Archive for the Business Category

As economy prepares to upswing, companies face a new dilemna.

Posted in Business, Life on August 20, 2009 by rightdownandridiculous

With the leveling off of the current economic downturn, companies have cut costs as much as they can without going out of business. They have shed the poorest performers and even some of the mid to high performers. Inventory levels are at an all time low, so low that cutting inventories any further will seriously jeopardize companies operations.

The new concern now is to retain the employees and talent these companies still have. As the economy ticks up and competition heats up, such lean companies will be left behind the curve without their top employees.

The tricky situation for the companies now is to retain employees that have been getting salaries cut or frozen, and therefore disgruntled. For many of the companies, the year end process is around the corner. These companies will have to make a tough choice in if they want to give bad news again to their employees. Many corporations only rate, promote and reward their employees once a year, at year end. For many of the workers, going without a pay raise for 2-3 years is more than an excuse to jump ship.

Then there are those companies who managed to contain costs through tough measures and still stayed profitable in this economic climate. These companies face an even tougher decision at year end. If they give bad news to their employees citing bad economic climate, even while reporting profits, how likely will their top talent be to stay on board for the next 8-16 months as the economy races upwards.

Times like these are why executives are paid so handsomely. They are paid to make the tough but correct choices so that their company will come out on top compared to the competition. What we will see in the next 12 months is those corporations with the smart and competent management make gains and those with the mediocre ones take hit in market share.

This is good journalism!

Posted in Business, Liberties, Life, Mainstream Media (MSM) with tags , on July 28, 2009 by rightdownandridiculous

I know I rag on MSM very often but there is some glimmer of hope out there. I read a few very good articles lately and here is one of the better ones. New Jersey’s ‘Italian’ Problem is a great article relating how big government is also the corrupt government, by example of Italy and New Jersey.

One gotcha about the above article though, I was waiting for the article to tie the big government corruption to the nationalized health care being pushed by President Obama at the moment. I guess you will have to go to this other great article for that 5 Freedoms You’d Lose in Health Care Reform .

Enjoy!

We can all breathe better now, AR-15 shortage is about over!

Posted in Business, Life on July 23, 2009 by rightdownandridiculous

It seems that the arms manufacturers in US have stepped up to the plate, trying to fulfill their backlog of orders with increased capacity. Semi-automatic rifles such as AR-15s and parts for these guns have been in higher availability in the last few weeks. There are even a few manufacturers who have suddenly found themselves with a big inventory of stripped lowers.

Ammunition craze is slowing down slightly, too. 9mm ammo have been spotted in Wal-Mart shelves again. 45 and 380 ACP rounds are still very scarce. Perhaps increased unemployment is dampening the ability of people to hoard too much ammo. Perhaps it is the increased supply from manufacturer plants running 24/7.

One thing is for sure, there is light at the end of the tunnel! 🙂

Google is going to wipe out Microsoft Windows!

Posted in Business, Life with tags , , on July 8, 2009 by rightdownandridiculous

Or so it seems from all the MSM articles you see regarding Google planning to release a PC operating system by the second half of 2010. Obviously, this is sensationalist journalism to have an attention grabbing headline (see what I did there? ). Google has released its own browser before without making much of a dent in Internet Explorer or Firefox’s market share.

This reminded me of those commercials Microsoft is running against Apple. You know the ones with everyday people saving lots of money buying a laptop that runs Windows instead of Mac OS X? How come they don’t say at the end of those commercials, “if you really want to save money up front that badly, get a laptop that runs Linux”? For those who are not aware, Linux is a free PC operating system that is based on UNIX (which is an operating system that dominates most of world’s most powerful servers).

The fact is, the true cost of an operating system or a PC for that matter is not what one pays at the check out of local electronics superstore. I can’t even begin to count the number of hours (days, really) I have lost trying to fix issues in computers due to bad programming or architectural decisions made by some kids at Microsoft. These issues could be as lame as cleaning virus infections and as ridiculous as trying to get drivers to work with a new (or old) piece of hardware. Or it could even be as simple as having to close all your applications and reboot several times a day, with each reboot taking minutes.

If you are interested, here is a great book about why tech products are designed the way they are. The author was working for the Microsoft team that wrote Microsoft Excel. An excellent read:

The Inmates are Running the Asylum


iPhone 3GS is about to hurt Apple stock

Posted in Business with tags , , , , , on July 5, 2009 by rightdownandridiculous

If you haven’t heard already, the net is growing with complains of iPhone 3GS users brand new units overheating and having discoloration issues.

Of course Apple has done a great job as usual to own up to the problems and immediately offered to remedy the situation to those who have paid up to $400 for the new units. NOT! They have blamed everything from 3rd party cases to phones being left in hot cars for the issue. In fact, if you do a search on the Apples iPhone site, you won’t see a single mention for any of these potential product defects. In the past, Apple had a very spotty record dealing with issues and criticism of their products. In some cases, they have waited until being taken to court before deciding to address the issue. While ignoring minor issues might have worked when they had a cult following for their Macs, they have a whole new customer base with the iPhone. One that may not be as tolerant to issues not being addressed promptly. In the business world, the old adage goes “Perception matters”, and I doubt Apple is too big or too popular to avoid scarring from bad perception by premium paying customers.

Common sense dictates that when so much more powerful electronics are packed into the same size case as the previous generation, there will naturally be some extra heat generated. Usually, this issue is solved by adding some type of a heat sink or fan. Of course when dealing with a computer (really, it is a computer more than a phone) the size of the iPhone 3GS, there isn’t much room to put in a heat sink or any other cooling system.

Apple did have issues with discoloration on other products before, such as their portable Macs. It seems perhaps they don’t test out their products as hard as most Apple fans use them.

It will be interesting to see how Apple handles this wrinkle in their extremely popular new product (1 million sales in the first 3 days alone). Either way, unless some urgent damage control is done, Apple stock should be taking a hit when market opens on Monday.

Clark Howard is right, but misses point.

Posted in Automotive, Business with tags , , , on July 2, 2009 by rightdownandridiculous

Clark Howard has an article on CNN stating, at least for the time being, buying a new car instead to a used one may be a good idea. That is like saying having a beer on Fourth of July is a good idea. He forgets to mention that there is a federal tax break for the sales tax paid on new cars. He also doesn’t mention anything about the unbelievable financing deals one can get from the car makers themselves. Luxury car makers like Mercedes, BMW, Lexus who normally wouldn’t touch a 1.9 or even 0.9% APR are offering their cars at these rates up to 66 months, even on 2010 models. Combine this with the fact that the new car dealers lots are full, one can easily negotiate a deal on most cars that would bring monthly cost of new car ownership to less than that of a used car.

If you have the money and can use a new ride, check out Edmunds.com for dealer specials or hit some of the sites Clark Howard mentions in the article.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/07/02/howard.auto.market/index.html

US Recession must be over

Posted in Business, Life on July 1, 2009 by rightdownandridiculous

From the looks of people I know, who are looking to trade up from their 3 year old homes and those who are moving onto better higher paying jobs, perhaps the US recession is about over. Last time I lived through a recession, I knew dozens of people who lost their jobs, including yours truly. This time around, even with a much more diverse group of friends and acquaintances, I don’t even know a single unemployed (by choice that is) person. I do know a few who had to forgo bonuses and take salary cuts. I had coworkers who were let go, then again, I have plenty of new coworkers, too. I see lots of new Audis and BMWs with new dealer tags around. I hear VCs are making noise, again. Large companies like Oracle and Microsoft are throwing events for their customers.

All in my book are signs that perhaps the cycle is turning upward. Let’s hope that people have learned a bit from this recession and make better decisions with their pocket books than fuel another raging bubble.