JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 84 : May 9, 2002
Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
- Automation Suppliers - more on Siemens & Yokogawa
- Can technology foil hijackers?
- Book: Crossing the Chasm
- Creeping Criminality
- Connect - keeping pace with San Diego technology
- Similarities in Japan and German cultures
- Nanotechnology is coming
- Global locations for tech-support
Automation Suppliers - more on Siemens and Yokogawa
I've had a lotttt of feedback and commentary on my review of
Siemens, and of the Japanese automation players. Here are some
additional noteworthy inputs which I thought you would enjoy.
In JimPinto.com eNews (April 18, 2002) I had presented a senior
US Manager's view of Siemens. It is clear that the European's
have a completely different view.
Mathieu van den Bergh [firstname.lastname@example.org] who is
originally from the Netherlands, now lives in San Diego, CA.
and travels to Europe frequently, had this to say about Siemens:
"I think your view of Siemens is a little dated; they are far more
flexible now than they were 10-15 years ago.
Siemens - a US managers perspective
"Several of the large German conglomerates have had difficulties
with large acquisitions (lately BMW and Daimler were added to this
list) and thus they are more interested in purchasing smaller
companies with more innovation as compared to buying sales volume
and market share.
"Whereas Siemens hasn't had the performance of GE, they certainly
haven't had the creative accounting of GE, and the profit they
report is real. Nevertheless, Siemens (deliberately ??) missed out
in the services and financial sector, where GE has added so much to
their portfolio. On the other hand, Siemens grabbed major chunks of
telecom and did very well in that - although it hasn't been that good
for them the last 12 months or so. Of course, GE's performance has
declined with big insurance "hits" ($ 600 million reserved for 9/11
and associated events) and the aircraft engine business is under
pressure as well.
"Last week, one of the German radio stations had a morning show,
featuring the European GE VP (headquartered in Munich) who's main
job it is to start building a reasonable presence in Europe. GE is
a virtual unknown in European consumer markets, and they wish to
change that. But the VP acknowledged that if you asked the German
public their opinion about GE, 9 out of 10 just wouldn't know the
company. Maybe the same is true of Siemens in the USA."
Chris Carnavos [email@example.com] CEO of Accelics
provided these first-hand insights:
For several years, I (along with another American, now retired)
was running the instrument and systems business in the US for
Industrial Automation - the Japanese players
"Your comments relative to how the businesses are run are probably true
today, but there are some important points that should be made:
"Yokogawa was a leader in making relationships with westerners in
Japan - GE (Medical Systems), HP, and Johnson Controls. I believe
these are all successful businesses today, thanks to Yokogawa.
"Originally, Yokogawa installed American management in its Yokogawa
Corp of America (ex-Foxboro president, I believe) and that was not
successful. Then they tried to make a JV with Johnson Controls, but
in their eyes, eventually Johnson provided no value (different
markets) and they were losing lots of money. So, after pouring mega millions
into the US market, with Americans in charge, they decided they could
do better themselves. I can't blame them for that decision, even
though I did not agree!
"It is also important to understand that Yokogawa ranked their
market priorities as 1.Japan; 2.Asia; 3.Western Europe; 4.USA;
5.Rest-Of-World. Therefore, their eventual strategy became one of
maintaining a reasonable market share and trying not to lose too
much money. They sent over one Japanese rising star after another
to get some experience, watch competitors, and limit losses.
It's as simple as that.
"In many respects, I miss working with and for Yokogawa. They always
treated me well and with respect. However, as you pointed out, until
they cease being a Japanese company with an export mentality, and
truly are able to be an international company, their future potential
"As for the Japanese-German mind-meld, when I left ABB, I gave the
leader of my ABB business unit in Mannheim a good-bye present.
It was a globe of the world, with only a map of Germany on it!"
Can technology foil hijackers
The computers in the cockpits of modern jets help airline pilots with
more and more tasks: plotting routes, calculating fuel use and takeoff
speeds, relieving the tedium of 14-hour flights and finding the way
through the clouds. But what about dealing with the problem of
hijackers who want to turn planes into weapons?
Technologies to foil hijackers being considered include onboard
flight-control systems that could be programmed to prevent planes
from heading into restricted areas; remote control from the ground
that could not be overridden from the cockpit; and a panic button,
also impossible to override, that has the plane direct itself to
land at the nearest suitable field.
The computer-enforced "no flight" idea has been articulated by
Edward Lee, an engineering professor at the UC Berkeley, who calls
it "soft walls." Mountains, he says, are "hard walls," where planes
cannot fly; why not add artificial three-dimensional blocks of space
where planes cannot enter?
This kind of innovative technology thinking continues at a hectic
pace. And it will continue to make the world a safer and happier
NY Times: Can Technology Foil Hijackers?
Book: Crossing the Chasm
A new, updated edition of Geoffrey Moore's marketing bible is out:
Crossing the Chasm - Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to
High-tech products require marketing strategies that differ from
those in other industries. Geoffrey Moore's "chasm" theory describes
how high-tech products initially sell well, mainly to visionaries and
early adopters, but then hit a lull as marketing professionals try to
cross the chasm to mainstream buyers.
Moore suggests remedies for the problem - he describes how to move
slowly through the gulf, by focusing on specific segments of the
market rather than trying to waste time and money by jumping right
into the mainstream.
Written not just for marketing specialists but for all employees whose
futures ride on the success of a technical product, "Crossing the
Chasm" delivers crucial information in an engaging, readable style.
This updated edition of the 1991 classic is a MUST-READ for all
Marketing people. If you like it, you should also Moore's book
"Inside the Tornado".
Geoffrey Moore - Crossing the Chasm
The way business is organized today, there is a lot of encouragement
to fudge. Bluffing becomes the norm. Many drift into fiddling with
results, expecting that they can explain away the discrepancy if and
when their bluff is called. They fudge (stretch the truth), and then
the fudging turns to lying, which extends to cheating and stealing.
This is creeping criminality.
Few people are out and out criminals - most drift into increasingly
dubious behavior through insidious wealth addiction. And it's not
just top executives who are subject to creeping criminality.
It's an affliction at any level.
My article "Creeping Criminality" was just published in the May 2002
issue of the popular webzine *spark-online.
Latest (May 2002) issue of *spark-online
This article is part of a trilogy -
Lure of the Lifestyle
CONNECT - keeping pace with San Diego Tech
If you value your JimPinto.com e-News, you may also appreciate the
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and events. Tech sector service providers also get due coverage.
Recent articles include following an angel investment as it moves
through Q3DM, the new NIH-funded protein database at UCSD, and the
rapid entrenchment of SAIC and Titan into the homeland security
The publication is free of advertising, and covers the entire
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organization. President Busch, Governor Davis and 20,000 other subscribers
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Read the most recent issues of the CONNECT newsletter
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Ricardo Pessoa [firstname.lastname@example.org]wrote about the similarities
between the Japan and Germany approaches to business:
"German and Japanese cultures have much in common, specially
regarding the view towards aliens and foreign cultures.
Robert Unseld [email@example.com] the Editor of "elektronik"
magazine in Germany commented about Nanotechnology:
"Japanese countries cannot, as well as Germany, be clearly
understood from a US-based paradigm. One has to understand how
these cultures have evolved over time to avoid misconcepts and myths.
"I'd suggest a revisitation of one of the clearer books on Japanese
culture written in the times when Japanese juggernauts assaulted
the business world, initiating the TQM, TPM and other initiatives
in manufacturing. It is "The Enigma of Japanese Power" by
Karel van Wolferen."
"There won't be a nanotech-market standalone. Nanotechnology will
evolve into the microelectronics market through shrinking structures.
It is already used in several surface-tech applications: coatings for
cars with the surface-hardness of glass, so mini-damages by stones
won't occur. In the ceramics field, a German company has a wash-basin
with no-dirt-stick characteristic because of its special surface.
Earl Cunningham [firstname.lastname@example.org] wrote this about globalization
of the world:
At the Hannover Trade Fair in April 2002, lots of running projects
were presented. Nanotech will supposedly add new features and
possibilities to our world today, from IT to Biotech. There is no
telling where "Nano" won't play a role. It will enhance our world
"My daughter had trouble with her Dell computer and contacted their
help line. While talking to a very knowledgeable, helpful and polite
technician she asked where he was located; India, she was told (which
explained his accent)!"
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