Category Archives: Entrepreneur

Online + high street

Ordered a rug 2 days ago at Next, a high street fashion clothing chain that recently also starts selling home furnishings. Paid �3.75 for delivery charge, because we don’t really want to be carrying that heavy thing home. Anyway, they don’t have stocks in their shop. The home furnishings stuff are there only for display. Their stocks are kept in the warehouse, which makes good sense, as these stuff take too much real estate to be stored in the shop.The concept is good. Next are leveraging their shops in the prime location of the high street, to augment their online retailing arm. This gives online shoppers a chance to touch and feel the products should they have doubts after browsing through their online catalogue. And by shopping with them, online, you know that you have the option of returning unsatisfactory goods by visiting their high street shop, rather than having to go through the tedious process of sending the items back by post, as offered by most online retailers.After having a look at their website, actually they are offering a lot more products than I initially thought! So it is very likely that they want to become a major online shopping portal too, taking on the likes of Argos, Tesco and Amazon (UK). Interesting. But Next is definitely behind the game when it comes to goods tracking and delivery. I was told by the sales girl that day at Next that the rug will be delivered to me in a week’s time (mind you that she was unable to tell me the exact date and time of delivery). But the rug was already on my doorstep when I got home today. I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest, to have received today. But I wasn’t happy the fact that they just dump my package outside my house. Argos had never done this to me before. They allow me to specify the date of delivery (am/pm), and I make sure I’m at home. When things didn’t work out, due to my fault, there’s a system for me to rearrange the delivery relatively easily.Anyway, it’s still early stage for Next. We’ll see if they can really be a worthy player in this competitve market.

Dominant Google

As a search engine, there’s no denying that Google is the king of the moment, accounting for more than half of Internet searches. The reasons for Google’s popularity can be down to its no nonsense, clean and tidy approach to the search interface and search results, giving us “good” starting points to what we want to look for in the current sea of information (or mess really). Some people even jokingly refer Google to as God, as it just seems to the most likely entity people will turn to when they have a question.As in most cases, I don’t believe that it’s healthy to have an overly dominant player in any field. We only have to look at why regulators always try to encourage competitions in a business environment. Credits to Google for getting into this position ahead of previously more household name like Yahoo, Lycos. And not to mention their role in taking advertising on Internet to another level. In doing so Google becomes one of the biggest companies in the world, with market capitalisation of more than $100 billion!A capitalist world has a funny way of rewarding individuals. Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google, is now the 26th richest person on the planet, with a net worth of $12.9 billion. In a world where there are around one billion people (one-sixth of world’s population) still suffering from hunger and malnutrition, it really does strike me if there’s a need for anyone to be this rich (and in such short period of time!). Afterall, what can you buy with $2 billion that you can’t buy with $1 billion?To be honest with you, I don’t know Sergei Brin all that much. So it’s probably unfair to pick on him as an example. But Google’s recent acquisition of a 2-year-old video sharing website, youtube.com, for $1.6 billion is yet another madness in this capitalist world don’t you think? No disrespect to youtube’s community generated video content, but they are at best amateur. Compared to content generated by say BBC, the stuff on youtube are really of low educational value, by and large, and of really poor quality. Some are quite entertaining, but mostly are rubbish. And tell you what, there will be even more rubbish, as will be triggered in much the same way as by Google on most rubbish that we all see on the Internet today, thanks largely to Google Adsense, that allows webmasters to easily display pay-per-click advertisements on their websites.The business logic of buying youtube is mainly its ability to command eyeballs, with 20 million visitors every month and growing, and hence potentially more advertising revenue. But it is ashamed that such a big sum of money (not a big sum for Google of course as they have so much crazy money in the form of inflated shares) is paid to such a low value entertainment portal that doesn’t do all that much.Anyway, let’s hope that these not-so-coventional rich men can also follow the example of Warren Buffet in contributing their self made fortune back to the society, rather than blowing them off too easily…

Expectation

LFC Watched Liverpool kicked start their season this afternoon. It was a disappointing afternoon. Against a newly promoted team, Sheffield United, Liverpool, although not with their best eleven, should have enough quality to have won the game. The first half was awful. Before the match, I was all excited, and so looking forward to the start of the season, as I genuinely, despite the setback today, believe that Liverpool finally have the squad to win the title this year, after surrendering the crown for 16 years. But the team was playing so poorly in the first half that my emotions slowly swung from excitement to anger, angry at a team I’ve supported half my life and which I’m so passionate about.Such is the danger of having expectation of anything, especially high expectation. Actually, football game is a bad example to talk about expectation (but I am going to do that anyway). In this modern time, football is a crazy game, too much money is involved. Fans have to pay ridiculous amount of money to watch a game at the stadium and players are earning a lot of money, from ticket sales, merchandising, sponsorship etc. There you go, I pay to watch, you perform, that’s the mentality most fans have. That’s hardly surprising really, as we are all brought up to expect certain level of service from things we pay for, from the electronics we buy with warranty to the service we can expect to get from eating in McDonalds.Take away the money, and you can see that it becomes difficult for fans to have the same level of expectation from the team. As with all competitive game, the players want their team to win, which is the goal of the game, to win. If they try to play it differently, then they are not playing the game. Ok, without the money, some fans still have a lot of expectation from their team, particulary one with an illustrious tradition of winning trophies like Liverpool 🙂 Now what? Think I’ll continue later, gotta go out 🙂