Thursday, May 26, 2011

No One Is The Problem, No One Is Winning, and Everyone Is Doing There Job

Football Analogy
Imagine a quarterback coach telling the quarterbacks to get in the pocket, and then take off running. The running back coach is telling the running backs to be prepared to run a lot up the middle. The wide receiver coach is telling the speedsters that is all about being in position to catch the bomb. And the line coach is promoting the value of sticking together.

During the game, they all execute their plans based on the directives of their division. Everyone has a plan for winning the game, but they can't seem to score a point. Theoretically, everyone is right, but collectively they are wrong. In the end, the team has three options. One, they can blame other units for the collective failure. Two, they can go deeper in protectionism for their individual game plans. Or three, they can get a head coach who sets priorities among the individual units.

The game plan and priority list is all about realistically dealing with the opposing challenges, and nothing personally to do with the talent of each individual or division. This analogy is about discretion - mainly the degree to which it should be dispersed in a given plan. Priority places the ordinal context necessary for individuals and units to understand the freedom of discretion available within a given plan. Either unit plan mentioned above may work as a strategy, but the collective success will require all other units to alter what they originally planned for success.

Democracy rarely works in a social setting. It's even more difficult to execute in organizations, especially if you want to achieve certain goals.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Seth's Take on Legacy Costs

One of my favorite blogs/bloggers, Seth, recently posted his thoughts on legacy issues in organizations. For a few years now, I've been working on the best way to work new ideas in the presence of dominant legacy factors. Legacy issues are one of the two major problems with bureaucracies, goal displacement being the other. To be honest, I don't really know how to effectively deal with the drowning man holding on to the float that's running out of air. Honestly, I don't understanding the thinking in total. True, we all have our issues with legacy factors in our life or on our job, and maybe the situation is the equivalent to the story of Doubting Thomas.
My major fear for this nation is that we stall and stagnate the young leaders so much that when the obvious becomes apparent, it will be too late to effectively respond. After all, how many backup quarterbacks who sit the bench for years ever develop into superstars? Not many, if you are curious about the answer.

I guess I've reached a point of total frustration. Things are not quite that obvious now, but as Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, “In the beginning, problems are easy to cure but hard to diagnose; with the passage of time, having gone unrecognized and unattended, they become easy to diagnose, but hard to cure.” (1515)

I don't have the answer, and I'm not sure how to solve the problem. But, I do know it's a real problem.

Your thoughts.

Book Recommendation: Mojo

I very rarely look into self-help books. They typically repeat the same things. However, I have discovered an exception. In my first session with my new mentor, he challenged me with making a decision on who I want to be in the future - with some degree of detail. From this vision, we will work on charting a path, including some derivative of a SWOT Analysis. For my homework, he recommended that I read Mojo by Marshall Goldsmith. In fact, he sent me a copy of his book to read.

The book has been an enjoyable and easy read. I'm getting a lot out of the experience, and digesting a wide array of food for thought. The most important thing I've come to realize about my career/personal journey is the true lack of clarity in my mission. I've spent too much time being me to not know what I should be doing, or who I am in life.

Again, I highly recommend this book, as well as recommend that you find a mentor to keep you moving in the right direction.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

(BN) IPad Maker Foxconn Will Have Limited Effect From Plant Fire, Analysts Say

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Foxconn Faces Limited Impact From Chengdu Fire, Analysts Say

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Foxconn Technology Group, maker of Apple Inc.'s iPhones and iPads, should have limited impact from an explosion and fire at its Chengdu plant in southwest China's Sichuan province, as the base isn't a main production site, analysts said.

Foxconn makes most of the iPhones and iPads at its base in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Vincent Chen, head of Greater China technology research at Yuanta Securities Co., and Macquarie Group Ltd. analyst Daniel Chang said by phone from Taipei on May 21.

"The Chengdu plant is primarily for computer assembly and the iPad assembly is being pilot run," Chen said. "Foxconn is a very professional manufacturer and is very experienced in making adjustment in times of crisis, and the impact should be very minimal."

Terry Gou, chairman of Taiwan-based Foxconn, has been shifting production to Chengdu and other interior cities in China such as Wuhan and Chongqing, where labor is about a third cheaper than in the country's south.

Three people were killed and 15 injured in the blast that occurred at about 7 p.m. local time on May 20. Of the injured, six were treated at a local hospital and released, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The fire triggered by the blast was later extinguished, Edmund Ding, a company spokesman, said by phone. He declined to say what products the factory makes or estimate any financial loss related to the accident. Initial findings show the accident was caused by an explosion of combustible dust within a duct at the facility, the statement said.

Opened in October

The $2 billion laptop plant where the explosion took place opened in October, Xinhua reported May 20.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the flagship of the Foxconn Group, fell 1 percent to NT$103 at the close of May 20 in Taipei trading before the incident. Apple Inc. dropped 1.6 percent in New York.

The affected plant makes Apple's iPad2 tablet computers, the Economic Observer said on its website on May 20, citing unidentified company workers. Gou flew to Chengdu, the Beijing- based newspaper said, citing unidentified company employees.

Production has been suspended at the site of the explosion until the completion of an investigation, Foxconn said in an e- mailed statement May 21.

The stoppage shouldn't cause any production disruption, Macquarie's Chang said, as iPads and iPhones are mostly made in Shenzhen.

"We are working closely with Foxconn at this point to understand what caused this terrible event," Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said in a phone interview. "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy."

Dowling declined to comment on any possible supply disruptions, referring questions to Foxconn.

Police in Chengdu said they concluded preliminarily that the explosion, in a polishing workshop, wasn't intentionally caused, China News Service said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chinmei Sung in Taipei at .

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at

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Kenyatta Lovett

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Goal Displacement in Marketing

A few years ago, a local hospital network decided to run a billboard campaign that provided a real-time digital display on their emergency room wait times. While I'm sure it seemed like a good idea from someone's perspective, the concept and execution is operationally a disaster for many reason.

One, anyone in a medical emergency, more than likely, has an urgent need to get to the closest hospital. It's very rare someone in cardiac arrest would say, "Honey, look that hospital has only a 15 minute wait time. Please drive past the other two hospitals so we can go there." So in terms of driving demand, this strategy has no impact at all on establishing new sources of revenue.

Two, and possibly the most crucial reason, the real-time display also lets the public know when the wait times are not that good. So, the person driving by the billboard looks at the 75-minute wait time, and then looks at the name of the hospital, and makes up their mind that they will never go there. This is why transparency doesn't apply to everything. Somewhere in their marketing arsenal, someone is apply the wrong marketing strategy to the wrong business.

First, transparency is a good thing for government (public sector) and not necessarily for private sector operations. Second, service metrics such as wait-times in the private sector are best suited for operations that have the risk of jeopardizing quality due to overwhelming demand, like a call center. The incentive is to discourage callers from staying on the line. You don't want to discourage people from going to your hospital. True, there is a customer service component to running a hospital, but you've never seen a restaurant post their actual wait-times on a big sign in front of their establishment, the same applies for a night club.

If you ever want to kill your brand in an automated fashion, you can do it in several ways. One, you can discourage people from even trying your product/service. Two, you can attempt to promote an operational metric you can't control. And three, you encourage potential customers to try other brands that simply sold the sizzle.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cool Hunting: The 99% Conference 2011: Day One Recap

The 99% Conference 2011: Day One Recap

Our day one overview of the idea-making conference

Now in our third year, the 99% Conference speakers are a group of hard-workers at the forefronts of their fields, carefully selected by Behance and Cool Hunting for how they manifest Edison's notion that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

The 2011 line-up features 16 thought-provoking leaders taking the stage over the course of two days, including designer Yves Behar, Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, partner at IDEO Diego Rodriguez, Pixar's Dr. Michael Johnson and more. In other words, there's no shortage of information on how to break a creative sweat, and yesterday started things off with some of those great ideas on how to produce ideas, which we've recapped below.

Simon Sinek

Author and leadership expert Simon Sinek spoke to the group of nearly 400 people about the importance of trust, providing several examples on how the concept stems from an authentic set of common values. Sinek explained its significance lies in the fact that trust encourages confidence in experimentation and exploration. Proving the premise that "as a group we're pretty damn amazing," Sinek showed the power in numbers and delved into how much more successful an organization can be when they are consistent in their beliefs and authentic in their actions. The professor and communications strategist also touched on how much generosity impacts action. While there's "no equation" for this selfless sentiment, Sinek left us with the thought, "If you don't understand people, you don't understand business."

Tony Schwartz

Giving the audience a sigh of sleep-deprived relief, President and CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz explained the importance of shut-eye. Describing how you should "live life like a sprinter," Schwartz broke down some common myths about being a workaholic, explaining "human beings are designed to pulse" and that intermittent breaks yield far greater capacity for doing quality work than marathon all-nighters. Also emphasizing the importance of focus, his approach isn't to be confused with multi-tasking (or shift tasking as he calls it) since the brain actually can't do more than one task at once. Shift tasking actually disrupts the work flow and, according to Schwartz, you need to skillfully manage technology and focus on one task at hand for an extended amount of time. Summing it up with "sleep is the most important behavior in your life to get right," he advocates practicing renewal and recovery to align you with a natural rhythm that will give you the capacity to do better work.

Patrician McCarthy

Rounding out Schwartz's pragmatic approach to making ideas happen, Mien Shiang Institute founder Patrician McCarthy demonstrated how analyzing personality types can affect how you work. A professional in the Taoist technique of facial diagnosis, McCarthy gave an array of face shape examples, linking them to behaviors and explaining how to use them to find more a productive balance in the workplace. Understanding a face based on her classifications of Water, Wood, Earth, Metal and Fire helps better collaboration with colleagues by knowing their work habits.

If you weren't lucky enough to snag one of the now sold-out tickets, make sure to keep up with the action on Cool Hunting's twitter feed, the official 99 Percent feed or catch it all at the #99conf.

Photos by James Ryang

Read on Cool Hunting
Sent via Cool Hunting for iPad

Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Choices Webisode 5: Evolving | Terence Blanchard

Check out this video on YouTube:

Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

(BN) Geithner Will Urge China To Allow Higher Interest Rates, Stronger Currency

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

U.S. Will Urge China to Boost Interest Rates in Washington Talks

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will urge China to allow higher interest rates when he meets with Chinese leaders this week, as the U.S. extends its push for a stronger yuan.

Geithner will say China should relax controls on the financial system, give foreign banks and insurers more access and make it easier for investors to buy Chinese financial assets, said David Loevinger, the Treasury Department's senior coordinator for China. Officials from both nations are meeting in Washington today and tomorrow as part of the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

The U.S. is pushing for greater market access for financial firms as part of its broader effort to persuade China to ease the restrictions blamed for fueling global imbalances. U.S. officials argue that a yuan kept artificially cheap to help exporters also makes it harder for China to lift interest rates and curb an inflation rate that hit a 32-month high in March.

"It's pretty clear that the current system is hurting them in their inflation fight," said Dan Dorrow, head of research at Faros Trading LLC, a currency trading firm in Stamford, Connecticut. "The reason for that is the improperly-priced exchange rate."

China has raised interest rates four times since late last year and reserve requirement on banks seven times. The benchmark one-year lending rate was lifted 0.25 percentage point to 6.31 percent on April 5. The benchmark one-year deposit rate stands at 3.25 percent after four 25-basis-point increases since October.

The median forecast of 26 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News is for an annual inflation rate in April of 5.2 percent, down from 5.4 percent in March.

Budget Deficits

Chinese officials, for their part, blame record U.S. budget deficits for contributing to lopsided global flows of trade and investment. China held $1.15 trillion in Treasuries at the end of February, more than any other country. The U.S. trade deficit with China came to $18.8 billion in February.

Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said on May 6 that China is paying "close attention" to U.S. efforts to reduce its budget deficit, and his country will focus on improving the quality of its exchange-rate mechanism.

Geithner and Vice Premier Wang Qishan will meet alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and State Councilor Dai Bingguo at this week's meetings, which will draw about 30 top Chinese officials.

The Obama administration and U.S. lawmakers say China's currency policy gives the nation's exporters an unfair competitive advantage, costing U.S. jobs. Geithner is trying to convince Chinese officials that a stronger yuan has benefits for their economy.

'Enhanced' Ability

Geithner said last week that allowing the yuan to rise and making their financial system less dependent on government- controlled interest rates would give Chinese leaders an "enhanced" ability to damp inflation.

The Treasury argues that higher interest rates on deposits will also encourage consumer spending in China, another way to reduce imbalances.

"We're going to encourage China to move more quickly in lifting the ceiling on interest rates on bank deposits in order to put more money into Chinese consumers' pockets," Loevinger said at a briefing last week in Washington.

Investors are betting the yuan's rise may be limited over the next 12 months. Twelve-month non-deliverable yuan forwards dropped 0.81 percent last week to 6.3520 per dollar on May 6, their biggest weekly loss of the year, on speculation that China won't allow faster appreciation to reduce inflation.

17-Year High

The yuan closed little changed in Shanghai on May 6, ending a run of seven weekly gains that drove the currency to a 17-year high of 6.4892 on April 29, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.

John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, said support for a stronger yuan among Chinese leaders has increased in the past year.

"The strong hand has switched over to those who are saying that the exchange rate can help us fight inflation," Frisbie said in a telephone interview. He said his group, whose members include companies such as Apple Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Coca-Cola Co., wants China to resume opening its financial services sector to allow more foreign investment.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a report last month that foreign banks play an "insignificant role" in China.

Foreign lenders' market share in China has dropped since the government first opened the industry in December 2006. Banks such as New York-based Citigroup Inc. and London-based HSBC Holdings Plc want to tap household and corporate savings that reached $10 trillion in January as China overtook Japan to become the world's second-biggest economy.

Foreign Exchange

The U.S. has delayed its semi-annual foreign-exchange report, which had been due on April 15, until after this week's meetings. The previous report, due on Oct. 15, 2010, was released on Feb. 4 and declined to brand China a currency manipulator while saying the No. 2 U.S. trading partner has made "insufficient" progress on allowing the yuan to rise.

The yuan goes beyond the U.S. and China to become "a multilateral issue, in terms of the impact on Brazil, Korea, Thailand and India," said Edwin Truman, a former Federal Reserve and Treasury official who is now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

'Causing Trouble'

The "slow" appreciation of the yuan "relative to the dollar in an environment where the dollar is going down against other currencies is causing trouble for other countries and currencies," Truman said.

Diplomats at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue also will discuss events in the Middle East, including military operations in Libya and the ramifications of the region's popular uprisings.

Officials are likely to discuss efforts to revive six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. Negotiations between the two Koreas, Russia, Japan, China and the U.S. stalled in December 2008 and tensions flared on the peninsula after North Korea's Nov. 23 bombing of a South Korean island.

"We want to compare notes on where we stand with respect to North Korea, and we will be very clear on what our expectations are for moving forward," Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said on May 5.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rebecca Christie in Washington at Ian Katz in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at

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Kenyatta Lovett

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NYTimes: Now, to Find a Parking Spot, Drivers Look on Their Phones

In San Francisco, a phone app gives information about areas with available parking spaces.

Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett

Sent from my iPhone