The Arc that connects us all

It was so moving to read the articles regarding Sauder’s Arc Initiative and how this program has helped countless business men and women in developing countries improve their business. By spreading business knowledge to individuals in need allows Sauder to practice their corporate social responsibility and establish a charitable and caring corporate culture. This culture is then brought upon the students in order to advocate this ethical stand and encourage Sauder graduates to make ethical decisions in their future career.

Hearing a business owner in Columbia speak about his experience with Arc Initiative was very poignant and motivational. This man was smiling and thanking Jeff throughout his entire interview and from the look of his cheerful face as he was skyping with our class, I could tell that he felt very blessed with being able to participate in Arc Initiative. He learned to “think strategically” and make “strategic decisions” which were concepts that are not taught in the country he lives in. With these decisions, he can become more profitable and improve the social standards of his local community.

 

Entrepreneurship

What does entrepreneurship mean to me?

Entrepreneur minds are risk taking, unafraid of failure, determined, optimistic, curious, creative, passionate, ambitious and natural leaders.

Employers of large corporations are looking for people who work with an entrepreneurial mindset. And why are businesses looking to hire entrepreneurs? Since it is becoming much more competitive to find a good job that pays well, employers are now on the look out for competent individuals. But how are these entrepreneurial skills applicable for job hunting? In my personal experiences with working with people for group projects, whether for school, work or volunteer, I have noticed that many highly academically intelligent people are incapable of leading a team. These people may have good grades, but ultimately, they are unproductive and clueless when thrown into situations where problems arise. These people abide by the book and are not comfortable with acting based on their intuition and gut feeling.

In this sense, I have come to the conclusion that this is also the reason why Sauder selects their students based on their potential to be successful in the business realm. And hence, I am proud to say that this is what makes Sauder students unique.

MIS and BTM integration company

10 chain-stores vs Single store

How to use IT to maximize profits in these two situations.?

Aldo’s employee of the year system – Club Elite

An example of a chain store is Aldo Shoes, a Canadian chain store that is now multinational, uses IT to accurately determine which store has the highest volume of sales and which sales associate is responsible for the majority of the sales. The top employees of the year will receive an expensive item or even a paid vacation to the Bahamas! With this system in place, employees are encouraged to sell as much as they can so that they can compete for these generous gifts. Hence, for a chain store, IT helps to maximize profits by encouraging sales.

As for a single store, such as Mia Boutique, a local business that sells formal dresses, one would expect that IT would not be a necessity to such a small business. However, with the use of IT, the business can save more time and improve productivity. For instance, ordering dresses via IT is a more efficient method that allows the business to keep compare prices, track of the number of dresses they have ordered and calculate their total bill. In essence, IT helps maximize profits by increasing productivity.

Netflix, make or buy content?

In class, we debated whether or not Netflix should make or buy content. Originally, I felt that it was a good idea to buy content such as movies and TV shows, however I became strongly convinced that making content proves to be more beneficial to Netflix in the long-run.

To access Netflix’s services, one must pay a monthly fee of $7.99 in order to access Netflix’s service. With this being said, why should we pay for something that we can stream for free somewhere online? Even though this may be illegal in certain cases, it still does not prevent the majority of people from doing so. Take for instance, the illegal downloading of music that has brought down the demand for the whole music industry. The majority of the people are still download music even though it is legal.

With making content, these shows become exclusive to Netflix and hence it is much harder to be streamed online. This is the kind of service that consumers are willing to pay for.

Furthermore, it is wise for Netflix to create TV shows because it makes consumers wait for upcoming episodes, which causes the consumers to inevitably pay monthly for Netflix’s service.

Who is a true leader?

As naive and fan-girl as it may sound: Today in class, I met a celebrity. His name is Nolan Watson and he graduated from Sauder in 2001 and ever since, this man has turned his entrepreneur mindset into one of the most successful businesses ever created by Sauder graduates. He is the founder and CEO of Sandstorm Gold a mining corporation, that makes billions of dollars on gold streaming.

 

In class, he told us his life story about his path to success. His story was so inspiring that it rendered me speechless. Nolan believes that hiring people who do not need a job and are working for the experience are the ones that are the most wanted by successful businesses such as Sandstorm Gold. It is the people who are willing to learn and grow that become the most successful. Near the end of Nolan’s inspiring speech, I felt a sudden rush of hope and determination to become successful. Now I understand why incredibly talented individuals choose to work for Nolan. It is Nolan’s modest character, strong leadership skills and unbeatable entrepreneurial mind that people choose to follow him.

‘Urthecast’ because you literally are the cast

 

An example of zoom in on a city with high definition video cameras attached onto a satellite.

When the founder of Urthecast came to visit the class, I was surprised at the fact that he was so confident about his business venture. He believed that it was a profitable investment and that the company’s target audience would be the government and news reporting companies. The government would purchase high resolution photographs and videos of disasters happening in real time and the news agencies would buy photographs to put on the front page.

However, since Urthecast offers their services for free to anyone who visits their website, a question immediately popped into my head: Wouldn’t there be a social and ethical concern regarding privacy?

In David Kuo’s blog posted a year ago (2012), he commented upon privacy concerns of Urthcast. He stated that people can be focused on and zoomed in, hence invading one’s privacy. A year later (2013), when Urthecast returned to Sauder, they mentioned that the newly designed video cameras do not have the ability to zoom in and even the most zoomed in effect would not allow the cameras to catch licence plates of cars. I guess Urthecast did encounter some ethical issues and changed parts of their original ideas.

Netflix’s methods of improving subscription numbers

Netflix, a couch potato lifestyle

In class we discussed Netflix’s potential for growth in the market. I believe that Netflix will continue to grow because they have introduced Emmy-nominated shows such as House of Cards and Hemlock Grove and the series are still running.

I agree with Mike Choi in his blog, “Reason why Netflix is Falling”, that improving customer service will aid in retaining customers. However, because Netflix provides a type of service that does not involve human interaction, improving customer service will not be as easy. I am a subscriber of Netflix and I have not unsubscribed because they are producing more and more of their own Netflix exclusive shows and adding to their movie collections, which I believe is Netflix’s way of improving customer service. One way they have improved their customer service over the years is by making Netflix very practical. They find movies similar to the ones that the user has watched! And because the service cannot be brought forward by an employee, the service itself can improve by giving customers more variety. It’s like going to a all you can eat buffet packed with thousands of choices instead of 10 choices, which one would the customer prefer?

 

References:

http://blogs.ubc.ca/mikechoi/2013/10/07/reasons-why-netflix-is-falling/

http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/netflix-shares-fall-q2-subscriber-numbers-disappoint-151362

“One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure”

Using left over materials to create other “by-products” (Aka: Recycling)

The world is now becoming more and more involved with the betterment of the environment. Companies started investigating ways to use their production process’ leftover waste and forming it into by-products which can be resold. Assistant Professor Deishin Lee of the technology and operations management department of Harvard Business School believes in the concept of By-Product Synergy (BPS). BPS “consists of taking the waste stream from one production process and using it to make a new product”. This ancient idea has begun long ago, perhaps gone unnoticed by man-kind as an important skill-set, but it quite prevalent in the study of history. For instance, the natives hunted moose, preserved the meat for winter, used the hide as clothing and the antlers for sleighs or other tools. Every part of the kill was efficiently used.

When “By-product Synergy” occurs, there may come a point where the by-product becomes more profitable than the original product. When this happens, the business will increase production in order to produce more of the by-product to improve profits. Thus, large manufacturers can potentially damage the eco-system by increasing production and producing more waste that may leach into natural habitat. So should “By-product Synergy” be attempted by all companies? Ultimately, I believe that companies introduced to “By-product Synergy” must be responsible for their actions.

 

 

References

Blanding, Michael. “Transforming Manufacturing Waste into Profit — HBS Working Knowledge.” HBS Working Knowledge – Faculty Research at Harvard Business School. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. <http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6800.html>.

How to say NO to Walmart

When my family owned a trading company back in Asia, my parents never supplied Walmart because it was not profitable. This well-known American go-to superstore, Walmart, holds such a strong bargaining power against its suppliers that “they’ve driven some people out of business who shouldn’t have been driven out of business”! Even CEO Jim Wier of large supplier “Snapper Lawnmower” has refused to to continue supplying Walmart.

Wier decided to pay Walmart’s Vice President a visit. In the meeting it was revealed that Walmart wanted to make Snapper Lawnmower go large by introducing an outdoor power-equipment business based on the Snapper brand in order to compete with its competitors. This offer, surely intriguing, was waved from Wier’s mind in an instant.

Wier believed that supplying Walmart will forecast a drop in prices and quality standards of lawnmowers, hence moving Snapper away from its luxury brand image.

But leaving Walmart, was this the right choice? Perhaps Wier could have allocated the costs by moving manufacturing offshore where labour is cheaper, or by producing a new and cheaper product line just for Walmart. But Wier has not gone back on his word since. His final gut decision to leave Walmart could inspire other companies to stop supplying Walmart before their bankruptcy.

 

 

References:

BusinessManagementDaily. “How Snapper’s CEO said ‘No’to Wal-Mart — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily.” Business Management Daily — FREE reports on business, management, leadership, career, communication, human resources, employment law, technology, and small business tax. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. <http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/24872/how-snappers-ceo-said-noto-wal-mart>.

Apple’s Speedy Response to Ethical Concerns

Say hello to the NEW iPhone 5c!

Apple fans, such as myself, now enticingly await for the arrival of the iPhone 5C/5S. But will even the most loyal of apple fans continue to support Apple with the knowledge that the prestigious company is indirectly responsible for unethical worker-abuse in one of its supply chains? Jabil Circuit, an Apple supplier in China is involved with “hiring discrimination, overcrowding, poor training, mandatory overtime — three times in excess of legal limits — and the withholding of overtime pay”. These issues certainly raises a red flag and if it is not dealt with, it may affect the popularity of Apple’s latest series of iPhones.

Luckily for Apple and its strong corporate image, this ethical concern was dealt with in a speedy manner for Jabil is “taking immediate action to ensure recent allegations are thoroughly investigated and, if found to be credible, corrected”. It is smart for Apple to give the public some knowledge that they are doing their best to resolve their labour-violation concerns because it strengthens their brand loyalty, brand awareness and becomes a good reference for their corporate social responsibility culture.

 

Reference:

Paczkowski, John . “Apple Investigating Worker-Abuse Charges at “iPhone C” Supplier – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.” AllThingsD. N.p., 5 Sept. 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://allthingsd.com/20130905/apple-investigating-worker-abuse-charges-at-iphone-c-supplier/>.