Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

The week in review

March 15, 2013

Top model Gisele Bündchen, SPFW

Laziness reigns supreme here on TPS planet. Every Friday, I think “should I delve deeply into a complex topic, or should I go with a notes column?” It pretty much goes without saying which wins.

  • It was good to see the new Pope adopt a stance of humility…if the ‘leader as servant’ role is promoted as a result, well, the Pope will have done business a great service.
  • “Amanpour” (CNN International) actually lives up to the hype. Even when the topic is not of particular interest to me, I still enjoy the show.
  • I love a good tech titan spat, so naturally the increase in Apple vs. Samsung rivalry rhetoric has me excited. I don’t suppose Tim Cook or JK Shin play hockey?
  • In procurement news, Procurement Leaders reports that Diageo is set to decentralize its supply chain. It is a good reminder to procurement, and business people generally, that sometimes greater central control is not always better. Good decision-making involves considering the likelihood that someone else knows more or is in position to perform better. I wonder how well their forecasting works…
  • With all the hype about share price rises and improved corporate profits, let’s not forget about all the value procurement can bring to the table…says the guy who makes his living doing procurement…
  • Advanced negotiation involves mastering whatever context in which you find yourself. The New England Patriots convinced Tom Brady (who could name his price) to take less than what he otherwise could have gotten. How? In short, by framing the debate in terms of the impact to the team around him. Instead of the advantage being with the guy that knew the budget (the salary cap), they convinced Brady to take less for the good of the team. Then they let his friend and trusted teammate – Wes Welker – leave for a relative pittance. My hunch is that Brady would not be inclined to do the same thing all over again. The upside for the Patriots? Tom Brady is 35, and his contract likely takes him through the end of his career. The upside for Brady? He’s still married to Gisele Bündchen.


Quick notes

June 19, 2012

Just call me Micro-Google. The entire web boiled down to the top useful links.

  • Anything that involves positive thinking has a shot at being mentioned in the TPS report. Check out Geoffrey James in Inc. on avoiding self-defeating thoughts. #1 – Not allowing others to define your self-worth is huge.
  • TPS report’s own David Rajakovich doing the day job thing – why purchasing needs a process. It could be worse…I could be talking about the US presidential election or the Leveson inquiry.
  • Outstanding article all the way throughout. I’ll point out the last part (from ex-Apple user experience employee) about products fitting the market being much more important than design or user experience. Check out the post in the Tim Ferriss blog here.
  • Lots of good stuff in here from Deepak Malhotra. My favorite line is “humility and confidence are best friends.” Check out the whole speech here.

TPS Reports

Actual TPS Reports (Photo credit: cell105)

Quick thoughts and links

May 30, 2012

English: This is a photograph from the assortm...

Taking the lazy way out, here are some links that I found educational. And a couple snarky comments thrown in at no charge.

  • My man Nassim Taleb gets angry with a Bloomberg article. And check out commentary here. Taleb is a sensitive guy, and a bit extreme in his views, but he’s still the man. Even if he was taken out of context, I think his point about the US deficit putting us at risk is an important point, even if I want no parts of the political debate  here on the TPS report.
  • WSJ reports on a Booz-Allen study that says that CEO’s hired from within last longer and do better for shareholders. I think there is something to be said for an insider being better positioned to gain support for change. He/she knows who the power brokers are. Plus, it unmasks the prima donna effect – it takes a team and a leader that makes it more about the team than about himself/herself. Having said that, this is a good example of rationalizing after the fact.
  • Taleb talks about the danger of centralization…kinda goes along with the point raised by the TPS report the other day regarding not being able to rationally plan or centrally dictate a “complex” entity such as an economy.
  • Who’s going to win the mobile ads race? I’ve got one idea on how, but clearly, the crowd will make a solid decision.
  • Jeff Haden weighs in on business cliches. He hits home on a couple, and draws a couple shoulder shrugs. Implicit in number 6, “transparency” is a solid message. Leaders that are not upfront or try to hide real motivations are quickly discovered. “Pulling levers” is as ineffective as it is demotivating. On the other hand, face-to-face “telling it like it is” builds trust.
  • Google building Nexus 7 tablet. I’m still happy in my iWorld. Our ability to come up with ways of locking others in has outpaced our rational decision-making.
  • Jason Busch provides some praise for Ariba’s business decisions leading up to its acquisition by SAP.

Apple strategy

April 24, 2012
Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. (Photo credit: marcopako )

A couple things struck me recently when reading about Apple. One is that I suddenly realized they only made one model of phone. Samsung, Nokia, and HTC all make many different types of phone at different price ranges.

Imagine that – a giant, highly successful company making one phone and doing it really well. Are those two things a coincidence? TPS Report doesn’t think so.

Having said that, Samsung’s model is working pretty well also. It really comes down to resources for me. If you are Apple or Samsung, you can make either strategy work because of the scale involved. If you don’t quite have Apple’s resources, you need to choose a path that fits your resource profile. And then execute like hell.

The other thing that struck me was that Apple is renowned for tightly controlling their retail outlets. Apparently, Exeter, UK didn’t get the memo. There is no register/till (UK equivalent). Even if you want to buy a £10 screen cleaner, you must wait for someone to finish explaining how to download an app to a middle-aged soccer dad (sorry Dad), and hope they’ll squeeze you in before Aunt Myrtle works up the courage to ask the right question.

It is hard work buying anything in that store. It is easy to see why the iPhone is so good.

If I could only be like Clinton, Page or Jobs

April 2, 2012

In the WSJ today, there is a quality article poking a bit of fun of all the Steve Jobs wannabees out there. I would like to take things a step further.

While there is no doubt that we can learn things from great leaders, it is a bit ridiculous to try to copy others’ style. There is one person who is excellent at leading/managing exactly as Steve Jobs did, and that guy is now in the great turtleneck shop in the sky.

I, as many TPS planet members can attest, love to read as much as possible. However, my career objective does not involve becoming the next Page, Clinton or Jobs. It involves becoming an excellent version of me. The only way to lead is to be genuine…there is no way to manipulate your way to greatness. People won’t buy in to someone they don’t trust.

One potentially damaging outcome in all this Jobs worship is the idea that you have to be a jerk to achieve excellence. It worked for Jobs, but it does not follow that it must be that way. In fact, I would argue that he succeeded in spite of that aspect of his personality.

Tim Sutherland, the CEO for Pace Energy, is a man that has had a successful business career and he is one of the nicest people I have ever randomly met on an airplane. He went as far as answering multiple emails, and to put me in touch with his Head of Purchasing. The guy exemplifies the maxim that in order to lead, you must truly care about people.

Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone 4 at the...

Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference Español: Presentación del iPhone 4 por Steve Jobs en la Worldwide Developers Conference del año 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kevin Horner, former CIO at Alcoa and current CEO at Mastech comes across as tough…and genuine.

There’s many ways to make things happen. Do it your way.

iCloud – a couple quick thoughts

March 11, 2012

The early returns are in on the iCloud, and they are mostly positive. They have solved the number one problem with mobile me, which was that it would randomly create duplicate contacts, leaving me with nine entries for people I had forgotten about three years ago.

Cleaning up duplicate contacts was the least they could do, though. The only disappointing aspect to iCloud is that I have to spend even more money to match iTunes across all my devices. This service is called, ironically, iTunes Match. Isn’t matching things across devices supposed to be an advantage of outsourcing our personal privacy to the cloud, though?

By the time I wrote the last paragraph, however, I was already over it. Apple provides innovative things, and that costs money. They deserve the rewards that go along with creating cool stuff.

I’m sure I’ll be checking back with other features as I discover them.

Links of the day

February 21, 2012

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is in custody for allegedly setting up a prostitution ring. My bet is it will be met with a yawn here in Europe.

Finish this sentence in the comments section. Best one wins a free subscription to the TPS report. If I hear another word about Greek debt ____. Mine will need to be toned down before publication…

Bob Smizik says Bob Nutting isn’t going anywhere. The TPS report had its own – possibly over-optimistic – take here.

Kahneman – one of my favorites – makes it into the commitment matters blog. Loewenstein reportedly jealous.

The Apple supply chain controversy continues. Google’s algorithm guys and gals reportedly earning well.

Google cloud storage

February 13, 2012

All Google all the time lately on the TPS report. It won’t always be this way, but felt I had to pass along the news.

Google is set to launch a cloud storage service that will compete with Dropbox and other similar services.

Image representing Dropbox as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

The WSJ report declares that the service will be fairly cheap for relatively large amounts of storage.

Dropbox is an outstanding service, and the price for up to 100GB is not bad ($19.99 a month). Given the amount of photos and videos that Mrs. TPS report takes, we may need every last GB. Let’s hope a little more competition brings the price down even further.

Google vs. Apple

February 11, 2012
Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Apple's image gets the nod here. Image via CrunchBase

There is nothing better than a good business rivalry. Ok, an open air dinner in old town Dubrovnik, Mrs. TPS’s paella, or the Steelers in the Super Bowl are all probably better…but back to the rivalry thing.

Google vs. Apple as a competition in the new economy is about as good as it gets. As they battle for dominance, the consumer gets stuff like real-time collaboration on documents, the ability to wirelessly project your laptop/tablet on your HD TV, mini-computers that you can take with you as you move around the house, and on-demand access to just about any show worth watching. Not bad.

So what if our whole lives are an open book, accessible to just about anyone with some technical knowledge or a few spare bucks. Oooh…cognitive dissonance setting in…anyone have an Ibuprofen?

Google’s latest move is into hardware. Check out the details in the WSJ article here.

Apple on rare ground

January 26, 2012
Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I am both surprised and conflicted about my ability to come up with blog post titles that sound like newspaper headlines. It could be a very bad sign.

There does not seem to be much talk of rare earth metals these days. The headlines a couple days ago were all about how Apple once again exceeded its sales targets for iPads and iPhones.

However, below the surface are two big concerns of which I believe Tim Cook should take note (Tim, you can get my number from Pippa – afterward tell her to hit the little button that looks like a trash can). One, is that his biggest supplier of logic chips is also his biggest competitor (Samsung). I’m sure there is a wall – Berlin-style – surrounding the Apple portion of the factory and the factory for in-house production. And that the Apple-side employees have taken a lifetime vow of silence. However, in spite of these measures…something tells me there is a risk here.

The other is the whole rare-earth thing. Currently China is cranking out microchips with about as much regard for the environment as George Clooney has for his legacy. Descendants, seriously?! But that could change.

In fact, if South Korea (Samsung HQ is in Seoul) starts to get a little too frisky with their northern brethren, China has shown they are not averse to a little strong-arming (see dispute with Japan circa September 2010). There, always wanted to use circa in a blog post, and 3 of you will have picked up on the fact that I used it wildly incorrectly.

Definitely possible that Apple continues its dominance for years to come. Fortune, or world events, could dictate a different fate.

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