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Opinion: Ottawa seems to be out of ideas on devising a new kind of China policy
JUNE 19, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by DAVID MULRONEY. SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND
David Mulroney was Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012.

A new approach is needed to managing Canada’s relationship with China – one that’s alive to Canadian vulnerabilities as well as our national interests.....There are many smart reasons for engaging China, but flattering the leadership in Beijing isn’t one of them. Good ideas emerge from hard thinking about long-term Canadian interests. Even summoning the vision and courage to think strategically would mark a significant improvement over our current China policy, which appears to be conjured up from equal measures of wishful thinking and parliamentary politics.....Thinking strategically requires asking why China is being so assertive, (e.g. building a blue-water navy, militarizing rocks and shoals in the South China Sea)....These are part of a patient and persistent Chinese effort to push the U.S. out of Asia and achieve regional dominance – and that is clearly not in Canada’s interest. The U.S.’s commitment to Asia enabled regional balance and, with it, peace and rising prosperity. More to the point, a China-dominated Asia would hardly be friendly to Canadian values and ideas.
(1) Abandon our current policy of “comprehensive engagement” – the notion that we should say yes to just about anything related to China. Cancel the commitment of $256-million over five years to the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
(2) reassessment of our relationship with Taiwan.
(3) move from talking about human rights in China to actually doing something about them. We normally count on the United Nations to address major human-rights abuses, but the UN, anxious to avoid offending Beijing, has been silent in the face of the government’s mass detention of Uyghurs and its brutal assault on their religion, language and culture.
(4) do the same for China’s beleaguered Tibetans. Canada’s commitment would be a welcome signal to both communities that they haven’t been forgotten.
(5) investment at home, too. Put more money into domestic security, combatting Chinese interference more effectively. And we shouldn’t be afraid to name and shame perpetrators when we discover examples of meddling; Beijing won’t like it, but it will also probably tone down its more egregious activities.
(6) invest in China competence in Ottawa, where the commodity is alarmingly scarce. Future leaders in key departments, in the security agencies and in the Canadian Forces need to be far more aware of how China works and how it thinks. This isn’t about agreeing with China, but about understanding it – something that we’re having a hard time doing at present. To do so, Ottawa should create a special “China School” that not only offers language training but also exposes top people across government to the best thinking on China’s politics, economics and security issues.
AIIB  Beijing  bootcamps  Canada  Canada-China_relations  Canadian_Forces  China  China_rising  David_Mulroney  DND  human_rights  ideas  idea_generation  maritime  national_interests  op-ed  policymaking  policymakers  political_staffers  reinvention  security_&_intelligence  South_China_Sea  strategic_thinking  Taiwan  Tibet  Uyghurs  values  wishful_thinking 
june 2019 by jerryking
Every Company Wants to Become a Tech Company–Even if It Kills Them
March 8, 2019 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll.

Wall Street loves a good reinvention story. The tough part is finding a happy ending.

All the plots seem to go something like this: Every company wants to convince us it’s becoming a tech company–even if it kills them..... an increasing number of companies are at least dabbling in new tech ventures to improve operations......The boom in vendors offering affordable ways to crunch data or utilize cloud computing, for instance, unlocks new strategies for companies across a wide variety of industries........Planet Fitness Inc. is one of the interested companies. The gym boasts 12 million members but CEO Chris Rondeau admits the company knows relatively little about them.

“Besides checking in the front door, we don’t know what members do,”.....The company is spending millions to retool certain treadmills and cardio equipment to better collect data as people exercise, commissioning a new smartphone app, and wants to tie into its customers’ wearable technology....many other CEOs aren’t convinced they have the luxury (of time to take things slowly). Even if it is hard to figure out what to do with all the data gathered and tools employed in the course of regular business, paralysis is not an option. Like a shark, they feel they need to keep swimming or die....... Nokia Corp., the Finnish company, started as a pulp mill in the 19th century and then branched off into various industries, including a successful venture into rubber boot making, ditched its failed mobile handset unit in 2013 to focus on a networks business that was thriving under the radar. Today, it’s locked in a high-stakes race to deploy 5G technology......In 2000, Major League Baseball owners committed $120 million to fund MLB Advanced Media. It aimed to infuse technology into the game and resulted in initiatives like online ticket sales and expanded radio coverage. The gem of that initiative, however, was a streaming television network launched in 2002...... it has attracted outside clients, such as ESPN, the WWE Network, Playstation Vue and HBO. The Walt Disney Co. acquired control recently for nearly $3 billion.... Dunnhumby Ltd., the data and analytics consultancy owned by European grocery chain Tesco PLC. Tesco bought Dunnhumby after it created the chain’s loyalty-card program. Dunnhumby ballooned into a storehouse of information and amassed clients and partners...Searching for the next BAMTech or Dunnhumby is now a religion at many companies......Walmart Inc., which has already heavily invested in e-commerce, wants to take its technology, marry it with everything the world’s largest retailer knows about us and use it to get into the advertising business......“Everyone’s thinking ‘we’ve got a ton of this stuff (data), how do we use it,’” Executives are trying to answer that question by hiring outside firms to analyze trends or setting up in-house units for experimentation.

Walmart is dumping digital-marketing agency Triad, a unit of WPP PLC, and will try its hand at selling advertising space. Armed with a trove of shopper data and connected to a chain of suppliers wanting to place ads in stores and on websites, Walmart hopes to challenge Amazon.com Inc. on this new front......At Ford Motor Co. , CEOJim Hackett envisions a day when automobiles roam streets collecting data from the occupants and the cars’ behavior like rolling smartphones. This is part of that “mobility as a service” vision car makers peddle.......“Corporations tend to reward action over thinking,”“But the truth is…you’ll find the companies that didn’t do the deep thinking and acted quickly have to redo things.
BAMTech  digital_savvy  Dunnhumby  experimentation  Ford  in-house  Jim_Hackett  massive_data_sets  MLB  Planet_Fitness  reinvention  Wal-Mart  mobility_as_a_service  technology  under_the_radar 
march 2019 by jerryking
Tyson Made Its Fortune Packing Meat. Now It Wants to Sell You Frittatas.
Feb. 13, 2019 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge

Tyson’s strategy is to transform the 84-year-old meatpacking giant into a modern food company selling branded consumer goods on par with Kraft Heinz Co. or Coca-Cola Co.
.....Tyson wants to be big in more-profitable prepared and packaged foods to distance itself from the traditional meat business’s boom-and-bust cycles. America’s biggest supplier of meat wants to also be known for selling packaged foods........How’s the transformation going? Amid an historic meat glut, the company’s shares are worth $4.9 billion less than they were a year ago—and are still valued like those of a meatpacker pumping out shrink-wrapped packs of pork chops and chicken breasts....Investors say the initiatives aren’t yet enough to counteract the steep challenges facing the poultry and livestock slaughtering and processing operations that have been the company’s core since....1935.....Record red meat and poultry production nationwide is pushing down prices and eroding Tyson’s meat-processing profit margins. Tariffs and trade barriers to U.S. meat have further dented prices and built up backlogs, while transport and labor costs have climbed. .......The packaged-foods business is itself struggling with consumers gravitating toward nimbler upstart brands and demanding natural ingredients and healthier recipes........Tyson's acquisition of Hillside triggered changes, including the onboarding of executives attuned to consumer trends. Tyson added managers from Fortune 100 companies, including Boeing Co. and HP Inc., who replaced some meat-processing officials who led Tyson for decades. The newcomers brought experience managing brands, understanding consumers, developing new products and building new technology tools, areas Tyson deemed central to its future......A chief sustainability officer, a newly created position, began working to shift Tyson’s image among environmental groups, .....Shifting consumer tastes have created hurdles for other packaged-food giants, such as Campbell Soup Co. and Kellogg Co. .... the meat business remains Tyson’s biggest challenge. In 2018 a flood of cheap beef, fueled by enlarged cattle herds, spurred a summer of “burger wars,” meat industry officials said. .......investment in brands and packaged foods hasn’t insulated Tyson’s business from these commodity-market swings. ........The company is also trying to improve its ability for forecast meat demand..........developing artificial intelligence to help Tyson better predict the future.........Scott Spradley, who left HP in 2017 to become Tyson’s CTO, said company data scientists are crunching numbers on major U.S. metropolitan areas. By analyzing historic meat consumption alongside demographic shifts, the number of residents moving in and out, and the frequency of birthdays and baseball games, Mr. Spradley said Tyson is building computer models that will help plan production and sales for its meat business. The effort aims to find patterns in data that Tyson’s human economists and current projections might not see. ......Deep data dives helped steer Tyson toward what executives say will be one of its biggest new product launches: plant-based replacements for traditional meat,
Big_Food  brands  Coca-Cola  CPG  cured_and_smoked  data_scientists  forecasting  Kraft_Heinz  meat  new_products  plant-based  predictive_modeling  prepared_meals  reinvention  shifting_tastes  stockpiles  strategy  sustainability  tariffs  Tyson 
february 2019 by jerryking
Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?
Jan. 11, 2019 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll.

The iPhone is arguably the most valuable product in the world, representing the backbone of Apple Inc.’s AAPL -0.98% half-trillion-dollar hardware business and undergirding its software-peddling App store. It remains the envy of consumer-product companies world-wide.

If history is any indication, though, America’s favorite handheld device will someday take up residence with the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot in a museum. Although it’s hard to imagine the iPhone dying, change can sneak up rapidly on contraptions that are deeply entrenched in American culture......“Over time, every franchise dies,” said Nick Santhanam, McKinsey’s Americas practice leader in Silicon Valley. “You can innovate on an amazing mousetrap, but if people eventually don’t want a mousetrap, you’re screwed.” Kodak, Polaroid and Sears are all examples from the recent past of companies that held too tightly to an old idea.....Apple, for the better part of the 2000s, was the master of the next big thing: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone. Apple wasn’t always first, but its products were easier to use, thinner, cooler.

With the success of the iPhone since it arrived on the scene, the next big thing has been harder to find. Apple has had no breakthrough on TV, a modest success with its watch, a stumble in music and a lot of speculation concerning its intentions for autonomous cars or creating original programming. Can Apple’s greatest strength could be its biggest weakness?.....Whatever shape it takes, Apple’s evolution will be closely watched if only because reinvention is so hard to pull off. A decade ago, Nokia’s dominance in handheld devices evaporated after executives failed to create a compelling operating system to make their pricey smartphones more user-friendly. Finnish executives have told me on several occasions that Nokia knew it needed to rapidly change, but lacked the urgency and resources to do it....The Model T almost entirely underpinned Ford Motor Co.’s rise a century ago, when the Detroit auto maker owned roughly half of the U.S. car market. ....Both Ford and Microsoft adapted and survived. Iconic vehicles like Ford’s Mustang coupe or F-150 pickup prove companies can live a productive life after the initial hit product fades. Microsoft’s transition to cloud computing with its Azure product, meanwhile, has vaulted the company back near the top of the race for the title of world’s most valuable company.
Apple  change  CPG  decline  Ford  iPhone  Microsoft  Nokia  reinvention  Tim_Cook  inventions  rapid_change  next_play  Polaroid  digital_cameras 
january 2019 by jerryking
Every Company Is Now a Tech Company
Dec. 4, 2018 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

There was a time when the primary role of leaders at most companies was management. The technology required to do the work of a company could be bought or siloed in an “IT department,” treated more as a cost center than a source of competitive advantage.

But now we’ve entered a period of upheaval, driven by connectivity, artificial intelligence and automation. The changes affect the world of business so profoundly that every company is now a tech company. But now companies born before the first internet bubble also must realize they can no longer function as non-tech businesses......The question is, how does a non-tech company become a tech company quickly? Increasingly, the answer is bringing tech talent into the highest executive ranks, adding deeply knowledgeable and indispensable “technical co-founders” long after the company was founded......To put it another way: When faced with a competitor like Amazon, do you do as Walmart did, and invest heavily in tech firms and technical knowledge? Or do you go the way of Sears…into bankruptcy court?

In August 2016, Walmart announced it would acquire e-commerce startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion, the largest ever deal of an old-line bricks-and-mortar company buying an e-commerce company. The acquisition was about a transfusion of new minds as much as Jet’s technology, which was far ahead of Walmart’s online operation at the time....Mr. Lore is now chief of e-commerce at Walmart......Walmart’s e-commerce business revenue grew 43% in the last quarter alone....Wal-Mart is successfully pursuing a “second-mover strategy” against Amazon....Things don’t always go this smoothly. In fact, when well-established companies acquire tech-savvy startups in order to bring aboard engineers and executives--acqui-hires-- it’s usually a disaster.....Within the first three years after an acquisition, 60% of employees at a startup leave......That rate of turnover is twice that of employees hired the old-fashioned way. What’s worse, the employees who leave tend to be the most aggressive and entrepreneurial—and more likely to launch a competing startup.....For large companies stuck between the rock of disruption and the hard place of acquiring startups that can’t hold on to key employees, what’s to be done?[sounds like a cultural clash] John Chambers, who was chief executive at Cisco for more than 20 years, where he oversaw 180 acquisitions, has some answers. In his new book, “Connecting the Dots,” Mr. Chambers outlines some rules. For one, corporate cultures should align. Also, it helps if the company you’re buying already has significant traction in the market..... it’s essential to promote the leaders of acquired companies into your own ranks. Mr. Chamber’s rule at Cisco was that a third of the company’s leaders should be promoted from within, a third should be recruited from outside, and a third should come from acquisitions. .......As the competitive landscape continues to change and technology becomes ever more essential to how business is done, investments that might have seemed too risky a few years ago now may sometimes turn out to be the best path to survival.
acquihires  artificial_intelligence  automation  Amazon  books  Christopher_Mims  connecting_the_dots  CTOs  Cisco  cultural_clash  digital_savvy  e-commerce  Jet  John_Chambers  large_companies  post-deal_integration  reinvention  silo_mentality  technology  Wal-Mart 
december 2018 by jerryking
The belle époque of the small nation is over
September 28, 2018 | Financial Times | by JANAN GANESH.

Globalisation has been the era of small countries but that time may now be passing. Ganesh raises an interesting point, what happens to small countries that, since the end of WW2, have enjoyed the protection of the rules-based system (UN, WTO, NATO, Pax Americana).

Singapore leaders were determined in their quest to that small nation be less small.....The paradox is that smallness has been an edge, not a curse, in the liberal age. For all the grandiloquence about a Washington Consensus and a Pax Americana, the US was never the principal profiteer from globalisation.....The real beneficiaries were the rapid enrichment of Ireland, the ethnic diversification of Sweden, the technological fecundity of Israel and the rise of Dubai from the sands as a shimmering entrepôt......1990-2010 was the golden age--the belle époque--of the small nation....Rules-based globalism was a precious equaliser for these places.... it also made advantages of their liabilities....Their shortage of domestic consumers was the ultimate incentive to cast around for other markets. Their lack of capital made them welcome foreign investors. Even the nicheness of their native languages (in some cases) obliged them to master English.

There is, without leaning too much on “national character”, a small-country hardiness ....an acceptance of the outside world as a non-negotiable fact: a blend of fatalism and resourcefulness that makes for formidable migrants....If small countries have mastered the global age, it is a feat that goes beyond the economic. They also have a cultural reach that was hard to picture not long ago, when nations needed the brawn of a BBC or a Canal Plus to foist their creative wares on distant audiences....all attest to what we are now obliged to call the “soft power” of small countries....The mistake is to see this moment as eternal. For those who live in or care about these places, the dread is that the coming decades will be as harsh as the last few have been kind. Almost all the conditions that allowed small nations to bloom look precarious....growing protectionism...big states throwing their weight around....Peter Thiel, in his bid for NZ citizenship, said he found “no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand”. It was telling that such a prolific maker of sound bets backed a small, open, adaptable nation.
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I am more optimistic and believe many small states will adjust just fine. Why? Think of Taleb's flexibility idea - small states are less fragile than bigger ones, more nimble, more homogenous, faster to change I like also to add that there are more smaller successful counties than the ones mentioned (e.g., Switzerland, Costa Rica).
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The flip side is that small countries may have greater ability to act thoughtfully and coherently than larger peers. But I agree - it is likely to be tough ahead.

Here in Singapore, a senior politician summed it up very well: we are just a block of granite in the south china sea, and have no God-given right to exist as a country. The only way we can survive is by being paranoid and continuously reinventing ourselves.
city-states  globalization  Iceland  Janan_Ganesh  nimbleness  Peter_Thiel  post_globalization  rules-based  Singapore  small_states  soft_power  antifragility  Dubai  Ireland  punch-above-its-weight  paranoia  reinvention 
october 2018 by jerryking

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