top of page

Search Results

116 items found for ""

  • The Day When Amazon's Robots Had a Monday Meltdown (sort of)

    Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud computing branch, experienced a major outage that left thousands of websites and apps down for hours. Amazon’s robots were the ones to blame as they had forgotten to wake up from their weekend slumber. Amazon has been known for its excellent service since it was created by Jeff Bezos in 1994, but on December 7, it proved otherwise as Amazon's servers went offline affecting businesses across the globe. Photo by Антон Дмитриев on Unsplash Imagine this Imagine if all of your smart devices decide to take a vacation at the same time. You are at home; you say, "Hey Alexa," and you receive no reply. On 7th December, Amazon Web Services (AWS) had an outage across many parts of the world, as well as all of those smart gadgets powered by AWS. It wasn't only a problem with the smart device. Many organizations were impacted, as a result of it. These firms rely on Amazon's cloud services to store data, run their apps, and perform a variety of other activities, but they had to wait until someone figured out what was going on. It's safe to say that Amazon did respond promptly, but not before it became apparent how reliant we are on the global internet conglomerate. One awful situation occurred when the smart doorbell service Ring malfunctioned completely. Users were unable to silence alarms, keep track of children, or check for intruders during this period since their home monitoring service was down. Likewise, Public, an investment platform, went down at the same time. Users were unable to trade on the site, which potentially eroded a lot of investor money in the process. Wait, there is more to come! The Washington Post, for example, was unable to publish its stories on time. In certain countries, Netflix's streaming services wouldn't operate. Disney theme parks were off-limits to visitors and Tinder became inaccessible for a time (ahem ahem). Despite this, many organizations still believe that they can establish and maintain a secure AWS environment without hiring experts. They are, however, quickly discovering that their initial assumptions were incorrect. It's becoming more apparent that the reliance on AWS has only increased since the pandemic. Companies are investing billions to improve their digital presence, and AWS is their first choice. In fact, AWS now dominates over 40% of the $64 billion cloud infrastructure services market. You'd think that a company's market dominance is based on a great performance. To some extent, it is. However, these massive blackouts are cause for serious concern. Amazon Web Services has had several outages in recent years, including the following: In 2011, AWS was down for a period of more than 24 hours. AWS suffered another outage in 2015 when it went down for 35 minutes. In 2017, Amazon experienced a four-hour AWS outage that cost companies on the US S&P500 Index to lose $150 million. I'm hoping that Amazon will take action on this and ensure that the internet does not go dark all of a sudden once again. Concluding thoughts The recent AWS outage on December 7th brought the internet’s reliance on Amazon into sharp focus. It wasn't just a problem for smart devices; it was an issue that impacted many organizations, who rely on Amazon's cloud services to run their apps and store data. While there are other providers in this space (Google Cloud Platform comes immediately to mind), it's clear that companies like these will need to invest heavily in redundancy so they don't lose customers when something goes wrong with one of their core capabilities. It's safe to say that AWS did respond promptly, but not before it became apparent how reliant we are on the company for many aspects of our digital lives. For now, we can only hope that nothing disrupts ScroogeMarketer posts. Keep learning!

  • What is philosophy and why every Ph.D. candidate should study it first before undertaking research?

    One of the early mistakes I did in my Ph.D. journey was not investing time to understand philosophy. One might think, doesn't Ph.D. mean the Doctor of Philosophy? So how can one not understand what philosophy is all about? Unfortunately, many early researchers (like myself) straight away jump into doing research. This includes going through the literature on the topic. As of today (9th Dec 2021), I am in my second year of Ph.D., and only recently have I invested time to understand the length and breadth of philosophy. This post is targeted at early researchers who are either doing their Ph.D. or master's dissertation. Purpose of philosophy Early researchers are often confused about the purpose of philosophy. Philosophy is an interesting topic that can help you a lot in your research journey, but it's also easy to misunderstand and get lost with all the different schools of thought. This post will give you a broad overview of what philosophy is, its history, how it relates to science, and why it's important for early researchers. I have also included some resources at the end of this post that will help you dig deeper into each topic if interested. Let us start by defining what philosophy actually means… What the hell is Philosophy? Philosophy is the love of wisdom that seeks understanding about the universe and our place in it through critical thinking, logical reasoning, and argumentative discourse. Did it make sense? I am sure, it didn't. Let me try again. Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, and language. Studying philosophy has many benefits for Ph.D. candidates including helping us to develop skills needed to complete research tasks such as critical thinking and understanding complex concepts without oversimplifying their meaning. I hope this made little sense Let me make a final attempt. For this, I will bring up a context that will make it easy for you. Here it is..... Do you recall the time in your life when you gazed up at the stars for the first time? What sparked your interest in space? Have you ever wondered why people can't fly? Why do different species exist? I'm able to think, so why not others as well? Have you ever been perplexed by the question, "why am I here?" or that “the world exists at all”? At its most basic level, philosophy is derived from the Greek word "Philos" (love) and "Sophia" (wisdom). It is translated as "Love of Wisdom" or "Search for truth" or "thinking about thinking." Although other alternative definitions provide a better illustration of its breadth. In other words, philosophy is a way of thinking about the world, the universe, and society. It works by asking very basic questions about the nature of human thoughts, the nature of the universe, and the connection between them. Point to remember: Philosophy is understood differently by different people. Now, that the meaning of Philosophy is clear (hopefully), let's try to understand what can philosophy do? It cannot provide us with lots of money or food (I wish). I used to think that philosophers were nothing more than a bunch of "lazybones" people. They spend their time pondering pointless subjects and squander human resources. But learning philosophy changed my perception. I hope it changes for you too (fingers crossed). In my second year, I've learned that research philosophy is the basis of any study because it sets forth the beliefs on which the inquiry is based. Philosophical heroes (I call them "The Thinkers") Did you know that there were several false beliefs in early human history? In Nordic tales, for example, people thought that it was Thor who generated thunder and lightning, which brought fertility. The ancient Greeks, like the Romans, wrote poetry and produced various myths, including those of Zeus, Apollo, Athena, and Dionysus. People began to change from a mythical mode of thinking to one based on experience and reason after that. The goal of the early Greek thinkers was to discover natural causes for changes in nature, rather than supernatural ones. These individuals are referred to as "natural philosophers." Some philosophical thoughts by early philosophers Parmenides (our first thinker) thought that everything in existence was unchanging and that there was no literal transformation. Nothing can change into anything else. Only "one-ness" is real. Now that's a deep thought, isn't it? Heraclitus (second thinker) argued against this concept. He suggested that “everything flows,” in opposition to the view of Parmenides. He also made the point that everything in the world is defined by polarities. We would not enjoy being full if we had never been hungry; peace would not be valued if there was no warfare, and spring would not be experienced if winter did not exist. As a result, both positive and negative qualities, as well as benevolent and malevolent ones, are required. The world would not exist without the continual interplay of opposing forces. Following the natural philosophers, Socrates (third thinker) introduced philosophy's history. He was a secretive person who kept to himself and was known for his silence. Socrates was one of the most important individuals in European philosophy, but he never wrote anything down himself. All that we know about Socrates thus far is based on Plato's (fourth thinker) teachings. Btw Plato was Socrates's student. According to Socrates, the duty of a philosopher was to recognize how little they knew and thus persevere in their search for truth. He once said, “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” As a result, philosophers are people who realize that they know nothing and are disturbed by this. Socrates considered himself to be a "philosopher," which in Greek means "one who loves wisdom." Soon after, Socrates was charged with corrupting the youth and not believing in the gods of Athens. He was convicted by a jury of 500 individuals, only by a narrow margin. In fact, he could have survived if he had requested a pardon or left Athens sooner, but he instead chose to go to his death with honor. Basically, the people of Athens wanted Socrates to...... Image Source: Many academics believe that it is more accurate to regard Socrates as a philosophy himself rather than a philosopher. He's more like the physical manifestation of philosophy: in the history of philosophy, all philosophers have regarded philosophy's wisdom and knowledge as a tool; but for Socrates, it was a conversation. The death of Socrates changed philosophy from a merely academic subject to one that was more relevant and significant. After him, philosophy became a genuine calling. (Thank you, Socrates) Now, let's come to our fourth thinker, Plato. When his teacher Socrates died by drinking hemlock, Plato was only 29 years old. He was totally taken aback when Athens sentenced its greatest intellectual to death. This event had a lasting impact on his later philosophical career. The death of Socrates, according to Plato, proved that there was a contradiction between the real world and the ideal one. As a philosopher, Plato's first action was to publish Socrates' entreaty for acquittal in the form of Apology of Socrates. Aside from the Apology, Plato is responsible for the existence of all of Socrates' and Plato's writings. Basically, he is the guy who you quote a lot on Instagram without giving him his due credit. #Plato #Instalove #quote #love #poet #AnyRandomQuote (I don't even know if this random guy is Plato or not) Not only Plato's thoughts were linked to his teacher as well as his student, Aristotle (fifth thinker). Throughout the last two millennia, Plato's ideas have been repeatedly discussed and criticized by others. It was Aristotle who began this practice. Aristotle admired Plato a great deal. “Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth,” he added. Lastly, according to Aristotle, nature was a reflection of the real world. Btw, Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great. His work spanned a broad range of themes, including physics, metaphysics, biology, poetry, music, logic, ethics, politics, and economics. This brings us to the end of our Philosophical celebs. Now, let's understand the branches of philosophy. 3 major branches of philosophy: 1) Epistemology Episteme (knowledge) + Logy (science) = science of knowledge It is the argument - why this and not that. Epistemology is concerned with “how” we may gain knowledge and come to understand things - in other words, how can we figure out what reality is and what the limits of this knowledge are. So, how do we know "knowledge?" The sources of knowledge are: a) Revealed knowledge This information is taken as fact because it has been revealed (via divine books). Even the revealed knowledge is now being researched within the context of scientific knowledge. b) Scientific knowledge The knowledge has been acquired through systematic study and organized into general concepts. For example, “mathematics is the foundation for much scientific knowledge. c) Intuitive knowledge Subjective judgment or gut feeling is informed by little or no prior specific learning. d) Man-made knowledge Experiences are at the core of man-made knowledge. Always remember that any examination of the link between theory and practice necessitates an epistemological standpoint. 2) Meta-physics Meta (beyond) + Physics (nature) = beyond the nature Discussion about reality. What is the reality of this universe? What is the reality of human beings? What is the reality of everything that exists or does not exist? What is truth? What is beyond nature? Branches of meta-physics are: Cosmogony: the study of the universe, solar system, how the world came into existence, etc. Cosmology: the study of the universe, space, time, etc. Ontology: this is explained below in detail. Teleology: also known as teleological reasoning or finality, is a rationale for something based on its end, aim, or goal rather than its cause. Eschatology: the study of or doctrine about the end of history or the last things. For example, the judgment day. 3) Axiology Axio (value) + Logy (science) = science of value What are values? What is good? What is bad? What is acceptable? What should be rejected? Basically, discussion of values within a society. Branches of axiology are: Ethics: refers to the moral code of an individual, group, or society. It is determined by sentiments and decided by society. It varies depending on location, time, and circumstance. Aesthetic: in philosophy, aesthetics is based on an individual's perspective. For instance, what I find beautiful, you may find ugly. Now, that we have understood branches of philosophy, next we will learn about paradigms. Research paradigm Before we dive into the research paradigm, let's take a moment to understand the paradigm. What is a paradigm? Greek word meaning 'pattern' A paradigm is a shared worldview that represents the beliefs and values in a discipline that guides how a problem is solved (Schwant, 2001). In other words, a world view or general perspectives (looking through the lens. Basically, how the researcher views the world). Point to remember: Our beliefs, knowledge, and reality are termed paradigms by social scientists. The phrase "shared view" refers to truth, reality, and knowledge. When we think about these things, our minds go to the discipline called philosophy. Remember, a paradigm has its roots in Philosophy. Point to remember: a paradigm has its roots in Philosophy. Let's understand the paradigm with an example. Let's assume you are in a new country and exploring places. You want to go to a certain location. There are three or more routes to reach the destination. Now, it depends on you to decide on a route based on your knowledge, belief, and reality. The important thing is your views on each of the routes. This is the paradigm. Now, that we have learned about the paradigm, let's understand about research paradigm. Whenever we think of doing research, we get a few thoughts such as: 'How do we plan to do this research?' 'What will be my approach of investigation?' 'Will I do Qualitative or Quantitative or mixed?' To come out of this situation, the researcher takes the help of the "Research Paradigm." The research paradigm is guided by our philosophical assumptions. The philosophical assumptions are nothing but branches of philosophy (we have covered at the top) Ontology Epistemology Axiology Point to remember: Every paradigm has its own ontology, epistemology, and axiology. Okay, so what is Ontology? So far we've learned that the study philosophy is at the heart of any research since it sets forth the set of beliefs on which the research is based. Research philosophy can be described from either an ontological, epistemological or axiological point of view. When I explain Ontology to someone The study of concepts such as existence, being, coming into being, and reality is known as Ontology in Philosophy. It addresses issues such as how things are grouped into fundamental categories and which of these things exist at the most basic level. It means to be. Study of reality. Ontology is sometimes referred to as the science of being and belongs to the major branch of Philosophy known as metaphysics (beyond physics). Point to remember: In simple terms, an ontology is the "what" and "how" of what we understand. For example, does reality exist as a single objective thing, or is it different for each person? Think about the simulated reality in the film The Matrix. We have reached the point where we can now understand how researchers decide (or should decide) their methodology in a research study. For deciding your methodology, follow the constituents of the paradigm below. Constituents of research paradigm First, comes ontology. Second, ontology will decide epistemology. Third, epistemology will decide axiology. Fourth, all three will meet and decide the research methodology i.e (positivism/interpretivism). Your research methodology will guide the research design (experimental, cause-effect, survey, grounded theory, ethnography, etc) Lastly, the research design will guide the research instrument. Point to remember: When all the 'ology' is of the same nature, they lead to a certain research methodology. For example, positivism or interpretivism, or pragmatism. Concluding thoughts Philosophy can be a confusing subject (as it was for me), but it's important to understand the basics. The three main branches of philosophy are Epistemology (the study of knowledge), Meta-physics (study on existence and reality), and Axiology (the study of values) all have an impact on how to go about crafting your research question or study whether it be qualitative or quantitative in nature. If you are researching for a paper or dissertation, the three branches of philosophy will help guide your methodology and design. The difference between these fields is vast but understanding them can make the process easier when designing your own research study. Subscribe to the ScroogeMarketer blog today if interested in learning more about research.

  • What Really Drives Consumer Behavior: 7 Emotions That Sell

    The study of consumer behavior has been a popular topic for marketers and researchers alike. What drives consumers to make purchase decisions? How can we understand what's going on in their heads when they're looking at a product? In this blog post, we'll explore seven emotions that drive consumer behavior: fear, uncertainty, urgency, anxiety, greed, and altruism. Before we explore the six emotions, we need to first understand consumer behavior and its implications. Consumer behavior is a complex topic that can be difficult to understand. Consumer behavior, also known as Consumer Psychology or Consumerism, is the study of how people make decisions about what to buy and whether they will continue buying it in the future. Consumer behavior is a driving force in the success of a business. Consumer research and motivation have been studied since the 1920s, but it wasn't until 1980 that psychologists began to look into how emotions may drive consumer behavior. Consumer Behavior includes both mental processes and behaviors. Consumers are influenced by their beliefs, attitudes, values, personality traits, and other psychological factors when making purchase decisions. There are many theories on why consumers behave as they do such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory which states that individuals seek fulfillment through satisfying different needs such as food, shelter, safety, etc., while others take into account cultural influences such as family upbringing and social class. Now, that you have understood what is consumer behavior, next you need to understand a bit about emotions. Emotions are complex, powerful feelings that can influence our behavior. Some common emotions include anger and sadness - these might prompt you to speak or act impulsively. Consumers not only make rational judgments, but also emotional ones. Emotions, affect, arousal, and pleasure have been discovered to be critical elements of appraisal that were previously neglected. In addition, research has revealed mechanisms and behavioral patterns that do not conform with the standard idea of acting as a result of a deliberate process. Consumers' beliefs and judgments, as well as their experiences and emotions, influence their behaviors and choices. Individuals bring their own perceptions, values, sentiments, and cognitive systems to bear while interpreting the environment. Due to numerous aspects influencing decision-making processes and the difficulty of measuring them, studying consumer behaviors has long been a tough job. To be able to do so, you must first understand the cognitive, information-processing mechanisms as well as the effective and experiential systems of people. It also necessitates a thorough knowledge of the complex and dynamic interaction between cognitive and emotional processes. In this blog post, we'll explore how seven underlying emotions can shape consumer behavior: 1) Fear It is not surprising that fear is an emotion that shapes consumer behavior. Consumer fears are rooted in different things such as safety (e.g., "Is this food safe?"). Consumer fears can also be internalized, like the fear of failure (e.g., "I'm not good enough to do this"). Consumer product companies rely on consumers' fears for their marketing and advertising campaigns. For example, "Beware of these harmful ingredients lurking in your shampoo!" 2) Uncertainty Consumer behavior and the nature of their spending change when they're uncertain. Consumer uncertainty is not just an economic problem, it's a psychological one as well. Brands take advantage of uncertainty by creating a sense of urgency. They do this by promoting products that are only available for a limited time or that are on sale for a short period of time. Additionally, brands create a sense of exclusivity by making their products available only to certain customers. Consumer behavior and the nature of their spending change when they're uncertain. When consumers are uncertain about future circumstances, consumer buying patterns can shift drastically in terms of how much money gets spent outside necessities like rent/mortgages. 3) Urgency Often urgency is used as a trigger to cause impulse buys. For example, exclusive offers that only last for a limited time will generate an urgent need in consumers who want to take advantage of the offer and people buy now or they'll miss out. If they're only cheap for a few hours they may just buy one more because it's cheap today but tomorrow it might not be so inexpensive and if you don't grab one now you might regret it later. Urgency works as a way to sell products during tough economic times as well as capitalizing on consumers' fear of scarcity. If people sense there is a limited supply they will buy soon to avoid missing out on something that might not be available in the near future, this tactic can work during good times as well. Consumers have been known to impulse-buy items when visiting grocery stores or pharmacies because it just seems like too great an opportunity for them to pass up and if you don't grab one now you may regret it later. 4) Anxiety Anxiety has been studied as feelings of worry, unease, fearfulness. Anxiety is a type of emotional pain. Consumer behavior can be affected because individuals think they may help by purchasing more than need or avoid buying the product entirely so as not to feel worried. There are a few different ways in which brands may use anxiety to sell products. One way is by inducing a sense of fear in the consumer. This could be done by showing images of accidents or other negative events in the ad. Another way is by using disclaimers in ads and on product packaging. This allows the brand to acknowledge that there is a potential for negative consequences, while still selling the product. Research suggests that when bringing a new product to market, new product adoption may be greatest when hope and anxiety are both strong. The findings also point to ways in which marketers might enhance hope and/or anxiety, and they suggest that the use of potentially anxiety-inducing tactics such as disclaimers in ads and on packages might not deter adoption when hope is also strong. The most potent emotion is when consumers are afraid they will miss out on something they want or need later. Fear-based marketing taps into this natural human response with tactics like scarcity (e.g., limited editions), and time-sensitive offers. 5) Greed Greed is a common (and quite simple) emotion that makes us feel that we gain something from the purchase. Companies use greed to generate revenue by creating an artificial sense of want or need so you'll buy more than one product at a time. Consumer research has shown how spending even small increments of money repeatedly can become habitual until wasting millions of dollars on products becomes easy for some consumers. Example: "Two for the price of one!" All “two for one” sales show that most of us have a desire to get as much as possible in the shortest amount of time — and there's nothing wrong with it. Greed is effective because we're wired to want more than what we need, especially when something piques our interest or curiosity. 6) Altruism Consumer decisions are influenced by social norms, which can be either altruistic or selfish. Consumer choice is also determined by the perceived benefits of brands. Altruistic emotions influence consumer choices in a variety of ways including loyalty to preferred products and an inclination towards healthy preparation practices. Altruism drives brand loyalty through increased perceptions about quality and trustworthiness as well as alignment with personal needs such as healthiness or wanting to reduce environmental impact. Altruism can influence consumer behavior in a number of ways. For example, altruism can lead to increased loyalty to preferred brands and products. Additionally, altruism can increase perceptions about the quality and trustworthiness of brands. 7) Angry/Disgusted Most people think that it is best to avoid anger -- a negative emotion that will cause you more harm than good. But in some cases, anger can wake us up and spur action; when somebody hurts or injustice occurs we become angry because their pain pains our hearts deeply! Anger can be used by brands to prod us into action (like boycotting a product, for example), and it's an emotion that is uniquely suited to wake people up. Consumer behaviorists would call this emotion "activation." Another example is disgust. Disgust makes us want to get away from something, and it's often linked with physical contact (e.g., eating icky food). Companies try hard not to make consumers feel disgusted when they think about buying their product or service in order to increase sales. A study of the most popular pictures on revealed that while unpleasant emotions were less prevalent in viral material than in positive, viral success occurred when the negative images contained a hint of surprise and anticipation. The Always Like a Girl campaign, which won an Emmy, a Cannes Grand Prix prize, and the Grand Clio award, uses a famous put-down to pique your interest. Conclusion In this blog post, we’ve explored seven emotions that drive consumer behavior. By understanding these emotions and how they affect people's decision-making process, you can create a more compelling marketing message to help them make the right purchase for their needs. If you want to learn more about marketing psychology or simply find out why consumers do the things they do as it relates to purchasing products from companies like yours, consider subscribing ScroogeMarketer.

  • Why are some nations competitive, while others are not? The answer lies in Single Diamond Model

    Michael Porter's single diamond model is a strategic tool that has been used by economists, academics, and managers for decades. It can be applied to various environments including the business environment. This blog post will discuss how businesses can use the Single Diamond Model to help improve their performance in the marketplace. Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels What is the Single Diamond Model? The theory of national competitive advantage, also known as the diamond model and coined by Michael Porter is a framework that focuses on explaining why particular industries within countries tend to be more globally competitive than others. And what makes some companies capable or innovative while others might not? Porter believes that any firm's capacity to compete globally is based on a complex network of location advantages possessed by specific industries in various countries, including Firm Strategy, Structure, and Rivalry; Factor Conditions; Demand Conditions; and Related and Supporting Industries. The purpose of the single diamond model is to attempt to address two issues: What determines whether a country is the most competitive in an industry (home base)? What is the reason for one industry's firms to be able to maintain competitiveness in that industry? When these conditions are right, it compels domestic firms to keep developing and improving. The competitive advantages that will result from this are beneficial and even required when competing against the world's largest rivals across borders. Analyzing a country's competitive advantage. Diamond is often referred to as the "national advantage." For example, Italy -> Fashion, Germany -> Engineering, and Sweden -> Furniture are just a few examples. This article will discuss the four basic components in detail, as well as two components that are frequently included in this model: the Government's role and Chance. They shape the country's overall environment in which businesses are formed and learn how to compete. There are 4 elements (determinants) in the analysis of national advantages (competitiveness). The nation is fortunate by chance (luck) or knowledge. Although Greece is well-known for tourism, Germany is known for its engineering. It was due to luck that Greece became a tourist destination. 1) Factor conditions Two types of factor conditions: a) Basic: e.g. basic resources and natural resources. b) Advanced: e.g., professional labor, specialized capital. Factors that are basic do not give a competitive advantage. Only complex factors can provide a competitive edge. Basic factors include natural resources (climate, minerals) where the mobility of these assets is low. These basic elements can also lay a foundation for international competitiveness but they will never become real value-creation unless there are more advanced components such as sophisticated human resources and research capabilities which tend to be industry-specific in nature. 2) Demand conditions Is there a market for what the country has to offer? Do people desire to purchase vehicles made in Germany? Is Greece travel on people's radar? Increased pressure on businesses to develop and enhance as a result of increased demand for their goods or services in their home market. The more demanding the domestic (home) market, the greater the incentive for businesses to innovate and improve. Porter's diamond shows that a company with early home demand, a large market size, and a rate of growth in this industry will have more success. The fundamental or core design of a product is typically representative of consumer demands in the home market. Sweden, for example, reigns supreme in the high-voltage distribution sector worldwide. In this instance, the demands of the home market influenced the industry that was subsequently able to respond to global markets (ABB is one of the world's major producers). 3) Firm Strategy, Structure & Rivalry The national context in which companies operate largely determines how they are created, organized, and managed. As a result of this, domestic rivalry is instrumental to international competitiveness since it forces these businesses to develop unique strengths that make them sustainable over time while also being able to withstand economic changes within their borders or abroad. The more intense domestic rivalry is, the faster companies are being pushed to innovate and improve in order to maintain their competitive advantage. In this way, it will help them when entering international markets later on down the road. The Japanese automobile industry is a great illustration of this, with fierce rivalry among players such as Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, and Subaru. They have been able to compete more effectively in foreign markets due to their own intense domestic competition. 4) Related and Supporting Industries A strong industry is only possible when it has a foundation of supporting industries. The more related and complementary the products or services in an area, the easier it becomes for one company to excel over others because its success will be dependent on having access to all these other businesses rather than just focusing solely on its own product line alone. Businesses rely on collaborations and partnerships with other organizations to generate added value for consumers and improve their competitiveness. Suppliers are especially crucial in improving innovation by providing more efficient and higher-quality inputs, quick feedback, and short lines of communication. Companies in a nation generally profit the most when their suppliers are, in fact, global competitors. It may take years (or even decades) of hard effort and investment to build strong linked and supporting industries that assist domestic firms to become globally competitive. Once these factors are in place, however, the presence of an entire region or country can frequently benefit all residents. This is evident, for example, in Silicon Valley, where a variety of information technology companies and start-ups are congregated to share ideas and promote innovation. 5) Government The government's role in Porter's Diamond Model is characterized as both "a catalyst and challenger." Porter does not believe in a free market in which the government has no role. However, Porter isn't of the opinion that the government is required to be assistance and supporter to businesses. Only businesses can create competitive industries. Instead of attempting to build new industries, governments should simply encourage and urge corporations to raise their goals and strive for even higher levels of competitiveness. This may be accomplished by promoting early demand for innovative goods (demand drivers), concentrating on specialized factor developments such as infrastructure, education, and health care (factor conditions), enforcing anti-monopoly legislation, and practicing fiscal policy. While these factors are no guarantee for international competitiveness, they can definitely help companies along the way. In this manner, the government may help the growth of the four aforementioned variables in a way that is favorable to a certain country's industries. 6) Chance The role of chance is frequently incorporated into the Diamond Model as the probability that external events such as war and natural disasters may harm or help a nation or region. For example, the occurrence of the First World War led to an acute scarcity of raw materials and labor forces throughout Europe, giving an advantage to the United States and Japan. This, in turn, led to an opportunity for these countries to increase their exports by replacing European imports with cheaper substitutes sourced. It's impossible for the government or businesses to influence these events. For example, the increased border security produced as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States has had a detrimental influence on Mexican export activity. The circumstances that result from chance may benefit certain organizations and harm others. Some companies may improve their competitive positions, while others may suffer losses. While these events are beyond an organization's control, it is important to consider how they may impact one business over another. Benefits of the Single Diamond Model Porter's Diamond Model can be applied to any industry, but it is especially helpful in countries where the environment of business is rapidly changing. By identifying how a firm should compete and structure itself within an ever-changing landscape through Porter’s single diamond model, a company will have clear direction on what their future strategy should look like as the business environment changes. Some benefits are: Helps to predict the future competitive environment Creates a clear strategy for the country Creates a more optimal business structure Increases the quality of firm rivalry Summary of Porter's Single Diamond Model Porter’s Diamond Model of National Advantage explains why some industries in some countries are so much more developed and competitive compared to other, less fortunate regions. It basically sums up the location advantages that Dunning refers to when he mentions the OLI framework (also known as the Eclectic paradigm). The Diamond Model might be employed when looking at potential entry points or making Foreign Direct Investment decisions in other countries. It is also necessary to conduct a macro-environment study and a business analysis using PESTEL and Porter's Five Forces, respectively. Conclusion The single diamond model is a strategic tool that has been used by economists, academics, and managers for decades. It can be applied to various environments including the business environment. This blog post discussed how countries can use this powerful model to help improve their performance in the global marketplace. Have you ever used a strategic tool like this to help improve an organization's performance in the marketplace? Let me know which model/framework worked best for you in the comments below.

  • Transition words and phrases: how to use them in academic writing

    Transitions are words and phrases that help your reader understand the relationship between ideas. They allow you to connect two or more points in a logical way. In academic writing, they can be useful for guiding readers through complex arguments or complicated topics. This post will explain how to use transitions in essays and why they matter in academic writing. There are many different types of transition words and phrases that can be used for different purposes. Some examples include, however, in addition, moreover, etc., which indicate contrast or an opposing idea; ‘furthermore’ which indicates additional information; and ‘consequently’ which shows cause-and-effect relationships between sentences or paragraphs. It is important to choose the right word or phrase based on what you want to convey in order for your paper/assignment to not only sound good but also be effective at persuading readers of your point of view. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Furthermore, to get started with using transition words and phrases effectively in academic writing it is best if you first understand their purpose so that you know when they should be used instead of other transitional devices such as commas or semicolons (which we will discuss later). This will allow you to better organize your thoughts into coherent arguments while avoiding unnecessary repetition within sentences and paragraphs that may confuse readers instead of clarifying things for them as transitions do. This article covers: What are transition words and phrases? Transition words and phrases are connecting words that help connect different thoughts within a paragraph. Transition words and phrases are important because they provide readers with an easier time to follow the flow of thoughts that one is trying to relay. Some common transition words and phrases are "also," "therefore," "yet," etc. Types of transition sentences In academic writing, there are three types of transition sentences - simple transition, complex transition, and compound transition. Simple transitions can be defined as a word or phrase that connects two ideas without introducing either idea in detail; complex transitions require some introductory information about both ideas before they are connected; compound transitions involve connecting two independent statements using coordinating conjunction such as "and" or "but." Example text with and without transition words Without transition words: Renewable energy has become economically attractive in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ramping up renewables to 10% of the country's total energy mix, and 25% of total power generation, could generate annual savings of USD 1.9 billion by 2030 through avoidance of fossil-fuel consumption and lower energy costs. With transition words: Renewable energy has become economically attractive in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE). Consequently, ramping up renewables to 10% of the country's total energy mix, and 25% of total power generation, could generate annual savings of USD 1.9 billion by 2030 through avoidance of fossil-fuel consumption and lower energy costs. Another good transition word to use when writing an essay would be "however." One example of transition words that you could use while writing would be "I think X is true, however, Y disagrees with me because of Z." An effective transition word or phrase that connects two ideas within the same sentence would also be "on the other hand" Tips for using transition words and phrases when writing an essay One of the most difficult aspects of writing an essay is deciding how to transition from one section or idea to another. Here are some tips on using transitions in essays: Keep Transition Words in Mind as You Plan - It's important that these words don't appear too often because overusing them may make your piece seem less professional and original; Decide Where To Place Transitions – Try connecting same-topic sections with sentences such as "and then," “while,” etc., instead if possible since they can establish flow more easily than paragraph breaks do; Consider Relationship Between Connecting Points - for example, between parenthesis and main sentences, transition words or phrases can help readers understand the connection between two different ideas. Common mistakes with transition phrases and words Transitions are frequently used incorrectly. Make sure you know how to use transition words and phrases correctly, as well as the difference between words with similar meanings. Misused transition words might make your writing unclear or illogical. If you misrepresent the connections between your sentences and concepts, your audience will be lost. Misdirecting Attention - Remember to direct attention where it belongs in transition phrases by being specific about who is doing what action on either side so there won't be confusion as new information comes up later down. Confusing use of therefore - This transition phrase has nothing to do with the idea of time; rather, it connects two sentences or paragraphs which are related to each other closely. The transition word "therefore" means that a transition from one point to another is logical. Starting a sentence with also, and, or so - While the words "also," "and," and "so" are acceptable in academic writing, they are considered informal when used at the start of a sentence. We can either relocate the transition word to a different location in the sentence or utilize a more formal synonym such as additionally. Conclusion In academic writing, transition words are important because they provide readers with an easier time to follow the flow of thoughts that one is trying to relay. Unfortunately, most people don't know the names of transition words or how to use them properly. Transition words and phrases can be used as a way for writers to transition from one idea or thought into another without sounding like a robot (or worse, someone who cannot string together sentences). Furthermore, transition words and phrases help create coherence in content so it doesn't seem choppy or disjointed. In summary, transition words and phrases should be taken seriously when crafting any type of written piece--academic or otherwise. BONUS: Useful expressions that can be used in essay/assignment Interpreting For this purpose Usage: Use this expression to explain how you want to achieve a certain goal. Example: “The goal of the present article is to answer question X. For this purpose, we will...” In order to Usage: Use this expression to explain what needs to be done to achieve a certain goal. Example: “In order to answer question X, we will...” In other words Usage: Use this expression when you want to express something in a different way to make it easier to understand. Example: “We performed the tests sequentially. In other words, we first performed test X, then we performed test Y,...” Adding information In addition Usage: Use this expression to add information. Example: “The study showed evidence for X. In addition, it supported Y. Moreover Usage: Use this expression to add information. Example: “The study showed evidence for X. Moreover, it supported Y. Furthermore Usage: Use this expression to add information. Example: Example: “The study showed evidence for X. Furthermore, it supported Y. Likewise Usage: Use this expression to add a point that is similar to your last point. Example: “Study X found evidence for this claim. Likewise, several studies have provided indirect support.” Similarly Usage: Use this expression to add a point that is similar to your last point. Example: “Study X found evidence for this claim. Similarly, several studies have provided indirect support.” As well as Usage: Use this expression instead of “also” or “and” to vary your wording. Example: “Study X supported this point as well as Study Y and Z.” Describe a sequence of steps/events Next Example: “First, we performed X. Next, we performed Y.” Subsequently Example: “First, we performed X. Subsequently, we performed Y.” After Example: “After X was finished, we performed Y.” Firstly, secondly, thirdly... Example: “We performed the experiment in three steps. Firstly, we performed X. Secondly, performed Y. Thirdly, We performed Z.”

  • Breaking down the 12 most common financial terms for non-finance people

    The Language of Wall Street is a different language than the one spoken on the main street. Much like how people who work in medicine speak their own language, stock analysts, traders, and investors also have their own special lingo. The terms and acronyms used in fiance can be confusing for beginners, but that's what this article is all about: explaining the key lingo used by those working in the financial sector. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels This blog post will explain the 10 most popular terms used by traders and investors on wall street. 1) Bullish Bull market or being bullish means that you are expecting higher stock market prices in anticipation of future events or economic news. You can expect prices to go up after it has gone down. Usually, the term bullish is used when referring to markets as opposed to individual stocks. 2) Bearish Bear market or bearish refers to the mindset that prices will go down after they've gone up in anticipation of future events or economic news. A bear market refers to the stock market moving downwards for an extended period of time. The opposite of a bull market is generally defined as when securities are selling at prices that are lower than their previous highs or lows. 3) "Buy the rumor, Sell the news" Buy the rumor, sell the news is an expression that means to take advantage of market volatility by buying stocks or other securities when rumors are strong but selling them after you hear the official news. The expression buy the rumor and sell the news was first used in connection with stock trading in 1929. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 resulted in a "buy low, sell high" mentality which would have been contrary to this trend. It's difficult to know exactly who coined it or when they did so because people could have said it before 1929 for all we know. When you buy the rumor and then sell the news, you're taking advantage of market volatility by doing two things: Buying stocks or other securities when rumors are strong Selling them after you hear the official news. One of our favorite examples is from 2010 when rumors were strong that Apple was going to launch a tablet computer. The rumor was already gaining momentum as more and more analysts began to talk about it until Apple finally unveiled the iPad in January of 2010. 4) Headwinds The term headwind is used to describe conditions that impede or inhibit progress and shares the same meaning for impacts on economies, industries, individual companies. Factors leading towards a decrease in value like high-interest rates could cause an economic recession while positive factors such as lower business costs due to the increased competition may result in share price growth (or vice versa). One of the biggest challenges that are faced in the stock market is trying to know when a bull market turns to a bear market. In general, people buy stocks when they are bullish and sell them when they are bearish. If you have been tracking the market for a while, you'll notice that sometimes it can be difficult knowing what phase things are in. In some cases, you may think that things might be going up and then something happens and the trend starts going down again. All of this is brought on by 'headwinds'; it comes from all different places and can affect how the markets change direction. For example, some people believe that there might be political headwinds if someone like US and China. 5) Tailwinds A tailwind in finance refers to a situation or condition that may lead to higher profits, revenue, and growth. A nautical term used by aviation professionals for this phenomenon is "tailwind." Tailwinds are particularly helpful when you're trying to fly faster because it helps move your plane's rear end up front where all of its power can do some good. Source: Corporate Finance Institute Headwinds are the opposite of tailwinds. A headwind pushes your plane's front end, slowing its speed down and making things take longer than they should happen! In business terms, this means that there may be lower profits or revenue growth ahead for you because of something like a decline in people spending money - which can make it hard on an entire company as well as individuals within those organizations who rely heavily upon their salaries from work. 6) Breakout Breaking out is an exciting moment for traders because it means that the stock may be ready to make its next move. A break above resistance or below support levels signals this possibility, giving rise to breakout traders who enter long positions when confident in their trades and short ones if they believe the price will reverse direction soon enough Shares of Tesla Motors had been trading in a range between $800 and $840 before the stock finally broke through resistance at $860. The price move was so powerful that it sent shares shooting up above $1000, which is why this type of breakout is called "to the upside." The opposite kind of breakout happens when prices on securities or assets fall below support levels after having traded within an established range. This means that buyers are simply no longer interested in owning them for some reason; perhaps they decided to sell all their holdings while new investors (who aren't familiar with how strong these types of moves can be) start buying them higher than ever before! A big reason behind breakouts on either side might also come down to traders 7) M&A Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can be used interchangeably, but they come with different legal meanings. In the case of a merger, two companies combine to form one single entity while an acquisition by definition means purchasing another company as opposed to taking over its management or ownership Types of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Transactions a) Horizontal When two companies in the same industry decide to join forces, it is called a horizontal merger. These types of mergers happen all too frequently between competitors who may not directly compete with each other but still have many overlapping products or services that could affect their customers negatively if one company becomes less competitive due to increased costs from this kind of partnership agreement. b) Vertical Vertical mergers are when a company moves up or down the supply chain, in order to take over more competitors. A vertical merger could be between an original supplier and its customer because usually, they have quite close relationships with each other that will allow them both benefits from being closer together such as lower shipping costs for inventory. c) Conglomerate In a Conglomerate, the goal is usually to diversify risk and invest in unrelated industries. These types of transactions can happen between companies that have competing products or services for example an oil company might buy from another one producing chocolate chip cookies. 8) IPO IPO stands for Initial Public Offering and this is when a company needs to raise capital by selling its stocks in the form of an equity offering. The company's shares are then made available on the stock market after an IPO. A firm is considered to be private before an IPO, with a smaller number of owners (typically angel investors/venture capitalists and high-net-worth individuals) and/or early investors (such as the founder, family, and friends). The issuing firm becomes a publicly listed company on a recognized stock market after an IPO, allowing the public to trade a pre-determined quantity of shares. As a result, an IPO is also known as "going public." When companies decide to go for an IPO, it's usually because they need more capital to grow their business. This is why you'll see many large startups decide to do this when they're at their most profitable point of growth - just like Freshworks did recently. 9) Sell-side analysts A sell-side analyst is an investment professional who helps companies and investors make informed decisions concerning stocks. They do this by providing analytics about a company's earnings growth, profitability margins, or other factors that might affect profitability in the future. A proper title for some of these individuals would be Equity Research Analyst. Simply put, as a sell-side research analyst, their job is to follow companies in the same industry and provide regular reports for the clients. 10) Buy-side analysts Analysts in the buy-side (also known as "buy-siders") work for buy-side money management firms like mutual funds, pension funds, trusts, and hedge funds. They are responsible for finding investment possibilities that will boost the portfolio's net worth. A buy-side analyst works for a mutual fund, pension fund, or another non-brokerage company and provides analysis and recommendations only for the benefit of the company's own money managers (as opposed to individual investors). Buy-side recommendations are exclusively available to those inside the firm, whereas sell-side recommendations and reports—which are intended for the analyst's brokerage firm's clients and the general outlines of which the press frequently widely distributes—are not accessible to anybody outside of it. It's important that buy-side analysts keep their findings private if they discover a technique, idea, or approach that works. Conclusion Wall Street is a strange and seemingly impenetrable world to those outsides of it. The financial terms can be confusing, but that's why I'm here to break down the key lingo used by those working at Wall Street and other similar investment hubs. If you are new to finance, this article should help clear up some confusion and bring clarity to your understanding of what goes on in the financial industry. So go ahead and subscribe now if you want more posts like this one delivered straight into your inbox! You won't regret it!

  • Don't sell products, sell solutions

    It's a widespread misconception that what sells is the product. In reality, products are only one component of the marketing mix. What really matters is how well you can solve your customers' problems. That's because satisfied customers will come back to buy more products from you in the future--and they'll tell their friends about you too! But if your products don't solve any problems for them, then no amount of advertising or other marketing efforts will make up for it. And while this might sound like an oversimplification, it has been proven time and again by countless successful companies who have built their empires on giving people solutions rather than just products to buy. Photo by Jopwell from Pexels As Seth Godin puts it that rather than finding customers for your products, it would be more profitable to find products for your customers. Remember that products are solutions to customer problems, so if you focus on what customers want rather than products that you have created, you will find it easier to find products for your customers. 8 Key principles to remember: Know your customer Identify their needs and desires Create a solution to meet those needs and desires Be willing to go out of your way for customers - they are worth it! Always remember that people buy from people they trust - so always put yourself out there as much as possible! Remember that not everyone is going to want what you're selling - don't take it personally if someone doesn't want to purchase anything from you; just move on down the line! A product is only worth what someone will pay for it. Stop describing products with irrelevant qualities and start focusing on real results Conclusion This article is about the idea that products are not what you sell. You don't sell a product, or a service, or a lifestyle. These things are all accessories. What you're really selling is value. The products and services just serve as ways to deliver value to people who need them. In the end, bear in mind that consumers make purchases based on feelings, but they will always seek to justify their choices using logic. You must develop strong connections between you and your consumers, as well as work to resolve their issues with what you're selling, in order to get the most out of your marketing and expand your business. Apply these 8 principles for effective sales of products while also providing desirable solutions.

  • Two simple words that work magic on customers' minds

    You know how to win friends and influence people, don't you? Well, the big secret is that it all comes down to appreciation. In his classic best-seller, How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie (1936), the second chapter is entitled The Big Secret Of Dealing With People. He gives a very simple principle which boils down to this: Give honest and sincere appreciation for what they have done or achieved without any prior expectations of reward from that person whatsoever. Carnegie said there is only one way to get anybody to do anything--by making the person want it. How can you encourage customers and give them what they crave: honest, sincere appreciation. It is essential to have a winning customer experience. So, what are the two little words that can help create this? It's nothing more than saying "thank you" on a regular basis, personally, and honestly. Photo by Ann H from Pexels Let's stop with the flattery. Saying "thank you" is an act of kindness, besides - but don't do it for a show! Your words must be sincere and come from your heart when giving thanks in return; Ralph Waldo Emerson once wisely said that we can never know anything about another person if their actions aren’t genuine. "Thank You" Encourages Referrals The unpredictability of referrals might be stressful. Can you influence them? Certainly not. Is it possible to manage them? Yes, definitely. First, you must offer a useful product or service to consumers. (Aren't you already doing so?) But perhaps your continued attention after providing the product or service can make an even bigger impact on their thoughts. Sometimes it's hard to know when someone is really satisfied with your product or service. All the customers may not be on an even playing field, but if you take time out of every day (or week) for customer appreciation they'll feel appreciated and maybe become loyal buyers in return! "Thank You" in the form of direct message (DM) or email Routinely, it's recommended that you say "thank you" to the customers in the form of either direct message (DM) or email. It's a way of demonstrating gratitude and encouragement and is something not all companies do for their customers. What's most important is that your customers feel valued. There are research studies showing that the most effective way to demonstrate this appreciation is through personal contact. The authenticity of "thank you" in person is much more impactful than via email or DM, but if they cannot be reached by phone due to their busy schedule, consider calling during their off-time to show you care. Make a point of writing a thank-you note or e-mail after each encounter. However, don't include one with an invoice or other correspondence. Always send it alone. While writing a thank-you note or an email may appear straightforward, it is not always easy. Here are 6 suggestions for sending an effective thank-you e-mail to the customer: Be prompt. Send your thank-you e-mail quickly after the customer's order is received. If you don't, customers worry that their order was not important to you. Use proper business writing style; keep it brief and personal; be explicit about how much you appreciate the customer's business; use the "customer courtesy title" (i.e., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr.) plus first name (if known) at the beginning of every sentence (unless addressing a company). Be sure to thank the customer by name (i.e., "thank you, Mr. Smith"). If it seems like the message might get lost in cyberspace, add a handwritten note. Always include an offer for the customers to contact you with questions or concerns. Be sure to offer future discounts and promotions that might apply to the customer's next purchase (but don't be too pushy). Proofread! Don't let grammatical errors and typos end up in your thank-you e-mail because it will reflect poorly on how much you appreciate the customer's business. Conclusion Expressing "thank you" is an important component of forming strong client relationships over time. Use these two powerful words on a regular basis, and your repeat business and referrals will grow. If you're not saying thank you for your services to existing customers, stop reading right now and spend some time thinking about how you can change this. If you are already using those two powerful words on a regular basis with people who have done business with your firm or bought from your company in the past, congratulations! You're ahead of most folks in terms of creating customer loyalty and long-term success.

  • 5 Cultural Dimensions of International Business

    The idea of cultural dimensions of international business is not new. Geert Hofstede's model identifies five important dimensions of cultural differences that companies need to address when they operate internationally. This blog post will outline these 5 dimensions and how they can be used in your company's strategy for successful cross-cultural communication. Photo by Follow Alice from Pexels The five dimensions are Power Distance, Individualism vs. Collectivism, Masculinity vs Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Long-Term Orientation. These categories were created by Hofstede in collaboration with IBM's research center for international personnel development during a study on 40 countries' value systems across the world. 1) Power Distance Index: The Power Distance Index is a measure of how power and authority are distributed in a society. In societies with low levels of power distance, people expect that everyone has equal rights and opportunities regardless of their social status or rank. This means that subordinates have the freedom to express opinions when interacting with superiors. However, in societies marked by high degrees of power distance, people accept that power is distributed unequally and therefore not everyone has the same rights and opportunities. In these societies, a hierarchical order must be maintained so as to ensure social stability. The Power Distance Index helps companies identify whether certain teams need a more egalitarian approach or if they should maintain a hierarchy in their internal communication processes. For example, a company that is used to hiring and promoting people based on meritocracy might hire employees from cultures with low power distance. On the other hand, if this same company operates in countries where status is important and needs to be respected, it will need to adapt its promotion strategy accordingly. A high degree of Power Distance means that managers expect their subordinates to accept their decisions without question. This can result in teams that are less willing to speak up and give opinions when needed, which might be problematic during decision-making processes or if there is a lack of information available on the topic at hand. On the other hand, low power distance means that managers need to value ideas coming from all team members, not just the ones at a higher position. For example, an American company would be more likely to promote someone based on their experience and expertise rather than for being a manager or executive of the company. In conclusion, when working with people from cultures where power distance is high, companies need to ensure that they have enough information on all topics discussed 2) Individualism vs. Collectivism Index: The Individualism vs. Collectivism dimension is a measure of how individualistic or collectivist a society is. In societies where people have an independent view of themselves, self-expression and the need for achievement are important motivators. On the other hand, in cultures that favor conformity, harmony with others and respecting tradition are more important. Depending on the degree of Individualism vs Collectivism in each culture, people will have different values and ways of thinking when it comes to teamwork or leading teams. For example, a company that is used to working with independent workers who take initiative might struggle if they hire employees from highly collectivist cultures where conformity is important. Similarly, companies that are used to working in teams might struggle with workers from individualistic cultures, where people prefer to work alone. One of the most difficult situations occurs when employees or managers come from highly collectivist societies and have to be part of a team that is composed of independent thinkers who do not always agree on what needs to be done. A common mistake is to think that everyone is the same and therefore should act in a similar way. This can result in employees from individualistic societies feeling like they are not being listened to, which might lead them to withdraw or become passive-aggressive. On the other hand, companies need to ensure that managers do not push their own ideas onto people who come from collectivist cultures. Instead, they need to be open to suggestions and be willing to take the ideas of others into consideration. In the case of highly collectivist cultures, managers need to be particularly careful not to take criticism personally. In conclusion, companies have a better chance at successfully working with people from individualistic societies if they promote an environment where employees can give their honest opinion without fear or judgment that will affect their relationships. On the other hand, it is important for managers from individualistic societies not to push their own ideas onto employees from collectivist cultures. In the case of highly collectivist cultures, managers need to be particularly careful not to take criticism personally and instead promote an environment where employees can give their honest opinion without fear or judgment that will affect their relationships. 3) Masculinity vs Femininity Index: This dimension describes how society perceives gender roles. Masculine societies are ones that value assertiveness, material success, and risk-taking behaviors while feminine societies value modesty, caring for the weak, and quality of life. Depending on the degree of masculinity vs femininity in each culture, business relationships will be different between people in masculine and feminine societies. For example, when doing business in highly masculine cultures where risk-taking is encouraged, it might be easier to negotiate if you are willing to take risks. However, for people from more egalitarian countries like the Netherlands or Sweden (feminine cultures), this can backfire since they do not like taking unnecessary risks that put their business or personal relationships at risk. On the other hand, in highly feminine societies where the quality of life is valued over material success and assertiveness, people might be less likely to take risks. For example, when negotiating with someone from a feminized culture like Norway (highly feminine), it would not make sense to talk about how much money could be made because this would not matter as much to them. It is important for managers and employees coming from masculine cultures who are used to working in an aggressive, risk-taking environment to avoid pressuring people from more egalitarian societies into taking unnecessary risks that can put their business or personal relationships at risk. They should instead focus on the long-term goal of the relationship and not just the short-term gains. On the other hand, it is important for managers and employees coming from more egalitarian cultures who are used to working in a risk-free environment to understand that people from masculinized societies need reassurance about long-term goals before they will be willing to take risks. If someone comes from a feminine culture, it would not make sense to talk about how much money could be made because this is less important in their culture. In conclusion, managers and employees should adjust the way they work with people depending on whether their cultures are masculine or feminine. For example, if doing business in a highly masculinized country where risk-taking is encouraged, it might be easier to negotiate if you are willing to take risks. Instead, for people from more egalitarian countries where the quality of life is valued over material success and assertiveness, it might make sense to focus on long-term goals before they will be willing to take risks. 4) Uncertainty Avoidance Index: The uncertainty avoidance index describes the extent to which people feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations. People from cultures high in this dimension like predictability, clear rules and procedures, concrete goals, and precise arrangements whereas people from low-uncertainty avoidance countries are more comfortable with ambiguity and appreciate flexibility instead of planning everything far ahead. People from high uncertainty avoidance cultures like predictability, clear rules and procedures, concrete goals, and precise arrangements. For example, in countries with this kind of culture (e.g., Germany), people are very accustomed to their schedule which is highly planned out for them at work or school. While they might be uncomfortable making unplanned social plans because everything needs to be organized far ahead, they are much more comfortable with the idea of planning for a few days at work. On the other hand, people from low-uncertainty avoidance cultures like countries such as Colombia or Mexico appreciate flexibility and spontaneity instead of planning everything far ahead. For example, in these kinds of cultures, it would not make sense to plan a meeting for next week because people might want to be spontaneous and decide last minute that they do not want to go. In conclusion, managers should make sure their employees from high uncertainty avoidance cultures are comfortable with the workplace schedule since it is highly planned out at work or school. In addition, managers should avoid making plans too far ahead with people from low-uncertainty avoidance cultures because they appreciate flexibility instead of planning everything far ahead. 5) Long-Term Orientation: The long-term orientation index describes the extent to which people focus on obtaining and maintaining power by any means. People from cultures high in this dimension like having a lot of influence over others, respecting traditions and customs, upholding social order for its own sake, saving money instead of spending it right away, putting their personal affairs before work matters. On the other hand, individuals from cultures low in this dimension are less interested in having power over others and close family members. For example, people have a tendency to be more individualistic instead of focusing on tradition or being concerned with saving money. People from high long-term orientation countries like having a lot of influence over others, respecting traditions and customs, upholding social order for its own sake. For example, in Japan, it is very common to uphold tradition and customs because people think that these practices are part of their national identity which has been passed down from generation to generation. In addition, they have a strong sense of respect towards the elderly and close family members so much so that even if someone is very tired, they would not dare to leave work until the end of their shift because it is disrespectful. On the other hand, people from low long-term orientation cultures like having a lot of influence over others and close family members. For example, in Colombia or Mexico (both countries with this kind of culture), individuals are much more individualistic and less concerned with tradition or saving money. They are more concerned with living in the moment and would rather spend money right away than save it. Concluding thoughts Understanding the values of your customers is essential to maximizing revenue and customer satisfaction. The five dimensions that were created by Hofstede in collaboration with IBM's research center for international personnel development during a study on 40 countries' value systems across the world, can help you uncover different characteristics about how people think and behave around decisions related to money or making purchases. We want to know what you've learned from these categories so we can better serve our readers! Have any of these dimensions helped influence your decision-making process? Please share below and subscribe if this article was helpful!

  • A comprehensive overview of the Subscription Economy

    The Basics of the Subscription Economy What is the subscription economy? The Subscription Economy refers to the new way that users and customers can enjoy products and services without having to own them. Instead, people subscribe to a business and get access to what they need for a set period of time. The subscription economy has advantages for both the customer and the company. For customers, the subscription model provides convenience and continuity in the form of regular deliveries of goods and services. For companies, subscriptions are an efficient way to monetize their products or services. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Subscriptions are all about convenience. The idea is that we don’t want to be burdened with owning many products or services, but instead want access to what we need when we need it. This is why subscription businesses are booming. While this trend has been around for some time, it’s only now that people are really starting to see its full potential. It is often seen as a way for brands to provide value and create loyalty from their customers. In the past, people would buy products or services from companies and then use them until they ran out of use. Now, with the rise of the subscription economy, people are much more likely to buy a product or service that they use regularly and can rely on month after month. What are some of the examples of a subscription economy? Many companies and startups have been adopting this model for their products and services. Some of the most well-known examples of subscription services are Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Spotify, and HBO Now. Benefits of the Subscription Economy Allows customers to buy into a model that is aligned with their needs and goals Access to products and services without having to pay upfront costs Constant engagement with the service provider due to automated, regular billing Constant cash flow for the company Reduction in marketing costs for service providers Monitors customer behavior and data analytics to improve product development Subscription economy landscape The subscription economy has become more popular than ever in recent years, especially with the rise of digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple Music. According to Forbes, the number of consumers paying for subscriptions has grown by 75% since 2013. The recurring revenue model benefits the company by decreasing customer acquisition costs, increasing customer lifetime value, and making it easier to calculate accurate revenue forecasts. Photo by doTERRA International, LLC from Pexels Subscription models have been around for a while now, but in recent years there has been a rise in the number of startups that are providing subscription services for various industries. The main model that is being used by startups today is the "freemium" business model. This means that the service is free to use up to a certain point and then there is a monthly fee charged. The "freemium" business model has been quite popular because it allows people to try out the service before they buy it. In recent years, we have seen an increase in companies using this business model because it monetizes very well and has been proven to produce great results. There are many reasons for this, but one of the main ones would be that people will pay for convenience - especially when it comes to their personal time. In 2017, the subscription economy was worth $1.4 trillion globally and has expanded rapidly every year. It is predicted that in 2022, the subscription economy will be worth $2.7 trillion. This increase in subscriptions has been driven by a number of factors including cost-conscious consumers, an increase in demand for convenience, and a lack of trust in traditional retail. And it isn’t just entertainment that has shifted to this type of model—we’re now seeing an entirely new economy emerge that revolves around subscriptions. The business models that fall under the “subscription economy” umbrella include: Pay for software as a service (SaaS) Pay per use for digital content or services Automatic renewal of products or services What is the subscription economy market size? / subscription economy total addressable market The total subscription economy market size is an estimate of the revenue that will be generated by the subscription economy in 2022. It was estimated at $2.4 trillion in 2017 and is projected to grow to $3 trillion in 2020. The growth of the Subscription Economy has been steadily increasing for the past 9 years. The Zuora reports show that the growth is based on subscription management platforms and services. It has grown 6x (over 435%) over this time period. There are multiple factors for this growth, such as increased smartphone adoption, increased high-speed Internet penetration, increasing demand for personalized services, and increasing customer spending on entertainment. Subscription economy outlook The impressive subscription economy statistics might indicate that brick-and-mortar stores are on the verge of extinction. If you're smart enough to position your company effectively, retail businesses may find that subscription economy growth offers them plenty of opportunities. There may be a way you can use your subscription services to drive foot traffic into your stores (such as an after-shave subscription box that offers in-store coupons). Traditional retailers may also offer subscription brands logistics support, collaboration, or acquisitions in the future. In summary, you will still be able to prosper from the subscription economy even if you don't run a subscription business. In addition, we've all heard about SaaS (software as a service); how about XaaS: everything as a service? In the coming years, you can expect to see more and more industries adopting the concept of subscription services as the market size of the subscription economy grows. XaaS is already gaining traction in the auto industry, which is adopting monthly vehicle subscriptions (such as Volvo's Care by Volvo). Future subscription and lease models are likely to include brands you might not associate with subscriptions or leases. What is the subscription economy index? The Subscription Economy Index is a new measure of the world’s largest subscription-based businesses. The index includes companies with annual recurring revenue of more than $1 billion. It also includes all the companies in the S&P 500. It also includes the weighted market cap and operating margin for each company. The ranking looks at various factors such as customer value, retention rates, and revenue growth to find the top subscription-based companies in the world. The annual Subscription Economy Index evaluates over 800 companies and ranks them in order of their performance based on these metrics: Customer Value, Retention Rate, and Revenue Growth. The index covers all sectors and regions and ranks both publicly traded and privately held companies. 5 Pillars of The Subscription Economy 1. Subscriptions: the primary concept, the one that ties the other four pillars together. 2. Monetization: how to make money from subscriptions, and how to make it efficiently and predictably. 3. Customer Engagement: how to get customers engaged with your business through subscriptions, and keep them there for as long as possible. 4. Marketing: how to market your subscriptions effectively, and at scale; why this is important; and what you should be doing in order to maximize customer engagement and conversion rates over time. The Role of AI & Machine Learning in the Subscription Economy. 5. Data-Driven Decision Making: using data analysis and insights from customer behavior analysis to inform decisions about which items are worth offering on a subscription basis, which channels provide the most growth opportunities, and how best to optimize customer acquisition channels. Consumers are adapting to this new way of consuming and the way they prefer their goods and services. Here are three ways companies can respond to this trend: 1) Develop a subscription service for your product or service: This strategy is perfect for those who want to increase recurring revenue but don't have the capital to invest in inventory. 2) Offer a trial period: This strategy enables consumers to try your product or service before deciding if it's the right fit for them. It also boosts customer engagement and satisfaction. 3) Make your assets available for borrowing: Instead of selling assets, offer them as a rental option so you can better manage demand and inventory. The Future of the Subscription Economy We live in a time where we are obsessed with convenience and not dealing with the same hassles we once did. For example, we don’t want to wait in line for groceries and instead order them online and pick them up later at a store. We also don’t want to find parking and walk to grocery stores anymore, so we order groceries online as well. This “subscription economy” is starting to take shape as more companies offer subscription services to their customers. Some of the most popular industries that have been disrupted by the subscription model are healthcare, entertainment, food delivery, clothing, etc. The list doesn't stop there though as numerous other industries have been seeing an increase in subscriptions over the past 10 years. Millions of people are subscribing to streaming services, food delivery services, fitness classes, and more. The idea is that people only subscribe to what they use, rather than buying something just because it's on sale. The future of the subscription economy is looking brighter than ever. Monthly subscriptions are becoming more popular for all kinds of services. From Netflix to Spotify, to Amazon Prime; people are signing up for monthly subscriptions rather than paying for individual transactions. Most subscription-based services require a constant flow of content and updates to keep people subscribed, but it's getting harder and harder for companies to maintain this flow as more members start canceling their subscriptions. This is where AI comes in; AI can monitor trends and provide regular updates or new content on demand. Furthermore, the future of the subscription economy is not just about selling items. It is also about selling services, such as online education and music streaming. The potential for the subscription model to be applied to other types of goods and services is huge. It would allow people to buy less and consume more, which might make the world a better place in terms of sustainability.

  • The Potential of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

    Founder and CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet ("just setting up my twttr") for $2.5 million. You're not alone if you wonder how people can sell tweets that everyone can access for free on the internet. With the latest cryptocurrency trend, you can now buy or sell intangible items like tweets, GIFs, videos, and digital art. These items can be bought and sold as "non-fungible tokens" or NFTs. Blockchains are used to store NFTs. Blockchains give digital assets a unique identity, making them non-interchangeable. Among the real-world assets that can be converted into NFTs are paintings, games, music albums, sports cards, and memes. Artist Tim Fowler is selling some of his work as non-fungible tokens. Pic: Sango/MetaZoo Gallery What is a Non-Fungible Token anyways? Fungible assets are those that can be exchanged for something that is very close in nature to them. For example, cash is fungible. A dollar bill is no different from another: You can still purchase the same things with it if you trade it with your friend. Generally, houses are non-fungible; if someone decides to buy a home, their realtor can't substitute another property at the closing. A token is "evidence of ownership." Among examples of tokens are a car title, a concert ticket, shares of stock, and a deed to a house. To summarize, a non-fungible token (NFT) is a means of proving ownership of something digitally. The blockchain technology that is behind Bitcoin protects NFT from duplicates and thefts. What’s the role of Non-Fungible Token (NFTs)? These NFTs provide authenticity to digital items, like artwork and tweets. An NFT is essentially a work in which the creator creates and sells it, conferring ownership to anyone that purchases it. Despite the fact that the image of your painting may still be freely available on the internet, the owner of your painting now has the honor of "owning" your work. NFTs are creating new investment opportunities On websites that have been created specifically for this purpose, a heated investment market is influenced by the potential for profit from the resale of NFTs. In 2020, NFT sales topped $250 million, quadrupling in volume from 2019 (Nasdaq, 2020). Joining the bandwagon, Bollywood legend Mr. Amitabh Bachchan introduced his own NFT (Non-fungible Tokens) which will feature limited and unique artworks based on his life and career. As part of the NFTs, the megastar will also perform poems from Madhushala, a collection of poetry by his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan. In addition, he will share anecdotes about his life and career. Current downside of NFTs Even though NFTs do not include ownership of copyrighted works, they are selling like hotcakes. NFTs can be sold to another collector, but you cannot, for example, put the art on a mug and sell that. For instance, buying an original, limited-edition baseball card is similar to buying a print, but you don't own the image. Concluding thoughts on NFTs Digital media, which can be copied and accessed by anyone, does not carry the same level of value as physical objects like artworks and collectible cards. The NFT changes that, allowing digital items to have value as well. As a result, they're great for digital creators, since they give them a way to make money from their artwork (which was previously impossible in an age of endless, free reproduction).

  • Health and beauty products are evolving to meet the needs of older consumers

    As time goes by, life expectancy is increasing. Aging populations are a result of longer lifespans and fewer births. As of 2018, older people (over 65s) outnumbered younger ones (under 5) worldwide for the first time. In recent years, the population has been trending in this direction, but the trend has accelerated recently due to economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. According to the United Nations, more than 20% of people will be over the age of 65 in 44 countries by 2030. This was already the case in 15 countries by 2020. This is a dramatic shift from the current status quo where many countries have populations that are aging quickly due to their low birth rates and high life expectancies. Keeping healthy in later life is becoming more important as populations age. This need has been spotlighted by the harm the pandemic has caused to older populations. Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels Brands are taking note With a growing aging population and medical advances, the healthcare industry is a booming market. In an effort to meet the growing needs of this market segment, many companies are launching health-related products. Additionally, firms today are shifting their focus from designing products that help people recover from injury (as in a hospital setting) to designing products aimed at preventing illness before it occurs. For instance, a new whey protein drink from Danone is intended to aid muscles, joints, and bones. Similarly, Nestle launched a powdered milk drink intended to promote mobility in aging people. The Reckitt-Benckiser Group, makers of infant formula Enfamil, has released a milk drink aimed at boosting old people's immune systems. Covid-19 concerns have led to a growing Chinese market for such products valued at almost $700 million. Investing in research is a key part of these companies' product development. As part of its research into nutrition and cognition, Danone has set up a healthy-aging unit and Nestle devotes 20% of its Health Science research budget to the study of aging. Food companies are not the only ones looking to appeal to an aging population. The Swedish furniture giant, IKEA, now offers chairs, footstools, and kitchen products that are designed for people with lower mobility and strength. Similarly, Procter & Gamble and Gillette Treo both provide safety razors as well as other grooming tools designed for elderly patients. Health and beauty go hand in hand While the baby boomer generation is retiring and shifting to a more leisurely lifestyle, many are also experiencing significant cognitive and mobility losses. As a result, companies like Estee Lauder and L'Oreal Paris have been developing products that address both these issues while still catering to consumers that prefer to age gracefully. Consumers over the age of 65 tend to spend more, which makes them an attractive demographic. For instance, compared to younger women, older women in France spend an average of $223 on cosmetics per year, as opposed to $120 spent by younger women (Source: WSJ). Increasingly, companies are offering anti-aging products to a younger audience in addition to the elderly, since many younger people are looking to prevent the effects of aging before they become old. A large segment of the market is concentrated in China. In its effort to market a lotion that reverses the signs of aging, Colgate in China used celebrity bloggers and social media apps to reach young people. Moreover, Colgate reported, 80% of its Miracle Repair buyers in China were younger than 30. Don't label older consumers as old Aging is a natural process of life. It is something that affects every single person, no matter what the age bracket is. We are all getting older at some point in our lives, but one thing that has to be clear when it comes to this process is the fact that brands should stop labeling people as old. In recent times, businesses have become hesitant to market their products specifically to the elderly. In IKEA, products are labeled specifically for people with different abilities, rather than for older people. Rather than being differentiated as 'older,' the company wants older consumers to perceive their features as natural parts of product design. Final thoughts Older generations are responsible for the recent surge in consumption. The latest census data shows that they make up more than one in five consumers in the United States. However, they are not simply spending money on products made by other older people but buying goods and services from businesses catering to their needs. The baby boomer generation is officially the largest living population segment in America yet they are also among the most ignored when it comes to marketing. That’s because marketers have always assumed that older consumers are set in their ways with limited disposable income, which is why they don't spend much time trying to understand them or figure out how to market to them effectively. But times have changed and so has this generation of retirees.

bottom of page