Friday, 6 February 2004

Newsletter Issue 75, February 2004


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 75, February 2004
Hi guys,
Well, hope you are all coping with the wet/dry, wet/dry conditions this summer. Not the most pleasant, so perhaps it is time to catch up on a bit of professional development? If so, then check out Peter Drucker - Top Management Guru below.
We take a bit of a look at brand protection from the "Big Boys" in What's in a name? 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Peter Drucker - Top Management Guru

For those of you who haven't heard of Peter Drucker, he is considered by management aficionados to be one of the best management theorists on the planet; and, according to Suntop Media's 2003 list of the world’s most influential living management thinkers, is rated as number one.
To determine who was the most influential global management guru, over the past two years the Thinkers 50 team emailed hundreds of business people, consultants, academics and MBA students throughout the world. In addition, visitors to the Thinkers 50 Website, www.thinkers50.com, have also answered the question, “Who is the most influential living business thinker?”. The hundreds of votes were analysed and a list of 82 contenders who met the media profile criteria (ie had coverage in the past two years) was compiled.
An expert panel then ranked the 82 against ten criteria: originality of ideas, practicality of ideas, presentation style, written communication, loyalty of followers, business sense, international outlook, rigor of research, impact of ideas and the elusive “guru factor.”
For Peter Drucker, at the advanced age of 90, to achieve his position as the most influential management guru in the world, he had to head off Michael Porter, Harvard's creator of the Competitive Forces business model at number two, Tom Peters, ex McKinsey man & entrepreneur at number three, Gary Hamel, visiting Harvard and London Business School professor at number four, and, finally, Charles Handy, British oil executive turned academic and populist social philosopher at number five.
I am sure that Dilbert fans will be pleased to know that creator Scott Adams is an influential management thinker, in 27th place. Richard Branson, of Virgin fame, strolls in at number 34.
People to watch include the emotional intelligence champion Daniel Goleman, making an impressive debut at 29th (the highest newcomer to the 2003 ranking), followed by Naomi Klein, author of the best-selling "No Logo" in 30th place.
If you haven't heard of Peter Drucker before, you may also like to read one of his articles "Beyond the Information Revolution" at http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99oct/9910drucker.htm. For more information about Peter, go to http://www.pfdf.org/ or http://www.peter-drucker.com/.

What's in a Name?

I am not sure if you remember, but there was a chap in NZ's North Island - Hamilton, I think it was - whose name was Harrod. He ran a greengrocers shop. No problems there. Until he started using green plastic grocery bags with "Harrod's" on the side of them in a yellowy-gold upright script font. Then Harrods Department Store came down on him like a ton of bricks for "passing off". He got a cease-and-desist-or-we-will-nail-you-to-the-wall notification from Harrod's legal eagles.
What it comes down to is that you can't use someone else's brand to leverage your own. Sounds quite sensible, doesn't it; if a company has gone to all the effort and cost of building their brand, then another company who has not made that investment shouldn't be able to springboard off that.
But, while brand protection is all very well, I think there is a line that needs to be drawn between legitimately protecting your brand and rampant corporate stupidity. And some incidents of brand protection of which I have recently heard, do indeed fall into the rampant stupidity box;
Microsoft
Microsoft's legal-beagles are harassing an American teenager called Mike Rowe who has set up a web site with the name "MikeRoweSoft.com". MS would have a justifiable concern if this were any attempt at passing off, but it is not so. The youngster's name IS Mike Rowe and his web site isn't even remotely pretending to be Microsoft. Microsoft went in boots & all threatening the teenager and then offered to pay him US$10 for his site as a "good faith effort". If he refused, they would take his website away through the courts. Nice. 
Surely Microsoft could just have made a polite request to Mike to put a disclaimer on his website stating that it's not related to Microsoft?
If making these kind of unreasonable demands is called a "good faith effort" by Microsoft, then crikey, I don't think I would like to see them play hard ball. Why not go all the way and sue the Rowe's for giving their child a misleading name?
McDonalds
Should McDonald's be allowed to have a monopoly over the prefixes "Mc" and "Mac" on all food products or restaurant services, on the basis of its worldwide reputation for using the names? In the "McChina" case, Frank Yuen opened a Chinese restaurant and called it "McChina Wok Away" (the "Mc" prefix meaning "son of" ie - son of China). McDonald's tried to prevent him from registering this as a trademark, on the basis that there was "a strong likelihood of deception and confusion amongst a substantial number of persons". This was disallowed as the "McDonald's" trade mark "has no Oriental flavour about it" and there unlikely to be any confusion between "McChina Wok Away" and McDonald's customers. 
The judge went on to surmise that McDonald's was seeking to monopolise all uses of the prefixes Mc and Mac in relation to food or restaurant services. Now THERE's a surprise....
The courts recognise that by including common surnames as trademarks they may well be preventing the registration of an individual's own name; ie like a person called McDonald registering their own name and infringing the McDonald's Corporation's trademark. But what about in another country?
McDonald's wanted to open its first store in Jamaica, and found a "McDonald's" restaurant had been operating there since 1971. So what did McDonald's do? They issued a restraining claim on the defendants, which virtually disabled the defendants from operating their business interests, accused them of purposefully using the "McDonald's" name, logo and presentation as an attempt to exploit the name of McDonald's international and that the continued usage was 'damaging' to McDonald's Corp in Jamaica. Despite the small - and obviously unimportant - facts that McDonald's had never operated a store in Jamaica and the Jamaican McDonald's branding had remained virtually unchanged since their opening in 1971.
The judge ruled that McDonald's Corporation was banned from opening any stores in Kingston, Jamaica until the full legal action was complete.
Not only has McDonald's has made a fool of itself by trying to stop members of the McDonald clan establish legitimate businesses in that famous name, but it has tried to stop people expressing their opinions about them as well.  
In the 1997 "McLibel" Case, two English environmental activists, David Morris and Helen Steele, distributed in 1989 a leaflet entitled "What's wrong with McDonald's?", alleging that McDonald's poisoned central American rainforest to create cattle pasturage with lethal chemicals, criticised their lack of recycling and cruelty to animals, stated they had poor industrial relations policies. They also claimed McDonald's food contained no nutrition and contributed towards the incidence of diseases like bowel cancer and heart disease, and claimed its advertising deliberately manipulated children (all of which, in my opinion, are quite legitimate criticisms of the fast food giants). 
In response, McDonald's filed an action in defamation; and what ensued was the longest case in English legal history. The defendants were both (a) unable to obtain legal aid and (b) so poor they had to defend themselves. The trial lasted 313 days and the defendants defended themselves very creditably.
On those few points that Mr Morris and Ms Steele lost, McDonalds were awarded surprisingly low damages of £115,000 (which neither of the defendants can pay, I might add).
But, in this "David & Goliath" battle, McDonald's received a lot of bad PR coverage in the UK as the very nasty Goliath. McDonald's would have been far wiser to have sat down and thought about the cost of bringing the litigation and the inherent detrimental PR that the case would generate before they embarked. They could have just ignored Mr Morris & Ms Steele. Two greenies do not a serious threat make... if ignored.
This stuff makes the big corporates look like bully-boys - or worse, a laughing stock. And anyway, did their mothers never tell them that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?!

Inserting Common Fractions

While most font sets include numerals - 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on, you may not know that almost all fonts also include built-in symbols for the three most commonly used fractions - 1/2, 1/4, and 3/4.
Each of these three fractions are a single, entire character, just like an "a"; not three characters (ie a shrunk and superscripted numerator, a forward slash changed to a hyphen and a shrunk subscripted denominator). 
If you ever find that you want to put one of those three fractions in any document, first look for the Insert | Symbol command in whatever programme you are using. Insert Symbol is by far the easiest way to stick a fraction in a file. 
However, if you are using WordPad, Notepad, MS Paint or other venerable programmes you will need to follow these instructions to insert the three common fractions;
  • Go to Start | Programs ("All Programs" in XP) | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map. The Character Map screen will open and looks remarkably like the symbol dialogue box in Word
  • Look for & double-click on the fraction you want
  • Click the Copy button 
  • Alt & Tab back to the application you're trying to put the fraction in
  • Put your cursor where you want the fraction to go
  • Ctrl & P or use the paste tool
Unfortunately, beyond these three basic fractions, not many fonts have additional built-in ones - like 1/8, 2/3 or 3/16. Some of the Unicode fonts do; you just need to be careful who else will need to read the file as they will probably not be able to see the Unicode font character that you have inserted - if the person receiving the file doesn't have that particular font on their PC, the machine will replace it with something else (and who knows what that could be!), which may or may not be legible!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning. Amalgamating company information systems to more closely bind various functions like HR, stock and financials AND simultaneously linking the company to customers and vendors.
  • CMS, Content Management System. Allows company employees to publish new content to their web sites, controlling both internal & external company information. 
  • NIMBY, Not in My Back Yard. Use for all new proposals at the Council; hydro-schemes, open-cast mining applications and logging!
  • NOTE, Not Over There Either. Ditto

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, this time we are working with keys to lay out a PivotTable or PivotChart report;
  1. Press F10 to make the menu bar active
  2. Press CTRL & TAB or CTRL & SHIFT & TAB to select the PivotTable toolbar
  3. Press the LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW key to select the menu to the left or right or, when a submenu is visible, to switch between the main menu and submenu
  4. Press ENTER (on a field button) and the DOWN ARROW and UP ARROW keys to select the area you want to move the selected field to
NB: To scroll to the top or bottom of the field list, press ENTER on the More Fields

Hot Linx
Getting your website ready for publication and want to know what keywords you should be entering? Then check out this site to check your phrases at http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
Wanting a short & potted chronological history of nearly anything? Then this is probably the site for you. Check out http://www.historyworld.net/default.asp. I enjoyed the timelines at http://www.historyworld.net/timelines/existing.asp
And for anyone wanting to check the American take on grammar, punctuation and other aspects of English, go to http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/cmosfaq/ (this site is very good)
Soup anyone? Tap-dance your taste buds through this lot at http://www.joyofsoup.com/ 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here