Monthly Archives: May 2007

Now That Your Recession Is Over …

In addition to buying your significant other a Diamond-Tini, you can buy yourself a Gundam Fixed Platinum. A 13 cm, 1,400 gram miniature of Japan’s famous animated robot “Gundam”, this little fellow is made of pure platinum and at today’s prices would go for over $41,000.

Actually, with today’s steadily increasing mineral and metal prices, this may not be a bad investment …

Web 2.0 Redefined

MC Hammer, probably better known for his golden sparkle shirt and parachute pants (and squandering through his thirty million dollar fortune) than his pop-rap, got a new job earlier this month: Web 2.0 Expert! TechCrunch20, the conference which alleges to put a sense of merit back into startup conferences, has declared MC Hammer a Web 2.0 Expert and put him on the panel of judges.

While good news for Hammer, it could be bad news for Web 2.0. After all, Hammer-Time came with an expiry date.

More Kudos to The Cynical Sourcerer for another assist!

CombineNet IX: Interlude – We Can Optimize Anything

CombineNet is on a quest to conquer the Optimization World! Hopefully I’ll be able to post more details soon, but for now, let’s just say that it sounds like their new slogan is “We Can Optimize Anything“. To that end, I hereby proffer* the following for their new theme song (assuming, of course, that they can get the musical rights from the Tragically Hip for Blow at High Dough [midi]).

They had a problem once … in my home town
Everybody affected … from miles around
Energy crisis … not enough silver bling
Well we ain’t no day traders, but we can optimize anything

Get it out .. get it all out
We’ll stretch that bling
Make it last, we make it last
To well beyond the market bell rings
Well the stock-car driver likes his rhythm,
  never likes the stops
Throes of passion, Throes of passion
When something just throws him off

Sometimes .. the faster it gets
The less you need to know
But you gotta remember
The smarter it gets, the further it’s going to go
When you optimize so
When you optimize so

Whoa baby you’ll feel fine
You can trust that it’s genuine
Dollars and Cents, Saves Dollars and Cents
Yeah, Every time you optimize
Nobody solves it as good as we do
It is one kick-ass tool
‘Cause we solve so fast, solve so fast
Makes everybody drool

Sometimes .. the faster it gets
The less you need to know
But you gotta remember
The smarter it gets, the further it’s going to go
When you optimize so
When you optimize so

Out in the market, same Elvis thing
But they can’t catch us, ’cause we can optimize anything
‘Cause we can optimize anything

Sometimes .. the faster it gets
The less you need to know
But you gotta remember
The smarter it gets, the further it’s going to go
When you optimize so
When you optimize so

Out in the market, same Elvis thing

* Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Getting Fit With T.G.I. Friday’s

Whereas most restaurants believe, like the American School System, that when it comes to calories, the more the merrier, T.G.I. Friday’s, as noted in this Knowledge @ Wharton article, realizes that when it comes to healthy eating it is the right portion of the right food at the right price, not calories, that counts. As a result, they have introduced the “right portion, right price” menu where they have added six new smaller entrees to their line up that offer approximately one-third less food at one-third less cost.

Even though such a move has failed for other restaurants in the past, giving the nation’s well-recognized obesity problem, as partially documented in Super Size Me and Fast Food Nation, and the fact that Friday’s is reducing prices as well as portions, there’s a decent chance that such an initiative could work out well for Friday’s, especially since they are still offering regular sized offerings at the same price.

Besides, when you note that eating is both a taste sensation and a visual experience, there is a good chance that you can always counter the American belief that “more is better” with an appropriate presentation, as some of the finer restaurants do in bigger cities. After all, recent studies (referenced in the article) have dictated that the environment (or the amount of food served) plays a large role in how much we choose to eat, so serving the right amount with the right presentation might actually work. Regardless, it’s interesting.

Demand-Side Innovation Requires Supply Innovation

Earlier this year, Optimize Magazine ran the article Demand-Side Innovation: Where IT Meets Marketing that noted that How companies market their offerings – online and offline – has as much to do with their success as the products themselves and that unless consumers can find our brands, share them with one another, and make our brands their own, we may wind up with the wrong markets, the wrong buzz, and the wrong mousetrap. Furthermore, they state that technology, not marketing, has created this new reality and that it’s technology executives, in conjunction with their marketing counterparts, who can effectively address the new market requirements.

I disagree. I do not believe that technology and marketing alone can fully address the new reality. But before I discuss why, let’s review the article in more detail.

The article indicates that a variety of forces are contributing to this new reality where a better mousetrap without a better marketing plan is like a tree falling in a forest, and highlights the following six:

  • Social Media is Increasingly Predominant
  • Online Connectivity is Critical to Offline Community
  • Online Transactions are Small, but Their Influence is Big
  • Social Networks are Critical New Channels of Media Distribution
  • Broadband is Making Online Media More Engaging
  • Immense Virtual Environments are Taking Hold

The article also discusses three business activities whose continual transformation has profound implications for businesses today.

  • Product Location may not be viewed as a community site, but much of its value derives from collaborative filtering (through user reviews and ratings).

  • Product Shaping and Branding

    Major brands are not having much luck tapping the power of social networking – word-of-mouth marketing is still the most effective promotional medium that money can’t buy.

  • Product Development

    Consumer co-creation and peer-production of products and services is becoming more common.

When you consider these three activities, the common theme is really product (or service) management, not the underlying technology. Good Product Management is at the intersection of all of the business functions, right where supply management lives. Furthermore, in some organizations, a best-of-class supply management organization is likely to have the most experience with collaboration and networking solutions, even if they don’t know it. Current sourcing, procurement, and supply chain management is built on visibility and collaboration. Thus, supply management is very likely to understand these concepts. Furthermore, the best demand-side management is worthless if the organization cannot meet the needs of the marketplace. Involving supply management from day one greatly increases the likelihood that an organization will deliver the right product at the right time in the right manner to maximize success.