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On With Social Media, Develop the Feminine

Good post, although do we really need to say, or believe, that "interdependence, head up, emotions, stories and all that is human" are "the more feminine qualities"? Where's the evidence that women have more emotional intelligence than men?

Having said there, there's a bigger point here: All of business, as well as social media, is becoming less transaction-driven and more relationship-driven. Indeed, a company's value is are largely a product of its network of durable, sustainable, win-win relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and communities. Yes, social media is about sharing, about giving as well as taking, but so, it turns out, is more and more of modern business.

February 14, 2012    View Comment    

On Apple’s China Problem – and Ours

Thanks, Ted, and glad you brought up Adam Smith. Not only did he talk about ENLIGHTENED self interest in The Wealth of Nations, he argued in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that we are all blessed with a moral sense. The book begins:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it. Of this kind is pity or compassion, the emotion we feel for the misery of others, when we either see it, or are made to conceive it in a very lively manner. That we often derive sorrow from the sorrows of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it; for this sentiment, like all the other original passions of human nature, is by no means confined to the virtuous or the humane, though they perhaps may feel it with the most exquisite sensibility. The greatest ruffian, the most hardened violator of the laws of society, is not altogether without it.

This is why Apple should devote as much attention to the details of its supply chain as to the design of the iPad.

February 8, 2012    View Comment    

On Apple’s China Problem – and Ours

Thanks, Ted, and glad you brought up Adam Smith. Not only did he talk about ENLIGHTENED self interest in The Wealth of Nations, he argued in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that we are all blessed with a moral sense. The book begins:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it. Of this kind is pity or compassion, the emotion we feel for the misery of others, when we either see it, or are made to conceive it in a very lively manner. That we often derive sorrow from the sorrows of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it; for this sentiment, like all the other original passions of human nature, is by no means confined to the virtuous or the humane, though they perhaps may feel it with the most exquisite sensibility. The greatest ruffian, the most hardened violator of the laws of society, is not altogether without it.

This is why Apple should devote as much attention to the details of its supply chain as to the design or the iPad.

February 8, 2012    View Comment    

On What Would You Do with Apple's Supply Chain?

Ted, I think Apple and most other big brands would answer your last question by saying, yes, they take responsibility for the actions in their supply chain.

I don't want to excuse of minimize the problems at Foxconn--in fact, I intend to write about them very soon--but two points that might help put this in perspective.

On the suicide issue, which you highlight, according to This American Life, which did an excellent piece on Apple...

When it comes to the suicide rate at Foxconn, there were about 12 suicides at the Shenzhen plant in 2010. It was actually hard to get the exact number. Some people have pointed out that 12 suicides for 400,000 workers is actually much lower than China's suicide rate as a whole, as China has an unusually high suicide rate of 22 suicides per year per 100,000 people. That would work out to 88 suicides for 400,000 workers. Mike Daisey points out that we don't actually know if these were the only suicides at Foxconn.

Also, it's important to know that many Chinese say working conditions at Foxconn are far superior to those at other suppliers and certainly better than working in the countryside. That's sad, but nevertheless true. See, for example, this recently blog post from The Atlantic which quotes Paul Krugman, among others, on sweatshops. 

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2012/01/many-chinese-workers-w...

Again, I say this not to excuse Apple or Foxconn but to provide context.

February 2, 2012    View Comment    

On Is the Sharing Economy Changing Consumption?

Thank you, Paulo, Mark and Carissa, for your comments. There a lot of skepticism about the sharing economy. To some people, it even feels un-American! I will check out both WhyTrusted.com and freegler.com and perhaps write about them in a future post.

January 19, 2012    View Comment