Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Companies are leaving the NY Stock Exchange

So far this year 34 foreign companies have left the NY Stock Exchange. This is happening because of the shift of global markets. Foreign companies are no longer dependent on the United States and other countries are developing their markets. Our regulatory system will have change in order to continue to attract investment. What is also happening is the domestic companies are looking elsewhere to invest. The advantage of the United States has always been its ability to attract the best and most innovative companies in the world. This needs to continue in order to stay competitive in the global market. One of the main reasons is a hostile litigation environment. The law system is confusing and too complex therefore companies must pay more in litigation costs to handle these laws. Changing the regulatory system is a good place to start.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The $2,500 Car

Tata, an Indian car manufacturer, will be releasing next year a car that only costs $2,500. This car will provide affordability and great fuel efficiency. Could this car change the automobile industry forever? In a time when the costs of living, food and gas are rising will people start to change their perception of a car? In the past, a car was seen as a status symbol but as costs rise a car is beginning to be seen as a commodity or something that is purely functional. Therefore the successful brands in the future will be those that combine low price with fuel efficiency.

Following the success of Toyota and Honda, soon America will start seeing Chinese and Indian car brands. When this happens these companies will have to overcome the same negative backlash that Toyota received from the public as people complained about underpricing and beating up on American brands such as GM. But just like Honda, Toyota and Hyundai eventually the brand that wins is one that meets the needs of the customer and provides great quality at an affordable price.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bill Gates, NOT the richest man in the world?

Yes, this is true. This month Carlos Slim Helu overtook Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world. This may be a surprise for some but he had been steadily rising up the wealth chart the last 3 years. Mr. Helu is a son of a Mexican shopkeeper and owns multiple businesses in Mexico. This figure just astounds me: His family's holdings represent more than 5% of Mexico's 2006 gross domestic product, and Slim-controlled companies make up one-third of the $422 billion Mexican Bolsa, or stock exchange.

I have a feeling in the coming years you'll start to hear more about important businessmen from other countries as globalization continues to increase. Read the full article from CNN Money.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A great quote

"An entrepreneur is someone who lives for a few years the way most people won't, in order to spend the rest of his life the way most people can't"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Is the Lunch Break Going Extinct?

In this article from MSNBC is talks about how America's lunch break is disappearing. I have 2 stories that talk about different cultural perceptions of the lunch break. The first is about a friend that was working for a furniture store in Atlanta. It was 9am in the morning and there were no customers in the store at the time and his co-worker said to him, "Lets go to the restaurant and grab some breakfast." My friend replied that is wasn't a good idea because the boss might view that as being unmotivated. His co-worker replied that he was crazy for putting a higher priority of the thoughts of this boss over his own health. This co-worker had be raised to also be a hard worker but at certain times of the day it is expected for a person to eat. During these times persons health is much more important than a job. I guess if you think about it this makes perfect sense, what is more important than your health? You cannot put any price tag on that, but I think some of us do. Maybe that's why America's stress levels are higher than other developed countries.

Did you know that the United States is ranked 38th in life expectancy? Cuba and Israel live longer than we do. Here is the chart.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Not every Spanish speaker is Mexican

This keeps happening to many of my friends so I have to address it. The reason most of Latin America, with the exception of Brazil and Belize, speaks Spanish is because the country of Spain conquered it many years ago and now the residents speak Spanish. This is very similar to American history. This country was conquered by English-speakers therefore Native Americans and African Americans now speak English. Spanish is the official language of these Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia (co-official Quechua and Aymara), Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama , Paraguay (co-official GuaranĂ­), Peru (co-official Quechua and, in some regions, Aymara), Uruguay, and Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Though these countries share similar cultural attributes these countries are very different from each other. PLEASE LOOK AT THEM AS SEPARATE COUNTRIES! They are just as different as the United States, Canada, India, U.K. and South Africa, which are all English speaking countries. I know that many Americans would be slightly offended if a foreigner introduced you as "This is Scott, he is Canadian." So please pay attention, develop a worldview and stop the ignorance. Thank you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Top 25 Movies in Spain and Not One is Spanish

El Mundo reported that so far in 2007 there has not been a Spanish movie in the top 25 films at the Spanish box office. Out of a total of 45.8 million movie tickets sold in Spain since January, only 3.7 million were for films from Spain. This is an example of how American media is growing in popularity around the world and the movie culture is being adopted by countries. Click here to view the article in Spanish. The top 10 movies in Spain:

1. Spiderman 3 (EEUU) 15.770.271,19 €
2. 300 (EEUU) 14.337.406,02 €
3. Piratas del Caribe. En el fin del mundo (EEUU) 13.075.361,25 €
4. Noche en el museo (EEUU) 12.501.192,40 €
5. Babel (EEUU) 9.249.014,19 €
6. Diamantes de sangre (EEUU) 6.990.809,21 €
7. Las vacaciones de Mr. Bean (Reino Unido) 6.719.542,15 €
8. En busca de la felicidad (EEUU) 6.610.290,17 €
9. Ghost Rider. El motorista fantasma (EEUU) 5.487.134,92 €
10. Rocky Balboa (EEUU) 5.106.840,91 €

Friday, August 17, 2007

Shift Happens: Globalization & the Information Age

The speed at which information is being presented and exchanged around the world is at an all time high in human history. This video presents some of these facts.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Did you take Calculus in 7th grade?

In this article from 2006 it reports that Dell is hiring 10,000 new workers in India. My friend Rohit, born in India, informed me he took Calculus in the 7th grade and when he immigrated to the United States much of the work was alot easier for him than previously. This is a problem America. Because of technology and the Internet, it now allows the rest of the world we had previous been ignoring to now compete with American workers. I am not going to discuss the argument of outsourcing (that’s another blog), but India, in general, is ahead of our education system. Especially in the areas of science and technology and companies are taking notice. Wages have a major part of these decisions but the level of the education is too. This should be an awakening moment for us to motivate our kids even more to excel in school and make them realize they are not only competing against local kids but with the kids in the picture above located half way around the world. (i.e. English is an official language in India)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Assimilation versus acculturation

In the news there is a lot of talk about immigrants assimilating into American culture, but few people actually understand the definition of assimilation. A word that better describes the process that is happening now is acculturation. Assimilation is when a person replaces their original home culture with their new culture. It was this form that many early immigrants experienced when they migrated to the United States, but the trend you are seeing with a higher percentage of immigrants is acculturation.

Acculturation is when a person keeps their original home culture but also adapts and accepts the new culture. In effect, this person is bi-cultural. While maintaining original customs, history and values they also add custom’s of their new culture environment. As the United States becomes more diverse this person will actually have an advantage over others that only know and understand one culture. It is very important for a person to adopt and accept their new environment, but this does not have to be at the expense of throwing away their original culture. I have experienced this from living in other countries. I still maintained who I was but at the same time adopted parts of the new culture. This was a tremendous advantage as I could relate and interact with a wider range of people from all cultures and backgrounds.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Australian for Beer, but not really

“Country of origin” marketing can be an effective tool. This is where the origin of the product plays an important positive role in the mind of the consumer who is purchasing it. An example is Foster’s beer. We all remember the “Foster's: Australian for beer” commercials. The interesting thing that this image is almost purely created by the marketing department. I found out about this when I studied abroad in Australia in 2003. Our group visited a local Brisbane bar and requested Fosters for everyone. The bartender started laughing at us. First of all he didn’t even have Foster’s available in the bar and second hardly anyone in the whole country of Australia drinks it. He told us that Americans always ask for Fosters when they first arrive because they seem to think its Australians premier beer. This is simply not true. This is a marketing campaign created to get Americans to buy an “imported” beer. So remember that perception is everything in marketing; and that where we perceive the products we are buying are from plays an important role in our purchasing decisions (ie. French wine, Italian suits, etc....).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Drive-Thru's in China

Today I viewed a story talking about McDonald's move into the Chinese market where there is a huge potential for growth. The part of the story that was interesting was that when they first opened drive-thru's people did not know how to use them. I think we forget that most consumers in America are quite advanced in consumerism and product knowledge. Things as simple as drive-thru's are not well known in many countries.

This type of factor must be considered when marketing and selling to specific segments such as a recent immigrant market that may not have as much knowledge about American products and services. Education must be a priority above fancy tag lines and commercials. Part of a company's marketing responsibility is educating certain segments about their offerings and this alone can separate your business from much of the competitors whom already assume this segment has a mature product knowledge. So next time before creating your market campaign remember the level of American consumerism of your segment.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Globalization: It's a small world afterall

I know there has been times where you have ran into someone from your past that you thought you never would see again. Today, at the Minnesota airport I thought I saw someone from college. It reminded me about how small the world is. This could possibly confirm the theory of Six Degrees of Separation. The more I travel around the world I realize that this is very much true. The wildest story that I have is when I was in Australia a few years back and I was walking across a random bridge in Brisbane and a girl passed by me and said “was you in Madrid, Spain two months ago”. I responded with a bewildered face “yes, how do you know that?” She answered that she had been in an Irish pub when I was introduced to her and one of her friends. This was amazing that half way around the world in another country I would run into someone for a second time that I met on the other side of the world. As technology increases and flight travel becomes second nature the world is becoming one big global village.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dubai - a mix of Disneyworld and Vegas, but better

I was on the plane flying to North Carolina today and wish I had a 3 day layover in this city. Dubai is the next place in the world I want to visit. Check out this list.
  • The worlds only 7-Star hotel (Burj al-Arab)
  • Tiger Woods' first designed golf course
  • Soon to be the tallest building in the world
  • Worlds largest indoor ski resort
Top celebrities around the world are building their summer homes there. This is the hottest destination in the world and you never hear anything about it. This is a damn shame; sometimes I feel I am living in an American box without any kind of knowledge about the world outside of the CNN, MSNBC and FOX news wall. Google “Dubai” and see for yourself the greatest destination in the world you never hear about.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hispanic is not a race

This is a misconception among many. There are black, white, native, and Asian Hispanics across all of Latin America. For example, the country of Peru is actually quite diverse. There are a mix of white Peruvians originating from Europe, Afro-Peruvians originating from African and Asian-Peruvians originating from Japan and China, and the native Peruvians that were there. This mix was a result of immigration throughout the history of the country to form the current demographics of Peru. The term Hispanic could be compared to the term “American”, which includes many races, cultures and subcultures. When we think of “Hispanic” this shouldn’t be any different then how we think of the term American.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Being multicultural

Being multicultural means having an understanding and appreciation for more than one culture. Many people have not taken the time to explore the history and ways of life of other cultures. This does not mean you have to travel to another country or look half way across the globe to find it. Right here in America there are a multitude of various cultures.

What do you know about the history and the cultural values of African-Americans or Hispanics? And just saying that you have a black or Latino friend does not count. It’s a feeling deep down, that you have a love and understanding of the underlying values and concepts of the culture. It’s an understanding of why and how they react to their environment and accepting these values and not simply tolerating them. Once this happens, a whole new world opens up and you are able to relate to many more people.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Alumnus offers a novel approach to learning languages

With an intense desire to learn Spanish and understanding the needs of the language-learning market, alumnus Archie Jeter (IMBA ’06) has created an innovative alternative to traditional Spanish lessons. In 2003, Jeter graduated from Northwest Missouri State University, where his interest in international cultures began. As an undergraduate, he studied in Madrid, Spain, and Brisbane, Australia. Click here to continue story.....