Friday, December 25, 2009

Adidas Turns the Sneaker Into an Augmented Reality Device | Wired.com

Aumented Reality is moving much faster and more progressive than I expected. The amount of traction and ideas is truly impressive, in my opinion.

I question whether the average marketing professional is ready for this new change. 

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/12/adidas-sneaker-augmented-reality/

Adidas Turns the Sneaker Into an Augmented Reality Device
Can't find your Nintendo DS? Try one of the new Adidas sneakers instead. Adidas has created a virtual 3-D world that can be accessed using an upcoming line of five men's sneakers in an idea that ties into one of the technology trends of the year: augmented reality. "The foundation of augmented reality lies in adding a [...]


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- Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

NYTimes: Is Our Data Too Vulnerable in the Cloud?

I love the cloud concept, but I too question the broad-based security
standards.

What are your thoughts.

From The New York Times:

Is Our Data Too Vulnerable in the Cloud?

Not only could stored data be stolen by hackers or lost to breakdowns,
but a cloud provider might mishandle data, says an article on cloud
computing.

http://s.nyt.com/u/vHa

Get The New York Times on your iPhone for free by visiting http://itunes.com/apps/nytimes

Friday, December 18, 2009

Financial Times: French ruling raises resistance to Google

The book initiative is turning out to be a big fight for Google.

December 18 2009 7:21 PM GMT
French ruling raises resistance to Google
--
By Ben Hall in Paris and David Gelles in San Francisco
--
A French court strikesa blow for the rights of publishers and authors ruling that Google acted illegally in digitising French books held in US libraries without the prior consent of copyright holders

Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ce10352e-ebc9-11de-930c-00144feab49a.html



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- Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

Saturday, December 12, 2009

(BN) Google Says Its Employees Worldwide Are Testing Phone Using Android System

Google is exploiting the true benefit of computer technology; access to information. Should the R&D function within an organization be limited to the input of those within the department? What happens when technology replaces most of the economy's job functions, as well as the role of monetary value? Can all technology be considered disruptive?

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Google Says Employees Are Testing Android Phone Internally

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., seeking to push further into the market for mobile phones and advertising, said employees are testing a device that uses its Android operating system.

The phone is based on hardware manufactured by a partner and it will allow the company to experiment with new features, Google said today in a blog post. Employees worldwide are testing the device, the company said.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google will sell the device next year directly to consumers.

Google, owner of the most-popular Internet search engine, is expanding its products for mobile phones as demand increases for devices that can surf the Web, take pictures and play music. Google's Android software was first offered on phones last year, and Verizon Wireless released a device called Droid in November that uses the program.

Offering its own device would put Google into direct competition with Apple Inc., maker of the iPhone, and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry. It would also create new rivalries with manufacturers such as Motorola Inc., which already make Android devices.

Google said its employees are "dogfooding" its new device, a term that refers to companies using their own products, or "eating your own dog food."

Google and T-Mobile USA Inc. introduced the first Android phone in September 2008, a bid to lure consumers away from the iPhone and BlackBerry. The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the new phone will be called Nexus One and is being made by HTC Corp.

Katie Watson, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California- based Google, declined to comment beyond the company's blog posting.

Google fell 99 cents to $590.51 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. The shares have almost doubled this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Thaw at jthaw@bloomberg.net Brian Womack at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

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- Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

Saturday, December 05, 2009

(BN) Geithner Faults Wall Street Bonuses, Says All Big Banks Could Have Failed

You think?

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Geithner Rejects Goldman Sachs Assertion It Didn't Need U.S. Help

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner disputed claims by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives that the bank could have survived the financial crisis without government help and said it and other Wall Street firms should show some restraint in handing out bonuses this year.

"It is very important that we change the way these executives are paid, the form of compensation, this year," Geithner said in an interview yesterday for Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," which is being aired throughout the weekend. "We have to end that era of irresponsibly high bonuses."

President Barack Obama has blamed compensation tied to excessive risk-taking for fueling the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The administration has named a special master to approve compensation packages at firms that have received the biggest government bailouts.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s investment bank are set to pay record combined bonuses this year, according to analysts' estimates. Goldman set a Wall Street pay record in 2007 when its compensation totaled $20.2 billion, including $68.5 million for chairman and chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein.

Blankfein told Vanity Fair magazine in an article published online this week that he thought the company could have survived the financial turmoil on its own without government help. Goldman's president, Gary Cohn, was more definitive. "I think we would not have failed," he told the magazine. "We had cash."

Geithner, 48, took issue with that, saying that the entire financial system was at risk at the height of the crisis, including Wall Street's big institutions.

'Classic Bank Run'

"None of them would have survived" had the government stood aside and let the crisis run its course, he said. "The entire U.S. financial system and all the major firms in the country, and even small banks across the country, were at that moment at the middle of a classic run, a classic bank run."

New York-based Goldman Sachs, the fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets, accepted $10 billion from the Treasury and other forms of government support last year. It has since returned the funds with interest, as have firms including Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.

Geithner said that most of the money the federal government injected into banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program will likely be paid back. "We now estimate that we're probably going to have $175 billion in repayments from the banking system by the end of next year," he said.

Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag said the firm recognized that it would have failed had the financial system broken down.

Government Action

"If the financial system collapsed, we would have collapsed too," he said. "We believe that government action averted a major systemic problem."

He added that Goldman acted on its own to raise capital amid the turmoil. "We had cash and funding that would have allowed us to survive for quite a long time," he said.

Geithner said that even institutions that have repaid the government should show restraint in paying out bonuses, arguing that Wall Street's compensation practices had encouraged excessive risk-taking.

"We want to see fundamental constraints in how senior executives are paid," the Treasury secretary said.

He said he wants compensation at financial institutions to be tied more to their long-term performance, rather than to short-term gains. Should those gains prove ephemeral, the bonuses would be clawed back, he added.

"The basic problem we face across the system is that executives were paid for taking imprudent risks," Geithner said.

The Federal Reserve has said it will review the 28 largest banks to ensure that compensation doesn't create incentives for excessively risky investments. It also offered guidelines on making pay more tied to risk management.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rich Miller in Washington rmiller28@bloomberg.net Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net .

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770-601-7441

Financial Times: US jobs data offer hope for recovery

How long before job creation?

December 05 2009 12:27 AM GMT
US jobs data offer hope for recovery
--
By Krishna Guha in Washington and Alan Rappeport in New York
--
The US jobless rate fell back to 10% in November as the economy shed the fewest jobs since the recession started two years ago, offering a promising sign that the labour market is starting to mend

Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b85db574-e0d1-11de-9f58-00144feab49a.html




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- Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dubai, The Real News Story

According to recent reports, the Dubia debt problem is a shock to the
financial world for many reasons. You all know about the denial of
other UAE city/states to bail them out, and you've seen the 'bling-
bling' nonsense taking place in Dubai. But I never knew that the
funding was based on a scary assumption - their UAE partners would
bail them out. It appears that you can get money as long as you know
someone who has money. It doesn't have to be documented, just
understood.

Wow

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/world/middleeast/04dubai.html?ref=business

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- Kenyatta Lovett

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Barnes and Noble 'Nook' Gets Branding help from R/GA



I appears that we are beyond the evolution shock in the publishing world, and we are on to the new race for a tech-solution for documents, publications, and books. R/GA, New York, is working with Barnes & Noble to help them compete with the moderately successful Kindle made by Amazon. These e-readers can definitely be considered a form of disruptive technology or innovation.

For the established publishers and book companies, it makes it more difficult to discover the next great literary hit, because the manuscript may never come across their desk. Independent writers now have immediate access to their potential customers through a device that functions as a retail store. That's right, inventory is no longer a problem with the e-reader solution. So, the next phase of this competitive race is branding. In the early stages tons of money are dumped into marketing to find a way to capture the hearts of consumers, by any means necessary. We see the wars going on with netbooks, which are experiencing a steady, but moderate, rate of growth. Here's yet another battlefield in the market of tomorrow.




The next phase will be the merger between physical and digital branding. I see a future where physical retail space will be more about the experience, and the online space will function as the deal closer. Many organizations are already heading that way, but I see this strategy permeating throughout the entire market-place.

R/GA specializes in Brand Development, among many other things related to advertising and marketing.



What are your thoughts on e-readers?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What?

Two different interviews, with the same question, with the same answer/confusion.

























Sunday, November 22, 2009

(BN) Consumer Spending, Home Sales Probably Rose as U.S. Recovery Takes Root

Please take a look at the story below from Bloomberg News. It is suggesting that things are turning toward a positive light in the economy - at least for the US. I wonder how these slow improvements will change public policy regarding business ethics, regulation, and information transparency.

For your business, does this change your adjusted strategy?

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Spending by Consumers Probably Increased: U.S. Economy Preview

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Consumer spending probably rebounded in October, showing that mounting unemployment is restraining, not derailing, the biggest part of the U.S. economy, analysts said before reports this week.

Purchases increased 0.5 percent after dropping by the same amount in September, according to the median estimate of 61 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before a Commerce Department report due Nov. 25. Other figures may show orders for durable goods and home sales climbed.

Consumers added to their wardrobes, frequented restaurants and bought more automobiles last month even after the government's trade-in incentive expired. A jobless rate that is projected to remain above 10 percent through the first half of next year means households will still be hard-pressed to boost spending further, limiting their contribution to growth.

"A business recovery has taken root, notably in output and sales, although not yet in employment," said Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse in New York. "The recovery will likely be mediocre relative to previous recoveries following severe recessions."

The labor market and reduced bank lending are some of the "headwinds" facing the economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said last week. To help ensure the economy doesn't falter, Bernanke and his fellow U.S. central bankers will probably keep monetary policy unchanged well into 2010.

Vehicle Sales Rise

Auto industry data show sales of cars and light trucks rose to a 10.5 million unit annual pace in October, up 14 percent from the previous month. Purchases were still short of the 14.1 million rate reached in August when the government's cash-for- clunkers plan, which expired near the end of that month, revived demand.

U.S. retailers last month increased sales 1.4 percent after a decline of 2.3 percent in September, according to Commerce Department figures released Nov. 16. Sales rose at department stores, restaurants and Internet-based businesses such as Amazon.com.

Most retailers have boosted profits by trimming costs and inventories. Saks Inc., the New York-based U.S. luxury retail chain, last week reported an unexpected profit, its first in more than a year, for the period ended Oct. 31.

"The current economic and retail environment remain uncertain," Saks Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sadove said on a Nov. 17 conference call with investors and analysts. "It's a fragile period for everyone in this industry."

Incomes Rise

The Commerce Department spending report on Nov. 25 may also show incomes grew 0.2 percent in October, the biggest gain in five months, after no change the previous month.

Even with that gain, a weak labor market continues to weigh on consumers' ability to boost purchases. Payrolls fell by 190,000 last month, bringing total job losses to 7.3 million since the recession began in December 2007, the most of any contraction since the Great Depression.

President Barack Obama, seeking to halve job losses since the recession began, announced on Nov. 12 that he plans to hold a White House jobs summit. He said he'll convene business executives and experts to seek solutions to spur job creation.

The job cuts are causing measures of consumers' outlooks to weaken this month. The Conference Board's confidence index, due Nov. 24, is forecast to fall, and the Reuters/University of Michigan gauge the next day is projected to drop from the previous month.

The S&P 500 rose as much as 64 percent from a 12-year low in March, closing at a 13-month high on Nov. 17.

Durable Goods

The increase in demand for automobiles likely contributed to a gain in bookings at factories. Orders for durable goods, those meant to last at least three years, probably rose 0.5 percent in October after a 1.4 percent surge, the first back-to- back increase since May, according to the median estimate ahead of a Nov. 25 report from the Commerce Department.

Excluding demand for transportation equipment, which tends to be volatile, orders probably increased 0.6 percent, the survey median showed.

The government's revised figures for third-quarter gross domestic product, due on Nov. 24, may show the economy expanded at a 2.9 percent annual rate, compared with the 3.5 percent estimated last month, according to the survey median. The revision will reflect a bigger trade gap and weaker retail sales in September, economists said.

The worst housing slump in more than 70 years is showing signs of improvement, with government support in the form of a tax credit for homebuyers.

Existing Home Sales

The National Association of Realtors is expected to report tomorrow that purchases of existing homes rose 2.3 percent in October to an annual pace of 5.7 million, the highest level since July 2007, according to the survey median.

The Commerce Department on Nov. 25 may report that purchases of new houses rose 0.8 percent last month to a 405,000 annual pace, according to the Bloomberg survey median.

A measure of home prices is projected to fall at a slower pace. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas was probably down 9.1 percent in September from a year earlier, the smallest decline in almost two years, the survey showed. The report is due on Nov. 24.

Bloomberg Survey =============================================================== Release Period Prior Median Indicator Date Value Forecast =============================================================== Exist Homes Mlns 11/23 Oct. 5.57 5.70 Exist Homes MOM% 11/23 Oct. 9.4% 2.3% GDP Annual QOQ% 11/24 3Q P 3.5% 2.9% Personal Consump. QOQ% 11/24 3Q P 3.4% 3.2% GDP Prices QOQ% 11/24 3Q P 0.8% 0.8% Core PCE Prices QOQ% 11/24 3Q P 1.4% 1.4% Case Shiller Quarterly 11/24 3Q -14.9% -10.5% Case Shiller Quarterly 11/24 3Q 132.6 136.6 Case Shiller Monthly YO 11/24 Sept. -11.3% -9.1% Case Shiller Monthly In 11/24 Sept. 146.0 147.0 Consumer Conf Index 11/24 Nov. 47.7 47.5 Richmond Fed Index 11/24 Nov. 7 8 FHFA HPI MOM% 11/24 Sept. -0.3% 0.1% OFHEO HPI QOQ% 11/24 3Q -0.7% 0.4% ABC Conf Index 11/24 Nov. 23 -45 -45 Pers Inc MOM% 11/25 Oct. 0.0% 0.2% Pers Spend MOM% 11/25 Oct. -0.5% 0.5% PCE Deflator YOY% 11/25 Oct. -0.5% 0.1% Core PCE Prices MOM% 11/25 Oct. 0.1% 0.1% Core PCE Prices YOY% 11/25 Oct. 1.3% 1.4% Durables Orders MOM% 11/25 Oct. 1.4% 0.5% Durables Ex-Trans MOM% 11/25 Oct. 1.2% 0.6% Initial Claims ,000's 11/25 14-Nov 505 500 Cont. Claims ,000's 11/25 7-Nov 5611 5565 New Home Sales ,000's 11/25 Oct. 402 405 New Home Sales MOM% 11/25 Oct. -3.6% 0.8% U of Mich Conf. Index 11/25 Nov. F 66.0 67.0 ==============================================================

To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy R. Homan in Washington at Thoman1@bloomberg.net

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

What?












Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dos Equis Commercials


I'm not really a fan of Dos Equis Beer, when compared to other beers from that region. However, I can be convinced to try them out more frequently, especially with these cool ads. They've reached an important segment - the middle-aged refined beer drinker.

What are your thoughts on the brand, product, or advertising approach?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fed Ex/Kinkos - It All Makes Sense Now

When Fed Ex merged with Kinkos, I questioned the compatibility of the
two brands. Fed Ex being known for great efficiency and service, and
Kinkos being known for the later - best portrayed in the Pop Copy skit
by Dave Chappelle (I can't embed the video due to the bad language). I knew the merger was a response to UPS merging
with Mailbox Etc., and there would be a push for individual retail
strategies. But Kinkos? In the end, they kept the copiers.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Brand is All About Your People

The Tennessee State University Early Learning Center has a long-
standing reputation of turning out some of Nashville's best students.
Earlier this year, the director passed away after 60 years of service.
That's right - 60 years. The float for today's homecoming parade is
dedicated to her service to the program.

Before your customers believe in your mission/brand, your employees
must believe in it to work. Thanks Ms. McDowell.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Matt is making Pecha Kucha work in Chattanooga

Intel Changes Marketing Approach to a more 'Human Element'



Intel has announced a change in marketing approach to make the chip-maker more human in the eyes of the consumer. We've seen Dow Chemical try this approach, but how will this work for a product that is so sterile and technical? Intel marketing leader Nancy Bhagat is on the right track by trying to understand how Intel can remain relevant, and even better, increase their relevance during the purchase decision process for consumers that have a choice when buying personal technology. Venables Bell and Partners worked with Intel to develop the creative approach for this new marketing direction. Premium products matter in this economy. It's the only way to fight slim margins. I think it will work. What do you think?

CreateHere: Growing Big Ideas and Small Businesses


I'm still waiting for the event to begin, and I'm reading/socializing in the presentation area. I met an employee at CreateHere who also has a silkscreen business with her boyfriend in the local Chattanooga incubator. CreateHere is more than just a creative think-tank. It's a place where ideas grow and busineses get the information and confidence they need to survive in market.

I'm still not sure about the overall vision for this organization/venue, but it seems to be a truly innovative business model from what I've heard so far. It's privately funded, and it's broken down into several useful business unit/service components - all aimed at sparking the flame necessary to grow successful start-ups in the Chattanooga area. It brings together a partnership that understands the crucials of success - unselfish goals and realistic dreams.

Springboard is one of several components/services offered at CreateHere. It offers a short-term business planning services for hopeful startups. I remember when I launched KLCS, and I quickly realized how important it is to have a good grasp on business matters, as well as a support system to stay encouraged. In Nashville, we have incubators, several small business development centers, and even some collaborative environments for creatives. But, we don't have anything near the complexity and reach of CreateHere - that I know of.

No matter what I do in life, I will always be an artist first. I truly believe that art has no choice but to merge with other important subjects like math and science to not only remain relevant, but to ultimately survive as an industry. It seems that the more established art-related agencies in Chattanooga realized how important it is to give younger professionals a chance at solving many of the problems that plague the American Marketplace - unselfish. From my brief time watching the group collaborate, the broad-stroked mission approach allows the staff and clients to exercise their ability to creatively solve problems - realistic goal. Even better, the plan for this effort is to dissolve in five years to allow for some of these components to either take a life of their own, merge into more established initiatives, or simply fade away. WOW, it's amazing what action you'll see when there is a shot-clock.

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS 'ART FOR ART'S SAKE', unless your name is ART. If so, I'm afraid we are doomed.

Preparing for Pecha Kucha Night in Chattanooga






I am very excited. I would like to know more about Pecha Kucha, and I found an event in Chattanooga. I am planning to hold an event at my job in the Spring. So, this will serve as a model for me tonight.

The event is being held at a venue called CreateHere in an eclectic area of midtown Chattanooga. I am at the pre-show, which is an exhibition of interesting videos created from stills. It's free-form, free-thought, but extremely valuable to the needs of this society. I'll share more later when the event starts at 6:00 pm (eastern time).

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Retail Sales Pick Up: Sound Business Practices are a Key Factor

It's been up in the air about the right approach for retail businesses to survive in this turbulent economy. We've seen the layoffs, inventory reductions, and store closures - wondering if this will be the silver bullet needed to end the terror caused by the financial industry. This morning GAP turned in impressive quarterly numbers, and also changed their guidance to a more positive outlook for the entire year. A great deal of the turnaround has to do with their ability to go lean, and leverage an already impressive supply-chain management system. It would be nice to have a response system that addresses any market changes only days after the issue arrises, but changes in strategies take time. GAP is sticking to their guns. Nothing drastic has changed in their product or their brand, and I believe they will benefit greatly from their brand stability position.














Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Financial Times: VW records profit despite slide in demand



October 29 2009 10:40 AM GMT
VW records profit despite slide in demand
--
By James Wilson in Frankfurt
--
Europe's biggest carmaker succeeds in generating a second successive profit – in spite of the slump in demand in most of the world's vehicle markets

Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/00e320da-c46d-11de-912e-00144feab49a.html




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- Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

(BN) Electric-Car Makers Use U.S. Taxpayer Cash to Enter Market `Full of Risks'

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Electric-Car Companies Grab U.S. Cash to Blunt Risks

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Electric-car makers ranging from Ford Motor Co. to California startups are using $11 billion in taxpayer funds to supply a market that doesn't yet exist.

Fisker Automotive Inc., backed by a $528.7 million U.S. loan, said today it will join the rush to the assembly line by buying a closed Delaware plant from the former General Motors Corp. for $18 million. It will spend $175 million to refurbish and retool the factory to build plug-in hybrid cars.

"The cars built here are truly going to be the cars of the future," Vice President Joe Biden said at the announcement in Wilmington, Delaware. "It's important that we take the lead in this new technology," Biden added.

Obama administration aid to spur demand for more fuel- efficient autos is luring companies including General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. into the electric-car push. The result may be a supply of new vehicles that outstrips demand, said Michael Omotoso, a senior manager for J.D. Power & Associates in Troy, Michigan.

"The U.S. government is saying we'll have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015; we're saying it will take three to five years longer," Omotoso said. "Realistically, manufacturers could be selling 80,000 to 100,000 by 2015."

Investors betting on acceptance of electric autos include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture-capital firm that employs former Vice President Al Gore and is backing Fisker.

Government Capital

"A huge amount of private capital is on the sideline, so a new locus for funding right now is the U.S. government," said Ray Lane, a managing partner at Kleiner Perkins who works on the firm's alternative energy investments. "The Department of Energy has stepped into the role of private capital, at least temporarily."

There are about 50 alternative vehicle ventures competing for capital right now and 40 of them will probably fail because they "never got scale," Lane said. Of the surviving 10, perhaps two will remain independent companies while the rest are acquired for their brand or technology, he said.

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is advising Santa Monica, California-based Coda Automotive, which seeks to import China-built electric sedans in 2010. He also is a Coda investor.

While Coda isn't requesting U.S. aid, Ford, Nissan and Irvine, California-based Fisker are among the companies approved for Energy Department loans and grants to build autos that meet President Barack Obama's goal of cutting tailpipe emissions and easing dependence on oil imports.

New Field

Making passenger vehicles that run on a charge from a household outlet is such a new field that global output this year may total only a few thousand autos. Obama seeks to have 1 million on the road within six years.

"Hybrids are still less than 3 percent of the market, and that's a relatively proven technology," said Rebecca Lindland, an IHS Global Insight Inc. forecaster in Lexington, Massachusetts. "Modern-day electric cars are still chock full of risks."

U.S. auto sales averaged 16.8 million this decade through 2007. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP projected in an Oct. 19 report that global electric-vehicle output might reach 700,000 by 2015.

The idle so-called Boxwood plant, which was never part of the post-bankruptcy GM, will be used to build as many as 100,000 hybrids annually.

"This is a major step toward establishing America as a leader of advanced vehicle technology," Henrik Fisker, the company's chief executive officer, told more than 1,000 people gathered at the plant for the announcement. "We can lead the world again in car manufacturing."

Union Shop

Fisker has committed to making the plant "a union shop, so we are expecting union wages," said Kerry Kryspin, a trustee of UAW Local 435, which represents workers at the facility. The average autoworker made about $28 per hour at the plant before it closed last year, he said.

Automakers worldwide will introduce 42 plug-in and electric models from 2009 to 2012, according to an estimate from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The autos include new entrants from Ford and Detroit-based GM, which championed full-size pickups and sport-utility vehicles in the 1990s.

Nissan is making the biggest electric-vehicle commitment. It is targeting its $1.6 billion government loan to build as many as 150,000 battery-powered Leaf hatchbacks annually and produce lithium-ion battery packs in Smyrna, Tennessee.

"We think that we are the only full-line maker that's offering an electric vehicle as a mass-market vehicle," said Fred Standish, a spokesman for its U.S. unit. "We don't issue sales forecasts. We don't know where this market will be."

Tesla, Too

Ford, whose approval for $5.9 billion in federal aid makes it the largest such recipient, plans an electric version of its Transit van next year, an all-electric Focus sedan in 2011 and a plug-in hybrid in 2012. Some of the money for Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford is going to improved gasoline engines.

Tesla Motors Inc., which began delivering $109,000 Roadster electric sports cars last year, was approved for $465 million in Energy Department funds to help finance a battery plant and a factory to make the Model S electric sedan.

GM has said it will build as many as 60,000 Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric cars annually after sales begin in November 2010, while Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota Motor Corp. plans to build a plug-in model for fleet customers by next year and for retail buyers in 2012.

Electric cars may make up 10 percent of global demand by 2020, Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said on Aug. 2 at the company's new headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. IHS Global Insight estimates the total may reach 18 percent by 2030.

Fuel Prices

Fuel prices will be pivotal, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

With gasoline at $6 a gallon, U.S. sales of plug-in vehicles may reach 518,000 by 2015, the center projected, based on a survey of executives at vehicle powertrain companies. At $2.50 a gallon, the total may be only 169,400. The U.S. retail average was $2.67 a gallon on Oct. 25.

Since June, the Energy Department has awarded $8.5 billion in loans to Ford, Nissan, Tesla and Fisker for development and production of advanced vehicles, and $2.4 billion in grants to set up lithium-ion battery factories in the U.S.

"Consumers aren't pulling on demand for electric vehicles," said Lindland, the IHS Global Insight forecaster. "Instead regulation and policy is pushing these vehicles into the market."

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeff Green in Southfield, Michigan, at jgreen16@bloomberg.net Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

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- Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

Inside a Cellphone Radiation Testing Lab | Wired.com

I wanted to share this article from Wired.com with you:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/10/cellphone-radiation-testing/

Inside a Cellphone Radiation Testing Lab
Is radiation from cellphones dangerous or not? As consumers become increasingly glued to their phones, researchers, environmental organizations and cellphone industry groups debate this question. So far, the answer is elusive. But you can find out how much radiation your head is absorbing from any given phone. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission sets the [...]


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- Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why Brand & When It Matters?

Many of you may wonder why I spend so much time dealing with the financial markets, when my overall focus is on marketing and branding. Well unlike most advertising, marketing, and branding professionals, I believe branding/marketing efforts can be quantified in a meaningful way that give insight and direction to the overall direction of an organization. I just finished a book about marketing metrics that successfully ties in marketing metrics to analyzing corporate financial data. I learned that effective branding can't explain a quarterly earning report, but it can explain yearly performance. This particular clip from CNBC (Squawk Box) has a few ironies embedded in it. Before I get to the topic of discussion, I would like for your to notice two things.

If you notice on the screen of the video clip, you'll see that Fed Chairman Bernanke has been muted in the background to hear information about XBox sales. It appears that talk about bank capital, financial instruments, and interest rates have taken a backseat to products and people - at least for a little while.

Another interesting part of the video was the question about XBox sales being higher than normal. My position has been for a few years that we as a society are moving to a glocal economy - yes I spelled that right. Video On-Demand, Home Entertainment, and anything related to low-cost/low-travel will be embraced by the majority of this society. Oh yes, we will still get our party on, but in a way different than expected. It's what the markets are calling the 'New Normal', which used to be just plain normal until everyone needed a 3000 sq ft loft, plus a vacation home.

But the point of my discussion actually happens at the end of the clip when there is a brief credit given to the strength of brands. Why should you brand, and when does it matter? It's a question every senior manager of an organization should be asking at the big meeting. For those linear thinkers, branding happens at three points during the purchase decision process - before it ever happens, the final selection/choice, and after it's over. The rest can be attributed to the 4 P's of marketing. The most important part of incremental sales for a company will always be the final selection/choice point. The most important part of growth for an organization is after the process when individual recommendations occur. However, none of this may happen if there is no branding before the need occurs.

So, to answer the question "Why Brand?", the answer is simply if your product or service is being reviewed with comparable products or services, the selection will favor the familiar, if the 4 P's don't vary much. Thus, all things given equal, I'm buying an Oldsmobile like the rest of my family. Oh wait, the 4 P's took care of that even happening. Okay, I'll go with a Blackberry since all my co-workers are bragging on them. You get my point, the social/psychological aspect constitutes the tie-breaker in a close race.

On to the other question, "When Does It Matter?". It matters in times like these where money is spent more conservative than the market would expect. Thus, more logic is being applied by the consumer, and every company is working on, at the very least, three of the p's (price, product, and promotion). At this point, who doesn't have a 2 Meals for $20 deal? The average consumer will only find value in this proposition if the company is perceptually valued above the promotion either through their food (products) or service (products). My point being, if you haven't started a comprehensive branding effort, it's too late for this tight market, because it matters NOW. What is your value proposition? Are you valued beyond your promotion? Is your price premium above 1? Are you placed in a marketing channel that gives you an advantage? Can your product make the necessary adjustments to meet the requirements of the consumer? These are important questions that you need to have answers for to go beyond survival to prosperity.












Friday, October 23, 2009

Wall Street Compensation

In the midst of layoffs, outsourcing, and other cost-saving measures
related to human capital, what does this say about how everyday people
are valued? I am confused.

http://att.cnnmoney.mlogic.mobi/money/lt_ne/lt_ne/detail/177520;jsessionid=7D129A362AEEA906F779DEAE3BA0760C.liveapp18j

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

ERP System Success

Please take this poll for me.

Charitable Giving Poll

Please take a look at these numbers from a LinkedIn Poll.

AARP Video

This is totally corny. I mean corny. Future Lab tried to explain it a little, but I'm not sure the point was made successfully. It is reminding me of the skits on Reno 911. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a worthy topic, but the approach is, well, you know.

Are any of you out there currently marketing to the senior crowd successfully? If so, please share your stories.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Financial Times: China launches own Nasdaq



October 18 2009 5:55 PM GMT
China launches own Nasdaq
--
By Patti Waldmeir in Shanghai
--
China will this week launch its long-awaited Nasdaq-style stock market with 28 companies lined up to list on the new exchange, including China's first listed film company

Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b8b61c02-bc03-11de-9426-00144feab49a.html




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Tripod Mounted Laptop Stand For Photographers and Mobile Workers | Wired.com

I wanted to share this article from Wired.com with you:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/10/tripod-mounted-laptop-stand-for-photographers-and-mobile-workers/

Tripod Mounted Laptop Stand For Photographers and Mobile Workers
The Laptop Deck from Tallyn's is an oversized tripod head and flat panel onto which you can fix a laptop, or a really, really big camera. It has a ball-and socket head and is adjustable to fit computers of up to 17" in size, and at $85 is dirt cheap in comparison to most photographic kit. [...]


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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chattanooga is Making Moves

This is the reason why I think Chattanooga is making power moves in Tennessee. It all starts with small business and culture. Check it out.

(BN) GM Should Reconsider Opel Bids Amid Questions Over Germany's Aid, EU Says

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

GM Should Reconsider Earlier Bids for Opel, EU Says

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. should be allowed to reconsider all bids for its Adam Opel GmbH unit after German aid policies pushed the U.S. carmaker to choose Magna International Inc. as the buyer, the European Union said.

Germany's offer of 4.5 billion euros ($6.9 billion) in state loans and guarantees for Opel's sale must be available to all suitors to meet antitrust rules, the EU said yesterday in a statement outlining a letter that European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes sent to Economy Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg. Authorities should inform GM and the trust that owns Opel that the aid is available to any buyer, the EU said.

Guttenberg said today that Germany will work to assuage EU concerns and that the sale is likely to proceed. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government chose Magna, Canada's biggest auto- parts maker, and Russian partner OAO Sberbank as Opel's preferred bidder in May, saying they wanted to preserve jobs. GM agreed in September to sell the unit to Magna, turning down a bid from Brussels-based investment company RHJ International SA.

"If there are misunderstandings that need to be cleared up, we will do that," Guttenberg told reporters in Berlin. "I'm confident this will happen in the coming days. Answers will be given, and they'll be the right answers."

A preliminary EU inquiry showed "significant indications" that Germany improperly favored Aurora, Ontario-based Magna over other suitors for Opel, Kroes said in her letter. "A precondition for the aid would be incompatible" with EU rules that seek to limit state involvement in industries, she said.

Karin Kirchner, a spokeswoman in Zurich for GM's European operations, declined to comment today.

Politicians' Favor

Opel, which has its headquarters in the Frankfurt suburb of Ruesselsheim, received an initial 1.5 billion euros in emergency loans from Germany as Detroit-based GM sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in early June. A number of German politicians, including Roland Koch, prime minister of Opel's home state of Hesse and a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party, said in May that they favored Magna.

A trust of executives and politicians from Germany and the U.S. now controls a 65 percent stake in Opel, with GM owning the other 35 percent. The trust chose Magna in September on GM's recommendation. RHJ had been the only other contender after GM negotiators and government aides agreed in July to stop looking at a bid from Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.

"GM and the Opel trust should be given the opportunity to reconsider the outcome of the bidding process on the basis of firm written assurances by the German authorities that the aid would be available, irrespective of the choice of investor or plan," Kroes said.

No Interest

RHJ, which agreed on Oct. 15 to buy Commerzbank AG's Kleinwort Benson private-bank unit in the U.K., isn't interested in reviving a bid for Opel, said Arnaud Denis, a spokesman.

"We are not considering it," Denis said. "This isn't in the cards."

Edda Graf, a spokeswoman based at Magna's European headquarters in Oberwaltersdorf, Austria, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today.

Other contenders for the Opel stake have found alternative automotive investments. Fiat SpA, Italy's biggest manufacturer, was already buying a stake in Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler LLC when it submitted a non-cash offer for Opel that included factories and other assets from its own car operations.

Fiat said repeatedly after Magna was named preferred bidder in May that it wouldn't improve on the proposal. Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said in September that Fiat is "completely closed" to any further interest in Opel as his company develops strategy for ties to Chrysler. The Turin-based manufacturer declined to comment further today.

Saab Auto's Disposal

Beijing Automotive, China's fastest-growing automaker, is now a suitor for Saab Automobile AB, another European division that GM is selling. The company joined a group in September that's bidding for the unprofitable Trollhaettan, Sweden-based brand. Partners include sports-car manufacturer Koenigsegg Auto and entrepreneurs Augie Fabela II and Baard Eker.

Saab's sale depends in part on a 400 million-euro technology-development loan from the European Investment Bank, the EU's lending arm. The EIB's board will discuss Saab's application on Oct. 21.

Magna and Sberbank, Russia's biggest lender, are close to completing an agreement to buy a 55 percent stake in Opel, three people familiar with the situation said on Oct. 15. GM's holding in Opel would remain at 35 percent, while the unit's employees would receive a 10 percent stake.

GM, which emerged from bankruptcy in July, is concluding discussions on the Opel disposal's legal details with Magna and Sberbank, while the Canadian manufacturer is in talks with the division's unions across Europe on cutting labor costs.

Germany has said it doesn't need EU clearance for the loans it's providing, arguing that state help for rescuing companies during economic crises is exempted by the regulations.

"I have a lot of understanding for the EU Commission's approach," Guttenberg said today. Asked whether Opel's sale to Magna will unravel, he said, "I don't believe so." Guttenberg said he forwarded Kroes's letter to GM and Opel's trust.

Rainer Bruederle, deputy leader of Germany's Free Democratic Party and a contender to become economy minister in Merkel's new coalition, told reporters today that Opel's sale is likely to succeed in the face of the concerns voiced by the EU. He added that the FDP's criticisms about the bidding process "weren't wrong."

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Czuczka in Berlin at aczuczka@bloomberg.net .

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Performance

video

Nashville's Global Village

An international event held at centennial park.

Monday, September 28, 2009

(BN) Northeast U.S. May Experience Coldest Winter in a Decade, Forecaster Says

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

U.S. Northeast May Have Coldest Winter in a Decade

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.

"Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard," Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. "About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It's pretty good odds."

Warming in the Pacific often means fewer Atlantic hurricanes and higher temperatures in the U.S. Northeast during January, February and March, according to the National Weather Service. El Nino occurs every two to five years, on average, and lasts about 12 months, according to the service.

Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased their net-long positions, or bets prices will rise, in New York heating oil futures in the week ended Sep. 22, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data Sept. 25.

"It could be one of the coldest winters, or the coldest, winter of the decade," Rogers said.

U.S. inventories of distillate fuels, which include heating oil, are at their highest since January 1983, the U.S. Energy Department said Sept. 23. Stockpiles of 170.8 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 18 are 28 percent above the five-year average.

Heating oil for October delivery rose 1.38 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $1.6909 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Zeranski in New York at tzeranski@bloomberg.net Erik Schatzker in New York at eschatzker@bloomberg.net

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Apple Gets OK to Keep Palm Unplugged From iTunes | Wired.com

I wanted to share this article from Wired.com with you:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/apple-gets-ok-to-keep-palm-unplugged-from-itunes/

Apple Gets OK to Keep Palm Unplugged From iTunes
Palm Pre owners, get ready to kiss your iTunes music goodbye. The most recent turn in the Apple vs. Palm debate makes it even less likely that the Palm will again be able to sync with iTunes. On Wednesday, Palm received a letter from the USB Implementers Forum, a group overseeing standards for USB connections, in reply [...]


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Michael Porter on Healthcare

What do you think?

http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?play=1&video=1262670524












Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The $150 Space Camera: MIT Students Beat NASA On Beer-Money Budget | Wired.com

I wanted to share this article from Wired.com with you:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/the-150-space-camera-mit-students-beat-nasa-on-beer-money-budget/

The $150 Space Camera: MIT Students Beat NASA On Beer-Money Budget
The $150 Space Camera. Bespoke is old hat. Off-the-shelf is in. Even Google runs the world's biggest and scariest server farms on computers home-made from commodity parts. DIY is cheaper and often better, as Justin Lee and Oliver Yeh found out when they decided to send a camera into space. The two students (from MIT, of course) [...]


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Why Apple TV Must Evolve to Avoid Extinction | Wired.com

I wanted to share this article from Wired.com with you:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/09/apple-tv-price-cut/

Why Apple TV Must Evolve to Avoid Extinction
Without making an announcement, Apple slashed the price of its larger-capacity Apple TV set-top box on Monday and discontinued a lesser model. Even with the price cut, the product is unlikely to survive if it does not adapt to consumer demands in the entertainment market, analysts agree. The price reduction brings the 160-GB Apple TV from [...]


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Check out this product on Wired.com

Hello,

I found this product review at Wired.com and want to share it with you:
PhonePhlash  
http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/phonephlash?mbid=wir_iphone_prodrev_10

For more reviews from the editors of Wired magazine and Wired.com, visit: http://www.wired.com/reviews

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Marketing Movie

http://responsiblemarketing.com/blog/2009/09/04/responsible-marketing-movies-kinda-sorta

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Check out this product on Wired.com

Hello,

I found this product review at Wired.com and want to share it with you:
Samsung i8510 INNOV8
http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/samsung_i8510?mbid=wir_iphone_prodrev_10

For more reviews from the editors of Wired magazine and Wired.com, visit: http://www.wired.com/reviews

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Kenyattalovett@gmail.com has sent you an article from Macworld.com

This story, which was originally posted at macworld.com, has been recommended to you by Kenyattalovett@gmail.com.

Google plans update to Android Market

null

The complete story can be found here:
http://www.macworld.com/article/142643/article.html

We hope you will find this story interesting and informative. Macworld, an IDG publication, provides independent, unbiased, reviews, news, and information about technology.

(BN) Princeton, Harvard Raise Undergrad Tuition as Economy Burns: Chart of Day

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Princeton, Harvard Raise Prices as Economy Burns: Chart of Day

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Life on top means not having to lower your prices.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows how the cost of a year as an undergraduate at Harvard and Princeton has risen through boom and bust. Tuition and fees at Harvard jumped 67.8 percent over the decade; at Princeton, they increased 43.4 percent.

That hasn't dented demand. Freshman applications at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, rose by 60.9 percent over the last 10 years. At Princeton in New Jersey, which started accepting the Common Application standardized form for admission in 2005 (Harvard did so in 1994), demand rose by 47.7 percent.

The two Ivy League schools haven't been entirely immune from the recession. Harvard this year reported that its endowment fell an estimated 30 percent; Princeton's, 25 percent.

"They say trees can't grow to the sky, but apparently there's no stopping college tuitions," said Jay Diamond, a managing director at Annaly Capital Management, a New York real estate investment trust with total assets of $86 billion, and member of Princeton class of 1986. "It would appear that an undergraduate degree at a place like Princeton is actually a Giffen good. As a prospective college tuition-paying parent -- my kids are in 10th and eighth grades and kindergarten -- I wish that colleges competed on price, but that is certainly wishful thinking."

A Giffen good, first observed by British economist Robert Giffen (1837-1910), is something for which demand rises even as its price goes up.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Mysak in New York at jmysakjr@bloomberg.net .

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Check out this product on Wired.com

Hello,

I found this product review at Wired.com and want to share it with you:
iRiver Clix gen 2
http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/iriver_clix_gen_2?mbid=wir_iphone_prodrev_10

For more reviews from the editors of Wired magazine and Wired.com, visit: http://www.wired.com/reviews

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Jazz

Yes

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Nashville Jazz Festival

If you are in town, check it out today and tomorrow.

Check out this product on Wired.com

Hello,

I found this product review at Wired.com and want to share it with you:
Archos 5 Internet Tablet
http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/archos_5_internet_tablet?mbid=wir_iphone_prodrev_10

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(BN) China 2009 Vehicle Sales May Rise 28% on Stimulus, Probably Passing U.S.

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

China 2009 Vehicle Sales May Rise 28% on Stimulus, Pass U.S.

Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- China's vehicle sales may rise 28 percent this
year, according to the nation's top planning agency, likely enough
for the country to surpass the U.S. as the world's largest auto
market.

Full-year sales may reach as high as 12 million vehicles, Chen Bin,
chief director of the industry coordination department at the National
Development and Reform Commission, said today at a conference in
Tianjin. U.S. sales will likely be around 10.5 million, according to
both General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.

China has boosted auto sales this year through tax cuts and subsidies
as a part of a wider 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus that has
shielded the country from the worst of the global recession. U.S.
sales have slumped 28 percent, pushing the old GM and Chrysler LLC
into bankruptcy.

"Government incentives have really helped China's auto sales this
year," said Li Chunbo, a Beijing-based analyst with Citic Securities
Co. "There's also still a lot of demand for vehicles in rural
areas."

Li added that full-year sales could reach as high as 12.5 million
vehicles. GM, the largest overseas automaker in China, last week
increased its target to as much as 12 million after doubling its own
August sales from a year earlier.

Nationwide sales topped 8 million in the first eight months, NDRC's
Chen said. U.S. sales slumped to 7.1 million as drivers pared spending
amid rising job concerns. Chinese sales of cars, sport-utility
vehicles and other passenger vehicles jumped 71 percent in July to
832,596.

Second-half sales "will be somewhat better than the first half,"
said Li. He expects stimulus measures to be extended into next year
"because the government has made it clear that the auto industry is
still important for the country."

'Cash for Clunkers'

In the U.S., the government's "cash for clunkers" rebates helped
cause a 1 percent increase in auto sales last month, the first gain
since 2007. Detroit-based GM expects industrywide sales to total 10.5
million this year. Ford's forecast is 10.5 million to 11 million.
Last year's total was 13.2 million, compared with 9.4 million in
China.

The "clunkers" program, which ran from July 27 through Aug. 24,
offered buyers of new, more fuel-efficient vehicles as much as $4,500
for trade-ins of older models.

Automakers and investors are focusing on China as it withstands the
global slump. GM last month agreed to set up a commercial-vehicle
venture with China FAW Group Corp., its third manufacturing deal in
the country. The automaker now runs all operations outside North
America from Shanghai.

Billionaire Warren Buffett has also bought a stake in BYD Co., a
Chinese maker of cars and rechargeable batteries. MidAmerican Energy
Holdings Co., a unit of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., wants to
boost its stake further, Wang Chuanfu, BYD's chairman, said on Aug.
31.

For Related News and Information: Top transportation stories: TOP TRN
China auto news: TNI CHINA AUT

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Robert Glasper, I'm digging it.

Check it out, and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

(BN) EBay Will Sell Skype Stake to Silver Lake-Led Group for About $2 Billion

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

EBay to Sell Skype Stake to Group Led by Silver Lake

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- EBay Inc. agreed to sell 65 percent of its Skype Internet-calling unit to an investor group led by Silver Lake for about $2 billion to focus on reviving sales at its main e-commerce site.

The buyers will pay $1.9 billion in cash and will also give EBay a $125 million note, the company said in a statement today. EBay, which had planned an initial public offering for Skype, will retain 35 percent of the business. The sale, this year's biggest private-equity deal, values Skype at $2.75 billion.

The sale lessens Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe's dependence on a unit that he has said doesn't fit with the rest of EBay's operations. His predecessor bought Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005 and wrote down its value a year later. Private investors will probably push Skype beyond the consumer market, said Vanessa Alvarez, a Frost & Sullivan Inc. analyst in Boston.

"They've really been making an initiative to move into the business space," Alvarez said. "That's the next step for this market."

The other investors in the group are Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital firm headed by Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen; Index Ventures, a firm that invested in Skype before EBay bought it; and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which invested $300 million. The others didn't disclose how much they paid.

EBay, based in San Jose, California, fell 46 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $21.68 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock has gained 55 percent this year.

Better Than IPO

Selling a stake in Skype is a better option than holding an IPO because it lets both companies focus on their main businesses, Donahoe said today in an interview.

Skype lets people make calls from their computers to land lines and mobile phones, as well as other computers. It makes money when users call regular phones, set up voice mail and use text-messaging services.

The service was founded in 2002 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, creators of the Kazaa file-sharing software. EBay bought the company three years later because then-CEO Meg Whitman hoped that buyers and sellers on the auction site would use the service to talk to each other about expensive items.

The founders still own a piece of software used by the calling service and have accused EBay of breaching a licensing deal. Skype told a London court in April that it may have to suspend the service if it can't resolve the fight.

'No Synergies'

Even as Skype grew, EBay didn't integrate the service into its e-commerce site. The company wrote down Skype's value to $1.2 billion in 2006.

"It has no synergies with the business," said Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. "Investors hated it from the minute it happened."

EBay announced plans in April an IPO of Skype, scheduled for the first half of 2010. Donahoe said Skype's value in an IPO may be more than $2 billion. Investors might have valued Skype at $2.5 billion at most in an IPO, Lindsay said.

"Now it's like a bird in hand," said Lindsay, who projects EBay's shares will perform in line with the market and doesn't own any.

EBay may use the proceeds for stock buybacks and small acquisitions, Lindsay said. The company is focused on improving its Internet-retail operations to stem customer defections to Amazon.com Inc. EBay bought South Korea's Gmarket Inc. for $1.2 billion this year to expand its online-auctioneering business.

Skype's Growth

Skype's revenue grew 25 percent to $170 million in the second quarter. EBay predicts Skype's sales will top $1 billion in 2011. The service added 37.3 million users in the three-month period, for a total of 480.5 million. In March, Skype started a service for business users, seeking growth beyond consumers.

The investor group's expertise in technology and corporate development will accelerate Skype's growth, Egon Durban, Silver Lake's managing director, said in a separate release.

Silver Lake, based in Menlo Park, California, focuses on investments in technology companies. The firm, started in 1999, raised a $9.4 billion fund in 2007.

The firm's investments include SunGard Data Systems Inc., Avago Technologies Ltd. and Avaya Inc. Semiconductor maker Avago, which Silver Lake bought with New York-based KKR & Co. LP in 2005, raised $745 million in an IPO last month.

Today's deal is the biggest private-equity transaction in 2009, ahead of KKR's $1.8 billion purchase of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV's South Korean beer unit, according to Bloomberg data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Galante in San Francisco at jgalante3@bloomberg.net Katie Hoffmann in New York at khoffmann4@bloomberg.net

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Hello,

I found this product review at Wired.com and want to share it with you:
Eclipse Fusion Laptop Bag
http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/eclipse_fusion_laptop_bag?mbid=wir_iphone_prodrev_10

For more reviews from the editors of Wired magazine and Wired.com, visit: http://www.wired.com/reviews

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Usain Bolt Puma Ad

Can we start seeing more of Usain on commercials? I believe this ad is only for the Caribbean stations.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

(BN) General Motors, China FAW Set Up Venture to Make Light Commercial Trucks

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

GM, China FAW Set Up Commercial-Vehicle Joint Venture

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., China's largest overseas
automaker, formed a 50-50 joint venture with China FAW Group Corp. to
make light trucks and vans in the country as it aims to offset
plunging U.S. vehicle demand.

The venture between Detroit-based GM and FAW has a total investment of
2 billion yuan ($293 million), GM said in a statement today. The
companies signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2007 and
received Chinese government approval in July, GM said.

The partnership with FAW, called FAW-GM Light Duty Commercial Vehicle
Co., will be GM's third joint venture with a local automaker. General
Motors is betting on China, its second-biggest market, for growth as
demand for its vehicles tumbled 38 percent in the U.S. this year
through July, compared with a 43 percent sales increase in China.

"The competition in this segment is fierce, it's not going to be
easy to make this venture successful," Zhang Xin, a Guotai Junan
Securities Co. analyst in Beijing, said in a phone interview.
"Neither GM nor FAW is that strong in light commercial vehicles."

Trucks and vans will be built at FAW's factories in south China's
Yunnan province and Harbin city in the north east. They have a total
capacity of 100,000 units. The construction of a new plant in Harbin
is under way and will add another 100,000 vehicles to the venture's
total annual capacity by the end of next year, GM China President
Kevin Wale said today.

Sales Forecast

The venture aims to sell between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year
and 100,000 next year, he added. It may export the products overseas
should there be demand.

GM now makes passenger cars in China with SAIC Motor Corp., China's
largest domestic automaker, in an equally owned joint venture. That
partnership, Shanghai General Motors Co., boosted sales 26 percent in
the first seven months to 345,332 vehicles, helped by government
stimulus programs aimed at spurring auto sales.

The U.S. automaker also makes minivans in a venture with SAIC Motor
and Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co. SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. sold more
than 600,000 units in the first seven months.

"GM is stronger in passenger cars while FAW makes better medium
commercial vehicles," Zhang said. "I'm not so optimistic about
this venture."

Total auto sales in China, including trucks and buses, rose 23 percent
this year through July, as the country surpassed the U.S. to become
the world's biggest auto market.

For Related News and Information: Top transportation stories: TOP TRN
China auto news: TNI CHINA AUT China auto sales: CNVSPSGR HCP M News
on GM: 3341199Z US CN BN U.S. auto industry: TNI USAUT

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