Written by ZOOZ
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| Issue 78 |
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Ari Manor, CEO, ZOOZ
An interview with a senior executive
Mina Seligman, VP of Marketing, Globes
Approx. 350 in Israel. Five employees are my direct subordinates.We provide:
Content for printed press, Internet, and mobile. Globes began as Israel’s business newspaper and developed together with the world and the consumer, to become a content and service provider on various different platforms.I have been in my
position for: :
Approx. one and a half years. I came from the business information company Dun & Bradstreet. I have a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with one year of studies (on scholarship) from York University in Canada.
What I like about the job:
The diversity. The need to know and
understand different variables affecting strategy
and marketing. The fact that we are the first to
hear about what’s going on, and that we have an in-depth
knowledge of the business financial sector in Israel.The most difficult
part of the job:
The diversity…the multitude of subjects, platforms, and options – sometimes in order to succeed, you need to learn to focus and prioritize.Goals I want to
To positively influence Globe’s progress in every project, product, or content.Our vision:
Globe’s vision has existed since Haim Bar On founded the company and was later joined by Eliezer Fishman: To be the first, the leader, and the most influential in addressing the business community. There are many derivatives to this, and a great deal of work involved in implementation. Also, in today’s world, the real challenge is to translate every vision that had a specific significance in the past and certain tools to make it happen, to a contemporary significance, and to the current rules of the game and the industry.Original products
in the field:
Globes initiated the Israel Business Conference, the first to take place in Israel, more than 15 years ago. Since then the entire conference industry in Israel has evolved. In contrast – as a company engaged in content, there is the daily challenge of being the one with “the scoop”, the exclusive interview, or excellent investigations, before the others.Goals I want to
To positively influence Globe’s progress in every project, product, or content.
Recommended professional book:
: Lady Globes magazine. Admittedly, I’m biased, but every issue inspires me. I think that for women in particular, it’s important to learn from other women’s experiences in order to succeed, get ahead, and fulfill themselves in various contexts.
- Number of company
A must-read book for managers
China Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World / Ted C. Fishman / Scribner Publishers
The largest demographic migration in the history of humankind has been occurring in China in recent years: 300 million Chinese are leaving their indigenous rural agricultural areas and moving hundreds and thousands of kilometers to dwell and work in urban industrial areas. The book China Inc. tells their stories, and despite the fact that it was published in 2005, it is more relevant than ever, and explains the nature and magnitude of the changes that China is undergoing on its way to becoming the next global superpower, and its growing influence on the entire global economy.
The book was written by journalist Ted C. Fishman, whose articles have been published in The New York Times, USA Today, and other prestigious newspapers and magazines, and who ran a trading company until 1992. The chapters in the book describe various aspects of the permutation that China is undergoing, and it highlights the economic implications from a Western perspective, and the cultural and social implications that the Chinese themselves are experiencing.
Take a typical household in a remote village in China, for example. The family lives there in a small and stark home, and receives a grant to cultivate agricultural crops in a plot the size of a medium-sized private swimming pool. The family members barely manage to get by, and they subsist mainly on what they manage to grow on their tiny plot of land. Their annual income, which is left after they have eaten the majority of what they have grown, bartered for essential commodities, and sold some produce for money, is… $2 per year. They therefore want to send one of their family members to work in the factories in the outskirts of one of the big cities (there are over 150 cities with over a million residents in China, compared to less than fifty such cities in the United States and Europe combined).
The current starting wage in an industrial factory is approximately $1.2 per hour. This might sound like a preposterously low wage to you, but for the average rural family, this is an opportunity to cast off the shackles of poverty: each day, the family member will earn as much as the entire family would in 10 years working on their farm! However, it’s no easy feat sending a family member to the big city. This is a journey of hundreds or thousands of kilometers, requiring a paid train ticket, provisions for the journey, and expenses for the initial period in the city – until they find work and get their first paycheck. A loan of approximately $100 is required for these expenses, which the family receives from a local money lender. Such private loans (which cumulatively amount to tens of billions of dollars) are the main source of funding for this massive migration of hundreds of millions of Chinese from the village to the city.
And who are the guarantors for these loans? The family members that are left behind. If the family member that was sent to the city does not succeed in his endeavor and did not send money to his family in the village, the money lender moves in with the family, lives with them, eats their food, and uses their possessions as if they were his own. He will continue to do so until they recommence repaying the loan. And if the family member that was sent to the city succeeds? He sends money to repay the loan, to the welfare of his family in the village, and eventually – to bring additional family members to the city.
Think about Chinese industry. What’s the secret to its power? Is it the result of a cheap labor force? Apparently not. The minimum wage in China has increased over the years, and there are many countries where the minimum wage is cheaper. The secret to Chinese industry’s power is in the Chinese culture (focus, conservatism, and caution), and the immense size of the population.
For example: When Hong Dongyang, a Chinese entrepreneur from the Zhejiang Province began sewing socks with her home sewing machine and selling them from a small stand near her home, and her business grew, many more Chinese quickly imitated her out of a cautious and conservative approach that if it was working for her, then they should do the same. The result: her province became the sock capital of the world, with more than 8,000 sock manufacturers supplying approximately one third of the global sock consumption. Concurrently, the majority of sock manufacturers in the United States could not compete with the prices, and went bankrupt.
The Chinese-made socks were cheaper not only because of the relatively low work wages, but mainly because of other factors: the price of the raw materials for socks is cheaper (because the “sock capital of the world” has a size advantage – and local factories take advantage of it vis-à-vis their suppliers). In addition, the industrial costs (electricity, industrial buildings, etc.) are cheaper – because of subsidies from the Chinese government. Eventually, the conservatism and caution of this mammoth population creates a size advantage for the Chinese, and enables them to manufacture at costs that cannot be undermined.
The migration from the village to the city and the creation of their size advantage are only two of the processes described in Ted Fishman’s book. The book is written in an easy-to-read journalistic style that combines facts,personal stories, and business insights. This is a must-read if you want to understand the changes that China is undergoing, and how they affect us all, both as consumers and as businesspeople.
An innovation which
surprised the world market and competitors
The Imperceptible Innovation
About safety caps and convenience caps
In a previous issue of this column I wrote about the invention of Listerine mouthwash. In the same context, I also wrote about Listerine’s safety cap, which children can’t open, and which unfortunately most adults can’t open either. This is an example of a classic safety standards design dilemma: on the one hand they are meant to prevent unwanted (or dangerous) use, and on the other hand, they are meant to still be convenient enough to use on a daily basis.
In Listerine’s case, by pressing on the smooth surface on both sides of the cap, the cap assumes an elliptical shape, and only then can it be twisted open. But if you don’t know this, and you don’t press on the smooth surfaces on opposite sides of the cap, it will stay closed and you will stay very frustrated. It may be safe, but it’s extremely inconvenient…
I was therefore pleased to see how Colgate solved the safety versus convenience dilemma. Its mouthwash bottle cap offers a similar safety mechanism: you have to
press its sides to create an elliptic shape, and only then can you twist the cap and open the bottle. But, and this is what makes all the difference: instead of only two press
spots, which are easy to overlook, Colgate’s mouthwash bottle cap has several striped
areas that can be pressed. In fact, it doesn’t really matter where you press and twist, the cap will open. A small child won’t be able to do it, because pressing it with sufficient force and simultaneously twisting the cap are beyond his range of capabilities.
The small difference between the two caps creates a huge difference in the user experience. Both caps contain safety mechanisms that will prevent toddlers and young children from opening the bottle. However, the safety mechanism in Listerine’s cap may frustrate adults, while Colgate’s is transparent and imperceptible to adults.
Not every innovation is supposed to be conspicuous and perceptible: sometimes you need to put a lot of hard work and effort to invent and innovate so that the consumer
doesn’t feel a thing.