business (3)

Browse Tag: business

Economy Surefire Fix Recipe (continued)

Part 2. Click for part 1.

Now would be a good time to ask me where is the fix? All I’ve been talking about so far is why we are in the mess we are in

From the entrepreneurial perspective – we have ineffective management. It’s everywhere. Not only the government suffers from this – major companies are settling for ridiculous levels of idiocy in their decisions. Probably because that’s what pays the most – immediately. In the long run, however, it’s not all that bright and shiny.

The big three automakers can’t get it into their system that people buy American trucks simply because people need them and there’s little to no alternative to them. And people buy Japanese cars because people want them – for higher efficiency and reliability for the same (if not lower) price . Out of the curiosity and nostalgia I always rent a different American car when I cannot travel in my own car. So far the experience is next to horrible. These cars have less sex appeal than President Bush and are less comfortable than a torture chair. I’ve been through Pontiacs, Fords, Chryslers and Chevrolets, varying among cars, SUVs, vans and trucks.

The outsourcing of high-tech jobs, R&D and pretty much anything where you have to use your brains damages the overall state of economy. I closely work with people who either manage outsourced teams or do clean ups after outsourcing’s epic failures. For every story about successfully outsourced project I hear two about failed ones. From the short-range-profit point of view the outsourcing is great, but when you take longer terms into consideration – outsourcing is less effective and costs just as much if not more. There’s a reason why business owners prefer working with people locally, and that is – easiness of communication, staying in touch and fast resolution of issues, which in the long run costs less than just cheap execution. Talking to someone, who’s English is a second or third language and who’s only incentive is to work for as long as they can so they can suck all the money they can will hardly yield anything useful. Besides, this is just handing our own competitive advantage to our competitors on the silver plate with a golden rim. And we are even paying for that!

So all that we need to do is create more jobs in the country. More people in the country will make money (and more people will be making more money than they are now), so the blood of the economy will start circulating again. This is not a short term solution, nor it would benefit all people at once overnight. But it’s surely a way to go.

If lawmakers, instead of passing a bailout (which reminds me of the old saying that you can’t heal a dead with a poultice) should concentrate more on having a law that will reward (with tax breaks maybe?) companies that create and maintain jobs in USA and punish those that dump them overseas. From my perspective – it’s a matter of language of the law how it’s done, as long as it’s done.

Workplace Tribe Gone Wrong

CASE STUDY: WORKPLACE TRIBE GONE WRONG (originally for Triiibes).

The place I work for right now is all about team building. At least that’s what I was told during the hiring process. Even more so, after a whole-day round of the interviews I got another call from HR and one more “team participation” interview. Given that I am coming from independent consulting background I sensed nothing wrong, until I arrived.

Among first impressions that I’ve been put through was the all-employee meeting. Most of the meeting, though, concentrated on Sales Team. They occupied first forty or so rows of the expensive conference hall while pretty much everyone was happily dozing in the back. The whole talk was about the sales team and the finance team. They made good tribes, I guess.

Then, after much talk-around, the Q&A session ensued. One of the hottest topics was the cancellation of “casual Friday”. Turned out – many employees considered this a valuable perk (I used to wear pretty much anything as long as I got the job done the previous 10 years of my career, so I didn’t really took note until now). The CEO proclaimed that “yes, you don’t wear jeans on Friday anymore and let me tell you – you look great today”. Ask me – that sentence alone alienated exactly half of the company’s employees. Those, who don’t belong to sales and finance, made faces and whispered comments. Obviously, we all were sitting too far away for CEO to take note. As to the sales team – they have to wear their uniforms every day (even on Saturdays), so it’s not like the “casual Friday” policy was affecting them in any way before or after.

Being a newbie in the company I did a lot of asking after the meeting – talked to my peers, colleagues from other departments, even managers. What I was inquiring about can be essentially put as this: “Is the behavior this whole tribe exhibited during the meeting something regular or is it something new that no one really had a chance to get used to”. As I figured out – this was the first attempt to divide the large tribe into smaller ones and conquer only those who’s performance really mattered.

As I retreated into my smaller department tribe I realized that the reason why the divide and conquer paradigm worked pretty well for CEO is that because interdepartmental ties are quite similar to medieval relationships between city-kingdoms: “we’re not invading them because we can’t really keep that part of the land occupied”. Such truce-because-we-can’t-wage-war relationships are the reasons why any tribe can be divided and conquered into any number of smaller parts. And those are so much easier to take over…

Domain Names At Large

While everybody raving about the latest ICANN initiative to create their own little wild wild west (or Klondike) selling root zone domain names not that many people realize the impact it will do on the surfing as we know it.

So far, here’s what ICANN plans to do:

  • allow registering of any primary domain zone (.istudioweb, .microsoft, .yahoo)
  • allow registering primary domain zones in national character sets (like cyrillic, chinese, etc.)
  • allow trademark holders to have a priority in registering a zone
  • set the price in 6-numbers area, or auctioning zones, so that cybersquatters will not be able to afford it

Now let’s take a closer look at this bright picture. As of right now everyone agrees that .com is the only widely recognizable zone for commercial domains. If I look at mybusiness.com, mybusiness.info and info.mybusiness domains – I’m sure to point my browser to the first one – because it is recognizable and this is what I am used to. That’s just before everything else comes to mind. Now – back to bulletpoints.

Primary Domain Zone

Aside from the state of mass confusion, there will be a bunch of zones that won’t really give you much. I’m sure Google will have its .Google zone to make me visit http://mail.google, http://news.google and http://images.google, but would be any different then GMail, Google News or Google Image Search? Not really. So what’s the benefit for me as a visitor? Zero.

If we’re talking about an unknown (at least to me) brand, then it gets worse. If I see a link to auto.zone – will I get to a car dealership or an automated malware distributor? Again, for me as a consumer the new domain zones create a big fat layer of confusion, while adding little (if that) to convenience of browsing.

National Character Sets In Domain Names

This is very good idea for scammers of all kinds. After all – what could be better then luring an unsuspecting american capitalist to the web site that spells “we-steal-credit-cards-from-americans.russia” in cyrillic alphabet, full with 0-day browser exploits and viruses. More words – more fun! And scammer’s friends will be aware not to visit this site. Convenient, eh? Additional benefit – there is no way such a victim can warn others, since there are no such letters on his keyboard. And ICANN gets paid for this!

Trademark Holders To Have Priority In Registering Zones

The latest grudge over trademarks that I recall was iPhone and Apple. I’m sure by the time this gets available, there will be much more trademark holders then there are domain zones. By the way, who are trademark holders of words “dating”, “pharma” and “sex”? That would be a rich crowd…

Pricing In 6-Digit Area Or Auctioning

This is the biggest pile of nonsense I’ve seen since the “American’s weren’t on the Moon” thing. Imagine a small business that wants to own .widgets. By setting the price anywhere higher then $10,000 ICANN makes damn sure that this small business is out of the game. Who will buy it then? Cybersquatters, ofcourse, who already selling domains for thousands of dollars and therefore command sums much larger then any small business can afford paying for domain name.

Now, let’s say I have enough money to register that .widgets zone. Then I would offer second-level names to anyone in widgets business. For reasonable amount of $100/year you can register JonDoe.widgets and be a proud owner of your domain. After two years when your web site is widely recognized by search engines, I decide that I don’t want to sell names on .widgets anymore and you will have to find yourself another domain name. The .widgets zone is my property, so I do as I wish. Then I set up a placeholder on JonDoe.widgets with a lot of ads and affiliate links and voila – you just brought me thousands of dollars for free. No, wrong – you paid me $200 (plus applicable text) so that I could make thousands off of your web site. Nice, eh?

To wrap up the rant – imagine if yet another ICANN’s initiative was to write IPv6 addresses in Roman numbers, instead of hexadecimal notation. More words – more fun, right?