Archive for December, 2010

Not all Asians are “Asians”

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The article The Enrollment Controversy, originally titled “Too Asian?” published by Maclean’s Magazine sparked overwhelming response. From the article, the majority of respondents attacked Maclean’s because “it was suggested that by publishing this article, Maclean’s views Canadian universities as “Too Asian,” or that [they] hold a negative view of Asian students.” However, Maclean’s defensive response was that although it is obvious that the trend of accepted Asian applicants in Canadian Universities is increasing, it is fair because their acceptance is merit-based, regardless of race, and should be the sole criteria for selecting applicants, and Maclean’s attacks American universities as they “find the trend toward race-based admission policies in some American schools deplorable”.

Quotes from the original article include:
“Asian kids, meanwhile, say they are resented for taking the spots of white kids.”
“That Asian students work harder is a fact born out by hard data. They tend to be strivers, high achievers and single-minded in their approach to university.”

Myself being a third-generation Chinese Canadian, with parents born and raised in Vancouver, find those quotes, particularly the latter, offensive and stereotypical. My black hair, brown eyes and petite stature are the extent of my Asian traits. When traveling, I am constantly asked “Where are you from?” with my response being “Canada”, which immediately prompts, “No, where are you FROM?”  I am not the cookie-cutter Asian the article addresses; my Chinese is horribly embarrassing and rice in my household is a monthly, not a daily, occurrence. The fact that I got accepted into UBC’s Sauder School of Business is not because of endless nights studying in highschool, but rather my school and community involvement, athletic achievements, and hard work. The key to my success was balance, and Maclean’s was wrong for racial profiling.

On the flip side, the article does present some valid points. There are many Asians that fit Maclean’s description. There is nothing more frustrating than being put in a group project with someone who is obviously smart, or else they would not have gotten into UBC, but lacks all other aspects in which the business world is depended upon, in addition to the English language. While American universities take race into consideration, particularly with the acceptance in Ivy League schools, it is understandable because they want a well-rounded group of individuals; however, to generalize all Asians as “Asians” is wrong. This applies to the business world because while business leaders are to be intelligent, they must also be relatable, assertive, and personable.

Innovative Aritzia

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

When the store Aritzia is mentioned, I immediately think trendy, fashionable, and quality. When I approached my dad, his response was trendy, noisy and over-priced. At least we can both agree Artizia is trendy. Founded in Vancouver at Hill’s of Kerrisdale in 1984, the thing that makes the store such an innovative success is its core values: they are strictly all about selling clothes, with the customers as their first priority. Their top operators, including Aritzia’s CEO, takes a hands-on approach, managing and retailing the stores not from an office, but from the stores themselves. Aritzia’s innovation stems from the majority of their merchandise being their own design. Even more, Aritzia houses brands such as Community, an ethical brand that uses organic and sustainable materials, appealing to the growing environmental-conscious women.

Check out Aritzia’s Holiday Gift Guide.

In my opinion, I love Aritzia’s culture because walking into a store, I am always greeted warmly by the associates and am constantly being helped. Sometimes it gets annoying, something about being approached every couple seconds to ask if they could take my items and start a room is irritating, but it is definitely better than the alternative – we all know too well getting frustrated in a store where sales associates are scarce. True to my dad, the price tags are a tad on the steep side but I feel that the environment and experience of Aritzia is worth it; I never feel let down purchasing Aritzia merchandise.

Source: Aritzia’s Wong ensures company’s focus is on customers from The Vancouver Sun.

Groupon gets complicated

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

With the launch of in late 2008, coupons are a thing of the past. Starting off as a simple idea by CEO Andrew Mason, Groupon has boomed into a multi-million dollar online entrepreneurial success and is available to markets worldwide. The company offers one “Groupon” deal per day, and the retailers it partners with use Groupon as a sales promotion tool, hoping to attract customers. In exchange, Groupon receives a cut (50%) from every discount purchased. Groupon’s undeniable success in the past couple years has caught the attention of Google Inc., who has made an offer to buy the company for $6 billion.

One of Groupon’s best features is it’s simplicity. The site offers one deal a day, specifically personalized to your city. Whether that deal be two-for-one dinner deals or 90% off helicopter tours, consumers are either interested that day, or find themselves leaving the site.

However, lately I have noticed changes about Groupon. An avid shopper myself, I’ll admit to receiving Groupon’s “Daily Deal” emails. One special a day is all I can handle – it keeps it simple. Now, Groupon is adding features such as the “Holiday Gift Store” on the site where the deals last longer than the traditional one-day promotions. These confuse me as there are just too many deals to look at now. As I mentioned previously, I am not afraid to shop online, and therefore I find myself falling far too hard for these – dare I say it -unnecessary deals.

The most recent change to Groupon is the unveiling of its Group Stores. Now, individual stores set up their own online specials and customers will be able to follow deals for their favourite stores by subscribing online. The company hopes that this strategy will contribute to its long-term growth. This idea scares me as I will not be able to resist a good sale from one of my favourite stores, and I already know that all the emails will only confuse me. Quite frankly, I’ll be the first to admit that I miss the simple daily deals.

Source: Will Groupon’s expansion plan appeal to fans?

UPDATE 12/04/10:
Groupon Is Said to Walk Away From Google’s $6 Billion Acquisition Offer

KIK Messenger… BBM for everyone?

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

BlackBerry Messenger, more commonly referred to as BBM, has become an instant hit among the teens and young adults of our generation. The perks of BlackBerry’s instant-messaging application include the instantaneity of delivered messages, making it quicker than texting, unlimited delivered and sent messages at no charge, and the exclusivity to BlackBerry owners. The application’s famous symbols that appear beside a message, a “check mark” for sent, “D” for delivered and “R” for read are patented by RIM, and thus give BBM and BlackBerry an important point of difference and a valuable asset.

According to the article RIM launches KIK instant-messaging patent suit published in the Globe and Mail, Kik Interactive Ltd, a popular application developer, created an app virtuously identical to BBM, and made it available to all smartphone users. This way, along with BlackBerry owners, the Iphone and Android users can also enjoy this application cross-platform. No longer are BBM’s features exclusive.

In Research In Motion gives Kik Messenger the boot, the famous issue of ethics is addressed. Though RIM blocked the application from BlackBerry App World, Kik’s CEO argued that their messenger application would benefit everyone – all smartphone and BlackBerry users alike as it will “enrich their users” and “everybody will win”.

If BBM is BlackBerry’s its most attractive point of difference, I believe it to be unethical for another company to produce something so similar; yes, Kik created their own messenger to stay competitive, but myself being a BlackBerry user, perhaps I am being biased in saying so, but I think applications such as BBM should stay exclusive to the brand. RIM thought of the idea first, everyone else can use text messaging.

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