Zuckerberg Talks His Way Into Chinese Hearts and Minds

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on stage at Tsinghua University in Beijing Wednesday for a 30-minute Q&A session, the audience expected him to do what foreigners generally do: Utter a few words in Mandarin to acknowledge their culture, then depend heavily on translators.

Instead, Zuckerberg elicited gasps of approval from the audience when he spoke in Mandarin all the way.

He had a strong American accent, it is true, and he often groped for words, but he managed to make himself understood and even crack a few jokes.

The episode sparked a media frenzy, with some reports criticizing his heavy accent, others saying he spoke broken Mandarin, and still others calling his mastery of the language “fluent.” At one point, he apparently had difficulty pronouncing “billion” in Chinese, and seemed to claim that Microsoft had 11 customers and Facebook 11 mobile users.

Speaking in Tongues

Zuckerberg’s reported mistakes are all grist for the media mill, but so what?

“He could make himself understood, which is pretty good for someone who seems only to have been working on it for a year or so,” said Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Eliaser Chair of International Studies and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley.

“You can tell he uses it, [probably] with his wife’s paternal grandmother, because his ability to express himself outpaces his vocabulary at this point, where for many book learners it’s quite the opposite,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting with students and faculty at Tsinghua University is quite impressive and notable — not only because it demonstrated his proficiency in Mandarin, but because he was doing so as an American CEO of a major global corporation,” noted Joseph Pastore Jr., professor emeritus at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.

Hen Hao, Hen Hao

Zuckerberg at Tsinghua University because he has been named to the advisory board of the institution’s school of economics and management.

Facebook is under increasing pressure from competitors such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, and needs to expand to fend them off.

There’s speculation that Zuckerberg’s seeking to have Beijing lift its 2009 ban on Facebook. Other social media services, such as Twitter, also are banned, and LinkedIn censors entries in its pages for its Chinese version.

China has nearly 620 million Internet users, according to Statista, equivalent to about half the number of Facebook users worldwide, 1.3 billion.

China would give Facebook access to 1.5 billion potential users, and “if Facebook becomes dominant in three corners of the world — India, Brazil and China — it will have accessed half the world’s population with just these three nations out of about 200 worldwide,” Pastore told the E-Commerce Times.

Paving the Road

The astonishment that greeted Zuckerberg’s performance in Mandarin is understandable.

“Most of the world’s CEOs assume that English is the world’s language, especially in commercial and professional settings,” Pastore said.

However, speaking Mandarin “should make sense in this age of global business, especially given the size and success of China,” he added.

China now powers the global economy, and its announcement earlier this week that third quarter GDP has slowed to 7.3 percent is widely seen as being bad for the world as a whole and for the United States.

Facebook needs to collaborate and coordinate with Beijing if it wants to succeed in China, observed Chris Tang, visiting distinguished management and operations professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

“Knowing some basic Chinese and Chinese culture will go a long way,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Showing respect and understanding can make your potential partners open up to discussions,” Tang said.

China has blocked social media platforms “out of fear,” he added. “If Zuckerberg can address this unspoken fear in a subtle way that can earn the trust of the Chinese government, he may have a chance — but he needs to earn the trust first.”

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it’s all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon’s Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/81243.html?rss=1

The Customer Science Revolution

Bluewolf, the consultancy that was founded to assist customers implementing and deploying Salesforce.com, has released its annual State of Salesforce report. The company started this practice a few years ago, using MIT Sloan School of Management personnel to interview Salesforce customers, and the methodology is tight.

So what’s in the report? Just what you might expect, with growth in all sectors of Salesforce’s business. Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge attributes all of these floating boats to the rising tide that Gartner has forecasted — that the CRM market will Eclipse ERP as the largest enterprise software market by 2017.

There is very little that’s controversial about Bluewolf’s numbers. Salesforce is a juggernaut at this point, growing at an exceptional and exponential pace — and if Bluewolf’s numbers are to be believed, there is significant demand in most areas of the company’s business.

My only quibble with the account, and it’s just that, is that it mirrors most of the industry in not looking very far, if at all, beneath the surface of the statistics. Most of the data simply reports on exponential growth and forecasts that it will continue. To say, as the report does, that this is all driven by “digital disruption” is to give a name to a phenomenon without identifying a cause — and the cause is important.

Focus on the Front Office

Throughout the front office, the impact of big data is being felt as businesses realize that rather than following hunches, as they might have just a few years ago, they can collect customer data and, using advanced analytics, extract meaningful information from it that helps managers drive the business.

This is a big deal, because applying analytics to relevant data is elevating front-office business from a random set of actions supported by electronic file cabinets to a science.

It will take time for us to grasp the significance of customer science, but it is causing a revolution as important as when the back office adopted the Six Sigma and ISO9000 approaches.

A long time ago, ERP went from back-office accounting to statistical management of manufacturing, and the approach spilled over into many other disciplines where quality and precision were vital. The result has been far better manufacturing techniques and much more reliable products.

Statistical quality approaches also have enabled manufacturing at smaller scale and can be credited at least with part of the gadget revolution. Sometimes I think we make these things — at least in part — simply because we can.

So the front office is decades behind the back office in adopting statistical quality techniques, but it arguably was a harder job. In the back office, you can attach various sensors to machines and gather data, but in the front office you first need to build the sensors — things like the Internet, websites, and then social networking and other tools — so the lag is understandable.

Nevertheless, the front office’s time is here, and as The State of Salesforce shows, the marketplace is adopting advanced sales and marketing, as well as service automation, community, analytics, mobility and other technologies, because most managers sense the scientific revolution now taking place — even if no one has yet put a name on it.

Transformation, Not Death

So let’s turn our attention from the fact of uptake and deployment to their aftermath. What happens when every vendor has the ability to reliably and accurately access customer input regarding products, services and unmet needs? With ERP, we got higher-quality products, but we also saw finer-grained improvements.

Thirty years ago, cars still had carburetors and distributors and could be hard to start on a cold morning. Today, there’s electronic fuel injection, and distributors have been replaced by direct ignition. These and many other improvements came about because carmakers could build smaller and more-refined components using optimized robots, and because the cost of chips to drive them came way down — all thanks to better manufacturing.

So the question should be asked: What improvements in the vendor-customer relationship will accrue because of customer science? It’s a tantalizing question, with scary and exhilarating answers. Vendor-customer relationships will be tighter, while many of our devices gain the autonomy to act on our behalf to order and pay for products and services.

Will there be a backlash against the automation the way some people voice privacy and security concerns today? And will the automation make it nearly impossible to change vendors? Will vendor relationship management (VRM) — a long-term research project for some — finally become the customer response to all this automation?

Many other questions will need to be answered, but I firmly believe that — contrary to some of the recent prognostications of its death — that CRM is alive and morphing before our eyes into customer science.

Denis Pombriant is the managing principal of the Beagle Research Group, a CRM market research firm and consultancy. Pombriant’s research concentrates on evolving product ideas and emerging companies in the sales, marketing and call center disciplines. His research is freely distributed through a blog and website. He is the author of Hello, Ladies! Dispatches from the Social CRM Frontier and can be reached at denis.pombriant@beagleresearch.com. You can also connect with him on Google+.

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/81247.html?rss=1

These Are The Hottest New Startups To Watch This Year – Business – Dover Post – Dover, De

Glamsquad is an on-demand beauty services startup. Glamsquad lets you schedule on-demand hair and makeup appointments. You can kind of think of it as an Uber for beauty services. If you’re scrapped for time, just open up the Glamsquad app or website to schedule a trained stylist to come to you. The only rule is that you need to have your hair washed and wet when the stylist arrives. Founded this year, Glamsquad has already raised $1.5 million.
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Appdirect Wants To Be The Facebook For Business – Forbes

My co-founder, Nicolas, also started businesses on his own and had been very entrepreneurial. He had a much more traditional business, which was driveway sealing, says Saks. They both had entrepreneurial ambitions, and have known each other for over ten years now. They had been friends for a long time, and both separately ended up in San Francisco. Nicolas was at Bain & Company, where he was consulting to big enterprises on their cloud strategy. At the same time, Daniel was working for a summer at an investment bank in Silicon Valley, learning about the early days of cloud.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucerogers/2014/07/09/appdirect-wants-to-be-the-facebook-for-business/

Kroger And Ecommerce Retailer Vitacostcom Announce Definitive Merger Agreement

19, 2014, the day before a major Vitacost.com shareholder publicly asked the company to evaluate strategic alternatives. The terms of the agreement were unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Kroger will commence a tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Vitacost.com common stock. Any shares of Vitacost.com common stock not acquired in the tender offer promptly will be acquired by Kroger in a subsequent merger. The tender offer and merger are subject to Vitacost.com stockholders tendering at least a majority of the outstanding shares of Vitacost.com common stock in the tender offer, certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.retailsolutionsonline.com/doc/kroger-ecommerce-retailer-vitacost-definitive-merger-agreement-0001?atc~c=771+s=773+r=001+l=a

Kroger And Ecommerce Retailer Vitacostcom Announce Definitive Merger Agreement

19, 2014, the day before a major Vitacost.com shareholder publicly asked the company to evaluate strategic alternatives. The terms of the agreement were unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Kroger will commence a tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Vitacost.com common stock. Any shares of Vitacost.com common stock not acquired in the tender offer promptly will be acquired by Kroger in a subsequent merger. The tender offer and merger are subject to Vitacost.com stockholders tendering at least a majority of the outstanding shares of Vitacost.com common stock in the tender offer, certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.retailsolutionsonline.com/doc/kroger-ecommerce-retailer-vitacost-definitive-merger-agreement-0001?atc~c=771+s=773+r=001+l=a

Optimal Payments And Oink Partner To Give Teens And Families A Secure Way To Pay Online – Yahoo Finance

Jo Webber, CEO & founder, Oink. “We are excited to be partnering with the online payments expert in order to offer our award-winning payment technology for families and teens to merchants around the world.” About Virtual Piggy Inc. Virtual Piggy is the provider of Oink, the first e-commerce solution that enables kids and teens to manage and spend money within parental controls. It enables parents to teach financial management through the use of a secure family wallet. The technology company delivers online security platforms designed for the Under 21 age group in the global online market, and also enables online businesses the ability to function in a manner consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and similar international children’s privacy laws. The company is based in Hermosa Beach, CA and on the Web at: www.virtualpiggy.com .
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://finance.yahoo.com/news/optimal-payments-oink-partner-teens-120000016.html

Amazon Courts Hachette Authors By Proposing They Keep E-book Revenue | Fox Business

“Our offer is sincere. They should take us up on it.” Amazon’s actions have alienated authors including top-sellers James Patterson and Malcolm Gladwell, who mocked the situation in a spoof video posted on Slate.com this week. Both companies have remained quiet on details of the talks. During a July 1 panel discussion at the New York Public Library, one literary agent likened the situation to waiting for surgeons to finish operating on a loved one. When the Amazon letter was written to authors, the e-commerce giant had not yet broached the revenue proposal with Hachette. Typically, Amazon, Hachette and authors would share digital book sales in agreed-upon proportions. Lagardere has said Amazon.com accounts for some 60 percent of Hachette’s digital sales. “Hachette authors would get 100 percent of the sales price of every Hachette e-book we sell. Both Amazon and Hachette would forego all revenue and profit … of every e-book until an agreement is reached,” the letter said.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2014/07/09/amazon-courts-hachette-authors-by-proposing-keep-e-book-revenue/

Mwi Vet Upgraded To Strong Buy On Solid Fundamentals – Analyst Blog – Nasdaq.com

If, at any time, you are interested in reverting to our default settings, please select Default Setting above. If you have any questions or encounter any issues in changing your default settings, please email isfeedback@nasdaq.com . Please confirm your selection: You have selected to change your default setting for the Quote Search. This will now be your default target page; unless you change your configuration again, or you delete your cookies. Are you sure you want to change your settings? YES
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Atwoods Ranch And Home Stores Launches Ecommerce Site, Powered By Shopvisible’s Award-winning Platform

Reach your customers online, on their mobile devices or through popular channels like Amazon and eBay. ShopVisible also enables your back office management including orders, inventory, channel, content management and more. With our APIs, the ShopVisible commerce platform is extensible and easily integrates to 3rd party systems such as fulfillment, ERP, PIM, and other platforms that are core to your business. ShopVisible helps brands and businesses to attract and retain the new connected customer and is the chosen platform for companies like 3M, Century Martial Arts, Tempur-Pedic, Office Depot Canada, Plow & Hearth and MovieMars. Learn more at ShopVisible.com and by following @ShopVisible . About ATWOODS In the winter of 1960, Wilbur and Fern Atwood moved from southwestern Minnesota to Enid, Oklahoma to start a new business. They opened their first ATWOODS store with the intention of providing farm and ranch supplies at discount prices in a family friendly atmosphere.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/07/prweb12001195.htm