"chestia" care ne mănâncă timpul

Când am plecat în Belgia pentru a-mi găsi casă, am lăsat o Românie destul de liniștită. Însă nu a trebuit decât să aterizez la Bruxelles, pentru a realiza că ceea ce lăsasem nu mai era. Schimbări radicale s-au întâmplat în acea zi. Iar mai apoi au început să curgă în valuri: înlocuirea diverșilor demnitari la nivel înalt, suspendarea președintelui țării, iar Europa era inflamată din cauza acestei furtuni într-un pahar cu apă din extremitatea ei estică.

La o săptămână după ce m-am întors, reacțiile din presa internațională sunt în continuare profund îngrijorătoare pentru toată lumea. The Economist titrează despre Premierul Copy-Paste, un articol zeflemitor despre plagiatul primului ministru în lucrarea sa de doctorat. Financial Times aruncă câte un articol pe zi despre situația din România, accentuând îngrijorările Europei.

Dar nu astea sunt problemele mele. Durerea mea cea mare este discursul pe care îl văd în toate publicațiile locale.

Răsfoind articolele, vis-a-vis de o cafea, îmi dau seama că România nu avea nevoie de acest circ sinistru care se numește ascensiunea USL la guvernare. Nu spun că guvernarea Boc a fost cea mai de succes sau că Băsescu este cel mai reprezentativ președinte pentru România. Spun doar că în acest moment România nu are nevoie să fie în atenția Europei, o Europă cu probleme mult mai grave decât criza politică din România.

Nu avem nevoie să fim comparați cu Siria sau cu Ungaria. Deși similitudinile se văd. Nu avem nevoie să punem mecanismele europene în mișcare, pentru că Europa este pe marginea unei prăpăstii financiare.

Dar nici astea nu sunt problemele mele. Mă deranjează discursul radicalizat și aproape de inepție al reprezentanților USL:

La Referendumul din 29 Iulie, în mod sigur voi vota ”NU demiterii președintelui”. Motivația? E simplă și nu ține în niciun fel de opiniile mele politice legate de vreun partid sau altul: NU VREAU SĂ FIU CETĂȚEAN ÎNTR-O REPUBLICĂ RADICALĂ.

Nu înțeleg și nu voi înțelege niciodată radicalismul de orice natură, cu atât mai puțin într-o Europă tulburată de crize și care face eforturi supra-omenești pentru armonizare și integrare. Nu voi înțelege niciodată prostia și incompetența ridicate la nivel de discurs politic, cu atât mai mult cu cât este unul care afectează grav imaginea externă. Nu pot să fiu de acord cu un discurs care face apel la un vocabular de mahala, total inadecvat unui context european în care avem pretenția că vrem să ne integrăm.

CUM e posibil să folosești cuvinte precum ”fapte ticăloase”, ”nemernic de Traian Băsescu” etc. ? Sunt lucruri care țin de demnitatea TA ca orator, în niciun caz de atitudinea acuzatului. Un discurs politic trebuie să exprime o viziune, în niciun caz să terfelească adversarul. Dar când nu ai niciuna, preferi să iei atitudine de tabloid și să cobori nivelul vocabularului până la cel de Radio-Șanț.

Concluzie? Voi vota ”NU demiterii președintelui” nu pentru că am o simpatie pentru Traian Băsescu, ci pentru că nu vreau să văd mahalagismul radicalizat de Copy-Ponta și ridicat la nivel de discurs politic.

Robert Tudor on MBA

Looking ahead on the year to come, I will be in Leuven, Belgium, attending the MBA at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.

That’s why, you’ll find my journey’s stories on my new project “Robert Tudor on MBA” a Facebook’s Timeline inspired blog. Not only day to day activities, but also advices and impressions about Belgium and how to use this experience to the maximum.

Don’t hesitate to comment, after all, that’s why there’s a comment section below each article.

Deunăzi, aflu dintr-un articol care face valuri pe Internet că Biserica Ortodoxă Română (BOR) dorește interzicerea capacelor de canal din București pe care este stema orașului. De ce? Întâmplător (dar total întâmplător!) pe stemă se află Sfântul Dumitru, protector al orașului care ține în mână sabia și o cruce și acvila cu o cruce în cioc. Iar capacele de canal sunt montate în zone în care mii de oameni calcă zi de zi.

După părerea umililor reprezentanți ai BOR, asta ar fi o insultă la adresa creștinismului și drept urmare trebuie eliminată orice posibilitate de a batjocori simbolurile sfinte.

Problemă: stema arată așa de vreo 100 de ani. Cu mici modificări. Iar sfântu’ ăla e acolo de când se știe. La fel și acvila cu crucea-n plisc.

Soluție rapidă: îndepărtarea tuturor elementelor religioase de pe stema Bucureștiului. Și orice altă stemă. Suntem un stat laic, până la urmă, nu?

Problemă: dacă crucea din stema de pe canal este o problemă, atunci e clar că și stema de pe aprobarea Primăriei Bucureștiului pentru Gay Fest este o insultă.

Soluție rapidă: îndepărtarea tuturor elementelor religioase de pe stema Bucureștiului. Și orice altă stemă. Suntem un stat laic, până la urmă, nu?

Problemă: Dacă crucea este pe stema Bucureștiului de ce discriminăm toate celelalte culte prezente în București?

Soluție rapidă: să adăugăm și-o semilună, o stea a lui David și ce alte simboluri religioase mai doriți. Până la urmă, Bucureștiul nu este doar al creștinilor ortodocși!

Problemă: Dacă Biserica este atât de intolerantă, de ce se bate cu pumnul în piept că promovează toleranța și iubirea? Până la urmă, și piciorul este o parte a corpului nostru, la fel ca și buzele sau mâinile.

Soluție rapidă: Niciun simbol considerat sfânt să nu mai fie atins de cineva vreodată.

 

Biserica Ortodoxă Română în sine este un simbol al ipocriziei dusă la extrem:

  • este cea mai profitabilă instituție, dar nu plătește niciun impozit
  • promovează umilința și modestia, dar prelații trăiesc într-un lux opulent
  • primește bani de la Statul Român, în ciuda punctului 1

… și-ar mai fi multe alte exemple, dar aș deveni redundant.

Așa încât, Preafericite, în momentul în care vrei să deschizi gura ca să îmi dai vreo lecție de moralitate, toleranță, umilință, modestie, iubire (sau orice altceva ai tu impresia că scrie în ceasloavele tale), te rog foarte frumos să nu-mi insulți inteligența! Neuronii mei funcționează la capacitate maximă și nu procesează aberații!

V-ați întrebat vreodată de unde vine vorba asta? Sincer.. nici eu eu pana acum! Dar când văd prostia umană ridicată la rang de jurnalism, îmi fac o cruce mare, bat trei mătanii și încep să mă gândesc serios să văd ce anti-depresive mai am prin dulap.

Citesc azi:

Recolta record de bumbac din India și Brazilia ar putea ieftini blugii

(Autor: Laurențiu Luca, sursa: Adevărul.ro )

N-are niciun rost să citez din articol. Ar însemna să îi dau o importanță oarecare.

Mă întreb (și, sincer, nu știu de ce o mai fac!) ce o fi în mintea ăstora care se cred ziariști: titlul articolului nu decât o tangență vagă cu conținutul lui, se discută cu niște termeni și un limbaj atât de snob și scorțos, încât ai spune că acum a aterizat sărăcuțul din caleașca Financial Times și nu se adaptează condițiilor locale.

Sfatul meu:

Dragul meu ziarist, când scoți pe gură un rahat, asigură-te că te-ai asigurat (sic!) că e rahat.

În tot articolul nu apare nici măcar o dată sintagma ”preț de vânzare” legată de vreun produs finit. Reprezentanții GAP se bucură că le scad costurile de achiziție. Atât!

Cât crezi tu că ai plătit pentru bumbacul efectiv din ”blugii” pe care i-ai tras pe tine azi dimineață? Îți spun eu: undeva între 10 și 15%! Adică … tivul pantalonilor! Chiar ai tu impresia că o să simți o reducere cu 16-50%  a prețului de achiziție a bumbacului? Restul sunt cheltuieli cu distribuția, marketingul, taxe, branding etc etc etc.

Așa că, dragul meu jurnalist de mâna a treia, venit de la Pocreaca din Vale, stai jos. Ai nota 2 la economie!

It is a known fact that people innovate by looking at what others need. It is an established fact that all inventions have to be valued as an asset in order to get recognition for the inventor. But what happens when you put patent on creativity? It all becomes a war. 

After the war on patents broke loose on the mobile manufacturers, shooting patent infrigement law-suits and requesting bans on sales, another war started in the social networking market. Three major players on the Internet capture the essence of a human need: the need to connect. Facebook, Google and Yahoo, they all claim a piece of this sense of belonging and make billions by enabling people all over the world to stay in touch.

The recent IPO announced by Facebook spurred the attention of the other well established giants on social networking that saw their value going down the drain and the much needed buzz entering into a cone of silence. Facebook is on everyone’s lips and it’s considered to be the ground-breaking event of the year that will create several billionaires overnight.

Jealousy leads to sin

Needless to say that such potential could not be left untouched by the long arm of the patent law. On Moday (March 12th, 2012), Yahoo filled a lawsuit on Facebook for 10 infringements on his patents. Ultimately, the claim is that:

Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo!’s patented social networking technology.

On a different scale and in other words put, the lawsuit states: “We admit that Facebook is successful. But they achieved this using our inventions. We want a portion of the money they earned. And we’re jealous.

Of course they want money! According to the US law, they are entitled to request them. Their inability to get them on their own was party due to a faulty management, incoherent response to market challenges.

Jealousy? It comes natural to those in despair. Yahoo! is loosing the game on social networking and it’s using any means to stay in public focus. And the long arm of law became a weapon.

The patent bag

Yahoo!’s over 1000 patents come from a series of long aquisitions and merges, captured over the years by superfluous moves on the market: “If you can’t beat them, buy them!” This huge portfolio of patents cover about anything when it comes to social networking:

  • World modeling using a relationship network with communication channels to entities – Patent #7,747,648
  • Method and system for customizing views of information associated with a social network user – Patent #7,269,590
  • Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user’s authorization level – Patent #7,599,935
  • System and method for instant messaging using an e-mail protocol – Patent #7,406,501
  • System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a network – Patent #7,668,861
  • Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage - Patent #6,907,566, #7,100,111, and #7,373,599
  • Online playback system with community bias – Patent #7,454,509
  • Dynamic page generator – Patent #5,983,227

All these patents, awarded to Yahoo!,  are allegedly infringed by Facebook.

With a mere 21 patents in their portfolio, covering precise aspects of the social interaction, Facebook is asked to recognize that it infringed Yahoo!’s right to organize the world as a social network.

The wheel patent

Is it ok to patent innovation? Yes! It’s the right way to protect your intellectual property and profit from usage. Brilliant minds need to be rewarded for their effort.

But is is ok to patent everything, from wheel to warm water? Here, the line becomes blurred: how can you patent models that are on this Earth since its invention? The social network is a concept that has been here since the dawn of mankind. You cannot patent that. Yet, the US Patent Office, granted it.

The bottom line

Waking up from a bad dream, Yahoo! saw itself in the position to claim the invention of the social network as a concept and ask to be reimbursed for this. Their innovations (achieved either by internal effort or by grabbing from others), granted with too much ease by the US Patent Office, lack the ability to act and be successful.

What if tomorrow you won’t be allowed to gather with your friends over a beer because you infringed the Yahoo!’s patent on social network?

Facebook down!

People, Facebook was down all over Europe this morning.

Short advice: GET A LIFE!

Motivation for MBA

The decision to embark on an MBA (especially a full-time one!) is a difficult step to make. All those sleepless nights when you leaned over difficult business decisions will have to sum up in an even greater one: is it the right time to take an MBA?

First of all, full-time MBA requires your complete dedication. Finding the financial and emotional resources to cope for the whole period might prove a challenge itself. It becomes the single most important thing you need to achieve and it hooks you into a web of intensive work.

Second, when you think of taking an MBA, you need to realize that preparing for it you need to develop a different mindset from any exam you’ve taken. The implications of this are oriented towards you, rather than being focused on a specific theme. You need to bare in mind that the most important thing is your path in life and career and the decisions you took that got you where you are right now.

Third, you need to stay focused and up to date on anything that moves in the world. You need to start realizing which implications have political decisions over businesses and how big players shape the landscape of businesses worldwide. A thorough analysis and thinking outside the box hepls. You have to stay hungry for information. 

Forth, you need to think three steps ahead and fully understand the implications the MBA will have on your career. Without a complete understanding of this big picture you want to draw in the future, an MBA can rapidly turn into a complete and useless waste of time. The MBA is not a goal per se, it’s a step in achieving your career goals.

The decision to embark on the MBA path might prove the toughest decision you ever done in your career, so it needs to be fully analyzed from all perspectives: you and your family, your career and your goals. Without understanding the big picture it might prove difficult to realize what an MBA is all about.

Timelining brands

Despite the opposition to it’s Timeline interface launched in September 2011, Facebook takes it a step further and it’s introducing the new interface to the brands pages. How will the brands adapt to it?

According to Mashable, a social media news site, “the new profile pages are thought to constitute one of Facebook’s most extreme redesigns so far, completely reimagining what a social networking profile can be“. The criticism over the new design is as widely spread as the praise: some accept the new format as a way to better organize a huge pile of activity on Facebook, while others consider it gives the ability to surface information about a person that was previously hard to access, making it a privacy concern.

The gap between the “Timelined profiles”, the News Feed and Pages is huge, and many users reject the new features just because it does not fit with their overall experience on Facebook. Now, the introduction of Timeline for Pages is set to narrow this rupture in the network’s look and feel and enhance the ability of brand pages to stand out more in the crowd.

The new Timeline for Pages does not change the rules of the game: Facebook remains a place where people interact with each other and with brands, but the new interface brings an aesthetically more pleasing experience. The huge space given to the cover image is set to be an opportunity to feature something powerful and captivating. Brands can enhance the user experience by changing it more frequently, giving users more reasons to like their pages.

As it did with the Timeline interface for users, this new enhancement of the brand pages brings administrators the ability to add events prior to Facebook itself, depicting the whole history of a brand.

Announced with bang! in June 2011, Google’s rival to Facebook, is dying slowly of boredom. The early adopters turned fast into anti-evangelists for the social network that was expected to grow like weed and redefine what social meant.

A recent comScore study revealed that on average the Google+ user spends between  3 minutes a month (worldwide) and 6 minutes a month (US statistics) on the social space of Google, compared to six to seven hours on Facebook.

After a fast growing user base, the evolution of Google+ reached almost 90 million users, but most of them do not use it. The growth trend is expected to continue, at least for a while, because of the large number of Android devices that are activated daily. But having barely 17% active users, it does not look promising for Google+

Without any activity, Google+ lacks the user engagement it needs to raise attention to advertisers. The reason behind this rapid downfall of Google+ network relies on the flocking effect that Facebook has: if users have to choose, they will use whatever social network their friends use. The Google+ network started to look more and more like a “virtual ghost town”. The network is loosing the pool of social media consumers, which Google tried several times to tap into, because of its agressive way of capturing the users, but lacking the necessary buzz to keep them awake in the network.

One policy to rule them all

By integrating all its products under one umbrella, that of the Google+, and one set of rules (the new unified privacy policy, expected to take effect on March 1st, 2012), Google tries to bind every product it has in order to harness the power of usage data across it’s vast network of products.

Recently it integrated the results from Google+ into it’s organic search results, disrupting the model upon which many businesses have been building their marketing strategies. By doing so, it forced the SEOs to make use of the Google+ in order to improve their rankings search engine results pages (SERP), adding a huge amount of junk results into their results.

Another aspect is that all of  Gmail, YouTube, Blogger new users are automatically provided with a Google+ profile. Soon Chrome, Android, search results, will all become puzzle pieces in this network.

The oxigen tube for Google+

Not being able to breathe on its own and in a very dramatic situation when it comes to its users’ activity, Google+ will rely on the feedback provided by the integration with all other products Google has. The data collected from every product integrated with Google+ will become the activity the network strives to have. It does not matter that not many actually use it.

The evangelists are dead

Promising a whole new approach on the social experience, Google+was introduced in the same style as all of the other products Google developed: by invitation only. Their bet on creating a high demand by denial of entrance paid off and the people crowded at the gates to see the trendiest place to be. Online evangelists praised the new social place and promised a Holy Land for all that entered its realms.  But shortly, their buzz went off and even the search engine’s own staff was criticising the site. Google+ as a network lacked too many components that could make it a real competitor for Facebook.

Since it was a dissapointment for the advertisers, by struggling to enhance its internal statistics, will Google succeed in reviving the infant Google+ ?

A future colleague of mine asked me today “How do you find Leuven itself and Vlerick campus?“, as he has never been there yet. Here’s my answer, Andrei:

I love the Leuven campus of Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. It has a very minimalistic approach in it’s design and the use of space is solved brilliantly. You’ll find it a bit tricky to get around in the first few days, but after that you’ll just feel like home.

Although it’s a structure of exposed concrete, without other finishes in most parts, it does not feel cold. Actually, the combination between the concrete and glass it’s done in wonderful way allowing a lot of the natural light to enter, all the way to the basement. It’s deceiving from the outside, because the architects kept the facade of an old building (I think partly due to the municipality planning requirements) but when you get inside, you enter a totally different world.

The first thing you’ll notice will be people smiling. And that’s the first sign that you are among friends.

Leuven on the other side, is a tipical Flemish town, a small and cosy place to hang out. Actually it’s so small you can cross from one side to another in just half an hour on foot. And during the Winter Hollidays it turns into a magic place. I’ve been there just before Christmas and it is a fairytale.

The city is full of students as Leuven is home to the Catholic University, so you’ll find people from all over the world. And with them comes a wide variety of restaurants, pubs and bars. After you’ll stay for a couple of days in Leuven and then visit Brussels (20 minutes by train), I’m sure you’ll hate the crowded and cosmopolited Brussels.

If you don’t know how to ride a bike, you’d better put off your driver’s permit and start learning. Bikes are the main mean of transportation around the city. You’ll be surprised to see large parking lots full of bikes.
In Romania, we have a saying: “on the street it has priority the one with most metal on him”. That is: trams first, busses after, cars, bikes and last… people on foot. In Leuven it’s the other way around.