Tag Archives: business model

Who Dominates Four Key Industries Globally?

27 Mar

For a number of industries (such as banking, media, food and beverage, and oil), a few large companies dominate globally. Here is an interesting infographic from www.internationalbusinessguide.org.

Click the infographic to access data on the firms cited in the chart.


 Source: InternationalBusinessGuide.org


Lessons from SXSW Interactive

20 Mar

As noted at its Web site: “The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.”

At the recent SXSW Interactive event,  JWT Intelligence did some background research and came up with 10 key overriding themes for us to consider:

  1. The Snowden effect
  2. Data permanence
  3. Demystifying cryptocurrency
  4. The future of the Internet
  5. Wearables
  6. Man versus machine
  7. Disruption
  8. The humanitarian potential of technology
  9. Visualization
  10. Mindfulness and technology

Here is a slideshow that looks in-depth at these overriding themes from JWT Intelligence:


It’s Critical for EVERY Company to Keep on Innovating

16 Mar

What are the two major goals of many companies? To grow sales and to grow profit. And while most companies say that being innovative is also a key goal, do they really mean it? The typical company tends to spend two percent or less of revenues on research and development. And the great majority of “new” products are usually simple line extensions or new models. At a large number of companies, innovation may not be dead — but it is certainly in a deep slumber.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at a terrific article called “Why Companies Stop Innovating” by Steve Blank for Inc. According to Blank:

“There’s been lots written about how companies need to be more innovative, but very little on what stops them from doing so. Companies looking to be innovative face a conundrum: Every policy and procedure that makes them efficient execution machines stifles innovation.”

“Facing continuous disruption from globalization, China, the Internet, the diminished power of brands, and the changing workforce, existing enterprises are establishing corporate innovation groups. These groups are adapting or adopting the practices of startups and accelerators — disruption and innovation rather than direct competition, customer development versus more product features, agility and speed versus lowest cost.”

“But paradoxically, in spite of their seemingly endless resources, innovation inside of an existing company is much harder than inside a startup. For most companies it feels like innovation can only happen by exception and heroic efforts, not by design. The question is: Why?”

Click below to see Blank’s detailed answers to this question.



An Interview with Futurist Guru Ray Kurzweil

3 Mar

Ray Kurzweil is widely acknowledged as a true technology guru. As Wikipedia notes: “Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer Kurzweil K250 capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.”

Recently, the Wall Street Journal‘s Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker sat down with Kurzweil for an in-depth interview: “Machines will soon be as smart as we are, says Ray Kurzweil. But not to worry. The engineering director of Google Inc. and founder and CEO of Kurzweil Technologies Inc. argues that as computers get smaller and more powerful, we won’t face a sci-fi nightmare. Instead, these machines will help us expand our capabilities.”

For print excerpts from the interview, click here.

Click the image for a video clip of the interview.


The Rise of the Phablet

27 Feb

As smartphone technology evolves and competition becomes more intense in that market space, innovations are not only focusing on features but also on phone size. Thus, we now have still another new marketing term — phablet. [Yes, just what we need another new term. :-) ] A phablet is a combination of a phone and tablet, a full-featured smartphone with a much bigger screen.

Will this trend continue? Will it be successful? Will it slow the growth of tablets?

As Brian X. Chen reports for the New York Times:

“Smartphones are going against one of the long-held rules in portable electronics, that smaller is better. Year by year, computers, storage devices, and music players have shed size and weight. And for decades, it has been happening with cellphones, too. But now cellphones, and smartphones in particular, are going the way of the television: They just keep getting bigger and bigger. And people keep buying them.”

“The trend became even more apparent this week, as handset makers introduced a number of big-screen smartphones — from five diagonal inches to more than seven inches — at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. Samsung Electronics, Sony, and the Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE, among others, are all betting that consumers find images and video to be more vivid and engaging on a bigger screen, and that they may prefer to carry a larger phone instead of both a smartphone and a tablet.”

Click on the image to see a video on the phablet.



Should Marketers Be Climbing the Vine?

18 Feb

Is Vine.co (owned by Twitter) ready to be the next “big thing” in social media? Already, it has generated some changes by competitor Instagram. When it was launched in late January 2013, Vine announced that it “We wanted to make it easier for people to create and share videos from a device we almost always have with us: our phone. Since then, you’ve shown time and again that video can bring us together in new and profound ways. You inspire us every day. Thank you for making our first year so special.”

As a more independent expert, Douglas Karr, reports for MarketingTechBlog: “Vine launched a year ago and has had quite a bit of success. Think of Vine as a video version of Twitter, where you record short clips of video and upload them. It’s not surprising that Twitter purchased Vine and integrated playing the videos from Twitter and their applications. When using the app, the camera records only while the screen is being touched, allowing you to do some nifty videos.”

Check out this infographic to see how well Vine is doing — and why marketers should take note!!


Being Prepared for 2014 and Beyond

13 Feb

Businessweek annually forecasts the year ahead. For this year, it says that: “Inflation and interest rates are low, oil prices are expected to fall, companies are sitting on cash, and there’s plenty of consumer demand.” In the 2014 report, Peter Coy sets the economic and geopolitical stage for 55 global industries.”

Click the image for a fun (and hard) quiz to test how ready you are for the future. 


While Samsung Rises, Sony Falls

7 Feb

We’ve written a lot about the remarkable rise of Asian powerhouse Samsung Electronics, most recently just last week. But we’ve also reported on the decline of another Asian powerhouse (former??), Sony, and asked this question about nine months ago: What’s Ahead for Sony? Does the Future Include Electronics?

Well, we’ve now gotten an answer from Sony, with its announcement that it would be exiting the PC business (by selling this division) and spinning off its television business. Yes, the company that created the breakthrough Vaio PC and the Trinitron TV is moving away from these businesses after years of disappointing results. What do YOU think Sony should do next?

Here are excerpts from Sony’s Press February 6, 2014 release:

“Sony has been aggressively implementing a reform strategy across its electronics business. In the imaging, game, and mobile businesses that Sony identified as the three core businesses that would drive the growth of its electronics business, Sony has made significant progress in executing this strategy. Sony has launched high value-added products that bring together the best of Sony’s technological strengths and introduced new market-leading platforms and business models. At the same time, Sony identified PCs and TVs as businesses for which profitability improvement would be a key priority and implemented various reform measures. The reforms executed within the TV business have significantly enhanced its operational structure and product competitiveness. However, Sony now anticipates its target of returning the TV and PC businesses to profitability will not be achieved within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.”

“Sony and Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (“JIP”) today concluded a memorandum of understanding confirming the parties’ intent for Sony to sell to JIP Sony’s PC business currently operated under the Vaio brand. As a part of the business transfer to JIP, Sony will cease planning, design and development of PC products. Manufacturing and sales will also be discontinued after the Spring 2014 lineup to be launched globally.”

“Sony has been engaged in various cost reduction initiatives for the TV business. These initiatives include enhancing LCD panel-related cost efficiency and rationalizing R&D expenses, while also strengthening product competitiveness and operational efficiency in order to improve marginal profit ratio. Due to these measures, losses from the TV business,  are now anticipated to be reduced to about 25 billion yen [$25 million] in FY13.” As a result: “First, Sony will shift its product mix and focus on increasing the proportion of sales from high-end models. Sony plans to reinforce the company’s leading position in the 4K market by strengthening its product lineup while also bolstering its 2K models with wide color range and image-enhancing technologies. In emerging markets, Sony will aim to harness market expansion by developing and launching models tailored to specific local needs. Second, Sony will accelerate and broaden its on-going cost reduction and operational improvement measures, focusing attention across all functions relevant to the TV business. In addition, to help transform this business into a more efficient and dynamic organization, optimized for the current competitive business environment and fully accountable for its operations, Sony has decided to split out the TV business and operate it as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The targeted time frame for this transition is July 2014.”

Take a look at this Wall Street Journal chart to see Sony’s operating profit trends by sector.


How Samsung Became a Global Powerhouse

2 Feb

As we have reported before, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics is a certainly a company to watch (click here, for example). Consider this: For six years, Samsung has been the second leading grantee of U.S. patents, behind only IBM. In the United States, Samsung sells one out of every four TV sets; a decade ago, it accounted for .5 of one percent of TV sales!

According to its Web site: “For over 70 years, Samsung has been dedicated to making a better world.” The company “leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media.”

And Samsung plans on staying on the fast track. It spends $12 to $14 billion dollars per year on research and development activities.

In this month’s Costco Connection, there is an interesting in-depth cover story about Samsung’s recent growth and its product planning and management philosophy. Eric Traub reports that:

“It’s not just televisions where Samsung has taken the lead. The company now sells 23 different categories of consumer products in North America. Its Galaxy smartphones have become a viable option to Apple’s iPhone. The company has made strong inroads in large appliances, including washers, dryers, and refrigerators, winning praise for innovations and quality. And then there are its Blu-ray players, speakers, microwave ovens, vacuums, and LED lighting, which are also garnering sales.”

‘We’re a company, even from a global perspective, that has anticipated changes in the marketplace,’ says Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America. Since joining Samsung, Baxter has been a key player in Samsung’s efforts to dramatically increase its American footprint. When it comes to television, ‘we anticipated the change from analog to digital, from picture tube to flat-screen HDTVs, and even from male-centric to female-centric purchases,’ Baxter explains. ‘In the process we decided to make some big bets that helped drive our TV business, our phone business, and even the semiconductor business, which were the three pillars that helped grow the company.’”

Click the image to read more.

Photo from Costco Connect


Making Toys: An Inside Look

27 Dec

Now that everyone has opened their holiday gifts, have you ever wondered how and where most toys were manufactured?

Check out a neat video to find out by clicking on the image.




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