Showing posts from January, 2006

"Kodak Digital Sales Outpace Film for First Time"

The Globe and Mail is reporting today that Kodak's digital sales were greater than film product sales for the first time in 2005.
Digital sales accounted for 54 per cent of total revenue for the year, marking the first time in the company's 125-year history that digital exceeded traditional sales.
For those of us old enough to remember, Kodak's name has been synonymous with film and photography throughout our lives. Today, many of us will not attach the Eastman Kodak brand with imaging at all which speaks to how rapidly digital photography has taken over from film-based, even though it's only been available to the consumer since about 1994!

Old Style Managers On The Way Out?


These two comics are in February's issue of The Harvard Business Review and demonstrate the thinking of some that old style managers are on the way out.

Are they? There is more talk these days of extending mandatory retirement ages than of ousting experienced managers. Time will tell but...well, the first guy's just a bit of an exageration isn't he...although come to think of it, I used to know a guy just like him...:-)

North America's Impending Loss of Economic Control

The writing is on the wall.

While Americans and Canadians worry about offshoring and the resulting loss of jobs, there is another and far greater threat: the loss of control over the economy. In an earlier post I discussed China's rising prominence in the computer and electronics manufacturing sectors. American companies are also losing marketshare on other fronts. Ford has just announced a plan to cut 30,000 jobs by 2012 in order to reduce its financial hemorrhaging. In an article entitled "Ford's latest Rebuild" (subscription required), the Economist reports:
"Bill Ford, chairman and a scion of the founder’s family, is particularly concerned that Ford is losing out in its biggest and most important market, America. This week he revealed a plan imaginatively dubbed the “Way Forward” that is supposed to cut losses and win back favour from American drivers. He pledged “sacrifice at all levels” to ensure “sustainable, profitable change”. The firm will…

First They Killed My Father

This is an excellent book about a five year-old girl's recollections of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Loung Ung, the author and woman who was the girl, describes her family's flight from Phnom Penh to the countryside where they hid their identities for years. Were the Kmehr Rouge to discover of her father's position in the military as a police captain for the incumbent government it would have resulted in his and his family's death or imprisonment. As they move from village to village and their family is divided they cling more and more tightly to each other. Her world constricts to the immediacy of mother, father, brothers, and sisters. You feel her pain and anguish as she works through her memories of the hardships and horrors of her early childhood years. The narration is factual and almost unemotional at times as she describes the brutality she and her loved ones endured. Her memories are, I believe, coloured by the vision of a five year-old who…

When Will Microsoft Release Office for Linux?

When will Microsoft release Office for Linux?

We are seeing some sporadic reaction from governments around the world to Microsoft's practical monopoly on both personal computer desktop operating systems (Microsoft Windows) and desktop productivity software (Microsoft Office). The government of Peru put forward a bill in 2002 that was passed into law in late 2005 encouraging government institutions to use Open Source Software:
"...Basically, we can say that the fundamental principles that drive the present Bill are tightly related to the basic guarantees of a democratic State and we can sum them up in the following:
Free Access of the citizens to public informationPerenniality of public dataSecurity of the State and of the citizensTo guarantee the citizens' free access to information, it is indispensable that the coding of the data not be tied to a sole provider. The use of standard and open formats guarantees this free access, making possible the creatio…

The Dumbing Down of America

While the citizens of rising economies like India and China are getting more and more educated, North America is dumbing down.

According to an article in the Economist, high tuition levels prevent 40% of qualified high-school graduates from attending 4-year programs and 22% from attending college at all. This while India has doubled its university student population since the early 90s and China's PhD recipients have jumped from 14,500 in 1998 to 48,700 in 2003 (see article)!

Technology companies like Intel, Microsoft, AMD, and Cisco are investing billions in the Indian economy. Not only is labour cheaper than in America but it is also a highly educated labour force. Instead of whining about the loss of jobs, North Americans need to take education seriously. It starts with the government and translates into, among other things, more investment in universities and student support programs with lower tuition fees and favourable lending policies. Traditionally, many immig…