The engineers, the
marketing team, and business analysts all gave their two cents.

It’s nice when a meeting comes together so well and has so many
good actionable takeaways.

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Are Please and Thank You the Magic Words?

Quicken Loans PleaseWhen I was younger, there were four little words that always served as a reminder of my manners: What do you say? Anytime I failed to say, “please” or “thank you,” my mother would throw me a look and ask me that pertinent question, just in case I forgot how I was raised.

Now, of course, saying please and thank you is second nature, but only in common conversation. When it comes to the web and searching, it’s a different story. Maybe it’s because as a user, I expect Google to return results for me no matter how politely I ask. After all, search engines don’t have feelings, do they?

Well, maybe so.

A reader, Brian F., over at the Good Experience blog submitted a story about searching the web with his 6 year old son. He talks about trying every search query in the book to answer his son’s questions, but to no avail. His son, who must have been raised well, asked if he tried saying "please."

Although he doesn’t say if he got results for his son’s question by adding please, he did go on to mention other queries whose search results significantly changed, just by adding please to the end.

A quick search for ‘Quicken Loans please' seems to find the places where we are actively out helping people on the web, including many of our social media profiles. Among other things:

So give it a try on a few searches of your own. You never know how far being nice will take you.

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Today's Date:
Wednesday, March 01, 2017