Tag Archives: Alan Alda

News You Can Use: 8/9/2017

  • AliAlibaba and Tencent are carving up Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem

    A much-cited report co-authored by Google last year showed that Southeast Asia has 260 million internet users with 3.8 million more going online per month. That’s tipped to grow the internet population to 480 million people by 2020. Sure, that isn’t China level yet — the country has 731 million internet users, half of which are mobile — but it does mean that, alongside India, Southeast Asia is a region of serious tech development potential.

    That same Google report forecasted that the region’s ‘internet economy’ — i.e. all business generated from the web — will be worth $200 billion by 2025. That’s up from 6.5-fold from 2015, when it was estimated to be worth $31 billion. E-commerce alone is tipped to rise from $5.5 billion in 2015 to $88 billion in 2025, of which half will originate from Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country, according to the report.

    On Alibaba

    The first step was Alibaba’s $1 billion investment in Lazada, an Amazon-like e-commerce company serving six countries in Southeast Asia, in April 2016. The deal represented the first major investment into the region from a Chinese company.

    Alibaba has since firmed up its shareholding, paying another $1 billion in June to take its ownership to 83 percent, while, under its tutelage, Lazada expanded its business into groceries with the acquisition of Singapore-based Redmart while it launched an Amazon Prime-style offering in partnership with Netflix and Uber. Amazon is expected to enter Southeast Asia this year, with sources telling TechCrunch an original goal of launching Q1 proved to be too ambitious.

    On Tencent:

    Tencent, meanwhile, has a long-standing investment in Thailand-based media company Sanook, while it invested $19 million in a joint media venture with Ookbee, another Thai company. On the product-side, it has aggressively pushed its free-to-play music service Joox in Southeast Asia as a rival to Spotify, while it recently invested in U.S. karaoke app Smule which has strong traction in the region and plans to expand in Asia.

    “Through their investments and acquisitions, it’s very clear that Alibaba and Tencent are interested in Southeast Asia. They share our vision, that this region is ripe for opportunities in the e-commerce, payments, and marketplaces space,” Vinnie Lauria, founding partner at Singapore-based VC firm Golden Gate Ventures, told TechCrunch in a statement.


  • Why Would Anyone Let Their Employer Stick A Microchip Into Their Body?

    The chips, RFID-compatible devices roughly the size of a grain of rice and typically injected between the thumb and forefinger, are strictly voluntary, the company says. About 50 out of 80 employees in the River Falls, Wisconsin, headquarters have opted in, as have the company’s college interns. They’ll be able to use the chips to unlock doors around the office, log in to computers and copy machines, and, naturally, make purchases at the in-office minimart.

    “Now, instead of remembering hundreds of passwords, we’ll be able to hold our hand over an RFID reader,” says CEO Todd Westby.


  • Knowing How to Tell a Good Story Is Like Having Mind Control | Alan Alda
  • Protiviti Study Contains New Findings on Value of Procurement

    According to a new procurement study by global consulting firm Protiviti, nearly half of finance leaders claim that 20 percent or less of procurement savings wind up dropping to their companies’ bottom line. Amid a business environment where monetary returns, business value and financial risk are under intense scrutiny, the survey report highlights a clear disconnect between corporate finance and procurement in the perceived value contributed by the procurement function to an organization’s profitability.

    According to the survey findings, the perceived disconnect stems from the way procurement functions track and communicate savings, as well as how they collaborate with finance departments and work with the business to ensure these savings positively affect the bottom line. Forty-one percent of those surveyed say that although procurement savings are being tracked (overall, less than half actually track absolute savings), the measurement and value are not being articulated across the organization. In addition, just over one in three view the working relationship between finance and procurement as collaborative, suggesting much room for improvement.


  • Do You Have Too Many Suppliers?

    As you can see, if you want a truly optimized award across a category, sometimes the organization will have too few suppliers. The right number of suppliers is the number that the organization ends up with after every category is optimally allocated across both the strategic spend and the tail spend. While it will usually be less than the number of (active) suppliers in the supplier database (as most organizations that do not do sourcing across all categories will end up buying from more suppliers then they need to), it won’t always be significantly less. You can’t always cut your supply base in half just because you think you have twice as many suppliers as you need. You properly source each category, and when all is said and done, the suppliers you have selected represent the proper pool size. Any remaining suppliers that aren’t absolutely essential for a non-sourced product or service get cut and then you have a properly sized supply base as it was properly designed. 10K vs 20K vs 50K is irrelevant. Only so much value comes from consolidation alone. Remember that.


Photo: Melanie Magdalena

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