Friday, March 29, 2013

How the Business World Works


I have two links today for your reading pleasure; warning, both are a bit long. Together, they tell a story about what work is today--how it works, how it's changing, and what drives it. Both caught my attention on the blog/aggregator Digg (

The macro story is about Samsung. How did it zoom from a "meh" company languishing on the back shelves of Circuit City (remember them?) to the one company able to challenge Apple, at least for now in cell phones?

Don't get me wrong. I'm a died in the wool Mac enthusiast. I had my hands on the very first Macintosh model that ever worked off the production line, the Mac 128K in 1984. I was sold immediately, and eventually (with the gracious support of my parents in those lean grad-school years) got my hands on the third-ever Mac model, a 512KE. (Microscopic! The numbers refer to RAM; my current Mac could be called the "Mac 8,388,608K.")

But back to Samsung. Here is the story of its business strategy. It's run as a dictatorship. I can't imagine that working there was pleasant at some junctures. But the linked article outlines a clear (and obviously successful) business strategy. It's not a business model for everybody, every organization. But it's brilliantly logical. Study it--find out how companies make decisions, not only about how to hire, but how a real organization works in the world today.

The second link is micro. The title, "Your iPhone kills jobs," is perhaps a bit misleading. It's not about how the job you thought you were headed for when you enrolled in college as a freshman has gone out the window due to outsourcing.

Instead, it's about how mobile electronics (iPhone, and undoubtedly Samsung) are becoming a tool to place an extra buffering layer between you and the people who decide what you will be paid, or whether you'll be paid. When you (the employee) are removed in space and time from the person who makes the decisions, you get paid less.

Interesting side note: it discusses the New York city Automat--where my Pop-Pop worked for many years.

My favorite quote from this second link: "You paste on a plastic smile and do your work as efficiently as possible." 

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