Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

72.2% Market Share

April 23rd

John Paczkowski writes in All Things Digital of a new survey from MM Research in Japan that has found that the iPhone has captured 72.2 % of the market. I am not sure what I am supposed to learn from this but there is something going on, clearly.

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Gates on Sustainability

February 26th

This is a haunting talk at TED earlier this month by Bill Gates on Sustainability. In the best tradition of a talk by someone who wanted to share something that they had been thinking about, except that this is Bill Gates – not just your average speaker.

I watched this and was astonished that I/we could be slowed even a step by the resurgent denial school who want to push aside the thought that we are building a debt related to CO2 that we must address.

Then Gates on nuclear power brought back thoughts of Marble Hill Indiana when I took a swing at nuclear power and learned how to spell passionate political opposition.

Heavy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown

December 16th

Tonight as Barack Obama prepares to leave for Copenhagen, the drama could not be more intense and this is happening on multiple fronts.

In Copenhagen the talks have broken down as the world awaits the arrival of more than 100 heads of state. As compared with the refinement and protocol of the Nobel Peace Prize Award in Oslo last week, Copenhagen with its police cordons and demonstrations seems to be near chaos.

The Wall Street Journal reported (Peter Walsten)

The United Nations summit that was supposed to galvanize global cooperation against climate change is on the brink of failure, and how it ends will depend on whether President Barack Obama and other world leaders about to descend on the Danish capital can bridge deep disagreements over trillion-dollar decisions.

The controversy does not appear to be solvable. China has remained close to the poor nations, the G-77. As of today China is resisting the notion that there could be any outside inspection of its voluntary agreements.

In the meantime, President Obama’s popularity continues to fall. Less than 50% of the public approves of the way that he is handling his job. This discontent appears to have come from concern with the health care bill that continues to head toward the 11th hour showdown in the Senate. And many American’s, especially some his strongest supporters, disapprove of his war policies.

In a Wall Street Journal NBC poll, a majority of Americans believe that America will be surpassed by China in 20 years. Obama’s popularity has fallen in his first year more than his predecessors. These are all measures that are not lost on the Democrats who must be concerned that as they run for office next year, their own popularity continues to erode.

Global warming could not be a more difficult challenge and the President will have to play his role with resources that are increasingly constrained.

This is a good time to revisit all of the major climate change issues because no matter what happens in Copenhagen, EPA has already announced that it is compelled to act under the Clean Air Act to address the concern with the “endangerment” caused by Greenhouse Gases. The issue of whether action will be taken here is beyond popularity. What is at issue is how limits will be set and what will happen to everyone else as policy plays itself out. Henry the IV would have understood what the President faces tonight.

Postal Implosion?

November 4th

The talk of the need for new business models is increasingly common.  Harpers runs an article on the end of newspapers.   When Berkshire Hathaway buys the Burlington Northern Railroad for $34 billion Warren Buffet says that he is “placing a bet” on the future of the American economy.  General Motors is reportedly angering German workers.  (Does it become a foreign policy dispute when the US government owns the company?)

The talk of new business models is a common discussion in the mailing industry.  For years now there has been discussion of Snail Mail making the posts into Dinosaurs of the Information Age.  Seeing the context of the discussion adds a dark shadow to the picture.

But speculation is one thing, and a trail of ominous markings is another…from Postcom.org comes a series of indications along the pathway.

First, the report that next year’s projection by the postal service is lower than this year’s volume.

The PostalNewsBlog has reported that “The resident officers met with Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, along with representatives from NAPUS and the LEAGUE of Postmasters concerning several issues that had been raised in prior meetings with the Postal Service. DPMG Donahoe briefed us on some of the current issues; The USPS projects that the plan for volume for 2010 is 166 billion pieces. The first month of the fiscal year the volume did not meet the projections.

In Great Britain, where there is a postal strike taking place

According to The Telegraph, “Thousands of people have started to use telegrams – one of the earliest forms of long distance communication – for their urgent messages as the national postal strike deepens.”

During the postal strike in Great Britain, talk of privatization has increased

According to the Financial Times, “Royal Mail is more than a commercial brand. It is a relic of imperial glory, a UK institution that, even under assault from e-mail and private competition, connects every home by means of six-day delivery of letters at a standard price. Yet in spite of the residual affection for it, attitudes to Royal Mail and its future seem confused. According to one poll, two-thirds of people oppose the current strikes. Yet in another, twice as many sympathised with the workers as with the management. Sixty-eight per cent were against privatisation.

For more than a decade there has been discussion of the problems of the Postal Pervice in an Internet Age.  But many have taken comfort from the thought that the 230 year old institution seemed too big to fail.


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“IC”

November 2nd

Eric Schmidt was interviewed at the Management Summit in Monteray.  Eric, for the uninitiated and those who come from another planet, is the Chairman and CEO of Google.

I was impressed by Eric Schmidt’s sense of reality.  He may be the CEO of a company that is reshaping the world of advertising communications, but he points out that since the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, still own 60% of the company between them – there is really not much of a question of who is working for whom.  Good to start with a sense of reality to make the source credible.

And, with that credibility, Eric has a great deal to say about doing business in the modern marketplace.

He concludes that one of the great opportunities that we all have today is to put what we are thinking “out there” to start the process of collaboration.

Collaboration is a topic that has been getting growing attention.  Firms like McKinsey & Co.  and IBM have been studying the collaboration technologies of Web 2.0 for a number of years now.  In a recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly (“Using Technology to Improve Workforce Collaboration,   James Manyika, Kara Sprague and Lareina Yee) the authors wrote

Knowledge workers fuel innovation and growth, yet the nature of knowledge work remains poorly understood—as do the ways to improve its effectiveness. The heart of what knowledge workers do on the job is collaborate, which in the broadest terms means they interact to solve problems, serve customers, engage with partners, and nurture new ideas. See McKinsey Quarterly.

One of my leading personal motivations for putting what the consulting firms refer to as their “IC” out there is the amazement of learning who else is out there.  I have a personal favorite experience of reaching some INSIGHT that I think is particularly meaningful.  Then because the Internet is moving at accelerating speed, I learn, often within 40 minutes of having reached the plateau that someone else somewhere in the world has been working on the problem for months, even years.  There are times that Wikipedia informs me that I have just made a discovery that is an elementary part of an entire field of study that has been developing for years.

Perhaps this would be sufficient motivation for the series that begins with “IC-1-09.”

Or possibly it was the sense that its not just about putting something new “out there” but also the recognition that if you hold onto it too long, if you give it too much thought, that the good new thinking can go in the wrong direction.  (My editor son put it more economically when he told me that something that I had written was sounding a little “unibomberish” – as if I had been cooped up in a cabin in the woods thinking about it too long without testing it with real people.)

In other words, whether its the nature of things in the knowledge workplace that we will all want to learn how to be more effective collaborators, the opportunity to learn new things and to contribute or whether its for my own good – the start of the IC series was born somewhere between Eric Schmidt and the Unibomber.

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Co-opetition

September 24th

There is a great deal written about alliances among competitors in the increasingly complicated marketplace of the post Internet world. The mailing and delivery industry is no exception.

In fact this summer a former Senior Vice President with the Postal Service and a Vice President from UPS published a paper together congratulating themselves on their collaboration.

Today comes word from the New York Times of a new UPS service, an experiment, to be sure, but a new marketing service direct to the door. (From the New York Times, reported by Postcom.org – see below.)

The description of the service is a milestone of its kind as the UPS innovative product manager explained that the new service will be different from what you would receive from the postal service because (the New York Times adds) you would not feel that you were receiving “junk.” No more Mr. Niceguy?

September 24, 2009
Delivering Something Extra
By STUART ELLIOTT
SINCE 1907, United Parcel Service has been delivering packages ordered by consumers. Next week, the company plans to deliver packages they have not ordered, in a test of an effort to expand into direct marketing.
Beginning on Monday, U.P.S. will experiment in five major markets with a service it calls Direct to Door, giving advertisers and retailers a chance to provide offers and product samples to U.P.S. customers. The marketing materials will come inside small boxes labeled Direct to Door Paks, and will be delivered to customers along with merchandise they actually ordered.
The test, to run through Oct. 2, is intended to gauge whether there is interest in having U.P.S. serve as an alternative to marketing mail delivered by the United States Postal Service or by companies like Valpak.
If Direct to Door goes forward, the added revenue could help United Parcel offset declines in demand for its mainstay package delivery service since therecession started.
In July, U.P.S. reported its sixth consecutive quarter of lower package volume in this country. The decline in the second quarter was 4.6 percent compared with the period a year earlier, which Bloomberg News described as the worst result since United Parcel went public in 1999.
“I wouldn’t say it was developed as a result of the economy,” said Lisa Lynn, marketing director for new-product research and development at United Parcel in Atlanta.
Rather, she said, it stems from “some opportunity we saw at the heart of what we do every day working off our delivery network.”

Read more at the New York Times

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