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Month October 2012

Predictably Irrational

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

In this book, Ariely thoroughly challenges readers’ assumptions about making decisions that are perceived to be based on rational thought. After studying this book (and I have studied a lot of economics), you will fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick…

Chapter summaries:

Customer relationships

Processes [and Sub-processes] for identifying, developing, and retaining customers:

  • Understand markets and customers
    • Understand the market environment
    • Understand customers’ wants and needs
    • Segment customers
  • Involve customers in the design of products and services
    • Develop new concepts and plans for products and services
    • Design, build, and evaluate prototypes
    • Refine and customize products or services, then test their effectiveness
  • Market and sell products and services
    • Secure channels of distribution
    • Establish pricing
    • Develop advertising and promotion strategies
    • Develop and deploy a sales force
    • Process orders
    • Develop customers
  • Involve customers in the delivery of products and services
    • Offer broad delivery options to become the “Supplier of Choice”
    • Use delivery customization to attract and retain core customers
    • Identify customers’ delivery needs
    • Develop distribution capability
  • Provide customer service
    • Establish “Points-of-Contact” excellence
    • Build cross-functional “Points-of-Contact” cooperation
    • Train employees to improve customers’ expectations for products and services
  • Manage customer information
    • Build customer profiles
    • Establish service information
    • Measure customer performance and satisfaction

Remember: “Hearing is believing…”

 

How to Write With Style

How to Write With Style

Kurt Vonnegut, in a great piece about finding values in stylistic writing…

In Summary:

  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble, though
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers

From: HOW TO USE THE POWER OF THE PRINTED WORD, Doubleday

Comments on “A Capitalism for the People”

by Luigi Zingales [2012]

Zingales who emigrated from Italy to the U.S., took his Ph.D. at MIT and is now a tenured professor (of finance) at the University of Chicago. He offers in this book an interesting perspective on manifold ills in the American economic system that, left unaddressed, will likely send this nation into a long-term decline not unlike what much of Southern Europe and South America, for example, have experienced. Just to mention a few, these ills include “crony capitalism,” growing corruption, creeping socialism, lessening competition, more rent seeking, greater wealth redistribution, more systemic risk, decreasing global competitiveness, winner-takes-all rewards allocation, diminishing trust, mushrooming regulatory complexity, growing government share of economic activity, etc. Zingales offers suggestions for a new economic framework, or at least an approach for reestablishment of meritocracy and competitiveness that fostered the individual, corporate, and societal success during America’s past. Note: Rep. Paul Ryan is among those who have read this book.

Big government is essential for socialism and crony capitalism to thrive. In 1900, federal government spending equalled 3% of U.S. GDP. Since then, the proportion has grown about eightfold. Power to tax and redistribute trillions is what drives hundreds of millions in election campaign spending. The state enjoys an “ultimate monopoly.” In the past, state monopoly power extended to the likes of the East India Company. More recently, it extended to Fanie Mae and Freddie Mac, for instance.

Elizabeth Warren was right about one thing—the system is rigged. Perception of rigging is enough to undermine the free market system, to discourage participation, risk taking, hard work, etc. Zingales notes that over half of Americans trust government little or not at all, and only about one-sixth trust large corporations. The number and size of taxpayer bailouts of corporations since 2008, LIBOR manipulation, and other developments have further eroded public trust.

This book is informative, entertaining, and instructive. A holistic view of America’s present state is just what the doctor ordered. Chapter 2 is titled “Who Killed Horatio Alger?” Many have said, as with Julius Caesar, many have blood on their hands.

Chunking…

For those of you who have been asking/inquiring:

“Chunking,” is the act of putting multiple items together into distinguishable groups, which are then used as a memory device. Or, “Chunking” involves taking small units of information (chunks) and grouping them into larger units.

Productivity

Go to meetings and/or make phone calls with an agenda and questions in mind.  Know in advance what you both WANT and NEED to accomplish during a telephone call or meeting.  Having no objective, pre-preparred questions, or agenda allows other topics to creep in, thus potentially wasting your valuable time.

Running a business is challenging! Resources are at a premium (e.g., time, space, money, etc.), so learning to maximize what you have is important, and can mean the difference between success and failure. Often, we simply need to change the way that we are looking at things, and, in turn, how we are managing our time. By freeing up time, you can then focus on the things that are important to the success of the business. So, learning how to “create” time in already busy days…, not only adds to your productivity, it grows the success of your company.