Circuit City downgrades employees and guarantees its eventual demise
Today's Wall Street Journal is reporting [paid sub required] that beleaguered retailer Circuit City (NYSE: CC) is firing almost 3500 employees with the intent of replacing them with less skilled workers. As the WSJ explains:
"Circuit City Stores Inc. announced a new wave of cost-cutting efforts as it battles larger, more efficient retailers amid intense competition for sales of flat-screen TVs and other electronics. The Richmond, Va., retailer said it will replace 3,400 mostly store-level employees with lower-paid workers..."
This is a phenomenally stupid move for the company, I must say. Think about it...
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Twitter leaves me asking "Who the heck cares?"
Sometimes Web sites become huge hits while I stand on the sidelines the entire time, scratching my head and being unable to figure out what the attraction is. That's exactly my take on Twitter, what has apparently become the blogger fad of the day partially due to its popularity at the geekfest SXSW.
The premise of the Twitter service is that being able to update your friends with frequent one-line descriptions of where you are and what you're doing is somehow inherently interesting. Whether you send in updates via email, from a cellphone's SMS service or by simply logging in to the site, 5-10 word updates dozens of times a day are the cornerstone of Twitter and its fans.
A few scintillating examples from the current batch of messages received in the last few minutes on the site (you can see what everyone's up to by just going to the site's home page, btw)...
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Skype Prime: Interesting, but not for real consultants
I'm surprised to read the usually on-target Darren Rowse suggest on his blog that the newly released Windows-only "Skype Prime" would be a good match for entrepreneurial bloggers and business consultants. I couldn't disagree more.
The idea behind Skype Prime is basically the 900 number model: set up a phone number where you can charge callers on a per-minute basis. If I charged $60/hr for consulting, for example, I could automatically have Skype charge $1/minute and give you my number for you to call at any time. Want to chat about the weather or check to see if I'm attending a particular upcoming conference? Sorry, the meter's running, that'll be $3...
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Airbus and the trillion dollar engineering error
If you're trapped in the world of "Web 2.0" and the Internet, the larger face of business might well pass you by, which is too bad. Between ongoing stock options scandals, excessive executive pay for failed performance and the dramatic vacillation of the stock market, the errors are big, the people are larger than life, and the problems are often shocking.
Little has surprised me more, however, than watching and tracking the ongoing failure of Airbus, the EU-backed competitor to American cornerstone Boeing (NYSE: BA). If you ever get on a plane, odds are good it's built by one of these firms. Popular Boeing planes include the 737 and 747, and the A320 is the best-selling Airbus craft. (other possibilities include the Lockheed's L-1011 (NYSE:LMT) and McDonnell Douglas's DC-10, but that's another story).
When Airbus announced the A380, the industry was thrilled. A two story, 555-seat jet that had an extraordinary range (8000 miles), lots of long-haul airlines ordered the planes. Then a cargo version of the plane was announced and it too received lots of orders: if you're FedEx, for example, a plane that's twice the size is clearly going to be more efficient for transporting packages. Sure you had to build longer, stronger runways and that few airports can handle the monster plane, but that's just progress, right?
Everything was going well until the different engineering groups inside Airbus forgot to talk with each other and the result has been nothing short of catastrophic...
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Podcast: How do you avoid the common pitfalls of hiring blog consultants?
I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Durk Price for his popular podcast on a subject that should be of great interest to anyone in the blog business space: how do you integrate a consultant, and specifically a content producing consultant, into your business blog? There are lots of horror stories about companies like Wal-Mart, Panasonic and Sony that have tripped over themselves for not being sufficiently transparent about their blogging efforts, but does that mean de facto that you can't hire people to help produce the content on your blog? Of course not. And that's what we discussed.
Here's a link to the audio file: Durk and Dave Talk about Blog Consulting [mp3]
Durk also produced a transcript of the podcast and I'm including some excerpts below, along with a link to the entire entry...
Enjoy, and do let us know your response to what we discuss. I think you'll find it fun and informative both.
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