The big apple

February 27, 2012

By: Big Picture   Article

“Apple is disproportionately impacting indices and earnings data, skewing the picture of what is actually occurring.


“While most U.S. companies have struggled to meet earnings expectations, the Cupertino, Calif.-based maker of iPads and iPhones has surpassed even the most bullish of expectations, reporting $13.1 billion in profits during the fiscal 2012 first quarter that ended Dec. 31, more than double that of a year earlier. Revenue soared 73% to $46.3 billion. Those earnings account for about 6% of the S&P 500′s fourth-quarter earnings, according to S&P Indices, making Apple the biggest earnings contributor to the S&P 500.”

I have jokingly told people recently that there are 4 asset classes: Stocks, Bonds, Commodities & Apple.”

Patients versus profits at Johnson & Johnson: Has the company lost its way?

February 27, 2012

Published: February 15, 2012 in Knowledge@Wharton   Article

“For a corporate icon long held up as the gold standard in business ethics, Johnson & Johnson has suffered some stunning setbacks in recent years. Among the headaches: a seemingly endless string of product recalls, from Tylenol Arthritis Pain caplets to Benadryl to Rolaids; safety issues with the company’s artificial hips, and lawsuits brought by numerous states over the marketing of its anti-psychotic medication Risperdal. …

The recent troubles are a major reversal of fortune for J&J. The company cemented its reputation for responsible management in 1982 when bottles of Tylenol were found to contain traces of cyanide, resulting in seven deaths. Then-CEO James Burke recalled millions of bottles of Tylenol and replaced them with new tamper-proof packaging. Burke’s handling of the crisis put J&J’s credo — outlined in a mission statement that clearly says patients come before profits …

The recent setbacks at J&J, however, have caused many to question whether the firm has lost sight of that credo. The company’s problems with plants in Fort Washington, Pa., Lancaster, Pa., and Puerto Rico — the sites of recalls of over-the-counter products like Benadryl and Children’s Tylenol — dragged on for years. In addition, an outside contractor for the company was found to have led a “phantom recall,” sending employees to buy all the painkiller Motrin on store shelves after it was found to be dissolving improperly. Two hip devices were recalled in 2010 after the shredding of metal fragments led to post-surgical complications in some patients. And the company agreed to pay $158 million to the state of Texas to settle claims it improperly marked the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal to patients on Medicaid. Other suits surrounding the marketing of this drug are ongoing. Recalls of surgical sutures and contact lenses have been announced as well.”

Rejected U.S. hip implants sold abroad

February 27, 2012

Source: Levine Breaking News Wednesday, February 15, 2012 – Afternoon Edition

“Johnson & Johnson may have recalled faulty hip implants in the U.S., but they weren’t about to let them go to waste. The company sold the implants overseas after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected them in the United States. They also continued to sell a related model that went on the market through a regulatory loophole. Johnson & Johnson formally recalled the models in August 2010 amid reports of high rates of failure in patients abroad, but in August 2009 the FDA had rejected the implant in a confidential letter that Johnson & Johnson never made public. It’s not illegal to sell medical products overseas that have been rejected in the U.S., but the company’s decision to withhold the FDA letter could damage its brand.”

Never say never!

February 27, 2012


4 leadership styles to master

February 27, 2012

By Glen Blickenstaff CEO of The Iron Door company   Article

“It’s not enough to have just one way of leading: Different circumstances require separate management styles.

When it comes to leadership it doesn’t matter if you manage a company with 500 employees or one where you are the only employee. Either environment will disprove the myth that leaders should stick to just one leadership style that they have perfected. In a dynamic setting several styles will be necessary and the ability to adapt is key. There’s a lot to learn from each leadership style and when to use it. Here’s the four that basic styles:

  1. Directive: One of the oldest styles and frequently described as autocratic. Someone using this style tells people what to do and expects them to jump to it.
  2. Participative: This style seeks input from others and participates with those they are leading in the decision making process.
  3. Laissez-faire: Typically a hands-off approach allowing for both initiative and the latitude to determine process to affect an outcome.
  4. Adaptive: A fluid style that takes into consideration the context of the environment and the individual being led.”

It’s a big step from engineer to an entrepreneur

February 27, 2012

By Martin Zwilling   Article

“… the key business misperceptions of most engineers …

  1. “Everyone loves ‘cool ideas’ and new technology.” Before investing a lot of time and money into any idea, entrepreneurs should assess the commercial viability. That means evaluating third-party market research, getting real customer feedback from prototypes, and listening to concerns of successful executives in the same business area.
  2. “I need to go-it alone to assure quality and elegance.” Engineers assume that the business issues can be resolved later. Working alone, or with other engineers, is great for the average engineer introvert, gives them better control, and minimizes distractions. A team with diverse skills is harder to manage, but more likely to build a thriving business.
  3. “Marketing is fluff and selling is black magic.” The old adage, “If we build it, they will come” came from engineers. In reality, building a solution won’t make it connect with customers, manage competition, or communicate and proselytize the offering in the industry. With today’s information overload, selling is always required.
  4. “We need to get functionality maximized before we focus on customers.” The business reality is that you can’t engineer the functionality right UNTIL you focus on customers. Superfluous functionality, from a customer perspective, is a failure. The mantra for an entrepreneur today should be to ship fast, make changes, and iterate.
  5. “A good engineer hates unpredictability and risk.” A good entrepreneur embraces risk as an opportunity, whereas most engineers are risk averse and cautious. The result is that engineer-driven solutions often are too little, too late, if they ever ship, in today’s fast moving market. Managing risk is good; eliminating risk is bad for startups.
  6. “We can’t worry about making money until we get it built.” If you can’t make money, it isn’t a business. Business constraints, such as market size, customer demographics, manufacturing, distribution, and support costs need to be set, or there is no context for getting it right. Getting it right at the wrong cost will get you no customers.
  7. “Outside funding causes loss of control and undue pressure to deliver.” Funding is like a turbocharger for a startup company, if used correctly. Investors love to fund growth and scaling of a proven business model for entrepreneurs, and they avoid at all costs funding research and development for engineers. Hence the pressure to deliver.”

US total nation debt

February 20, 2012