Tag Archives: business model

When Are Small Data Best Used?

29 Jun

Over the past few years, many companies and analytics experts have become greatly enamored with “big data,” now that such data are  easier to collect and analyze. [For example, see 1.]

Nonetheless, there still remain many instances when “small data” can be quite useful.

Consider these observations from Jessica Stillman, writing for Inc.:

“Ask Google how many people are searching for the term ‘big data’ and you’ll get a graph that resembles a steep mountainside. The concept has become incredibly hot over the last few years and it shows no signs of cooling anytime soon. And why not? Every day, our devices spew out an incredible amount of data on our behavior, preferences, and relationships. What could be wrong with our newfound obsession with combing through numbers for profit-boosting insights and previously unnoticed correlations?”

“The trouble according to Martin Lindstrom, author of Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends, is when we overuse data to the point that we forget to actually talk to people. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Lindstrom argues that what he terms ‘small data,’ i.e. face-to-face conversations with actual, real-life customers often in their own homes, is a more reliable source of great business ideas than massive databases and sophisticated number crunching. ‘I think it’s fair to say if you take the top 100 biggest innovations of our time, perhaps around 60 percent to 65 percent are really based on Small Data,’ Lindstrom claims, citing breakthroughs ranging from the idea for Snapchat to the resurgence of Lego as examples of the fruits of small data.”

 
Click the clever image to read more from Stillman.

CREDIT: Getty Images

 

TV Interview on Database Marketing

21 Jun

This television interview of Hofstra University’s Professor Joel Evans (from the Zarb School of Business) recently appeared on Fios1’s Money & Main$treet program. The interview was conducted by host Giovanna Drpic. It deals with several aspects of database marketing — from a small firm perspective.
 

 

Strategies for Growth: An Infographic

15 Jun

This infographic on strategic options for small business growth is adapted from Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, president, and founder at GrowBiz Media. She is also a contributing writer for SmallBizTrends.com.

 


 

Apple: A Bump in the Road Or a Crater?

3 May

After a historic run as the innovation, value-added (in terms of market capitalization), and image leader, Apple has now hit a bump in the road — or is it a crater? What do YOU think is next for Apple?

Will Apple be able to recapture its recent glory or will it become more “ordinary” in its product offerings? This is, after all, the company that has given us the revolutionary iTunes, iPods, iPhones, and iPads; the jury is still out on the Apple phone. Here are some observations about Apple.

According to Bloomberg News, via Advertising Age [Note: These comments appeared on April 25, prior to Apple’s most recent quarterly financial report.]:

“The world’s most valuable company forecast in January that revenue would drop for the first time in more than a decade as iPhone sales slow. Analysts will probably be reassured by a sales decline that doesn’t outstrip Apple’s projections for the quarter that ended in March.”

“Apple’s stock has fallen 18% in the past 12 months amid mounting investor concern that customers are upgrading their phones less regularly. That could mean that demand for iPhones, which accounted last quarter for two-thirds of Apple’s revenue, has peaked. The company’s introduction last month of the lower cost iPhone SE was partly seen as an effort to secure new customers in countries such as China or India — emerging markets where a growing middle class has a mounting appetite for status symbol consumer products.”

Click the image to read more from Advertising Age.

 
After Apple announced its earnings, made these observations for the New York Times:

“The technology company’s dazzling 13-year run of quarterly revenue growth [has] ended — a casualty of Apple’s already immense size, weakness in key global markets like China, and the lack of another hot product to pry open the wallets of customers. Apple said that revenue for its second fiscal quarter, which ended in March, declined 13 percent to $50.6 billion as sales of its flagship product, the iPhone, fell, with little else to take its place.”

“Nearly half of the smartphones sold in the United States are iPhones, and Apple may be reaching the saturation point among potential customers in other developed countries. Rival smartphone makers using Google’s Android operating system continue to challenge the company with powerful, less expensive devices. Over all, Apple sold 16 percent fewer iPhones in the quarter compared with the same quarter last year.”

Click the image to read more from the New York Times.

People waited outside an Apple store in Hangzhou, China, as the iPhone SE went on sale. Credit: China Daily/Reuters

 

Avoid These Mistakes When Selling to China

27 Apr

Selling goods and services to companies and consumers in China is not an easy task for foreign firms. Here are some mistakes to avoid.

Based on an interview with Frank Lavin, CEO of Export Now, a company that assists Western businesses that enter the Chinese market, Darren Dahl (writing for American Express Open Forum), describes six mistakes that foreign companies should not make:

 

  1. Doing Nothing New — “The most common mistake companies make when entering international markets is that they don’t do anything new, says Lavin. ‘They think that whatever works domestically will also work internationally,’ he says. ‘They don’t look at pricing or brand positioning or the competitive map. There will be gaps and you need to do some analysis to close them.'”
  2. Not Embracing E-Commerce — “Lavin says that while the U.S. has a mature brick-and-mortar merchandising system that’s been around for two hundred years, Chinese customers primarily shop online. ‘E-commerce is often the icing on the cake in the U.S.,’ says Lavin. ‘But in China, e-commerce is the cake.'”
  3. Failing to Market Differently — “Lavin says getting your products there is only the first step. ‘What we like to say is that distribution ain’t marketing,’ he says. ‘You’ve reached the starting line, not the finish line. Companies must realize that when they’re entering a new market like China, they are essentially starting over when it comes to building up brand awareness and goodwill among potential customers.”
  4. Trying to Do It All Yourself — “If you’ve made the decision to sell in China, then you should also be willing to partner with other businesses to make that move a success.”
  5. Obsessing Over Currency Fluctuations — “One thing you don’t have to worry too much about when selling in China is the fluctuation of global currencies. Lavin says that if you’re selling less than $3,000 worth of goods a day or less, you can simply make minor price adjustments to your products as needed without worrying about any kind of currency hedge strategy. Then again, if you are selling upwards of $50 million worth of goods a year, you might want to think about putting such a plan in place.”
  6. Starting Too Fast — “Lavin suggests that every company start with what he calls a soft launch, where you begin selling a fraction of the products you might otherwise be doing in the U.S. as a way to work the kinks out of everything from the warehouse.”

 

Click the image to read more.

 

The Sock Queen: Slideshow

19 Apr

With the advent of the popular Happy Socks in 2008, the sock industry has changed dramatically. Here’s the story of Happy Socks by Happy Socks:

“Happy Socks started in the spring of 2008. Two friends had a vision: to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colorful design piece with a rigid standard of ultimate quality, craftsmanship and creativity. A concept now brought to perfection by the Happy Socks collective of creators.Today Happy Socks are sold in more than 70 countries and on every continent.Happy Socks features an almost endless variety of models and designs, using a broad spectrum of color combinations and original patterns. Simply put: there’s a pair of high-quality socks and underwear for every occasion, mindset and style.”

Today, there is a tremendous amount of competition in this part of the sock industry, including Little River Sock Mill. It is now run by Gina Locklear, dubbed the “Sock Queen of Alabama” by the New York Times:

“Nine years ago, when she was 27 and unhappily selling real-estate, Gina Locklear went to her parents with a proposition. She wanted to make socks. Not the basic white socks the family had specialized in, but fashionable socks, with organic cotton and dyes. A ‘mood board’ of socks, patterns and colors hangs in Ms. Locklear’s office at Emi-G Knitting. She produces two lines: Zkano, an online brand she started in 2008, and Little River Sock Mill, which was started in 2013 and is sold in stores like Margaret O’Leary in Manhattan.”

“Last fall (2015), Martha Stewart and the editors of Martha Stewart Living presented Ms. Locklear with an American Made award, which they give each year to a few artisans and small-business owners to provide a boost of recognition. Besides, ‘It’s a sensible business,’ Ms. Stewart said. “Everyone needs socks. Women are wearing socks as a fashion statement like never before. Turn the pages of Vogue and almost every fancy dress is worn with a pair of socks.”

 
Click the image for a NY Times’ slideshow of the Sock Queen.


 

Self-Driving Cars: Hacking a Possibility

30 Mar

We have written about self-driving — also known as autonomous — cars several times before (see, for example, 1, 2, 3). And for all of the positive attributes of these vehicles, there are also several negative factors.

One negative aspect of self-driving cars (and traditional vehicles equipped with advanced communications systems) has not been discussed much until recently. And, that is the possibility of hackers affecting how these cars drive.

According to an FBI March 2016 news release:

“As previously reported by the media in and after July 2015, security researchers evaluating automotive cybersecurity were able to demonstrate remote exploits of motor vehicles. The analysis demonstrated the researchers could gain significant control over vehicle functions remotely by exploiting wireless communications vulnerabilities. While the identified vulnerabilities have been addressed, it is important that consumers and manufacturers are aware of the possible threats and how an attacker may seek to remotely exploit vulnerabilities in the future. Third party aftermarket devices with Internet or cellular access plugged into diagnostics ports could also introduce wireless vulnerabilities.”

“Vehicle hacking occurs when someone with a computer seeks to gain unauthorized access to vehicle systems for the purposes of retrieving driver data or manipulating vehicle functionality. While not all hacking incidents may result in a risk to safety – such as an attacker taking control of a vehicle – it is important that consumers take appropriate steps to minimize risk. Therefore, the FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles.”

 

Click the image to see Advertising Age’s view of the situation.

A Google self-driving car (human at the wheel) at company headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg


 

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