Why I don’t sell Kimchi

January 30, 2011

“Years ago, I put together a really cool plan to get into the artisinal kimchi business (with a tofu sideline, of course). What, you didn’t know there was an artisinal kimchi business? [See] the first draft of our packaging [above]. …

Why did I stop before I really started? Because distribution can define your business. … Just about every business is limited (and thus valued) by its distribution, by the way it is able to get paid for what it makes. Direct mail is different than a salesforce which is different than retailers… And while the food business attracts tons of enthusiastic people, the distribution challenges are significant.” – Article


A “squirrel cage” of overwork

January 30, 2011

“Europeans pride themselves on their quality of life—but is the quality of life in Europe any better than in the USA?  … [an] analysis conducted a few years ago considered material well-being, health, political stability, divorce rates, job security, political freedom, and gender equality. It found that the United States ranked 13th. The 12 nations that finished ahead of the USA were all in Europe. Ouch!

Many Europeans would credit their high quality-of-life to their nations’ free health care, generous unemployment benefits, and greater emphasis on leisure as opposed to work. Most European nations mandate restricted workweek hours and a month or more of vacation time. U.S. workers have among the fewest vacation days and longest average workweeks in the world. Juliet Schor, a Harvard economist, argues the United States “is the world’s standout workaholic nation” and that U.S. workers are trapped in a “squirrel cage” of overwork. Some argue that mandated leisure time would force companies to compete within their industry by raising productivity and product quality, rather than by requiring workers to put in more hours.” – Article

More spending, oops! Investments

January 30, 2011


January 30, 2011

By TC North   Article   

Nine unusual high-performance traits

“1. Willingness to fail. People are willing to fail in order to learn and succeed, and this is encouraged throughout the organization.  …

2. Motivation driven by excitement, not fear. Both individual and team motivation is driven by excitement versus fear. When you’re in fear, you play not to lose.  …

3. Obsessive focus. Leaders are obsessively focused on two things: 1) creating a high-performance culture and 2) being known for one product, service or something that differentiates the company in its market. …

4. Respect. For all team members to be inspired by their leaders and align with the vision and strategies, leaders must be respected. They don’t necessarily have to be respected for every part of their life, but they must at least be respected for their brilliance in vision and strategy. Leaders who are also highly respected for their values and ethics can create an even stronger, values-driven, high-performance culture – the ideal culture.

5. Alignment. To create alignment, people must believe in the vision and in one another. In aligned organizations, trust is extremely high in all interactions, and cover-your-butt, protect-your-turf and “siloing” activities are virtually nonexistent.  …

7. Shared values. Values are shared among all team members and drive all interactions.  …

8. No whining, complaining or excuses. There’s little to no whining, complaining or excuses. People take full responsibility for deadlines as well as their goals and mistakes. This may be the greatest differentiator of all high-performance characteristics! …

9. Meet or exceed. If you implement the above psychological characteristics of high-performance organizations and teams, you’re likely to meet or exceed your critical goals. This is the ultimate measure of becoming a high-performing organization or workplace – you regularly meet or exceed what you commit to accomplish.”

Marketing Babel

January 30, 2011

“Eager to boost profits and prod shoppers to upgrade, television manufacturers last year offered an alphabet soup of new technologies and TV features. Panasonic (PC), Sony (SNE), and other makers plugged big screens that required glasses to see movies in 3D, though there was scant content available in the format. Later in the year, Sony hyped sets using software from Google (GOOG), forcing shoppers to figure out how Google TV might differ from other Web-connected sets—including other Sony models. By the holiday season, techie jargon like LCD, LED, Wi-Fi-capable, widget-equipped, and Internet-ready became a marketing Babel used to convince consumers they needed to buy new models—often at price premiums of up to 50 percent.

Unfortunately for electronics retailers like Best Buy (BBY), that’s resulted in aisles still stacked high with unsold flat-screens after one of the worst TV sales years in a decade. The plethora of choices—and marketing pitches—simply overwhelmed consumers ….” – Article

Kill the baby boy goats

January 30, 2011

‘So farmers that provide goat milk to the cheese industry kill the boy baby goats. You can get angry at the farmers if you want, but what can they do? They could raise the prices of goat milk, but someone would undersell them. And people who are great at raising goats can’t switch their farm over to something else. They don’t know how and they don’t have enough money for a capital investment.

We have seen this business problem before. We see it in corporate life all the time. It’s much easier to make money without the burden of a moral compass. Until you go to jail. But also, most of us have our own moral compass and we are always trying to balance ethical problems: feeding ourselves and our families and being the good person we envision ourselves to be. Making real world business decisions requires a constant recalibration of the right and wrong of our own perspective against what’s at stake.” – Article

China’s forex reserves show record leap

January 29, 2011

“China’s foreign exchange reserves jumped by a record $199bn in the last quarter of 2010, taking the total to $2,850bn and underlining the continuing imbalances in the global economy. Already the largest in the world, China’s reserves increased by 18.7 per cent over the course of 2010, including an increase of $194bn in the third quarter. … the continued strong increases in its foreign exchange reserves will bolster the case of critics who are calling for a more rapid appreciation of the renminbi.” – Article