Sunday, December 25, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
Want to see a crazy nut!? This guy is outta control. For one reason or another, he's pissed off at the world. So much so, that he runs over to a car at a stop light and starts destroying it. Pretty out of control. Check it out: YouTube - CAR DESTRUCTION - PT CRUISER
Thursday, December 22, 2005
As a note, the reason they buried fuel was in case the internal combustion engine was no longer existant in 2007, the day to exhume the car.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Compared to a few years ago, their product design has come a long way. Their original design was for a walking shoe, and it was horrendously ugly. Granted, most walking shoes are very geezer like. I hope this company does well, as I'm in the process, myself, of developing a footwear technology. And, on that note, look for an upcoming blog that will track my progress through the patent, sourcing, production, and marketing of the technology.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Yet, no one has focused on the higher-end-only segment. Sure, Virgin has reclining seats, Singapore Airlines too; however, as far as I know, next to fractional jet ownership, EOS is the only airline to be so exclusively high-end. And, for a price of $2,500 from New York to London, only the high-end will fly this airline. So, for 4x more money than a standard coach fare, you can fly to London, sleep on the way there, and eat world-class cuisine before you land.
Let's look at the numbers real quick. Given a flight from JFK to London is roughly 8 hours, EOS is realizing $15,000 in Revenue/hour, or $120,000 for the whole flight (assuming all the seats sell). Compare that to a standard 747, with 212 passengers. Let's assume the average sales price for the flight on a standard 747 is $500 for the same route. That's only $106,000 in revenue for the same flight. Assuming both flights are full of passengers, EOS stands to make 13% higher Revenues on the same flight that any major carrier makes. All this, with less cost for baggage handling, cabin cleaning, etc. In the ultra-competitive landscape of the airline industry, 13% explains why EOS appears to be so well funded. It's a no brainer for investors.
You know, disruptive technology, and/or innovation arguably drives and creates new industries. It's funny how the large carriers failed to innovate. Instead, they responded to innovations that start-ups proved to be successful. Hence, Delta's Song, United's Ted, etc. But, the big boys, with these offshoot "low-cost" carriers, are only responding to, and replicating, what Southwest had been doing for years. Yet, they failed to trump other start-ups in other aspects. Such as EOS Airlines and the Uber-luxury market.
I don't know, but this EOS stuff smells like Disruption.
Eos Airlines - Home Page
Monday, November 28, 2005
One cool feature is you can pause the streaming music, and, when you come back and hit PLAY, it picks up right where you stopped. Basically, it's streaming radio, only better, much better. Even streaming radio seems to have some kind of playlist. Not on Pandora, each time, you get a new, original playlist.
From their 'About Us' Section:
For almost six years now, we have been hard at work on the Music Genome Project.
It's the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team
of thirty musician-analysts have been listening to music, one song at a time,
studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It
takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each
recording its magical sound - melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals,
lyrics ... and more - close to 400 attributes! We continue this work every day
to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios,
stadiums and garages around the country.
We've now created an interface to
make this available to music lovers so they could use this musical
'connective-tissue' to discover new music based on songs or artists they already
Discover Music - Pandora and listen to streaming music for FREE
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Basically, if your network consists of home, you'll only get other computers within your home. So, in this scenario, not too exciting. However, get plugged to a network with many computers, like most at work, school, etc, and you now have wonderful access to everyone else's music, assuming they, too, have ourTunes.
The hack was created/programmed by a bunch of college students with an opensource mentality. So, customer support is virtually nill, updates are being constantly created to fix bugs, and there's probably not much of a guarantee on the performance.
But, then again, we all seemed to get over the issues wtih other open source, file-sharing, peer-to-peer programs.
Click here to visit the ourTunes site, along with downloads.
Monday, October 24, 2005
However, I really liked this last part of the article:
"Technorati, a blog search engine, now tracks 19.6 million blogs, a number that has doubled about every five months for the past three years. If that growth were to continue, all 6.7 billion people on the planet will have a blog by April 2009. Imagine the work that won’t get done then."
Yeah, imagine the unproductiving then?? You know, is there a way to leverage the power of online content to further motivate employees to work harder, more effective, and more efficient? For example, could managers allow a company-wide 20 minute daily break where everyone hits up their favorite blogs, then they are required to do a quick write-up of what they read and how they can use that to improve the company? This way, employees get their cake, and management gets to eat it.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Really, are you now doing that. That's wonderful Ford. Thanks for not focusing on safety before, as noted by the recent $4 million a South Carolina jury has ordered Ford to pay in a Rollover Suit. Why should Ford pay for a woman who was killed when her Ford Explorer Rolled Over? Well, as the article states, because:
"As far back as 1989, Ford Motor Company knew that this Explorer had rollover
problems," Ed Bell, the Hayward family's lawyer, told jurors in Charleston,
"Ford knew of potentially fatal defects during the development and
of this vehicle and chose not to remedy them."
Now, this lawsuit represents one of hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits against Ford right now. In fact, as I write this, I recall an accident I saw last summer, wherein a Ford Explorer, going no more than 35 mph rolled over after hitting a car. Now, I'll be the first to admit that even cars in the proper circumstances could easily roll when going 35 mph if conditions are right. However, what was bothersome to me was the roof and how the A-pillars collapsed, rather than supporting the roof. Please see this picture I took at the scene.
Now, the real kicker is the other car that was involved in the accident. It was barely damaged. The Exploder side-swiped the car and rolled in response. Look at the minimal damage on the other car.
But, I digress.
The point is Ford has failed to prove that Safety ever was an incredibly, sincere, pervasive-in-their-culture concern. Look, we're talking about deliberate disregard by Ford executives when given information that the best-selling SUV in the US (the Ford Exploder, errr, Explorer) has poor engineering in the roof-structure and could be prone to rollover.
Now, I'm not necessarily saying that Ford doesn't make good cars, or that the Exploder isn't a good vehicle for some people's needs. However, I am saying that the U.S. carmakers continue to flop where it really matters.
I fear that Ford, with this "innovation" campaign strategy may be getting suckered into the same PR garbage GM has been pumping out the last 5-6 years.
Now, to quote the article from AdAge:
The campaign’s “Innovation” theme reiterates the Ford heir’s recent speech on
the topic. “Innovation will be the compass that guides this company going
forward,” Mr. Ford says in both the 60- and 30-second spots. He adds that Ford
has “dramatically recommitted” to hybrids, technology and safety.
Now, let's analyze the statement, "Ford has "dramatically recommitted" to hybrids, technology, and safety". I'm sorry, but the word recommitted draws up a bunch of quizzicall looks without any answers. Ok, mr Bill Ford, so what you really meant to say was, "we really kind of just dragged our feet along for a while. You know, we didn't care too much about safety, the environment, or safety, but you know, we all make mistakes. But, one day, I, yes, me Mr. Bill Ford had this great idea. Let's become innovative, recommit to developing hybrids (since Toyota and Honda have been kicking our butt with hybrids since their introduction in 2000)."
So it has taken Ford a while to respond to the competition. Granted, they do have some hybrids in their lineup, such as the Hybrid and Mariner. But, come on, who's kidding who? Why do you have to recommit? Surely you've been developing all this technology from the beginning. Right?
I'm not stating that Ford isn't developing their Safety, Technology, and Hybrids. However, why do you have to remind us about this through a PR/Advertising campaign. Why don't you spend your limited funds (given their most recent $1+ billion quarterly loss) on more valuable things such as new product, that will entice buyers.
Most customers these days are tired of the hyped up crap of automotive companies. What matters most to the customer is what they can buy on the lot, today, tomorrow, or in a couple months. We don't want to be told about some Revolutionary Strategy Shift in your company that you're going to start offering products that adress the issues I care about. Give me product and prove it, not some commercial stating such. And until then, I'll drive my import car; because, though it may not be as efficient as a hybrid, it is safer, more reliable, and at least equals all the "technology" any domestic vehicle offers in its class.
All I have to say is: Wow Ford, I can't wait to see what all this dramatically recommitted strategy is going to produce next. Yay!!
Sunday, October 16, 2005
But, China isn't the only culprit, recently, Spyder Ski Company intercepted counterfeit product coming from Russia. My conclusion on China is this:
China is full of eager factories and people ready to produce goods. However, these people lack the formal business management education in the West. Hence, they are trying to play in a formal business environment without the proper skills or knowledge of how this environment functions. BUT, as soon as they get the proper knowledge and education, WATCH OUT, because they could clean our clocks.
See, the Chinese see America as their opportunity to make it big. It's as if they have this idea that, "Just if I could get an American to import my product, I'll become rich". And, the basis of their thoughts are from other manufacturers they've seen becoming overnight millionaires from some American contract.
Where they fail to see the point is the true competitive landscape of America. In addition, they don't understand competitive advantages. What I mean is: Unless the Chinese supplier has a competitive advantage compared to other factories in China, then they don't have any advantage in the U.S.
They argue that a competitor Factory XYZ is selling thousands of Widget A. Therefore, if you, American, buy thousands of Widget A from me, then you can sell them in America just like Factory XYZ's customer. They don't understand that if Factory XYZ's customer is buying product from them in volume, then that customer already has the distribution channels set up in the States. They have the connections, the brand, the distribution, the marketing. So, I'm on a level playing field as soon as I import the Widgets. So, unless the factory in China has a competitive advantage to Factory XYZ, and therefore sells to me at a lower cost, I have no advantage in the States.
I know, I know, this sounds incredibly rudimentary and basic. You know what, it is!! There is nothing novel with what I just explained. Yet, for the Chinese, that logic just doesn't register. They just don't get it. At least not yet. But, as they become more educated, it will register. Boy will it register!!
But, alas, their government once again attempts to censor their information. But, there is hope for them. They can achieve their knowledge, albeit rather dangerously. As Marketing Vox blog reports, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has released a new handbook for the "Cyber-Dissidents". This handbook offers information on how to get around China's "clever mix of investment, technology, and diplomacy" censorship efforts.
I sure hope this made sense, because it is late, and I'm tired.
Following are some of my notes from listening to this podcast:
Only two things that kill a business
Their opposites are:
Entrepreneurship views the world marketplace as a blank canvas rather then a fully developed picture.
Entrepreneurship is both Concept and Execution
Entrepreneurs are sometimes:
· Frustrating to deal with
· Talk more than they listen
Entrepreneurs see the world as they want it, they don’t like the word ‘no’, they don’t like authority when it is forced on them.
If a business owner’s business hankerings do not make his/her spouse nervous, he/she is not an entrepreneur.
Cultures have come here to help us develop our entrepreneurial and capitalistic model. Only America has a cross-cultural model of entrepreneurship.
There is a triangle with the creative class on one side, the entrepreneurship class on the other side, and small-business on the bottom.
In Vietnam & China, there is a unique coop mentality where they avoid conflict, and they’re in each other’s business. They don’t need to keep their property separate. The U.S. allows us to own property, capitalize on that property, and keep that property as our own. In China, they think property belongs to the world. They don’t see a need for protecting individual property. If the property, technology, etc exists, then anyone should be able to use. Things in the world belong to everyone. This is a major problem, and how we solve that problem will affect how successfully we work with China.
Massive government regulation in the US undermines the American entrepreneurial capitalistic model by unwittingly encouraging giant businesses which then become bureaucratic like Microsoft, with a lot of money, but hasn’t created anything overly innovative for a long time. We’ve done this because of our fear that if we turn the power over to large, massive, powerful organizations, then they will hurt people. And we feel it’s up to the government to stop these organizations from abusing their power. As a result, these regulations are onerous for small entrepreneurial organizations and only huge corporations have the resources and lawyers to comply with such regulations. An example, Sarbanes-Oxley has created enormous red tape for small businesses to comply with. As such, many small businesses are spending millions just to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley.
We don’t have the model or the metrics to understand why one entrepreneurial model works and another fails. Academia still hasn’t truly identified how to assess any given entrepreneurial model. There really is no defined science to analyze entrepreneurial ventures to determine which ones will be successful and which ones won’t.
Click HEREto listen to the podcast.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I can only think of a few reasons they put so many cash registers in such stores:
1. To give customers the perception that they get a lot of business, so they need a lot of registers.
2. Because all their competition does, and we need to look like everyone else (great differentiation strategy, eh?).
3. For the once in a year sale-a-thon when they actually schedule a sufficient number of employees to man most of the registers.
4. Because Corporate feels like it.
5. Because they got a volume discount on buying more registers.
Seriously, Corporate, do you really think any of us (your customers) are really suckered into your ways? Whatever happened with efficient floor planning. Folks, having a long line of customers behind the few registers that are open is nowhere near efficient. And it pisses me off that I have to go into a store, such as Albertsons, and then stand around waiting to pay for the milk that is freezing in my hand because my purchases are so nominal that I only used a basket. Even the so-called Express Lanes aren't much of an express anymore.
If these stores, including the whore, would realize the level of untapped customer satisfaction capacity they have, and then unlock that capacity, they could leapfrog their competition in customer satisfaction and retention. After all, when margins in the grocery business are a paltry 3.4% anything to increase customer retention is valuable. Welcome to differentiation, a simple strategy many businesses fantasize and profess but few effectively execute on.
It's not that differentiation doesn't exist between competitors. Seriously, we live in the land of differentiation, variety, and choices. But, many companies fail to effectively and properly educate their customers about what their Unique Value Proposition is. As a result, customers simply don't "get it" about the truly superior products. Because management fails to effectively communicate their Unique Value.
I am talking about an opportunity so simple, so inexpensive, so obvious, that when a company has the opportunity to effectively differentiate themselves, for essentially minimal cost, any decent, worth his/her salt, executive should jump on that train.
OK, now let's walk through my point step-by-step:
1. Executive management issues a decree that all grocery stores will increase the number of open registers during the 8 busiest hours of each business day. (In my experience, this means approximately 3-5 more registers will be open)
2. This decision will increase the daily payroll by a nominal $200-400. Which makes a monthly increase of $6,000-10,000. At gross margins of 26% in the industry, same store sales would need to increase approximately $24,000-40,000 to cover the increase cost of the additional registers. (and this is assuming a generous $8.50/hour wage).
3. Customers come to the store, and check out is quick, easy, and painless. They don't have to stand in line behind the fat lady that can't find her credit-card and is breathing restlessly because she just finished loading her eighteen 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke on the checkout belt. However, it is highly unlikely the customer will notice this increased speed through checkout immediately.
4. The customer now goes to a competitor who has not implemented this change, and they now are stuck behind the fat lady with the eighteen bottles of Diet Coke. They now recall how fast checkout was at the your store.
5. The next time around, the customer is willing to spend extra time driving back to your store, because they didn't have to stand around forever to check out.
6. Wammo!! You now have a loyal customer who will evangelize, on your behalf, about the wonderful, quick, customer-centric checkout experience they had at your store.
It's funny how a loyal customer will spend twice as much time travelling to the store they like, as opposed to the store that is most convenient. Arguably, the more customer focused the store is, the more convenient it is, regardless of travel distance.
Let's analyze my above, step-by-step direction. The true cost to the Executive is The Company. After all, they are competing in a commodity market. The Company is at stake! All they have to do is hire a few more employees to check people out. For crying out loud, how much does it cost to train someone to run a scanner, swipe a credit card, and get a signature?
What does it cost Corporate to then educate the market about their new strategy?
What's the return on investment?
A ton of more loyal business, boosting same-store sales, and having more satisfied customers.
Grocery stores are constantly trying to fudge their margins higher by mixing in a TV here, or sandals there. But, if they'd just focus on their core competency of providing food, maybe they could do something with that!!
To you Grocery Execs, I've got a little secret: The only reason we go to the grocery store is because we have to. Because we need to eat (well, here in America, our ever growing waistline suggests we want to eat, also). Because we can't buy food that will tie us over for the next year. Hence you Execs find yourselves in a commodity business.
So, how can you boost your business. You can't diversify the product offering. Every store has all the same brands, products, foods, etc. But you can diversify on the customer experience. And, if you aren't convinced about how important the customer experience really is, why not head over to learn about Starbucks' rabid insistence and focus on their customers' experiences.
Folks, we live in the 2000s, not the 50s. Let's get with the efficiency program that actually increases customer interaction and satisfaction with the company. People are busy today but still need to go to the grocery store (unless, of course, you are Paris Hilton, then you just go to the nearest fast food).
. . . .Drive through grocery shopping, now that's a concept. (that didn't work)
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Obviously anyone would love to see this technology, should it be legitimate, be scaled up to a large scale to reduce our fuel costs everywhere. However, I have one small problem with the technology, it is only diesel fuel, as far as I can tell. I'm not quite ready to get rid of the "Premium Sipping Ride" (i.e. my Outback, see previous post).
The CNN Article: Inventor denies dead cat fuel story - Sep 15, 2005
Critical Mass Deals Blog
As time goes on, I will continue to tweak and modify the blog to become more comprehensive and easier to search. But, as we all know, you have to start somewhere. Right?
I am a self-admitted car nut, more specifically, a self-admitted Subaru addict. There are only a couple things I'm addicted to and SUBARU is one of them. Despite my persuasion, I will attempt to give a somewhat objective review on the rocket I've been driving for the last year.
Given that the end of August marked my one-year relationship with my car, I thought I'd celebrate with a review.
I purchased the Subaru Outback 2.5XT at Doug Smith Autoplex in American Fork, UT. The overall experience at the dealership was positive. However, there were a few hiccups as I waited, ever so patiently, for my $500 deposit to make interest for the dealership. . .err, I mean, for my car to arrive 2 months after promised.
The car finally arrived, and I was able to commence the gruelling 1,000 mile break-in period. (I actually tried my hardest to log 1,500 miles before really romping on the engine, as I figured it could only help)
Having come from my previous machine-beast of a car (a 1995 Subaru Legacy), I was fairly content to deal with the break-in period. Not to mention that even under no or light boost, the new XT thoroughly destroyed the Legacy in all aspects of performance. (Note in the pictures thorough scuffing on the drivers side body panels. Well, as an aside, I decided to try my mad-tyte skills at rally driving. In other words, I tried to further enhance my already well developed drifting skills. Despite my best attempts, I successfully rolled the car onto its side on a very moderate bend in the gravel road in a National Forest road. I ended up using a Suburban to pull the car back onto all fours, as my cousin and I were unable to roll it back over, despite our brute upper body muscular structure. Despite rolling it onto its side, the Legacy performed like a champ right after and gave an additional 30,000 no headache miles. The car was eventually traded in earlier this year with over 165,000 miles on it.)
In quick measure I broke in the new Outback and began to put it through its paces. When I used to have a job, I would commute through a mountain pass that allowed me to really put the Outback through its paces. Where the Legacy puttered out in 4th gear at 6,000 rpm, the Outback tore up, without even downshifting from 5th gear. This car was amazing!! It would pull on a 4-5% grade at 120 mph, no problem. The turbo really shines in the altitude with this car. The vehicle seems to have gobs of power throughout most of the power curve, and when driving within reason of the speed limit. The engine runs extremely smooth and quietly. At a stand still, the engine is so quiet that, if you listen carefully, you can hear the nicely tuned grumble of the dual-exhaust tips in the rear.
The overall fit and finish of the vehicle is very impressive. Subaru did an excellent job at stepping up the interior aesthetics of the dash design. The dash feels like one coherent whole, as opposed to the choppy feel of the previous generation. One drawback, however, is the integration of the audio system. This integration prevents simple aftermarket upgrades. In addition, the stereo system does not have mp3 capability, or digital input capability (such as plugging in an iPod). The stock stereo system has more-than-acceptable sound, and the 6 disc in dash feature is a plus for long road trips.
Earlier this year, I went down to Moab for a week of decompression. During this trip I slept in the rear part of the car. With the rear seats folded down, there was sufficient room for my 5' 10" frame to cuddle up with my sleeping bag. Given the miles of off-road trails and roads in Moab, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try out my 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The car handled nicely off-road, but the tires are definitely designed for the road.
I'm sure the automatic would be a little nicer for starting out on steep terrain. But, with my manual 5 speed combined with the gearing, I had to rev the engine to get the car moving uphill after a stop. This revving resulted in a pungent stench coming from the engine (this smell seems to be exclusively shared with all Subarus for at least the last decade). The gearing could probably be changed to help with offroad performance; but, then you'd have to say good-bye to the turbo performance that makes this car so fun to drive. However, the AWD (All Wheel Drive) works flawlessly and transparently. Perhaps the best AWD on the market, definitely the best AWD in this price range.
Many will say that this car wasn't made for offroading anyways. Well, you may be right, but why then did Subaru tempt me with 8.7 inches of ground clearance? I may never know, but I like the combination of the turbo and the ground clearance, so I'm not complaining. If I didn't I would have purchased the Legacy GT.
I love this car in crappy weather. The 4 stage heated seats are wonderful for the cold women in my life, and the heated windshield and wipers work perfectly. The rubber floormats do a great job keeping the carpet clean and keeping any fluids contained within the mat. They don't look the best, but they work wonders.
Given my active outdoor lifestyle, this car is a perfect blend of sport, off-road prowess, power, and pure driving enjoyment. The ride inside is quiet and solid. I've added Yakima Destination Hardware to the roof to transport all my toys. Nothing beats two or three bikes on top of a Subaru, and a bunch of camping gear in the cargo area. All you crunchies out there know exactly what I mean. OK, maybe a Volkswagen Westfalia beats it, but that's about it.
Overall, I absolutely love this car. It is a blast to drive and most people appreciate it, especially after they ride around in it and experience it. I'm pretty anti-SUV in most instances -- Who really needs to get 14 mpg to buy groceries, go to work, and take the kids to soccer? With the Outback, I get better ground clearance than many SUVs, better gas mileage than most, and performance that competes with the Porsche Cayenne.
I'm definitely not complaining. (OK, I am complaining about the premium gas and I would like a little better gas mileage)
A beautiful sight, 4 Subarus in a row. (Spotted at REI, duh!!)
Subaru 2.5XT 5 spd AWD
2.5 Liter Turbocharged
250 HP, 250 ft-lbs Torque
Cloth interior, Auto-Dimming Mirror w/ compass & Homelink, rear cargo nets, rubber floor mats
Current Miles 18,356 miles and counting
EPA 19/25 city/hwy
Actual 20/22.6 city/hwy
-Driver's Side door pull rubber texturing flaked off (fixed under warranty)
-Slight engine hesitation under moving acceleration(hesitation appears to have disappeared, maybe I've just gotten used to it)
But, the real kicker comes from the following telephone number: 732-829-1249
This guy is outta control. But, thanks to him, you will always know where the cheapest gas is located.
Thanks to The Jewish Blogmeister for the information.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I've attached pictures for your viewing, and idiot-proof pleasure.
The tools needed. You will need a piece of cardboard, scissors sufficient for cutting, Aluminum Foil, Tape, and the cut-out template. You can get the cut-out template HERE.
I first placed the template over the cardboard. With scissors, I perforated the cardboard on through each 'X' on the template.
Here is the perforated half-circle section.
Here is the culprit, a Belkin wireless router (I don't remember the model). It is critical, as the article states, to have the hole for the antenna, or the focal point, in the proper location. Otherwise, the signal won't be boosted as effectively. So, test fit the "focal hole" over the antenna to ensure it will fit properly.
Here is the taped foil over the cardboard (backside is pictured). Ensure that the foil is as flat against the cardboard as possible.
Here is the final product, mounted on the router. You will probably have to mess with the booster and aim it properly. But, once completed, you should notice significant improvement in performance.
Monday, September 12, 2005
For the last 4 or so races, the course actually ended in Swan Valley, ID, and never made it into Wyoming. This was due to road construction in the Snake River Canyon going up to Jackson. As such, the race was roughly 184 miles long on those years.
This year, the road construction was completed in time for the race course to end in Jackson, effectively increasing the total distance to 204 miles long. That's right, 204 miles in one day, on a bike. This year, the snow pelted the ill-prepared riders. So much so, that they ended up bussing approximately 4 buss loads of riders down Strawberry Canyon. Many riders began experiencing the early stages of hypothermia. Though 1,000 riders registered to race, approximately 700 actually showed up to race (presumably because of the weather forecasts). At nightfall, approximately only 360 riders had crossed the finish line.
This year, given the conditions and elements, the race tested the true ability of the riders. But, had the riders been more prepared, hypothermia wouldn't have been as much an issue. Even this Performance Gore Windstopper Shellwould have done wonders in keeping the riders warm.
Folks, it is coming, real soon. Due out sometime in Oct/Nov, based on what others are saying. The new Blackberry 8700, or "Electron". Based on the info I've gathered, it has:
- Full Keyboard
- Polyphonic Ringtones
- EDGE highspeed wireless access
- GPS capable
- IM built in
- Faster processor, including 64 MB of RAM
Possible Drawbacks, however, include:
- No Camera
- No WiFi
- Lacks VOIP capability
Check out The Unofficial Blackberry Blog for more info. This thing should be pretty awesome in functionality. The only problem/question I have, is that it will only continue to blur the workplace and with your personal life further. It is only a matter time before technology will require that employees always be available. That time will suck!!
Friday, September 09, 2005
"According to the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey, a comprehensive opinion poll of public attitudes in America and 16 other countries, the USA is routinely seen as greedy by Western publics. For example, 67 per cent of the Dutch, 64 per cent of Britons and 62 per cent of Canadians see Americans as greedy. Perhaps most striking of all, 70 per cent of Americans see their fellow compatriots as greedy (10)."
This survey result is striking, yet understandable. I've travelled throughout Europe and Asia, and I've been in discussion with folks about our consumption. Our consumption is synonymous with greed in a lot of the world. And, I can't necessarily dispute that assertion. It is true, we, as a society, have become very greedy. We consume like there's no tomorrow. The amount of waste a given individual produces in a year in the U.S. is phenomenal. I don't know the exact numbers, but I recall articles I've read that cited the tonnage consumed per person, and it is high. However, I have to agree strongly with the article that consumption truly is the mark of a better standard of living, not worse. As such, as the article says, all should "aim to be fat Americans".
But, it is still critical that we ask ourselves if all our consumption is necessary. Can we curb it? Should we curb it? Is there an argument that an increase in consumption isn't necessarily bad; however, that increase needs to be in moderation. Excess consumption is not appropriate, regardless of our standard of living, and how Fat or Phat we try to live.
In reference to the issue of world hunger cited in the article (namely 815 million of the world populous received insufficient nutrition in 2002), I think the greater issue is not the ability to produce enough food to solve world hunger. World hunger will be solved, not by the developed world producing food and shipping it over (as there is an inherent flaw with this theory), but in growing the food in the respective countries, and teaching the local people proper farming techniques. The inherent flaw with shipping food over from the developed to the undeveloped world is the lack of infrastructure. The undeveloped third-world countries simply do not have the necessary infrastructure in place to distribute the food and get it to the people who need it most. And, until a better infrastructure is put in place, the problem will persist. When governments are corrupt, and guerillas intercept food supplies, and the roads simply suck, and there aren't sufficient vehicles to transport the food, and the heat spoils the food, and there is no orderly distribution network, how can we ever expect to solve the problem by growing more food in the developed world!? It doesn't make sense.
However, teaching proper farming techniques, and then empowering the farmers to implement the techniques, will have a lot more powerful effect on solving the problem of hunger. In addition, and I know this is a sore spot for many, GMOs promise a level of solution yet to be realized. Today, crops can be modified to be more resilient, stronger, more productive, in a shorter time through genetic modification and manipulation. But, the caveat with GMOs is the increased price of the seed. In these third world countries, farmers simply don't make the proper margins to be able to afford GMOs.
So, once again, the wheel continues to spin without moving forward or back.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Apple has done it once again. They've introduced their new iPod Nano. Much cooler than the shuffle. Frankly, I think the shuffle is kind of a joke in many ways. It leverages the iPod brand name, but that's about all
it does. It really is no different than any other flash player out there.
Now the iPod Nano, on the other hand, is saweet!!
Available in 2GB and 4GB models. They will retail for $250 & $200 respectively. It incorporates the wonderful click wheel on the larger iPods. In addition, it has a color screen allowing for viewing of photos, or the current music album you are listening to.
Apple owns the mp3 player market with 53% of the market, and with the new Nano, they'll probably hold on to that lead.
Pics courtesy of: Apple and Cnet
Check out this site by Aging Research
They have a quiz you can take that will then calculate your life expectancy based on current habits, trends, gender, ancestry, etc.
Hopefully this quiz will motivate many to take better care of themselves.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Here are the photos
Here's a link to the Blog
Think about it, I'm in my mid-20s, and I make over 50% of all my consumer purchases online. Why? Because it is faster, more convenient, 95% of the time cheaper, and I don't have to pay for gas (see my rants below on gas prices). But, even more important with my purchases, I many times still physically experience the product before making a purchase. In other words, many times I'll visit traditional brick-and-mortar retail locations to learn more about the product, handle it, and look it over. Then, I go home, on the net, and find the lowest price and make a purchase.
Come on, this behavior is nothing new. Almost everyone I know does similar things with their purchases. Many brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops complain of this kind of behavior. But, in my mind, this behavior presents a business opportunity. Consumers will always want to physically interact on some level with the product before making a purchase. So, if many brick-and-mortars are going to struggle because of increasing purchases online. Then, where and what is the way to allow consumers an opportunity to touch, feel, taste, smell etc. the product before making the purchase.
How can you blend the benefits of the brick-and-mortar, with the convenience and price of ecommerce. Perhaps offering a line of credit to customers, allowing them to "demo" a product for a period of time before choosing to buy it or return it? I can see it now, an ecommerce retail site offering their customers the opportunity to order, receive, and experience the product in person before having to decide whether or not if they want to purchase it. If, after a set time, say 15 days, the customer doesn't return the product, the ecommerce site automatically bills their line of credit. Otherwise, the customer returns the product. Or, even better, the customer then ships the product to another customer, who has requested the same product and wants to "experience" it before making a purchasing decision. Thus, creating a community where customers "share" with eachother.
Customizable, community-driven, customer experiences. Just think!!
Customer Made is huge!!
To add further hurt to the whole situation, GM is now readying the launch/introduction/further downward spiral/self-suicide of their redesigned, next-gen gas-hogs, their SUVs. And, Katrina definitely doesn't help the situation given the incredible jump in fuel prices. GMs own research suggests that "gasoline prices must rise to $2.50 to $3 a gallon for a sustained period to change vehicle-buying decisions" (source). Well, GM, welcome to Katrina, a dip in oil supply, and an ever-increasingly-consumption-driven US consumer who demands more and more, at lower and lower prices. I'm sorry, but SUV sales simply won't be where they were before given the economic conditions we are in. Seriously, average gas prices have been well over $2.50 for over half a year now. GM's nonluxury SUV sales are off 27.2%. That's over 1/4 of their total sales!! Let's do the math, full-size truck sales has grown 16.7% over the last 6 years. Naturally, GM's revenues and profits from that segment have increased in-line with the growth. However, in less than one year, their sales in the same segment is now off 27.2%.
OK, come again. It took 6 years for the segment to grow less than 17%, yet, in less than a year, GM's sales are now off by 27.2%. What it took 6 years to grow, in less than a year GM has dropped by 150% off the respective growth.
GM (and Ford) wake up!! The SUV craze appears to be finally dwindling. Consumers are now regaining their brains, and buying vehicles that actually make sense.
Don't get me wrong, I like many aspects of SUVs. But, it's only a matter of time before American consumers realize they don't need to experience 13mpg to go pick up their obesity-rich McDonalds Value Meal (supersized, nonetheless).
Friday, September 02, 2005
Link to the White Paper THE VALUE OF MANAGED WORD-OF-MOUTH PROGRAMS
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Monday, August 29, 2005
So, I just returned from a weekend trip climbing Kings Peak in Utah. Kings Peak is the tallest peak in Utah, sitting at a phenomenal 13,528 feet. Yeah, I know, I'm hardcore. Actually, the climb is pretty straightforward, and not overly difficult. Other than being in decent physical shape, there really aren't any other requirements to climb this mountain. The round trip is anywhere from the low 20s to about 29 miles, depending on which route is chosen.
While hiking out to Dollar Lake, my brother spranged his ankle. So, the following day, when we hiked out to ascend Kings Peak, we decided to climb up the shortest route, or Anderson Chute. Anderson Chute takes you up to the saddle that then leads up to the Peak. It took us approximately one hour to ascend the Chute. The chute is the most technical of the three options for getting to the saddle. However, after having done botht he trail and the chute, let me tell you, always do the chute. The trail simply takes too long. We finally summitted the peak, only to find storm clouds overhead and quite a bit static. We were shocking eachother, the rocks, and our hair was buzzing. Needless to say, we got off the summit ASAP. The weather was very sporadic. It was quickly alternating between sun, rain, and snow. But, sure enough, once we got off the peak, and started hiking the trail back, and the sun came out to bake us all the way back to camp. Once we arrived at camp, however, it started to pour rain. The trail back, which loops around the backside of the mountain simply takes phenomenally too long. I strongly recommend both ascending and descending through Anderson's chute. Considering my brother had a spranged ankle, he commented that he would have been able to descend the chute.
The image is taken from Summitpost.org. This image is taken of in the valley where dollar lake is. The trailhead is north of this area and you hike south into the valley. In the image, you can see Andersons Chute on the left, right below the peak furthest left. The peak furthest left is Kings Peak.
It's a sweet climb, and I highly recommend it.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
What money can buy. . .
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Check it out: Postsecret Blog
Friday, June 03, 2005
But, the whole image of Hip Hop has revolutionized everything from fashion, automobiles, to design. If you watch MTV , VH1, BET , and other programs, they have many Hip Hop influenced threads throughout their programming.
Marketers need to stand at attention. However, and more importantly, companies in all industries need to become aware that segmenting out target markets with Hip Hop elements can prove very fruitful to their ability to capture new customers.
I think as we move forward, we will see an incredible amount of "niche markets" being successfully exploited and developed. This means new opportunity for new businesses. Small businesses tend to be significantly more agile and responsive than larger businesses. Less than ten (10) years ago, hip hop culture was just starting to come up as a force of influence. Now, it pervades many aspects of everyone's life. What has happend with hip hop on a macro scale is the example of what is going to happen on a more micro, niche oriented scale.
Some of my supporting reasons for my "niche markets" claim include:
1. The internet. The internet is incredible in its scope and power. It can truly change the world, and has. Get a computer in the hands of a Citizen of a Communist country, and they will see, through the internet, that their Communist way is not the best. The internet, thus, will allow more and more companies to market their products to more and more segmented niches for a lower and lower cost.
Shoot, TV advertising is losing its luster and effectiveness with the advent of TiVo. Not to mention that men aged 18-24 spend more time online than they do in front of the tube, plasma, liquid crystal, or whatever you watch.
2. Trends of consumers. As the world becomes one global marketplace through various technologies, including the internet, there will be an increasing demand, by consumers, to have unique product that sets them apart. In many ways, it is beautiful how we are becoming one global marketplace. However, this globalization will somewhat sterilize the once-uniqueness of brands, and result for more uniqueness.
Recently I was reading how the demand/sales for pro-athlete footwear has gone down. Have consumers become numb to the marketing line of "If a pro wears it and endorses it, then I should too"?
3. In Seth Godin's book, "Purple Cow" book, he argues that all the big products that satisfies the whole nation and/or world are already here and done. We need to specialize, differentiate, and find niches to exploit. Stay focused on a niche, and screw the rest. If you can't conquer a market niche, what makes you think you can conquer the whole nation as a market? Maybe your product that you are married to isn't as good as you thought.
In visiting with a friend on this topic, he mentioned a story about a Q&A session Harley Davidson hosted at a recent trade show. Many of their avid, loyal fans questioned their marketing strategy and complained that Harley could get a lot more business if they'd quit solely targeting baby boomers and go after the whole motorcycle crowd. The senior executive for HD replied, "We haven't even converted 5% of the baby boomer market, let alone the rest of the motorcycle crowd!" Duh, there's a reason HD struggled until lately. Because they didn't have a target, niche market to exploit.
As an aside, baby boomers are a great opportunity. You have a market retiring with more money than any retirees previous, with more disposable income, longer life expectancy, and a higher level of health. All those attributes combined result in a very lucrative market with a lot of opportunity.
4. Technology, combined with globalization, will allow more products, produced in lower quantities, available to solve more unique problems. As more of the world converts to the web, the ease of inventors, entrepreneurs, and others will ease the connection of high-quality IP with a capable manufacture in a developing country to manufacture the product.
You can see that the basic thrust of my argument is that technology, namely the internet, is going to further revolutionize the consumer, how they live, and what products they buy. As such, figuring out a way to create more unique, niche oriented products can open an enormous window of opportunity for entrepreneurs, visionaries, and business.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
1. Uninspiring design. Seriously, who thinks the new Chevy Malibu is a smash hit? Fleet cars, here we come!!! Again. And what about the incredibly hideous, almost on par with the Asstek, Uplander . Until GM beefs up its design, they ain't goin' nowhere. Cadillac simply can't carry the whole company. (At least they are moving in the right direction by removing their underperforming brands like Oldsmobile.
2. Too much overhead. Now, I'll admit, I haven't pored over their financials, however, GM spends in excess of $3 billion a year on advertisements. That's advertisements alone. OK, now I understand that they are the World's Largest Automobile Manufacturer, but come on, that's $3.5 billion trying to push crappy product on a consumer that won't buy it. Not to mention the current ad campaign pushing the 1 million+ people that rely on GM (retirees included) for an income. But, if they have 1 million relying on them, maybe the problem was developing long before now. Management just failed to figure things out.
But, alas, the U.S. government will probably bail out the Big 3, or 2, if necessary. Though, Bush recently said that he wouldn't help because "the big 3 need to learn how to compete with the competition" (this is paraphrased, as I can't find the article where I read this). But, and I can't remember where I read this, over 10% of the U.S. population's jobs rely on the automotive industry. Which means that the Government, for sake of national security, would probably do something to help out the ailing big 2. At a minimum, Kudos to Chrysler for having such a successful smash with their 300C and Magnum. I mean, this stuff is bling, it's even showing up in Rap videos.
All together now, "Hip hop culture is here to stay and a veritable force for fashion, trends, and lifestyle." At least most marketers are now realizing this.
Monday, May 09, 2005
I'm currently an unemployed vagabond with many ambitions, ideas, etc. I'm currently developing a few business ventures of my own. These include:
1. A footwear technology I invented early on (read, when I was in 5th Grade). And,
2. Outsourcing business to China.
Hopefully, through this process, I can get the ball rolling and make some career progress.
I recently returned from a trip to China where I visited with various manufacturers, including visiting a shoe manufactory. Needless to say, understanding the manufacturing process of shoes helped to alleviate the apprehension I have regarding my idea. See how powerful applied knowledge can be!?
So, I'll keep ya'll posted on the progress and development of the technology. USPTO , here we come!!