“Work faster little Jimmy, the World Cup is coming up!”

Besides my studies at the HWR I work partially in a sport store or more precisely, a Handball Store. Since the Handball world championship takes place in Spain these days our shop is booming. We are literally run over by enthusiastic fans who all were captured by the gigantic marketing machinery every big tournament brings along. In the beginning of January we got the newest collection of all handball brands such as Hummel, Select, Kempa or Adidas. MatchBalls, World cup shirts, shorts and shoes just launched for the upcoming championship.

It is super sweet to see all those little kids emulating and imitating their WM heroes or idols (Little kids is actually wrong, it´s a phenomenon to see how Dads become 12 again). The Question I heard most the last days wasn`t “Hey Mel, how are you?” but rather “Can you bring me the new Adipower stabil 10.0 in size 7.5?” or “Do you have the shoe that Nikola Karabatic is wearing?”

Our stores cash registers are ringing and so do the producer`s but what is so special about the marketing strategy that attracts so many fans and what is really behind all those expensive sport articles?

Tailor-made Commercial and Sponsorship

deutschland-tunesien-wm-514If you watch a match in the current world cup you can always see the new commercials for the new products at the electric banners on the sidelines. The German Car Company kfzteile.de /WM also tries to jump on the bandwagon by offering a 0.5% discount for every German Goal.

What´s really surprising for me is the fact that the advertisement does match to the current playing nationality. That means for German matches that there is always the DKB, intersport or mybet.de commercial. The highest German handball league hasn´t just a simple name like it is usual in soccer, like premier league or simply Bundesliga but it is titled after its biggest sponsor, the DKB Handball Bundesliga or former the Toyota Handball Bundesliga. This shows that handball is still in the shadows of its bigger brother “soccer” and is not popular enough to survive or compete with other nations without the help of big sponsors like DKB or Toyota.

A shoe in the course of time

Nevertheless, this doesn´t discourage the sport industry to come up with brand new products. Since I am always in contact with those articles I had the chance to notice some things: Let´s take shoes as an example. Their colors keep getting glarier, the design more futuristic than ever before and guess what? The shoe that looks closest to a spaceship always wins!

But unfortunately their quality wouldn´t help its wearers to reach the moon.  50 % plastic and poorly processed seams are not uncommon. But a shoe under a price level of 120 is. But what is the justification for such a high price? Obviously not the Quality aspect…

Brad Tuttle, journalist of business and personal finance for TIME puts it:

“Remember that more expensive does not always mean better. Take bamboo for example: it is cheaper than other exotic woods, but it is resistant to wear and very stylish.”

Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/11/14/does-a-low-price-mean-good-value-or-bad-quality/#ixzz2Iq1izUWP

adidas-spezial-so492292-2-0133554806_neu-adidas-stabil-on-fire-handballschuhe-indoor- Here is an example of the “slightly” development of the same handballshoe model. I received a lot of customer complaints due to breaking plastic pieces in the front part of the spacy pair.

A little side note: My coach and my dad are still wearing the upper, blue shoe

The designs are changing but what about the production conditions?

Regaining Quality through transparency?

It is an open secret that cheap clothing chains like H&M or KiK employ adults and children in emerging countries for starvation wages in low quality mass fabrication. But the emphasize lies on cheap stores where you do not really expect high quality. And you can always check the red list which offers all brands that should be avoided.

But isn´t it even worse selling at a high price level and producing in a low-cost manner?

A research of the belgian consumer organization, Verbruikersunie, criticizes the blurry access to information about the prooduction processes and supply chains of the big firms like Adidas and Nike. The missing transparency makes it hard to evaluate their performance.

If one believes the social and sustainability report of Adidas you can read their promise to fabricate under fair and environmentally-friendly aspects. But reading further in this 54 page long report is worth it because it provides a list with their producing plants and their problems like wages far beyond the wage floor. But on the other hand, Adidas is positively mentioned on the German webpage aktiv-gegen-kinderarbeit.de for its initiative for security in the factories.

Market leader Nike is exposed to even more accusations regarding child labor  than Adidas. If you imagine a typical Nike employee, you expect a hip and trendy youngster but not an 8-year old, right? According to child-awareness.com, “Nike is one of the well-known major corporations and is worth four billion dollars. They have factories in China, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, where they employ people, including children for twelve-hour shifts and pay them as low sixteen cents an hour.” The newest revolts of workers in Indonesia were recognized by Nike`s global corporate communications director, Greg Rossiter and brushed aside with the promise:

“Nike takes these claims seriously and company representatives are investigating the claims,”

4437_86f1_525The “Just don´t do it”- campaign from UNICEF also clearly defines its opinion about Nike.

Nike vindicates those accusations with another statement on their website:

“Our greatest responsibility as a global company is to play a role in bringing about positive, systemic change for workers within our supply chain and in the industry. We’re looking end-to-end, from the first phase of our product creation process to the impacts of our decisions on the lives of workers in the factories that bring our product to life.”

Those are just examples of accusations against the sports industry. It just makes me sad when I compare the smiling and sparkling kids` eyes when they hold their brand new adipower stabil shoe from their idol in their hand with those wide-opened eyes of a starving kid who just stitched it. Is that the deal? One kid has to suffer for the other one´s happiness?

I already made my decision. As long as there is no clear transparency of those mass product firms like Adidas or Nike I will try to stick with handball brands like Hummel or Kempa, which are both well-known for their fair Business even if my shoes are no spaceships then.

Advertisements

“We are about to develop an application!”

On a birthday-party of one of my old friends I had a great conversation with John about his latest project: He and his friends are about to develop an application that should help people to reach their personal goals. Very interesting, sounds great! But already on that evening I started to wonder if is profitable to develop an app and if you can really earn a lot of money in this business?

Smartphone_Penetration

Apple generates daily revenue of $250,000 to $300,000 only from apps!

To answer this question we have to look what experts of this field say. Lets check out the potential of the market: “According to Gartner, in 2011 global sales of apps accounted for $15 billion and is expected to reach 52 billion in 2015“ Kim May Cutlers, editor at techcrunch.com says that Apple generates daily revenue of $250,000 to $300,000 only from apps! CHECK! We defiantly have a lot of potential here!

 You may have another app that might be of interest to the customer.

But if we belief JOHN MANOOGIAN III, an editor on techcrunch.com there are only two safe ways to generate money with applications: “Users or Advertisers?“ If you bring your app into the app store you can either charge money or you can give away for free and make money with advertisement. Furthermore 30% of application revenues go to apple respectively to the shop provider. Even Gartner estimates that “more than 85% of downloads in stores are made of free applications“. While JOHN MANOOGIAN III beliefs that „The future of app monetization clearly lies in ad-supported model.“ John Solomon sees a possibility to generate money by selling the app: “They pay you a fixed fee, end of story. But it does make sense to keep them in your list and keep nurturing them. You may have another app that might be of interest to the customer.“

Most developers who are doing well earn from $1200 to $3900 per month

In fact Pravin, administrator at forums.esdes, states: “A survey in mid-2011 over the AppStore then showed that 370,000 existing apps were created by 78,000 developers. The maximum average earnings per application were no more of $ 27,000.“ The figures show that there is a huge competition. The developer economics report 2012 pointed out that About 35% of mobile developers cannot earn a living solely by developing apps According to the report, most developers who are doing well earn from $1200 to $3900 per month depending on the platform.

Top 5 Revenue

My own view is that, while it’s true that the field has a lot of potential the risk at least as high. Both ways, charging for the app or giving it away for free can be successful even if, in my opinion, the advertising model has a higher potential.
In the end the app market does not really differ from other industries: If you want to make millions you have to provide the best product and combine that with an excellent marketing strategy. I wish the very best to John and his friends to become successful!

7 steps to become the ruler of your inbox

Bild

My last blog coped with the topic of quality minimization of manager´s work due to their need to be available 24/7 and response as quickly as possible. People are therefore predestinated to miss the big picture. During the financial crisis, several analyses were brought up which stated that a Managers primarily aim is to respond quickly to the competition. That leads to problems when it comes to the specifications or future predictions about a deal. Why?

Because they are focusing too much on the current issues and those are, the upcoming messages on their electronic devices. As Will Huton, chair of a big innovation centre,puts it:

“It’s bad for the individual worker’s performance being online and available 24-7. You do need downtime, you do need periods in which you can actually reflect on something without needing instantaneously to give a reaction.”

Just take a look at the Business E-Mail statistic record of Sara Radicati from 2011 until 2015. In 2012, ca. 110 e-mails are sent/receiver per day, per user. Who can focus on his work when 110 e-mails are incoming every day? That`s the reason why I try to give helpful strategies to prevent and avoid these dangers, so that you can claim some day: ” I control my inbox and not the other way around!”

Do what you would be done.

The more traffic you put on a network and the more people you involve, the more messages you should expect in return. Hold back from sending some messages until you have considered and reconsidered whether you really have something to say and especially who REALLY needs to read it. So, if you´re complaining about the amount of mails you receive that don´t content useful information for you, firstly think of the people in your distribution list…

Split your inbox.

Often executives have more than one e-mail address. One for intern messages, one for customers and a private one. That does not appear seldom. And that actually is very important. It helps you to keep a better overview over all your messages. It´s easier to decide which messages need to be taken care of immediately and which ones can wait. Maybe you can respond to one of your colleagues in person and swing by in his office with a cup of coffee?

Prioritize.

That is a skill I learned during the Business Application Course at my University. As we were overloaded by work from our professor the real challenge was to prioritize on the real important tasks. He always reminded us: Do what you can, and don´t spent too much of your valuable time on issues which are random. And if you do so, ASK FOR HELP! No matter if you´re a successful manager or a poor student, exchange information and don´t fight on your own!

Check out your inbox tools.

There are people who are updating their twitter or facebook status every hour. But when it is about setting a status for their e-mail account they look at you like “what?!?”. Only few individuals take full advantage of these tools, most e-mail client programs have integrated mechanisms, such as filters and rules, for regulating and organizing information flow. Status messages, such as “out of office” notices, can manage others’ expectations. Even the phone apps, like Whatsapp or kakaotalk, give you the chance to set up a status. If you also use these apps to communicate for business purposes, pay attention that you deactivate the “last seen” function!

Danah-Boyd Model.

Have you ever heard of Danah Boyd? She is an executive of Microsoft. Stressed out from all the pressure and an always-full-inbox she decided to declare a periodically e-mail time-out and breaks up all electronic communication for two weeks!

That is pretty extreme, so try to find your own time frame. Use your email status or an online calendar where you announce your “online-hours” or days. During these times, you can turn on your “out of office” note to let people know that your response may be delayed…for the 20  percent of messages that may actually need a response.

Volkswagen Model.

Meanwhile even companies noticed that the E-mail load is overwhelming its employees. Therefore the carproducer Volkswagen invented a countermeasure. Via an off-button on each employee´s blackberry it automatically shuts down all e-mail traffic on their phones. That helps it´s employees to get into non-work-mode more easily. Read an interesting article about it on BBC.

Shut it down.

When all else fails, remember that you have an actual turn off button on every one of these electronic devices, even if it takes you some time to figure out where it is =) It seems hard, the poor device. But you have to make it part of your management routine to succeed.

These are all significant steps, and none of them are easy. They require saying no to forces that, consciously or unconsciously, assume that you will always be available. You have a choice: Will you control technology so that it works for you, or will you let it undermine your practice of management? It all depends on how much attention you are willing to pay to your habits: the way they are now, and the way they ought to be. And remember, you can always shut it down!

“OUT OF OFFICE, SORRY!”

MY FEAR OF TECHNOLOGY

ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON GOOGLE, FACEBOOK & CO

The story

Recently I did an assignment on how to overcome the fear of technology. The purpose was getting to know and get oneself into different programs and management tools.

There are countless programs and online services/ platforms that make office work a lot easier, that connect people around the globe and allow us to exchange data, do business, present ourselves…  Great!                                                                                                                            But one day something strange happened:

A few days ago I looked for a video on the web to watch it on my Smartphone. Since I didn’t find it on youtube I watched it on myvideo.de. Later on when I checked my facebook page, I realized that it automatically posted what video I had just seen … visible for everyone. Angry but also thoughtful some questions began to arise:

1. personal data protection on the internet

2. what do account passwords protect us against and what are the limit

3. can authorites access my personal accounts and who do they share it with

4. Why do people want to share their trivial everyday life with the whole world (why do I?)

FACEBOOK – A CIA SPYING MACHINE?

Researching about the connection between Facebook and government led me to this video… you better check this out:

Actually I’m not quite sure if I should laugh or not… but if there is a grain of truth in it we should seriously rethink our internet presence…

Information revealed to third party

It is a fact, that facebook does give information of its users to authorities – “in response to a legal request”.

But how easily governments and authorities can access personal user data we can only estimate. Who knows how international intelligence works together and how the data once “requested” is forwarded.

On the one hand I consider it a success that crimes like terrorist attacks could be avoided by local authorities using facebook as the FBI did. By using facebook a terrorist was prevented from blowing up the Federal Reserve and many lives were saved. But on the other hand I believe it is quite a balancing act, not to cross the fine line and disturb the privacy life of people. And if there really is an interface for US intelligence in order to get information a lot quicker and less complicated every user is living in a surveillance state.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Facebook is the most comprehensive database about people all over the world, containing preferences, relationship status, locations, relatives, photos and so on potentially accessible to US authorities.  Another comment on this topic that I take much more serious comes from Julian Assange, this guy knows what he talks about…

Conclusion/ Reflection

I found out what happened, while watching a clip on myvideo.de I still was logged into facebook which was the reason for the posting… Well facebook won’t be running anymore in the background while I’m doing other things with my phone.

Talking about data protection does not only involve facebook issues. Google for example scans emails “for advertising purposes” and sells this information – the “free” account is paid with our privacy so to speak.

But for me it is disturbing enough that the possibility exists at all to basically “steal” user data without permission. From the firms point of view all users are cash cows. From the intelligence point of view we are all potential terrorists – justifying preventive data capturing. But still – it is the user that feeds the internet with his data.   Users should be careful with exposing themselves and always assume and remember that the intenet doesn’t forget.
Quote of the day

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

Benjamin Franklin