Apple set up its victory lap for its twin achievements while declaring its Quarterly results on 27th, Tuesday :
(a) Biggest quarterly profit ever for a public company; and
(b) Vindication of its ‘Core Competence’.
Few known details on (a) here : $ 18 billion in net income in the last three months of 2014; $ 75 billion in revenue; free cash flow of $ 30 billion in one quarter; Stock jump of more than 5 %; Sale of 74. 5 million phones ( 34,000 of all models of phones every hour, 24 hours a day, during the quarter ); Market cap of $ 683 billion ( more than double Microsoft’s current value of $ 338 billion ); iPhone accounting for 69 % of revenue and 100 % of its revenue growth.
A short note on (b) here : Apple sets itself apart from others in the same category by its unique approach and sustenance of its ” Core Competence” first advocated by Dr CK Prahalad and Prof Gary Hamel in 1990 in their book titled, “Competing for the Future”. Apple’s Core Competence lies in ‘ making devices user friendly creating a long lasting competitive advantage ‘ true to what late Steve Jobs had been saying that Apple focuses on what it does best. Apple has thus established and secured its leadership position adding value to its products.
Apple has also timed its announcement of shipping in April its Apple iWatch, ” the most personal device ever ” as described by its CEO, Tim Cook.
Of significance is the following :
Apple scores fittingly with the three cardinal criteria that Dr CK Prahalad and Prof Gary Hamel set for establishing the competitive advantage in the market :
1. Provide Customer benefits of Value : Apple’s journey to the Computer in the pocket (smartphone) with high quality, excellent design, and performance is fully meeting the needs and requirements of the customers now.
2. Hard for Competitors to Imitate : With android one can choose many devices but with iOS the customer has iPhone as the only choice, its ecosystem and quality making it unique and hence difficult to imitate in scale. Apple sets the trends.
3. Can be leveraged widely to many products and markets : In its user friendly iPod, iPhone, iPad, and iWatch, Apple’s march has been highly conspicuous and noteworthy capturing even emerging markets and becoming the leading manufacturer of smartphone in China now. It gained a $ 16. 1 billion in revenue from China ( including Hong Kong and Taiwan ).
Apple always thinks of new uses for ideas as evident in its (a) Original iPod ( from music player ) ; (b) Gorilla Glass – Steve Jobs learned of this and convinced Corning Inc to revive the largely unused tech so that it can be put in iPhone; (c) Liquid metal, a family of metal alloys which combines metallic elements. It’s the technique that rapidly cools the mixture in to a ‘metallic glass’ with a distinct molecular structure than conventional metals. It is 5 times stronger than aluminium and twice as strong as titanium, three times as elastic as ordinary metals, resistant to corrosion, resistant to scratch and wear and can be blow molded like glass or injection molded like plastic. Used for making outer cases for smartphones; (d) MacBook Pro : Super fast, super thin, super light, super long battery life, immense storage, rugged body, fast start-up, but expensive and popular. … .. .
Apple thus exemplifies Prahalad’s ‘Core Competence’ going strong as ever even amidst growing clamor for diversification.
Apple did its best in the past; it does its best in the present; what it can do in future will be determined by changing technology, newfangled approaches to trends, and customers’ intent.
Money put in Apple is safe even as Apple will be looking for another groundbreaking product.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, January 31, 2015 – 10. 59 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : Apple is a dab hand at thinking differently.
(Apolitical, pithy, and commonsense perspective of the most recent event from a common man.)
The highly esteemed, key and coveted position of ‘Foreign Secretary’ has gone to S Jaishankar, who has been the ‘star’ behind the fruition of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India ( during 25, 26, and 27 January 2015 ). He is an eminently qualified and a talented diplomat.
So, S Jaishankar is in and Ms Sujatha Singh is out.
The swiftness of change, a la Elon Musk’esque hyperloop, will make speculative philosophers’ minds wandering with fancy leads of reflections and conjectures for sometime at least. Voicing opinions cannot be curtailed in a functioning democracy.
Ms Sujatha Singh has always been good at job; she is neither inept, nor showed any signs of disagreement with the government or the PM. PM, nevertheless, has the prerogative to appoint, dismiss or reappoint secretaries.
For the common man – I am one in the category – reasons for this sudden change are difficult to fathom. Yet, I extend my imagination to the following :
– wider functions and powers for the new secretary in mind possibly;
– promotion of new foreign policy initiatives in mind possibly;
– implementation of future foreign policy ‘roadmap for India’ in mind possibly;
– presenting new challenges while being held to more objective performance measures; and
– inculcating a new sense of integrity of the Government.
In business we hold that not every action of the Chief Executive is right and proper just because he is in command, and people at every level also enjoy the liberty to point the mistakes with reason for due acknowledgement. No Chief is infallible.
In the same vein, any examination, observation, or judgment of the speedy change by any one will be in order.
Public opinion has always been a great force for the good. Hoping that the new year change will bring new direction(s).
” Dieu avec nous “
Thursday, January 29, 2015 – 10. 39 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : It is a question whether some nations are interested in our role or our roll in foreign affairs.
International CES ( January 6 – 9, 2015 ) adorned the tech horizon with exceptional gadgets to the tech savvy customers. Accelerated pace of development of some of them have the potential to act as ‘game changers’ giving a big boost to human endeavors in many sectors of economy.
I cite two products here for the budget conscious buyers that can inspire with passable, moderate and fitly expected functional efficiency for the school going and travelling techies :
1. ” Gogoro” Smartscooter : Energy start-up ‘Gogoro’ received the ‘ Beat Best of CES 2015 ‘ award in the category of Automotive Transportation for its high performance Electric Smartscooter. This is capable of attaining speeds up to 60 mph. What stands as the distinctive mark of this Electric Scooter is its swappable batteries. The batteries can be swapped in Gogoro Go stations for batteries. ( Similar to vending m/c ).
No charging required; No lengthy queue; No wasting time – what more anyone wants !
The Electric Scooter is expected to hit the streets this year. Price unknown at this juncture !
Can I say – ” Go ‘Ro’ Go ” for ” Gogoro ” ?
2. ” AMPL Smart Backpack ” : This Backpack also received the ‘Beat Best of CES 2015 ‘ award in the category of ‘ wearables ‘. Techies who need to travel with electronic gears like tablets, smartphones and laptops/computers keeping them all charged and ready even while they are on the move can use this to an advantageous purpose.
AMPL backpack is more than a ‘battery’ in a pack. It is a highly configurable power system with a single built-in battery and room to add up to 3 more batteries including one powerful enough to recharge a laptop. They are all linked to a mobile app that gives you the status of all the batteries and lets the individual prioritize charging. The backpack can also be upright even while sitting on the floor. It is also capable of absorbing shocks when dropped.
AMPL Backpack will cost $ 299 when released in late spring or summer of this year. A must for a techie on the go frequently !
Can I say – ” Pack ‘snrr’ Pack ” ?
A ‘gift’ in the form of a new dimension of excellence to students and techies, which would well be in every home by 2020 !
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 – 11. 09 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : Effective and efficient products of International CES 2015.
US President Barack Obama and Indian PM Narendra Modi’s esemplasy has been the distinctive characteristic evident in the 2 hour honorific celebration of India’s 66th Republic Day performance – January 26, 2015. Unusual in nature for the US President to spend such a long time in an open air event, it was marked by PM Modi’s move to take the chemistry that he first forged with Obama in September 2014 during his US visit to the next level through communicating an illustrative sense of meaning to the tableaux that marched along the Rajpath during the show to the US President frequently – something the viewers may not have seen in the past. It was a reflection of his growing friendship. PM Modi graciously explained it as ” strengthening ties between Delhi and Washington”.
The pageant’s distinguishing characteristics were our military might, tableaux connected with local history, and the splendid display of unique bands. US President Obama was seen giving a quick forward motion of his head in assent throughout the show. Everyone must have been pleased.
Of significance during US President Obama’s three day visit is the high voltage, high impact discussions of CEOs in business. Here again there is a precedent reinforcing the convergence of imagination between the US President and the Indian PM reflecting concurring wavelengths. “Emphasis on Manufacturing” for Growth and Prosperity is the crux.
US President Obama in his State of the Union Address in 2012 mentioned ‘Advanced Digital Manufacturing’ as key to jump start the US manufacturing industry and economy. Advanced Digital Manufacturing, especially of the additive kind, has been his fascination too. Coincidentally, PM Modi has been echoing similar views, Manufacturing Emphasis for Growth, in the last three or four months to boost Indian economy and growth.
Just to cite one example in one sector here :
US President Obama, then, announced a $ 259 million Advanced Manufacturing Project led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Car manufacturing and companies were the acushla of the initiative. 3D Printing and software development is the centerpiece of this project. A prototype car was printed at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. Many car projects and functional car prototypes are now entirely 3D printed and/or made from such printed components. Use of advanced composites reduced the weight by half while improving performance and safety. More efficient, less expensive than silicon technologies and can be charged wirelessly. This is the new type of technology and job provider in the economy. Hopefully, the deliberations of CEOs will spread newfangled approaches and technologies to the theme of growth and job creation in this new age.
A significant move forward like this involving many sectors will be the ‘hope’ of India Inc. Success of the visit will be when we unambiguously get a picture of the fruition of such cooperative endeavors. Indian economy needs a stimulant of this kind at this critical juncture.
” Dieu avec nous “
Monday, January 26, 2015 – 9.39 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” The two major political divisions in India are the Congress and the Bharatiya Janatha Party “.
Year 1971, June 18. My Principal ( pre-degree college ), in our departing function paid his compliments to me as a “Smart” person endowed with an innate sense of observation. I was in high spirits. The adjective ‘smart’ used to be mostly associated with individuals, acts, and business efficiency during the period. Its new age predication now covers a whole range of gadgets and facilities – Smart TVs; Smart Cars; Smart Watches; Smart Homes; Smart Light Bulbs; … .. . and Smart anything making them popular. ‘Smart’ was stretched and scattered in full display in all directions in CES 2015 ! I pick out the following 5 as the choicest so far :
1. Smart TVs : Ultra high resolution glittering and HD losing sheen ? (a) Samsung unveiled its high resolution curved SUHD TV. Samsung has more than 60% of UHD TV market. Its internet connected TV would let Samsung smartphone users share content with their TVs. Users can also stream 4K Content from Amazon, Netflix and other sources. It has introduced a service called Milk Video ( to go along with its existing Milk Music Service ) that’ll create video for streaming to connected TVs. Creates content that complements its hardware, so people can buy Samsung phones and TVs. “ Interaction of tech and content is the in thing.” (b) Sharp’s Ultra High Resolution 4K TV – Aquos Beyond 4K Ultra HD TV – which uses ‘pixel splitting technology’ to sharpen pictures. Available with an 80″ screen. Of significance is the fact that it borders on exceptional 8K resolution. (c) LG announced its First 4K OLED TV with 55″ screen. It unveiled another with 77″ screen that can be changed to curved or flat with the press of a button. LG also pushes for UHD and teams up with content makers Netflix, Walt Disney Studios and others to set standards for 4K TVs and Content. (d) Sony’s Smart TVs running Google’s Android TV Operating System for streaming media is another attraction.
2. Smart Cars : Manufacturers with mythical powers like the Audi, Volkswagen, Toyota, GM, BMW … .. . all are visible in this trade show. Driver less Cars probably in 5 years’ time is the practical dream of manufacturers. High tech, Self driving cars, and electric cars flood the talk. But, semi autonomous features and incremental improvements constitute the thrust now. Vehicle to vehicle communication, adaptive cruise control are some in this class. (a) BMW demonstrates cars that can park themselves using a smartphone app. (b) Panasonic, the biggest supplier of in-dash infotainment systems, like Ford’s new Sync 3 system ( formerly powered by Microsoft ). Panasonic also delivers the most batteries for electric cars in the world.
(c) Where there is innovation infrastructure for Research and laboratories cannot lag behind. AT&T signs up Samsung as sponsor and tech partner for its ‘Drive Studio’, a connected car development laboratory. (d) Like phones, cars are getting smarter. Devices like phones, tablets and wearables connected to cars in a seamless way and LG works hard on this.
3. 3-D Printing : 3-D Printing is counted as the next wave of technology after the Internet and Mobile. HP and Intel’s partnership in this for the latest Multi Jet Ink Printer technology for Fusion printing is expected to be the breakthrough here. Prominent in this trade show has been the NEA 3-D Inc family of Printers with high quality and configuration covering requirements of Home, education, art, entertainment, medical and other professional sectors.
4. Internet of Things : Internet of Things is the happening moment with recognition. Samsung’s Boo Keun-Yoon in his keynote address said : ” Internet of Things is no longer Science Fiction; it is a Science Fact “. Homes, Offices, Vehicles get internet connected. It is roses all the way for the tout ensemble manufacturers of connected grills, refrigerator, coffee makers, door lockers and the likes. Tasks brought into action with individual and independent hardware – be it for taking a photo, playing a video game, or listening to music – have become possible with the use of software. For e.g. Instagram for photos, WhatsApp or Snapchat for messaging, Uber or Lyft for transportation, Apple Pay for Payment System are possible with just a Smartphone, the software giving the right of command. Phones can be connected to cloud and in turn can help connect one another and our wisdom gained from trials in these are astounding. (a) Consider “Fitbit Zip’ when hooked to the belt and counted steps as one moved. Apple’s iPhone and Samsung new phones have built in apps to track motion. With people hooked to the phones more and more independent devices are becoming supplanted making them unnecessary. Better to inegrate devices in to connected systems.
(b) ‘Misfit’ Bolt wirelessly connected color changing bulbs is another e.g. With this ‘Smart Light Bulb’ one can control the colors according to mood using smartphone applications. It competes with Philips Hue which for a pack of three will drain your wallet by $ 200. Misfit Bolt costs $ 50 for one bulb and $ 130 for a pack of three.
(c) Blutooth connected Flower Pot from the company “Parrot” can sense the water level in a plant, then automatically water it from a reservoir on the side of the Pot. Sensors perform the task. A two litre reservoir can keep a plant healthy for a month. Smart flower pot is a boon to the garden enthusiasts. Software reflects the gadget manufacturers’ excitement ultimately
5. Chipmakers’ magic : Speed limit signs, pedestrians hidden behind cars or signs, braking vehicles up ahead, and a speed camera which it picked from a light pole at night in foggy weather – all by processors. Fertile imagination turned in to reality by Chips, Yes.
Nvidia Drive PX, the tech, can detect these effectively. Cars will increasingly use cameras to sense the world around it and super powerful graphic processors will be required to understand and interpret the images. Nvidia, the chipmaker makes high end graphics tech for video games and displaying video and images on Computers and mobile devices announced with it called an ” auto pilot car computer “. Nvidia built a ‘super computer’ based on its next generation graphics chip, the Nvidia tegra X1.
‘Emotia’, a start-up company showed its prototype “Smartbelt”, the BELTY which automatically expands and contacts depending on one’;s waist’s need over time. Blutooth enabled toothbrush with 3-D Motion sensors is another in the category. The impulses generated from CES 2015 will have prodigious influence on the lives of people in the planet.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, January 9, 2015 – 6. 59 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Tech and Progress – Two sides of the same coin “
Pongal, the harvest festival of India, is an auspicious occasion when we bid ‘good bye’ to the old things and heartily ‘welcome’ the new. This happens in mid January each year. For the ever innovative and inspiring tech enthusiasts world over the ‘Consumer Electronics Show’ ( CES ) in Las Vegas, U.S.A., a week earlier in January, offers and promises the auspicious time to ‘throw out the old’ and ‘bring in the new’ ideas in technology. The thrust and thrill of this show rises during the period usually, this time between January 6 and 9, 2015.
Last year the ever innovating, socially conscious, and cost conscious SAMSUNG stole the thunder during the show with its World’s largest UHD – TV ( 105 ” – 4K ) that also curves at the press of a button. Samsung held its head high with newer home appliances and also a new line of Pro level tablets. This year too, it is expected to continue its offer of TVs with new ‘quantom dot’ technology. Its new smart OS Tizen will be special.
Scouring information I sense three aspects are expected to define and mark this year’s grand show : (a) Internet of Things with billions of ‘connected devices’, (b) Microsensors, wearables and applied gadgets. and (c) a new framework in 3D Printing from HP.
1. Internet of Things : There is great excitement in ultra quick motions from the more than 1,60, 000 visitors about the ” Internet of Things ” with connected devices in different settings of home, office, sports and more even as the keynote speeches are being delivered while I print this. Wi-Fi Ceiling Fan controlled by a Nest Learning Thermostat, automated door locks, light switches, LED bulbs and more enabling a host of applications in Education, Entertainment, Health/Medicine, Data Storage & Evaluation … .. . All these beneficiaries can’t expect more. ‘Homes, Smart Homes’ will be where everyone would wish to live in future. The event will be open to public on Tuesday.
2. Microsensors, wearables and applied gadgets : Sensors on a microscopic scale with high speed and sensitivity using MEMS technology will be luring the participants. Applications covering racing robots, smartphone controlled toys, recreational drones, and tiny tracking devices will be in full display. Make the impossible possible seems to be the guiding rule. Biosensors and nanosensors will take a leap forward in this show. Sony will be making a strong ground with its head wearables while contributing its earnest endeavor for ‘eyes and ears’ with smart glasses in this event. Its all-steel smartwatch 3 is expected to be the ‘sexpot’ of gadgets !
3. New wave of 3 D Printing : 3 D Printing which is being touted as contributing to a new wave of technology will possibly witness a revolution from HP’s Thermal Inkjet Technology based ‘Multi Jet Fusion 3 D Printer’ which is supposed to be “faster, lower in cost, and of high quality” in its attempt to solve the three major problems that 3 D Printers face today. It will also spell a new dimension to the legendary innovator which has moved from Calculator to Laptop to Mobile and now 3 D Printing. “ HP claims that its ‘Blended Reality Technologies’ approach will reduce the barrier between Digital and Physical worlds. ” Intel will be partnering HP on this Multi Jet Fusion Technology. The association of the giants is likely to force the pace of 3-D Printing growth quicker than anticipated. It is also expected to usher in a new age of 3 D Printing and Manufacturing. South Korea’s 3 D Printer Co ‘ Moment ‘ which made its debut in G Star 2014 with its ‘make your own phone case’ also needs to be followed. Year 2014 saw ‘Sculpteo’ 3-D Printer with Batch Control Feature as the key benefit and attraction.
In a nutshell, CES 2015 promises more technology than ever. As practices get vieux jeu faster, the task of elevating tech innovators’ and consumers’ amour propre and making them highly creative and spontaneous become arduous, and events like the CES supporting and titillating the grey cells of innovators and practitioners assume a special role full of meaning. It enables people to foresee, forefeel, forethink, forechoose and be at the forefront ultimately.
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 – 8. 39 a.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get ” – Dale carneige
( P.S. Nothing special in January at my end. I remain the same old … .. . )
First, my best wishes to you and family for peace, progress & prosperity in 2015.
Year 2015 has commenced and ascended to fill us with good cheers and fresh memories. It is also time for ‘resolutions’ although I never make any. The exercise in my mind at this juncture is to propose a ‘ universal Resolution ‘ for a specific group – the “Leader(s)”.
Any ‘leader’ needs to have people following him; for people to follow one needs to get them to want to do things you are convinced should be done; and to have this effected the ‘leader’ needs to display 3 cardinal traits according to me – ” Laugh, Learn, and Listen “.
Here’s opening the screen with a few enduring words affirming my position :
1. Laughing : For a ‘leader’, laughter is more than managing stress or bringing greater happiness. I recall the words of Sri Narasimha Murthy, Laughter Club Secretary in the late eighties in Bangalore, in one of the workshops I had the privilege to organize and attend – ” Laughter – the best medicine in today’s world ” – ( a good 25 years ago ! ) exhorting the Chief Executives of Organizations with three points ; (a) Laughter helps to avoid distractions; (b) Laughter helps to gain a highly positive perspective of the challenges; and (c) Laughter helps connect with people better. Remember, those were days when neoteric Social Media tools like Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram, OR Smartphones were unknown, uncommon, unseen and even unthinkable in practice. Use of humorous anecdotes in lectures and speeches aptly linking the thematic content not just helped keep the audience live to the topic but made it contagious and compelling to look back and laugh again, long after the speech. I remember the times when management trainees and students would be too willing to sacrifice any other engagements or pleasures to attend these events if the list of speakers included names of a Sharu Rangnekar, or a N S Ramaswamy. The duo had the unique and excellent way of making a great impact in the most mirthful way possible. They were proficient and consummate exponents of the strategy of mixing humor with appropriate content to become an ” all-time favorite ” for many of us moulding our careers in Management during the period. That was also their ‘signature strategy’ as Leaders. They were great institutional leaders.
2. Learning : I vividly remember the occasion when my Chief entrusted me with the pleasant task of organizing an Executive Program when a couple of management experts from the U.K. and Germany spent a fortnight in the institute imparting new knowledge covering scope, trends and developments in the field of their expertise. The Chief also motivated and exhorted me with words of endearment implying the promise of a streak of ‘leadership’ in me overwhelming my task as manager of the event. It bolstered my morale profusely. At the end of the event, I sensed my learning curve accelerating in yet another new dimension. The experts during the program offered the valuable tip to lead effectively through learning. ‘ Walk to the front line to get a first hand picture of what is happening ‘ was the crux of their content. That was also the time when ‘management by walking around’ took roots as a phenomenon in Indian context. Coincidentally, I was reading about Sam Walton of Wal Mart then, who while making an unplanned and surprise visit to one of the stores in Arkansas was flummoxed to watch the sales people in the front line missing opportunities for lack of judicious use of connecting with customers even while listening to their views. We discussed the incident with the experts for 3 hours. It threw light on the worries and challenges that many leaders face and open vistas where they can do something to promote leads. It is far more important now than ever before with innovation and creativity flowing and flourishing from the front line. Learning can make one take better decisions; and the leader can gain command, esteem, goodwill, and honor among his people. To me, the program was a revelation in leading by learning/training.
3. Listening : For 23 years I spoke and people ‘listened’ ( they were to an extent compelled due to the fact that they did courses under me ). I became gracefully suitable as a speaker. For 23 years I wrote and people ‘read’ ( they were to an extent compelled due to the fact that the writings were based on work carried out live in work and social settings ). I bacame gracefully suitable as a writer. But, sad that I hardly ‘listened’ or to say mildly I listened very little. In retrospect, I wonder how I could have been so obmutescent all those years. I tried to untie and analyse the process from my knowledge of the structure and function of the ‘brain’ acquired through a Master’s in the early seventies. That, incidentally, was also my first Master’s. A sudden flash crossed my mind. We, as individuals, are always taught to ‘ speak and write ‘. But, rarely does anyone gets to listen by teaching – except perhaps some odd mention about it now and then or perhaps in a short training session in a cozy atmosphere more for mutual benefits than out of a serious concern. I realized that ‘listening’ is more important than speaking or writing. It is the key factor that can make an individual a ‘strong leader’. Great leaders spend more time ‘listening’ to others. Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Kennedy are listeners par excellence. That was also the source of their intellectual wealth. It is the proven best tool for social connections.
In sum, if I may say assertively, ” Yellow Gold may be priceless; Laughing, Learning, and Listening are even more priceless; specially for anyone aspiring to be a ‘Leader’ – be it in industry, institutions, commerce, sports, governance – in local, regional, national or international settings “. What of Resolution for 2015 and for life ? ” 3 Ls ? “
” Dieu avec nous “
Thursday, January 1, 2015 – 11. 29 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” No one is a great leader of men than a woman “.