Posts from — November 2008
On last Sunday evening, the Honorable Audley Shaw held a national address to share with the nation and the diaspora the state of the economy, and steps being taken to shepherd the nation through the turmoil of the world economic troubles. His calm, yet commanding persona communicated a credibility that will serve the Island well.
He presented a coherent plan, and did a great job in anticipating the questions that would surface. He first diagnosed the genesis of the meltdown as related to the sub-prime debacle. He then shared that Jamaica did not have any exposure here, but suffered from the related credit crunch.
Here is an executive summary of his presentations:
- Set up credit monitoring unit to observe world, and local credit challenges.
- Of the US$600M in credit needed for fiscal year 2008/2009, US$350M have been secured to date.
- Development banks have been re-engaged to secure the remainder US$250M, with a solid down payment anticipated to be secured on December 3, 2008.
- The spike in oil prices along with other commodities caused inflation to rear its ugly head. However, the recent reduction has reduced inflation to 0.3% in October, 2008.
- Currently the reserve fund is at US$1.7B. He expressed discomfort with this level, but see this getting up to US$1.78B shortly.
- Remittance was up 7.5% year over year when measured in October, 2008.
- Aggressive initiatives both in the private, and public arena are being engaged to stimulate tourism given the consumer reluctance in this climate.
I am thankful that we have a man of such competence, and character steering our financial ship through troubled waters. Let’s hold up and encourage our leaders when they do the right thing.
What question(s) do you have to further encourage your trust in his leadership?
November 26, 2008 2 Comments
The email from my friend Marva regarding the IAAF awards in which Usain Bolt was named male world athlete of the year was the tipping point.The story triumphed that Bolt will be getting US$100K. There he was posing proudly with Prince Albert II of Monaco in Monte-Carlo of all places.
So what’s your problem Chris you may say? Well, you may call it greed, yes I admit it, I am an unrepentant capitalist, and to the likes of my type, this is a nice pat on the back and lunch money(i.e. You can buy a few patties with this type of change for you folks from Kitson Town).
Let me provide you with a little more background. This past Sunday, I found myself early early in the morning at the grocery store. The kids will be home for Thanksgiving, and they will be eating as if food was going out of style. As I looked for their favorite cereal, I was poked in the eye yet again. There he was with a big smile hugging Tony the Tiger of the cereal box. Yes Phelps’s post Olympic real gold assault continues. Earlier in the week I had read with jealousy how Subway has nabbed Phelps from McDonalds in an effort to steal market share. Phelps can pick, use and refuse endorsements.
The only time I get to watch television is during the football game. There again is the generic sprinter promoting AT&T’s 3G service. I also now am taking notice of the sprinter’s time. It is 13.04. AT&T let’s make it 9.69!
The trifecta of my troubles came when the movie earmarked to be the Disney movie of the holiday season came roaring out! You guessed right – Bolt! John Travolta is the voice of this super star dog. Release date was November 21, and it has grossed US$27M to date. To add some sea salt to my wounded spirit, when you Google the word bolt, guess who gets the top hits – clue, it’s been a long time since August.
Tell me now, is my hopes too high or should his handlers be more assertive in the endorsement marketplace ? Am I just in the dark as to what endorsements is happening for Bolt?
All the headlines I see are filled with promises of Usain cashing in, but I am not seeing the announcements like the ones for Phelps.
What advise would you share with his handlers to ensure that our Bolt gets all he deserves?
November 25, 2008 2 Comments
November 23, 2008 No Comments
What do these folks have in common? First the people line up
OK, what’s your answer?
Well, all three became great leaders during tough times! The under girding principle that drives leadership is trust; trust based on demonstrated character and competence.
Those famous words of Winston Churchill during the relentless bombing of England still rings true. Never give up! These words ring true with courage instead of fear, resolve instead of capitulation. These words represent a currency that is in short supply as we are experiencing major whipsawing in our economic reality.
As I write these words, you may be faced with an upcoming job loss, or you may be the person who have to deliver the tough news. How do you deal with these issues from such different perspective, and reach common understanding?
The biggest toxic floating around is fear. We do need leaders to step up to the plate and deliver game changing performance to eliminate this deadly pollutant! They need to deliver a confidence that will elevate the trust currency. Certain behaviors will need to be evident in these leaders to be worthy of such investment. Some of the critical characteristics are:
- Take responsibility
- Exhibit transparency
- Deliver straight honest talk within ethical and legal boundaries
- Demonstrate respect for all involved.
- Involve folks as much as possible in formulating a solution.
I attribute these attributes from my reading of Stephen Covey best seller, The Speed of Trust.
When you as a leader practice these principles, your world, and those within your sphere of influence will be given a steadiness within the chaos of our times.
I know some of you may be thinking I am the resurrection of Pollyanna. Permit me to remind you of a people at a major juncture of their difficult journey. It is the Biblical story of Israel about to cross over into the Promised Land. They sent twelve spies out to gather some intelligence. Two reports were produced, a majority report, and a minority report.
The majority report was fear based, while the minority report was faith based. The record shows that the majority report was adopted, and Israel wandered around for forty years in the wilderness.
Fear can more contagious than a viral flu bug. Thankfully, there is a remedy for it.
Take a huge dose of emotional vitamin C, i.e. courage. I do believe that we can make an inspirational difference in this chaotic season! Remember moral leadership has more weight than positional leadership. So, find a passion for making a difference in a life, and just do it!
Now, it’s your turn. Share an encouraging word you have heard or shared.
November 20, 2008 No Comments
I have been told that I am multi-talented, however prophesy has never been a gift mentioned before. I am not looking for this burden. However, on my first post US election comment, I mused about the coming tension between the middle class and the poor. I saw the grip on the middle class slipping away like a greased hog on its way to the butcher. (My grandpa was a butcher, who I spent many summers with learning the trade). Sinking home values, reeling 401K or other retirement vehicles, and now mounting job losses will stoke the embers of nativism.
For some reason as I perused my electronic paper a few days back, the following title grabbed my eyeballs.
Americans and Europeans share deep concerns about immigration
This was from Monday’s Washington Post. Here is an executive summary:
- People on both sides of the Atlantic express sharply negative views of illegal immigration, and roughly half of respondents said they think immigration in general is “more of a problem” than an opportunity for their societies. The European nations surveyed were the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.
- At least 80 percent of respondents in all surveyed countries called for stronger border controls.
- In all countries, only a small percentage supported temporary immigrant work programs.
- More than half of Americans say that immigrants take away jobs from U.S. citizens,
- 86 percent view them as hardworking and many also believe they create jobs by opening businesses and investing.
- Asked what criteria are most important for allowing foreigners to immigrate, more than 90 percent of both Europeans and Americans said they must respect their new country’s laws and institutions
- A strong majority also said they should speak their new country’s national language.
- Most also said immigrants should arrive with a job offer and a high level of education.
- More than two-thirds of both Americans and Europeans said legal immigrants should have full access to social benefits, including health care, nearly one-quarter of Americans and people in the United Kingdom said they “strongly oppose” granting them such benefits.
Your religious beliefs also carries significant consequences.
- 42 percent of Americans said immigrants should come from a Christian country
- less than one-third of Europeans agreed.
- Asked specifically about Muslims, 61 percent of Americans said Muslim immigrants have much to offer culturally, yet only 54 percent said Western and Muslim ways of life are reconcilable.
- In Europe, even fewer people — 47 percent — said the two cultures could be compatible.
History has verified that people facing the psychological and social pressures of downward mobility will respond negatively. There are steps we can take to minimize the impact of these sentiments. But before we explore these, let’s make these finding sink in. Share your observations.
In the coming weeks, let’s collaborate on a solution set. Remember, we are all in this together!
November 19, 2008 No Comments
Come with me to the BWI airport outside of Baltimore. We are catching up with our two representatives, awaiting their Air Jamaica flight. They had agreed to share their thoughts on the G20 summit of last Saturday.
Reporter: How did you manage to get into the conference;
Bolt: You see this grip? It was full of yellow yam. For some strange reason it has become a favorite food of the Chinese.
Oliver: Well my approach was a little different. I told the White house that in this new era of Obama, it would not look too good with no people of color present. I mentioned that that idiot Chavez will try to take advantage of this image and pitch the poor countries that they are not being considered and not a part of the conversation. You heard about his alternative G20 meeting?
Reporter: So how did you position yourself?
Bolt: We use a divide and conquer strategy. We figure the two critical players are the Americans and the Chinese.
Oliver: Well it did not start well. I could not help myself. They decided to dive right into the discussions. I could not help myself. I got up and interrupted the proceedings. I asked if we were not going to invite Jesus to the meeting. Bush look embarrassed and the Chinese President cut his eye at me.I was forced to mumble a prayer under my breath.
Reporter: One of the major blow back was how luxurious the meals were. Can you elaborate?
Bolt: Yes we were dinning in style Friday night while sipping wine ; dishes as “Fruitwood-smoked Quail,” “Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb,” and “Tomato, Fennel and Eggplant Fondue Chanterelle just for starters and Shafer Cabernet, listed at nearly $500 a bottle to wash it all down.
Oliver: These people fool, fool! They should be modeling austerity not flamboyancy. Curry goat, rice and peas with some greens on the side was suggested. We even brought a few flask of Sorrel to serve as the drinks.
Bolt: Further, the weather in Washington was lousy. It was only 60, overcast and rainy most of the day. Just imagine if this meeting was held on the North Coast?
Reporter: Would security be a problem?
Oliver: You kidding me right? We have some brothers who could put an end to the war on terror tomorrow!
Reporter: Give me your perspective on the substance of the talks.
Bolt: Some of the measures to which the group agreed include the establishment of a “college of supervisors” to oversee the activity of financial institutions that operate internationally, closer scrutiny of hedge funds, and more frequent and diligent reviews of countries’ financial systems by the International Monetary Fund.
Reporter: What does that mean to you?
Oliver: Only God knows! We better be praying for these leaders. Trickle down economics is real! As the North American and European tourists goes, so does our economy.
Bolt: The key statement for me was this. Ensure that the IMF, World Bank and other MDBs have sufficient resources to continue playing their role in overcoming the crisis. These are the institutions whose actions I will play close attention to.
Reporter: Who had the most substantive statement?
Oliver: Well, the World bank guy had some good things to share:
Fiscal stimulus has become the main priority, he said, while cautioning that ” such actions must take into account the interests of the poor and most vulnerable in developing countries.”The World Bank also plans to continue to increase its funding to help developing countries deal with the crisis, Zoellick said, welcoming the G20′s commitment to ensure the bank will have sufficient resources. Earlier this week, he announced plans to more than double the bank’s funding capacity, including the launch of new facilities to help the private sector through the International Finance Corp.
Reporter: Any other happenings to mention?
Bolt: yes, We were able to sprinkle around some Jamaican wealth. We delivered some sunshine packages (A week-end vacation package to Negril) to some key folks.First, we got one in the hands of Paulson . He can some sprinkle some of that $700B credit card a yawd. We also get a package to the other leader with a fat checkbook and the power that comes with it, President Hu Jintao of China. We also gave him a patois guide, and told him we are willing to learn Chinese. He then bowed and smiled.
Reporter: Your motto Out of many , one people could be an asset.
Bolt & Oliver: That is our prayer, that’s our dream!
November 16, 2008 No Comments
The Reagan National airport is buzzing with diplomats, arriving for the G20 summit. However, there is a a crowd gathering around two special guests. Wow, we are in for a treat from some really special guests. Let’s listen in:
Reporter: Welcome to Washington! We have not heard from you since the Olympics.
Bolt: Thank you for your warm welcome. I am on a mission that is bigger than the Olympics! When we reviewed the G20 list, we noticed that no developing country was present. The IMF and the World Bank cannot fully represent our interest. We think that medals/population ratio should determine the G20. Until that amendment is made, we are requesting a guest invitation, and we will just call it the G21.
Reporter: Let me now turn to your partner. What do you hope to accomplish at this meeting?
Oliver: Jamaica’s total exposure on mortgage-backed securities is zip, zero, nada. As a result, Jamaica has the insight to share when other governments are struggling to shore up their financial sectors. We Jamaicans will not sit idly by while such big world events are happening. This is clear from the slowing export growth, and resulting increases in unemployment in export-dependent areas of our country like Clarendon and St. Elizabeth. Therefore it is Jamaica’s responsibility to join actively in global efforts to prevent the financial markets from collapse. The world is anxiously waiting for Jamaica’s debut in the coming Washington Summit of the Group of 20. Now it is Jamaica’s turn to play the rescuing party to recapitalize the world markets. Our strategy is simple; tap Jamaica’s foreign exchange.
With that Bolt opens a suitcase full of Jamaican dollars.
Oliver: Jamaica could negotiate with relevant parties to conduct a “debt-equity swap” retiring certain amounts of debt securities and investing them as equity capital in troubled banks. Moreover, Jamaica will invest in these financial institutions on one-dollar-to-one-dollar matching.
Bolt: Our limo has arrived. We’ve got to go!
Reporter: Can we have a sit down interview after the conference.
Oliver: Yes indeed! Talk to you on Monday morning over breakfast. Any place around here where we can get an ackee & salt fish with green banana meal?
Reporter: No problem mon!
Mister, mister! You better get up! This is where you usually get off the train!
November 13, 2008 No Comments
Can you be in church and take the Lord’s name in vain?
Yes we can! I found myself in this predicament. It was after church, and we were socializing in the lobby. The conversation quickly turned to the state of the election. Two of my friends whipped out their IPHONES, fired up an application and shared Obama’s countdown to Inauguration day of January 20, 2009. They then shared the daily messages they received regarding his schedule, and the campaign highlights et al. Wow! Lord, forgive me, but my mind uttered a few Reverend Wrights, you know the D word. Wow, it was clearly evident that what Steve Jobs is to consumer electronics, Barak Obama is to campaigning.
Slim from Illinois was truly the high tech Goliath of this presidential season! Success leaves traces, and I want for us to consider the implication of Obama’s campaign game plan.
But let’s face it; an election is fundamentally a marketing campaign. You’re basically trying to sell folks on your product (ideas) over another.
Well, one campaign did it BRILLIANTLY. Guess which one it was?
You got it–the winning one.
Two words summed up why Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009, the first digital president. They are social marketing.
Obama campaigned to the social marketing crowd perfectly, generating a HUGE amount of support from a variety of online resources .Just check out these amazing statistics as reported by the Politico newspaper of November 12, 2008.
|No. of Facebook friends on Election Day||2,397253||622,860|
|No. of Online videos of candidate||104,454||64,092|
|No. of views of these videos||889 Million||554 million|
|No. Twitter followers||125,639||5,319|
|No. blog post using the phase “Voting for”||79,613||42,093|
|Total direct voter contacts||68 million||30 million|
Obama’s tactic was a masterpiece – the audicity of marketing, targeting the younger, more technically literate crowd and hit them right where they live, on social networking landscape. He combined this effort with a solid ground game. He clearly anticipated and outsmarted the competition.
A word to the wise to all small businesses,the era of conventional marketing is over. You too can get your digital slingshot, and internet stones to dominate your market niche! Learn or get help quickly or your business maybe yesterday, yes RIP!
November 13, 2008 No Comments
The gold days of this past August Olympics are fading like the leaves of Autumn.
My attention now turns to football, yes American football. As I watch the titanic battle between the Colts and Steelers, that commercial poked me in the eyes yet again.
It was AT&T’s new commercial promoting their 3G service. A sprinter donning a blue outfit burst down the track, while performing some communication functions, his legs moving at lightning speed.
I had to wonder out aloud. Why is some generic guy in this commercial while Usain Bolt, a the world’s fastest man with a world conquering personality not in this commercial?
Why was our star not doing his signature streak and promoting this service?
I had it! I opened up the laptop, and logged unto my AT&T account, and penned a message of inquiry about Bolt. Call it consumer provincialism.
The two superstars of the Olympics were Bolt and Phelps.
So, while I was still online, I decided to do a quick check how Phelps was doing in the post Olympic gold race.
Well, he is on his way to having each gold medal being translated into say $10M. To add salt to my wounded spirit, one story recorded that Phelps had signed an endorsement contract with AT&T!
A similar search for our sports Obama, Bolt yielded no such gold laden stories. The Jamaican Star hinted at a possibility with this headline British internet giant wants Bolt?
My covetous self reminded me of Sports illustrated full cover picture of a well adorned Phelps, while Bolt received a thumb size picture smaller than the S in Sports. The October 20 edition of SI carried the Jamaica Homecoming story. There is mention of ten (10) scholarship offers in the US, but no mention of endorsements. Whoppie!
An abstract of the Sport Illustrated Story is found in the link below:
I am a post racial guy, so should I chalk this up to naked nationalism?
Maybe you have more details on any endorsement windfall of either Bolt or Fraiser. My response from AT&T has been I got the wrong department. What was I thinking! O well, share your thoughts!
November 10, 2008 No Comments
It’s Saturday night, and I must be a glutton for bad news. I just fired up my Kindle and checked the headlines from one of the newspaper I subscribe to.
The blaring headlines are telling:
- US jobless rate jumped to 14 year high of 6.5%.
- New York headed for dark days
- Berkshire Net Income Falls 77% (This is the great Warren Buffett’s company)
- IMF Slashes World Growth Forecasts Again
- Retailers Wallow and See Only More Gloom
- Auto-Industry Crisis Tests Obama
Alright, enough then! But I need to go check out Drudge Report. O, no! I lead story about the Caribbean.
- Caribbean hotel bookings plunge as economy sags
This is enough to make one crawl into a shell, and wait till the economic bleeding is over. But what a tragedy this would be. This is the coming out season for entrepreneurs, the folks of nerve and guts. These folks see opportunity where others see peril. While there are desperate looks in most eyes, they bring a mind set of the possible. There is one statement that has resonated in my mind for the past couple of weeks. It comes from an article written by the great Warren Buffett regarding his buying principle:
“A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors”.
How can we leverage this idea to tame the impact of the recession on our homeland?
Our Jamaican genius can make the difference. We will bring our positive possibility mind set, execute customer service superiority, and provide a can’t be beat attractive packaging. Let’s strengthen our joint venture relationships with complementary partners.
Let’s remember a penny a day, double each day will bring us increasing wealth.
I look forward to aggressive TV and web ads to attract our North American and European prospects. They need a break from the stress griping their hearts and mind, and where else but the land of “No problem” to go.
Sunday’s New York Times gives us a great headwind. Take a look see at:
Let’s not join the company of the cowering. Remember, we are Jamaicans and we a lots of our folks relying on entrepreneurial leadership. You have heard my thinking, now share yours.
November 8, 2008 No Comments