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How Samsungs crisis culture stifles creativity

first_imgAdvertisement We go behind the scenes at Samsung’s Ultrabook factory on sale 13 SeptemberBut, in the wake of last month’s damaging US patent ruling, which Samsung has said it will appeal the Korean group was fined more than $1 billion after a jury found it had copied key features of Apple’s iPhone  the group’s top-down command structure and decision-making process are blamed for stifling creativity.What’s been good for getting things done quickly, such as making bold decisions on big investments in chips and display screens, may not now best suit a company that needs to shift from being a “fast follower” quick to match others’ products  to an innovator.Within Samsung, where some designers feel overlooked and undermined, there are calls for a change of tack.The “constant crisis” has worked well, helping Samsung overtake Japanese technology brands Sony, Sharp and Panasonic in chips, TVs and displays, end Nokia’s decade-long supremacy in handsets and overtake Apple in smartphones. – Advertisement – But that has come with a big reputational hit – that Samsung makes knock-off products.”Crisis of design””It’s a crisis of design,” JK Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile division told staff in February 2010 as Samsung worked on its first Galaxy phone in a panicky response to the iPhone’s smash-hit debut, according to an internal memo filed to a US court as part of Apple’s lawsuit.“Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that Samsung is dozing off.’”All this time, we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like ‘folder’, ‘bar’, ‘slide,’ yet when our UX (user experience) is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth.“The sense of crisis and urgency to catch Apple drove Samsung designers and engineers to opt for a concept that best matched the look and feel of the iPhone, according to one Samsung designer, who isn’t authorised to talk to the media and didn’t want to be identified.”Designers have lots of unique and creative ideas, but these have to be loved by the top decision-makers.The problem was, because they were so fascinated by the Apple design, these ideas weren’t really satisfactory to please the top level,” said the designer.”I think elsewhere top managers respect their chief designer’s decision, but at Samsung, they overrule designers and have the final say about what design we go with. That limits our capability.To be better than a good fast follower, Samsung needs a more horizontal culture and to empower designers.” A Samsung executive, who didn’t want to be named, countered that the group had started out with little innovation – it struggled even to make simple black and white TVs – but now drives new ideas internally through incentives and bonuses, with Lee himself very interested in new technology and design.Top-down managementOne recent example of that top-heavy command structure came less than a fortnight before the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone in May, when vice chairman Choi Gee-sung ordered half a million blue phone cases to be thrown away as the design, with thin, silver stripes, was unsatisfactory, according to a person familiar with the matter.After a number of tweaks, Choi approved the final design on a Sunday just 10 days before launch, triggering an initial supply bottleneck and delaying shipments of some two million units, according to some analysts.Designers have lots of unique and creative ideas, but these have to be loved by the top decision-makersSimilarly, when Choi visited Samsung’s US telecoms operation a year ago, internal documents filed to the court during the US patent battle with Apple showed managers there were worried about a lack of initiatives to impress him.“Overall plan is OK, but we are lacking a WOW idea to share with GS (Choi). Generally, lacking confidence in our plan to ‘beat Apple’.”The react-fast philosophy is a far cry from how Apple worked. Christopher Stringer, a 17-year Apple design veteran, told the US court that around 16 “maniacal” individuals from all over the world used to brainstorm around a kitchen table to come up with the company’s mobile products.By contrast, Samsung’s design sanctum looks much like any other Samsung department, a Dilbert sprawl of desks and cubicles with framed aphorisms from the founding family on the walls: “Be with Customers”, “Create Products that Contribute to Humanity” and “Challenge the World, Create the Future.”“It’s pretty much a top-down, hierarchical culture that doesn’t do any good in inspiring creativity,” the designer added. “I don’t think it’s a unique Samsung problem, but one that plagues South Korean society as a whole. Samsung is making efforts to change it, but it’s still very much top-down.”“Probably what we need now is the creative environment that Silicon Valley boasts.”Samsung menLiving up to its reputation for moving swiftly and nimbly in an increasingly competitive market, Samsung’s mobile product life cycle is getting shorter – it introduces a new product around every six months.In a surprise last Wednesday, Samsung unveiled a smartphone using Microsoft’s latest mobile software, rushing the announcement just days before the highly anticipated launch of Nokia’s version.“Regardless of any hindrance, Samsung will continue to provide outstanding, innovating and unique products that stand out in the industry,” Samsung’s mobile chief Shin said at Europe’s biggest electronics show in Berlin.Shin has also praised the company’s “diligent and exemplary” elite workforce, the so-called “Samsung men” trained in the 1990s with a textbook called “New Samsung Management” that summarised chairman Lee’s remarks and his sense of crisis.Lee, who took over as chairman from his father and group founder in 1987, stepped down in 2008 after he was convicted of embezzlement and tax evasion, but returned within two years following a presidential pardon. He marked his return with his familiar refrain.“We’re in a real crisis. Top global companies are reeling and [I’m] not sure what will happen to Samsung. Most products and businesses that represent Samsung today will be gone in 10 years time. We should start again. There’s no time to waste.”That summer, Samsung saw its telecoms profit halved as Apple captured consumers’ hearts and wallets. But it swiftly rebounded with its Galaxy line-up and has posted record profits each year since. Annual profit this year is likely to top $22 billion, up 45% from 2010.But the crisis culture is wearing thin for some. “It does keep people agile and alert, but people joke that once you work more than five years at Samsung you’ve probably heard it more than enough and think it more of a repetitive cycle,” said a Samsung chip developer, who wasn’t authorised to talk publicly about the company. “You just get used to these things.”Even 70-year-old billionaire Lee may be mellowing. Briefed after the bruising Apple defeat, Lee said only: “Deal with it well,” according to a person familiar with the matter.Source: PC PROlast_img read more

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Barack Obamas Facebook campaign gets more support

first_imgAdvertisement US President Barack Obama has enjoyed a surge in Facebook “likes”, thanks to a co-ordinated social media campaign. His page received more than one million “likes” in a single day – compared with about 30,000 per day in earlier weeks.His team paid for “Sponsored Stories” to appear in some users’ Facebook news feeds – regardless of whether they wanted to receive them.It comes at a time when both President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney are stepping up their efforts on social media. – Advertisement – The opponents each have a presence on a host of digital communities, including streaming music service Spotify, image-sharing network Pinterest and the Facebook-owned picture network Instagram – where Mr Romney has been busy posting pictures of himself at home with his family.But users were quick to voice their annoyance as President Obama campaign advertisements and messages appeared within Facebook news feeds.“Why is Barack Obama on my Facebook newsfeed?” wrote a young female user from Illinois.“I’m getting really sick of those Obama ads sponsored on my Facebook page,” wrote another.One user, in a message directed at President Obama’s Twitter account, demanded: “Quit trying to promote yourself on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I never ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ you.”Dr Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon, from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), said that this kind of campaigning was part of a transition period – which Facebook users may take some time to get used to.“Before there were physical spaces where people discussed politics – the public sphere has been reconfigured,” she said.The growth comes as President Obama and Mr Romney look to ramp up their use of digital and social media ahead of November’s vote.In 2008, President Obama’s campaign was praised for its innovative use of social media to engage young, often first-time, voters.This time around, the efforts have been stepped up a notch. Both candidates have invested in getting good placement on both Facebook and Twitter – with campaign teams placing ads that appear whenever a certain word, such as “debate”, is searched for by a user.President Obama took to answering questions on popular link listings site Reddit – a move that went down well with the site’s clientele but was dismissed as a quick-win publicity stunt by his detractors.The president has even had his team place adverts within video games. The top-selling American Football title – EA’s Madden NFL 13 – had images advertising President Obama’s website, voteforchange.com.Other EA titles – including the classic Tetris – were also used to promote President Obama’s campaign.Mr Romney’s campaign team told American broadcaster NPR they too had used video games for advertising.Both campaigns would have hoped that swamping the digital world with their “message” was a surefire election hit. However, research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania suggested a different picture.Of 1,503 internet-using American adults surveyed by the university’s school of communications, 86% said they did not want to receive political messages tailored for them, and 70% said seeing ads from a candidate they already supported would in fact decrease their chance of voting for them.“The findings represent a national statement of concern,” said Prof Joseph Turow, lead researcher on the study.“We have a major attitudinal tug of war – the public’s emphatic and broad rejection of tailored political ads pulling against political campaigns’ growing adoption of tailored political advertising without disclosing when they are using individuals’ information and how. Source: BBClast_img read more

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Report Apple working on an iWatch

first_imgAdvertisement Having conquered the desktops, music libraries and phones of millions, Apple reportedly wants to adorn one more spot in the life of the gadget-obsessed — their wrists.The company is developing a smart watch that would run on the same iOS operating system that powers iPhones, iPads and some iPods, according to a report in The New York Times.The watches would include a curved glass screen, according to the Times report, citing “people familiar with the company’s explorations.” – Advertisement – Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.Last year, Corning, which makes the Gorilla Glass used for iPads and iPhones, unveiled a thinner, more touch-sensitive version of their product that could make it easier to produce a watch with curves.And, yes, assuming it includes chat-feature Facetime, Dick Tracy fans could actually live out those decades-old dreams of having a video-enabled Two-Way Wrist Radio.What other features might such a watch have? Observers have speculated about monitoring of the wearer’s vital signs or turn-by-turn directions, spoken by Siri, Apple’s “voice assistant.”Of course, such reports are no sure thing. Over the years, Apple has reportedly poked around into products ranging from cars to cameras without any commercially available product ever coming from it. An Apple TV has been in the rumor stages for years now, and while many observers still expect one to surface eventually, there have been no signs yet.If the plans are indeed sincere, Apple may be taking a cue from the interest the market already has shown in such a product.Pebble, a watch that uses Bluetooth technology to link up with the user’s smartphone, racked up a record $10.2 million on Kickstarter last year.TikTok and LunaTik, two styles of a wrist-strap gadget that turns an iPod Nano into a smart watch, raked in another $942,000.At least one analyst told the Times that the move makes sense, although it might be a while before an “iWatch” hits the shelves.“Over the long term, wearable computing is inevitable for Apple; devices are diversifying, and the human body is a rich canvas for the computer,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester Research analyst who specializes in mobile technology.“But I’m not sure how close we are to a new piece of Apple hardware that is worn on the body.”Credit: CNNlast_img read more

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How to make savings on your Christmas shopping with Kilimall

first_imgAdvertisement The festive season brings a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our old traditions with our family and friends. We need to shop gifts and lot of other useful things, but we’re always short on cash or have a limited budget for this. Well! Well! Kilimall Uganda has an exciting offer for you to cut on your spending while shopping online – so your holiday season doesn’t have to be a total budget-buster.After outing mouth watering discount deals during the Black Friday, Kilimall Uganda is bringing to you more deals to help online shoppers (and potentials) save money on Christmas shopping this season.Win a UGX 10,000 worth of Shopping VoucherKilimall Uganda is giving you a head start of UGX 10,000 worth in a shopping voucher and all you have to do is follow these simple steps:Take a picture of any taxi you see with the Kilimall Back Cover or sticker inside the taxi (as seen below). – Advertisement – 2. Post the photo on your Timeline (Facebook or Twitter) and tag Kilimall – Online Shopping in Uganda and Infinix Mobile Uganda.3. Simple as that!You will be contacted by Kilimall Uganda and your UGX 10,000 shopping voucher activated for your online shopping on Kilimall website.Make a Christmas Wishlist, Share & WinHere’s a chance to win some goodies from Kilimall.Steps1. Visit this link and add up to 5 items to your wish list.2. Share the link on your Facebook or Twitter Timeline and ask your friends and followers to like it. Don’t forget to tag Kilimall. The person with most likes stands a chance to win.3. Sign in on the Kilimall website or app everyday to prove your our true loyal customer.Happy Holidays! [related-posts]last_img read more

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STARTERS ORDERS Monday

first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Our new daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Monday 15 July4.30 AyrOratory 6/1 > 5/25.15 Newton AbbotSerenice 9/1 > 7/1Rugby League – Challenge CupWe’ve laid Widnes on the handicap with a 26 point startlast_img

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STARTERS ORDERS Thursday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Thursday 2 OctoberRACING3.25 BangorTidal Way 3/1 > 7/44.30 BangorSassanova 4/1 > 5/25.00 BangorLaika 11/2 > 11/105.10 SouthwellGermany Calling 8/13 > 4/95.25 ClonmelDrumacoo 11/4 > 7/48.15 KemptonCape Point 8/1 > 9/2EUROPA LEAGUETottenham 8/15 to 4/6 and still drifting for their home match tonight against BesiktasWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img

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STARTERS ORDERS Sunday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Sunday 8 MarchRACING2.00 Market RasenRelic Rock 5/4 > 10/112.10 WarwickMawaqeet 7/1 > 3/12.45 WarwickLily Waugh 4/1 > 9/4FOOTBALL4pm FA CUP (BT SPORT)30/100 Liverpool10/1 Blackburn Rovers9/2 DRAW5.30pm FA CUP (BBC1)7/4 Aston Villa 15/8 West Brom 21/10 DRAW(All prices subject to fluctuation) What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img

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STAR PREVIEW Chelsea v Liverpool

first_img[dropcap]H[/dropcap]igh noon at Stamford Bridge on Saturday for the Premier League clash of Chelsea and Liverpool (12.45pm BT SPORT).Liverpool gained their first win under the Klopp era with their midweek victory over Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup and whilst by no means over-convincing it was a damn sight better than Chelsea’s exit from the same competition at the hands of Stoke in a penalty shoot out.In short, there is far more pressure on Chelsea in this game. They have staggeringly won just one of their last seven games and that was against lowly Aston Villa. The Blues have only kept two clean sheets in their last 13 Premier League games contributing to them sitting just 15th in the table – five points off the relegation zone !! No surprise then that it’s their worst EVER start to a Premier League campaign.Jose Mourinho appears to be increasingly delusional. He said: “The results are, especially in my case, in your eyes [the media], the results are everything. It’s a bit strange because a few months ago when I won so many matches and I was champion of England, people were saying there were things more important than the results. In this moment the results are more important than anything. It’s a contradiction.”MEMO TO JOSE: The results, just like a camera, never lie.Jurgen Klopp countered: “Do the Chelsea players not know any more how to play football? No, of course not. I am not sure it is easier to play Chelsea now than last year – why should it be? Okay, being full of self-confidence maybe makes some things different, but to be wounded can make you stronger too. They don’t feel life is as good as it could be and now they want to change it and that is big motivation.”Chelsea v LiverpoolPremier League12:45 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 1 HD / BT Sport Ultra HDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)May 2015 PREMIER Chelsea 1-1 LiverpoolJan 2015 CAPITAL ONE CUP Chelsea 1-0 LiverpoolJan 2015 CAPITAL ONE CUP Liverpool 1-1 ChelseaNov 2014 PREMIER Liverpool 1-2 ChelseaApr 2014 PREMIER Liverpool 0-2 ChelseaDec 2013 PREMIER Chelsea 2-1 LiverpoolApr 2013 PREMIER Liverpool 2-2 ChelseaNov 2012 PREMIER Chelsea 1-1 LiverpoolMay 2012 PREMIER Liverpool 4-1 ChelseaMay 2012 ENGLISH FA CUP Chelsea 2-1 LiverpoolThere are not too many positives to draw from either side at the moment and although Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight league and cup games against Liverpool in their current mood even a draw might be considered a ‘result’.The draw at 12/5 with Star Sports it is then.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK DRAW for 9 points at around 12/5 with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 9.40 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

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STARTERS ORDERS Thursday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Thursday 25 August RACING MOVERS2.10 LeicesterClaire’s Secret 7/1 > 5/24.10 LeicesterSyncopation 3/1 > 6/44.30 MusselburghBedlam 4/1 > 3/15.25 FontwellDeserter 15/8 > 6/55.50 BellewstownKing’s Wharf 6/4 > 11/106.30 SedgefieldMiro 2/1 > 11/87.45 WolverhamptonBelieve It 3/1 > 2/17.40 TipperaryMunaashid 7/1 > 5/1EUROPA LEAGUEUEFA Europa League Play-Off 2nd Leg19:45 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 2 HD / BT Sport 4K UHD2/7 West Ham 11/1 Astra Giurgiu 9/2 DRAWBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img

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