Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fiery Samsungs

The implication is the Galaxy's are made in Vietnam...

Vietnam saw an 11 percent jump in mobile phone exports during the first nine months of the year.
During the first nine months, Vietnam's mobile export value reached $25.5 billion, up 11 percent on-year, making it the most valuable export sector.

Japan, Taiwan, China, Vietnam....  the best source just keeps moving on electronics...

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Copycat Follies - Part One

A near perfect element to assure failure in business is to worry about having your product "stolen" "copied" "pirated" or whatever you want to call it.  There is zero chance of this happening in the real world, but yet again, here, we have another article on the topic, with the dead-horse theme: it's even more of a problem with the internet.   If you want to be in business you must deal with reality.  Leaving behind a mind that is driven by social conditioning is part of the process of self-transformation, and with business as self-transformation, it can be hard to do.

I have never heard of the magazine Quartz, but it has a pretty silly article, hitting on all of the nonsense points of the non-controversy.  The article is a rehash of another dozen articles I've read saying the same thing, which is funny, an article complaining about copycats being a copycat.  The idea I've read a dozen times is Shenzhen watches kickstarter for new ideas to "steal."

If you bother to read the silly article, note not once does the article address "customers."  People worried about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) never do.
The Israeli entrepreneur had spent one year designing the product that would make him rich—a smartphone case that unfolds into a selfie stick. He had drawn up prototypes, secured some minimal funds from his family, and launched a crowdfunding campaign.
I like crowdfunding, because it mimics the ancient act of subscription to get a good idea on the market.  I wonder at someone taking a year to design something so simple, and I wonder at someone being so simple as to think a selfie-stick will make him rich.  But that is the set-up for people who worry about their ideas stolen, they are delusional.  And people in torment, even the sad delusional kind, make good stories these days.
But one week after his product hit Kickstarter in December 2015, Sherman was shocked to see it for sale on AliExpress—Alibaba’s English-language wholesale site. Vendors across China were sellingidentical smartphone case selfie-sticks, using the same design Sherman came up with himself. Some of them were selling for as low as $10 a piece, well below Sherman’s expected retail price of £39 ($47.41). 
Pause for a moment.  One week after launching his idea, Sherman sees it on Alibaba.  What makes Sherman think he thought of it first?  It is a an obvious idea.  Very often many people have the same idea at once.  The fact one factory actually uses the same name as Sherman uses only means perhaps seeing it on Kickstarter, a non-English speaker thought it a fine name to put on the product.  If Sherman stole the Chinese idea, the Chinese may mulct Sherman's name for it.
Sherman had become a victim of China’s lightning-fast copycats. Before he had even found a factory to make his new product, manufacturers in China had spied his idea online, and beaten him to the punch. When his Kickstarter backers caught on, they were furious. “You are charging double the price for what the copycats are charging, yet I seriously doubt the final product will be any better than the copycats,” one person commented.
"Victim" is not established, but this wildly irresponsible writer uses the term anyway. "Spied" "beaten" "punch"  What drivel! Why would Sherman start a Kickstarter campaign without knowing the costs of his item?  How could he name an amount to raise without knowing what costs need to be covered? Reading this I doubt Sherman ever intended to do anything but make a name for himself as an advocate for solving a problem that does not exist.

Such a sob story sells well (indeed, again, I've read this kind of article many times) and is preliminary for government work, that is, solving problems that do not exist.

I wonder at kickstarter backers who fund an idea that has no information about production.  I wonder at, if Sherman saw his item available, he did not simply buy "his idea" from a readily available source and honor his commitment to backers?

(As a side note, I think as long as writers robotically write whatever the socially conditioned ideas extant, writers are the more easily replaced by robots.)
While discussions of intellectual property in China’s manufacturing centers once focused on how brands and investors could protect their designs from China’s rapacious copycats, things have changed. Startups and foreign manufacturers are embracing a new reality—someone in China is going to make a knockoff of your unique invention, almost immediately. All any company or entrepreneur can do is prepare for it.
No nothing has changed. In the mid-1970s, before both Sherman and this writer were born, I was travelling into China twice a year to work with Chinese factories to develop products for sale to USA.  Shenzhen was a sleepy fishing village with a bridge over a creek that we crossed after getting off the free market train from Hong Kong onto the communist paradise train from the border to Canton (Guangzhou.)  Taiwan and Hong Kong were supposed then to be the big "copycat problem." Neither were, nobody actually with customers ever worried about the "problem."  We entered China by way of Hong Kong.  Back then, and to this day, at the lane that runs from Nathan Road to the Hong Kong Hotel, behind the Peninsula Hotel, Peking Road, you will be accosted "copy watch, copy watch" by touts offering luxury brand watches for $30.  Great Seiko movements.  Copy Rolex watches being sold in front of the #1 Rolex retail store on planet earth (OK, so it moved a coouple of years ago, but not becaue

If you have customers, you have no problem.  Today, as back then, the only preparation you need is customers.  Note again, an entire article, and no mention of customers.
China’s knockoffs come in many different forms, and can affect businesses large and small.
No they don't.
In some cases, factories will make products that physically resemble ones made by prominent brands. Quality may vary... ...Other times, a Chinese partner factory will produce extra units of a product they agreed to make for another company, and sell the surplus items themselves online or to other vendors.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, drew criticism when he told investors in June (paywall) that fake goods “are of better quality and of better price than the real names” and come from “exactly the same factories” as authentic goods. But there’s some truth to his comments.
Yes, true, but no, not a problem.

Tomorrow in part two I'll deal with these non issues and the rest of the article.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Last Chance For Fall 2016 Live Import Export Start-up Seminar

You'll have to travel to the Los Angeles area for the last chance to take the one-day intensive import export start-up seminar.  It will be held Saturday 12 No vember at Orange Coast College.

For full details, click here...

Image result for orange coast college logo
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Competing on Design

As a start up it is impossible to compete on price.  Attempting to compete on quality or service is purely delusional.  The only thing left is to compete on design.

The customer is the most important thing in business, and getting the product right is the hardest.  In any event, you work closely with designers to get the product right for your customers. But once you figure out how to get the product right for the customers, it gets easy.

Indeed, you start making the designers do most of the work, like NIKE and Apple.  And James Patterson, the # 1 Bestseller writer in history (outside of God, who wrote the Bible).
My friend James Patterson is a big believer in the importance of a great outline. These days, in fact, the outline may be the main thing he actually writes, while he turns over the actual writing to his stable of co-authors. This is how he manages to turn out three or four novels a year, and still fit in a few holes of golf most days.
He just outlines a good book, and hires hacks to write the bestseller.

Patterson started in advertising, and in Ogilvy's book her says the ad men just write a great headline and then let hacks write the ad copy.  Probably where he learned to do this.

This is how it is done, folks.  Get your biz going so you can do it.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Confirmation On the Chipotle Experience

Chipotle experienced a business disaster when unproven charges of offering e coli were levelled against its stores.  With each effort at recovery, came another disaster.  There is plenty to suggest, indeed, there is more evidence Chipotle was sabotaged by Monsanto agents than any e coli emerged from Chipotle. Like Dr. Oz, if you dare condemn GMO foods, you will be lain waste.  For the hegemon, not only must you participate, why, you must praise!  Food is a weapon for USA, and Russia is going non-GMO.  We must have war!

I've never dined at a Chipotle because they never serve beer.  I eat a lot of Mexican food on the road, especially in California where every taquiera serves good food and beer.  Why just last Friday night I ate enchiladas washed down with Negra Modela (on tap, nice!) in Palo Alto.  Alcohol with meals is to be advised when in international trade.

Aside form all that, an article on the Chipotle travails has some notes I found interesting for their confirmations -
Back in Nalon’s office, where an old menu sign from a Chipotle restaurant hangs on the wall opposite a Food With Integrity poster, I ask whether Chipotle could simply move all its food preparation to central kitchens like this one. After all, if the food can taste just as good, why wouldn’t they, especially if it’s safer? "Hmmm, and still be Chipotle? Not everything, no," Nalon says. "I love the fact that they do what they do in those stores, because it is totally unique. You could do everything in central kitchens, but I don’t think that’s exactly what they want. They want to bring as much freshness and as much cooking as they can to the stores. But [some of these items] really need to be done with somebody like us."
Chipotle is small potatoes to an industrial commissary that serves the likes of McDonalds.  Note here again two points:  everyone goes to the same place for production, the only difference is the design.  Next,  these huge central producers love the challenge of the small biz who needs something accomplished.  This massive commissary built a production line to Chipotle specifications.

Chipotle sources pork from the Godfather of good meat in USA.  No Ractomine in this pork, a chemical widely used to build up muscle in USA but banned and criminal elsewhere worldwide.  (Talk about doping scandals.)  But the probable-Monsanto attack on has it sales and the pork producer has supply backlog.
Salatin tells me that Polyface still only provides pork to those two Chipotle restaurants in Virginia college towns. The company, he says, has discussed expanding his pork to 10 restaurants, but it has been "stymied" by its E. coli issues. Chipotle says that it never set a firm expansion goal and states that the issue is more complex. Before the outbreak, Chipotle purchased between 550 and 600 pounds of meat weekly from Salatin. In the immediate aftermath of the crisis, it sometimes bought as little as 100 pounds. Today, Chipotle’s weekly order hovers between 300 and 400 pounds. As a result, Salatin says that he has 9,000 pounds of pork "in the freezer that was supposed to go to [Chipotle] but that they haven’t taken since this debacle occurred. We got pigs in the pipeline, and we can’t afford to keep them on the hoof. For a small business like us, it’s actually very economically devastating."
Anyone already in excellent meat exports really ought to market that meat for Salatin.  9000 pounds is too little for a biggy, and too big for Salatin.  And then once you have helped out the Godfather, then you get the blessings from so many others.

Specialty anything, including foods, has demand that must be discovered by means well known and practiced, but as far as I know, only I teach.  The skill is urgently needed to help expand the production of good food, and to fill the void caused by the ex nihilo credit disaster that gave rise to Monsanto and Frankenfoods.  The Russians once depended on USA grain to survive, but with the embragos, they have switched to producing their own, and are forbidden GMO frankenfoods in their lands. The preference for Russian wheat is so great they have now surpassed USA AND Canada in wheat exports.

Don't tell me there is no GMO wheat, because there is, and it shows up in USA crops.  In the instance it does, Monsanto calls it sabotage.  We judge others by ourselves, and Monsanto would know from sabotage, wouldn't they.
But just as Chipotle leadership began to feel some sense of momentum, an unexpected crisis embarrassed them: Crumpacker was indicted for cocaine possession leading into Independence Day weekend. He surrendered to police and faces seven counts of drug possession; Chipotle placed him on leave, and he checked into rehab.
Of all the toot-snorting ad men in the world, only the one engineering Chipotle's return is arrested.  One scoffs!

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Inventions: Safety Last

Not sure why they entitle this a "fail" compilation video, it is Russian farmers coming up with innovations.  Some are not new, almost all seem very dangerous…  but the irrigation device for moving water up hill is splendid… Can you spot why the water moves up hill?  Not so obvious.

New products are unique, poorly constructed, costly given the result, and poor performers.  But iteration makes perfect.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Smart Cops Know: Cash Out! But Then What?

OK, so they are street smart to know a scam when they see one, and take their money off the table before it is all gone.

“I’ve had 40 to 50 officers in my office this week asking what they should do,” said James Parnell, 52, secretary-treasurer of the Dallas Police Association and 25-year veteran. “They’re very nervous about what is going to happen, they’re fearing a run on the money.”
Turmoil in world stock markets and near record-low bond yields are taking a toll on pensions for cities like Dallas, which count on annual investment returns of more than 7 percent to cover promised benefits. In the year through June, U.S. state and local-government plans posted the smallest gains since 2009, leaving them with almost $2 trillion less than they will eventually need, according to data from the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service and the Federal Reserve.
The squeeze on Dallas’s fund is even more acute because of a decision to divert money from stocks and bonds into Hawaiian villas, Uruguayan timber and undeveloped land in Arizona, among other non-traditional investments. The strategy, put in place under prior managers, backfired. The fund lost 12.6 percent in 2015 and 0.7 percent over the past three years.

But then what?  What do you do with your lump some payout?  Take the tax hit plus penalty?  Sure.  but then what to do with it?   Invest it in
Hawaiian villas, Uruguayan timber and undeveloped land in Arizona

The only smart thing to do is start a business.  It is also the most revolutionary act a person can perform.

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Trapped In Business Fantasy

The number one reason people go into international trade is the travel.  The number one complaint of people in international trade is the travel.

That is the least of the problems.  An extremely common problem is people having an idea of international trade that is a non-starter.

Peter Drucker captured the problem when he cautioned against organizing around the resource instead of the customer.

Indeed, as people tell me their plan for international trade, if it does not start and end with customers, I am anxious, for by default they have some resource around which they are organizing.

On the other had, getting on the road to thriving in int'l trade is easy enough.   Just start and end your idea with the customers, and everything else falls into place.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

All Loans Are Charitable Events; If Not, It is Wrong

Usury, what we today call interest,  was an unthinkable crime for the first 1800 years of Christianity. Like murder and rape, it occurred, but its practice often carried the death penalty.  The reason is usury is forbidden is because it does harm - it allows the few to aggregate power unto themselves by means of lending at interest, and then you get people literally calling the shots, and war, famine, destruction, all of the things you see around the world today with unbridled usury.

When the church-state struggle began, the state sneaked in usury under the guise of charity, or Monte Pietas.  The state argued it was for charity, the church slowly said they had no say so in the prudential judgment of civil authority.  So the state introduced what the Church forbid, as long as it was "for the children."  Now comes the oldest of these charitable corporations, just as bad as any other...
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmonte dei ˈpaski di ˈsjɛːna]) (MPS) is the oldest surviving bank in the world and Italy's third largest bank. Founded in 1472 by the magistrate of the city state of Siena, Italy, as a "mount of piety", it has been operating ever since. Today it has approximately 3,000[2] branches, 33,000[2] employees and 4.5 million customers in Italy, as well as branches and businesses abroad. A subsidiary, MPS Finance, handles investment banking.[3] The bank's main shareholder is the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
As you see, now that it has gone mainstream, it too is failing to perform -
Recall that three weeks ago we warned that “Monti Paschi Faces Bail-In As Capital Needs Point To Nationalization” although we left open the question of “who will get the haircut including senior bondholders and depositors…. given the small size of sub-debt in the capital structures.” Today, as many expected on the day following the German elections, the dominos are finally starting to wobble, and as we predicted, Monte Paschi, Italy’s oldest and according to many, most insolvent bank, quietly commenced a bondholder “bail in” after it said that it suspended interest payments on three hybrid notes following demands by European authorities that bondholders contribute to the restructuring of the bailed out Italian lender.
Usury is wrong because it does damage.  There is no benefit to lending at interest to be realized, the only result, inevitably is chaos,poverty, war, destruction.  And there are alternatives that give us what we need without the damage done by usury.

We need to rediscover those, repopularize those.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Secret of Starbuck's Success

Back in the 50's 60's 70's when my father was an English teacher at a small liberal arts college, he was armed every day, smoked in the classroom while teaching, but would never dream of drinking coffee while lecturing.  None of that was uncommon.

The world has changed.

The image of drinking coffee from a paper cup was perfectly correlated with disaster.  When some storm or explosion brought death and dismemberment, the Red Cross would show up and start handing out coffee in paper cups.  The only other context in which drinking coffee was sane was with a meal.

In economics, the damage is done during the boom times, and the bust times are simply where the hegemon works out who pays.  Right now, the low hanging fruit, is pensioners and savers.

The boom times had a long run with a few hiccups.  Starbucks sold coffee throughout the disaster of the boom times.  Certainly people seeking fellowship in church basements got free coffee as usual in the disaster, but otherwise Starbuck's sold coffee to the victims of the disaster.

When those hiccups occurred, Starbucks stock price went down since the bust is correction, but this last correction was bailed out, so Starbuck's continues.

A true correction will wipe Starbucks out, since it depends on financial engineering, and the corner coffee shop does not.  The next era belongs to small business.

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