Friday, 28 April 2006

Newsletter Issue 113, April 2006

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 113, April 2006
Hi guys,
Telecom monopoly? Guinness Gallagher has a simple solution to Forcing Telco Competition below.
If you are feeling stressed, read all about The Staver Group's Ten Tips to Avoid Burnout
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.

Forcing Telco Competition

Guinness Gallagher, a Wellington-based consultancy, has a track record of advising governments on how to tackle the thorny issue of monopolies. Their managing director, John Third, is currently helping the Mongolian government privatise and break up their telco incumbent.
Mr Third feels that New Zealand's Telecom is destroying shareholder value and reducing the company’s ability to respond to demand through their current dual role as both network-owner and retail services company. However, he thinks that a solution to this problem is quite straightforward. He recommends breaking Telecom into two divisions: into a network company (“NetCo”) and a services company (“ServeCo”).
While initially this would be a simple accounting separation, over time this would change. “Once the board and shareholders see that they’re getting [relatively] low returns from NetCo compared with higher returns from ServeCo, they’ll decide to spin it off into a separate company and sell it to someone else” Mr Third says.
Why? Because networks, by their very nature, attract a different kind of investor to service companies. To ensure that the network company continues to offer the best service possible to the retailers, the NetCo and the ServeCo should be separately owned.
From his own personal experience, Mr Third offers the following example. “I live just outside Wellington and the exchange I’m connected to is one of the older exchanges. The phone stopped working one day and Telecom ran fibre out to the cabinet and then new copper out to the households that were affected.” However, due to the upgrade Mr Third could no longer receive JetStream broadband at home. “If that upgrade had been undertaken by a network company, it would have seized the opportunity to put in a mini DSLAM to offer the service. It makes sense for a network company to offer the best service possible.” Instead, because Telecom’s network is driven by its retail services division, that decision was reversed. “They didn’t put the DSLAM in because there’s no competition, so there’s no need to spend the money to stay ahead of the pack.”
Mr Third feels that this juxtaposition means Telecom, as it stands today, is destroying its own value. “If the network was open, and operated only as a wholesale provider, the retail service companies could trust it not to compete with them.”
Mr Third suggested the Australian “club-owned network” model is worth considering here in New Zealand as an interim step. Rather than allowing Telstra to build a fibre-based network in exchange for protection from future regulation, a number of Australian telcos banded together to offer to build the network between them.
This article was edited from Computerworld's article by Paul Brislen. The full article can be read on line at

Ten Tips to Avoid Burnout

Stress is taking a high toll on people in the workplace today—and everyone pays the price. Not only do those suffering from stress suffer, but businesses, partners and families also suffer while burnt-out workers are less productive and inspired.
To avoid experiencing that stress meltdown, try some of the following burnout busters:
  1. Start the day with music. Research shows that people who listen to music that "pumps them up" before they face the day’s challenging situations increase their productivity by as much as 200 percent. Nothing like setting the mood for the day!
  2. Exercise everyday. Take a walk around the block during lunch or in the evening, take the stairs not the lift, get an exercycle in your office, use a fitness DVD or join the gym. Exercise makes you feel good, dissipates tension and gives you better sleep.
  3. Task blocking. Diarise set times for certain tasks without interruption. For example, you might set 8-9pm and 1-2pm for tackling e-mails. You’ll be surprised at how much your efficiency increase and will be spared the anxiety of trying to handle 20 things at once.
  4. Say “no”. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the world is not going to end if you say no; so when you have all the commitments you can handle, simply say no.
  5. Lighten up. Attach a funny cartoon to routine, boring paperwork at the office, or tell some light-hearted stories. A good hearty laugh is the best stress releaser.
  6. Go to lunch. A couple of times a week, go with friends—or your mentor—to eat and talk about whatever you enjoy and give you a respite from the stress pressure cooker. If you don't want to deal with people, eat lunch by yourself.
  7. Mentoring. Meet weekly or fortnightly with someone who you trust and feel comfortable enough with to just be yourself, and talk about your goals, progress and setbacks.
  8. Take a 'power nap'. If you feel tired and unable to concentrate, a 15 or 20 minute nap will give you almost the same benefit as a long, luxurious sleep—amazing, but true:
    • Elevate your feet. This will allow blood to more readily flow to your brain, increasing the oxygen levels you need to feel well rested and alert
    • Set a "low-tech alarm clock": hold a pen or a set of keys in one hand, keeping the arm holding the object slightly raised (but obviously comfortable)
    • When your body reaches a complete state of relaxation, your grip on the object will release, causing it to fall to the floor and startle you awake.
  9. Fix it, then forget it. Do everything you can to fix a problem with clients or associates in order to make them happy, after that, don't dwell on anything that went wrong. Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes.
  10. Take a holiday. If you don't make time to relax away from work, you will become bitter and unproductive when you are there.
Adapted from an AMA article by Michael Staver, CEO of The Staver Group. For more information, visit

Top Ten Anythings in Excel

When you want to total the amount of sales from your top 10 performers, you usually would have to sort the data by salespeople, divisions or product lines first, then use the SUM function to add up the first 10 values in the sorted range.
However, by using Excel's 'Array' function, you can get the same results in a single step.
For example, a report from your database to Excel lists your 30 salespeople in column A and the amount they sold for the month of April in Column B.
To find the total amount of sales turned in by your top 10 performers without having to sort the list, follow these steps:
  • Select the range in column B containing sales data for each salesperson named in column A
  • Click in the Name box in the Formatting toolbar and enter SalesData
  • Enter the following formula in a cell outside the named range (for example, D2): =SUM(LARGE(SalesData,{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10}))
  • Press [Ctrl][Shift][Enter]
The same technique can be used to find the lowest performers [=SUM(SMALL(SalesData,{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10}))] or the average of your top 10 or lowest 10 performers [=AVERAGE(LARGE(TestScores,{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10})) or =AVERAGE(SMALL(TestScores,{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10})) ]. 
Have fun with it!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • SCSI, Small Computer System Interface, ("scuzzy"). A set of evolving ANSI standard electronic interfaces which allows PCs to communicate with peripheral hardware faster and more flexibly than previous interfaces. The latest SCSI standard is Ultra-3 which has a maximum speed of 160 MBps
  • ANSI, American National Standards Institute
  • ComCom, Commerce Commission of New Zealand!

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

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we finish our look at all you can do with "-" (minus):
  • PowerPoint & Word "Collapse text below a heading" Alt & Shift & - (Minus)
  • Word "Outline Collapse for a particular Outline section" Alt & Shift & - (Minus) NUM
  • PowerPoint "Move the window pane split in a presentation window that is not maximised" Alt & - (minus), P To Select The Splits, Arrow Keys To Position The Split, Then Enter
  • Access & Excel "Delete the selection/record" Ctrl & - (Minus)
  • Publisher & Word "Insert an optional hyphen at position of cursor in a document" Ctrl & - (Minus)
  • FrontPage "Apply subscript formatting " Ctrl & - (Minus)
  • Publisher & Word "Add a non-breaking hyphen" Ctrl & Shift & - (Minus)
  • Explorer "Close everything under the current selection when working in Tree View or collapse the selected folder " NUM & - (Minus)
  • Outlook "Collapse selected group " NUM & - (Minus)

Hot Linx
Has your fave site been revamped & you can't remember what it looked like before? Then enter the web address into the "Wayback Machine" at and click "Take me back"
If you need a 'discovery engine' website for movies and music, this is it. Enter a name of an artist, director or actor and see what you get back at
To see places in New Zealand as others see them take a look at ZoomIn's website at
When you next are asked "Whatever happened to..." you can direct the quester to the 'weht' website at to find out

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

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