Category Archives: Market Intelligence

Twenty One More Things That Will Kill More People Today than COVID-19

In yesterday’s post, dedicated to all the Chicken Littles and Ostriches who are either running around like a chicken with their head cut off or just burying it in the sand, we pointed out EIGHT (8) things (way) more likely to kill you today than COVID-19. Today we’re going to point out 21 more things. Now, if every single person in the world contracted COVID-19 (which is really not likely giving the infection severity to historical pandemics), we will admit that things could be really bad, but as long as sanity (and not the mass hysteria perpetrated by the media prevails), the likelihood of that happening is small and the best thing to do is what first world countries are doing — “quarantine” the hot zones, check people entering or leaving borders or areas near hot zones that display the appropriate symptoms for COVID-19 (which goes beyond temperature, as dozens of maladies can affect your temperature), do the same in hospitals, and employ old fashioned common sense.

Over on Spend Matters, the prophet asked us to retain sanity and stand by our brothers and sisters trying to persevere through these hard times, and we have to thank him for that. We’d like to call out and give props to ProcureCon Indirect Europe 2020 in Berlin for staying sane (they aren’t in a hot zone) and moving forward with the appropriate levels of precaution. This is what SI believes most events and operations far enough from hot zones should do — take precautions, move ahead, and offer web streaming for the small percentage of people who might not be able to come or might not want to come given their risk tolerance. Yes, events might be smaller this year, but it’s important to show support so that they can be even bigger and better when this is all over. And while those who can’t attend won’t get the personal interaction, nothing is to stop the vendors from holding a few smaller half day to day events in select locations to add the one component that doesn’t translate as well over web conference. (And since most venues allow for some increase/decrease in size without much penalty with smart negotiation, as the vendors that push forward won’t be absorbing a huge loss, they should be able to afford to invest more in enabling their customers to grow professionally without as much travel.)

Anyway, to help you put things in perspective, as of now, here are 21 more things more likely to kill you today (based on average daily death rate)!

Respiratory Diseases & Lower Respiratory Infections 17,500
Dementia 6,750
Digestive Diseases 6,500
Neonatal Diseases 4,750
Diarrheal Diseases 4,250
Liver Diseases 3,500
Road Injuries 3,250
Kidney Disease 3,250
Tuberculosis 3,000
Nutritional Deficiencies / Malnutrition (Hunger / Starvation) 1,600
HIV/AIDS 2,500
Parkinson’s Disease 900
Drowning 800
Meningitis 750
Alcoholism 500
Drug Addiction 450
Conflict (War) 350
Hepatitis 300
Fire 300
Poisonings 200
Extreme Temperature Exposure 150

And, as a bonus, we will remind you that you are still more likely, as of now, to die from a:


So again, if you really gotta worry about something, do what I do and worry about a Mother-F*ckin’-Snake on the Mother-F*ckin’-Plane!

Dear COVID-19 Chickens and Ostriches …

No one likes you. No one likes the fact that you are disrupting global commerce, trade, and information exchange on pure FUD — fear, uncertainty, and doubt. No one likes that you have no logic or common sense. And no one likes that you can’t think for yourself and won’t do anything until a bigger company does so you can try to deflect the blame onto them.

Stop listening to the press that feeds off of FUD and start listening to the scientists and the facts.

1) No one really fully understands how COVID-19 spreads and who will get infected, but we do know it’s ability to spread is not as bad as SARS and that it is not even as bad as some strains of the flu that have been with us for decades.

2) The mortality rate for this global pandemic is quite low, especially among healthy adults … it’s really the young and the old that need to be concerned (and they don’t have the need to travel much anyway as they should be in school or retired). In fact, at the current mortality rate, for the death toll just to equal the mortality rate of the GOOD OLD FLU just in the USA in the 2017-2018 flu season, the entire population of China and over 1/3 of the population of neighbouring India would have to be infected.

3) More people die of snake bites every day than have died from COVID-19.

But, most importantly,

4) Unless you are in a hot-zone with a high concentration of cases, as of NOW, wherever you are is statistically no worse than anywhere else. And if you have any understanding of viruses at all, you know that due to delays in testing, over focus on borders, and no real tracking in certain developed countries until very recently, it’s already everywhere and THERE’S NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT THAT. This leaves us two choices. Business as usual. Or shut down the entire world for three weeks.

More people will still die of the good old fashioned flu no matter what you do. So stop acting like a cross-breed between Chicken Little and an Ostrich — if you are even contemplating that you are going to shut down an event, operation, or anything else, just do it right now as no one likes having plans upheaved at the last minute — not you, not your customers, not all the providers who were depending on your business (and turning away other business because they booked you), and definitely NOT your insurance company that is going to get thousands of claims they are NOT going to honour because your FUD does not constitute force majeure.

5) Here’s what you should be worrying about:

CANCER This F*CKER still kills over 26,000 people a day. (Even if the entire world contracted COVID-19, CANCER would still kill more people this year.)
HEART DISEASE This Other F*CKER still kills over 24,000 people a day. (It will also kill more people than COVID-19 would if the world were infected.)
DIABETES Over 4,000 people a day. And the number continues to rise over time.
SUICIDE Over 3,000 people a day without extra FUD and reasons to be depressed. The FUD around COVID-19 is probably pushing more people over the edge than the physical damage the virus is actually doing.
MOSQUITOS These blood suckers are infecting over 2,500 people a day with deadly diseases.
HUMANS We murder over 1,300 of our brothers and sisters every day … and those are just the documented cases!
THE FLU On average, over 1,000 people a day globally, but as many as 1,500 people a day in bad years!
SNAKES Over 130 people a day. If you really gotta worry about something, worry about a Mother-F*ckin’-Snake on the Mother-F*ckin’-Plane. *

Now it’s time to find a clearing, take a deep breath, and calm down. Then wash your hands, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you do, and avoid slobbering perfect strangers (and definitely their dogs) until you know where they’ve been and the pandemic is contained (through declining numbers, better treatment options, and a vaccine).

(And, more importantly, think about what would happen if our medical professionals acted like many of you are right now!)

Personally, I dread Pneumonia and Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) more. Having had the first many times and a few very bad variations of influenza, until we get something at least as bad as SARS, I’m going to remember what Douglas Adams told us: DON’T PANIC. Panic accomplishes nothing. (After all, as the Brits would say, if you’re gonna die, you’re gonna die, so you might as well Die With Your Boots On!.)

* Snakes are as terrified as you when they are trapped in enclosed spaces outside their habitat, and while your impulse is to try and flee when backed in a corner, theirs is to attack YOU! Given that you are trapped inside a small space where you can’t move and aren’t allowed to take a snake stick on-board …

PS: Comments are disabled, mainly to prevent the need to moderate the hundreds (or thousands) of hate messages that will inevitably be left by the uneducated, press following, masses who (given election results in first world countries over the last few years, number in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions and)
a) refuse to think for themselves (but will stumble upon this blog as they have to read everything Corona Virus / COVID-19 related) and
b) will believe the doctor is an evil, uncaring, psychopath because he wants to bring logic to the situation. It’s not that the doctor doesn’t care, he’s just fed up with the fact that every time something new comes along, we forget about the tens of thousands of people dying EVERY DAY from diseases that are going to be around for decades more if we keep ignoring them.

PPS: the doctor used to just think that university degrees, logic tests, and psychological profiles should be necessary to run for public office … but is now getting to the point where he’s thinking it should be necessary before you are allowed to use the Internet. The fake news (that internet hosting companies can not be made responsible for even when such news is pointed out to them**) is bad enough. But the disinformation is getting more dangerous than reality itself!

**Thanks to section 230 and what turned out to be the the 26 words that created the internet. (See this recent article on The Verge or Jeff Kosseff’s C-Span video, for example.)

Tailoring in 2020 …

Even though bespoke tailoring didn’t come into vogue in the UK until the early 1700s, the modern art of tailoring is an age-old practice that dates back to at least the 1200s when skilled garment makers would make custom attire for the royalty in their realms. These tailors would provide a “made to measure” service would insure that each garment, original and unique to each customer, would fit perfectly.

Tailors understood the value of service, so the question is, why don’t your platform providers. They all promise the perfect fit, but most don’t deliver. Why?

Well, there are a slew of reasons. Many providers claiming to be Procurement 3.0 are actually still delivering hacked together 2.0 solutions with limited capability and even more limited customization. But will this change?

With some providers, especially those with platforms with true 3.0 foundations who are embarking on completing their journey with the hopes of someday embarking on the Procurement 4.0 journey (which right now is unobtainable* despite the proclamations of the futurists), it will.

Platforms will not only be more configurable, but they will be configurable by you and, more appropriately, as they get more complete, and smarter, they will begin to adapt to you. Smart assistants will learn your grammar and usage patterns and immediately guide you to what you ask. Augmented intelligence will provide you insights you need where you need them … not 3 reports and 6 drill-downs away from where you need the insight.

Basically, what we are saying is, now that we are into the third decade of stand-alone best-of-breed Procurement technology, it’s time that the technology works for you. No longer should you be burdened with technology that makes you work for it. So when you are looking for a platform, look for one offered by a tailor, not by a one-size-fits-all milling machine.

* For reasons that we’ll discuss in the near future …

Sustainability is Getting the Buzz …

… but will it get the buck?

By now it’s very unlikely that you haven’t heard the recent news about Ecovadis getting a 200 Million investment to spread its sustainability ratings to a larger audience … both directly and indirectly through its ever-expanding partner network.

And while it may be the case that momentum towards a more environmentally and societally focused economy has been building for years, that doesn’t mean that it’s here. It doesn’t mean that an organization will put their money where their data is and actually choose the most sustainable supplier for the award.

After all, the last few surveys that have been done asking buyers how much more sustainability is worth to them in real dollar terms have continued to demonstrate that while buyers want ethical and sustainable companies and products, they aren’t willing to pay much more for them. A few percentage points, tops.

And with inflationary times back, this means that companies are still under pressure to keep costs down to sell in addition to keeping profits high to keep the shareholders happy. This leaves little room for a move to a costlier supplier, even if that supplier is much more sustainable.

After all, unless the organization is willing to stand up to its investors and take a profit hit in the short term to embrace a new sustainability agenda (which WILL pay off in the long term as lack of non-sustainable resources causes everything to go up in price), all that is going to happen is that the buying organization is going to use the sustainability data to choose the lesser of two or three evils, not the most sustainable organization that will generate the greatest benefits over time.

And despite the hopefulness of companies like EcoVadis, and their investors, the doctor doesn’t think that tipping point has been reached yet, or that we are even close. However, the need to look like you’re doing good is growing, and making statements about the use of independent data on sustainability and ethics helps you look good (for now, anyway), so it is a good time to be one of the few, big, global players so the doctor does project continue growth for Ecovadis, even if the companies that subscribe to the data aren’t using it the way that they should.

One Reason Why PE-LED M&A May Be A Good Thing

M&A Mania seems to be at an all-time high! It’s crazy days and crazy nights.

But as per a classic post from 10 years ago, sometimes there’s something to be said for private equity

and the ability to tell Wall Street to take a hike!

Ten years later, the situation described in a classic piece on the intersection of Wall Street and Private Equity with the Supply Chain from the Supply Chain Digest still exists. And sometimes, the situation is even worse.

To jog your memory:

… one large retailer had the opportunity recently to save an expected $50 million from a supply chain network redesign project, included shifting from a number of smaller distribution centers to larger ones. The project had a great ROI and the capital was available — but the company delayed the project just because of the potential for Wall Street to view the project as too risky operationally and financially …

There’s wanting a good return on assets and there’s pure stupidity. And sometimes, all VCs and Wall Street care about is pure stupidity! The best returns come from a long term outlook, not a current quarter outlook.

So PE inspired acquisitions and roll-ups might actually be a good thing. But of course, only time will tell.