ADDICTED TO DATA – the disease of our century

We are drowning in data. We want to experience more and more but know less and less…

Datenvolumen_Erde_Informationsflut_DatenflutA while ago I wrote a few paragraphs about this concern and complained about being always connected, available, online at daytime and at night while I´m sleeping. My smartphone constantly provides updates from my email account, my facebook page, sms and whatsapp. Additionally I have two apps that keep me up to date for special offers on ebay, amzon etc. Now I stumbled upon an article that treats exactly this issue that affects me so much…  Mark Hurst – an expert for user experience – argues that the new technologies are enslaving us.

He even compares this problem with the global ecological crisis. We can notice notice this crisis every day at the university. Sometimes professors have trouble reaching the students behind their computers, BlackBerrys, iPhone’s because they are constantly switching attention between the online- and offline world. Mark Hurst speaks also for protected thinking areas that can be helpful to recover. Every year we leave the city to go to some place nice to restore our energy our work force. But usually we don’t leave our digital devices at home. We also need vacation from being online.

The German news magazine ‘DER SPIEGEL’ also treated this topic and comes up with some interesting thoughts that I don’t want to keep back. The convenience is that the Internet simplifies our life a lot. We are able to shop, chat, book flights, read newspapers … from one spot. And this is also the great disadvantage – the oversupply of information. A web design blog I recently read even stated that information overload can cause poor decision making, lack of focus, lack of strategic thinking, a breakdown in social and team skills and even health problems. But almost anyone participating in our ‘modernized’ life style is exposed to tons of data. ‘DER SPIEGEL’ published an interesting research study that was done by the US consulting firm ‘RescueTime’ examined the browsing behavior of 40,000 employees. According to this study an average employee would check his email account 50 times a day, open an instant messenger program 77 times and browse 40 different websites.

‘Is GOOGLE making us silly?’

procrastination

The American author Nicolas Carr, a former student at the Harvard University and also member of the editorial board of advisors of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published this interesting article on this topic. It is worth reading it.

This really alarming article deals with the effect the excessive usage of the Internet does to our brains. It seems as we wanted to banish the nasty paper from our every day life and replace it with e-readers and other fancy touch devices or other computers but actually we banished thoughts and knowledge.  I notice that myself. I read less, sometimes it is really is hard to concentrate for a longer time or read several pages in a row. Browsing the Internet I don’t read – I try to skim some of the information that hits me and I jump from link to link because I just can’t let go and it is impossible to get to the final page researching one topic. We don’t have to think anymore because GOOGLE and Wikipedia are always at hand providing us with any answer without the need to use our brainpower.

And I also experienced the phenomenon of procrastination (which is a recognized mental disease by the way) by being constantly distracted or distracting myself doing this and that or any other bullshit with my smartphone/ computer wasting my time. Because there is constantly any kind of news on the screen, a new email a new article, a new video. According to Carr as human beings it is our nature to always gather and perceive as much information as we can. When we were cave men and cave women is was quite important to know all and everything, about the stuff that was going on around us. In order to survive we continuously had to check our environment for food and saber-tooth cats. But un the 21th century, where the amount of information is inconceivable, we get lost.

 We can just guess how our social interactions and information habits will look like in 50 years or more. But at least I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Even Nicolas Carr notices about himself: “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.“

Quote of the day:

„Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”                                                

Robert Benchley

Enlightment is entering the virtual sphere

butterflyIn my last post I was writing about The transformative power of social media in the Middle East and how consumers turned to prosuments, beeing  both consumers as well as producers by organising protests with the help of social media platforms as well as producing and distributing information by filming, documenting and blogging about current events when official repporting was compromised.

In recent discussions of the Twitterrevolution, a controversial issue has been whether social media platforms are a revolutionary tool for social change promoting the digitalization of democracy for good or playing into the hands of regimes and opponents as it happend in Syria (see also my last post) .

Virtual Villages

On the one hand, one group of observers argues that despite the posibilities the internet offers to connect people, it eqaully seperates them. Enrico de Angelis who is pointing out the seperating forces at work in Syria, would certainly agree with Thomas J. Bittman. On his view, the world is getting more and more polarized as like-minded people tend to stick together and rebuild their villages in a virtual world, in an attempt to prove outsides to be wrong. In this attempt, tons of biased and subjective data is launched which is taken for real. He concludes that we need to train future generations in critical thinking skills. As one of the most prominent proponents of this view, he puts it, “ Idealists saw the Internet and the connectivity it created as the great melting pot of ideas. We could have different opinions, but reach a consensus; different views of facts, but bad data would be self-correcting. The absolute opposite has occurred, because people are using the Internet. We can connect with anyone, and discuss any idea – but we don’t. People seek out like-minded people, and become more and more radicalized in their views. We are still villagers, but unlike the village of old, we get to define our own village, and we tend to build villages full of people who are just like us. Different views of facts create entire worldviews based on falsehood, or spin. Bad data propagates, mutates and spreads like wildfire.”

The informed Society

On the other hand, another group of people has a much more positive view on the effects on society of the internet in general and social media platforms in particular. According to the Pirate Parties International, society is turning into a information society, meaning that they believe in the informed citizen . The informed citizen is basically what Bittmann is hoping for future generations: Well informed people with critical thinking skills that can distinginguish between right and wrong, true and false. The Pirate Parties go even so far that they believe that the time has come that citizens need less represantatives because through information and communication among each other they are finally well informed enough to take responsibility.

The number of prosuments keeps growing in 2013

In sum, then, while one group argues that the internet is dividing people, fostering polarization and lies, another believes in the human potential to seek out the truth and right through engaging in (online) discussions with others. Alex Howard, expert in the field of social media, digital journalism and collaborative technologies in companies predicts for 2013 “While the process of gathering and sharing news in a hyper-networked environment will only grow more messy as more people gain access to tools to publish around the world, this trend isn’t going backward. Despite the trend toward the “broadcast-ification of social media,” there are many more of us listening and sharing now than ever before. Expect journalism to be a more participatory experience in 2013.” (Read all of Howard’s predictions for 2013 here).  For example, even though Jake Levin is articulating his view that social media platforms develop into communication tools were one communicates actively to many who passivly consume his broadcast as it always has been in newpapers, radio and on TV. Howard himself points out the growing tendancy of  consumer participation in the creation of content. As he puts it:

 “Open source software and citizens acting as sensors have steadily been integrated into journalism over the past few years, most dramatically in the videos and pictures uploaded after the 2009 Iran election and during 2011′s Arab Spring. Citizen science looks like the next frontier. Safecast is combining open data collected by citizen science with academic, NGO and open government data (where available), and then making it widely available.”
Enlightment is entering the virtual sphere
Howard’s  understanding of citizen science certainly confirms the Pirate Party’s conception of the enlightened (wo)man. Of course those who agree with Bittmanns view on virtual villages might object that for instance the Pirate Party exactly is a virtual village where like-minded people connect to each other and reinforce each other views. In sum, then, I would argue that this debate is  a continuation of the Age of Enlightenment entering the digital sphere. Whether one interprets prosuments as a sign of enlightenment and self-determination or one shares a more sceptical view such as Levin in “The broadcast-ification of social media” and Bittmann in ” The consumerisation of truth” eventually drains down to two very basic philosophical attitudes; either one believes in the potential of the human mind or not.
In the next post I am going to examine Consumerization a bit closer. What does it mean in a business-related context and what effects does consumerisation have on business? And how does it all go together with the feedback economy….?

Now let’s be honest: where do you get your music from?

After concentrating on the mobile industry and its problems with privacy rights I want to draw your attention to another industry we have to do with everyday, the MUSIC INDUSTRY!

So what is the current discussion about?

Its all about the Copyright! According to Online dictionary, Copyright is defined as:

the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.
I guess everyone of you knows this scenario: You want to listen to a song, you click on the youtube link, and then it says: “GEMA does not allow this video”
Especially if you have been to a foreign country it becomes clear to you that you cant get access to a lot of music videos when you are in Germany.
So what does the GEMA actually do and what is it for?
GEMA represents in Germany the copyrights of more than 64,000 members (composers, lyricists, and music publishers), as well as over two million copyright holders all over the world. It is one of the largest societies of authors for works of music worldwide.
And why are they doing this?
Music isn’t created “just like that”. It’s the result of an individual’s creative effort and therefore the intellectual property of the music author.
Supporter of GEMA are of course especially artists and musicians. With campaigns like “Mein Kopf gehört mir” (My head is my property) they demonstrate against the abuse of copyrights through the internet.
Opposers of the Copyright are especially the “Piratenpartei“. They claim in their actual program free access to music in the internet. Meaning that you can download music in the internet for free and legally. Of course the problem with that is obvious, who would pay the artists and musicians?
Are there any alternatives or middle ways?
A program which offers you a wide range of music LEGALLY is for example Spotify.  This application finances itself through advertising, furthermore the hours of music is limited. For 5 euros per month you can enjoy as much music as you want, without any ads!
Gray area in Germany is the streaming of films and series. There are plenty of pages on which you can stream your favourite serie, without paying. Whether this is helpful or not has everyone decide for himself.
Problem for Managers and Organizers
Imagine you are a clubowner or an organizer for a big event, what economic consequences causes GEMA?
-You have to budget the extra costs for playing music, of course.
In the past years Clubowners and Organizers of events got along with that. But since 2012 there was a change in tariff rates planned.  The original plan was to introduce the new tariff reform in January 2013. This did not happen, because the BVMV(Bundesvereinigung der Musikveranstalter) negotiated with GEMA and they could find a middle way. This middle way includes higher costs of only 5% in January 2013. In April 2013 costs should be raised for clubwoners for another 10% (For more detailed infos click here). The ultimate tariff reform should be introduced at the earliest in 2014.
What is the problem with the new tariff reform?
In order to simplify the tariff rates and make them more transparent GEMA wants to have 2 instead of the former 11 tariffs.  This means a lot of extra costs for a lot of people. Clubowners expect extra costs of 600 to 1200% and “club dying” because not everyone can adjust the extra costs with extra entrance fees. Lutz Leichsenring, member and spokesman of the Clubcommission Berlin fears:
“The money could end up with the Dieter Bohlens of this world, and not with the small actors.”
Procrastinating the introduction of the new tariff reform is a first success for the oppenents like   LiveKomm , Aktionsbündnis Kultur retten etc., but it doesn’t solve the problem in the long run.
What do you think? Is the GEMA necessary? Isn’t there another side of GEMA?

Is it okay to stick at nothing for success?

The last two weeks I focused on Red Bull and it’s marketing. While I described Red Bulls marketing in general two weeks ago I pointed out three things to learn for Red Bulls Stratus Project last week.

Red Bull Gives You Wings

When most of the people think of Red Bull they see an energy drink, bulls, football clubs or sport events in front of their eyes. The image of the company is absolutely related to extreme sports. Therefore the well-known slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” fits perfectly. Experts categorize Red Bulls marketing as extreme marketing. But doesn’t extreme mean that there have to be victims?
Hermann Strittmatter, founder of the agency GGK Zurich, Red Bulls extreme marketing has obviously taken victims. The first one was Eli Thompson, who died when he crashed into a mountain with a wing suit. The purpose of his was of course, to produce a Red Bull movie. The second victim was Ueli Gegenschatz who died when his Red Bull sponsored BASE jump in Switzerland was not successful.
He argues that: “The accidents are results of the perversions of event marketing. This time Red Bull went too far”. The Swiss magazine accuses Red Bull to have a marketing strategy of “Break a leg”. Overall, Strittmeier beliefs that “Red Bull acts irresponsible.”

“The risk is obvious”

On the other hand, globali who left a comment on kleinezeitung.at insits, that “every one who does extreme sports knows the risk”. According to him, “an accident like the one of Gegenschatz would not have gotten that much attention if Red Bull did not sponsor it.” He thinks that everyone who does extreme sports and finds a sponsor like Red Bull is lucky because “he does not have to pay for mobility and material.”

“Everyone is responsible for his own life”

My own view is that, while it is true that Red Bulls marketing strategy should be observed very critically, everyone is responsible for his own life. Red Bull does not force anyone to jump out of a plane if he or she does not want that. In sum, I would argue that we cannot blame Red Bull for the death of these two guys even it is very sad. They made the decision to jump and they knew which consequences could result.

I know what you did last summer… yours sincerely Whatsapp,T-mobile and friends

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We are chatting, texting, sharing and posting…every day. Recently, I recognized a change in certain “Everyday-Apps”. After sending messages via Facebook or whatsapp I could see whether my conversation partner  saw my message or not. I could even see when he or she was online for the last time.

A spy function? How come? And by the way, what happens with all the data?

While searching for answers on these questions, I found out

about another interesting fact:

According to “die Welt” the end of the SMS is near. After 20 years of confidential service, messaging applications like “Whatsapp” and Networks like “Facebook” replace our good old SMS. “Die Welt” underlines what I recognized in my personal life the last weeks. No one is responding on my SMS, everyone responds on Whatsapp.

HELP, Am I the only one still writing SMS?

As stated by “teletarif.de” big telecommunication companies like T-mobile already recorded less transaction volume, due to the fact that SMS demand decreased. Is the SMS dying out?

What makes Whatsapp such a good alternative to SMS?

Whatsapp makes the exchange of short messages, pictures and videos possible, without ads and without a high fee (there will be a fee of 0,99$ per year after a use of one year). Brian Acton ans Jan Koum, founders of the “whatsapp” application state on their blog that:

Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product.

At WhatsApp, our engineers spend all their time fixing bugs, adding new features and ironing out all the little intricacies in our task of bringing rich, affordable, reliable messaging to every phone in the world. That’s our product and that’s our passion. Your data isn’t even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.

This sounds just great! As there is REALLY no advertisement on whatsapp, these entrepreneurs are very convincing…

But lets have a look on some other, neutral sources…

With respect to the report of “computerbild” and “heiser security” Whatsapp has a big security problem, sniffing and hacking into the conversations is easy, especially when the users are using the same LAN.

The CEO’s response regarding these accusations?  None.

ZDF heute looks at the problem in a different light. The insecurity would not only affect individuals, but the whole economy. Economic espionage will become easier and a profitable tool for criminal gangs and even governments. Todays business men and women would have more company intern information on their smartphones than in their dispatch cases.

Blogger Klaus Düll mentions on his “pretiosio-blogvarious alternatives. User can either switch to other, more reliable applications, tested by “Computerbild” or

become member of protest groups, which strictly boycott those kinds of applications and social networks. Its your choice.

Malte Spitz tried another way of drawing the worlds attention on the mobile phone sector and its insecurity. Watch his talk on ted.com to learn more about his experiment.

Together with “zeitonline” he visualized his project. Click here to follow  Malte Spitz 6 month travelling for example from Berlin to Frankfurt and back and see who he called in that time…

We definitely know now that our data is stored…we can either accept and ignore it or try to fight for our privacy rights.

What do you think, is there a chance to win this fight?

 

“That awkward moment when you realize an energy drink has a better space programme than your nation”

Exactly one week ago Sebastian Vettel won his 3rd Formula 1 world championship title in Sao Paulo. After one of the most exiting races in history he reached the finish line as the 6th car and ruined Fernando Alonso dream of still winning the championship somehow. But instead of being enthusiastic of Vettels three titles in a row some competitors only treat Vettel with respect. But why? The answer is pretty simple and equal to many other situations in life: Money. Vettels team RED BULL has the highest seasonal budget and therefore the best team and technology.

This is just another great picture that illustrates the marking of the Energy Drink seller Red Bull. A company that has nothing to do with racing wins the most important Formula in the world. Another example is Red Bulls latest coup that caught the words attention: Felix Baumgartner’s Space Jump. A guy jumps from the edge of the world for scientific reasons and an Energy Drink seller sponsored all of that. A tweet described it as “That awkward moment when you realize an energy drink has a better space programme than your nation.”

Vettel Gangnam Style

Vettel Gangnam Style

An Air Race without Red Bull signs? Impossible.

But what can we learn from Red Bulls obviously great Stratos-Project- Marketing? For Nicola Kemp, a professional blogger on marketingmagazine.co.uk, the first lesson is the final purpose: “Red Bull Stratos has not only underlined the brand’s authentic link to extreme sport and innovation, it has also provided its employees with a motivation bigger than selling sugar water (or energy drinks for that matter) for the rest of their lives.” People built connections between extreme sport and Red Bull in their heads. An Air Race without Red Bull signs? Impossible.

Her second derivation from the Stratos Project is that companies should not only look on their own advantages but even more on societies fortune. The projects purpose was, besides the marketing factor, to deliver important data for scientists and NASA. People like that and it makes a company look trustworthy.

Felix' Baumgartners Space Jump

Felix’ Baumgartners Space Jump

“The message is clear: to be truly great, brands must transcend ROI”

Point Number three: Take a stab back. Nicola Kemp beliefs that the Energy Drink producer didn’t want the event to look like a marketing event: “In fact, Red Bull itself has blocked agencies involved in the project from talking to the press because it doesn’t want the event to be viewed as a marketing stunt.” James Kirkham, managing partner at Holler, insisted that for some people the event created something like an “I was there moment”. This is great for the company and without being totally presented as the initiator of everything people built a likeable connection to Red Bull. For Nicola Kemp: ”The message is clear: to be truly great, brands must transcend ROI”.

Overall we can conclude that Red Bull taught the world another great marketing lesson. The Red Bull Stratos project pushed marketing innovation forward into another dimension. From today on, marketing is not only supporting aids research and social projects; it’s also delivering space jump data to the NASA.

 

How To Make Money?

Logo_NespressoNestlé, currently the largest food company in the world, is located in Vevey, Switzerland. Nestlé produces baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereal,
ice-cream, dairy products and of course – coffee.

In order to understand how to make money from selling coffee, a wise way to start would be by taking a quick view into the daughter company of Nestlé, a $3 billion revenue creator per year, with a current record of 10 million customers – Nespresso.

Nespresso offers the consumer the experience of making fresh home-made espresso without the need to leave for Café. Perfect for any sort of house gathering or just to satisfy the desire for an immediate high quality cup of coffee.  The secret of Nespresso is the machine as well as its special capsules, which are both officially patented, causing limited competition so far.

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

Is a high quality machine and special patented capsules enough to be a money making success? FastCompany reports that Nespresso started creating additional value to their brand name, increasing their prestige and reputation by serving their coffee to first-class airline passengers only.
Already by 2000 Nespresso coffee was served in 1100 planes, in 20 different airline companies, exposing 3.5 million travelers a year to the brand.

More than that, celebrities George Cloony and Penelope Cruz were selected specifically to represent Nespresso in prime-time TV commercials. Franz Niedermair, VP-Marketing at Nespresso USA, claims that Cloony and Cruz give the viewers a feeling of European heritage, elegancy and sophistication, all which the American consumer is craving for when drinking his cup of coffee.

Coffee marketing blog the5marketeers, reports Nespresso’s business strategy is to represent life style – a quality product costumers will pay more for. Nespresso uses a unique targeted marketing which allows gathering specific information about the consumer – his age, frequency of his purchases, habits – all which is recorded for future projects. Moreover, One to One marketing strategy is used in the Nespresso stores – individual care for each and every client: referring to the costumer by his family name and not as part of the mass market; the customer is part of the “Nespresso Club” – giving the card owner a dedicated lounge space in the Nespresso stores. There he has the possibilities to try out new tastes, new smartphone applications, access to a quality hotline and much more.

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Should We Invest?

Perhaps the most important question of them all. With a growth percentage of 20% a year and billions of dollars of revenues, the answer seems to be a definite yes. However, BuildingStrongBrands reports Starbucks, a stronger brand name than Nespresso in today’s  market, is about to launch in the next couple of months its own home-used coffee machine which will most likely decrease Nespresso’s revenues. Another thing to keep in mind is, that at the end of 2012 the capsule patent of Nespresso will expire, opening
competition between new and already existing companies to duplicate
the success of Nespresso.

STARBUCKS_430x242

7 steps to become the ruler of your inbox

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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!”

Welcome to E-Waste-Hell- Did you enjoy your products?

Hello everybody!!

This is the second chapter of my planned obsolescence report.If you missed my last blog post just click here or watch this video for a quick introduction on what planned obsolescence is all about.

What problems does planned obsolescence cause?

Living in an industrialized country means that you dont have to do a lot with your own produced waste. We feel good because we separate our waste “comme il faut” , bring our old clothes to the used clothes collection and our E-Waste? Bring it to a special recyclable fraction dump ( unfortunately most people throw their old mobile phones in the normal dump anyways)  say “hasta la vista”and bye bye and get into a line in front of the next apple store to wait for the new iphone5.

If you want to see what happens with most of the E-waste from Europe, Australia and the U.S. watch this video or click on the report of last week.

Africa- the new worlds dump?

Looking at all these pictures from Ghana it seems to be the dirty truth.

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But what do laws and governments do against this?

According to the laws manifested on the Basel Convention in 1989 it is forbidden to export hazardous waste from the euro zone without permission. So how does the waste go to Ghana if its illegal? The waste traders mark the electronic waste as 2nd hand products. Ghana has not yet published a law which forbids the import of such waste.  As stated by environmental journalist Mike Anane and head of the Environmental Protection Agency Ghana Lambert Faabeluon

80% of the waste sent to Ghana is irreparable

What can be done against this?

As a normal consumer it is hard to change something or get involved directly. Politicians of all relevant counties must work together, change laws and make people obey them. What we as future business men have to do is concentrate on sustainable production. The big amount of waste will be a future issue and we have to fight against this. The idea of planned obsolescence is old fashioned and arose from a time in which sustainability was a foreign word.

Business models like the ones of Warner Philips are the ones we should get inspired from.

Future Business men must not only think in profits, but  in how to make profits respecting natural limits and resources.

For those of you who want more information, check what Greenpeace wrote on this topic!

RED BULL everywhere you look and go!

It was a beautiful spring day in 2009 – the 19th of Mai to be more appropriate. The huge energy drink seller Red Bull released its coup called RB Leipzig. What is RB Leipzig? RasenBallsport Leipzig is a football Team that currently plays in the fourth league in Germany. The special thing about the club is that Red Bull already invested millions into new players, a new performance centre and professional structures. Therefore the club is quite successful and made up two leagues since the foundation in 2009. But the project in Leipzig is only one of many Red Bull Projects. The energy drink company owns a very successful Formula 1 team and several other football clubs in Austria and in the United States. It supports almost every successful extreme sport talent world wide, host’s air races and employs fancy DJ’s.

“Red Bulls 8000 employees world wide work in the marketing or sales department”

It seems like everywhere you go you see Red Bull signs. Marketing all over the world, in each and every country, in every modern club or restaurant. According to JÖRN KABISCH, economic editor at freitag.de: “Red Bulls 8000 employees world wide work in the marketing or sales department. The production of the bottling of the drinks is made by extern companies.”

An analysis of the economic magazine “brand eins” states “Red Bull spends 1 billion euro yearly only on marketing while the production cost amount is 600 million euro.” That led me to the questions: Does this advertisement effort make sense? Red Bull spends so much money on promoting the product everywhere but do they generate enough profits?

”Red Bull uses 30% of its yearly revenue only for marketing”

Jörn Kabisch quotes that: ”Red Bull uses 30% of its yearly revenue only for marketing. This is a lot. Only food producers like Nestle or Beiersdorfer invest an equal percentage.” But the most important thing about Red Bulls advertisement strategy is that people a ready to pay up to 2,50€ for one bottle of Red Bull. Kabisch insists: “After deducting the costs of production Red Bull has a profit margin of 70%. There is no comparable drink producer.” The advertisement is also responsible for Red Bulls huge growth over the last 20 years. “Since the release of the product in 1987 Red Bull only had binary growth rates.”

In the first place we can conclude that the companies advertisement is essential for its success. But how much profits are there actually? A view on Red Bulls balance sheet tells us something about 311,2 million Euro in 2011. Since 2011 the company does officially not have any debts.

WOW! A totally healthy company!

But while the profits are increasing this year there was a time in 2010 when sales decreased. Kabisch already predicted that: “Red Bulls golden times are over”. From today’s point of view we can say that he was wrong. What many people don’t know is that the energy drink producer owns over 70 different other companies all over the world. The popular health drink “Carpe Diem” is one of them. So even if sales should sustainably decrease one day … by that time Red Bull will have a supporting leg with a huge marketing support …