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Sunday, 18 December 2011

my short comment/blog re Another View: MF Global's Corporate Governance Lesson - NYTimes.com

Another View: MF Global's Corporate Governance Lesson - NYTimes.com:

Must read article.. below are my thoughts:

Surely, a well nurtured and fed \"compliance officer\" who has not got a board seat nor power could no do much, except raising alarm bells.. given the culture of even most CTO and senior most HR officers do not have board roles, means that this will not change anytime soon.
What is worst is that the capital market is veered towards tactical maneuvers to produce short term results, especially for main market listed major corporations..
It is no wonder that all we hear about is mis-use of funds, write-downs etc. after over expansions and bad acquisitions...
Surely what market needed is senior executives take on 'personal' liabilities to their decisions, in this case, like a Mr. Corzine LLP fund... then if his personal net-worth is in fact at risks.. by the decision he makes (& of course awards also), he would definitively be actively seeking AND taking heed of the feedback from the Chief Risk/compliance officer..
Reward must comes with equal amount of risks.. Sadly the present capital market is such that there is not that linkage anymore and every entity is aiming for the short term gains...
Sadly, all these better monitoring and ratios are still after the fact and trying to 'predict what has happened'.. what the whole capital market world desperately need is a 'predictive' eco-system, which sadly most 'power that be' are preferring the status quo.. can we blame them??
Unlike most of the top guys, these common sense approach can arguable be reach by only joe-blog like me who is not pondering from Monaco nor the Hamptons..
In short, we need a fundamental shift to the mindset and indeed the value chain before anything can be done, the well nurtured and fed compliance officers will then play a major role then, but sadly not before, as they are at present more to do what is asked & to keep the regulators happy.
Warmest seasons greetings to all.
Best regards
@GarethWong
Founder of GamBond®
(starting a new 'industry default risk'category)
http://gw.cxovip.org



"Ultimately, this is not about what really happened at MF Global between Mr. Corzine and the firm’s former chief risk officer. We will leave that to Congress, the regulators and, probably in the end, to the judicial process. Not every corporation loses track of $1 billion of customer funds; but just about every corporation has a compliance or risk officer function. So, the practical lesson from this mess is the risk associated with mishandling the compliance officer relationship. Or, more directly, the need for corporate leadership to be sensitive to the “care and feeding” of the compliance officer. For, as the news reports make so very clear, the cost of failing to do so is very high."

Thursday, 8 December 2011

typical, divergence of short & long term view in China “淘宝大学”今天的创业将成为以后长期的失业 -四川在线-天府评论 & “淘宝大学” 一场短视教育的赌博

“淘宝大学”今天的创业将成为以后长期的失业 -四川在线-天府评论:

This story relates to the YiWu college (http://www.ywu.cn/) who has nickname of being TaoBao University (equivalent of ebay university), it is not training for people to work for TaoBao, but using the TaoBao system to run business.. typically buy low sell high type of trading.

the above story described how short-term the view is, if students are only trained to use the present platforms to do lifestyle business (mostly using manpower vs systems) rather than building for the future/big business, it argued that they will become unemployed/unemployable in the future.

another similar story: “淘宝大学”, 一场短视教育的赌博 where it is even saying it is in fact a 'gamble' to study there..

This is very typical the challenge in China, where, the power that be might not be in the position of power long, hence they are most likely to be making 'non controversial' decisions.. to re-position the college to teach 'entrepreneurial' activities would have been a big 'leap of faith' already (I don't know the history) but in order to pass that, and get the trustees/owners to say ok, no doubt they position and customise the course in such a way that it is understood.. i.e. doing businesses on TaoBao.. it would seem that (I did see a Phoenix TV program on this topic) this was really the case, where a small proportion of students (better performing) are selected to join the more exclusive entrepreneurial course, where literally, students are encouraged AND expected to maintain their online store, source, distribute and send off orders during and after lectures.. some successful students would hire others to assist them.. more successful they are, more work they have, more things to manage, and less time to sleep NOR study... NOR relax..

for some in europe, this would be a dream course .. but not sure if they would have the dedication to make that happen...

the better way, some might argue (like the two articles above) would be to educate and train a 'well rounded' entrepreneur and get them ready for the wider world and able to create another TaoBao rather than 'using' TaoBao..

However, this does not address the key issue, i.e. what are the students capability/potential, what they could do, and what market may need (like a proper MBA)... but all these discussion might be meaningless, as those small percentage of successful entrepreneurs (apparently 7 out of 95) were and still probably are very happy and they might already are hiring most of the co-horts...

therefore, if this was the case, it might be a brilliant course for others to adopt not only in China/Asia but also rest of Europe and indeed UK... as it solves a big problem: Job creation!

big challenge in the western world is that the work force has been 'numbed and disincentivised to work by the benefit culture (vs workfare of US). as a result, people just are NOT driven to work.. see my previous blog based on a Sunday-times article by broadcaster John Humphries.

in short, it is a good 'problem' to have for Yiwu students, gamble or not gamble!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Solution to social cohesiveness/breakdown... "workfare"..!? Shameless Britain | The Sunday Times

Shameless Britain | The Sunday Times:

Make sense.. but sadly no politician brave enough to do anything about it!

must read.


"So we’re back to perverse incentives. When Beveridge wrote his report in the 1940s he saw a nation in which there were vast numbers of people who were desperate to work if only they could get a job. Now there are many who have no incentive to get one because they are better off on benefits. The Centre for Social Justice, which was set up by Iain Duncan Smith, the welfare secretary, calculates that the number of households in which no one works has doubled over the past 15 years."

"What happens in a rich country when the government decides the benefits system is too generous? When Bill Clinton was president of the United States he said what no British politician would dare to say: America would “end welfare as we know it”. He declared a revolution. Instead of welfare, Americans would have “workfare”. Instead of the state paying its citizens to be idle, the citizen would have to find work. If not, the state would find something for them to do. And if they didn’t like what was on offer — sweeping up leaves, perhaps — then that’s just too bad. No work, no welfare."

Monday, 5 December 2011

True, we should not loose hope, us 'oldies'... The case for old entrepreneurs - The Washington Post

The case for old entrepreneurs - The Washington Post:

Must read.. great article.

"Jones found that the average age at which Nobel laureates performed their prize-winning work, and the average age at which inventors had their great achievement, were both 39. The largest mass of great innovations in knowledge came in an inventor’s 30s (42%), but a substantial amount also came during their 40s (30%), and some (14%) came beyond the age of 50. Curiously, Jones found that the average age of innovators is rising. Over the last century, the average age of greatest achievement for both Nobel Prize winners and great tech inventors rose by about six years. Since 1985, it was 45. In fact, in both physics and chemistry during the past two to three decades, very little Nobel Prize–winning research has been done before age 40."

"Do people stop being creative as they reach middle age? Ben Franklin certainly didn’t. He invented the lightning rod when he was 44. He discovered electricity at 46. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence at 70, and he invented bifocals after that. Henry Ford introduced the Model T when he was 45. Sam Walton built Walmart in his mid-40s. Ray Kroc built McDonald’s in his early 50s. Some of the most creative people of the century were also not young. Ray Kurzweil published The Singularity Is Near in his 50s; Alfred Hitchcock directed Vertigo when he was 59; Frank Lloyd Wright built his architectural masterpiece, Fallingwater, when he was 68. And let’s not forget the greatest innovator of recent times: Steve Jobs. His most significant innovations—iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad—came after he was 45."



Friday, 2 December 2011

nine-seat van, whose seats had all been removed, was crammed with 62 children (teacher & 15other ppl died), Getting to School Safely -- Beijing Review

Getting to School Safely -- Beijing Review:

ACCIDENT SCENE: Rescuers work at the site of the traffic accident in Qingyang, Gansu Province, on November 16 that killed 19 preschool children and two adults (XINHUA)


Very sad!!

Incredible!!!


"At 9:15 a.m. on November 16, a van collided head-on with a heavy truck in Yulinzi Town, Zhengning County in Qingyang City. The van was shuttling children, accompanied by a teacher, to a private local kindergarten, and was driving on the wrong side of the road.

The saddest part of this accident is that the nine-seat van, whose seats had all been removed, was crammed with 62 children. The bus driver and four children were found dead on the scene, while the teacher and 15 other children died after being sent to hospital.

"

'via Blog this'

24th E/MBA club event with Paul Wong, MD UK Bosch security systems

by Paul Israel November 2011

Thanks for Paul Wong EMBA01 support!


photo

I thought I knew Bosch, I was wrong…

Bosch is everywhere... 60% of Bosch may be in automobile components, but this is just a bit of the story.


My new-founded respect for my extra-ordinary Bosch hedge-trimmer reflects a lot of what Paul Wong (EMBA 2001) told us on the 18th October in the EMBA club.


In a lively, highly inter-active presentation, with a fair dose of humour, Paul described the M & A process that Bosch security division went through in acquiring the UK/ Canadian company Extreme CCTV.


It was a surprise to us all, that Bosch was the fourth largest R and D spender globally and second in Europe through its 320 companies, and 281,000 employees, just under half of whom are in Germany, and 4,920 are presently based in the UK, including Paul's division - Bosch Security. Perhaps most surprisingly, like the giant Swiss Wilmsdorf Foundation (Rolex and Swatch), Bosch is 92% owned by a charitable foundation, really allowing it to think long term in its approach, though clearly it thinks and acts as a profitable organisation.


Bosch aims for 8% annual growth, of which 3% is to be by acquisition and 5% organic growth, which Paul says since the 2nd world war it has consistently achieved.


Paul was happy to report his appropriate use of CASS acquired skills (IRR/ NPV etc) on the valuation process in the Extreme CCTV acquisition, and the way Bosch grows by acquiring various young companies where through its in-built resources; it can offer scalability, economies of scale and global reach. Bosch also needs no external advisors as it has a very sophisticated in-house M and A division.


Extreme had a very interesting range of CCTV products, and Paul described how Bosch can "age' products in their lab to test for durability, they rebuilt the product so it could offer better scalability. Paul was frank in the aftermath of the recession in 2008 much of the supply chain for Extreme CCTV's units was in chaos and this was one element of due-diligence that could have been better.


We were handed around two very heavy products to see, ranging from £2k upto £25k these are the cameras to "watch over us" predominantly by the police and councils.


Paul also showed many of the new products coming soon, devices in your Mercedes that tells the car what the speed limit it, if it is slipping lane and helping night vision that seemed extra-ordinary and additionally security devices that covered fences and alas no stop parking spaces that will automatically hit you with a ticket! Perhaps most remarkable was the technology for the police that could quickly scan footage for say a red car, saving countless hours of work, and potentially lives in searching for terrorist suspects.


Paul concluded by saying in the fourth year, after re-designing the core extreme products it was now hitting positive cash-flow and delivering the full value it promised.


Cass resident M &A guru, Scott Moeller - of course - led on the entertaining questions.


Next time I am in the garden easily addressing any weed problems through my Bosch mini- hedge trimmer, I can be safe in the knowledge that the product testing and development can only have been second to none...


++++


Fellow City/Cass MBA who fancies joining future E/MBA club: http://CassAlumni.org


more pictures: http://cassalumni.net/Bosch/

Teenagers & kids should watch this, hope you can listen to the last comments.. Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars - 60 Minutes - CBS News

Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars - 60 Minutes - CBS News:

Teenagers & kids should watch this, hope you can listen to the last comments by Aerielle... be grateful & thankful with what you have, as it might be last time you have that.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7389750n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBox

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

very thought provoking,more ugly=better leaders!? lets all check ourself & others!?? "How Earlobes Can Signify Leadership Potential -HBR"

How Earlobes Can Signify Leadership Potential - Harvard Business Review:

hhmm.. this is very thought provoking indeed.

do you have your own head shot?? check it out on: www.Anaface.com what are your score!??


"Subtle asymmetries aside, most research shows that facial symmetry conveys beauty and can help boost careers. How symmetrical is your face? To find out, upload a headshot toanaface.com. Here are three CEOs’ results (a perfect score is 10):

Charles Schwab, Charles Schwab: 8.43

Margaret C. Whitman, Hewlett-Packard: 8.25

Jeff Bezos, Amazon: 6.93"



"But our research shows that people with subtle asymmetries—for example, imbalances in ear or finger length—are often better “transformational” leaders, able to inspire followers to put self-interest aside for the good of the group. Furthermore, teams they lead outperform teams whose leaders have more-symmetrical bodies.

These findings add a new twist to the debate about whether effective leaders are born or made. We believe it’s not asymmetry per se that positions people to be good transformational leaders. Instead, we argue, these individuals’ childhood responses to others’ perceptions shape them for success.


"

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 24 November 2011

why I still trust & support & keep on using @BlackBerry/RIM (Just! but what might tip me to search for alternative) with pictures..

I have been a crackberry user since RIM/BlackBerry started to move from pager into mobile.. some pictures of our his & her phones below (yes I convinced my other half to use it also due to constant travel, time zones management etc.) below are some thoughts of why I am still supportive of BlackBerry so far but some warnings/concerns for what might tip me/us over.

Why I still like/trust BlackBerry and still aim/want to use it until I have no choice:

1.) Security, the multiple layers of securities, 2much to name, but for those that don't know, if anyone try my pin too many times, and got it wrong, my trusted BlackBerry will erase itself (does not erase the media card though, you thief can still get my hands on my 32GIG of music!)

2.) timezone management, it is a breeze, especially for those weekly (not as much now) in 2/3 timezones, it is a godsend, when we can schedule/check/compare/accept/reject what is demand of us.

3.) totally secure BBM, device & device communication via PIN, despite having 2 technical degree, but without disclosing the standards (perceived weakness now on part of RIM), idea is that our BBM messages is totally secure (despite it is sometimes used to organise family schedules...)

4.) pretty high capacity contact database (mine is now running locally on the RIM at 22,700+ contacts/14meg of data [yes a good proportion of top guys/CXOs, but a lot of not so important like myself]

5.) Precise device, i have not seen any other device that has all the keyboard shortcut AND "autotext" feature that I can use to reply and essentially type paragraphs without really typing it, brilliant!

there is one more but I am not listing ..

when it works, the blackberry rarely crash, i have to admit it is doing more these days but it is with combination of other reasons highlighted below, namely bab 'device memory management' and of course before the almost 1 working week failure, the BlackBerry network rarely crashed!

All-in-all, now that the system is working again, unless something tip it over, I am happy to keep on using blackberry and happy to still recommend them.. with caveat that redundancy is addressed. (but of course the system wide failure could have been a DDOS attack by group/faction/government but RIM cannot publicly admit to the vulnerability, and if so, my sympathy is with them, we have seen that in the gaming technology forum, and they should get in touch with me and maybe share some best practice with RIM).

In order to break the inerstia and for me to ditch oure his & hers:



1.) still bad memory /device management: I personally think RIM has been trying to please & be everything to everyone... despite keep on increasing gigabytes to device and SD card memory, I think the management is still rubbish, and hence we have to pay/buy indpendent application to 'manage' the memory.. now to do it pre-emptive, I also have to daily use these applications, why oh why I have to pay for them and update is beyond me, RIM just buy these companies will you!? : * memory booaster * Battery Saver * Back light * Quick Pull *

2.) blackberry applications, both RIM's own and 3rd party via the app world, sadly there is NO control of the quality but most importantly the size and efficiency of the applications what so ever!!! all typically will double in size everytime the software needs upgrading (2meg to 4meg). it has become ridiculous, so I do not update them, you knew that we will not have space for your free apps, right?

3.) reliability, there has been half day or a day or so breakdown here or there throughout the last 10+years but the last 4days outage was not acceptable. even if blackberry/RIM is not disclosing the reasons, it should be putting all R&D and efforts into making sure that it will NEVER happen again, go and get help if you don't know how... get this sorted!!!

my suggestion is to get better marketing help and strategic positioning, you have great product and just need to improve more and I hope I will still be using you in the coming years..

honest feedback is difficult to hear/listen to, like harsh words from parents for their flesh & blood.. hope this is taken positively.

I really don't want to search ....

photo


signing out
@GarethWong

Jackson Hole, Wyoming copied in China’s Wild West - By Megha Rajagopalan | Foreign Policy

China’s Wild West - By Megha Rajagopalan | Foreign Policy:

Jackson Hole, Wyoming replica in China for the riches..
very interesting indeed.
suggest reading the article and also checkout the website:

http://www.yxmlj.com/ (it does look like spam but its short in chinese!)



Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Understandable, my comments re Why Big Corporations Are Putting the Brakes on Social Media | Blog | Daily Dose | Entrepreneur.com

Why Big Corporations Are Putting the Brakes on Social Media | Blog | Daily Dose | Entrepreneur.com:

there might be good reasons for this.

IMHO, social media engagement need to be top down, rather than bottom up.. especially for big corporations, as social media executives would need to be 'empowered' to engage, escalate, and hopefully resolve potential challenges.. (otherwise, it would just be lip service, which would be counter productive, and created many faux pas..)

but in big corporations, the leaders are generally not really that 'secure' (unless they founded the firm and/or have majority ownership, i.e. tenure not certain, but even so, maximum 3-6years) ... thus, opportunity cost dictates that they should put most energy into

1.) growing the company top & bottom line (esp. for listed firms)
2.) doing the internal & external politics
3.) looking at doing more M&A (either for real growth or to confuse market/shareholders)

than investing into social media..

and sadly, bigger the firm, the more 'old school' the leaders are.. some top guys I know now still don't do their own emails, but with their daily schedules managed down to 10/15minutes slots.. therefore, not likely they would be able to use let alone understand the need of social media...

At the end of the day though, surely this is great opportunities for the smaller/mid size firms as they can use social media to level the playing field.

in fact this is a great status quo, maybe not so for the sudden arrival of multitude of social media experts/gurus who are trying to sell their services.. ;-)

just a thought.

@GarethWong

@CXOEurope

Sunday, 6 November 2011

New study on environmental impacts of MSC programme published , News — MSC

News — MSC:


Of course, some might argue this might be biased (comes from news release of MSC..)

but IMHO, whatever can be done to help & make a sustainable ways of fishing would be very important!!!

Mrag graph

"Fisheries engaged in the MSC certification programme show progressive improvement in environmental performance from pre-assessment through assessment, certification and post-certification, an independent analysis published today shows.

Fisheries showed both quantifiable environmental changes, such as improved stock status and reduced bycatch, as well as increases in knowledge and certainty about ecosystem impacts. This trajectory of improvement was documented through changes in key indicators of environmental performance starting at pre-assessment and continuing through and beyond certification.

"

'via Blog this'

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Robert Hughes, Jr.: The Long-Term Effects Of Divorce On Young Adult's Intimate Relationships

Robert Hughes, Jr.: The Long-Term Effects Of Divorce On Young Adult's Intimate Relationships:

very interesting indeed.

"This finding means that one of the key factors in fostering the long-term well-being of children of divorce is through strengthening positive parent-child relationships. For this study, a positive parent-child relationship was more important for women than men, but the importance of these adolescent relationships should not be overlooked as we think about programs and policies to foster the long-term health of children.

"

'via Blog this'

Monday, 24 October 2011

my (no doubt insightful) comments re: 'Groupon Is A Disaster'

'Groupon Is A Disaster':


Henry, your comment is fair, but sadly the fundamental proposition of Groupon is sadly wrong.. as I eluded to in the previous private tweets via @GarethWong (a real negative of tweets due to it focuses on real time mainly, does it get archived anywhere!?)

but I did finally blogged it as comments on @pedHub here: http://garethcxo.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-response-prediction-pehub-depressing.html

In short, yes, by all means give Groupon (& other startup) time, but since it is so easily emulated and it mainly rely on 'next deal' (& not return business from vendors' PoV), very much like a bottom feeding investment banking model.. which any investment banks can tell you it does not and will not work. Look at the all the deaths of multitudes of 'boutique' advisory/research firms that spring up after the credit crunch.. most lucky ones have returned to work in big banks now.

however though, this is not to say people cannot make money from this uncertainty and 'money making opportunity' of Groupon listing.. I would say for certain that VCs that already has a piece to the investment banks that are advising, to the really savvy investors who can buy and sell 'soon enough'... sadly though, there will be quite a bit of tears going forward when the IPO comes though. that is my gut feel and I hope I will be wrong in this one.

Good luck to you all.

@GarethWong

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Healthy Eating, Calcium and Milk: What's Best for Your Bones and Health? - What Should I Eat? - The Nutrition Source - Harvard School of Public Health

Calcium and Milk: What's Best for Your Bones and Health? - What Should I Eat? - The Nutrition Source - Harvard School of Public Health:

I do like milk, but its eye opener to be sure that we will be drinking with eye wide opened..

now you know its potentially cancer inducing & maybe better to eat other calcium rich food.. suggest you read that article above!

Also check out the
"Start here to learn more about the new Healthy Eating Plate, created by nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health, in conjunction with Harvard Health Publications."

Healthy Eating Plate (healthy-eating-plate-565.jpg)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Power of Persuasion

The Power of Persuasion:


The Power of Persuasion

good list of BEST 5 from @mashable 10 Excellent Examples of Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns [VIDEOS]

10 Excellent Examples of Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns [VIDEOS]:

we are all very busy.. but suggest you click through to see full list above.

otherwise, below are the best five I have selected...

For simplicity & Scalability in B2C (using technology like Wifi), you gotta learn from this:



Most useful for low budget people, car stickets for insurance website:



Social/charity issue like helping raise awareness & money for clean water (UNICEF):




Interesting list indeed. the first one was best..

not sure if airport authority sanctioned it.. what do you think??

sadly don't think it is even doable now in 2011 post 9/11.





like this for appealing to the 'greed' of people:

Thursday, 29 September 2011

any Acid tests? Davies report on Women on boards, Feb 2011 (pdf)

Great summary below from 30% club:

Fact of the matter is, if boards are aware of the material impact on the bottom line having women on the board.. then surely the competitive pressure and opportunity cost would mean they would also want to appoint women!??

of course if there is also a good pool of talent around! or am I missing something!?

"We welcome the recommendations contained in the Davies Report, published in February 2011, which calls strongly for concerted voluntary action by UK companies to redress the gender imbalance of UK boards.

The report requires that all Chairmen of FTSE 350 companies set out the percentage of women they aim to have on their boards in 2013 and 2015. FTSE 100 boards should aim for a minimum of 25% female representation by 2015.

Furthermore, all CEOs are required to review the percentage of women they aim to have on their executive committees in 2013 and 2015.

The deadline for announcing these goals is September 2011."



'via Blog this'

Amazon Kindle Fire’s Silk browser sounds privacy alarm bells | Naked Security

Amazon Kindle Fire’s Silk browser sounds privacy alarm bells | Naked Security:

food for thought indeed.


"It sounds as if Amazon will install a trusted certificate in the Silk browser allowing them to provide a man-in-the-middle (MITM) SSL proxy to accelerate your SSL browsing as well.

As Amazon is a US based company this would enable a US court order to intercept and record your secure communications.

Fortunately Amazon will support an "off-cloud" mode for Silk. This lets users opt-out of the benefits of using EC2 while retaining the traditional privacy benefits of connecting directly to remote web sites.

While most of us roll our eyes when confronted with long privacy policies and pages of legalese, privacy risks lurk around every corner. If you buy a Fire device, think carefully as to whether your privacy is worth trading for a few milliseconds faster web surfing experience.

"

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I would like to argue its 1) Vision, 2) balls & then 3) courage! CEOs Need Courage - Jeffrey Pfeffer - Harvard Business Review

CEOs Need Courage - Jeffrey Pfeffer - Harvard Business Review:

I would like to argue CEOs would need:

1) right Vision first,
2) then balls to make it happen
3) & then courage to stick to it as this article mentioned!


"One might think that in a world of soaring CEO salaries, the high pay would have produced innovative and courageous leaders who both know and do the right thing for the long-term well-being of their enterprises. But that's not what goes on. For the most part, CEOs hire outside experts to help them benchmark — as though you could benchmark your way to the top. And they pay way too much attention to business pundits and analysts who are great at commenting on what has gone on but poor prognosticators of the future (if I had a dollar for every person who has written Apple off in the past as being irrelevant in the market, I could retire).

"

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Pew Finds Many Children Fall Out of the Middle Class as Adults - The Pew Charitable Trusts

Pew Finds Many Children Fall Out of the Middle Class as Adults - The Pew Charitable Trusts:

"Those who are divorced, widowed or separated are more likely to fall down the economic ladder than those who are married.

If men and women raised in a middle-class home obtain education after high school, they are less likely to be downwardly mobile.
"

very interesting read.
suggest you check out the full report pdf.

Monday, 12 September 2011

catastrophe insurance vertical hit (naturally) UPDATE 1-Australia's QBE cuts insurance margin fcast, shares hit | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Australia's QBE cuts insurance margin fcast, shares hit | Reuters:

plus other verticals within insurance/re-insurance being hit, it is surprising that not much visible efforts been done to look for 'new markets'... it is surely a bit strange!? ;-)


"Large catastrophe claims for the financial year to date came from storms and a cyclone in Australia's Queensland state, storms in the state of Victoria, other storms in Australia, New Zealand's Christchurch earthquake, the Japan earthquake and eight major tornadoes in the United States.

QBE is not alone. Global insurers including Travelers Cos (TRV.N), Allstate Corp (ALL.N) and MetLife (MET.N) have also warned of difficulties following an unprecedented start to the year for the industry. [ID:nN10172421].

"

'via Blog this'

Saturday, 27 August 2011

My comments re: THE APPLE INVESTOR: The Changing Of The Guard. What's Next?

my comments to the post above.

Acid test would be the next 3-5yrs..

gut feel is that no one (Tim included )cannot replace Steve.

Tim can sail for 1-2yrs max on tailwind of what Steve's put in place, remember, running a ship is very different from pioneering it to uncharted territories and managing (in some case squeezing/coercing) partner boats along the way by sharing the pioneer's vision AND Faith of where the destination is...

Industry dynamics dictates that it would also depends on whether the PC & mobile industries can get their act together AND collaborate and take down the beast of Apple (in some of their eyes, but for some Church of Apple) whilst during the transition..

One thing is for sure, it would be interesting to watch, hope Tim can still be the captain in 3 years time, good luck & god bless to both Steve & Tim indeed..

A still not yet Apple user (I did buy the at the time top of range 40G iPod, used few times as backup HD whilst travelling)..

@GarethWong

Friday, 26 August 2011

Future of gaming & media (converged entertainment) & social network (Facebook): @Guardian ITV signs gaming deals for Simon Cowell's Red or Black?


This is a very significant piece of news for the converging entertainment sector (media+gaming) for multiple reasons. Because if the show is a success, it will provide:

1.) Strategic incremental source of income:
Media & rights owners are all looking for sustainable incremental revenue in addition to creating & selling new AAA formats (given the state of media fragmentation & decreasing of traditional advertising revenue)

2.) opportunities to find /define the right business model(s) for the converged gaming entertainment category

(media sector has been looking for hits like "Deal or No Deal" for years.. what they need is something more fundamental, like a 'black box' that can be added to program to easily monetise and bring value= that can easily be replicated across international markets in terms of interactive engagement & business model.) Do note that even Facebook is now accepting gaming dollars this week!

3.) a bridge to bring "trust & confidence" between media & format owners AND the gaming gambling sector.

[i.e. Simon Cowell's Syco (production co.) and ITV Studios were looking to have partnership with Camelot (UK national lottery) but since that discussion broken down, they settled with Gamesys (who has long experiences of partnering with published newspaper and media brands already...]

ITV has its unique challenges... since the closure of ITV Play due to PRS (premium rate services) scandal (despite it earned reportedly £26m within six months of launch, on Guardian 5Mar07!), and after a then new chairman Michael Grade come & gone (with Adam Crozier in power, but despite"ITV turns the corner but still needs direction for the future (1Aug10)". ) Therefore, ITV is desperate to find the 'next big thing' in supplementing cash flow without jeopardising their brand/trust with consumers.

Given the above piece of news, no doubt the whole media & entertainment sector worldwide is watching with eagle eyes to see "Red & Black"'s launch & results with muted excitement (no doubt secretly hoping it will be successful, but not that successful.)

Acid test that Red & Black will prove itself in terms of combination of:

A.) ratings & big draw of audience AND interactive participations..
B.) technically resilient (as no doubt it will need to scale up)
C.) the revenue model and expectations of not only viewers (participants) are managed & met
D.) being done responsibly given the previous history of PRS...

E.) given early success of A-D, we will see a lot of copy cats from other production companies (maybe via other formats) or indeed coming out of brands and might even host the games on their corporate B2C website (note the news above or on excerpt below that it will not be on the ITV.com website as yet! arms length still)

F.) as & when likes of Virgin Games (existed since 2006) ramp up, the basis of competitions for the hearts & mind of the consumers will be very much different indeed (or indeed from other trusted brands in the local market, how about "Saks fifth avenue's Black & White weekend" or "BBC coin flips for charity"...

We might not need to wait too long to find out!! let the Big Boy's games begin!


===

"ITV strikes deal with gambling company Gamesys and social TV firm Monterosa for paid-for and free games based on show"

"ITV has signed deals with two companies to produce a range of free and paid-for games based on Simon Cowell's new big-budget primetime show Red or Black?.

The show, which will be fronted by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, gives contestants the chance to win £1m on the spin of a wheel.

ITV has signed a deal with online gambling company Gamesys to produce a series of four pay-to-play games based on the branding of the gameshow.

The games – called Red or Black Slots, Red or Black Instant, Red or Black Hi Lo and Red or Black Stacks – will be available at www.jackpotjoy.com.

The games will be promoted with a TV ad campaign and will cost from 5p to 50p to play. They will not be made available through ITV.com." Please do refer to full story above link or here.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Convergence of On&offline, the only real opportunity! Google agrees to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion - latimes.com

Google agrees to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion - latimes.com

forget about the valuations etc.

key is future cash flow and how to protect it..

only way is to create/buy and protect IP .. more offline business (manufacturing, distribution/brands) the better.. yes, sometimes (short-term) it does not make sense from valuation and shareprice point of view.. but hey, it make perfect sense now to 'change the game'..

this is a brilliant start, and hopefully others will follow..

Now the next challenge is how best to do the post merger integration AND re-invent oneself... golden standard would be how to beat apple at its game..

Google may have a chance here .. but as offline tech.people might be able to remind google the buyer, MOT might not have been best in creating user friendly solution (despite technically very competent and one of the market's best!)..

It will prove to be interesting indeed. I for one want more choice vs. IOS/iPhone/iPad..

@GarethWong


Sunday, 14 August 2011

old but applicable still! one should adopt "drip feed of non-linear selective programming" 4 future generations! on documentary Starsuckers - YouTube

Starsuckers - YouTube

Totally recommend for sure, still as applicable and timeless despite the latest development with the Murdoch empire!

It has not given direction as to a solution though! which is what can be done to protect our future generations!? drip feed of non-linear selective programming I would say..

and add 'tonnes of salt' on whatever one hear/listen/watch.. and try to educate oneself on whatever the issue.. may we live in interesting time!!


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Must read! very insightful GroupM China and CIC identify ‘Luxury Voice’ in Chinese Social Media

GroupM China and CIC identify ‘Luxury Voice’ in Chinese Social Media:

this is fantastic insights..
click through above 4 more.

"Showing-off as Top Buzz Driver
A ‘Shai‘ culture has evolved with the development of the luxury market in the digital world, and is mentioned in 90% of the conversations on brands. Essentially, to ‘Shai‘ is to show-off your good taste and purchasing power.

Chinese Consumers are ‘in the Show’
Currently, Chinese netizens can be considered ’in the show‘ phase of enjoying luxury brands. That is to say, consumers are ready and willing to show off their purchasing power but they still lack the know-how to leverage brands to create a stylish and sophisticated lifestyle."

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Real danger of "surface water flooding" for London, London Assembly report on For a Rainy Day | Greater London Authority

For a Rainy Day | Greater London Authority:

London Assembly's report on Flooding for London! watch below video of Darren Johnson, Deputy Chair of Environmental Committee, London Assembly:



"Recommendations
The Committee says the Mayor should:
Ensure surface water flood risk information is publicly available, alongside information for householders of what they can do if they are in a flood risk area.
Extend a funding scheme for green roofs to include other forms of sustainable drainage and use sustainable drainage, if possible, in GLA group property.
Retain and show a plan to achieve his target to restore 15km of rivers in his Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
Support a call for water companies to be able to work directly with householders to correct misconnected drains.
Take steps to identify and secure funding for work to reduce flood risk in London."

finding something positive & delivering from prison education..? @PBS How to Succeed in Business by Really, Really Trying | PBS NewsHour | PBS Video

How to Succeed in Business by Really, Really Trying | PBS NewsHour | PBS Video


George perez, after serving 12yrs of drug dealing & homicide "apply same negative energy & revert it & change into positive energy for anything!"

Max Kenner, BRAD Prison Initiative, "Its not a good thing we find such extraordinary talents in this situation, it is a tragedy"...

Maybe something can be learnt from this positive story for UK & Europe??



Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

My comments, 3KSFs (Key Success Factors) re peHUB » TALK BACK: Will Google+ Displace Facebook?

peHUB » TALK BACK: Will Google+ Displace Facebook?:


As promised to @laragon /Lawrence, I will comment to one of the PeHub post soon... hope this fulfils my promise. ;)

I think to adopt the Buddhism motto, "everything is meaningless" could be a good approach, .. let me explain:

especially in the online/startup world (hight capital expenditure world of telecommunication is different), due to their nature, even likes of google, facebook and even microsoft could change their business/direction/products/T&Cs on a drop of a hat... what does that mean to users and or loyalty??

as the Google+ might just be the favourite new baby daughter now (& google labs!?) how soon would the public sentiment/expectation change (and boy they do!) and then the new service becomes the ugly sister that no one want to know?

Therefore, unless and until one of these system/product(s) become so integrated with our OFFLINE lives that we cannot live without them (literally), then, that product/services would be the winner..

As otherwise, everything is meaningless.. as the barrier to entry is not that high (in the online world), loyalty is limited (especially for startups or even subsidiaries of big corporates, Apple excluded), and there will ALWAYS be the next favourite daughter of the month..

Ultimately, winner probably exhibit all of the following:

1.) when the taxi /cab drivers are talking about the product, NOT ONLY as a fad but USING such service actively/daily

2.) service move closer to the money/cash flow (guess google checkout is one? more powerful than buying virtual goods via facebook for example, yes hardcore gaming live or die by their virtual lives but that is considered as 'addiction' which is typically single % of target audience)

3.) networking effect sets in that target NOT only online communities but also rest of the population, including the old ladies in the mall /local markets (who probably do not yet use internet but has a mobile only..)

but then again, thats only from my tinted boring glasses (my typical medium to long term view..), as I don't look at short term sadly, a good example, I observe each start-up a year before I use them (blogger.com , twitter etc.) .. not sure if I should be proud to say that I joined facebook using my business school email address before the free for all now.. (I did wait!)

Based on my above thought process then, I would probably bet on Google+ though (despite i do not use it yet!)

@GarethWong


"Now, we’ll watch over the next 24 months as each of these Internet titans slug it out for the title of most dominant social network. The brewing brouhaha also leaves plenty of questions, and that’s where you come in, dear readers: Who will win? And, is the title of “top social network” a permanent role, or one that is bound to shift every few years to the “next big thing?” Also, what is the impact that will be felt by businesses dependent on Facebook’s and Google’s reach for their advertising and subscription revenue — who will be winners and losers?"

Monday, 25 July 2011

My comments re: Real Business - Dragons' Den 2011: seven facts you didn't know

Real Business - Dragons' Den 2011: seven facts you didn't know

One need to look at this as 'entertainment', and take everything with a pinch of salt.

If you look at company house, there are hundreds of entrepreneur/companies that are bigger than the so called dragons.. and if you take into account of the rest of the europe, and worldwide, this is definitely a small fish in a small pond.. but hey it is great entertainment for some, and why not!? (thankfully for us, most just focus on doing & growing their own businesses!)

I was approached when the first season to pitch, but it was limited to max £25k and I already told them that it would be self selective to lifestyle business..

Dragon's den certainly serves its purpose:

1) raise profile of potential companies that has thought through business/product plans (most sadly have not, and no doubt for 'fun' of the ruthless panelists)

2) message egos for the dragons, some needed more than others

3) create a great format for rights owner/producer(s) in the appropriate countries..

sadly as per mentioned above, if you are a serious business, you might as well follow the normal channels (Angels/VCs/PEs) and they would not be as greedy as the so called dragons.. and they would have more respect for you behind closed doors, and not to dress you down as entertainment for the world to see...

Of course though, it is self selective, as I know for sure given the chance, some CXOs would be confident enough to give the dragons a run for their money & give them right "dress down", but they would not waste their time doing that for sure.. Life is too short, why teach other people's children?

good entertainment for sure, as good as "true blood" of the Business World, BUT without Anna Paquin & other semi-decent babes sadly..