2007年12月24日 星期一

A Green Light for Common Sense

A Green Light for Common Sense

To Slow Drivers, German Town Drops Traffic Signals and Lane Markers

Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, December 24, 2007; Page A09

barrel (Slang)

BOHMTE, Germany -- Like countless other communities, this west German town lived for years with a miserable traffic problem. Each day, thousands of cars and big trucks barreled along the two-lane main street, forcing pedestrians and cyclists to scamper for their lives.

The usual remedies -- from safety crossings to speed traps -- did no good. So the citizens of Bohmte decided to take a big risk. Since September, they've been tearing up the sidewalks, removing curbs and erasing street markers as part of a radical plan to abandon nearly all traffic regulations and force people to rely on common sense and courtesy instead.

This contrarian approach to traffic management, known as shared space, is gaining a foothold in Europe. Towns in the Netherlands, Denmark, Britain and Belgium have tossed out their traffic lights and stop signs in a bid to reclaim their streets for everyone.

The assumption is that drivers are accustomed to owning the road and rarely pay attention to speed limits or caution signs anyway. Removing traffic lights and erasing lane markers, the thinking goes, will cause drivers to get nervous and slow down.

"Generally speaking, what we want is for people to be confused," said Willi Ladner, a deputy mayor in Bohmte. "When they're confused, they'll be more alert and drive more carefully."

The European Union has subsidized shared space programs in seven cities in five countries. Interest is spreading worldwide, with cities in countries from Australia to Canada sending emissaries to Europe to see whether the experiment works.

In Bohmte, a town of 13,000 people in the state of Lower Saxony, residents were tired of all the trucks whizzing along Bremen Street, the main route through the city. Since the street is categorized as a state highway, German law prevented local officials from banning trucks. They considered building a bypass instead, but merchants worried it would suck too many vehicles out of the city center, hurting business.

In 2005, city leaders learned about shared space and decided to give it a try. One of the biggest obstacles was persuading regional traffic bureaucrats to approve the unorthodox approach. "They were grinding their teeth, but finally they agreed," Ladner said.

On Nov. 26, a small section of Bremen Street -- absent signs and curbs -- reopened to traffic. With no marked spaces, people can park their cars wherever they want, as long as they don't leave them in the middle of the road. The new pavement is a reddish-brick color, intended to send a subtle signal to drivers that they are entering a special zone.

Only two traffic rules remain. Drivers cannot go more than 30 mph, the German speed limit for city driving. And everyone has to yield to the right, regardless of whether it's a car, a bike or a baby carriage.

Peter Hilbricht, a Bohmte police officer in charge of traffic planning, said the main intersection in town generated about 50 accidents a year before the changes. He expects the number to plummet, citing the experience of other cities that have embraced the shared space approach.

In Haren, the Netherlands, for example, the number of accidents at one intersection dropped by 95 percent, from 200 a year to about 10, Hilbricht said. "You can't deny the numbers," he added. "Half the world is eager to see what's going to happen with this program."

Old habits, however, can be hard to break. Especially in Germany, a rules-obsessed nation where people who dare to jaywalk can expect a loud scolding from other pedestrians, even if no cars are in sight.

Asked to give a personal demonstration, Hilbricht put Bohmte's lack of rules to the test. Picking a random spot, he bravely stepped into oncoming traffic and across the road -- an act that could have earned him a fine pretty much anywhere else in Germany.

Cars immediately slowed down and gave Hilbricht a wide berth, although he admitted that his police uniform may have worked to his advantage.

When a reporter tried the same thing, two approaching drivers barely hit their brakes, including one guy in a van who babbled away on his cellphone as he sped past.

Ladner, the deputy mayor, acknowledged that it could take a year or two before residents get used to the changes. But city officials are confident. They are spending $3.3 million to overhaul parts of Bremen Street by next summer and hope to expand the special zone gradually over the next 10 to 20 years.

"We're very optimistic," Ladner said. "If others can do it, then why not us? It will be difficult for some people, yes, but it can be accomplished."

Although shared space is attracting lots of attention in Europe, no one expects Germany to shut down its famed autobahns anytime soon.

The program is designed only for public spaces where pedestrians and cyclists share routes with cars. Traffic engineers say it could lead to gridlock if introduced in high-traffic areas, such as large cities.

Practically speaking, the shared space concept works only at intersections that attract fewer than 15,000 vehicles a day, said Juergen Gerlach, a professor at the Center of Traffic and Transport at the University of Wuppertal. The approach can backfire if it covers more than a half-mile of road at a time, he said. Otherwise, drivers would get too frustrated with the slow pace and bypass the area.

Some residents in Bohmte said that although something needed to be done, they remain unconvinced that doing away with all the street signs and safety measures will do the job.

"It's how people are these days -- everyone is in a hurry, everyone just takes off," said Maria Stolte, who pulled her Mercedes in front of a bakery in the no-sign zone to buy some bread. "No one looks or pauses or is courteous. I hope it will slow people down."

At the same time, she doesn't plan on taking her bike for a spin anytime soon. "I don't know if I will feel comfortable riding down this street," she said.

The baker, Gisela Luebbert, is also skeptical.

"What they have done is pretty, no question about that," she said. "They've done a nice job with the design, but was it absolutely necessary? I don't know. We'll see if it's worth all the trouble."

2007年12月23日 星期日



ひとり-がち 0 【《一人》勝ち/独り勝ち】


三省堂提供「大辞林 第二版」より凡例はこちら

トヨタ、米国融合作戦 「1人勝ち」逆風警戒


 トヨタ自動車が進出50年を迎えた米国で、伝統的な自動車レースへの参戦などを通じて「市民権」を確保しようと模索している。トヨタは07年の世界生産 台数で米ゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)を抜いて初の世界首位に立つことが事実上確定し、一人勝ちのトヨタに今後どんな逆風が吹くかは予測できない。現地で 車をつくって売るだけでなく、文化にとけ込んで地域と共生する「もう一つのトヨタウェイ」で、日米貿易摩擦の芽を摘み取ることを目指す。


  それでも「巨人トヨタ」が地域社会への浸透を必死に探る背景には、トヨタへの敵対感が薄れていないのではないかという懸念がある。 1931年から世界生産首位に君臨してきたGMは米自動車産業の象徴であり、トヨタが77年ぶりの首位交代を確実にしたことで、米市民感情がどう動くかは 未知数だ。

 例えば、トヨタの世界首位が現実味を帯びてきた今秋。東京モーターショーの開幕直前にビッグ3側が表明したのは、「祝福」 ではなく「敵 対」の姿勢だった。「円の過小評価で日本車の輸出競争力が底上げされている」と批判し、米政府に円安是正を働きかける方針を発表したのだ。


彈性工時 半薪假 台菸酒「尚青」?




TOYOTA 台灣總代理和泰汽車公關經理楊湘泉表示,前年車市整體銷售量約51萬輛,去年銷售量約36萬6000輛,預估今年整體銷售約32萬6000輛,可說是近 20年來最差。福特六和指出,在不景氣影響下,今年整體車市較去年跌10%,希望明年能藉由新車上市、促銷案等提高銷售量。

遊樂園業者六福村經理袁相杰指出,往年六福村遊園人數都會破100萬人次,今年卻難破這個數據了。為了節流,公司每個月都會預估未來一周入園人次,讓員工 採彈性工時上班,減少薪資支出,有時會視天候狀況讓員工提早下班,例如早上天氣好好的,下午卻下起大雷雨,這時園區商店或餐廳會提早打烊,讓員工提早下 班。

記者陳嘉恩、陳如嬌、徐毓莉 "



蔡木霖指出,1987年政府開放啤酒進口,讓台啤市佔率由99%一度下滑至72%,面對競爭愈趨激烈的環境,台啤2003年新創品牌「金牌台灣啤 酒」,除強調「尚青」的品質,並且啟用藝人代言,加上台啤籃球隊的運動行銷,短短4年,僅金牌這款啤酒就拿下超過20%的市佔率。

不愛守成 更要創新

Mao and the art of management

A role model, of sorts

On the cover

Staying at the top: Mao and the art of management See article


Staying at the top

Mao and the art of management

Dec 19th 2007

A role model, of sorts


Books on management tend to define success in the broadest possible terms—great product, happy employees, continuous improvement, gobs of profits, crushed competitors. Even when words such as “excellence” and “success” are omitted from the title, they are often implicit. A case in point is the book which many would say defined the genre, Alfred Sloan's “My Years with General Motors”, published in 1963 when GM was still an iconic company and Sloan correctly acknowledged as the architect of the well-run, decentralised, global corporation.

But focusing on how the best produce the best has its limits. Most managers, after all, do not stitch an industrial triumph from a vast bankrupt junkyard, as Sloan did. They do not delight their customer, crush competitors and create vast wealth. They struggle. They stumble.

Where is the book for them? Who can help the under-performing, over-compensated chief executive fighting to survive intrusive journalists, independent shareholders and ambitious vice-presidents who could do a better job? Where is the role model for the manager who really needs a role model most—the one who by any objective measure of performance cannot, and should not, manage at all?

An obvious candidate is Mao. Yes, he was head of a country, not a company. But he self-consciously carried a business-like title, “chairman”, while running China from 1949 until dying in office in 1976, having jailed, killed, or psychologically crushed a succession of likely replacements and therefore created the classic business problem: a succession void. He thought of himself as, in his own words, an “indefatigable teacher” and the famous “Little Red Book” drawn from his speeches is packed with managerial advice on training, motivation and evaluation of lower-level employees (cadres); innovation (“let a hundred flowers bloom”); competition (“fear no sacrifice”); and, of course, raising the game of the complacent manager (relentless self-criticism).

Mao still has at least a symbolic hold over the Chinese economy, even though it began to blossom only after death removed his suffocating hand. His portrait is emblazoned on China's currency, on bags, shirts, pins, watches and whatever else can be sold by the innumerable entrepreneurial capitalists that he ground beneath his heel when in power. No other recent leader of a viable country (outside North Korea, in other words) is so honoured—not even ones that did a good job.

It was not a nurturing management style that won Mao this adulation. According to Jung Chang's and Jon Halliday's “Mao, the Unknown Story”, admittedly an unsympathetic portrait, he was responsible for “70m deaths, more than any other 20th-century leader”. But why stop at the 20th century? In Chinese history, only Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who started building the Great Wall (in which each brick is said to have cost a life), was competition for Mao; and since the population was much smaller then, Mao is likely to have outdone him in absolute numbers.

Botched economic policies caused most of the carnage. Deng Xiaoping, Mao's successor, turned the policies, and eventually the economy, around. Yet he does not even merit an image on a coin.

The disparity between Mao's performance and his reputation is instructive, for behind it are four key ingredients which all bad managers could profitably employ.

A powerful, mendacious slogan

Born a modestly well-off villager, Mao lived like an emperor, carried on litters by peasants, surrounded by concubines and placated by everyone. Yet his most famous slogan was “Serve the People”. This paradox illustrates one aspect of his brilliance: his ability to justify his actions, no matter how entirely self-serving, as being done for others.

Corbis Alfred Sloan would have disapproved...

Psychologists call this “cognitive dissonance”—the ability to make a compelling, heartfelt case for one thing while doing another. Being able to pull off this sort of trick is an essential skill in many professions. It allows sub-standard chief executives to rationalise huge pay packages while their underlings get peanuts (or rice).

But Mao did not just get a stamp from a compliant board and eye-rolling from employees. He convinced his countrymen of his value. That was partly because, even if his message bore no relation to his actions, it expressed precisely and succinctly what he should have been doing. Consider the truth and clarity of “serve the people” compared with the average company's mission statement, packed with a muddle of words and thoughts tied to stakeholders and CSR, that employees can barely read, let alone memorise.

Deng Xiaoping's slogan, which he used in his campaign to revive the economy, had similar virtues. “Truth from facts” is a sound-bite that Sloan would have loved and every manager should cherish, but you won't find it chiselled on a Chinese wall. It doesn't have the hypocritical idealism of Mao's version—nor was it pushed so hard.

Ruthless media manipulation

Mao knew not just how to make a point but also how to get it out. Through posters, the “Little Red Book” and re-education circles, his message was constantly reinforced. “Where the broom does not reach”, he said, “the dust will not vanish of itself.” This process of self-aggrandisement is often dismissed as a “personality cult”, but is hard to distinguish from the modern business practice of building brand value.

Yet within China economic growth was pathetic and living conditions were wretched. So why did a vast list of Western political, military and academic leaders accept the value of Mao's brand at his own estimation? Even Stalin, no guileless observer, believed in and, to his later regret, protected Mao. The brand-building lesson is that a clear, utopian message, hammered home relentlessly, can obscure inconvenient facts. Great salesmen are born knowing this. Executives whose strategies are not delivering need to learn it.

Chief executives are not in a position to crush the media as Mao did. Nevertheless, his handling of them offers some lessons. He talked only to sycophantic journalists and his appeal in the West came mainly from hagiographies written by reporters whose careers were built on the access they had to him.

The law constrains the modern chief executive's ability to imitate Mao's PR strategy. Publicly listed companies have to publish information, rather than hand it out selectively. But many, within bounds, emulate Mao's media management; others, determined to control information about them, are delisting. Burrow beneath laudatory headlines on business and political leaders, and it becomes clear that the strategy works.

Sacrifice of friends and colleagues

“Who are our friends? Who are our enemies? This is a question of first importance,” Mao wrote. Sloan agreed. He worried that favouritism would come at the expense of the single most valuable component of management: the objective evaluation of performance.

Corbis ...but Mao's HR policies meant Happy Revolutionaries

Mao had a different goal: he did not want people too close to him, and therefore to power; so being Mao's friend often proved more dangerous than being his enemy. One purge followed another. Promotions and demotions were zealously monitored. Bundles of incentives were given and withdrawn. Some demotions turned out well. Deng Xiaoping's exile in a tractor factory may have helped him understand business, and thus rebuild the economy, but that was an unintended benefit.

This approach makes sense. Close colleagues may want your job, and relationships with them may distract you. Mao's abandonment of friends and even wives and children seemed to be based on a calculation of which investments were worth maintaining and which should be regarded as sunk costs. Past favours were not returned. According to Ms Chang and Mr Halliday, a doctor who saved his life was left to die on a prison floor after being falsely accused of disloyalty. Mao let it happen: he had other doctors by then.

Enemies, conversely, can be useful. Mao often blamed battlefield losses on rivals who were made to suffer for these defeats. The names of modern victims of this tactic will be visible on the list of people sacked at an investment bank after a rough quarter; the practitioners are their superiors, or those who have taken their jobs.

Activity substituting for achievement

Mao was quite willing to avoid tedious or uncomfortable meetings, particularly when he was likely to be criticised. But maybe that helped him avoid getting bogged down. From the Anti-Rightist Movement of the late 1950s to the Great Leap Forward, a failed agricultural and industrial experiment in the early 1960s, to the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, Mao was never short of a plan.

Under Mao, China didn't drift, it careened. The propellant came from the top. Policies were poor, execution dreadful and leadership misdirected, but each initiative seemed to create a centripetal force, as everyone looked toward Beijing to see how to march forward (or avoid being trampled). The business equivalent of this is restructuring, the broader the better. Perhaps for the struggling executive, this is the single most important lesson: if you can't do anything right, do a lot. The more you have going on, the longer it will take for its disastrous consequences to become clear. And think very big: for all his flaws, Mao was inspiring.

In the long run, of course, the facts will find you out. But who cares? We all know what we are in the long run.

2007年12月22日 星期六

Treat reports of fires with a sense of urgency


In the old days, the way fire alarm bells were rung in Japan differed depending on the degree of danger. If a fire was far away, the bell was hit slowly with an interval between each clang. It is said that as a fire got nearer, the bell was rung faster and when it was close to hand, a bar was put inside the bell and rattled.

How did the fire official who received the emergency 119 call from a sales clerk at the Urawa-Kagetsu store of Don Quijote Co. three years ago judge the seriousness of the blaze?
In December 2004, the discount outlet in Saitama was torched by an arsonist. The families of the three employees who burned to death sued the city on grounds that the fire department failed to properly respond to the call.

The call was made by a female contract employee. It is true that the response of the official, which was recorded on tape, gives an unhurried impression. "So you say there's a fire?" "What is your name?" Personally, although I have never called 119 to report a fire, I was surprised that the official sounded kind of rude.

There were no words of advice urging the caller to evacuate the building, either. The woman probably felt that her life was in danger. One minute and 49 seconds after she made the call, she put down the phone saying, "I'm sorry but I'm leaving." Those were her last words. Listening to the recording, I felt as if I could hear the ticking of the second hand that kept eating away at her chance for survival.

I once heard from a firefighter who took part in the rescue operation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States that firefighters have "two hearts." One is a heart that beats rapidly to bolster one's spirit and the other one beats regularly to keep oneself calm. Was the exchange in question a manifestation of the official's professional composure or a lack of a sense of urgency?

I heard that there is no nationwide standard for responses to 119 calls. Winter is the time of year when fires occur frequently. In the event that we have to report a fire, we must remember to give first consideration to saving ourselves. I also urge fire officials who receive emergency calls to listen carefully to the urgency as professionals.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 19(IHT/Asahi: December 20,2007)

2007年12月21日 星期五

中國提高環保標準 陳由豪投資建石化廠遷建





中國國家環境保護總局(State Environmental Protection Administration)國家環境工程評估中心主任吳波表示﹐政府加強了監管力度﹐提高了環保要求。他具體負責新工廠和基礎設施項目的環境影響評估。




舉例來說﹐11月份環保總局沒有批准由安陽鋼鐵股份有限公司(Anyang Iron & Steel Inc.)籌劃的一個新鋼鐵廠建設項目﹐理由是擔心土地使用不合理以及可能造成水體污染。河南省的地方官員證實﹐在環保總局給出審批意見之後﹐安陽鋼鐵撤回了這一計劃﹐不過這些官員預計安陽鋼鐵會對原計劃進行修改﹐以便這一鋼鐵廠最終能獲准開工。安陽鋼鐵沒有對此做出評論。


政府一方面在提高新建工業項目的審批標準﹐另一方面也在關閉那些本不該建設的已投產工業設施。國家發展和改革委員會(National Development and Reform Commission)表示﹐2007年前11個月已關閉了365個火電廠﹐它們大部分是效率低下、污染嚴重的小型發電廠﹐總裝機容量為11,000兆瓦。政府同時還關閉了一批鋼鐵廠﹐它們的年生產能力總計為870萬噸。



O'Melveny & Myers駐北京的律師斯科特•西爾弗曼(Scott Silverman)說﹐環保總局的執法能力受到一些眾所周知的限制﹐不過他們似乎利用現有資源做了很多工作。公開曝光是他們目前最強有力的武器之一。


例如﹐本月環保總局發表了一份不同尋常的公開聲明﹐表示目前還未收到山東乳山一擬建核電廠的評估報告﹐並指出乳山核電廠的籌劃者依法應徵求公眾對興建該廠的意見。這一程序可能會為反對者提供正式提交反對意見的機會。這些人認為核電廠的選址距離一個風景區過近。該核電廠的投資方之一華電國際電力股份有限公司(Huadian Power International Corp. Ltd.)一位發言人表示﹐他預計該核電項目將經歷一個漫長的審批過程﹐不過華電國際不會中途打退堂鼓。



彼得森國際經濟研究所(Peterson Institute of International Economics)駐華盛頓的高級研究員尼古拉斯•拉迪(Nicholas Lardy)說﹐擺脫這種處境的唯一方法就是重新給能源定價。他表示﹐只要政府仍然將汽油等燃料的國內價格保持在顯著低於國際價格的水平﹐就是在鼓勵能源消費﹐那麼就很難減少環境污染。

Andrew Batson




報導披露,陳由豪兩個月前竟然向北京第一中級法院控告最早揭發PX廠汙染問題的中科院院士、廈門大學教授趙玉芬,以及另一位廈大教授袁東星對他「誹謗」、 「侵犯名譽權」,當時陳由豪在廈門的翔鷺公司,還放話要一併起訴報導兩位教授言論的媒體及記者。不過,此事被廈門官方壓住,擔心再挑動市民的敏感神經,一 直沒有公開報導。而北京一中法院把案子交由廈門中院審理,翔鷺提出異議抗告,還未結案。

報導說,本月十三、十四日兩天,廈門市政府舉行兩場由市民代表組成的座談會,了解市民對建PX廠的意見,五十名代表中,有四十三人反對。現在廈門市民提到 陳由豪,罵聲連連。福建省委書記盧展工特別針對此案指出,建PX廠雖是大專案、好專案,但這麼多群眾反對,應要慎重考慮,要以民主決策,重視民情、民意來 看待此事,從長遠與現實情況來看,遷建為上,長痛不如短痛。



2007年12月18日 星期二

Wall Street Journal

Copyright 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

梅鐸入主華爾街日報 搶攻紐時讀者







【2007/12/15 聯合報】

2007年12月16日 星期日

A Year Later, the Same Scene: Long Lines for the Elusive Wii

A Year Later, the Same Scene: Long Lines for the Elusive Wii

Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Hundreds of people hoping to buy a Nintendo Wii lined up Thursday at the Nintendo World store in Manhattan.

Published: December 14, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — Linda Beattie is trying desperately to pay Nintendo $250, but the company is not cooperating.

Skip to next paragraph
Associated Press

Dorothy Ayer plays with a Wii at the Westfield Mall in Arcadia, Calif. The Wii has attracted a broad, unconventional audience.

Two weeks ago, Ms. Beattie went to a video game retailer in the Bay Area in search of a Wii, Nintendo’s intensely popular video game machine. She timed her visit to correspond with the arrival of a U.P.S. truck that she had heard would be making its regular stop at the store, hoping it might deliver some consoles. She was out of luck.

So Ms. Beattie, 44, a permit expediter and not a stalker by trade, followed the truck to the next store, where it did drop off a handful of Wiis. She bought one, but store policy would not let her buy a second for a friend, so she quickly called him.

“He came from another game store that he was staking out,” Ms. Beattie said. “He got there two minutes too late to buy the last one.”

Shoppers across the country have similar stories. With the Wii, Nintendo has created a phenomenon that recalls crazes of Christmases past: Cabbage Patch dolls, Furby, Tickle Me Elmo. But in this case it is happening for a second consecutive holiday season. Nintendo has been unable to keep up with demand, costing it hundreds of millions of dollars in potential sales.

The Wii, with an unusual remote control that players wave to manipulate action on the screen, has attracted a broad, unconventional following — from young children to mothers and even the elderly. It has put to shame the frenzy over another much-hyped gadget, the iPhone, which prompted long lines at its debut in June but was readily available on store shelves the next day.

The demand for the console has prompted creative buying strategies, early-morning camp outs and recrimination against Nintendo for failing to produce enough machines a full year after the product’s release.

Jim Silver, editor in chief of Toy Wishes magazine and an industry analyst for 24 years, said it was unusual for an in-demand product to remain so hard to find for so long. The must-have toys of other holiday seasons, like Furby, stayed popular into a second year but became easily available.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Mr. Silver said. “By a year later with hot items, inventory usually catches up.”

The Wii is more expensive than those other toys — $250 — and is attracting not just eager-to-please parents but also adults like Ms. Beattie who want it just for themselves. “I know 6-year-olds that love it and 50-year-olds that love it,” Mr. Silver said.

The unsated demand is costing Nintendo more than face. Estimates from industry analysts and retailers indicate that the company, which is based in Kyoto, Japan, is giving up $1 billion or more in sales in the ever-important holiday retail season, not including sales of games for those unbuilt consoles.

“It’s staggering,” said James Lin, senior analyst at the MDB Capital Group in Santa Monica, Calif., who estimates that Nintendo is leaving $1.3 billion on the table. “They could easily sell double what they’re selling.”

Between the Wii’s debut last November and this Sept. 30, Nintendo sold 13.1 million consoles. It ships 1.8 million a month worldwide — a third of those to North America — up from one million a month earlier this year.

When it comes to its planning, Nintendo says it has not done anything wrong.

“We don’t feel like we’ve made any mistakes,” said George Harrison, senior vice president for marketing at Nintendo of America.

He said there was a shortage because the company must plan its production schedule five months ahead, and projecting future demand is difficult. He added that there had been a worldwide shortage of disk drives that had hurt Nintendo as well as makers of many other devices.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Mr. Harrison said of the demand, but he acknowledged that there could be a downside. “We do worry about not satisfying consumers and that they will drift to a competitor’s system.”

At least one of those competitors is pleased with Nintendo’s supply problems.

“I’m happy that the Wii seems to be running out of hardware,” Howard Stringer, chief executive of Sony, said at a news conference in Tokyo this week. He noted that in November, the PlayStation 3 from Sony outsold the Wii in Japan for the first time.

Sony and Microsoft, which sells the Xbox 360, have both been caught off guard by the popularity of Nintendo’s console, which is less powerful and complex than their machines. The Sony and Microsoft consoles are widely available, while buyers tend to wipe out supplies of the Wii in a hurry.

Nintendo sold 981,000 Wiis in the United States in November, its best month yet, while Microsoft sold 770,000 Xbox 360s, and Sony sold 466,000 PlayStation 3 consoles, the market research firm NPD Group said Thursday.

At the Nintendo World store in Manhattan, which receives daily shipments, shoppers line up on the sidewalk every morning for their shot at buying a Wii. There is a vibrant secondary market, with scalpers reselling consoles in store parking lots and online.

And while some people say they will keep searching for a Wii, others are giving up.

“I’m frustrated and I’m not going to try anymore,” said Betty Sapien, a San Francisco homemaker, who recently visited a handful of stores, including Best Buy and GameStop, to buy a system for her 9-year-old daughter. “They should have it well supplied. They know it’s going to be a big Christmas present, and it’s been a year” since it went on sale, she said.

Another shopper, Yvette Marchand, a Bay Area elementary school teacher, said, “I’m not proud of this, spending two hours running from store to store.” She spoke as she was standing last week outside of a GameStop. She said she had been to several stores, like Best Buy, where she arrived at 7 a.m. on a Sunday — too late to get a console, because others had lined up at 5 a.m.

“I’ve also been to Target,” she said, but when she asked for a Wii, she felt like the employees were mocking her. “I’ve received the smirks and the laughs.”

The GameStop chain, which accounts for around 23 percent of video game sales in the United States, said it could double or triple its Wii sales if the shelves in its 3,800 North American stores were fully stocked.

Bob McKenzie, senior vice president for merchandising at GameStop, said the company had stopped telling its stores when to expect their weekly Wii shipments. When word gets out about a delivery date, he said, “then people start doing crazy things, like putting up pup tents.”

In front of some retailers like Best Buy, where people have lined up to buy a Wii, the lucky few who manage to get one offer to resell them at a premium to those too far back in the line.

Colin Sebastian, an industry analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, said that on eBay, around 86,000 had been offered for sale since Dec. 4, with the average selling price about $320, 28 percent higher than the retail price.

Industry analysts suspect that Nintendo is intentionally keeping the supply low to maintain a buzz. If so, they say, the company risks permanently losing customers, because gift givers might not buy a machine in the new year.

“Nintendo is afraid that if it makes too many Wii, the boom may crest too quickly,” said Masayuki Otani, an analyst at Maruwa Securities in Tokyo. “It doesn’t want to satisfy all demand right away.”

But working in Nintendo’s favor is the fact that it has succeeded in further broadening a video game market that had already begun to expand beyond teenage boys and 20-something men.

Ms. Beattie, the truck chaser, said she and her friends, all in or near their 40s, have made the Wii a central part of their social time.

“We used to play poker,” she said. “Now we have Wii parties.” Because she’s self-employed, Ms. Beattie has continued to hunt for Wiis for her friends who have less flexibility at work: “They can’t leave their job when the U.P.S. truck comes.”

無視Wii缺貨導致消費者抓狂 任天堂到底在想什麼?

上網時間 : 2007年12月17日



隨著年終假期的日益接近,美國卻有成千上萬四處購買Wii的消費者一無所獲,甚至已經無數次在零售商店門口排過長隊。這些痛苦的經歷讓很多消費者不僅對任天堂抱怨連連,甚至也遷怒Best Buy等電子產品零售商。





任天堂總裁Satoru Iwata在討論該公司截至9月30日前6個月的經營狀況時表示:「現在我們正面臨著年底銷售旺季,也是一年中需求最高的時期,所以為了供應盡可能多的Wii遊戲機,我們一直在努力提高產量。」





Multimedia Intelligence策略和業務開發總監Rick Sizemore表示:「我看不到任何造成Wii供貨短缺的實質性原因。從我了解的資訊來看,任天堂好像在故意控制供應量,來吊消費者的胃口、拉高市場需 求。其底線是:控制供貨,而需求保持高水準。這樣也避免了成本貶值。」


Nintendo的Iwata說:「在美國,對於Wii的需求一直高於供應。這也是為什麼PS3在7月降價,Xbox360在8月降價;而《Halo 3》遊戲的發表,也對Wii銷售量沒有任何影響的原因。」



確實,Wii在北美的穩定銷售量,使任天堂在截至9月30日的上半財務年度營收,成長了133%,達到63億美元(6,948億日元),遠 高於去年同期的27億美元。在同一時期,其北美市場的銷售額成長了188%,從去年同期的3.501億美元成長到24億美元。有了這樣傲人的業績,任天堂 才敢對少數不滿的消費者抱怨不屑一顧。

(參考原文: Nintendo unfazed by Wii flak)

(Bolaji Ojo)

Google’s Chief on What’s Different

Google’s Chief on What’s Different

2007年12月14日 星期五

Zara (西班牙時裝品牌)

Booz Allen Hamilton顧問公司認為,把採購和其他部門合作發揮到極致的最好例子,就是西班牙時裝品牌Zara。




**** 2007年4月8日看NHK才知道它是世界第三(前二名都是美國) 營業額約一罩數百億日圓****





Zara is the flagship chain store for the Spanish Inditex Group, which also owns brands such as Massimo Dutti, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius and Bershka. The group is headquartered in A Coru�a, Galicia, Spain, where the first Zara store opened in 1975. Today, Zara is probably the world's fastest growing retailer with over 2,700 stores around the world in 60 countries (three times the 2000 figure). In March 2006, the group overtook Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz to become Europe's largest fashion retailer.

Zara has a unique business model that has enabled it to expand and compete with quality brands at affordable prices. For instance, it is claimed that Zara needs just two weeks [1] to develop a new product and get it to stores, compared with a nine-month industry average, and launches around 10,000 new designs each year. Zara has resisted the industry-wide trend towards transferring production to low-cost countries. Perhaps its most unusual strategy was its policy of zero advertising; the company preferred to invest a percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead.

Zara was described by Louis Vuitton fashion director Daniel Piette as "possibly the most innovative and devastating retailer in the world".


  1. ^ http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/apr2006/gb20060404_167078.htm?chan=innovation_branding_brand+profiles

External links



問題發生在12/13傍晚 ADSL當機
14日早 故障
我傍晚回來 網路已通 我想他們可能修好

不料 他們今天早上在打電話來
不料 來之之後 我才知道原約6年前裝的ADSL機器近來長常有人"抱怨"出狀況


2007年12月4日 星期二


You don't have right to Use/access this server.


I just love their tag line. It’s what gives me hope:

“We are the people we have been waiting for.”






















474億8800萬 匯豐銀HSBC標下中華銀


匯豐銀行今天成功標下中華商業銀行,得標金額(HC案: 國家須給HSBC 預定賠付金額)為新台幣474億8800萬元,中央存保預定下周三與匯豐銀行簽約,此收購案將使匯豐在台分行數從8家增加至47家,四大外商銀行相繼收購本土銀行,也將使得本國銀行競爭壓力驟升。

中央存款保險公司總經理陳戰勝表示,中華銀行本體(Good Bank)部分,經過昨日、今日兩天的開標議價程序後,最後由香港上海匯豐銀行得標,得標金額(即預定賠付金額)為新台幣474億8800萬元,中央存保 公司與匯豐銀行預定於19日簽訂中華商業銀行特定保留資產及保留負債以外資產、負債及營業標售案之合約。

陳戰勝指出,中華銀行特定不良債權(Bad Bank)部分已於今年七月底順利標售完成,今天則是標售銀行本體(Good Bank)部分,但中華銀行仍有部分爭議性資產將持續保留,待後續處理。


外商銀行在台灣聲勢逐漸擴張,前四大外商銀行裡,英商渣打銀行併購新竹商銀,美商花旗銀行買下華僑銀行,荷商荷蘭銀行也在6月標下台東企銀,匯豐銀行成功 標下中華銀行後,成為第二家外銀標下問題金融機構,以及第四家國際級外銀併購國銀者,本國銀行未來將面臨更嚴峻的市場競爭。


匯豐銀行也將挹注一筆額外資金,確保其營運規模擴大後仍能維持適當的財務比例;根據現有資料,預計該金額約為3億至4億美元的等值新台幣。中華商業銀行目 前在台灣共有36家分行和超過100萬名客戶,營業項目涵蓋個人金融、中小企業和大型企業的各項金融服務。根據交易協議,匯豐銀行亦可將中華商業銀行的三 個事業部門改設分行。








中華商業銀行目 前在台灣共有36家分行和超過100萬名客戶,營業項目涵蓋個人金融、中小企業和大型企業的各項金融服務。


2007年12月11日 星期二

Radiotherapy center glut feared / Experts wonder if investment in latest cancer treatment facilities will pay off

Radiotherapy center glut feared / Experts wonder if investment in latest cancer treatment facilities will pay off
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Facilities that provide particle beam radiation therapy for cancer patients are being planned or envisioned at more than 15 locations nationwide, with some experts concerned that a future glut in facilities could lead to a costly scramble to attract patients.

Radiation therapy using particle beams comprising heavy ions and protons is believed highly effective in treating cancer as it can specifically target tumors. But experts wonder whether the massive investment to build such facilities, where patients will be asked to bear a huge amount in treatment fees, will actually pay off.

The Japan Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology will discuss the need for particle beam treatment facilities at a meeting scheduled to begin in Fukuoka on Thursday.

The number of cancer patients is increasing as society grays. Every year, more than 500,000 people are believed to develop cancer.
Under such circumstances, public attention is focused on radiation treatment as it reduces the need for surgery. Particle beams are said to be especially effective in treating prostate cancer and early stage lung cancer. Particle beams also are said to work well in treating osteosarcoma and malignant melanoma--tumors that are difficult to treat with conventional methods.

There are currently six particle beam radiation facilities in the country, including the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba Prefecture and the Hyogo Ion Beam Medical Center in Hyogo Prefecture.
Because particle beam irradiation treatment is not covered by national health insurance, people receiving treatment will on average have to pay about 3 million yen.

In addition to the six existing facilities, Gunma University and a private hospital in Fukushima Prefecture have started constructing such facilities, while both the Fukui prefectural government and a private hospital in Kagoshima Prefecture have ordered particle beam systems. In addition, plans are afoot to build 10 more facilities.

Some facilities will be in direct competition with each other.
In Kanagawa Prefecture, the prefectural government and a private hospital are separately planning to build heavy ion beam facilities. In Aichi Prefecture, the Nagoya city government plans to build a proton irradiation facility while the prefectural government is backing a private-sector plan to build a heavy ion beam facility.

Particle beam irradiation is expected to be highly effective to treat elderly cancer patients otherwise unable to endure surgery. Growing interest from medical institutions, local governments and financial institutions in the treatment method is believed to have pushed up the number of plans to build such facilities.

However, construction and equipment costs for such facilities are colossal.

For instance, Gunma University will spend 12.5 billion yen to build its facility. The facility ordered by the Fukui prefectural government is estimated to cost about 8 billion yen.

While certain cancers are only treatable with particle beam therapy, some experts have pointed out that the number of cancer patients that will need such treatment should be taken into account.

Hirohiko Tsujii, who heads the Research Center for Charged Particle Therapy at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, believes 10 to 20 particle beam treatment facilities may be needed. Tsujii made the projection based on treatment needed by more than 10,000 to 25,000 patients, with each facility to treat 1,000 patients a year.

However, conventional radiation treatment outside of particle beam treatment has proved highly effective in treating lung and prostate cancer.

Kyoto University Prof. Masahiro Hiraoka argues that only several thousand patients specifically need particle beam treatment, a figure that could be handled by existing facilities and those under construction.

"There's a concern of a major overcapacity if all planned facilities are constructed," Hiraoka said.
(Dec. 11, 2007)

2007年12月10日 星期一


臺灣蘋果日報 景氣急衰退 壓垮唐雅君






停業兩月看資金調度 為了處理亞爵,唐雅君透過友人介紹找到新投資人,不料竟是一場騙局,開出19張共9500萬元支票,成為壓垮亞力山大的最後一根稻草。唐雅君表示,「上個月底,我幾乎沒有辦法入睡,每天都在想可以找誰幫忙。上周末之前確定支票拿不回來了,更是慌了。我在想,會員怎麼辦?員工怎麼辦?」....."

2007年12月9日 星期日

China Shrinks

Editorial Notebook

China Shrinks

Published: December 9, 2007

Few people noticed, but China got smaller the other day. According to new estimates, the colossal Chinese economy that has been making marketers salivate and giving others an inferiority complex may be roughly 40 percent smaller than previously thought: worth $6 trillion rather than $10 trillion. That means it lost a chunk roughly the size of Japan’s output.

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The BoardAdditional commentary, background information and other items by Times editorial writers.

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What happened was a large statistical glitch. When comparing the size of economies, economists mostly avoid using the standard currency exchange rates seen in bank windows. These fluctuate too much, driven by housing woes, trade deficits or presidential popularity. Economists prefer to use what is known as “purchasing power parity” — or P.P.P. — a rate that adjusts for price differences between countries.

Take a 40 yuan serving of noodles at an eatery in Beijing. If the same dish cost $4 at a comparable restaurant in New York, the noodle P.P.P. would be 10 yuan to the dollar. Calculated using a large basket of goods and services, this ratio allows for a more consistent comparison of economies.

The problem is that the World Bank’s measure of China’s rate, everybody’s benchmark, had been based on a 1980s survey of Chinese prices. This year, the World Bank did its own survey to update the measure. While the bank has not published it yet, Albert Keidel of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace extrapolated the figure from another set of exchange rates published by the Asian Development Bank.

It turns out that things in China are more expensive. It’s as though we discovered that the real price of the noodles in Beijing was 50 yuan, yielding a P.P.P. of 12.5 yuan to the dollar rather than 10. That means the Chinese are relatively poorer and China’s economy is smaller than everybody thought.

This is not a mere technicality. Suddenly the number of Chinese who live below the World Bank’s poverty line of a dollar a day jumped from about 100 million to 300 million, roughly the size of the United States population. And if you thought China’s energy consumption was dismally inefficient, consider that it still uses the same amount of energy to produce 40 percent less stuff. The reassessment does not just involve China. India is also likely to be downsized. And, by the way, global growth has very likely been slower than we thought.

I don’t think China’s leaders have said anything about the recalibration. But they should be pretty pleased. China has been known to enjoy throwing its weight around, but being big also exacts a cost. If a country is that wealthy, others can demand that it start pulling its weight and play more by the international rules. If China is less wealthy, and less a rival, maybe some members of the United States Congress will not press it so hard to revalue its exchange rate. Using the earlier estimate, China’s economy was due to surpass the $13 trillion American economy in about five years. At $6 trillion, it may look somewhat less scary.


2007年12月8日 星期六

Success Without Ads

Success Without Ads

Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times

About 150 people at Consumer Reports do the testing. Jim Langehennig checked cellphone headsets.

Published: December 8, 2007

YONKERS — It makes no sense for publications to charge readers on the Web — at least, that’s the conventional wisdom. But conventional wisdom does not carry much weight at Consumer Reports, that detailed guide to buying everything from prescription drugs to pickup trucks.

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Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times

Caroline Somera tested TVs.

Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times

The resolution of a camera lens was tested at the group’s office.

Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times

Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union.

Consumer Reports, a monthly, refuses to publish ads, which are the primary source of revenue for most magazines, yet it makes a healthy profit. And it not only charges for access to most of its Web site, it has three million paying subscribers online — up about 60 percent in the last 18 months — which experts say may be the largest number in the industry.

Very few big publications have tried charging Web readers, and almost all of them have had second thoughts. The Wall Street Journal has most of its content behind a pay barrier, but its owner-to-be, the News Corporation, is reconsidering that policy. The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times tried charging for some online content, then abandoned the practice.

For a decade, however, Consumer Reports has charged Internet readers the same price as print subscribers, currently $26 a year (or $5.99 for a month’s online access or $45 a year to get the magazine both in print and on the Web). While the rest of the industry sees print readers as more valuable — because advertisers do — Consumer Reports actually makes more money from readers on its Web site, because it avoids printing, trucking and mailing costs.

“It’s not like we’re a stroke of brilliance,” said John Sateja, senior vice president for information products at Consumers Union, the nonprofit group that publishes Consumer Reports. “We had no choice. We have no advertising, so we had to survive on what readers pay.”

The organization does more than just survive. Consumers Union reports that its publications — Consumer Reports and a few much smaller ones — generated $208 million in revenue in the year ended May 31, with an operating margin of about $28 million.

“We had to become more entrepreneurial,” said Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union.

This success subsidizes the organization’s consumer advocacy work, helping to reshape a group that early in this decade was losing $7 million a year. In recent years, Consumers Union has set up shop in dozens of state capitals, has signed up more than half a million activists who send e-mail messages to lawmakers and corporations and has taken on causes like forcing drug companies to disclose the results of clinical trials.

Given Consumers Union’s self-appointed mission of protecting the public from corporate misdeeds, and given the type of people such a mission attracts, the group has a liberal, though nonpartisan, bent. The work histories of some staff members suggest as much; Mr. Guest used to work for groups that advocate abortion rights and gun control.

“They’re like Ralph Nader without the politics,” said Victor Navasky, former publisher and editor of The Nation. “So it’s amusing that what they do comes across in conventional, capitalist terms — helping people who want to spend their money to spend it and get value for it, and pushing corporations to perform better.”

Mr. Guest sees no incongruity in any of this. “We have to think and act like a business,” he said, seeing readers as the shareholders.

That meant, among other things, more aggressive placement of the magazine in checkout aisles and newsstands, and buying a long list of sponsored search terms on Google and Yahoo. Fierce competition for terms like “S.U.V.” puts those words out of Consumer Reports’ price range, but there is substantially less clamor for the rights to, say, “toaster.”

Subscriptions to the magazine still produce the vast majority of Consumers Union’s revenue: the dead-tree version of Consumer Reports has a paid circulation of 4.5 million, more than all but a handful of American magazines. There is relatively little overlap between the print and Web subscribers — about 600,000 — which allows the magazine to reach two large, distinct audiences.

More than 60 percent of the print magazine’s readers are men, but the Web site, where readers are split almost evenly by sex, has helped Consumer Reports draw more women. Online readers average 50 years old, a decade younger than print readers, and are better off financially.

A reader of the printed magazine might be “someone who generally wants to be a well-informed consumer,” said Giselle Benatar, editor in chief of online media. “But on the Web site, we’re attracting very transaction-minded consumers. They are shoppers. They’re looking for a product, they want ratings, they want recommendations, and they want it now, not once a month.”

The site has been steadily built up, with additions like, this year, crash test videos — front and side impact — on nearly every vehicle sold in the United States. One of the site’s primary attractions is its deep well of product ratings — not only more data on some products than will fit in the magazine, but also ratings published months or years ago. It can also produce reviews of new products like the iPhone much faster than the magazine, as well as safety warnings on things like lead paint in toys, which are always available on the free portion of the site.

And the magazine’s most consistent message may just be, as the editor in chief, Kimberly Kleman, said, that “a lot of the highfalutin brands are rock-bottom in our ratings,” while the cheap, plain products can fare quite well.

Consumer Reports’ own brand has come under attack from time to time, its credibility questioned by companies whose products get low ratings. There were two protracted lawsuits brought by automakers in the 1990s, after the magazine called their S.U.V.’s too prone to rolling over; neither case ended with a clear result.

The worst blow came last January, when Consumer Reports reported that most of the child car seats it had tested were unsafe in side-impact crashes.

Within days it said publicly that its conclusions were wrong. Consumers Union quickly sent letters of apology to all subscribers and removed the article from the Web site. The magazine published a long article explaining how the mistake was made.

The erroneous report involved a kind of crash test the magazine had never tried before, conducted by an outside testing company it had never used, leading to misinterpretation of the data.

Others in the magazine industry — and even some of the car seat makers — were impressed by how Consumer Reports dealt with the affair. Circulation kept rising and, perhaps as important, the news media continued to quote Consumer Reports as an authoritative source of product ratings.

“I think the way they handled it increased their credibility,” said Kent Brownridge, who heads the Alpha Media Group, publisher of Maxim and Blender. It would take more than one such misstep, he said, to dent the magazine’s reputation.

Consumer Reports’ relationship with product makers is often awkward. Despite many requests, it does not allow companies to trumpet high ratings from the magazine in ads. Companies that fare poorly rarely make much noise about it — executives at several such companies said that doing so just draws attention to bad reviews — and the complaints they do voice are usually muted, objecting to the magazine’s conclusions, but not its motives.

The magazine tries to keep manufacturers at arms’ length, while occasionally consulting them about how to test their products, and giving them a chance to respond to serious allegations before publication. After the car seat debacle, the magazine said it would shift the balance toward more communication, especially when working in unfamiliar terrain. Consumer Reports has a large staff, more than 300 people; about 150, many of them engineers, do nothing but test products.

Enter one room in the headquarters north of New York City, and find a long table with hundreds of dishes arrayed in rows, each carefully smeared with the same pasta sauce, chili, mustard and other stain-makers, before being loaded into dozens of dishwashers. Down the hall is a room furnished to simulate a suburban den, where audio components play for a mannequin whose electronic ears funnel the results to a computer. The magazine even has its own vehicle test track in Connecticut.

(After testing, all the products are auctioned off to employees.)

Consumer Reports also has survey researchers and statisticians who analyze responses to product-performance surveys from more than a million readers annually. And there is a team of people who fan out around the country to buy products incognito in every region, from every sort of retailer.

But those costs are offset by economic advantages Consumer Reports has over many other magazines. Its headquarters, in the parent group’s low, nondescript building, sits off a highway in Yonkers, a mostly blue-collar town, a few miles from the Midtown Manhattan hive of the magazine swarm, but much farther away in mind-set and in dollars.

Consumer Reports prints on cheap paper, unlike magazines whose high-quality stock is dictated by glossy ads, and as a nonprofit group, it pays much lower postage. Consumer Reports spends about $17 million a year on paper and postage; commercial magazines of similar size can spend $40 million.

Magazine industry executives voice admiration for what Consumer Reports has achieved, but they are skeptical about applying its experience to other magazines. For starters, after seven decades, it has no direct competition.

None of it would work if it were not for the fact that “what they do is useful, practical, needed,” Mr. Brownridge said, and that the magazine “has credibility, an authoritative voice.”

Dyslexia 失読症相當普遍


dys·lex·i·a (dĭs-lĕk'sē-ə) pronunciation

A learning disorder marked by impairment of the ability to recognize and comprehend written words.

[New Latin : DYS– + Greek lexis, speech (from legein, to speak).]

━━ n. 【医】失読症.


Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by problems in reading, spelling, writing, speaking, or listening. In many cases, dyslexia appears to be inherited.

Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia

Published: December 6, 2007

It has long been known that dyslexics are drawn to running their own businesses, where they can get around their weaknesses in reading and writing and play on their strengths. But a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought.

The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed — 35 percent — identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than nondyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

The study was based on a survey of 139 business owners in a wide range of fields across the United States. Professor Logan called the number who said they were dyslexic “staggering,” and said it was significantly higher than the 20 percent of British entrepreneurs who said they were dyslexic in a poll she conducted in 2001.

She attributed the greater share in the United States to earlier and more effective intervention by American schools to help dyslexic students deal with their learning problems. Approximately 10 percent of Americans are believed to have dyslexia, experts say.

One reason that dyslexics are drawn to entrepreneurship, Professor Logan said, is that strategies they have used since childhood to offset their weaknesses in written communication and organizational ability — identifying trustworthy people and handing over major responsibilities to them — can be applied to businesses.

“The willingness to delegate authority gives them a significant advantage over nondyslexic entrepreneurs, who tend to view their business as their baby and like to be in total control,” she said.

William J. Dennis Jr., senior research fellow at the Research Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group in Washington, said the study’s results “fit into the pattern of what we know about small-business owners.”

“Entrepreneurs are hands-on people who push a minimum of paper, do lots of stuff orally instead of reading and writing, and delegate authority, all of which suggests a high verbal facility,” Mr. Dennis said. “Compare that with corporate managers who read, read, read.”

Indeed, according to Professor Logan, only 1 percent of corporate managers in the United States have dyslexia.

Much has been written about the link between dyslexia and entrepreneurial success. Fortune Magazine, for example, ran a cover story five years ago about dyslexic business leaders, including Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways; Charles R. Schwab, founder of the discount brokerage firm that bears his name; John T. Chambers, chief executive of Cisco; and Paul Orfalea, founder of the Kinko’s copy chain.

Similarly, Rosalie P. Fink, a professor at Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., wrote a paper in 1998 on 60 highly accomplished people with dyslexia.

But Professor Logan said hers was the first study that she knew of that tried to measure the percentage of entrepreneurs who have dyslexia. Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation, which financed the research, agreed. He said the findings were surprising but, he said, there was no previous baseline to measure it against.

Emerson Dickman , president of the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore and a lawyer in Maywood, N.J., said the study’s findings “just make sense.”

“Individuals who have difficulty reading and writing tend to deploy other strengths,” Mr. Dickman, who has dyslexia, said. “They rely on mentors, and as a result, become very good at reading other people and delegating duties to them. They become adept at using visual strengths to solve problems.”

Mr. Orfalea, 60, who left Kinko’s — now FedEx Kinko’s — seven years ago, and who now dabbles in a hodgepodge of business undertakings, is almost proud of having dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“I get bored easily, and that is a great motivator,” he said. “I think everybody should have dyslexia and A.D.D.

He attributes his success to his difficulty with reading and writing because it forced him to master verbal communication.

“I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence as a kid,” he said. “And that is for the good. If you have a healthy dose of rejection in your life, you are going to have to figure out how to do it your way.”

He said his biggest advantage was his realization that because of his many inadequacies, he had to delegate important tasks to subordinates. “My motto is: Anybody else can do anything better than me,” he said.

Danny Kessler, 26, also has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Mr. Kessler founded Angels with Attitude, which holds seminars for women on self-defense. He is a co-founder of Club E Network (www.clubenetwork.com), which sponsors “networking events,” runs an online chat room for entrepreneurs and produces television shows about them.

Like Mr. Orfalea, he said he had low self-esteem as a child, and now views that as a catapult into the entrepreneurial world. “I told myself I would never be a lawyer or a doctor,” he said. “But I wanted to make a lot of money. And I knew business was the only way I was going to do it.”

In high school, Mr. Kessler said, “I became cool with the teachers. I developed a rapport with them. I was able to convince almost all of them to nudge my grade up just a bit. I adopted a strategy for squeezing through the system.”

As for the importance of entrusting tasks to others, Mr. Kessler says his limitations have endowed him with a “razor sharp” intuition that allows him to ascertain within minutes of meeting people whether he can depend on them and what they would be good at in an organization.

Drew Devitt, 45, who also has dyslexia, said he started Thoughtware Products in college to produce videos for real estate brokers. Today, he runs a successful $9 million company in Aston, Pa., called New Way Air Bearings that makes bearings for precision machine tools.

Asked about mentors, Mr. Devitt ticks off a list, and it is a long one, beginning with his parents, who sold imported bearing materials out of their home.

Indirectly, he confirmed that he gives free rein to his deputies. Asked about the claim on his company’s Web site that it is a “market leader,” he sighed. “That’s not something I would say,” he said. “Actually, it’s baloney. But that’s what our marketing people came up with. You can’t do everything. You have to let people do their job.”

2007年12月6日 星期四

Turbulent days ahead due to union 'spy files'


Turbulent days ahead due to union 'spy files'


The late novelist Motoki Uchida was an All Nippon Airways (ANA) pilot. In his book "Kicho kara anaunsu" (This is your captain speaking) from Shinchosha Publishing Co., Uchida stressed the importance of the chief purser.

The person in the post is responsible for overseeing the entire cabin crew. "If the chief purser is competent, the pilot can operate the aircraft free of worries," he wrote. Uchida went on to say that if the chief purser is not competent and lacks leadership, the whole flight could become a strain.

The cabin and the cockpit; maintenance and operation; the ground staff and in-flight crew: If they work in unison, safe air travel is virtually guaranteed.

Meanwhile, about 200 Japan Airlines (JAL) cabin attendants have instituted a damages suit against the company and its biggest labor union. The cause of this was the discovery of "spy files" compiled secretly by the union.

The files contain personal information of about 10,000 employees. I was shocked by the content. Just to pick a few: "(She) is a flirt"; "loves mixed parties"; "had two miscarriages"; "takes her menstrual leave every month"; "fat"; "loves to drink"; "has a great figure." I must say this is more in the realm of tasteless gossip than personal information.

Some files contain comments that verge on what an investigator of people's thoughts and beliefs might write, while others divulged the subjects' medical histories and performance ratings, things that only their superiors could have been privy to.

JAL has disciplined 25 management personnel and others for passing on information to the union, but denied any organizational involvement.

There are eight JAL unions, and the one that is being sued is said to be pro-management. The union insists that the files are kept to facilitate consultations with members and for the recruitment of new members. I, however, suspect they were being used as management-labor ammunition for undermining other unions that stand up to the management. It is miserable indeed to work for a company where workers rat on one another.

I felt empathy for the plaintiffs in their cabin attendant uniforms handing out leaflets to passers-by, but the sight also made me a bit uneasy. Are these women performing their in-flight duties while nursing distrust for their superiors and colleagues?

How could the airline cause its staff, who are responsible for the safety of passengers, to worry about problems on the ground? Uchida, who took off for heaven a year ago, so to speak, must be lamenting this situation.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 1(IHT/Asahi: December 6,2007)