Daily Archives: October 12, 2008

What happened to Iceland, and what happens next

BusinessWeek has a rundown of what is happening to Iceland in the global financial meltdown, and what might be happening next, including it doing a deal with Russia for capital. I am not sure if this deal will go through or not. If it did, I expect Russia will make some challenging moves into this founding NATO country.  Meanwhile, Iceland could become an economic basket case.

One line that struck me was “Iceland’s once-proud banking sector”: it doesn’t appear to me that they did anything they should have been proud of.

See The Stunning Collapse of Iceland – BusinessWeek for more details.

Zara thrives by being smart

This article, Zara Thrives by Breaking All the Rules in BusinessWeek, talks about how Zara is succeeding by doing things differently. However, the fallacy is saying there are “rules”. The “rules” are how other people do it. What Zara has done is seen the weaknesses in those rules and done things differently. Zara knows that the sum is what matters, not the parts. So even if parts of its manufacturing could be made cheaper, it would add additional costs down the line. That’s smart. And that’s why they are thriving.

Of course, unlike some of their competitors, they know what to make that will sell. You can have the best supply chain in the world, but if you are delivering something people don’t want, you are dead. Zara knows what people want, and they can adjust quickly when they make a mistake. Not only that, but Zara has lots of ideas, unlike some of their competitors. They seem to produce way more styles than other clothing manufacturers, making it more likely you will find something you want. That’s also very smart.

Quote of the day

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what other people say you cannot do.”

– Walter Bagehot

The Great Stephen Fry and I


I have been a fan of Stephen Fry for a very long time: I’ve enjoyed his films (“Wilde”, “Peter’s Friends”), his TV shows (“Jeeves and Wooster”, “Pocoyo”) and his writing (the book “Paperweight” and his blog, “Paper Cuts”). He’s done much more than that of course. He’s a great artist.

Besides being a great artist — he would modestly disagree with that — he is also very computer literate.  I have seen him speak on some of the most arcane topics with the ease of someone reading a children’s bedtime story.

When I found out he was on twitter, I thought: I had to follow him. What surprised me is that he is trying to follow everyone back! I thought this was impressive: most famous (and no-so-famous) people on twitter do it mostly to broadcast as opposed to listen.

If you are on twitter, you can follow him here: Twitter / stephenfry

Better still, use that Google thingy and find the many things that he has done and go and seek them out. You’ll be glad you did.