Daily Archives: 17 septiembre 2010

Ingenuity vs. Inefficiency: A Tale from Tianjin


The 2010 Annual Meeting of New Champions, or “Summer Davos,” just wrapped up in Tianjin. An exceptional event. But perhaps the most interesting insight I gathered on the state of business in China today came from trying to get a local SIM card to make calls back to the U.S. I’ve changed names to protect the innocent, but otherwise this is what happened. I’ve never seen such intelligent, collaborative hustle leaning against such a jumble of byzantine rules.

I ask David, a front desk manager at my hotel, where I can get a SIM card. He tells me Sam from the concierge desk can go get one for me. I hand Sam a few hundred RMB, and he jets off.

A few minutes later, David calls me in my room and says that he forgot that you need to bring your passport to get a SIM card. So I go downstairs to meet Sam, and we walk the five blocks over to the China Mobile office together. It’s about 4:30 when we get there.

The office, about the size of a trailer, has travel posters on the walls and a long, unmanned glass case filled with manga characters that double as USB drives and cell phone accessories that have been gathering dust since Nokia was on top of the world. At the far end, two uniformed women with elaborate neckties wait for business. Sheila is sitting under a sign that says “Billing Area;” Rose beneath a sign that says “Cashier Area.”

Sam, by the way, is a Chinese version of Christopher Walken at 25 years old. He’s angular, with a light step, and he talks like Walken, both in English and in Chinese. That means his cadence is a pitter-patter of speeding up and slowing down, outbursts and outbeats. He exclaims “Yes!” when it doesn’t make sense, but he does it so effusively that you make the meaning work in your head because you don’t want the appeal of his presentation to fall flat.

Let me see if I can reconstruct what happened next. It was all in Chinese, so I can’t be sure of everything. But Sam explained a few key passages for me, and the visible events were universal enough, so I think I can be a pretty good reporter on what unfolded.

First Sam tells Rose what I want. A SIM card. She asks for how many days I’ll be using it, and I make signs for seven. That’s agreeable. Sheila asks through Rose and then Sam, what country I’d like to call using the SIM card. I tell them the U.S. They do some caucusing. First, Rose and Sheila exchange ideas, and then they bring in Sam, who adds enough to keep the deliberation going for a few more minutes. Then Sam turns to me to say “Calling U.S. on SIM card is very deeply expensive!” I ask how much, and it comes out to about 25 cents per minute, which isn’t cheap, but it’s a sight better than the $4/minute rate the U.S. company whose phone I brought is raiding me.

“Nah, that’s okay, let’s get the SIM card.”

He nods and conveys the conclusion to the ladies, who bustle about collaboratively now, looking up a table on a piece of laminated paper Sheila has uncovered. Sheila says something through her glasses, and Rose agrees. They turn to Sam, who then explains to me that they recommend “you don’t take SIM card, too expensive, and ECN is better.”

He’s right on the facts, since the ECN promises a 5 cent per minute charge for calls to the U.S., but it looks a lot like a calling card, and that suggests to me that I’ll get the U.S. raiding rate plus the calling card rate, so I beg off.

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Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Dish on Integrated Solutions for Reaching Customers across Online Landscape


Mitch Spolan, VP of North American Field Sales & Advertising Agencies, Yahoo

There’s display, content and search. What if we leveraged all the screen space, told a story, and made an emotional connection? The idea’s not far from Tim Armstrong’s point that only 18% of online space is used for content. In this case, the content is mostly referring to advertising. He showed a compelling example with Chevy showing a major spike in brand recall and Yahoo! Buzz with an immersive takeover of Yahoo’s login screen.

Carolyn Everson, CVP, Global Ad Sales & Strategy, Microsoft

Their DNA is to be a partnership company. Then consumers started making their own IT decisions. With that revolution, Microsoft is reinventing how it approaches advertising and the marketplace. Microsoft is 3 different companies: a technology company, a marketer (spending $2 billion a year), and an advertising company. Its focus is now on innovating with marketers

Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, US Sales, Google

Google discussed the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) – a moment before consumers ever encounter a product on a shelf, something before what Procter & Gamble called the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) where consumers have that initial experience. Google can target consumers where they are and where they’ve been. The concept is integration at a concentrated, pre-planned effort. Read more about ZMOT on Google’s CPG blog.

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Book Review and Innovation Summary – “Predictable Success”


A few weeks ago I received “Predictable Success” by Les McKeown in the mail. “Predictable Success” is an approachable 194 pages, and is an easy, and pleasant read.

Les McKeown is the President & CEO of Predictable Success, and has 25 years of global business experience, including starting 42 companies in his own right, and as the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that launched hundreds of businesses worldwide.

“Predictable Success” is a book focused on helping people understand the natural evolution of businesses and why some succeed and some fail. The book hinges on a simple, illustrative framework that makes the case that business success is not something to be achieved, but instead something to be maintained. You don’t arrive at business success and stay successful, but instead continually fight to maintain the delicate balance between too much policy and process, and too little.

Les McKeown asserts that there are seven different descriptors that any successful business can take on at any one time. The key here is ’successful’ business.

* Early Struggle
* Fun
* Whitewater
* Predictable Success
* Treadmill
* The Big Rut
* Death Rattle

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Stop Comparing Yourself with Steve Jobs


Comparing yourself with Steve Jobs is not healthy. Never mind that it’s probably the pastime of every alpha male and female businessperson on the planet these days.

Drawing inspiration from Steve Jobs — or from anyone else you admire — studying them, and learning from them, now those are different matters. But all too often we conflate admiration and comparison. They’re two completely different things. One is smart, the other debilitating.

Comparison sounds like this: “Why aren’t I that creative?” “How come I don’t have the negotiating cajones he does?” “How come I can’t manage my people to that level of excellence?” “Why can’t I run two companies at once like he does?” “Why didn’t I have the guts to drop out of college and do what I really wanted to do?” “How come I haven’t had a comeback?” And it’s no surprise what comes next: “What a loser I am. I’ll never be like him. I’ll never be able to do anything that big. If I were sitting across the office from him he’d make mincemeat of me. I just don’t have what he has.”

The loop is repeated every hour or every time you read something about your icon, whichever comes first.

And this is healthy how?

Such comparisons spiral you into depression. They demotivate you, demoralize you, and generally suck every last bit of enthusiasm and aliveness out of you, so that you go into your next meeting or activity unable to contribute an ounce of energy to the room. How could you? You just annihilated your spirit.

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Best Buy: Notebooks Aren’t Dead


Ben Parr | //mashable.com Is the notebook going the way of the dinosaur? Not a chance, says Best Buy. Earlier today, a report made the rounds, depicting the decline of notebook sales since the launch of Apple’s wildly popular iPad

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Flash vs. HTML5: Adobe Weighs In


Much has been written about the next wave of web technologies, namely HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. A big part of this conversation has surrounded the impact that these new technologies will have on older technologies like Adobe’s Flash.

We’ve written a lot abut the HTML5 vs. Flash “war,” primarily in the context of Flash’s use in mobile and Flash as a video wrapper. I personally have taken the position that at least when it comes to mobile devices, Flash is at a disadvantage in terms of its abilities and capabilities when compared to newer technologies that can better harness hardware and software optimizations.

Adobe, understandably, has a different position. It believes that Flash and HTML5 can exist side-by-side and that each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. I had a chance to talk to Paul Gubbay, Adobe’s VP of design and web engineering, about HTML5, Flash, the emerging mobile landscape and how Adobe fits into this new world.

The world of technology moves really, really quickly. To give you an idea of just how fast things can move, when I started working on this piece last month, Apple was still anti-Flash as an IDE for iOS development and Adobe’s set of HTML5 authoring tools was limited to Dreamweaver.

In the last week and a half, Apple has updated its developer guidelines and Adobe has issued an HTML5 add-on pack for Illustrator CS5.

I point out these recent changes because it indicates just how fast this industry is moving and that speed, inevitably, can impact the choices that designers, developers and end-users end up making.

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Marc Bresseel: “el medio ya no es el mensaje, ahora es lo que menos importa”


Navegar en un escenario de consumidores caóticos. Eso es lo que tienen que aprender las marcas según Marc Bresseel, vicepresidente global de agencias de Microsoft Advertising. Durante su ponencia en la Dmexco, Bresseel hizo hincapié en que son los consumidores los que están liderando la revolución tecnológica.

“Los jóvenes prácticamente ya no ven televisión, ahora consumen los contenidos on-demand“, asegura Bresseel, aportando cifras que hablan por sí mismas. “El 36% del tráfico en internet en EEUU consume periódicos online. Este consumo ya no se hace por ordenadores, el 14% de los estadounidenses no accede a internet desde un PC en sus casas, sino desde el móvil. Para el 70% de los jóvenes entre 16 y 25, el móvil es el medio más importante”.

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