Thursday, July 24, 2014

Does Singapore Willfully Harbor Pirates?

An alarming headline regarding youth piracy in Singapore.  My mind went to images of Singaporean youth on Zodiacs with AK 47s violently boarding Straights Shipping to kill, plunder and occasionally rape.  Has Singapore become a failed state? Turns out the article is about kids not giving Americans money before watching something on their computers.
Some places have it worse than others, and authorities in Singapore are realizing just how much of a fight they have on their hands.  Specifically, youth piracy is a major concern in this small Asian country with a big trade in illegal content. And could what’s happening in Singapore be a sign of things to come elsewhere?
I wonder why people call kids watching something on a computer "piracy?'  I wonder why they claim Singapore is a haven for pirates.  Why not just speak accurately?  Are Americans no longer able to speak accurately?   And this is no small thing... when the USA begins to agitate against a country, especially USA lawyers, eventually USA attacks that country.  See Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and countless others.  If Singaporean officials do not respond vigorously now, it will be on them when soon enough Singapore looks like Gaza.  As Thoreau noted, in USA it takes extremely few people to begin a war.

Someone is paying to get that content in front of those kids.  Someone is making money off that.  Why don't the Concerned Americans with their litany of fears do so?  It is just a matter of making as much effort as those who presently make money off the practice.  Why do Americans refuse to work for money?

In USA our legal profession makes the odd claim that Americans can get rich without any effort.  It is merely a matter of having lawyers write laws that say... umm...  "Singaporean kids must give Americans money if they log on their computer and find something interesting."  Since lawyers are government workers, and in a conflict of interest work all the legislative, judiciary and executive branches, they can mulct taxpayers to pay for "enforcement" of rules that benefit only the favored.  Why don't the favored pay for "enforcement" itself (assuming the favored are obstinate in their refusal to actually work at marketing their products.)

There is an Apple iTunes ad on the website that is calling Singapore a failed state, Singaporean youth pirates, and generally blood libelling Singapore.  This is funny, since while these same lawyers were destroying the lives of 12 year old girls for downloading music in USA a decade ago, Steve Jobs showed how to make money for artists with zero intellectual property rights recourse.   He invented iTunes, proving intellectual property rights are unnecessary.

Now, certainly there was an army of lawyers writing things, driving to work, having sushi lunches, and billing, but Jobs knows these people must be paid or, as government workers, will bring violence on Apple computer.  So go along to get along.  We call it capitalism.

Singapore is a free market, and antithetical to capitalism.

I am glad to learn Singaporean youth are not pirates, and I could care less if someone else makes money off offering content to Singaporean youth when the USA creators refuse to do so.  Singaporean youth are to be commended for not being influenced by rent-seeking USA imperialism.  They are a tribute to the Singaporean educational system.  All hail Singaporean youth, a model for youth worldwide!

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Bad Starbucks & Micky D in China

A USA-based purveyor to Starbucks and other USA chains in China got caught serving bad chicken to its customers.
On Tuesday, Starbucks said some of its cafes previously sold products containing chicken from Shanghai Husi Food Co, which was suspected of using expired meat and was shut down on Sunday by local regulators. A Tokyo-based spokesman for McDonald's said the company had sourced about a fifth of its Chicken McNuggets from Shanghai Husi Food, a subsidiary of US-based OSI Group, and had halted sales of the product on Monday. Alternative supplies of chicken have been found in Thailand and China, he added.
The company claims, although large, it is not like other companies. Apparently so.
What happened at Husi Shanghai is completely unacceptable. I will not try and defend it or explain it. It was terribly wrong, and I am appalled that it ever happened in the company that I own.
If you cannot explain it, then you need to go out of business, Shelly.  The Chinese are paying premium prices for USA brands because the Chinese cannot trust their own food supply.  If you sneak some bad ingredients into their meals and "cannot explain it" then time to get out of the business.

You are wrecking a good opportunity for everyone else in China when you supply bad for top dollar.

Markets take no prisoners, but they are very forgiving.  Own up instantly, explain exactly how you will address the issue, and set up a compensation plan immediately.  "Won't explain it" doesn't cut it.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lapin on Creativity

I'll take systematic creativity advice wherever I can get it.  Here is Rabbi Lapin on the topic...


July 23, 2014       25th Tamuz 5774        Volume VII Issue #27

ICU Seeking Creativity
Readers who think the Bible is the work of assorted human authors must ask themselves why some early editor didn't remove two redundant verses. After all, how many times does anyone need to be told something?
I see you. I see you seeking creativity. I see you sitting glumly with your elbow on the table and your chin resting in the palm of your hand. I see you staring wildly around the room hoping to spot an idea in the corner crevice. Are you trying to come up with a unique theme for a birthday party you're throwing? Are you struggling to conceive a business start-up idea? I don't know. That much I can't see. After all, I'm not a seer, just a rabbi.

However, even as a rabbi, I know that several times each week you seek a great idea because great ideas greatly improve our lives. This means that you need every possible strategy and technique for attracting powerful ideas into your mind. 

Fortunately, there's no shortage of books and blogs detailing tips and tools for generating ideas: Calendar a specific time and set an alarm to terminate the session. Make it quiet time with no electronic distractions. Pencil and paper will do more for you than tablet or smartphone. Discipline your mind not to wander or daydream but to focus only on possible solutions to the problem. Calendar a second creative thinking session the following day allowing ideas to percolate in your subconscious overnight. You probably already know most of these ideas.

However, one indispensable element of truly creative thinking is largely unknown. Its absence is usually most responsible for failure. It makes all the difference between a productive creative session and wasted time.

The one absolutely necessary ingredient for successful creativity is having a heart filled with happiness. When joyfulness overwhelms your soul, the gates of limitless mental creativity swing wide open.

In order to understand how this works, read these three verses that seem to repeat the same idea.  
Three times in the year all your males must appear before the Lord God.
(Exodus 23:17)

Three times in the year all your males must appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.
(Exodus 34:23)

...thou shall rejoice in your feast...and in all the work of your hands...three times in the year all your males must appear before the Lord your God in the place which He shall choose; in the festival of unleavened bread (Passover), in the festival of weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost), and in the festival of booths (Sukot)...
(Deuteronomy 16:14-16)
Readers who think the Bible is the work of assorted human authors must ask themselves why some early editor didn't remove two redundant verses. After all, how many times does anyone need to be told something?

Those of us comfortable knowing that God authored His book, ask what secret message is encoded into the triplicated message. We got it the first time-males must pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year.

Three times a year? Message repeated three times? Hmmm...ancient Jewish wisdom to the rescue.

A general rule in understanding the Torah is that repeating messages ascend in importance. The first verse matches Passover. God took us out of Egypt; He's the Boss. If He says to go up to Jerusalem, we go. 

The second verse relates to Shavuot (Pentecost), the time of the giving of the Torah. God is our God - there is a close relationship. 

Mention of rejoicing and productivity precede the third verse. We go up not only to follow orders, not only because we crave a close relationship with God, but also as an expression of joy and fulfillment. 

That's it! If you are happy, you will be productive enough to appear before the Lord bearing gifts. The three festivals all emphasize gratitude to God, and few things contribute more to a feeling of happy optimism than expressing gratitude. But that's not all; each festival also highlights its own mechanism for inculcating a happy feeling in our hearts. Passover is all about visualizing a spirit of redemption. 

The Passover Seder teaches that we must each see ourselves as emerging from Egypt to freedom. Therefore, seeing success in our mind's eye is the first step in bringing about a happy heart.

Shavuot is about seven weeks of progress, journeying from the depths of Egypt to the sublime heights of Sinai. Hence, the second step trains us to plan detailed steps that can take us from where we are to where we want to be.

Finally, Sukot is all about happiness and water. One of the Torah messages of water is that it flows to the lowest point; a metaphor of humility. When we lower ourselves from an elevated posture of arrogance, water, which in Torah nomenclature evokes both wisdom and happiness, flows in our direction.

Those are the four steps to a soulset conducive to creativity. Once you are all set up for a session of creative thinking:  
1) Evoke gratitude
2) Imagine how you'll feel when you have come up with a successful solution
3) Visualize the stepping stones to get to the solution you need.
4) Arouse your humble persona.

These four steps will fill your heart with an indescribable joy and thereby equip you for the most successful creative thinking session of your life. 

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Forbes on Billionaires

Forbes is batting a 1000 as to the word billions" on the cover of their magazine.  The July 21 issues comes with a special "inside guide to getting rich" which features a listing of USA's richest families, all billionaires.  The idea of "wealth as how much economic power is concentrated in how few hands" is regnant, as opposed to wealth "as the range of goods and services available to what demographics at a price that group can afford on their own."  The dividing line between the two is usury.

Anyway, the July 21 edition has a article on wine forgery, something traceability will eliminate.

It also has a side bar on online bespoke....  and interesting effort in this area that has very much potential.

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None of Our Business

How come when the Ukrainians shoot down a plane over their country is it any of the USA's business? When the Ukrainians shot down a Russian passenger jet in 2001 it was none of business.  It was between the Ukraine and Russia. Last week for some reason we decided it was our business, even though no Americans were on board.  Yes, we were told there were 43 Americans on board, but we in the USA are relentlessly lied to by the State through the state-controlled media.  And the most likely scenario is the Ukrainians shot the Malaysian jet down too, according to evidence Russia is providing.

While we are told to "hate Putin" the Russians are making the case it was in fact the Ukrainians who shot the the Malaysia jet, quite convincingly.  Check out their 30 minute report, something the rest of the world is seeing, but not the USA.

As I watch it, I notice it appears SIA 351 (which the Russians identify as a Boeing 772, something I've never heard of...) is an eyewitness to whatever happened.  No one mentions this, most likely because they weren't. Maybe the distances are too far and surely graphically representations distort distances, but I've been in cockpits at 30,000 feet and you sure can see pretty far forward, 200 miles I believe...  (It might be interesting if one of the several other jets up their around that time had 43 Americans on board...)

The other thing, implicitly the Russians seem to be saying the attack was air-to-air, not surface to air.  Well, that is very easy to sort out.

Do sometimes some of our boys go too far?  I mean we do so domestically, why not internationally?
"Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US," said Andrea Prasow, the rights group's deputy Washington director.
"But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts."
The USA cannot manage its own borders, it really has no business minding anyone else's.  The Ukrainian fascists are working with us only because we've promised them money.

We get lied to waaaaaay too much. Time for truth commissions, this is all too complex to prosecute.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Sales eMails

My advice on sales emails is don't send them.  Here Inc magazine advises how to create winning emails, but that is like lipstick on a pig.
Most sales emails have a response rate of around 1 percent.  In other words, if you send out an email to 100 potential customers, only 1 out of a hundred will get back to you.  This post explains how to write sales emails that get much higher response rates.
I rather doubt spam (unsolicited email) gets a 1 in 100 response rate,  more like 1 in 10,000...   if that.  But it misses the point.  You have X amount of people you should be doing business with.  And if not, you should be finding out from them why not, it is their feedback that matters.  Those few people you can discover by a bit of research.   And as important as they are, they warrant a letter, not an email.

The email the article advises is very good...
Subject: The Atlanta ConferenceJohn,   You can reduce no-shows up to 50% by keeping attendees informed and involved with our mobile app.   If you like, I can send you a brief overview of how the app works.Jane SmithAccount Manager, XYZ
but it should be a letter...

Having been the before the internet, I still have the vestiges of how business was done.  Having tested all of the promises of the internet, I know which ones are bogus claims and which one are genuine.    The bottom line is the internet has collected the yellow pages, business catalog, D&B, telephone and document delivery into one electronic platform.  That in itself is huge.  But people act as if it does more, like "improve access and quality."  It does neither of those things.

For an excellent "old school" view that is applicable to today you cannot beat Ogilvy on Advertising.  he'll school you well, 60 years later (MadMen is based on Ogilvy.)  And ogilvy has some advice you do not hear today, and that is in your closing don't say
If you like, I can send you a brief overview of how the app works.
I'll call you Tuesday at 4pm to give you a brief overview of how the app works.
What happens often enough is his people call you first, or you drive on to the drop dead email...  what you never do is leave the ball in the other's court.

To recover small business in USA, we'll need ot recover some of these older patterns and practices.  Here is Ogilvy on Advertising...

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Best Enemies Money Can Finance

I was going to say the best enemies money can buy when I recalled we don't use money, we use credit to wreak havoc, and let loose the dogs of war...

A key component in this process was the Export-Import Bank. The Bank is financed through your taxes. It helped build the Kama River Complex in the former USSR.
This truck factory was the largest in world, thirty six square miles in area. It produced over 250,000 heavy trucks, tanks, and armored personnel carriers each year. During the Vietnam War it built the trucks that carried supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to North Vietnamese troops fighting American soldiers.

The world is naturally a peaceful place.  No big enemies, no need for big military.  So....

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cultural Tour

 NB Salty Language
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Exporting Flowers

If you are anywhere on earth hoping to export peonies, then you have to go up against the best.  Here a company in China is confident enough to explain the entire process...

1. Fresh Cut Listing

2. Price list

3. Packing, Shipping and documentation

One bit of advice from this page is risky...
2, By post office. The cost is about 19.4$/kg. You do not need pay tax in your country by this way and   do  not need any document paper. The plants can be ship out in one week.   
Careful... this may be practically true, but imprudent to state...  what if that one shipment is interdicted... the buyer would complain for having relied on the sellers advice.  In int'l trade, no good deed goes unpunished.

Their minimum is a 20' container.  Clearly that is for an importer with a nationwide distribution.  After adding mark-ups it is probably $7-10 a stem.  So that makes a small grower in USA competitive when selling peonies on a MOQ FOB $500 a box export offer.

So much opportunity, os little time.

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Limitless Credit to Lend

This is so sad...  because we have limitless credit to spend, the price of everything in USA is inflated until we are no longer competitive in world markets.  Vendor financing, eg, ExImBank is how we get sales.  Our largest corporations launder the profits overseas to escape the taxes, and the USA middle class is being crushed.    Not to worry, there are also police officers standing by ready to execute anyone selling loose cigarettes, a man who otherwise would have been working in a USA factory if we did not have this notion of limitless credit to lend.

(Here a dozen police officers execute a man.)

So while we are trying to blame Russia for an airplane most likely downed by the Ukraine, and otherwise fomenting instability all over the planet, and why not, we don't have to work for a living, China is cutting deals with countries with which we should be trading.
Trade between China and Brazil soared to $83.3 billion last year from $3.2 billion in 2002, with iron ore, soy and oil the bulk of Brazilian exports, making China the South American nation's biggest trade partner.According to the National Association of Rail Transporters in Brazil, the country's railroad system transported a total of 490,000 tons of materials in 2013. Coal and iron ore accounted for more than 75 percent of total goods.In less than two decades, China has emerged as the biggest trade partner with Brazil, Chile and Peru, and is set to overtake the European Union as the region's second-largest trade partner in 2016, according to United Nation's figures.Su Zhenxing, an expert on Latin American studies from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Latin America has long targeted diversifying its diplomatic and economic relations, which were once dominated by its relationship with the US and Europe, with growing attention to Asia.
Now this deal is for large projects, moving natural resources, but ten thousand small businesses will grow around the infrastructure.

The Chinese have better things to worry about than someone selling one cigarette at a time on the street to make a living.  In the USA, a dozen cops believe it is a matter of life and death.  I used to call the cops after making an arrest.  Now you'd have to be crazy to ever dial 911.

(I will say, I've seen similar scenes in places like San Francisco to the one above, where the cops are not so eager to prove their manhood or "bag a buck"... where they de-escalate (write a ticket?)...  or of course Hong Kong, where I'd have no problem talking to a cop.  Police departments CAN be well managed, but they are not.)

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