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Member since May 2011 · 2457 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Business is bad for your business.
The 90s were all about businesses working with other businesses to create synergy and stockholder value, or some other buzzword bullshit.  It was a time of increased cooperation between startups looking to get a leg up in a tricky world changing very rapidly.

What we ended up with with a lot of operations focused on pleasing their partners rather than their customers, and I think it's high time this focus started to shift again.  Please allow me to demonstrate:

  • Microsoft doesn't give a shit about the little people.  Their business model is all about locking in big business, selling thousands of copies of MS Office and Windows to companies who can pay the high entry price and for ongoing support.  This is why Internet Explorer never gets updated: they create a static platform which their partners can rely on, while every other browser maker is releasing new versions every time they need to fix a security hole or have enough new features to justify a new version number.  Recently, ArsTechnica asked Can microsoft really build a better browser?  My answer is no, not unless they give up their normal methodology:

Quote by ArsTechnica:
If Microsoft truly wants to promote "the same markup everywhere" [...] it needs to downplay the significance of "IE, the versioned platform." Developers should be discouraged from assuming some particular version of the browser. They should be assuming standards compliance...

Damn straight. 

  • Apple partnered with many music companies before releasing the ipod, so they could avoid the guaranteed lawsuit action other companies faced.  The result was the least compatible music player in existence, crippled with DRM and packed with incredibly user-unfriendly restrictions on how content was handled. 

  • Sony has released a stunning series of business-friendly but customer-vicious music players since the DAT player.  They're so scared of losing album sales revenue they make it nigh impossible to make digital copies of any media recorded on DAT or MiniDisc, and their MP3 players are barely less restrictive than Apple's.

There are so many cases of one business working so closely with others that they create products no one wants.

  • Warner Brothers just forced two new businesses (Redbox and Netflix) to delay new DVD releases by four weeks because they were too popular, and then signed a much more favourable deal with Blockbuster, who's losing money hand over fist as its old pathetic business model crumbles around it.

  • Internet TV company Hulu is preventing anyone from watching their TV shows on their TV because they've made deals with other companies saying they wouldn't.  (from Techdirt)

What have you noticed?
BLEARGH
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Member since Jun 2009 · 25 posts
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What we ended up with with a lot of operations focused on pleasing their partners rather than their customers, and I think it's high time this focus started to shift again.  Please allow me to demonstrate:

Im actually doing a course at uni on this sort of thing (international accounting). Basically all major multinational American corporations..well any large American company...is only focused on the short term and increasing their stock value, so as to attract more and more stockeholders to increase their cash reserves and ultimately profits.

The big American companies can actually object to accounting standards being put in place so that it can be seen that they are making gigantic profits, even though in reality they could be making a loss. Basically its one of the major reasons that the global financial crisis happened.
money cake..ayumyumyumyumyumyum
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Member since May 2011 · 2457 posts · Location: Brisbane
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For certain this short-term thinking is something we'd be better off without.  The stock market no longer creates a capital pool for business growth, but is gambling for men in suits.  Can it be disassembled to get back to its roots, or are we doomed to bear this burden?

What are you learning in school about solutions?
BLEARGH
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Of course short term is the focus. Most of the managers who make these decisions only hang around a company for 2-5 years, tops, what do they care about what's going to happen in the future. If they release one product, they aren't likely to hang around for the backlash from it. They get their bonus for the  successful release, and move on.

I see this short-term thinking every day at my company. It's one of the reasons I am just one good excuse (or good job offer) from walking out the door.
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there is actually no way that it will be changing in the viewable future because of the global shifting towards IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), which affects every businesses ways of reporting their financial and accounting reports. Basically theyre forcing companies that dont already do it (Asia, Germanic Countries etc.) to conform so that they can get into the share market...which they need to gain more capital instead of getting into more debt when getting capital from banks and the governments.

In theory the share market works, but in reality its just a giant play pen for rich people who know how it works to get one-up on people who invest with no real knowledge apart from what their brokers tell them. because really if you're rich enough and have enough rich friends then you can move the share market in whatever direction you want making yourself more moneys =P

We could then go onto the global currency market which is basically the same as the share market but instead of companies focuses on the trading of currencies which is the reason one currency is always different to others...but im too tired to get into it now.
money cake..ayumyumyumyumyumyum
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Member since May 2011 · 2457 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Warner Bros & Blockbuster: Screwing you.
You might remember I mentioned the Warner Bros. & blockbuster deal back in the first post.  Well today there's an update, courtesy of Techdirt:

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/throwaway/blockbustersucks.jpg]

Look closely at the checkboxes.  Now that they've secured their deal with WB, Blockbuster's advertising their superiority, effectively jabbing a stick in the eyes of Redbox and Netflix.

If ever there was a situation that succinctly described an industry desperate to prop itself up rather than adapt and find more profitable mechanisms, this was it.  Blockbuster is, by all accounts, headed to bankruptcy in a world where digital downloads are replacing physical rentals.  Since they can't compete, they're making B2B deals to try and stay in business, screwing the customer in the process.
BLEARGH
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Member since May 2011 · 2457 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Microsoft: Still doesn't value your custom.
A bid by the Internet Explorer team to automatically block the tracking systems used by online advertisers was itself blocked by others within the company in order to protect those advertisers, the Wall Street Journal wrote over the weekend.

Now, see, this is exactly what I'm talking about.  Customers want adblocking, but Microsoft would rather stay friends with advertisers.  MS, like too many other companies, have forgotten who their customers are.

Here's a local copy of WSJ article in case the original expires.
BLEARGH
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Member since Apr 2010 · 32 posts · Location: Brisbane
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The objective of a financial manager is to increase shareholder value. It really doesn't matter how, unless the business is using polices that enforce ethical behaviors upon their managers. Tursi is 100% correct, you take short term approaches to your work and move from company to company slowing building your reputation and pay packet.

The stock market works very well, although yes there are a lot of problems, many concerning unethical behave such as naked short selling. It is a huge source of wealth growth and allows for international trade and the ability to sell our exports else where. What I think you are missing from the picture is the debt and money markets that accompany the stock market. The debt market is the source of capital and allows medium players to at the very least challenge the big boys, to what effect is then left to how the business employs its funds. The money market drives banks, interest rates and investment/import opportunities. As to solutions about the problems of the markets, several ban on practices are enforced in many major markets and stricter rules regarding bankruptcy and investing have been implemented. A complete return to roots would involve the abolishment of globalisation, but as far as I can see there is money to be made and people will always try to make it at any cost.

And Ugsey, the global financial crisis was brought on by many things, many miss-managements and interventions by governments and a lack of rules to enforce on unethical trading by banks. Altering the books is actually quite legal with regards to your accounting method, I.e straight line over diminishing balance depreciation. Its uneducated investors and auditors which allow self interested management to get away with it.

And finally market control, such as that by Microsoft and Apple are brought on by their ingenious strategies. Every single apple product is so heavily marketed it is revered as a god during its release. Microsoft are the bundling giants and as you said prey on innocent people, but that is a deregulation issue for the government to sort out, such as in Europe when Microsoft coped a 1 billion dollar fine. Its all about market share and brand name.
A bid by the Internet Explorer team to automatically block the tracking systems used by online advertisers was itself blocked by others within the company in order to protect those advertisers, the Wall Street Journal wrote over the weekend.
I think that this is great. Advertising allows for the majority of sites on the internet to be free. Although benefiting Microsoft, it is a triumph for entrepreneurship.
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Member since May 2011 · 2457 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Quote by Kinkas:
The objective of a financial manager is to increase shareholder value. It really doesn't matter how, unless the business is using polices that enforce ethical behaviors upon their managers. Tursi is 100% correct, you take short term approaches to your work and move from company to company slowing building your reputation and pay packet.
This is a very interesting thing for you to say.  By and large your post makes me think you not only understand the way the world works, but it seems you also approve of it.  The kind of behaviour we're seeing is relatively new, and I wonder if your approval stems from your age - being nearly twice your age I have a different perspective on this.  But it's also true that I'm quite a bit of a dreamer, which might differently explain the reason  I am dead set against this profit at all costs attitude.  It may be happening, but it needs to stop.  I find it odd that you seem to approve of this (am I wrong in this interpretation?) but later say the GFC was caused by unethical banks.

Quote by Kinkas:
[the stock market] is a huge source of wealth growth and allows for international trade and the ability to sell our exports else where.
Say what?  How does the stock market enable exports?

I think that this is great. Advertising allows for the majority of sites on the internet to be free. Although benefiting Microsoft, it is a triumph for entrepreneurship.
Really?  Do you really think there's a viable long-term strategy in pissing off your customers and enabling easier malware infestations?  On one hand you're benefitting from your customers' traffic, on the other you're punishing them for using your product instead of a competitors.  If ever there was an example that proved my point that too many businesses no longer serve their customers but each other, this is it.
BLEARGH
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Just a quick update.  James Fallows recently commented on Bing, Microsoft's search engine.  He described a search for crash statistics on a particular airplane model.  Short version: Google's first six results were relevant, nothing in Bing's top ten was. 

He explains this by remarking on Bing's decision to sell itself as 'a decision engine' rather than a search engine.  Essentially MS is aiming to make Bing the place you go when you want to buy something.  Bing's other efforts to distinguish itself are similar - tips and special tools for purchasing airline tickets, for example.

Am I alone in thinking this business-pleasing methodology is doomed to failure?  If MS is making a tool specifically designed to make it easier to give money to sellers, at what point do I start to distrust its results, fearing bias?  (A: ages ago).

Google may suck in a few ways, but I've never really had reason to distrust its search results.  MS has never, ever made it seem as if they're operating with my best interests in mind.  That's the problem with all of these companies operating to maximize profit or screw the customer - it leaves the door wide open for competition that doesn't.
BLEARGH
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Member since Apr 2010 · 32 posts · Location: Brisbane
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In reply to post #9
Quote by NFG:
This is a very interesting thing for you to say.  By and large your post makes me think you not only understand the way the world works, but it seems you also approve of it.  The kind of behaviour we're seeing is relatively new, and I wonder if your approval stems from your age - being nearly twice your age I have a different perspective on this.  But it's also true that I'm quite a bit of a dreamer, which might differently explain the reason  I am dead set against this profit at all costs attitude.  It may be happening, but it needs to stop.  I find it odd that you seem to approve of this (am I wrong in this interpretation?) but later say the GFC was caused by unethical banks.

I just started a course this semester on Financial Management and this is the word for word definition of the position. I was also told non officially the main objective was to make money for yourself at the same time as well. I am in a strange position, I understand the situation in full and plan to enter the corporate world as a career. So I am left with two options:

1. I can condone and partake in it.
2. I can try and play the ethical role, while also surviving in the business sense.

At the moment I work with financial planners, which advise on life insurance, investment, super and general insurance for business. Our objective is to help our clients as opposed to sucking the money out of them. So that involves putting in place logical life insurance polices that might not earn high commission but will be beneficial if your client needs to claim. Also we charge an annual fee or hybrid fee/comm instead of full commissions so we are forced to service the client instead of just taking the commission month after month until the policy runs out. So I like being ethical and you can still play ball in some parts of the industry.

Though on the other hand, my major I am studying is finance and I wish to enter a less sympathetic world. An honors student told me last week, "Get a job in the investment banks for 3 years, then you could be sitting on 300k a year until you burn out then move on." I want to be successful, but it will cost me my soul and I actually don't know what to do about it at this point in time. You right though that this is a trend common in young people. Most just don't care and are drawn by lucrative salaries. I want to actually help the company or people I work for. But I am also realistic to what the industry expects. I actually really think someone needs to come to universities and talk to us about it.

Really?  Do you really think there's a viable long-term strategy in pissing off your customers and enabling easier malware infestations?  On one hand you're benefitting from your customers' traffic, on the other you're punishing them for using your product instead of a competitors.  If ever there was an example that proved my point that too many businesses no longer serve their customers but each other, this is it.

Its up to the consumer to force a company to change its ways, as I said they are making money and as long as they do so they won't stop. Though I can see where you are coming from on the point that malware is included. Maybe if they actually got together with advertisers and worked for the consumer experience... it really is depressing now that I think about it. But there are good companies out there and they are the smaller companies. And there are bad companies out there, mostly big, but the only way to put them back in line is to get other companies to challenge them and raise the bar.

Say what?  How does the stock market enable exports?

The stock market is tied in with interest rates and the money market. As a countries interest rate increases, investors buy our currency and invest in our assets. This forces our dollar up in relation to other currencies and makes imports cheaper and exports more expensive to foreigners or vice versa if foreign investors flee our market. There is a huge cycle I will not get into from here, its about 15 steps. But to add to this interest rates are driven by money supply, if there is to much demand for cash i.e lots of consuming in the economy interest rates increase to make it more beneficial to invest the cash in bonds or other interest bearing assets. Its all interrelated and complicated. But yes the stock market helps drive many aspect on an economy. This all assumes we have a floated dollar as we do, a fixed or pegged dollar experiences a greatly changed outcome, also 15 steps long.
P.S The Reserve Bank or Government can influence Imports, Exports and investment using the money/bond market to push around the global stock market.

As to your recent post about BING MS is so dam monopolistic its not funny. They can do what they want and its not fair to us the consumer. DEREGULATE THE MARKET POLITICIANS!!!!!!
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Member since May 2011 · 2457 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Selling your soul...
This is great:

Quote by kinkas:
I want to be successful, but it will cost me my soul and I actually don't know what to do about it at this point in time.  [...]  I actually really think someone needs to come to universities and talk to us about it.

It restores a lot of ym faith in your humanity.  =)

It's easy for me to make my money ethically at this point in my life, so it's easy to stick to the straight and narrow, and to criticize.  When you're young and hungry for real, tangible, useful money, I imagine the choice is harder to make...  Still, I put great value on my ability to say, at any time, fuck you I did it the right way.  I will never lose sleep, or regret the effects my actions had on another person.  Some people can do it without regret, or by rationalizing it away, but I don't really have a lot of time for people like that.

Meh, I'm just talking shit now.  Sorry.
BLEARGH
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Member since Apr 2010 · 32 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Meh, I'm just talking shit now.  Sorry.

Its not really talking shit. Discussing things on forums is a great way to see other peoples points and also convey your own. But most importantly you learn things from people much more experienced in life. I think its great you stand up against the world, it holds people accountable. Something the consumer watchdog is meant to be keeping an eye on....
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