August 26, 2009

Credit Where Credits Due

Recently I put in a letter to Coopers Brewery.
I did this because
  1. I'm a big fan of their beer, especially the Pale Ale and
  2. Greenpeace had made a big thing about certain companies responding or not responding to a survey they did on the way certain ingredients were sourced, and especially if they are GM.
Coopers were one of the companies who at the time the article was published had not responded to the survey and therefore it was up in the air as to whether they were using GM Ingredients or not.

I wished them to clear the air.

Some weeks passed and here is the response I got from Coopers
Dear Customer

I am responding to you e-mails of concern about the GM status of Coopers beers and homebrews.

I can assure you that Coopers contains no ingredients derived from GM organisms. We are proud of our no additive and no preservative status and would never move away from our traditional brewing methods for our ales and stouts.


Nick Sterenberg
Operations Manger
Coopers Brewery Ltd
Perhaps the delay in responding was due to them checking their suppliers productions and growing facilities to see if they were a-OK. Either way, credit where credit is due, especially as they have been quite categorical in how they word it.
I immediately went and purchased me a case of Pale to whet my thirst. I'd been hanging out for a few weeks ;)
Now it appears only Fosters are on the list. Not surprised really, VB could hardly be called Beer in the correct sense of the word anyway. I imagine it's been GM'd since before the flood.

August 20, 2009

The Pillars of Retail

Sometime ago, I wrote about the segmentation of markets and the inherent gaps there are in that Segmentation when people don't 'fit' the model. In my day job recently I've been doing a lot of thinking about Retail, which is not really a subject I know much about. And recently I've had the experience of some hideous customer service (which I'll write about at length in a follow up article). So I've been thinking about how all those thought processes overlap.

I conceptualised some time ago in an earlier draft of this article what I thought where the definitions of a successful retail offering. While this article is semi-educated OPINION, developed by being a customer for well, a few years now, I think it is important to defer to experts in the field. So I have been canvassing directly or indirectly input about Retail (i.e. Bricks and Mortar) sales outlets. Especially when it comes to the Key Pillar of that channel - Customer Experience.

As part 1 of this piece, let me share my opinions on what I believe a retail business should, at the very least, offer a customer.

August 06, 2009

Patents; killing innovation for 100 years

Apparently a company called Techradium is suing Twitter (read about it at the Inquistr and ARN) I read it with a mixture of concern and contempt.
Concern because, even though Twitter often gives me the shits, I use it on a daily basis. It has become the ONLY way I communicate with some people and it has allowed me to meet a huge number of great people along the way.
Contempt because, as I wrote as a comment on the ARN site;
Someone has done something better in an open way, which beats what someone else
has done. That's called capitalism...if you haven't monetised your system
already and made it essential, shut up shop and move on
So with respect to Techradium, and without deepdiving into the specific Patent, I almost wish they would 'go away'. This is because I believe any company which relies on Patents to make money in their business really shouldn't exist anyway. Patents appear to me to have become something which have changed from being a protector of innovation to a killer of innovation.

From reading the technology 'press', it has become my understanding the majority of the Patents which are being granted these days, especially in the USA, appear to be for something so minor as to prevent any form of innovation from possible competitors - real, imagined or even unknown.

Specifically, with so many patents being granted or having been granted in the past, what is any company supposed to do with their start-up or R&D cash? There must be some concern among VC people that much of their investment will be spent on legal fees to search out any or all tenuous or actual patent conflicts there may be. I prefer an environment where if you create something, patent it and bring it to market, you should only be protected for the patent in the case where someone deliberately breaks your patent in a way that directly impacts your business.

In the case we are referring to today, and of course I'm not a patent lawyer, neither of the above seem to be the case. Indeed the Techradium rent a sue writes;
"It appears that Twitter's core functionality is squarely within
the technology described by TechRadium's patents."
Nothing about deliberately seeking out and reusing Techradium technology there or even Twitter directly going after Techradium's business.

It seems to me Techradium were once the popular kid in one corner of the school yard. Now some other kid has appeared in the other corner and has attracted all his fans cos he's a bit 'same but different'. And they are pissed because they've lost all their cred and want to get the other kids back. But they've moved on and its too late.

Bottom line, Techradium, enhance your service, make it more desirable to your existing and potential customers. Either that, and just like in every business - Local Coffee shop to Nortel, move on and find something your customers want to pay for.