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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Global Web of Financial Connections in Burger King’s Deal for Tim Hortons

Global Web of Financial Connections in Burger King's Deal for Tim Hortons

By and
August 26, 2014 9:29 pm
As part of the transaction, Burger King will move its home to Canada.Credit Claude Paris/Associated Press
Updated, 9:21 p.m. | To many, Burger King is an American icon that has served up flame-broiled Whoppers and fries for six decades.
But with a deal to buy the doughnuts-and-coffee chain Tim Hortons on Tuesday, it will soon become a Canadian company majority owned by a Brazilian investment firm — with the assistance of the American billionaire Warren E. Buffett.
In announcing their $11.4 billion merger, Burger King and Tim Hortons declared their intentions to become a truly global fast-food empire whose offerings span from breakfast to dinner.
But executives devoted more time during their tightly planned introduction on Tuesday tamping down outrage over whether Burger King was moving to Canada to lower its tax bill than talking up the merits of the deal.
The acquisition highlights the ever-higher ambitions of Burger King's majority owner, the relatively low-key 3G Capital. In just six years, the firm, backed by one of Brazil's wealthiest men, has taken over Burger King and the ketchup colossus H.J. Heinz and helped orchestrate the megamerger of the beer giants InBev and Anheuser-Busch.
The 3G combination of operating prowess and hyperefficient cost-cutting — it has clamped down on expenses as small as color copies at Burger King and mini-fridges at Heinz — has won the investment firm plaudits from the business world. And it has no bigger admirer than Mr. Buffett, who is a longtime friend of the 3G co-founder Jorge Paulo Lemann and was a partner in buying Heinz last year for $23 billion.
"They're very smart. They're very focused," Mr. Buffett said about 3G this year at the annual meeting of his company, Berkshire Hathaway. "When you make a deal with them, you make a deal with them."
Now 3G and Burger King are looking to bring their expertise to Tim Hortons, which has become a Canadian national symbol that covers three-quarters of its home country. Greeting voters at Tim Hortons' drive-through windows and being photographed with one of the company's distinctive brown paper cups is almost obligatory for Canadian politicians.
"This is a phenomenal asset," Daniel Schwartz, Burger King's chief executive, said in an interview. "This is a business we can own forever."
Though 3G had weighed the possibility of a Tim Hortons deal for some time, it and Burger King began formal talks with Tim Hortons earlier this year, according to people briefed on the matter.
For Tim Hortons, led by the chief executive Marc Caira, a merger with a more global counterpart could help fulfill its own international ambitions.
"Tim Hortons should very clearly be a global brand," Mr. Caira said. "With Burger King and 3G, I can definitely get there faster."
Executives and bankers from Lazard, the Royal Bank of Canada and Citigroup shuttled between Ontario, New York and other cities over several months to work on the deal, these people said. Advisers quietly worked out the details for a merger of "Red" and "Blue," the code names for Tim Hortons and Burger King.
One point that became clear was the need to assuage wary Canadian regulators, who have the power to block deals they deem not in the country's best interests. Though Tim Hortons was already once owned by an American company, Wendy's, both companies put in provisions aimed at preserving Tim Hortons' Canadian trappings.
The combined company will be based in Canada, where its biggest market is. And Tim Hortons will still be run out of its home base in Oakville, Ontario. Burger King will be operated from Miami.
Tim Hortons reported almost $3 billion in sales in 2013 and has shown steady growth in recent years.Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images
While the opposition New Democratic Party, which has ties to organized labor, has called for a strict review, few analysts expect the takeover to be rejected, or the federal Conservative government to demand significant conditions for approval.
Mr. Buffett, eager to again invest with his Brazilian friends, entered the picture early on as well. Berkshire agreed to buy $3 billion worth of preferred stock, which carries an annual dividend of 9 percent, to help finance the deal, on top of $9.5 billion in debt financing arranged by JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Once the deal was announced, advisers to both companies treated themselves to Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts. Mr. Schwartz opted for a "double double," Canadian for a coffee with two sugars and two helpings of cream.
Under the terms of the deal announced on Tuesday, Burger King will pay 65.50 Canadian dollars in cash and 0.8025 of one of its shares for each Tim Hortons share. That amounts to about 94.05 dollars, or $85.78, a share, based on Burger King's closing price on Monday.
Shares of Burger King fell 4 percent, to $31, after rising nearly 20 percent on Monday. Shares of Tim Hortons surged 8 percent, to $81.05.
Since news of the talks emerged this week, customers and lawmakers have worried that the deal would be a corporate inversion aimed at trimming Burger King's tax rate.
Mr. Schwartz argued on Tuesday that his company's tax rate, now about 27 percent, would remain about the same even after the deal closes. Even before 3G bought Burger King, the company had already taken some moves to reduce its taxes.
Still, customers flooded the company's Facebook page with angry comments. "If you attempt to buy Tim Hortons for the purposes of evading US Taxes, I will NEVER step foot in another Burger King again," one user wrote. Some Tim Hortons consumers appeared dismayed about their daily coffee stop losing some of its hometown character.
"In my naïveté, I'm disappointed because I think Tim's is Canadian and now it's going to be owned by Americans — well, Brazilians," said Linda Ladouceur as she made her way into a store in an Ottawa residential neighborhood for a coffee.
Though Ms. Ladouceur acknowledged that she disliked Tim Hortons coffee, preferring McDonald's, Dominic Franceschina, who accompanied her, said that the chain had something special that its competitors lacked.
"It's a social thing, more than anything else," he said. "In Britain, they have the pubs. In Canada, we have Tim Hortons."

Correction: August 26, 2014

An earlier version of this article misstated the given name of Burger King's chief executive. He is Daniel Schwartz, not David.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Next Tycoons: Struggles, Surprises And Some Good Tales Emerge When Billionaires Retire - Forbes

Robert Olsen, Forbes Staff
From Hong Kong, I cover the news during the business day in Asia. 

FORBES ASIA 6/26/2014 @ 5:58AM

Next Tycoons: Struggles, Surprises And Some Good Tales Emerge When Billionaires Retire

This story appears in the July 21, 2014 issue of Forbes Asia.

When Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan decided to retire as top executive ofBerjaya Group two years ago, he sat down with his eldest son and said, "Robin, you're going to be the chairman now. I'm promoting you. You're going to be the general, and all I am is a major. Just remember: major shareholder. So you get to make all the general decisions–I make the major ones!"

That's how Robin relayed it to a private audience of 200 that FORBES ASIA invited to Hong Kong in June to swap stories and tips among the types of family businesses featured in this Next Tycoons series. With deft humor he illustrated hurdles that next-generation leaders may face when taking up the reins of sprawling business empires that often are the fruit of a lifetime's work of their parents, and sometimes grandparents, too.

Family-driven enterprises are famously essential to Asian business, even on a big scale. A Hay Group study in 2012 found better than 70% of Asian firms have family ownership, including nearly half of all stock-traded companies with 32% of total market capitalization.

But they must evolve. A familiar saw has it that wealth doesn't survive beyond three generations, yet Tan and a dozen other panelists put paid to generalizations of decline with spirited insights at the half-day FORBES ASIA forum. "Managing Dad" was a popular stream of discussion, though as Tan, 40, noted, overseeing a father's trusted lieutenants may actually be even more challenging. "In the back of their minds they all know the major is still there," he observed.

Before turning over the title, Vincent Tan had spent years exposing his son–the eldest of 11 children (siblings were another topic)–to the inner workings of a $2.3 billion (revenue) conglomerate that today stretches from property to food and beverage to gambling.

Robin's defining moment, he said, came during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when his father warned that the business was at risk and this imperiled not only the clan's fate but also that of its many employees. That's when the son decided to "knuckle down" not only to support the Tans but also to take on greater responsibility for the staff.

He began by focusing on meals. The Kenny Rogers Roasters chain of chicken restaurants was his first order of business, which went so well that he then brought Starbucks into Malaysia. Hits like these helped to develop and display capabilities that served to allay the concerns of senior managers.

Starting out early was a common theme among speakers at the forum. Noni Purnomo, 45-year-old president director of Indonesia's Blue Bird Group, recounted how she "grew up with a growing company," the country's largest taxi operator. Her late grandmother, Mutiara Djokosoetono, founded the outfit in 1972 with 25 cabs; today it has 22,000 operating in 12 cities of Indonesia and has branched into goods delivery.

From early childhood Purnomo was drafted to work in the business, often sharing meals with the drivers. She says her grandmother instilled an ethic to survive and thrive that was passed down and which she now imparts to her own children.

"Beyond just sharing our values and philosophy, I think it's also important for us to be role models and teach them at a very young age," she says. Every night her kids are to give her both the day's good news and bad news. She does this to ensure they remain grateful for their good fortune, while teaching them to persevere in the face of whatever setbacks they encounter.

While many offspring do learn the ropes for years, Melvyn Pun's experience was markedly different. He was adamant that he would never go back to working for his father, Burmese tycoon Serge Pun. But after 12 years with Goldman Sachs, he said, it came as a shock to his wife, and probably most others, when he suddenly announced that he was leaving Hong Kong to go to Myanmar.

"The opening of the country was a fantastic opportunity for me that I can't turn down," he said.

Melvyn, 36, is now the CEO of the eponymous property-to-banking outfitfounded by his father. He's also an alternate director at the Singapore-listedYoma Strategic that the family controls.

"A lot of the family businesses we see, there's a big turning point," said the younger Pun, "which is the moment where you move from the business being successful because of a visionary founder to a business that probably has become a bit too big to be led by just one person."

And, all kidding aside, when that day comes, you hope that the "major general" is ready to bestow the proper stripes.

Additional reporting: Yunita Ong.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Turning ChickenJoy to a sad one the Jollibee way, SAP'ped!

Calen Legaspi: Jollibee #ChickenSad - An IT Management Case Study

Little-known tech firm in middle of Jollibee IT migration fiasco - Newsbytes Philippines

#Chickensad costing Jollibee Millions a day. | JP Fenix Blog

IT management expert sheds light on Jollibee's #ChickenSad | Economy | GMA News Online

Feeling #Chickensad? Jollibee's Official Statement on The Shortage of Their Beloved Items -

SAP Implementation Gone Bad: Learning From the Mistakes of Others

The Worst Starbucks In America

Read more:

When Software Implementation Projects Go Bad: Lessons To Learn From Failed Rollouts

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Preventing Software Implementation Failures due to Poor Culture

Carol Ring

Preventing Software Implementation Failures due to Poor Culture

by ADMIN on SEPTEMBER 25, 2012

If you're like me you're sick to death from hearing about the great culture at Zappo's and Google. 
After all, if we had a gazillion dollars in cash flow we'd all build gyms and onsite daycares for our employees, wouldn't we? 
So, when it comes to culture do we all need to be a Zappo's or a Google – no. 
Can we be substantially and dramatically better than where we are today – absolutely!

Culture:  The New Competitive Advantage

Culture is the new frontier of competitive advantage. 
With a great culture,
your strategies will leap into action.  In addition, if you are looking to implement some significant changes in your organization, understanding your current culture will help you better define your change management programs.  
I've spent 25 years in the telecom industry and I've seen, and experienced,  the impacts of good and bad culture, especially when you're trying to implement change.

Company A: Good Culture

Let's look at two companies who are implementing a new software program that will automate their dispatching function. 
Company A has a culture that is defined by values like: client satisfaction, making a difference, integrity, teamwork, fun, quality, ethics, and financial stability. 
They like to work together to create better experiences for their customers and each other. 
When the opportunity for a new dispatch system comes along, they can't wait to see how they can improve on their current situation. 
Getting rid of all that manual work is exciting! 
Once they see a demonstration of the product, they start brainstorming on how best to use it. 
They come up with a list of policies and processes that need to be adjusted now that information will be flowing in a different manner. 
They also take this opportunity to look at more efficient training methods.

When it comes time to launch, there is much anticipation and even though things don't go perfect on day one, they have the big picture in mind.  Managers, dispatchers, field technicians and back office people huddle at the end of each day to compare notes and decide if the system needs to be tweaked or not.  After all, sometimes it's just a matter of reinforcing and supporting the change with certain individuals. 
After three months, they look back on their previously defined success metrics and celebrate!

Company B: Bad Culture

Company B has a culture that is defined by values like: blame, short-term focus, internal competition, buck passing, risk adverse, customer satisfaction, information hoarding and profit. 
It's a culture dominated by fear. 
When their opportunity to implement the new dispatch software comes along there is significant resistance. 
No one wants to be blamed if things don't go right so they are reluctant to participate on the implementation team. 
The demonstration session sets off a conversation about all the issues that could arise. 
When it comes time to review policies and processes, the first order of business is to try and sort out who is accountable for each policy and process. 
Everyone wants to know what's in it for them to take on all this extra work. 
Management has to do double duty on the change management front to move their teams from awareness to understanding to acceptance.  Finding champions of the project is tough.

Launch day comes, and sure enough not everything goes perfect on day one. 
Immediately the chorus of "I told you so" starts up. 
Every one steps away and keeps their head down, blaming the IT department, the dispatchers, or the technicians for "screwing things up". 
Efforts to make improvements are done in isolation, and the fix that helps one area turns out to negatively affect another area.  This just reinforces the blame cycle and leaves the implementers even more frustrated as they go back and undo all the work. 
After six months, the management team looks back and declares the implementation a disaster.

Understanding the culture of your organization will help you understand how ready your teams are for change.    
If you have limiting or negative values in your culture, they may be the very things that are holding back your strategies. 
Companies with strong positive values are adaptive and this makes them more competitive and successful. 
When was the last time you measured your current culture? 
Does your culture set you up to embrace change or resist it? 
What can you be doing today to improve your culture for change?

From Carol's Blog
Turning up the heat on employee performance

Human Resources Software Implementations That Went Very Bad

A Few Human Resources Software Implementations That Went Very Bad!
By Clay Scroggin

With my prior business of ten years, I owned aHuman Resource Software reseller business. We sold, supported, and provided consulting services on other human resource software vendor's systems. I sold the clients from that business in the fall of 2008 to work full time on Looking back I can safely say that 90% plus of our implementations had no issues; oh, but there were those few that make me cringe to this day. I wanted to outline a few of the problem implementations with this article and hopefully save a few of our readers from the same mistakes I made.

"No, I'm the Human Resources Software Master" 

My first Human Resource Management software project was with a 150 employee not-for-profit that had purchased only our human resources software and five days of consulting services to setup the product and train the staff. On the first day, I asked who was going to be the "master" user of the human resource software system. I used the term "master" only because it was the default user ID for the sample data within the system. I would never use that term again. The director of IT and the Human Resourcesdirector got into a heated conversation on why each of them should be the human resources software "master" user. For whatever reason the term "master" created a testosterone power trip between the two of them. I'm not kidding. In fact, the conversation became so heated that the IT director walked out and quit.

The HRMS was not installed, I had traveled to another state, and I did not have network access to get the software installed. We ended up finding an ex-employee who was able to come in and assist with getting the product installed. Not using a term like "master user" was not something they covered in my certification class on the human resources software system. What's the lesson to be learned from this one? I have no idea other than sometimes adults will not act as such. Sometimes implementation consultants walk into political issues for which they are unprepared. If you implement Human Resources Information System Software or any type of business software, don't get caught up in this mess. Do your job, finish it, and move on to a, hopefully, more pleasant project.

Who's to blame when things go bad with a human resources software implementation? 

A few years back, we were chatting with an approximately 400 employee nursing home who was interested in human resources software, Payroll, and time collection. We had the products and the experience to implement the HR Payroll software. For the time collection system, I had to reach out to a company who had a system that integrated with the other products. I never worked with this vendor but had known them for years, at least by name. My implementation expert had implemented time systems in the past but not the one we ended up selling to the prospect. The time collection system vendor assured us before the deal was signed that they would be able to work remotely with my consultant to make sure the product was installed without a hitch. On the first day, and a number of days into the project, my consultant pre-scheduled time with the vendor, drove several hours to the client site where the consultant would call the vendor at a scheduled time.  However, the consultant would not receive an answer or even a return call. I'd call, leave nasty messages, and still not receive a return call. It's not good to have a $150 an hour billable consultant sitting around waiting for a return call. This is the sort of thing that makes clients, or anyone else involved, less than pleased.

We obviously went over budget, I ate a large percentage of the cost, and the time clock vendor blamed my consultant for the overrun and did so successfully. The time clock vendor was far more interested in deflecting blame than actually fixing the problem. If anyone was to blame, it was me since I was the one who selected the vendor in the first place. No big surprise here but I never worked with that vendor again. My obvious mistake was not adequately checking references on the vendor. Had I talked to other resellers who had used his service I might have been warned not to work with him. Looking back at it I can't help but say my mistake was not one that should have been made by an experienced reseller. The project was eventually completed but not without a lot of yelling, nasty emails, and a lot of blame being slung.

If a blame game starts, someone needs to step in and put an end to it and pull the parties together to make sure a solution is created. It's sort of like dealing with children; someone needs to be the adult. If you have a project consultant planning the implementation, that's their job. If not, it may end up falling on either IT or HR to pull the parties together to come up with a solution. The cliché of letting cooler heads prevail is very true in this situation.

"It's not our human resources software; it's a conflict on the client's network"

On a few occasions, we would run into serious problems getting human resources software to install on a client's network and we wouldn't know why. This can become a blame game ugly mess. The vendor blames the client's network, the client blames the vendor's human resources software, and the consultant is left to come up with a solution and, hopefully, not get too caught up in the blame game. On some occasions, we had no other choice but to come up with a solution because the vendor had a no return policy. In other words, if the client could not get the human resources software to install, even if it was a software issue, we would have to eat the cost. Obviously, that was a policy I was not real pleased with.

The best solution I have to this problem is let the consultant and your IT staff work together to come up with a solution. That's what you pay those guys for. Realize this is one of those situations where the project will likely exceed budget but it's probably not anyone's fault. In fifteen years, I never encountered a situation where we could not get a product to install. We might have had to set things up differently than originally planned or had to use another server or dedicate a server to the application but we were always able to find a work around to the problem.

I was over my head in Payroll

I'm almost embarrassed to tell this last story. It might make me look like an idiot but at least I'm smart enough to learn from my mistake. It's important to note that I never again implemented or personally performed any consulting service on any type of HR Payroll software after this incident.

About six months after I became a human resources and payroll software reseller, I sold my first big payroll sale to a 600 employee out of state credit union. This was also going to be my first payroll software implementation. I thought I was prepared because after all I had sold this system for five years; I had taken the certification class and passed a test with flying colors at the end of the class. Also, a few years earlier, I took a CPP (Certified Payroll Professional) class, though I never took the test. By those standards, I believed I was prepared for my first payroll software implementation. Oh, was I wrong.

I started with my comfort zone the first week and set up the Human Resource Software portion without a hitch. In the second week, I started setting up payroll, not my comfort zone. At first, things went pretty well but it soon became evident to me, and the payroll person, I had no clue what I was doing. There were areas of the setup that I just did not know how to handle. There were payroll compliance questions that came up that I did not have an answer for. For awhile, I tried to fake it but I was in over my head. It's true that there is no substitute for experience. I told the client I would not bill for the days spent by me on the payroll software and I brought in an experienced payroll implementation expert to complete the install.

After she had successfully completed the project, I asked her "Just how bad was it?" I had known the consultant for years. She is the type of person that had the ability to offer the worst news or strongest opinions in an inoffensive manner.  She's sort of like a technical Reba McEntire, complete with the red hair and the accent. On this project, however, she pulled no punches and told me to never install a payroll software application again and I didn't. From that day forward, I hired experienced consultants for any and all payroll work.

I now tell prospects to not only check references on the human resources software but to also check references on whoever will be implementing the software.

Everyone has to have their first ten installs of a HR and Payroll product, just don't let it be you.

When it comes to implementing human resources software, payroll software or any type of large business software application, there is absolutely no substitute for experience. Is five installs enough? The answer is maybe with a simple human resource management software system for a small organization but not with a payroll product or an HR System for a large company. Find out who will be in charge of implementing your system and ask for references and how many implementations they have performed. If their experience or references do not meet your requirements, request a different implementation consultant and check references for them. Without reservation, I can say that the majority of time that these projects go poorly is a direct result of the experience of the person implementing it.

I'm sure if I thought about it, I could come up with a few more examples but going down this memory lane is making me a little uneasy. I hope from my unease, you are able to learn from a few of the seemingly obvious mistakes I made. If you've implemented these types of systems, I'd love to hear your experiences as well.

About the Author 

Clay Scroggin worked in the HR and Payroll software Industry for more than fifteen years. During that time Clay, and those who worked for him, assisted hundreds of HR professionals with their HR software sales and implemention needs. In 2007 Clay began working on, a site dedicated to assisting HR professionals with their search, selection, implementation and use of HR systems. The site contains several tools to assist HR professionals, HR Articles and includes industry leaders such as Sage HRMS, Ceridian, ADP Workforce Now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to motivate your IT team after a setback

How to motivate your IT team after a setback

Sharon Florentine | Aug. 14, 2014

It can be difficult enough to manage and motivate your teams when things are going well, but keeping morale high and people productive is even tougher if you've suffered a setback -- a failed project, layoffs, losing a major client -- or if personal issue are affecting a member of your team.

Employee morale is critical to a business' success or failure, says Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president at Dale Carnegie Training. Managers need to have their finger on the pulse of the workplace and be able to respond accordingly if they notice employees aren't living up to their full potential, she says.

"Morale's important because it directly affects creativity and also productivity," Palazzolo says. "If your employees are in a slump, they're just going through the motions, robotically, and they're not engaged or motivated. You're not making the best use of your available talent," she says.

Step 1: Empathize

After a setback to your team, you should rely first on empathy to acknowledge the impact such events have on their colleagues and direct reports, Palazzolo says, before taking steps to move forward. And don't neglect issues that could be cropping up outside of work.Employees will always carry that with them, so it's important to be aware of how workers are affected, she says.

"The relationship with their manager is one of the major reasons workers tell us they feel engaged and motivated at work," Palazzolo says. "So, as a manager, you shouldn't be blind to what's going on in employees' lives, both at work and in their personal life. Personal situations can affect morale just as much as work-related events. If you notice a slump, or a time of lower productivity from an employee, you don't have to be nosy or intrusive, but show you care -- a simple, 'You're not your usual self. Is there anything going on with you at home that's worrying you? I want to help if I can,' can go a long way," Palazzolo says.

Being able to "read" your employees and respond appropriately based on their unique strengths and weaknesses is one of the secrets to good management, says Palazzolo, and can help workers feel more engaged with and empowered by their companies.

"Just by virtue of different personalities, some workers are going to be more resilient and 'bounce back' more easily than others," Palazzolo says. "You have to be able to accurately 'read' your people to know what they need -- a lunch out? A team-building event? A new project to distract them? Sometimes, the best morale booster is to be busy again; you have to acknowledge issues, but don't dwell on them," she says.

To that end, Palazzolo says, after acknowledging that a failure or a setback occurred, the focus should then shift to bouncing back and recognizing that there's always a positive to be found, she says.

Step 2: Focus on the Positive

"Emphasize that there's always something positive to learn from every situation," she says. "Try to get your team focused on what worked: did you learn that you need to work more effectively as a team? Did you find that your process, scheduling, resource allocation was very effective?"

If you've identified these areas, make sure you're praising your teams for what they did right, not just on where failures occurred, Palazzolo says. But beware of hollow praise, as that can be detrimental in its own way, says Connie Kadansky, a thought leader, speaker and sales coach.

"Yes, you have to recognize that there was a problem," says Kadansky, "And also acknowledge strengths and successes. But go beyond, 'Great job,' which just builds ego, and emphasize specific, substantive achievements to help your feedback make a greater impact. 'Your ability to set goals, follow through and persevere in the face of obstacles sets a great example for the rest of the team and for the company' is a much more effective way to motivate," she says.

Making sure to acknowledge your employees' and teams' efforts rather than their achievements can go a long way toward boosting morale and overall engagement, and can give a much-needed boost to motivation and drive, she says. If possible, Kadansky adds, delivering recognition and praise of this kind in a public forum -- at a meeting, or a company-wide email -- can also be effective at motivating workers.

"Sometimes, we learn more effectively from our mistakes than from successes," says Dale Carnegie's Palazzolo. "It's important to remember that, and to identify where a perceived failure can actually open up new opportunities," she says.

Larry Ellison: Billionaire Samurai Warrior of Silicon Valley

Published on Jun 3, 2014
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- BLOOMBERG GAME
CHANGERS follows Larry Ellison from his early days in Chicago through
the founding of the multi-billion-dollar software company to his rise as
the highest paid executive of the last decade with a total compensation
of $1.84 billion. (Source: Bloomberg)

Mark Cuban: How I Became a Billionaire

Published on Apr 23, 2014
Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg
Game Changers profiles Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban. See how Cuban
spun his love of basketball into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
(Source: Bloomberg)

John Paul Dejoria: Why I Never Use Email or a Computer | Inc. Magazine

Published on Feb 6, 2014
Raised in poverty, the co-founder of
Paul Mitchell and Patron Spirits achieved a $4 billion net worth
through sheer entrepreneurial guts. He tells his inspiring story to
Inc.'s Scott Gerber.

The Once-Homeless Billionaire: My Keys to Success

Published on Jul 22, 2014
July 23 (Bloomberg) --- John Paul
Dejoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Tequila, is
living the American Dream on steroids. He tells Bloomberg the business
ethos that fueled his meteoric rise to the top. Video by: Alexandra
Dean, Victoria Blackburne-Daniell. (Source: Bloomberg)

Billionaire Elon Musk: How I Became The Real 'Iron Man'

* If you received this in your mailbox, click on link "EC Beez Blog" below to view the blogpost*

Published on Jun 10, 2014
Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- "Bloomberg
Risk Takers" profiles Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who helped create
PayPal, built America's first viable fully electric car company, started
the nation's biggest solar energy supplier, and may make commercial
space travel a reality in our lifetime. (Source: Bloomberg)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Faces of China - The Graduates

Every year millions of Chinese students graduate from universities
across the country, with numbers increasing. Despite the country's
booming economy, many of them have difficulties finding work. Fewer
vacancies and more competition means that not everyone can be certain of
finding a job, especially not a well-paid one.

What's The Difference Between A Logo And A Symbol?

Read more:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Free calls from today: thanks to app by S'pore startup - THE BUSINESS TIMES


Free calls from today: thanks to app by S'pore startup

With nanu, Gentay hopes to end telco dominance for good


Calling mobile users . . . nanu is available for download worldwide starting from today, and provides all mobile calls at no charge, including those made to non-nanu mobile users and even landlines

[SINGAPORE] Nanu, "the world's first and a revolutionary mobile call app that's completely free and works anywhere", is available for download worldwide starting from today, thanks to Singapore-based startup Gentay Communications.

Gentay hopes to end phone bills and telco dominance for good, believing everyone should be able to call his or her loved ones for free anytime, anywhere, its chief executive officer, Martin Nygate, told The Business Times.

Its app provides all mobile calls at no charge, including those made to non-nanu mobile users and even landlines.

This is made possible by its proprietary mobile advertising technology; when a user makes a call via nanu, he will hear a short, unobtrusive audio advertisement instead of a ringtone as he waits for the call to be answered. Through this, nanu is able to make money - from advertisers - which it then uses to pay for the cost of all calls.

Its revenue model, though solely dependent on advertising, is sustainable, said Mr Nygate, because being on mobile allows advertisers to track the geo-location of nanu users and target their advertisements accordingly, making it an attractive model for them.

The startup is now in talks with clients like Nestle, KFC and HTC, and aims to inject 97 per cent of its advertising revenue back into the system in the form of free calls for users.

Unlike existing apps like Skype and Viber, nanu works on any network, including 2G, and not just high bandwidth environments like 3G, 4G or WiFi.

It uses an ultra-low bandwidth technology that allows it to provide quality Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls even on 2G, a network used by about five billion people in rural areas and developing countries.

VoIP calls are calls made over the Internet, and not traditional telephone networks.

"This means no more calls breaking up in poor network environments, making nanu the only viable mobile VoIP service in the 2G market, and the most reliable in the rest of the world," said Mr Nygate.

On launch, nanu's infrastructure and network capacity can support 50 million users, but there is no limit to the number of users that can potentially benefit from free nanu calls. The more users the app has, the more calls will be made through its network; the more revenue it generates from advertisers, the more free minutes it can deliver to more users.

Currently, nanu-to-nanu mobile calls are free anywhere.

Mobile calls to landlines are free for 15 minutes, limited to the first one million users, and can be used in 73 global destinations, among them Singapore, China, India, Russia, the UK and US - accounting for close to half of the world's population covered by cellular networks.

Mobile calls to non-nanu mobile phones are free in nine countries, including Singapore, India, Thailand, Germany and the US.

Said Mr Nygate: "Telcos have been exploiting the cost of calls for years by charging high roaming charges. nanu wants to change this as we believe keeping in touch should be made as easy as possible."

He added that the startup has had discussions with global telcos that have expressed interest in licensing nanu's technology, but it has decided to offer the app free-of-charge directly to users instead.

Still, it expects to work with telcos to ensure a win-win value proposition for all. After all, nanu - a VoIP service like Skype and Viber - requires a telco's infrastructure, mobile data or WiFi to work.

Said Clement Teo, a telco analyst at Forrester: "VoIP calls are cheap; the advertisements they draw can help defray costs ... although advertising revenue will only work for players with a large user base. But to run a proper business- grade call service, the telcos do it better. The network investments they have made, and the conferencing services they offer are of business grade ... small players cannot replicate that."

For StarHub, it is through investments in 4G and 3G network upgrades that its mobile customers can enjoy a 99.97 per cent call success rate and 99.99 per cent service availability, said Michael Chang, assistant vice-president of mobility at StarHub.

"Our customers have the assurance that their mobile calls can reach anyone with a mobile phone, regardless of app ... and have come to expect unmatched crystal-clear phone conversations in HD with reduced background noise," he said.

But Forrester's Mr Teo said an important question should be if telcos can defend against non-business grade users who are switching to free calls.

"Probably not," he said. "The only way to defend is to be very customer-focused, and offer the best experience to them. Are telcos doing that? Somewhat, but more can be done, for example, with better billing or roaming charges."

SingTel, a major telco here, is well aware of the new competition in the digital space. It has identified new growth engines - mobile advertising, big data and mobile-led video service - for which telco assets such as "trusted customer relationships" and "billing platforms" give it a competitive advantage, said a spokeswoman.

"We're also actively partnering other telcos, vendors and research institutes, as well as investing in startups with the potential to disrupt adjacent technologies and their traditional operating models," she added.

It seems like nanu - with its technology and bold mission of ending phone bills as we know them - has readied itself to disrupt the telco industry. It launches on Android first, to be followed by iOS and other operating systems later this year.

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