Believe What You Believe vs. Do What You Do

Today I watched two interested videos on TED – How great leaders inspire action and Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love. Both videos stress the same point- do what you believe makes a different.

This idea can be extended to so many areas such as business hiring, product promotion, and personal career. Take business hiring for example. If a company wants to hire some new workers, what they really care about is not the skills and knowledge, but whether the potential candidates like the things they do, whether they agree with company’s status quo, and whether they enjoy working for the company. This is explained in Simon’s Wright brothers example.

Another inspiring thing for me is that the video kind of tells me to follow my gut and do the things I like! As a second year Bcom student who are expected to choose the major option in several months, I am pretty agree with Gary’s opinion about doing what you like. As for choosing Bcom options, I used to be undetermined between Finance and Accounting, two popular options in my faculty. I know I love finance, because I like to meet people, I like to do challenging math ( quantitative analysis), I’m interested in stock market and all other kinds of investment. All good… but there’s one key thing about studying finance in Vancouver- yes, in Vancouver- it’s never easy to find an exciting finance job in laid back city like Vancouver. On the other hand, Accounting option seems much easier, because every company need accountants; however, accounting is hard to intriguer my passion.

However, these two videos do conveys very strong message: A company should hire the candidates who believe what the company believe; a person should a job that s/he likes to do. It is the belief and passion that makes a different! It is belief and passion that makes one dedicated and successful!

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Post#9 – Flight Ticket and Price Discrimination

This time, I’d like to talk about my recent experience in booking international air fares, or my exposure to how price discrimination affects the price of airline tickets.

Two weeks ago, I booked a round trip international air ticket through a travel agent, and I got the chance to see how price discrimination works in the airline industry (thanks for the agent to show me how he operates).

Usually when we search a round trip air ticket online, the system will only generate some possible combos of departure and return tickets, such as “Canada-Italy, departure time***, return time ***, price (pre-tax) $950, Air Canada”. However, in the system used by an agent, the same research will lead to a much more detailed results. A great feature will be the breaking down of a round-trip ticket into two one-way ticket belong to different classes. An example would be:

Flight: Canada => China (May 15th)    -Departure                                                                          Class A: $900, Class B: $1250,  Class C: $1550,  Class D:$ 1750, Class F : $2050  …        Class L:   3150, Class M:$3400… Class S: $4500

Flight: China => Canada (Sep. 3rd)    – Return                                                                                Class A: $900, Class B: $1250,  Class C: $1550,  Class D:$ 1750, Class F : $2050  …        Class L:   3150, Class M:$3400… Class S: $4500

So the agent will pick up a combo of “departure” and “return” ticket according to the needs of a customer. They will first turn to the cheapest class- Class A, but if no class A ticket is available, they will then go for B, C, D… The final round trip price will be the average price of “departure” and “return” tickets. Say if your “departure” ticket is in Class A and your return ticket is in Class C, then your pre-tax fare price would be (900+1550)/2=$1225.

If someone need a ticket immediately ( say, he/she books a ticket today for the flight on tomorrow), chances are tickets belong to cheap classes are already sold out, so the only

choice may be Class S ticket with incredibly high price of $4500 (actually some of my friends have experienced this unfortunate situation). This explains why people who books their tickets earlier pay a cheaper price.

So next time when you plan to travel somewhere, make sure having your air fare booked in advance!

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Post #8-“Socially Antisocial”?

music of today-Loving You – By Kenny G. 🙂

Are We Isolated From the Real World?

source: Tech Republic

Today I read a article about a controversial effect of smartphones from Influential Marketing Blog. The article, titled “Overtweeting: Are We Becoming Socially Antisocial?”, points out that

Social media has led to a third type of thought: one that you share with a virtual social networkinstead of those who you may be interacting with in person.”

Source: The MagicScene

The discussion regarding struggling between the virtual and real space has long been heated with the popularity of Personal Computer and the Internet. At the time when the Internet had been commonplace while smartphone weren’t yet born, people were likely to crowd at their homes or offices watching at screens and “socializing” on computers ( today, we still keep this “tradition”). When they were not sitting in from of computers or TVs, they may went out and socialize with friends. At that time, we could safely assume that going out leads to much face-to-face communication. However, today, it’s not the case.

When I walk across UBC to my class, I usually see students staring at smartphones with fingers flying on the keyboards. As I walk into classroom, no matter right before class or during the class or after class, I can always see people sitting with their friends while playing with their smartphones or itouchs or ipads. The temptation of these devices seems non-resistable, particularly at public trans-link stops.

Personally, I prefer face-to-face communication, though I have to admit smartphones do benefits us by enabling virtual interaction with friends who are not in presence, if the benefits are not at the expense of interacting with friends in real place. So the problems here is not how smart phone isolates us from the real world, but how to use the smartphone in a appropriate way so that we can have enriched virtual communication experience without losing the traditional  valuable face-to-face communication. For me, virtual communication is usually conducted when I’m alone; if my friends are around me, I will chat with friends rather than immerse in a virtual space.


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Post#7-The Twist, UBC Bookstore or Di$count Textbooks?

While I am reading blogs of my classmates, Song Gao’s post –UBC Bookstore? Discount Bookstore? catch my eyes. I agree with what she said about different position strategies adapted by UBC Bookstore and Discount Textbooks. She mentioned that UBC Bookstore distinguish itself with UBC-logo products, delicate merchandise presentation, comfortable indoor environment; while Discount Bookstore is simply a textbook retailer by comparison. She concludes that both store operates well because they positions themselves differently to create unique value for customers.

In addition to what she said, I’d like to share my view on Company Objectives, Competition and Costs of the two bookstores.

For company objectives, UBC Bookstore seems to has profit orientation while Discount Store is sales-oriented. Stressing savings on textbooks, Discount Bookstore offers lower price by reducing its costs and lowering its profit margin. Since Discount Bookstore locates outside UBC with little store decorations, it naturally obtains the competitive advantage of lower costs. UBC Bookstore, on the other hand, charges a premium on almost, if not all, every merchandise. Utilizeing its monopoly power within UBC, Our “friendly” UBC Bookstore take advantage of the inelastic demand by jacking up prices to maximize its profits. Still, we see lots of students lining up in UBC Bookstore at the beginning of each semester(Perhaps this huge demand justifies all the premium price charged by UBC Bookstore ).

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Post#6-Goodbye Old Luxury, Good Morning Fresh Engineering

Several days ago, I saw a very interest advertisement posted by my friend on Facebook. The idea of the ad is about escaping the confinement of old luxury and exploring the fun of new luxury. In video, Mercedes represents the old fashion, the prison, or the decayed luxury, while audi A8 is the symbol of new high-standard era. The video try to pass convey the idea that the era for those old wealthy people is gone, so as the era for their loved brands Mercedes; for the new wealthy generation, Audi pioneers the new era of leading luxury.

Clearly, Audi is trying to influence the affective component and cognitive component of their targeted consumers by showing off the delicate Audi A8 and persuading consumers to switch from E-Class Mercedes to A8.

Personally, I think the advertisement can achieve some resonance with the younger generation, as this generation welcomes change and always pursues something different. After all, between Audi and Mercedes, few consumers can really tell which brand carries better quality ( after all, we are not mechanics or experienced car designers, or car repairers). To normal people, both brands are all associated with premium quality. As a result, what influences their decision making, instead of quality, are their attitudes towards the brand and certain types of cars. These attitudes are influenced by their immediate and macro environment, such as friends, families, social trends, and word-of-mouth.

So here, the rivalry between Audi and  Mercedes is not about engineering technology, but about who is the winner in the battle of marketing.

The Opening of Audi partnership with China

From my experience, Audi company is smarter than Mercedes company on capturing the market share in China. If you walk or drive alone a highway in China, you would probably see way more Audi than Mercedes, though sales in Mercedes are catching up in recent years. You know why? Audi breaks into China’s market long time ago by obtaining the approval from Chinese government; that is,  Audi is included in the list of Chinese official vehicle, which is ordered in large amount by numerous Chinese state-owned corporations. At that time, BMW and Mercedes were banned by Chinese government from the list of official vehicle, because there were deemed as not “appropriate”for official use. Finding out the trick in the game,  BMW and Mercedes started to find ways to “woo” Chinese officials. As a result, they are now in the list of official vehicle as well. This example shows that marketing could be more important than the quality of product itself. The point is,  if your products is are not accepted by large clients, you would loose the large pie for sure.

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Post#5- Add A Mask On Advertisement -Product Placement

After reading Hailey Zhang’s blog post Product Placement from her marketing blog “City in Light”, I am really impressed by the intense product placement occurred in everyday life. It seems that we, as consumers, are influenced by those “ads” that doesn’t look like ads or the ads with masks on them. As Hailey points out, product placement is defined by Wikipedia to be “a form of advertisement, where branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as movies, the story line of television shows, or news programs.”

Iron Man and his Audi R8

A recent example of product placement that appealing to me is Audi R8 in the movie Iron Man, as is shown in the video above.  Since Iron Man impulses audience with cool edging technology, placing Audi R8 in this context is certainly a good idea to make audience associate Audi R8 with frontier technologies. Therefore, Audi r8 is linked to “cool”, “elegant”, and “powerful”. The same goes for Chevette Camaro in Transformers, where a nice sports car catches the eyeballs of millions of audiences.

Camaro–the “Bumblebee” in Transformers

Moral and Legal Concerns:

As smart as it may be, product placement–a practice of “stealth advertising”–intrigued critics and pressure for tougher regulation. According to Tom Lowry and Burt Helm, in their article Blasting Away at Product Placement, (source–businessweek, Strategy & Competition, Oct 15, 2009) FCC should protect consumers from stealth advertising without undermine the TV driven economics.  They also reported that Wright, a lawyer and policy adviser for Free Press, a nonprofit activist group claims that “Product placements don’t allow us to have the usual veil of skepticism we have when we watch a standard commercial.” True. We are vulnerable to advertisements especially when we are expose to commercials without realizing that we are being persuaded. Moreover, all these TV or movie stars act as trend-setters or positive word-of-mouth for companies and their products. This makes product placement probably more effective than traditional advertisement.

Product placement in movies

So next time when you go to cinema, pay a little bit attention to product placement, and you will find how frequent it occurred in a movie.

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Post #4–Coming Up in July – “Everything Gonna Be Changed!”

Coming Out In July, Will the Brand new iphone 5 Dazzle Your Eyes ?

Imagine Source: GottaBeMobile,

The leave of Apple’s co-founder and charismatic CEO Steve Jobs hardly puts any shade on Apple short-term prosperity, as stock price of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to boom to over $350/share, about fivefold the price in 2006.

Lots of people are investing their money in Apple, and lots of consumers are considering buying his or her first or another Apple product. Iphone 5 -a shining star in July-would surely capture the public attention and put the Apple heat to another high.

After the introduce of iphone 4,  some of my friends replace their iphone 3 with a new iphone 4 at the first time; meanwhile, some of my friends who use BlackBerry are also considering a iphone 4 or iphone 5. What’s more, people who use smartphones of other brand, say, LG and SAMSUNG kind of submit to the tempt of buying a iphone. It seems that iphone  becomes a trend setter in smart phone industry, as more and more young people deem using iphone shows a “fit” in the group.

Successful as it is, iphone fails to capture the senior middle-aged and senior consumers. Those consumers are simply freaking out by the bewildering functions of iphone and its apps. My real-life experience come from my parents. My dad screwed up with ipad and skype me asking me how to put his PC stock software into ipad; not surprisingly, he put the ipad away after I told him he may need to search and download relevant apps especially for Apple products. His is answer is “that’s troublesome, I just use my PC”. Meanwhile, my mom just likes her non-smartphone SAMSUNG mobile, and shows little interest in the learning what she thought the “redundant functions” in iphone. Perhaps she just doesn’t need those apps and a simple and relaxed life is always better than being constantly dragged by technological innovation.

Perhaps Apple should launch some programs to connect with baby boomers, and intrigue their interest in the “bewildering” but “worthwhile” updated technology.

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