Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Should Apple Pull Out Of China?

Yep, the land of counterfeit is doing it again, only this time with the world's most famous and successful brand.  Fake Apple stores are opening up all over China.  Apparently even some of the employees truly believe they are working for Apple.

How can Apple protect it's brand?  In any other country this would be an outrage with dire legal consequences.  But not in China, where no one thinks twice about counterfeiting brands or disregarding patents.  Isn't it time that we took a stand to protect our intellectual property?

The consumer is addicted to low priced everything made in China, but at what expense?  Corporations are making more profits to satisfy Wall Street by lower manufacturing costs in China, but our anemic economies and persistent high unemployment in the West are the consequence of this type of strategy.  Perhaps the ultimate has happened when fake stores open on the streets of China that are so good in every detail, that the public actually believe it to be the original brand.  And the owner of the brand can't do a thing about it.

It's time for US and other Western companies to take a stand.  We can produce all those iPads and iPhones right here in America.  If Apple keeps producing results like it has in this last quarter ($28.7 billion in revenue and $7.31 billion net profits), imagine what keeping manufacturing here could to the nation's debt, exports and unemployment.  All politicians need to do is create some incentives for a couple of years, reduce the bizarre amount of regulations and get out of the way. We could become the strongest economy in the world - again.

As consumers, we might all have to pay a bit more for our hi-tech products, but I think most people might be happy to do so if they knew it kept the dollar within the US and created thousands of jobs.  It's time for 'Made in America'!  As a marketer, I could have a field day with this slogan; perhaps even form a consortium that would be proud to promote American brands and American jobs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are Smartphones Killing Your Life?

There's no doubt that smartphones have changed our lives mostly for the better, but when is it time to switch off? We are in a 24/7 world in terms of communication access, but we don't have to work 24/7 and we need to learn to disconnect. Take the holidays for example, there are people who are compelled to write emails, send texts or even call. And since your smartphone device is your connection to your family and friends as well, it's not practical to switch it completely off. So what do you do?

A simple solution is to learn to use Google Voice as your business number. Sign up for a free account, choose your number and have it be your virtual telephone system. When on vacation or out of business hours, check the "Do Not Disturb" and all your calls will go to voicemail and even be transcribed to email. If you use this Google Voice number as your outgoing specified number, you can even text from this number on your cell phone app

One other useful tool for online businesses or anyone with an online presence, is to use your Google Voice number on your website. If you get unwanted calls, it is very easy to block that caller forever. 

The time we are spending on our devices while out of work has become almost a compulsion than a necessity, and ultimately it does affect our productivity. In fact some employers have become concerned especially since the Fair Labor Standards Act has strict rules on overtime for American workers who are paid by the hour. If such workers are specifically asked to attend to emails after hours, then the employer owes that employee the overtime.

So is it the fault of technology or just bad managers who don't know how to delegate, or are afraid to lose their control?


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