Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The 10 Best Lines From the Apple-Samsung Trial

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

After three weeks of testimony, the federal trial in San Jose pitting Apple (AAPL) and its iPhones and iPads against Samsung (SSNLF) and its Android phones and tablets has resulted in a big win for Apple. It may prove to be just another battle in the endless war over mobile technology property rights, but the trial did churn out some memorable quotes. In no particular order:

“Since it is too similar to Apple, make it noticeably different starting with the front side.”
Internal e-mail citing notes from Samsung’s senior designer out of a meeting with Google officials, who requested changes in Samsung’s devices.

“In addition to my formal analysis, I had the experience of being confused.”
—Apple witness Susan Kare, who designed the “happy Mac” icon, testifying that she confused a Samsung phone for an iPhone at a pretrial meeting.

“Wouldn’t you agree that by the time the consumer turns on the phone, and goes through the steps we looked at, seeing the Samsung sign prominently for several seconds, that the consumer knows it’s a Samsung phone?”
—Samsung attorney cross-examining Kare.

“Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth.”
—The “crisis of design” memo written in February 2010 by Samsung executive J.K. Shin, cited by Apple as proof the iPhone helped shape Samsung’s design. Samsung said it was intended for motivational purposes.

“My recollection was that the breast feeding had to come to a stop.”
—Samsung designer Jeeyuen Wang, describing how she slept two to three hours a night while working on the Galaxy S phone, and the effect of spending so much time away from her newborn child.

“I mean, come on: 75 pages! 75 pages! You want me to do an order on 75 pages, [and] unless you’re smoking crack, you know these witnesses aren’t going to be called when you have less than four hours.”
—Judge Lucy Koh responding to an Apple lawyer’s request for a late crush of witnesses.

“It is inconceivable that Mr. Jobs, CEO of Apple during a portion of the relevant time period and inventor of the ’949, ’678, D’087, D’677, D’270, D’889, D’757, and D’678 patents, actually had so few e-mails on issues in this case and none between August 2010 and April 2011.”
—Samsung, arguing to the judge that Apple was withholding e-mail evidence it requested.

“The kids refer to it as the bellybutton. It’s an innie.”
—A Samsung lawyer’s suggested name for the iPhone home button. Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller testified he had not heard that before.

“The content is jittering spasmodically.”
—Apple expert witness Karan Singh, describing on-screen tablet behavior that Singh claimed shows patent infringement.

“I need everyone to stay conscious during the reading of the jury instructions, including myself. … We’re going to periodically stand up, just to make sure we’re all alive.”
—Judge Koh before reading 109 pages of legal instructions to the jury.

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Mark Zuckerberg Vs. Mark Zuckerberg

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Facebook has set its legal hounds on Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder could be forgiven for having a slight identity crisis now that Facebook has been forced to send a cease and desist notice to Zuckerberg, asking him to delete his profile on the social network. Confused? Perhaps it’ll make more sense if I mention this: There’s more than one Mark Zuckerberg in the scenario.

The Zuckerberg who’s being threatened with legal action is an Israeli businessman formerly known as Rotem Guez, who changed his name to that of the more famous American businessman on December 7 in the latest in a series of strange Facebook-centric decisions. Not only has the newest Mark Zuckerberg already threatened to sue Facebook after the site shut down an earlier account he’d created under the name–way back in January this year, before he was “officially” Zuckerberg–but he’s also faced legal threats from Facebook for the creation of a company called “Like Store” that claimed to sell Facebook “Likes” for brand pages.

On his personal website,, Zuckerberg 2 has shared the most recent communique from Facebook’s legal team (they continue to refer to him as Rotem Guez), which states that the company is continuing to “gather evidence detailing additional illegal activities” that NewZuckerberg is participating in, adding that Facebook “takes the protection and proper working of its network very seriously and is committed to keeping Facebook a safe place for users to interact and share information” and requesting that he confirm in writing that he will no longer access Facebook, nor develop any business offering related to Facebook in order to avoid “whatever measures [Facebook] believes are necessary to enforce its rights, maintain the quality of its site, and protect its users’ privacy and information.”

Zuckerberg’s response? He’s attempting to create a viral campaign painting himself as a wronged party, of course, which doesn’t seem to be going so well judging by the comments on his site: “The ultimate troll,” writes one visitor, while another writes “God, what a coward.” Hey, at least he can claim to share Internet hate with the real Mark Zuckerberg.

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Categories: General

Do Your Research Before a Job Interview

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

You hear it all the time from career experts: “Research the company before you go into a job interview.” But what does that mean, exactly? Here are some tips on using the Internet and tapping your network to gain information and insight that’ll improve your interview answers — and help you ask the right questions.

The Company’s Mission

Your prospective employer’s Web site is a great place to see the company as it wants to be seen. Look for its mission statement — something that outlines the company’s values (perhaps on an About Us or similar page). Then consider how the position you want relates to that mission. Also think about how your experience and background have prepared you to support the company’s goals. Don’t parrot a mission statement back word for word, but do let it inform your discussion.

Recent Company Achievements

While you’re at the company’s site, look for a Press Room or Company News page that links to recent news releases. (Or simply search the Web for news about the company.) Then think about the long-term implications of this news — not only for the company, but also for you when you get the job — and prepare some questions about the news if that makes sense. Your well-informed conversation may be a critical factor in your interview’s success.

Your Interviewers

If the company site has a search tool, use it to search for the names of the people you’ll be meeting. You may find bio pages or
press releases that give you insight into their most visible activities at the company. Then look to LinkedIn or do a general Web search to get some more background information about them. You might find some common ground (for instance, a shared alma mater) you can bring up in conversation, or a recent professional achievement for which you can pay a compliment.

What to Wear

The company’s Web site can also help you determine how to dress for the interview. Are there pictures of the executive team? If they’re all wearing dark business suits, you should probably dress very formally. If the CEO is pictured wearing a T-shirt, business casual is probably fine (though you’ll rarely want to dress more casually than that).

The Industry

Next, learn what general-interest publications, trade publications and blogs are saying about your employer and the industry as a whole. Search national publications for news on major corporations; use hometown newspapers to learn about small businesses or local industries. Depending on your field, you should be prepared to discuss your industry’s financial prospects or other industry trends.

People on the Inside

People who already work at the company are another great source of information — they can give you insight into business
initiatives, corporate culture and even personality dynamics. Start on LinkedIn to see if you have any connections — but don’t stop there. Look to professional organizations and alumni organizations you belong to, and ask friends and relations if they know anyone who might have information to share about your prospective employer.

Research Yourself

Now that you’ve found out everything you can about the company and the people who’ll be interviewing you, Google yourself — you can be sure the interviewers will be doing the same. (If you have a common name, use your name and city or your name and
industry as the search term.) First, make sure that everything a Web search reveals about you presents you in a good light. Then prepare to discuss the search’s top hits — they might just come up at your interview.

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Categories: General

Eight Bad Work Habits

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

When you’re considering goals for yourself, don’t forget to examine your work life. What changes could you make to become a more productive and pleasant colleague?

Experts offer this list of common bad habits at work — and how to break them:

Planning Poorly

Do you spend your first hour at work wondering what you should work on today? “So many people, when they leave their
office at 4 to 6 p.m., really have no clue what they’re going to do first thing the following morning,” says Glenn Davis, president of the Next Step Group, which recruits sales and sales management professionals for software and other companies. It’s more efficient to plan your next day before you leave work.

Spending the Day in ‘Email Reaction Mode’

Answering every email as it comes in may make you seem responsive, but it’s not productive. “You feel like you’re being a hero because you’re dealing with all your email,” says Valerie Frederickson, CEO & founder of Valerie Frederickson & Co., an HR executive search and consulting firm. “But it has nothing to do with achieving your goals.”

Abusing Work-from-Home Privileges

Yes, you save time when you work from home by not commuting. But too many people are easily sidetracked by the laundry, their kids or a quick errand. “People like to say, ‘I get so much more done'” working from home, Davis says. And some do — but not everyone. If you work from home, make sure you’re putting in a full day’s work — and that you’re accessible to your colleagues during the workday.

Putting Personal Life Before Work

Everyone has emergencies from time to time. But it’s annoying to have to fill in for the colleague who is late every morning because he’s checking on his home-remodeling project, or who misses an entire afternoon because he scheduled a routine dentist appointment for 1:30 p.m.

Being Late for Meetings

People who show up 5 or 10 minutes late for a meeting cause a “domino effect,” Davis says. Meetings later that day may be thrown off schedule because the earlier ones ran late. And people who show up on time feel their time is being wasted.

Not Taking Care of Health and Hygiene

Leslie G. Griffen, an HR consultant and career coach, is often hired by companies to approach an employee who doesn’t bathe and ask him to improve his hygiene. The problem is twofold, says Griffen, principal of The Griffen Group. A sloppy
appearance will cause a poor first impression. Also, “if your hygiene is bad, your health is probably bad,” Griffen says. An added benefit of eating well and exercising: You’ll have more energy.

Using Inappropriate Humor

Your coworkers may not appreciate your sense of humor. Skip the off-color or racially targeted jokes, Griffen says. And be careful about sensitive subjects such as politics and religion.

Not Caring About Your Work

People like coworkers who are enthusiastic about what they do. Show that you take pride in your job by presenting yourself well, communicating clearly and doing your best work.

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6 Beliefs That Can Impact Your Performance

August 15, 2011 2 comments

Performance has many components: For example, activities and abilities are typically what many organizations focus on. Yet beneath the surface, our beliefs about ourselves, our customers, or our job can either help or hinder our performance. You may have heard the expression, “Whatever you believe you can do, you will and whatever you believe you can’t do, you won’t.” It’s as if our beliefs (which are unique to us all) become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our beliefs can act as huge barriers that stop us giving 100 percent to something.

Here are six beliefs that can have a positive impact on your performance.

1. Every Individual is unique and their perceptions are true to them.

Because we each absorb two million pieces of information unconsciously and can only process around seven chunks consciously, we each have our own unique perception of the world around us. If everyone reading this was asked to explain beliefs, each individual would give a different explanation.

So who’s right? Everyone is right because your perceptions are true for you. That’s why the more respect we have for every other individual and the more we seek to understand the viewpoints of others, the richer our communication becomes. Respecting the opinions of others doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to agree with them, we just have to acknowledge
that every individual’s reality is the one based on their own unique perceptions.

2. Communication is successful, only if it achieves desired results.

It doesn’t matter if you think you’ve communicated well or if you think you’ve been crystal clear, what matters is that your communication is received and acted upon in the manner you wanted.

How many times have you said something to another person who has totally misinterpreted what you meant? Equally, sometimes we are on the receiving end of communication that makes us feel inadequate. If we can look beyond the communication and try to see a positive intention behind another person’s behavior, then our relationships and interactions with people become more constructive and empowering.

When we communicate with people and if they are not getting our point, then the responsibility is ours to adapt our approach until they do. For example, if we have communicated a price increase and the reasons for that price increase,
and our customers have not understood those reasons, the responsibility for this miscommunication lies with us. Therefore we can only judge the success of what we have communicated based on the reactions we get from other people.

3. Resistance from another person usually signals a lack of rapport.

Rapport is a vital ingredient when developing relationships because it builds trust and allows communication to flow. When that state of rapport is there, communication is a lot easier even if you don’t agree with the other person. When we don’t feel that rapport or connection we have a tendency to ‘nit-pick’ or find fault.

Customers respond to people they perceive understand their position and are on the same wavelength. If we are encountering lots of resistance from a prospect or a customer, then it helps us to notice that we haven’t built sufficient
Even if our prospect doesn’t agree with what we are saying, rapport enables us to have an open discussion where we can get an honest reason for their reaction rather than a prickly brick wall.

4. Flexibility improves success.

The greater your flexibility, the greater your chances for achieving what you want. If we accept that every person is a unique individual then we have to accept that each prospect and customer will require a different approach. Using the same approach with all prospects and customers is like playing the lottery, the chances of getting it right are
extremely low. If we have high levels of flexibility that allows us to adapt to each prospect and customer’s style then we are able to build more rapport and reduce resistance.

Einstein gave the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over whilst expecting a different result. As an example, think about a fly … have you watched how many times a fly bumps its head trying to fly out of a window? I guess that’s why it’s a fly.

The more we are able to adapt, the more opportunities we create. If what you are doing isn’t working, try something different and if that doesn’t work try something different again. Flexibility of thinking and behavior creates awesome sales people. Your team are also unique individuals requiring a unique approach with how you manage them. The greater your behavioral flexibility the easier it is to connect and develop better working relationships.

5. There is no failure, only feedback.

Of course there is failure. If you take a driving test or exam you either pass or fail. Your sales people will either succeed in achieving their monthly sales targets or fail to meet them. The key is how you perceive failure. Every failure can be looked at as a learning opportunity that is beautifully epitomized by Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. Despite more than ten thousand failures, he stood by his dream until he made it a physical reality. He said that every discarded idea took him one step closer towards finding the idea that would work.

One of the most powerful self-coaching questions sales people can ask is, “What will I do differently next time?” or “What can I learn from this?” Sales people who make mistakes and learn from those mistakes have a tendency to do better than sales people who are scared to fail. Therefore if your team can be encouraged to see that when they don’t achieve their targets they have an opportunity to learn, because they have been given great feedback on what not to do next month.

6. Accepting 100 percent responsibility creates transformation.

Every action you take creates a reaction that is based on the formula of cause and effect. Everything that happens is the effect of an underlying cause. Most people spend their lives operating at effect, ”It’s not my fault I always end up in bad relationships.” “Life’s so unfair, things always happen to me.” “We’re in a recession, that’s why I haven’t achieved target.” “If I could only match our competitors prices, I’d win more deals.”

True personal power can be achieved when an individual accepts 100 percent responsibility for what they create in their lives. To put it another way, you get one of two things; the result or outcome you want or the reasons why you didn’t (you may recognize these as excuses!)

The more you focus on the reasons (excuses) and blame circumstances beyond your control you push away your personal power. Therefore, if you believe that you are in control of the situations that life appears to throw at you, then you are in control of your thinking and emotions, and therefore in control of your own life. This belief has given thousands of sales people the determination to breakthrough so many barriers and overcome countless challenges when at times it was tempting to wallow in self-pity. If something good or bad happens, ask yourself, “How did I create that?” This question enables you to tap into your brain’s infinite potential and it will give you all the answers you need. If you’re prepared to commit 100 percent to taking responsibility for your own life, the results can be extraordinary.

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Categories: General

Make Business Travel Work for You

August 5, 2011 3 comments

If you travel on business more than a few times a year, you know it can be a grind. The drab airport lounges, cookie-cutter hotel rooms, expense-account restaurants and perhaps even the golf courses all blur together in a sea of sameness.

At the same time, it’s ever more difficult to take a traditional solid week or two of vacation. Your smartphone beckons, your biggest client has the patience of a flea, you find out the hard way how little your boss knows about your day-to-day duties, etc.

So how can you liven up business trips while getting some much needed R&R? Folks like Billy Lowe have found a way.

“Running a hair salon in Los Angeles, traveling 10 to 15 times a year but never seeming to get a vacation of my own, I opt to make each business stop a mini vacation as well,” says Lowe, a hair stylist for television and film performers.

How can you put this strategy into action on your next trip for work? Here are our top six tips, compiled by talking to road warriors of various stripes.

Do Your Personal-Travel Homework in Advance

Once you’re on the road, taking time to find fun stuff to do may seem like a chore. So plan ahead. “I spend a lot of time networking online, researching and looking for the city’s best places to go rather than visiting chain restaurants,” says Lowe.

Scott Swanay, owner of Fantasy Baseball Sherpa, has his own sources: “I might use CitySearch or a local entertainment magazine.”

Ask the Professionals

“Find a good concierge,” advises April Whitney, a publicist for Chronicle Books, publisher of City Walks travel-guide card decks. “They’ve helped me find good, reasonable restaurants and even hooked me up with more affordable travel options.”

Take Advantage of Your Client’s Hometown Knowledge

Most often, you visit clients on their home turf. So ask them where, beyond the usual collection of steakhouses, they’ve always wanted to dine out, or what they’d like to do (golf? not again!) while you chat about business. Then do it all on your company’s dime, as long as it’s legitimate client entertainment. Make it happen by picking your client’s brain as soon as you set the date for
your meetings so you can make the dinner reservations, buy the tickets and so on.

Add Days to Your Itinerary for Personal Travel

It’s difficult to quickly shift gears between business and pure pleasure — and easy to let a couple of one-hour appointments expand to fill an entire morning and afternoon. So consider dedicating days within your business trip to personal travel, pure and simple. “Schedule at least one day for sightseeing, with no appointments,” advises Shel Horowitz, author of The Penny-Pinching

And when you leave the hotel for your day of fun, put your BlackBerry in the room safe; it’s too easy to let mobile technology suck the oxygen out of your day off.

Keep the Boss Informed

When you do plan to mix business and pleasure on a company trip, let the boss know about the personal side of your travel plans. Describe in writing how business expenses and personal travel costs will be separated. Be especially careful about days where business and personal travel will be mixed. If your meetings end at noon and you would otherwise be home in time for supper, for
example, you should pay for your own dinner out that night since it’s on the personal side of your itinerary.

Try to Save Your Company Money

Does your employer have doubts about letting you extend your stay for leisure travel, even if extra meals and hotel nights are on you? Try choosing travel dates and times that will save the company money on airfare compared to what you’d pay to fly on a pure business itinerary. If dollars conserved don’t convince them, nothing will.

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Categories: General

What is KPI?

May 28, 2011 3 comments

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is neither a Goal, nor a Key Result Area (KRA), nor a Target, nor a Result nor a Critical Success Factor.  And yet these terms are often used interchangeably with a KPI.

A KPI defines itself, to a large extent, by its name; it is a performance indicator, i.e. the performance of the process it is measuring
should be clearly indicated by the KPI.

This should clarify that the purpose of a KPI is not, for example, to measure the risk of a process, nor its age, nor its length, but its

Further, a KPI should be key, not just any casual measure of a process (or a business as a whole); this can be taken as the KPI being
closely correlated with the objectives of the process being measured.

An important and often overlooked aspect of a KPI not contained within its name is that it measures a continuous or discrete but
repeated process.

Typical continuous processes include manufacture (toothpaste production, widget manufacture) and service where the dimensions are large (credit management for large public utilities, help desk for large IT  installations).

Sometimes services which look to be custom when considered  at an individual level (your neighbour’s knee surgery operation) can also be  considered as almost continuous when considered at a coarse enough level of granularity (knee surgery in Australia in the ‘90s).

Typical discrete, repetitive processes include service (PC installation, car sales and hotel check-in).

All of this ought to be self-evident, but it is common to see. For example, Target Completion Dates or Product Specifications (or both) labeled as KPIs.

Where the intention is to measure once-off performance of a project, or as part of a business plan, a specification or target date (or
both) will suffice; labeling it a KPI is both unnecessary and confusing.

Moreover, developing only one off measures as a proxy for real KPIs puts a business at risk.

The implication of using one off performance measures in lieu of key performance indicators is that many organisations do not know how well they are performing. That is, until, a significant universal lagging KPI such as profitability or lost time injury frequency ratio reaches unacceptable levels.

Lag, Current and Lead

Timing of KPIs, relative to achievement of corporate goals, is fundamental in choosing good candidate KPIs. Financial results, such as last quarter’s revenue, are typically lagged by 2+ months. Annual results, especially fiscal year results, can be much more delayed.

With such lags, the problem arises as to what action might be appropriate to alter the direction of the department’s performance, when the KPIs are measuring results in the past.

A correction may be inappropriate when the current performance has already significantly altered from that measured some time ago and may result in overcorrection.

Lag indicators should rarely be considered as a KPI as the benefit of KPI is to adjust processes and behavior to get better performance.

KPIs measuring current performance are more useful. Examples include today’s bookings, sales or production level. As always, care must be taken not to allow instant results to result in instant reactions which, in turn, reinforce the original problem.

Other KPIs are of the leading type; their measures are predictive of desired results at the next higher level.

An example of such a leading indicator for market share is customer satisfaction with the organisation’s products and service. It is
important to note though, that customer satisfaction survey output is a lagging indicator of customer service.

The primary difficulty with leading KPIs is to be sure that they are strongly correlated with the required corporate goals; modeling and understanding of key business drivers is necessary.

The corollary, of course, is that taking the time and effort to determine the key business drivers will result in a useful KPI rather than a number which is reported on monthly but caused no action to happen even when it strays outside its range of limits.

More than the nature and the design, a KPI must be understood by all staff. Further, all staff must know the corrective action to
be applied. The corrective action must impact the KPI.

For example, completing plant production runs to schedule for a manufacturing plant impacts lead time which impacts stock levels,
purchasing levels, in-full delivery, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. The deviation from production schedule of production is a leading indicator of a wide range of performance indicators.

Understanding that deviation from production schedule is key enables all people in the plant to apply corrective action to keep to the schedule. The resultant improvement in lead time improves many other dependent indicators including productivity.

Choosing an indicator like productivity as key only has an impact on costs and few people would understand what to do other than work faster or spend capital on automation.

KPIs in most organizations are actually targets, key project dates, key result areas or tasks. As a result, performance is not actually

Having well thought through KPIs and acting on them with the confidence that action will cause a change in performance is well worth the investment in time and corporate brain-power it takes to develop, select and test Key Performance Indicators.

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