Comment and Analysis

The Power of Partnerships

While travelling recently in India I read about a fantastic co-operative wine business based there. Three rural farmers had got together to build a very profitable venture with an exciting future.

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What are your views on Apple’s decision to lock down development for iPhone OS, and ban third-

My views are simple: I will never buy another Apple product until there is a core change in philosophy.

Apple, let us not forget, was the company that coined the slogan

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The Blues Have It: Tory v Labour approaches to online marketing

With the election upon us, and bearing in mind the reputed influence of the internet in the US presidential campaign, I thought it would be interesting to see how the two key rivals for Number 10 are performing so far in their online marketing.

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People Are More Rational Than We Think

When I worked for a large multi-billion pound news organisation, a funny thing used to happen. The sales people received a commission on all new orders, but cancellations for the month were subtracted first. However, they couldn't receive negative commission. So if cancellations were greater than the month's sales, they made a gain. Their total commission over all months was higher than if the cancellations had been spread evenly over the year. Hence there was an incentive for a sales person to put as many cancellations through as possible at one time, particularly in a month when sales were slow.

This may sound a bit complex, and if you have the usual British prejudice against sales people you may think they wouldn't be able to work it out, but they did. As a result, a fairly frequent complaint from customers was that their cancellation hadn't been processed, with cancellations always peaking in August when many sales people were on holiday.

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Small Is Beautiful

Given the massive advantages that large companies enjoy, how is it that any small company can survive and prosper? Large companies enjoy massive economies of scale; they expect and get the best prices from suppliers and usually have significant financial resources. If a critical employee drops dead, gets ill or leaves, there's a queue of competent individuals to take their place from both inside and outside the company.

Sadly small companies have very few of these advantages, so how come they can survive? Actually, there's a whole series of reasons.

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