Strategy – The Japanese Manufacturing Paradox

I found it particularly interesting to think of Japanese manufacturers as an example of how operational efficiency does not necessarily constitute or guarantee profitability, or even sustainability. Thinking of how the manufacturing sector from this island dominated the global market through much of the 1980′s and 1990′s thanks to high-tech technological advancements that eliminated the need for human labor, it strikes me that this same sector was unable to keep up its competitive advantage in the new millenium, and instead, is suffering more and more from rivalry from places from China that – ironically – still utilizes relatively more labor-intensive practices in its manufacturing industry. This paradox seems to be well explained by Porter’s claim that OE is not enough, and that strategic positioning is what ultimately helps a company prevail. China’s manufacturing sector seems to thrive on both a variety and access-based positioning – producing the most basic, least-profitable necessities that customers may not be as brand-conscious about (trash cans, plates, flip-flops) but are necessary to everyday life – to reaching markets that are as yet under-served, such as emerging markets.

Invitation to Blogging Best Practices class on April 25th

For the continuing education partnership between Baruch and the J-School, I’m teaching a Blogging Best Practices course on three Monday evenings this month. We had our first class this past week and the next one will be on April 25th. Based on a whole set of awesome questions I received from Olivia on Wednesday, I thought I might invite Entrepreneurial Journalism students to attend. On the 25th, we plan to discuss:

  • Common terms to blogging
  • Types of blogging and their characteristics (personal vs. corporate vs. publication vs. etc.)
  • Introduction to WordPress, and how it compares to other platforms
  • Legal, copyright and community considerations

Our class period starts at 6:30 pm on Monday, April 25th and runs to 8:30 pm. Jeremy mentioned you might be getting out of class early that day so I imagine you won’t miss much.

If you’re interested, please let me know by next Friday, the 22th so I hold your spot and send you the necessary readings.

Yipit’s founder shares his launch thinking

“You are a fisherman, your startup is your net and your goal is to catch as many of these fish as possible.

If your net (your startup) isn’t well-built and ready for them, the fish will swim right by you and they’ll never come back. It’s tragic and a huge blown opportunity. It happens to so many startups and you can see it in their traffic.”

How We Knew When to Launch Our Startup

It’s worthwhile to go look up your competitors’ traffic.

The paidContent 50: The Most Successful Digital Media Companies In The U.S.

The paidContent 50: The Most Successful Digital Media Companies In The U.S.

Excerpt:

Our list is a ranking based on digital sales, which, in our minds, is a fair indicator of digital success. Where digital sales figures were publicly available, we used them; in cases where they weren’t, we estimated them, using a variety of sources, including comments executives have made to the press, research reports, and conversations with industry analysts. We also reached out directly to dozens of companies that don’t report digital sales, although most—including major media conglomerates that only a few years ago were trumpeting their digital revenue figures—declined to provide that information to us.  Some insisted the digital data was too tied into other parts of the business to break out.

We’re the first to admit that the list contains a fair amount of guesswork—informed guesswork but guesswork nonetheless. It is meant to help kick off a deeper conversation about digital success.

Some high-level takeaways from our ranking: Businesses that generate digital revenue by selling ads dominate our list; companies that make most of their money selling online content or subscriptions took only 13 of the 50 spots. And while many traditional media companies may be struggling to grow their overall sales, they are generating significant revenue online. Twenty-one companies on our list have a substantial presence in non-online media, such as newspapers, phone books or TV. Finally, Google is—by far—the most successful digital media company in the U.S. Its revenue is more than three times that of the number two company on the paidContent 50.

For the purposes of this list, we defined a digital media company as a business that is making money directly from the sale of online content or online advertising. So we didn’t include companies like content delivery networks, domain-name registration businesses, or advertising agencies….

Website hack session tomorrow, Wednesday, at 5:30 pm

Aside

Website hack session tomorrow, Wednesday, at 5:30 pm. Come one, come all! If you have any questions about setting up your personal or project website, using HTML/CSS, want to learn a little bit of Javascript, or anything else, please stop on by. I’d highly encourage you to detail your questions advance of the workshop so we can prepare resource links. This will be mostly question and answer format. Hit me with questions in the comments.