Sunday, October 31, 2010

WTO chief says 'worried' by currency interventions Module body

Sun Oct 31, 5:34 AM

BERLIN (AFP) - The head of the World Trade Organisation on Sunday expressed his concern over unilateral interventions on currency markets, amid tensions between China and the United States over a so-called currency war. Asked about the dangers of such a currency war, Pascal Lamy told German weekly Welt am Sonntag: "I would not talk of a currency war, but of tensions or frictions. The uncoordinated interventions on currency markets worries me."

Lamy added: "No one would doubt that the yuan is undervalued. But it is not clear whether a higher yuan rate would automatically produce more jobs in the United States." Washington says Beijing is deliberately keeping the yuan undervalued to boost its exports at America's expense.
And last month, Japan intervened in the international currency market for the first time in six years in a bid to halt a dramatic surge in the value of the yen. On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund said the dollar was overvalued on currency markets, while the euro, yen and pound were each in line with fundamentals and the yuan was undervalued. Meanwhile, some other emerging economies, notably South Africa and countries in Latin America, have allowed their currencies to appreciate "substantially," the Washington-based organisation said.

European Union leaders have urged the G20 of major and emerging powers meeting in South Korea next month to "avoid engaging in exchange rate moves aimed at gaining short-term competitive advantage."

The so-called currency war has sparked fears of a return to the 'beggar-thy-neighbour' policies at the heart of the 1930s Great Depression. Lamy said: "We are all afraid of that."
Nevertheless, he added: "Two years ago, after the Lehman Brothers crash, almost everyone thought this type of protectionism would occur again. Until now, despite the huge shock, this has not happened."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Managing Gen Y

Gen-Ys started their careers by earning a generally bad reputation in the workplace. There have been countless reports of their sense of entitlement, unrealistic salary demands and inability to take criticism.
But time — and a recession that delivered a hefty reality check — has made businesses realize that the stereotypes and first impressions aren't always accurate. These workers born after 1980 can be worth their weight in gold.It just takes the right approach and an appreciation for what they have to offer.

In many cases, small businesses have a leg up when it comes to attracting and retaining these 20-somethings. The flexibility, the chance to socialize with their peers in a casual setting, direct contact with senior management — these are all things that appeal. More importantly, Gen-Ys come to the table with fresh ideas and advanced social networking skills, which is a huge plus for any rapidly growing business.

At Search Engine People (SEP) in Ajax, Ont., for example, Gen-Ys account for half of the 45 employees, says chief executive officer Jeff Quipp. "Given what we do, they naturally come with more experience with this stuff."Having that much of the core staff under the age of 30 does change the nature of the workplace, however. SEP has a games room and gym on site to allow staff to "burn off steam."

In fact, Quipp, himself a baby-boomer in his mid-40s, often goes in for a round of Ping-Pong. "We offer or facilitate a lot of [social] activities. After all, this is their social world."

Changing the workplace rules is worth it, he adds.
"For the most part, Gen-Ys are a pretty hungry bunch. They want to do well and see movement within a company. Fortunately, we're growing fast. We've just learned along the way that their 'buttons' are different. They don't have the same philosophy as older workers."

New tools of the trade

So what is it that really keeps Gen-Ys engaged?'Gen-Ys bring a lot of advantages to the workplace. They are confident and not afraid to ask why.'—Cheryl McConney-Wilson, Ryerson."Tools, toys and flexibility," says Krista Hiddema, co-founder of e2r Solutions, a human resources specialist in Toronto. "This generation is very tech-savvy, because they grew up with it. They prefer to communicate via text and be connected to their iPhone or BlackBerry 24/7. Our generation would have sacrificed something in our personal life for work. They won't."
She adds, "If you want to keep this talent pool close, you have to change your deliverables. [Open-mindedness] may make the difference between them staying or leaving."

Changing one's mindset is well worth the effort for employers, says Cheryl McConney-Wilson, human resources instructor at Ryerson's The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education in Toronto.
"Gen-Ys bring a lot of advantages to the workplace. They are confident and not afraid to ask why. They like to multitask and are always looking at what they can do next. And they are open to learning new things."Equally important is the fact that many have grown up exposed to a variety of cultures, and they have developed an appreciation for different learning styles and behaviours.


The flip side

Better yet, Gen-Ys actually want to work with small businesses.
David Pace, regional human resources manager for Home Depot Canada in Toronto, has observed that Gen-Ys continue to be high-energy people with high expectations and a say in how their career is being run. These are all qualities that work in a big chain like his, but which also work well for small business owners.
"They're strong, they're vocal and they're vociferous," he says. "They really want experience in the full spectrum of a business. Small manufacturing operations, software developers, gaming companies, advertising companies could easily keep them engaged, because they can allow them to learn a bunch of different areas."


Tips for managing Gen-Y workers

•Accept their priorities and work around them. Allow for flexible hours.

•Don't ban social media tools in the workplace. Instead, establish appropriate usage policies.

•Let them access and use the tech tools they're used to.

•Don't be afraid to text your employees.

•Ask their opinion.

•Provide immediate feedback on their performance.

•Create a socially conscious work environment.

•Encourage social activities.

•Don't be offended if they leave after two years and stay in touch. Odds are they will come back.

•Use training tools that resonate with them (online courses, webinars, etc.)

•Set up a formal and frequent feedback process.

•Clearly spell out your working environment, job expectations and accountability for deliverables.

Small businesses do hold a special appeal for Gen-Ys, confirms Adwoa K. Buahene, co-founder and managing partner with n-gen People Performance Inc., a Toronto-based management company focused on multigenerational leadership. "They like the flexibility and nimbleness that a smaller company can offer, and especially entrepreneurial companies, where they can have the freedom to succeed or fail."

The downside, however, is that despite their enthusiasm and talent, they're simply not equipped with an understanding of basic business etiquette and practices, she explains.

"Even meeting deadlines and other foundational skills can be a problem. Most small business owners bringing in a new entrant feel confident they will get the job done because they said they could. But often they need coaching and you need to check in on them often."
Despite their confidence, Gen-Ys also need a lot of encouragement, agrees Peter Carr, general manager of Flextrack for Procom Consultants Group Ltd. in Toronto, an IT staffing recruitment specialist."A manager must keep a Gen-Y employee feeling like what they do is important and show them their growth opportunities in order to retain and get the maximum benefit from them. These employees also want the freedom to work from home. In addition, a manager has to understand that being able to spend a few minutes a day logging into your bank account or updating your social network is necessary [to them]."

Quipp says that the one downside of all the social networking talents that come with Gen-Ys is the fact that it can sometimes work against you. "Someone tries to poach my staff every day. I guess it's up to us to keep them happy and engaged."

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/money/smallbusiness/story/2010/09/27/f-small-business-generation-y.html#ixzz13sOVqVKU

Friday, October 29, 2010

Levi's Marketing triumph

Levi's brought in rock band Nada Surf to perform live via the company's Facebook page on Oct. 23 and picked up around 45,000 "Likers" in the process. To push the branded content event, Levi's purchased Facebook.com ads leading into last weekend, while the copy encouraged viewers to hit the "Like" button in order to watch the concert.


"We targeted 22-to-40-year olds nationally," said Megan O'Connor, director of digital and social marketing for the San Francisco-based jeans firm. "Music has been a tent pole for the brand, and Facebook allows us to amplify on-the-ground events and provide exclusive content to our fan base."

In conjunction with Spin magazine, Nada Surf performed on Levi's "Live & Direct" Facebook channel for 45 minutes. The band played at the "Levi's Photo Workshop" New York City space, where the brand holds photography/film- and music-related events. According to Levi's, 6,858 unique visitors watched the performance on Facebook for an average of 17 minutes.

O'Connor said her team had done past live-streams and knew how to handle the Nada Surf concert in terms of technical and administrative issues. She deemed the event an ROI success due to the engagement created, pointing to the bevy of viewer comments that appeared during the concert and are still being posted days later.
"We love when we can engage directly with our current fan base at the same time as growing new relationships and offering them best-in-class content," O'Connor explained.

Levi's has been among the most aggressive brands on Facebook during the last six months. For instance, yesterday, it was running Facebook.com ads to promote a two-day, 40 percent discount offer. The ads were targeted at the company's 1.9 million "Likers" (or "Fans" in the former parlance) with the following copy: "Hey Fans! Get 40% off our hottest styles today and tomorrow only! Shop now!"

And about a week after the Palo Alto, CA-based social site unveiled its open graph platform in April, Levi.com staffers stitched "Like" buttons next to all products on the site. At that time, the band also unveiled its "Friends Store." As an auxiliary store within the larger e-commerce platform at the U.S. version of Levi.com, the Facebook-based shopping channel is pushed as one of six product categories at the top of the home page.

Visitors who click through to the store see invitations to use Facebook Connect and to "Like" the brand. If they enable Connect, viewers will see their Facebook friends' upcoming birthdays - for those who have their birthday privacy control at a public setting - in a box slightly below the fold that includes names and profile pictures. What's more, the Friends Store gets populated with merchandise that users and their friends have "Liked" in the past.

One last example of Levi's through Facebook integration: the "Photo Workshop" venue's dedicated site also offers visitors the ability to enable Connect.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

US foreclosure crisis becomes more widespread

When the morgage and bank crises started I was dating a bankruptcy judge from Buffalo, New York. He maintained that the crises would be over within the year if the government would grant the judges a few modified powers to deal with the foreclosures and repossessions. Michael Kaplan felt at that time that many of the lending institutions needed to be forced to follow the rules and that many people could keep their homes if they were given a bit more knowledge and financial advice. It appears that the judges were not given such powers or that Michael was mistaken because the situation not only continues but is worsening.

Foreclosures increased across a majority of large metropolitan areas The foreclosure crisis in the US has spread across a wider area of the country, according to RealtyTrac, which monitors repossession activity.
The organisation said foreclosure notices increased across a majority of large metropolitan areas, including Chicago and Seattle.Previously, these cities had seen relatively low levels of activity.
Separately, Wells Fargo said it would refile documents on 55,000 foreclosures after admitting technical mistakes.

Crisis spreading

RealtyTrac's report said that California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona remained the worst affected areas.
They accounted for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates between July and September.The trend is the latest sign that the US foreclosure crisis is worsening as homeowners - facing high unemployment, slow job growth and uncertainty about house prices - continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments.

Top five metropolitan foreclosures: third quarter 2010

Las Vegas, Nevada - 32,288

Cape Coral, Florida - 10,352

Modesto, California - 4,825

Stockton, California - 5,929

Merced, California - 2,072

Source: RealtyTrac

The controversy over whether banks mishandled eviction documents was not a factor over the July-to-September quarter monitored, said RealtyTrac.Earlier in the week, data from rating agency Standard and Poor's showed that US house prices also began falling again in August, mainly in response to the expired tax credit.Meanwhile, the announcement from Wells Fargo that it would refile thousands of foreclosure documents is the first admission from the bank of possible problems in the way it repossesses homes.In a statement released on Thursday, the bank said it had identified "instances where a final step in its processes relating to the execution of the foreclosure affidavits... did not strictly adhere to the required procedures".
It added that it has no plans to halt its foreclosure process but said the refiling might cause some delays.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

China bucks global drop in R&D spending

Toyota, which is investing heavily in robotics, was the world's top-spending company on research and development in 2009. (Katsumi Kasahara/Associated Press) The economic crisis cut corporate research and development spending 1.9 per cent worldwide in 2009, but China defied the trend, increasing its research investments by a whopping 40 per cent.Sharp drops in 2009 research spending in Europe and the United States were balanced out by a hefty rise in Asia, according to European Union data released Tuesday.It showed that R&D investments by European companies fell 2.6 per cent in 2009 as their sales declined 10.1 per cent.Research spending by U.S. corporate giants fell 5.1 per cent in 2009, according to the EU's annual scoreboard of corporate investments in developing new products and services.

Japanese firms held to their high investments in 2009 and companies elsewhere in Asia raised theirs significantly. After China, India followed with a research and development increase of 27.3 per cent, Hong Kong was up 14.8 per cent, South Korea up 9.1 per cent and Taiwan 3.1 per cent.

For the second consecutive year, the EU report said, Japanese carmaker Toyota was the world's biggest R&D investor with 2009 spending of $9.5 billion US. It was followed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche (No. 4 in 2008) with 2009 spending of $9.1 billion and Microsoft (No. 2 in 2008) with $8.4 billion.

Innovation emergency

EU research commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said the gap between European and American companies in areas like software and biotechnology and the rapid rise of Asian-based companies "highlight the innovation emergency Europe is facing."
The EU is pushing its member states to raise research and development spending to three per cent of the 27-country bloc's GDP. Today it is two per cent, compared with 2.6 per cent for the U.S. and 3.4 per cent for Japan.

Global demand for information and communication technologies is a market worth $2.8 trillion, and Europe accounts for only 25 per cent of that, according to EU data.The scoreboard showed European companies' performance to be weak in key high-tech sectors. U.S. companies invested five times more in R&D for semiconductors, four times more in software research and eight times more in biotechnology.The EU's scoreboard monitors the world's top 1,400 companies — 400 from the EU and 1,000 from other parts of the world — ranked by investments in research and development.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/10/26/research-development-spending-china.html#ixzz13c8hPTpB

Rare earth minerals shortage feared by US and EU

The 17 different rare earths are found in everything from magnets to hybrid cars and computer monitors The US and the EU have warned that a shortage of rare earth metals from China could harm their economies. Officials and industrialists in Washington and Berlin said a lack of the minerals, 90% of which come from China, would have severe repercussions. The metals are essential for making many hi-tech products and some are used by the US weapons industry.

China says it is cutting production to protect the environment and preserve its own supply.It has denied it is using its near-monopoly improperly and says there will not be drastic cuts in exports.

Supply 'crunch'

Rare earth metals are scarce minerals that have particular properties, such as being magnetic or shining in low light.This makes them particularly useful in some new technologies, such as solar panels or electric cars or light-weight batteries. German companies have lobbied the government to say that they are now finding it hard to get hold of these essential minerals, because China produces virtually all of them. German economy minister Rainer Bruederle said his country was being severely affected. The concerns about a monopoly are now being echoed in Washington, where the Department of Energy has said firms are worried about shortages. One talked of a "supply crunch". In the US, efforts are being made to increase production, but this cannot be done in the near future.

Monday, October 25, 2010

M&Ms and currency wars

As I learn more and more about international trade and currency, I am frequently struck by how very like the disputes my children used to have that the arguments between countries are. For example, the current currency controversy reminds me of the M&Ms debate in my household many years ago.

I really liked giving my kids treats in individual packages. That way they each were given the same amount to enjoy. A bowl, of course, allowed the fast or the greedy or the one with the bigger hand or stronger bladder to have far more than the rest. The real issues came to light when they were given the individual amounts. Four of five of my kids would wolf down their treat with abandon but one would save and savour his. Long after the others had none he would still be enjoying his one at a time and the very fact that he still had his would be like a thorn in the paw of the others. I know that psychologists maintain that the ability to defer gratification is the single best predictor of success in life. If you can delay consumption or appropriation of an award it indicates that you are in a good position to attain your goals.



I think it all started quite innocently. One child was more reflective, more slow paced in his way of eating. (It is evident even today in his slim and sinewy body build). However, it does not take much to convert a natural tendency into something else. He soon realized that he was the envy of his siblings and that it gave him a certain power to have treats long after everyone else had none. They were indisputably his and the pleas of his M&Mless siblings made him king for the moment.

What does this have to do with international currency wars? The real problem is that China has the cash. United States (and many other countries) ate all their M&Ms buy spending far more than they had (eating theirs and some of China's too). China on the other hand made sure it got as many M&Ms as possible while the getting was good. Instead of eating all of theirs, they saved them and cultivated power with them, lending their M&Ms to others to allow them to buy more goods from China so that more and more M&Ms ended up in China. Just as in bygone eras- everybody wants what China produces but China wants very little that the world produces. (This was the very situation that resulted in the Opium wars- if you ever wondered why the study of history is important- this is a great example).

Now the world says: No fair! We are all supposed to eat the M&Ms at the same rate and China says- they're mine, I got them fair and square, I can eat them or not eat them as I choose. To this the world, particularly the U.S.A. says no fair- you are hogging all the M&Ms (American dollars) that are left and the only way for us to get more is to make more and that puts our economy at risk.

Too bad that in terms of the global economy there is no Mommy to step in and say to the U.S.A. "you had your M&Ms, you chose to eat them all at once, you could have saved some or exercised your self control but your universities taught all of your people that money today was worth more than money tomorrow so that spending and leveraging debt were considered wonderful things. Now you are learning that lack of self control is painful". To China, the Mommy would say, "China, I am glad that you are enjoying your M&Ms and there is nothing wrong with that but if you are doing it not for the enjoyment but for the power over your siblings to make them feel bad or to elevate yourself, that is not a kind thing to do."
The world needs a Mommy but the IMF isn't it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pledge: No currency wars

G-20 pledges to refrain from currency wars


October 23, 2010: 12:58 PM ET


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A group representing the world's most prominent finance ministers wrapped up a two-day meeting in Korea Saturday with a pledge to not engage in currency wars or other economically protectionist policies. The ministers from the so-called G-20 nations, who were meeting in Gyeongju, South Korea, discussed a wide array of challenges facing the global economy. But first and foremost was the issue of currency trading.

The United States has been vocally concerned about how some emerging markets nations, most notably China, have allowed their currencies to trade at artificially low levels. The worry is that if such currency manipulation continues, it could wreak havoc on international trade. In their statement, however, the G-20 ministers said that they would "move towards more market determined exchange rate systems that reflect underlying economic fundamentals and refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies."

The ministers added that the G-20 member nations would "continue to resist all forms of protectionist measures and seek to make significant progress to further reduce barriers to trade." The G-20 stopped short of outright banning currency manipulation though. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who attended the meeting, had urged the G-20 ministers to take strong action to make sure emerging markets nations allow their currency to appreciate in line with the free market.

This weekend's meeting is a precursor to a larger G-20 meeting taking place in Seoul on November 11 and 12. That summit will involve the heads of state from the G-20 nations. President Obama will attend.
Tensions about currency and trade are likely to be high at that meeting as well. The G-20 acknowledged in Saturday's statement that the global economic recovery is currently advancing, but it was doing so in "a fragile and uneven way."

The ministers added that "growth has been strong in many emerging market economies, but the pace of activity remains modest in many advanced economies." As further evidence of that, China announced earlier this week that its gross domestic product for the third-quarter rose at an annual rate of 9.6%. While that's slower than in previous quarters, it is still far higher than the growth rates of the United States, Japan and nations in Europe. China's central bank also announced earlier this week that it was raising a key interest rate for the first time in nearly three years. That comes at a time when many expect the Federal Reserve to soon announce more details about how it intends to further ease its own monetary policies. In a nod to the increased economic clout of China and other emerging markets, such as Brazil, India and Russia, the G-20 ministers also announced a deal Saturday that would give emerging markets countries more seats on the board of the International Monetary Fund.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reforms for the IMF

G20 summit agrees to reform IMFBy Andrew Walker



The US will still retain its veto on key decisions at the IMF Finance ministers from the G20 leading economies have agreed reforms of the International Monetary Fund, giving major developing nations more of a say. At a meeting in South Korea, they agreed a shift of about 6% of the votes in the IMF towards some of the fast-growing developing countries. Those nations will also have more seats on the IMF's Board, while Western Europe will lose two seats.

But the US will retain the veto it has over key decisions. Such decisions require an 85% vote - Washington holds 17% under the IMF's weighted voting system.

'Currency manipulation'

During the talks in the South Korean city of Gyeongji, the ministers also agreed to move towards more market-determined currency systems. The pressure has been on China to end its policy of holding the yuan down to maintain its competitiveness. There was, however, no timetable for change, so Beijing has kept to its long-held position that it will reform its currency policy, but gradually. Another element in the tension over exchanges rates is the flood of investment funds going to developing countries which tends to push their currencies higher, undermining competitiveness. This is partly a result of policies in the US which mean investors are seeking higher returns elsewhere. German Economy Minster Rainer Bruederle suggested that US policies, if not reversed, amount indirectly to currency manipulation - an accusation more often levelled at China.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crowd Sourcing

Crowdsourcing work: Labour on demand or digital sweatshop?By Fiona Graham


Crowdsourcing: Taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them through an "open call" to a large group of people (a crowd). There are not many chief executives who can boast a workforce of half a million people around the globe.But then Lukas Biewald's workforce is not your traditional one.As boss of San Francisco-based CrowdFlower, he says that his company offers "labour on demand".His employees are crowdsourced - people who work from home, when needed, on specific projects. "It doesn't make sense to build a box around people, put in internet and plumbing and everything else, make them drive to work and have managers for them," Mr Biewald says. "I think that companies like ours are really set to disrupt the whole outsourcing industry."Lukas Biewald: "You can send work almost anywhere in the world at almost no transaction cost." The rapid spread of broadband internet has allowed an explosion in companies offering a virtual workforce.They provide people ready to complete jobs ranging from small data-driven tasks, to design, translation and content production - in fact anything really that can be done on a laptop with an internet connection at home.

Human intelligence

For companies using these services, the main benefits are cost and speed. Workers are not employees, and are paid either an hourly or piece rate. In some cases work is done on spec, with only the "winner" pocketing the reward. And rates tend to be lower than would be paid to conventional freelancers. So not surprisingly, the trend has attracted controversy, with some commentators comparing it to off-shore digital sweatshops.

The granddaddy of them all is Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Its original purpose was to find duplicate web pages for Amazon products - a simple task, but one that computers were unable to do. It lists thousands of "human intelligence tasks", or HITs, from comparing different web pages, to transcription and tagging photos. The jobs pay anything from a few cents up to a few dollars for more complicated work.And it did not take long for the idea to be adopted elsewhere.

You can crowdsource web development from oDesk, find a writer to create your content from Elance, and source your logo for a few hundred dollars from Crowdspring or 99designs. To fund your project there is Kickstarter, and if your customers get cranky you can send them to Get Satisfaction. When you are ready to move on to higher level research and development, you can put it out to the crowd at InnoCentive.


Virtual money

CrowdFlower compares its labour-on-demand model with cloud computing - when you divide a task between a group of computers it is accomplished more quickly, around the clock, thanks to greater processing power.The company's workforce is available immediately, according to Mr Biewald.
"For example, you might have a directory of a million businesses and the job is to check that all the addresses are correct," he says. "We have people instantly around the world waiting for work to come through."
“When we started we weren't really sure if companies would buy it.”Lukas Biewald
CEO, CrowdFlower. What makes CrowdFlower slightly different is that they do not source their workers directly from the internet. Jobs are taken in, and then the company uses a diverse range of channels to fill the task. They work with initiatives allowing, for example, single mothers to work from home. Traditionally games companies have offered players in applications such as Farmville the chance to take part in surveys, or watch adverts to earn in-game currency. Now they have the chance to complete CrowdFlower tasks, through a system called Virtual Pay."I love it because we almost trick the game players into doing something useful for the world while playing these games. "Just do ten minutes of real work that a real company can use, and we'll give you a virtual tractor. That way everyone wins."

'High quality'
A large part of CrowdFlower's effort goes into quality control. Mr Biewald estimates that about 99% of their research and development is focused on how to keep quality high. They do this through a complex statistical analysis system where they track the accuracy of workers. As people progress up the food chain, they receive bonuses. "The end result is that customers actually get higher quality data than they would have got through normal outsourcing," Mr Biewald says.Clients past and present include Microsoft, PayPal, eBay and the US Department of State. "When we started we weren't really sure if companies would buy it, but what we've seen is a lot of big companies are interested in this new model,. In fact they're not just interested but they desperately want labour on demand."

Design for life

Operating from Australia and the US, 99designs launched in 2008 and crowdsources logos from a community of about 100,000 amateur and professional designers. It uses a competition-style business model. The company that is looking for a logo offers a prize (the minimum is $200) and writes a brief.
Designers then submit logo designs, the customer reviews them and may ask for revisions, before then picking a winner.Copyright then passes to the customer and the winning designer is paid the prize money. The company charges a $39 listing fee, plus 15% of the prize fund.
99designs: "We're introducing customers to design that would never have done it before." The company grew from the forums of Sitepoint.com and according to founder Mark Harbottle, designers on the forums had started competing against each other in contests.
This then grew as entrepreneurs started offering cash for logo designs for their own companies.
"The designers loved it because it was what they were already doing, but they could get paid for it. We noticed it was happening and kind of latched onto the idea, and built software solution to help these designers doing what they were doing anyway." The company estimates that a new design is uploaded to the site every five seconds. It pays out close to $700,000 a month to designers, and expects this to top $1m by the end of the year. But can a crowdsourced design really compare to going to a traditional design agency? Mr Harbottle does not think there's a comparison. "Would you get a better result from an agency? Probably but I think that what we do is that we serve that bottom part of the market. "We're servicing the mom and pop shops, the small business, the freelancers and what these guys want is just an image to put on their business card or their website."

Brave new world?
As companies such as 99designs and their main competitor CrowdSpring flourish, the backlash has also grown.Websites including Nospec.com and Specwatch have accused companies of exploiting designers and devaluing the profe ssion. They say designers are producing work on a regular basis with no guarantee of payment, and claim that the payment on offer is far below market rate.Screengrab of the Specwatch website. The members are anonymous Specwatch, an anonymous collective, monitors design competitions, flagging up contests where, they claim, no award was made, and instances where the winning design was plagiarised. Mr Harbottle says that the community does effectively self-police, but that the company is doing what it can to stamp out intellectual property theft. "If it was really bad we'd probably just ban them instantly. The thing that's important is to keep on top of the community to stamp out that behaviour, it's not acceptable, it's actually illegal."

The controversy goes beyond the design community.

When professional networking site LinkedIn started suggesting that people listed as translators might like to help with a crowdsourced project to translate sections of the site "because it's fun", the fallout from incensed professionals resulted in the setting up of a LinkedIn group protesting the move. Education and experience is vital to ensure strategic design work, which also requires collaboration between client and agency, says Debbie Millman, president of the US association for professional designers, the AIGA, which has around 20,000 members.

“You wouldn't go into a restaurant and ask for five different meals and only pay for the one you like. Why should it be ok to work with designers that way?”Debbie Millman President, AIGA

"Once you take that partnership away then what you're really asking for is work that is unstrategic, that is created in a silo of not having any real education about what the client is looking for, and not being able to collaborate on ideas or inspiration", says Ms Millman, who is also president of design company Sterling.
"I feel that when you crowdsource work, it's really not about collaboration of large groups, it's really about power, because you're taking away all the power of the designer to be compensated for their work, for their skill, and I don't see in anyway how that's collaborative. I think it's abusive." Pro-spec commentators argue that the work benefits designers, by helping them build portfolios but Ms Millman is scathing about this. "If somebody is looking to build their portfolio, perhaps they could offer their services pro-bono to an organisation that's really going to be able to help them. It's an imbalance of power."You wouldn't go into a restaurant and ask for five different meals and only pay for the one you like. Why should it be okay to work with designers that way?".

Offshoring the crowd

Given that crowdsourcing sites draw large amounts of workers from the developing world, critics see this as a new model for off-shoring jobs from developed countries."I think the criticisms are not crazy. It's something that we think about a lot," says CrowdFlower's Lukas Biewald."But I'd say most of what we see is not taking away jobs from people. It's actually getting extra work done that our customers wouldn't have been able to do otherwise."The company has a partnership with a company called Samasource, providing work for people in Kenyan refugee camps, where the $2-an-hour rate of pay is far above what the workers could otherwise earn.

Mr Biewald believes the developing world has a right to benefit from new working opportunities."I don't see why someone in China should only be allowed to do the worst, most dangerous jobs we have to offer."
"The great thing about digital work is it's really hard to make a sweatshop out of digital work. It's really hard to force someone to do work, you can't beat someone up through a computer screen."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boeing profit boosted by strong aircraft orders

Boeing has attracted 241 orders for its commercial planes in the three months to September.Boeing, the world's largest plane maker, bounced back into profit in the third quarter of 2010 and booked a net 221 plane orders in the period.The company made net profits of $837m (£531m) during the three months to September, after a loss of $1.56bn for the same period in 2009.Much of last year's loss was due to a one-off charge because of delays to new planes.Boeing's commercial aircraft division, which competes fiercely with Europe's Airbus, has orders for 3,400 craft on its books, worth $255bn, including 847 orders for the Dreamliner. Revenue rose 11% higher to $8.7bn.But the defence division fared less well, with revenue falling 6% to $8.2bn.Boeing's civilian division is making a profit again and the plane industry is bouncing back after a tough few months when airlines were reluctant to place new orders.But it seems the US aerospace giant's defence division is having a much tougher time.

However, that is an illusion.

Over the past decade, global military spending has grown by about 50%, with even more dramatic growth in US military spending.Boeing's defence business has thus expanded greatly, so even though a slowdown is now inevitable it will remain much greater than it used to be.The results were well-received by investors, however.Boeing shares were the best performer on the Dow Jones index constituents, rising by more than 3% to close at $71.36.The dip in performance from defence was viewed as outweighed by the improvement in commercial aircraft orders.

"So far, the increase in the commercial side is more than compensating for the softening defence business," said Kenneth Herbert, aerospace analyst, Wedbush Securities."Airlines are starting to significantly order jets again after essentially taking 18 months off."Wednesday also saw better-than-expected results from two Boeing customers, Delta Air Lines and US Airways, confirming better times across the aviation sector.

20 October 2010 Last updated at 21:49 ET

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

China rare earth shipments

The 17 different rare earths are found in everything from magnets to hybrid cars and computer monitors US trade officials say they are looking into a New York Times report that China is blocking shipments of rare earths to the US and Europe. China mines 97% of the specialist metals crucial to green technology.The report, citing anonymous industry sources, said Chinese customs officials had broadened export restrictions.Meanwhile China's commerce ministry has denied a report by the official China Daily that it will cut quotas by 30% next year to stop overmining.

"The report is completely false," the ministry said in a statement. "China will continue to supply rare earths to the world, and at the same time, to protect usable resources and sustainable development, China will also continue to impose restrictive measures on exploration, production and import and export of rare earths."

Threat to economy

The US Geological Survey recognises 17 different rare earths.They are used in everything from catalytic converters in cars to computer monitors, TVs and in pharmaceuticals. Analysts say without these elements, much of the modern economy would shut down. China accounts for about 97% of global rare-earth production. The BBC's Paul Mason says the rare earth story goes to the heart of China's relationship with the West. The US, which is also a major buyer of rare earths, mined no rare earth elements last year. US trade officials say they are now checking the New York Times report that China is blocking shipments to the US and Europe, following reports of a similar move against Japan.

The newspaper cited unnamed Chinese rare earths officials as saying that "the embargo is expanding".
Nefeterius McPherson of the US Trade Representative's office said: "We're seeking more information in keeping with our recent announcement of an investigation into whether China's actions and policies are consistent with WTO rules."
Washington is investigating whether China is violating international trade rules by subsidising its clean energy industries. EU trade spokesman John Clancy told the BBC that he was unable to confirm claims made by European industry officials in media reports of China blocking shipments to the EU. "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stressed at the recent EU-China Business Summit that China did not intend to take such action or close its market," Mr Clancy said in a statement.He said rare earths were a key element of European industrial policy, and that the situation was being monitored closely.
Japan accused China of halting rare earth shipments last month amid a diplomatic row over Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain whose trawler collided with two Japanese patrol boats.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BP polishes its image

BP is struggling to repair its image following the Gulf oil spill disaster.


BP links staff bonuses to safety performance.BP is taking steps to improve its image after the Gulf oil spill BP's new boss Bob Dudley has told the company's 80,000 employees that safety will be the sole measure for bonus payments in the fourth quarter. Mr Dudley said in an email that payments would be linked to "reducing operational risks" and "excellent safety and compliance standards".Existing bonus arrangements would be honoured for the first nine months of the year, he added.

"We are taking this step in order to be absolutely clear that safety, compliance and operational risk management is BP's number one priority, well ahead of all other priorities," the email said. "In particular, we are committed to ensure that a low-probability, high-impact incident such as the Deepwater Horizon tragedy never happens again," it added.

A spokesman for BP said the majority of staff usually received bonuses, although there was a big disparity in the amount paid. Mr Dudley took up his new post earlier this month after his predecessor Tony Hayward stepped down amid heavy criticism of his handling of the oil spill.

The total bill for fighting the spill and compensating victims currently stands at about $11.2bn (£7bn).

Paying up

Separately, BP said it is prepared to waive a legal cap on liabilities arising from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that limits its exposure to $75m plus clean-up costs."BP has chosen to waive the statutory limitation on liability under [the Oil Pollution Act of 1990]," BP said in a court filing.BP has set up a $20bn compensation fund. In addition, it faces several hundred lawsuits."It certainly took everyone by surprise," Steve Herman, a Louisiana attorney, said in response to BP's statement.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bombardier's new business jets

A plan by Bombardier to expand its family of Global Express business aircraft is expected to be costlier than mere tinkering with the existing design, industry analysts said Monday.The Montreal-based aircraft and train maker announced Saturday that it will offer two Global aircraft that combine longer distances with improved fuel efficiency and increased comfort. The new Global 7000 and 8000 will be available for delivery in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Analysts welcomed the move, saying it will help Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) to protect its global leadership in the business aircraft market and fend off competition from Gulfstream's new G650.

The planes will come with a price tag of around US$65 million, compared to just under US$60 million for the G650 and US$53 million for the Global Express XRS.Bombardier has not yet disclosed the development costs of the planes. But Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial said they will likely require more spending than would a simple derivative, which has been estimated to cost at least US$300 million. Designing an entirely new plane would cost about $1 billion.

The new aircraft will feature a newly designed wing and use the new General Electric TechX engine.
The fuselage design is expected to be largely the same as the current Global family and feature a Global Vision flight deck which is being developed for existing Global planes.Bombardier is currently focused on developing its new Learjet 85, CSeries commercial jet and CRJ1000.The aircraft manufacturer should have adequate financial resources to develop the new planes since development of these programs will be winding down as the new Global program is ramping up, Doerksen added in a report.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What ever you are- be a good one.


Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lessons on Teamwork from the Chilean MIners

Here are take-away messages from the crisis that captured the world’s attention, with workplace advice from Katie Bennett, principal of Black Diamond Coaching in Vancouver, and Randall Craig, president of Pinetree Associates in Toronto.

DON’T WAIT TO BE TOLD

The team included a shift supervisor, but there were no corporate types to call the shots after the cave-in, so a lot of the things the miners did were decided informally among themselves without an appointed leader. They pitched in and divided up the work to keep everyone occupied and productive. They decided who was good at doing what, tapping into their own specific skills to organize exercise regimens and debris removal, and provide spiritual support.

The lesson: When you’re part of a team, make yourself aware of your colleagues’ strengths and skills. Don’t count on a manager to decide who is best-suited to a specific task. Leaders naturally emerge in a crisis or crunch; in a challenging situation, step up and demonstrate your leadership potential.

FIND PURPOSE IN WORK

Keeping occupied, even if it was simply moving rocks or jogging around the mine tunnels, gave the men a sense of accomplishment, helping them to fend off boredom and gloomy thoughts about their situation. Despite facing extreme challenges, they managed to stay active and upbeat.

The lesson: Watching the clock gets you nowhere. If you find ways to make your work interesting and look at what you have accomplished to help meet the team’s larger goal, the time goes much faster. People need to feel productive. Pointing out to team members how their work can and will make a difference will give more meaning to their existence. People can become engrossed in any task, as long as they feel there is a purpose to what they are doing.

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

The miners realized from the start that rather than putting their own needs first, they had to work together, and depend on each other to survive; once contact was made with rescuers, they became part of the overall effort to bring them out alive. In a show of solidarity, the miners vied with each other to be the final one to leave the cavern. Those with medical conditions were given extra consideration and rescued early, while the shift boss – the manager – was the last to leave.

The lesson: The miners’ responses might seem counter-intuitive to many in the corporate world, who scramble their way up the ladder to seniority and merit perks. Giving people what they need and deserve should not be a question of their title or how long they’ve been around, but about their needs and how well they move the enterprise forward.

HAVE SOME FUN

Continual stress is unhealthy. The miners made time for games, reading, writing letters and exercise. An Elvis fan led regular sing-alongs; others told stories and jokes (which they eventually recorded on a video camera lowered to their cave). And they looked ahead to the possibilities that their ordeal might lead to opportunity. They asked rescuers to send down a book on public speaking so they could talk eloquently to the media when they emerged, and made a pact that they would all share in telling their story for an inevitable film.

The lesson: Even though the dynamic of a crisis or an office year-end crunch may seem to dictate that “this is no laughing matter,” never underestimate the need to lighten the mood and find a way to take a load off. No matter how dire the situation now, keep in mind that eventually you’ll be able to look back and smile about getting through it.

SHARE THE VISION

While the miners may have had doubts and felt discouraged at times, they propped up each other’s spirits. If even one had panicked, the negative emotion could have eroded morale and led others to give up. Instead they looked for bits of good news and held to their ultimate goal: freedom.

The lesson: Every team, department or company must have a shared mission and focus on a vision of a better future. Negative emotions will always prevail in a crisis; keeping them at bay is critical for the success of the team. A good tool is to focus on progress, no matter how incremental, and communicate that while the tasks at hand may be daunting, “we will make it through this.” This is not about being a Pollyanna; this is about the reality that those who stay positive are in the best mind set to formulate solutions. You don’t have to be facing a dark tunnel to look for light. Even when things are going great, congratulating everyone for their contribution to the team’s success will generate additional enthusiasm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

China addresses wealth and income disparity

BBC News, Beijing

Liu Qingye gave up her job at a hotel because she was not earning enough money In the shadow of Beijing's Central Business District there is a small area of low-rise slum housing, where people jostle for space.There are shops selling clothes and shoes, roadside food stalls and cheap accommodation.
The nearby business district - home to luxury hotels and the offices of multi-national companies - seems a million miles away.

These two areas, separated by only a few hundred metres, show the triumphs and failures of China's current five-year economic plan. Bustling business districts are proof of China's economic growth; poor areas show that not everyone has benefited from that success.China's top Communist Party leaders have begun an annual meeting at which they will discuss the next five-year plan. They will be looking to maintain the rapid pace of growth.But the leaders also recognise that they will have to give more money to their poorest citizens.

There is no doubt that China has done well over the last five years.Officials expected annual growth of 7.5% in this current five-year plan, which runs from 2006 to the end of this year.They easily beat that goal. Growth averaged 11.4% in the first four years of the plan, according to figures supplied by the bank UBS.They also did better than expected in other areas; more people now benefit from pensions and basic healthcare insurance.The economic slump caused by the global financial crisis barely seems to have affected China's economic growth.

People now have more money to spend, and some of them go to the new Shangri-La-run hotel at the top of the China World Tower, Beijing's tallest building.China's economic success is easy to see from the high-rise bar in a new luxury hotel From a bar on the 80th floor, guests have a spectacular view over the whole city as they nibble expensive snacks and sip drinks.
Some economists believe Chinese officials might have become too confident at the success achieved over the last five years."I think the leadership may be looking at the recent performance and over-estimating how good they really have done," said Arthur Kroeber, managing director of the research firm Dragonomics.
"They might also be under-estimating the need for structural reforms that will generate growth in the future." Many believe China has to increase domestic consumption, rather than relying on investment in infrastructure projects and exports to fuel growth.The people who live in the slum near the Central Business District will perhaps be hoping that they get a bigger share of the economic pie.



Children left behind

Liu Qingye, originally from Henan Province, is one of those who lives and works in the narrow lanes that make up the area.She used to work in a nearby hotel, but left last year because she could not survive on her monthly salary of 1,000 yuan ($150, £94).The 41-year-old now sells hot snacks - including unborn chicks skewered on a stick and fried - from a mobile stall she places next to a rubbish dump.She earns nearly double her previous wage, but can still only afford to rent a single room, which she shares with her husband.The couple's two children are back in Henan, being brought up by their grandparents.Mrs Liu will never be able to afford one of the luxury apartments just down the road."We simply don't have enough money to rent a place down there. I just stay here and do my own little business," she said.

China knows that it will have to improve the life of Liu Qingye over the next five years if it is to rebalance its economy - and make its poorest people happier.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

EU austerity drive country by country

For EU leaders the short-term goal is to restore confidence in the euro.A new austerity drive has been sweeping across Europe, as governments struggle to trim huge budget deficits and the 16-nation eurozone races to reassure sceptical markets. Some of the biggest protests have been seen in France but industrial action is making headlines elsewhere too.With all EU governments aiming for maximum budget deficits of 3% of GDP by 2013, what belt-tightening measures are they taking?

FRANCE
France has announced plans to cut spending by 45bn euros over the next three years in order to meet the budget deficit target. Some of this money is expected to be saved through closing tax loopholes and withdrawing temporary economic stimulus measures. The country also plans to save money through reforms to the pensions and tax systems. Measures include raising the retirement age to 62 from 60, and require employees to work longer to qualify for their state pension. The highest earners will also be required to pay an extra 1% income tax.Trade unions organised two rounds of nationwide strikes in September, with at least 1.1 million people involved in the first of these.

SPAIN
The Spanish government has approved an austerity budget for 2011 which includes a tax rise for the rich and 8% spending cuts.Madrid has promised European counterparts to cut its deficit to 6% of its gross domestic product (GDP) next year, from 11.1% last year.Government workers face a pay cut of 5%, starting in June, and salaries will then be frozen for 2011. A tax rise of 1% will be applied to personal income above 120,000 euros. Smaller savings include an end to a 2,500-euro cash payout for new mothers, known as "baby cheques". Unemployment has more than doubled - to about 20% - since 2007.

GREECE

The Greek government has pledged to make drastic spending cuts and boost tax revenue in return for a 110bn-euro (£95bn) bail-out from the EU and International Monetary Fund.It has started drawing on the bail-out money because a sharp downgrade of its sovereign debt rating made its borrowing costs soar.
The aim is to slash the budget deficit from 13.6% of GDP.The country has started cracking down on tax evasion, and on corruption within the tax and customs service. It will also curb its widespread early retirement schemes. The average retirement age is set to rise from 61.4 to 63.5. Under the plan to slash the budget by 30bn euros (£26bn; $37bn) over three years Greece aims to: scrap bonus payments for public sector workers; freeze public sector salaries and pensions for at least three years; increase sales tax (VAT) from 19% to 23%; raise taxes on fuel, alcohol and tobacco by 10%. The harsh measures have triggered public sector strikes and violence on the streets of Athens.

ROMANIA
The government proposed wage cuts of 25% and pension cuts of 15% in July in order to reduce the country's budget deficit.Romania's economy shrunk more than 7% in 2009 and it needed an IMF bail-out in order to meet its wage bill.It says it needs to implement new austerity measures to qualify for the next instalment of the 20bn-euro ($25bn; £17bn) IMF loan.Angry protests have greeted the cuts and Interior Minister Vasile Blaga resigned after thousands of police officers went on strike over the 25% pay cut.

ITALY
The Italian government has approved austerity measures worth 24bn euros for the years 2011-2012. The cuts amount to about 1.6% of Italian GDP Italy aims to cut public sector pay and freeze new recruitment. Public sector pensions and local government spending are also being targeted, and there are plans to crack down on tax evasion. Funding to city and regional authorities is expected to be cut by more than 13bn euros.
For the next three years there will be a freeze on public sector pay rises and cuts in public sector hiring, replacing only one employee for every five who leave.Progressive pay cuts of up to 10% are planned for high earners in the public sector, including ministers and parliamentarians.Retirement will be delayed by up to six months for those who reach retirement age in 2011.Provincial governments serving fewer than 220,000 inhabitants will be scrapped, as will several publicly funded think-tanks.

UK

The new UK coalition government has announced £6.2bn (7.2bn euros) of savings in 2010-2011, making it clear that this is just the first step in an austerity drive aimed at cutting the huge deficit of £156bn, which is above 11% of GDP.The biggest of all the departmental cuts will be at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, totalling £836m. David Cameron's government hopes to make big savings by delaying or stopping government contracts and projects, by cutting consultancy and travel costs and by slimming down public sector agencies known as quangos.

GERMANY
The German government has proposed plans to cut the budget deficit by a record 80bn euros ($96bn; £66bn), or 3% of GDP, by 2014. The total deficit in 2009 was 3.1%, but is projected to grow to more than 5% this year. "Germany has an outstanding chance to set a good example," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The plans include a cut in subsidies to parents, 10,000 government job cuts over four years, and higher taxes on nuclear power. The rebuilding of the baroque Stadtschloss palace in the heart of Berlin will also be postponed.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

The Irish government has presented three austerity packages in just over a year.In December 2009, the budget for 2010 slashed government spending by 4bn euros, cut all public servants' pay by at least 5% and reduced social welfare.The measures include cuts of 760m euros in social welfare and 960m euros in investment projects.Child benefit is being cut by 16 euros a month, bringing the lower rate to 150 euros a month and the higher rate to 187 euros a month. A carbon tax has been brought in, set at 15 euros per tonne of CO2.The Irish government has had to give staggering amounts of support to its struggling banking sector - the equivalent of 30% of the value of its economy. Including that financial aid, the Irish deficit will be 32% this year - 12% without. The government aims to cut it in stages, to reach 2.9% by 2014. Bad news came in September when figures showed the economy had shrunk in the second quarter from the previous three months.Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1.2% and gross national product (GNP), seen by some as a more accurate barometer of the economy, fell by 0.3%.

PORTUGAL

The Socialist government of Jose Socrates has announced a range of austerity measures aimed at cutting the deficit to 7.3% this year and 4.6% in 2011.Top earners in the public sector, including politicians, will see a 5% pay cut.VAT will rise by 1% and there will be income tax hikes for those earning more than 150,000 euros. By 2013 they will face a 45% tax rate. 2013 military spending will have been cut by 40% and the government is delaying the launch of two high-speed rail links - the Lisbon-Porto and Porto-Vigo routes.

NETHERLANDS

The Dutch caretaker government announced budget cuts of 3.2bn euros (£2.7bn, $4.2bn) for 2011, but the final figure may be much higher. Spending on healthcare, immigrants and government workers will all be slashed in a bid to reduce the budget deficit.The head of one of the parties trying to form the next government foresaw cuts of 18bn euros over four years.Talks on a new government have dragged on for months.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chinese Trade Surplus falls

China's trade surplus falls to $16.9bn. Chinese exports and imports are still increasing but at a slower pace than a month earlier The gap between China's imports and exports narrowed in September, official data has shown.But analysts say the decline is unlikely to ease the pressure on Beijing to strengthen its currency.

The US has been among its strongest critics, claiming China deliberately undervalues the yuan, boosting China's exports by making them cheap. China's trade surplus fell to a five-month low of $16.9bn (£10.7bn), down from $20bn in August.Exports rose 25.1% year-on-year in September to $145bn, but the pace of growth was slower than the 34.4% growth seen in August.Imports rose 24.1% year-on-year to a record high of $128.1bn, compared with August's growth of 35.2%.

Despite the data, Brian Jackson, senior strategist at Royal Bank of Canada in Hong Kong, said that China would still be under pressure to let the yuan appreciate."I think the fact that their exports are still very strong suggests that there's plenty of scope for them to do more on the currency," he told the AFP news agency.
The US cites its own trade balance with China as evidence that the yuan is undervalued.

The US and Europe have also emphasised the importance of a stronger yuan in rebalancing the global economy, increasing imports into developing economies like China.

Currency bill
The Chinese government has taken some steps to address its currency policy. In June, China pledged to let the yuan trade more freely against the dollar. Since then it has advanced about 2% against the US currency.

But the US has pressed for China to do more to allow the yuan to appreciate.
The House of Representatives has backed a bill that treats undervalued currencies as illegal export subsidies, which could pave the way for trade sanctions on China. Beijing has said it is "resolutely opposed" to the bill.

Lessons to be learnt from the Gap logo debacle

By Tom Geoghegan BBC News Magazine

Gap clothing company has ditched its new logo after only one week, due to an online backlash. So what are the perils of changing a company emblem?

Cheapy, tacky, ordinary are some of the adjectives used by Gap customers to describe its now-axed logo. After less than one week, it has been consigned to the graveyard inhabited by rejected arrows, squiggles and inadvertently offensive corporate emblems.The clean font, with a small blue square overlapping the "P", prompted such an outcry that the US clothing firm initially enlisted the help of the public in rethinking the design.

But within days it announced, early on Tuesday morning, it was returning to the solid blue box and "GAP" written in a capitalised serif font, a look introduced 20 years ago.British customers won't have noticed because the change had yet to be implemented in the UK.But Gap isn't the first company to learn that messing with one's visual identity is a risky business. So what did it do wrong, and what other logo makeovers have come under fire?

Gap, 2010

For a few days, it was goodbye to the 20-year-old solid blue square and the capital letters, hello to Helvetica and a small blue patch.

Other troubled logos

Last week, unveiling the new design, Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, said it was more contemporary and current, honouring the "heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward".But after a slew of criticism, much of it on Facebook, the company promised to take on board customers' own suggested logos as it reconsidered the emblem.The purveyor of preppy fashions folded, admitting its mistakes in not consulting its customers first, and reverted to the original.

Gap is trying to change its stripes without changing the product offering, says marketing expert Craig Smith.

"Where marketers often go wrong is they think they have identified an opportunity for the brand to evolve and become something else, become more modern, and they think they can shortcut this by changing the visual identity, and carry the customers with them. "It's a fundamental error because customers may not be ready to go with you. The product positioning has to change first, then the logo should be the last thing."

More Helvetica

My personal feelings are that the typeface is fine, says award-winning logo designer Jon Pink of J Pink Design.

"The letter forms in lowercase have an attractive quality to them and the simplicity is refreshing. I think if that was really a complaint, there would be similar complaints regarding other famous logos which utilise Helvetica in their logos, like American Apparel, [US homewares retailers] Crate&Barrel, Jeep, Panasonic, British Gas and 3M.

"However the addition of the blue square seems to be hated on a united front - it just looks cheap, tacky and very dull. So whilst including some connection of the original logo makes perfect sense in business terms, this illustrates perfectly that logic and reason can play second fiddle to gut instinct."

BP, 2000

BP went from shield to flower in 2000...

In 2000, BP unveiled a new greener logo, replacing the shield with a green, white and yellow flower-shaped one. At the same time, it adopted the slogan Beyond Petroleum.The move cost £4.5m ($7m) in brand research, with tens of millions more dollars to be spent supporting the change. Environmentalists accused the firm of spending more on the logo than on renewable energy.

But it was 10 years later when the dangers of adopting a "green" emblem were clear, says Mr Smith.

...but the logo was subverted during protests in 2010

"They've only learnt the error of their ways with the Deepwater Horizon crisis, because you can't pretend that a fossil fuel company is in any sense an eco-friendly brand.

"You immediately lay a trap for yourself. Since the crisis, lots of people online have been corrupting the logo."

The lesson there is that you can't pretend to be something that you're not, he adds.

Tropicana, 2009

Last year, fruit juice firm Tropicana dropped its famous orange and straw illustration from its cartons in the US, in favour of a glass of orange juice, a move that sparked countless complaints and criticism from customers. The brand's owner, PepsiCo, relented and went back to the orange.

The glass of juice on Tropicana cartons was short-lived

"The 2009 redesign was meant to contemporise our graphics and, as a result of that, we learned just how passionate consumers are about our brand," says Tropicana's Gina Judge, in an upbeat assessment of the miscalculation.

"A group of very loyal Tropicana fans told us they loved our straw in orange imagery, so we brought that icon back to the packaging."

The new look made the brand look ordinary, says Mr Smith. "For a loved, long-standing household brand there is no such thing as a successful logo overhaul - the only triumph is subtlety.

"For each of the six decades that Tropicana has been a fridge and family staple, its visual identity should have been refreshed. If you unveil a revolutionary redesign, expect your customers to revolt."

In contrast, says Mr Smith, a brand like Heinz has managed to change its logo many times over the years but in such a subtle way that no-one really notices.

BT, 1991

British Telecom's piper was introduced in 1991 and lasted 12 years, but at the time he was widely ridiculed, both for the £50m price tag and the way he looked like he was knocking back a yard of ale. He was preceded by, and later followed by, more conceptual designs.

The piper soon became a fixture on British streets

"I think BT were trying to visually embody a human, almost personal element through the piper image," says Mr Pink.

"He is listening and communicating at the same time which would bode well with BT at the time. There is no doubt that depicting a human figure would also help the company achieve a more personal image, perhaps with more focus on customer service than it had before, but the style and pose were its failing points."

The colouring, replacing a purple and yellow "T", was trying to reinforce the British element, he says.

"Once a business has established its brand positioning amongst the general public, it is often the logo that is seen to embody that branding and therefore acts as the visual connection between consumer and business much like we connect a person's face with his personality."In fact that is a good analogy to logos and brands - if we think of a brand being someone's personality and the logo being someone's face it makes it easier to see why as humans we like familiarity and how breaking that connection can cause confusion and puzzlement."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pfizer buys King

Pfizer, the world's largetst pharmaceutical company by revenues bought King Pharmaceuticals for $3.6bn
in cash.

Pfizer is paying $14.25 per share for King, a premium of 40% to King's closing share price on Monday.
King has struggled in recent years as patents on several of its key drugs have expired or been thrown out.
Pfizer said the deal would add about two cents a share to its profit in 2011 and 2012, and three to four cents per share in each of the next three years.
The boards of both companies approved the deal.  In early trading, King shares soared 39%, or $3.99, to $14.14. Pfizer shares rose five cents to $17.43.

Monday, October 11, 2010

350th Post- The Yen and the dollar

Dollar drops to 15-year yen
The US dollar has hit a fresh 15-year low against the yen after meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G7 finance ministers produced little to ease world currency tensions.
The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies and fell as low as 81.37 yen, before recovering to 82.07. Friday's weaker-than-expected US jobs data also raised expectations of more quantitative easing in the US.

The record low for the dollar is 79.75 yen, reached in April 1995. Last month, the Japanese central bank stepped in to sell yen and buy dollars, in an attempt to weaken the value of the yen against the dollar.
A strong yen makes Japanese exports more expensive, and reduces profits when earnings are repatriated.
Although Japanese markets are closed for a public holiday on Monday, the dollar's slide put markets on alert for further potential intervention by the Bank of Japan.

Tensions

The IMF's member countries failed to agree on a concrete plan to tackle global imbalances at multilateral meetings over the weekend. Japan escaped any overt criticism of its yen-selling policy, despite come commentators saying it was weakening its currency to gain an advantage in export markets.And the dispute between the US and China over currency policy appears no closer to a resolution.

The US has accused China of keeping the yuan artificially low to benefit Chinese exports, and over the weekend US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pressed Beijing again to let the value of the yuan rise against other currencies. But Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China's central bank, while acknowledging that China must raise the value of its currency, said it would like to use "more gradual ways" to do so."In China, a lot of people believe in Chinese doctors. In western countries, they believe in western-trained doctors," he said.Mr Zhou said the currency debate was like a contest between "pills that solve your problem overnight" and Chinese-style treatments of "10 herbs put together... that solve the problem not overnight, but maybe in one month or two months".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cloud computing

Most enterprises in Canada are proceeding into the realm of cloud computing with a great deal of caution. (iStock)Just about every person in business these days has heard the buzz about "cloud computing" and all the benefits it can deliver. The hype surrounding it would have you think that everyone is using these application or infrastructure services-for-hire.

The idea behind cloud computing seems to make good sense, given the economic pressure businesses are under to do more with less. The cloud is just another way of saying "the internet." And cloud computing basically involves paying for access to internet-based services in order to share computing horsepower, information and programs, from word processors to complex accounting and customer-relationship-management systems.

So instead of buying and maintaining its own servers and programs, which can be an expensive proposition, a company can pay to use programs, crunch numbers and store information on servers that are owned and operated by a service provider. Typically all it takes is a web browser to get to these cloud-computing resources.Major providers such as Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Google and Amazon make it seem like the cloud has become a ubiquitous force. But the reality is that when it comes to day-to-day business, most enterprises in Canada are proceeding into the realm of cloud computing with a great deal of caution.

"With zero exception, when I ask executives from Canadian accounts how many have made a significant investment in cloud computing to date, no hands go up," says Jimmy Fulton, vice-president at CA Technologies Canada, an IT management firm based in Toronto. "If I ask who is considering it, there might be a couple." What these executives may not know is that the cloud may already be alive and well within their ranks. It just can't be found in their IT budgets. Just ask Steve Irvine, CEO of 80/20 Solutions, a software-as-a-service provider of cloud marketing-based services in Toronto. "Give me the name of just about any larger enterprise, and I can almost guarantee there will be three or four departments using cloud applications without them [the central IT department] even knowing it."

He's not alone in making that statement."There probably are consumers somewhere in their organizations in the cloud," Fulton says of CEOs and CIOs who haven't officially made the move to cloud computing. "It may be a department or division that needed some computing capacity and went to a provider like Amazon or someone else."The larger the organization, the greater the likelihood that projects are drawing on resources in the cloud without the CIOs and/or IT department's full knowledge, confirms Robert Miggins, senior vice-president of business development at ServerBeach for PEER 1 Hosting in Vancouver. "Usually it's just some manager with a stagnant budget trying to get a job done," Miggins says. The technology makes sense from a business standpoint, he adds.

"Cloud works like a utility. You just plug into the 'grid' and pay for what you use. … It just happens," Miggins says. "Sometimes a developer or someone else needs to make something happen quickly and ends up using cloud services without the knowledge of the CIO."Irvine says marketing departments "love to outsource a lot of daily functions - and anything they can do to get away from IT makes them happy. It's fast, cost effective and easy to work with a cloud provider, rather than going through a lot of internal approvals and red tape. So those that haven't gone through their IT folks just do it … and ask for forgiveness later if they get caught."

'We find that about one-third of enterprises are putting sensitive information in the cloud, and I doubt that anyone is fully able to enforce that.'

—Jay Heiser, GartnerThe ability to buy infrastructure when you need it can do wonders for speed and efficiency, for example, when running in-depth analysis, crunching research numbers or offloading bandwidth-heavy tasks like video streaming applications."Cloud is much more accommodating for a wide range of workloads, which is what's setting off what's going on in large organizations," says Phil Shih, senior analyst for hosting at Tier1 Research in Toronto. "A lot of team leaders simply don't want to wait to go through the IT procurement process. Cloud services present them with a fast, easy and convenient way to turn compute power on and off when they need it by just expensing it on their credit card."

Depending on the application and information being used — and the quality of the provider — this practice doesn't necessarily expose companies to risk. But it could.The way the whole process of using these services is managed needs to be worked out in order to avoid sensitive information making its way to the cloud, according to Jay Heiser, research vice-president for Gartner in Washington, D.C.

"Ironically, it could be some of the most 'sensitive' groups going off and doing things like this," Heiser says. "We find that about one-third of enterprises are putting sensitive information in the cloud, and I doubt that anyone is fully able to enforce that. Brokers and corporate councils, for example, will take something out of their own budgets to get private email services. It's the digital equivalent to the plain brown wrapper."
Understandably there is a lot about the cloud that is scaring enterprises off, says Kelly Beardmore, chief operations and technology officer at Tenzing Managed IT Services in Toronto. "It may sound like an oxymoron, but the nebulousness of the cloud is both its strength and its weakness, for Canadians in particular," he says. "For one thing, there's a general fear of loss of control of data. There's a lot wrapped up in the whole privacy issue and the jurisdictional requirements for data."

Despite the fears of security breaches and corporate intentions to keep information locked down, it appears inevitable that cloud services will make their way into the enterprise ranks, whether it's through the front door or the back.Rather than fighting the trend, Heiser believes that enterprises would do best to accept the inevitable and start developing appropriate policies and procedures."You're fighting against human nature when you try to limit the 'tools' people bring to the workplace," Heiser says. "If you have to hop on the bandwagon, you can do it in a conservative way and establish cases where it's acceptable or not."

"Cloud just doesn't fit in with traditional risk management paradigms," Shih notes. "Certain parts of IT will inevitably end up in the cloud. Pockets in enterprise will experiment with it. Developers like to get on it for certain workloads that don't fit their IT infrastructure. CEOs need to know that they can move to the cloud piece by piece for workloads that make sense, not mission critical or sensitive applications."

Fulton says that CEOs and CIOs will remain stymied by a number of questions for some time: How do they manage the cloud? How do they secure it? How do they decide if it has benefits? How do they manage service level agreements?

"These are all questions that make [cloud] management solutions and [and processes] vitally important. Acceptance and education are good starting points," he says.One of the biggest challenges for enterprises is figuring out who to put in charge of cloud-based initiatives, Heiser says. "It should be the business manager. If they can truly understand the ramifications of using external IT and accept it as part of their overall business risks, they stand the best chance of making the right decisions in controlling it."

Kraft's Rosenfeld second in Forbes' power women list

Irene Rosenfeld is the boss of one of the world's biggest food companies The chief executive of Kraft Foods, Irene Rosenfeld, has been named as the world's second most powerful woman. Ms Rosenfeld came second in Forbes magazine's annual rankings of the world's most powerful women, beaten only by US first lady Michelle Obama.

As the head of Kraft, she presides over one of the world's biggest food companies.
She is among three chief executives featured in the top 10 most powerful women. The others are Indra Nooyi, the head of beverage giant PepsiCo, and Gail Kelly, chief executive of Australian bank Westpac. Ms Rosenfeld has been the head of Kraft since 2006, having worked in the food and beverage industry for the previous 25 years.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Google's Marissa Mayer and Social Marketing

Marissa Mayer has been on the cover of Newsweek as “one of the most powerful women of her generation.” Mayer, vice president of search product and experience and the first female engineer to join Google, returned to Wisconsin last week as a keynote speaker at the 12th annual Business Best Practices and Emerging Technologies Conference.


Mayer told the group of approximately 550 business, technology and marketing professionals about creating an organizational culture of innovation and how such a culture developed at Google. Mayer is responsible for what you see, use and experience on Google. Mayer also received the 2010 Distinguished Fellow Award from the UW-Madison E-Business Institute. The award is presented annually in honor of significant achievements and advancements in information technology and e-business. Award winning journalist Charlie Rose interviewed Mayer early this year about her first 10-years at Google and her experiences on the growth of Internet search and watching Google grow and innovate.

The conference attracted a diverse and eclectic audience ranging from social network and brand professionals, information technology executives to C-level suite business leaders. This mash-up of attendees was intentional by the conference organizers and illustrates what is going on in today's leading organizations where the silos of divisional, brand or product management, IT, supply chain and marketing are breaking down and are collectively collaborating with the common goal to integrate business strategies and grow the company. Social networking was not only discussed, but also practiced during the conference as many attendees used Twitter to record their reactions and network about their experiences.

Bob Grawien, senior vice-president and chief information officer for School Specialty Corporation said, “The insights provided at the Emerging Technology Conference were both visionary and practical.”

Mayer has had the unique opportunity to watch Google grow from 20 employees to one of the most watched companies and leading corporations in the world. The company has a reputation for a culture fostering innovation and allows its employees to use 20% of their time work to work on innovation projects of their choice. “These projects have enabled Google to launch products early and often.” Mayer said. User feedback and customer experiences have been essential to Google's development and user acceptance, Mayer added. “When you launch early and often your users can give you immediate feedback,” Mayer said. She referred to loyal evolved and engaged users as “Google Citizens.” “User contributions enabled Google to translate its web site to 140 languages,” Mayer said.

“Google tries to show the user the unexpected,” Mayer said in reference to their usual home-page simplicity to one-day creative plays and variations called “Google Doodle's.” Their logo variations range form Salvador Dali treatments, to pumpkins as “O's” on Halloween. The day of the conference Google added the Flintstones logo on Google.com, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Flintstones. These variations drive huge user visits to Google's home page, and as news spreads all over the web user flock to the web site.

In addition to Mayer, the conference featured talks from many well-known thought leaders, including Dr. Raj Veeramani, Executive Director of the UW- Madison E-Business Consortium and conference producer. Gordon Bell, principal research at Microsoft;, Kelly Goto, principal and CEO of gotomedia as well as Kristin Kirkconnell, vice-president of information service of American Family Insurance. The conference provided an opportunity for business community members to meet and discuss innovative practices and emerging technological trends in marketing and customer experience, information technology and supply chain management.

Dr. Raj VeeramaniDr. Veeramani delivered the opening keynote address in a presentation in which he addressed how power, speed and accessibility of computing has fostered consumer empowerment and radical changes in consumer behavior. This has created significant challenges and opportunities for business to engage with customers. "Brands are being defined not by what you say about yourself, but rather what others are saying about you," Veeramani said. . The fast pace of change and growing adoption of new channels such as social media, mobile devices and user-generated content is transforming customer behavior in terms of how they access information and interact with businesses, Veeramani said. “

“Successfully engaging the customer in this era of fundamental change will require companies to be more relevant, personalized and nimble in how they interact and serve with the customer. To do this, the biggest opportunity and challenge for companies today lies in being able to break through the traditional business silos of marketing, customer service, IT, and supply chain operations, and achieve an unprecedented level of visibility and synchronicity across the entire business and all customer touch points. Veeramini Said. ”

Fan of the conference and regular attendee Marsha Lindsay, CEO of Lindsay Stone & Briggs said, “New communication technologies are allowing people to do things in a whole new way and to do whole new things altogether. For marketers engaging and serving customer will require innovative ways of doing business.”
“Marketers don't need a social media strategy, they need a brand strategy that leverages social media. And without a jumpstart of awareness and engagement from traditional media, most everyone who has a blog or social networks will have a long slow climb to reach any critical or sustainable mass of followers or participants,” Lindsay said.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

China supports a stable Euro

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says his country will continue to support both the euro and European government bonds. "I have made clear that China supports a stable euro," he said. He also promised not to cut China's investment in European bonds, despite the recent crisis which has weakened the value of many such bonds. Mr Wen is visiting Greece, the worst-hit of the 27-nation European Union. He has promised to buy Greek government bonds the next time they went on sale.

China has said it needs to diversify its foreign currency holdings and has bought Spanish government bonds. Later in the week, the Chinese leader will attend an EU-China, where the subject of the yuan is almost certain to come up.

Artificially low

China is accused of keeping its currency artificially low against other world currencies, particularly the dollar- which makes Chinese goods cheaper on world markets, and non-Chinese goods more expensive within the country.

That argument is hottest in the US, where the House of Representatives has backed legislation that in theory paves the way for trade sanctions on China.

Mr Wen urged the EU to recognise China as a market economy, something that would make it less vulnerable to anti-dumping charges under World Trade Organization rules. He added that despite its growth China remained an emerging economy: "Per capita GDP is just one eighth of Greece's and the percentage of population below the poverty line is three times that of Greece. China continues to be an emerging country."

China's economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 10.3% in the second quarter of the year, from 11.9% in the first quarter. The government is targeting growth of 8% for the year as a whole.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Art Deco Ads

Famous Family owned businesses

Campbell's Soup: A Symbol of Americana

Fruit merchant Joseph Campbell and icebox manufacturer Abraham Anderson form the Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company. It takes off when a young chemist invents condensed soup in 1897. Today, the Campbell family still controls more than 50 percent of Campbell’s Soup and guards its independence fiercely.

Coors: Brewing Legacy

Immigrant Adolph Coors works his way West to open a brewery in Golden, Colorado. Coors' empire survives 18 years of Prohibition to become America's third-largest brewer. CEO Peter Coors appointed the company's first nonfamily president, Leo Kiely, in 1993.

Johnson Wax: A Shining Example

Samuel Curtis Johnson buys a flooring business in Racine, Wisconsin. Two years later he introduces prepared floor-wax products. The company now plans to split into three discrete units, each run by a fifth-generation Johnson sibling.

Bechtel: Working on the Railroad

Warren A. Bechtel hitches up two mules and goes to work on the Oklahoma railroad. Before long, Bechtel is building roads, tunnels, bridges, pipelines, and dams. Four generations of Bechtels have led the company through 19,000 projects in 140 nations on all seven continents.

Mars: Emperors of Chocolate

Frank C. Mars and his wife start a candy-making operation in their kitchen. The candy tycoon bans executive perks and threatens his sons with disinheritance if they don't perform well at boarding school. Today, Mars faces a perilous transition to the fourth generation.

Motorola: Beginning with Batteries

Brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin purchase a bankrupt Chicago battery business and rename it the Galvin Manufacturing Company. They officially adopt the name Motorola in 1947. Christopher B. Galvin is the current CEO.

Estee Lauder: Still Looking Good

Estee Lauder convinces Neiman Marcus to carry her cosmetics in his department store. Estee Lauder went public in 1995, but with seven Lauders on the payroll, the family still controls 96 percent of the voting shares.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

5 reasons why Brazil matters

Five reasons why Brazil matters

1. Economy: It is set for some 7.5% growth this year. The number of Brazilians regarded as middle class is rising fast, and with it their desire and ability to buy consumer goods.

2. Resources: It is a top exporter of key foodstuffs including sugar, poultry and beef, and a major producer of iron ore and other commodities much in demand by countries such as China. The recent discovery of offshore oil fields could propel Brazil into the top league of oil producers.

3. Environment: The size of the Amazon rainforest makes Brazil an essential presence in climate talks. Deforestation has slowed. Brazil makes much use of renewable energy - for example, hydroelectricity. Development of its oilfields and use of land for agriculture could undermine its green credentials.

4. International voice: Brazil is now more visible in international diplomacy, with strengthened ties with Africa and the Middle East. Brazil is among those pushing the importance of the G20.

5. Sport: Expect plenty of stories in the next few years about Brazil's 2014 World Cup preparations and Rio's 2016 Olympic plans. They will be two huge events in a country that knows how to party.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

7 Steps to Improving Your Business's Success through Science

7 Steps to Improving Your Business's Success through Science


New research out of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory shows that we learn better from success than we do from failure. Professor Earl Miller, along with colleagues Mark Histed and Anitha Pasupathy, conducted experiments that concluded that we only learn from experience when we do something right.

This is excellent news for anyone growing a business (or raising a child).

Several classical models of learning suggested that humans learn best when experiencing something unpleasant or harmful. This is called avoidance learning and an example would go something like this: a hornet's nest hangs from a tree in your back yard. Rather than calling in the pros, you decide to just knock the thing down and throw it down the hill. Instead of passively following their rolling home, the hornets attack. Avoidance learning would suggest that you would not be so stupid again.

Miller's study, however, showed that our brains are better stimulated by success than failure. And, importantly, success breeds more success.

It all comes down to dopamine.

Dopamine is the brain's "happy drug." It is released by the brain when we do something "right," and we experience its release as pleasure. Our brains, motivated by the pleasure, seek to re-experience the success, which will in turn lead to a greater release of dopamine.

Studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany support the conclusion that our brains are motivated by success to greater success. Immediately after experiencing a victory, our neurons process information more effectively, we become "sharper" and learn faster. In fact, a 2006 study of dopamine's effect on the brain showed that participants in a gambling study spotted winning strategies at a faster rate when dopamine was present in the brain.

So, how can this grow your business?

It means that you should look for small victories along the way toward your big goals. Say, for instance, you are starting an internet marketing business that offers higher compensation when you reach a top tier level. Your goal is to reach that top tier level quickly. Your chances of reaching that goal will be severely hampered if you don't have smaller victories along the way. Why?

Because, instead of bathing your brain in dopamine, frustration and anxiety produce the stress hormone, cortisol, which only increases the sense of failure. This may be the reason why so many new businesses fail.

The repeated release of dopamine strengthens the neural pathways needed to master a new skill. This is why practice makes perfect. The more you succeed at a task, the longer your brain stores the information that allowed you to succeed in the first place.

Yes, the brain is a greedy little organ. But, again, this works in your favor as you grow your business. So, how do you maximize success?

1- Set many short term goals. Say you are new to internet marketing and do not understand the importance of social media. In fact, the idea of "tweeting" and "Facebooking," of interacting with strangers, makes you break out in hives. Don't take it all on at once. Set an hour or two aside to learn Twitter. Just the basics. You may feel like a fool, but send out a tweet. When you receive a return tweet, you'll feel a small level of success. Send out another one. Build upon your prior successes.

2- You're bound to make mistakes. Don't focus on them. Instead, understand that you have another chance. In fact, you have many chances to get it right. Become success-oriented rather than mistake-focused. Try again.

3- If, against all odds, you cannot manage the new skill, walk away. Exercise, change your activity. The more you beat yourself up, the more cortisol builds up in your brain and, when this happens, it is almost impossible to learn.

4- Practice and Repeat. If you've ever taken a golf lesson, you'll be familiar with the term, "muscle memory." When we repeat a physical motion over and over, our muscles somehow "remember" the action and, in the future, repeat it unconsciously. Repetition is the key to muscle memory. Likewise, repetition is the key to success.

5- Celebrate and reward success (in others and in you). Set your goals, along with the reward (no matter how small) you'll receive when you reach that goal. Learning to tweet might get you a slice of pie. Making your first sale might be cause for going out to dinner. Reaching the top tier may deserve a vacation (though, you really should practice while the dopamine is flowing).

6- Motivate rather than punish. If you are building a team, don't focus on the mistakes made along the way (remember cortisol?). Instead, recognize small successes, give positive feedback. The pleasure from that feedback will motivate you and your team on to greater success. And, make sure you give the feedback/reinforcement immediately, while the brain still remembers exactly how the success was achieved and can repeat it.

7- Finally, build on your success. Have you ever noticed that successful people often seem to "be on a roll?" That they move from success to success? That the wealthy seem to attract money, which is a form of reward? Dopamine.

Remember, set small goals for yourself along the way. Celebrate and reward yourself when you achieve them. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Let your brain swim in dopamine.

The Author

Katherine (Kaete) Mariaca is a respected Internet Marketing Leader, with expertise in all aspects of marketing online. While she specializes in content and attraction marketing, her main focus and continued commitment is in educating others to become the Internet Marketing Leaders of tomorrow. She graduated from Tufts University with a B.S. degree in Psychology and from Lesley University with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. Kaete is currently seeking highly motivated entrepreneurs to join her team of successful internet leaders. You can reach her through her business blog, http://CarbonCopyThePros.blogspot.com, or coaching blog, http://MyPlanBLifestyle.blogspot.com